And then she read to me…

I haven’t published in a while. I have shed my weight in ink later dried to pages that I may never show anyone. I considered harvesting these words here, and throwing the site into the abyss. What purpose does it serve now when I feel dry and brittle?

And then she read to me…

Let me be clear. This is not about sex, but I was given what I needed in a moment without having to ask. There is very little on this Earth more intimate than that gift.

“How much do you trust me…” she beckoned knowing the answer. How does she fucking know those answers?

“Completely…oddly.” And I gave her my phone number.

______

My heart is ruptured and beating with the blood pooling under a thin, transparent skin that has just recently grown closed. When my heart races, I leak. When I look at it with the vaguest of judgment for its lack of hasty regenerative spirit, it oozes more than just a little. The slightest bump, and I may as well have slit it with rusty straight razor not fit for my lover’s beautiful collections.

We shared labels, and the disdain for their inaccuracy. We shared histories of transitions, and the litany of current circumstances that would break any mortal. She is funny, and dry while being caring and subtle. She gives me hope that my current jaded exterior can be something smoothed over by that current of energy she and I both master.

I told her about the stacks of men that have broken something while tromping around inside of me. They don’t mean to be bulls, so I do forgive them their damage. I know I have broken my share of shit in any proverbial china shoppe. I was tired and had cried so much that day. My spouse and my son had a conversation in which they brainstormed how to help me manage my current state of emotional dissonance despite my sitting there cutting my steak all by my own self. My love – who is far and no longer mine as such – is kicking my ass in online scrabble instead of telling me that he can’t wait for the day that I am in his arms forever. My love – who is my rock – is drinking to avoid the really real realities. I am stuffing my writing because I am scared to air it for the first time since identifying as a writer. I cry a lot.

I told her all of this, even though I don’t know her – and yet I do.

And then she read to me…

Now I can allow people to read my writing again.

Giving

Today, I am not worth the work.

I was honest about my pain…made him honest about his.

And so it is done.

This writing will be a very long time before it is ready.

My mind rocks back and forth between what must be done to save what I know I can have with who I know to be my person…what must be done, and that nothing will ever make it okay.

My mind rocks back and forth but it isn’t soothing…it is scrambling and debilitating.

I can’t just let it go…not because it hurts to let it go…

Because I know it to be once in a lifetime opportunity…

Why can’t I see everything with this kind of clarity?

How can I be expected not to make mistakes?

Doesn’t my patience and care buy me some grace and forgiveness?

Can’t I change?

Ritual Comfort

There is something that I dearly treasure about ritual. I don’t consider repetition boring unless it is also laziness in service of obligation. My most treasured personal rituals: coffee, writing, art, and music. I love my coffee and drinking it every morning from handmade mugs. I love writing, and I need it for the casual list making and for the intense dumping of feelings to be processed. I need to make things with my hands, tangible products of my existence. I find resonance in music when I need my feelings validated, but I also use music as manipulation when my mood needs altering before I go under the surface permanently.

Love, relationships, affairs, power dynamics and kink…all of these constructs revolve around ritual for me also. I derive comfort from inside jokes, messages first thing when waking and when ready to sleep, painting dream intention, checking in throughout the day, sending pictures, and staying connected throughout the day with energy.

What happens when the ritual stumbles? What happens when the schedule alters once? How does it feel when the schedule morphs over time? How hard is the pinch? How long before it releases its grip?

When the time we spent every day shifted from open ended to structured, I adjusted. It took me a while, but I did. At least I knew what to expect. When our physical shifted, I understood why. We are layered in our relationships, and physicality isn’t a switch that you can just turn on and off. When coming back for night time ritual started being later and later, I expressed discomfort, and then adjusted to a different set of expectations. I hear the pinch of time as our lives and responsibilities change, and we must meet each other and care for the changing dynamics. I think to myself, it is all ok as I still have the ritual comforts I need most. He still works hard to understand me. He still shows up and gives me his most vulnerable self.

Then I stop being as flexible because I am scared…because I am hurt…because I am also tired.

The bend hurts more than it used to.

The stretch makes me feel like I might snap.

The strain is taking longer and longer to heal.

And…sometimes I am doing that work in isolation now too.

When you hand a child a beautiful, full, floating balloon of magical favorite color that lives in defiance of gravity…there is no joy like the balloon…

Until…

It pops.

Ritual comfort, without the ritual doesn’t retain its comfort. I am fucking cut loose and dropped into the abyss. I wait for the pieces to return and offer comfort again.

____

Rituals and repetition, driving energy in ostinato

Propel and carry the lyrics from bar line to bar line

Sway to the beat and know the comfort of expectations met

That chord’s tension will resolve…

The trying tone, though, held persistently suspended in agitation

The tempo paused and momentum lost

The listener has a choice to make…

Wait for resolution? Or change the station to help the dissonance settle…

Thank COVID

Meeting with people in this COVID environment is tricky. I have barely been out of my house other than to work, get some exercise in local parks, and run errands of necessity at a smattering of local shops. I get anxious thinking about doing anything with many people.

I lost relationships with this absence. I lost friendships with the separation.

I also ended up with some extra time that I wouldn’t have had – that ended up furthering a relationship. Global pandemic means that two people on other sides of the world are similarly on lock-down.

As I look at the time COVID has afforded me, and I weigh it against the separation it has also engendered, can I fairly say it hasn’t been kind to me?

My anxiety is extreme, but don’t mistake that for poorly placed fear. The risk to me is real, present, and damn near all-consuming. I have lost 45 pounds vibrating in my own skin. Every email from my kids’ schools about a confirmed cases nearby makes vomit rise up. Every time someone from my household returns from the outside world, I make a mental map of every single thing they have touched before decontaminating properly. The wrongful dismissal of my very founded concerns has made me weak and small…weaker and smaller. I fold up, and I hide under my covers and shake.

I didn’t lose a job to COVID. I didn’t lose my place to live or my ability to feel secure that my family would be fed. I haven’t lost anyone I know to the virus…yet. I have lost my ability to feel safe in the world. Sleeping is difficult. Being still is impossible, but moving is also a challenge.

But, I have my love. COVID has delayed my ability to be in his space with him, but it has absolutely played a large role in our relationship and its glorious closeness. I rely on him in a way I might not have without COVID. I like to think it would be the same no matter the environment, but I know stars aligning makes the otherwise impossible more probable.

So the dichotomy lives. Fuck COVID for my loss of peace and safety…and thank COVID for making possible a different kind of safe peaceful reality.

I have indeed learned a lot about myself and others through the eyes connections needed to manage this new world. Whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.

Please, dear gawd, don’t let COVID kill me.

______

Use this struggle to make me fierce

to test me and train me and make me endure

Use this challenge to make me see

to show me and teach me to see others’ obstacles clearly

Use this pandemic to make me resistant

to fortify me and adapt me into a super power of radiant joy

Use this separation to make me cling

to connect me and hold me close to the humanity of another

Use this time to make the unfathomable future crystal clear

to pause my fear and soothe my insecurity

and make way for the never ending time that is after

After now and on to the list of tomorrow’s infinite potential

Seeing red

There is a red set of bra and panties that I can no longer wear. They came out of the laundry yesterday, and they are clean, but they still cannot be worn. When I see them, I see red…or I don’t see.

The bra was chosen for me by my first Dom. I needed a new bra, and I sent him pictures from dressing rooms until he chose. For a long time when our dynamic was strong, I felt clothed in his care when I wore it. There was a long time toward the end of our practice that I didn’t wear the red as it wasn’t our default color choice. He used to designate the color of my bra and panties each day, and if he forgot, I was to wear default black. There was a long time toward the end of our practice in which I wore only black until the default ran out in my mind. He had forgotten me, and so I allowed myself to forget him also.

It is hard to forsake a bra that fits well, even when chosen by a Dom that lost his title and my submission. I wore it without association, and it often peaked out of otherwise conservative clothing. There was an edge of lace, the cup shape was round, and the straps were thick. The exhibitionist in me took pictures in just that bra in my car.

The red panties are lacy, and I have taken many a picture of kitchen ass sent to my love while making coffee. They are full coverage, pretty, and my ass hangs out the bottom. He always commented on the red ones.

There was a day of bad decisions, ultimately filled with catastrophic consequences still being managed…I wore red top and bottom. There is no wearing those again. Never. I lost time wearing those reds, I missed details, I destroyed trust, and I endangered my most treasured connection. Seeing that red isn’t a trauma from which I will easily recover. Neither he nor we may ever recover fully.

I see red for all of my traumas. I see connections to the language of my dependence on my spouse and the abuses he has perpetrated on my fragility. I can name the feeling I have when suicidal ideations fall from the mouths of those I love – having lost my share of treasures to suicide, that button is hot and very red. There have been many times I have felt trapped in my own body when it is a mystery to the modern medical profession. I have had so many surgeries, and I have felt so much pain and uncertainty. I am covered in infectious black ink turned blood red as this virus Covid threatens me from every angle. I watch my husband turn mean as he struggles to understand what has happened, and I have no fight left in me. Will burning these two, small, insignificant articles of clothing make the world settle? Will it wipe some of the red from my vision?

Probably not.

I burn them anyway.

____________

My red blinds and infuriates

My head struggles and debilitates

My heart pounds and won’t recuperate

My body writhes and pulsates

My breath increases and hyperventilates

My panic

My red

Oh, my…

Responsibility

In recent post Take Control or Submit, I began talking about concepts in BDSM that feel relevant to my learning. I feel like the practice resonates with me even if I am not always actively practicing it sexually. Power and dominance has a language that also encompasses responsibility.

Dominants assume a great amount of responsibility. They must track limits, and often teach their submissives to actual make choices and define for themselves what they need. Under no circumstances are the needs of the Dominant to color the needs of the submissive. There are sheets of limits and checklists for people to use for reference.

Tasks are a beautiful way of creating connection between a Dominant and a submissive. I have had those submissive to me keep a running list of tasks to track the ways we connect…anything from a one time thing to an ongoing daily activity. Customized tasks can help the submissive address areas of growth. For example, I forbid a submissive from hiding his cock from me in pics. I wanted him to see his own body the way I did. There is no sense in shame when I can tell him he is beautiful. It saved him the energy of strategic photography and allowed him to present himself to me as fully vulnerable.

Submitting to a Dominant is freeing at times, when the Dominant can be trusted. If the Dominant remembers every boundary without flaw, and allows the submissive to stretch safely, it feels easy. I had some really great experiences submitting, and receiving the submission of a partner. I also had some shitty sub drop experiences when my Dom communicated poorly and left me directionless after fostering dependent connection.

When developing my own Domme voice, it was not surprising to find that I am a care taker. It was not a surprise to find the unconditional submission of a partner. It was a surprise to me to feel that as a weighted responsibility that was more than I could handle. Fostering close connection, reliance, trust…it is beautiful. When I needed space to breathe, it meant I dropped my submissive hard. He went from the warm glowing comfort of ownership to nothingness. I stayed with him through that, talked him through that, but I was very surprised by the power of that bond.

I have not left him to fend for himself as my Dom did to me. I didn’t fail my responsibility for his well being despite ending the active practice of that dynamic. When I look around at others in the practice, it seems more often than not, that Doms are okay with just walking away and letting the submissive take care of their own pain.

If you are privileged enough to earn the trust of a submissive, you must pay for that with flawless attention to after care. That is for one session or an ongoing, ever present dynamic. The responsibility is there when someone calls you by your title, and it never really ends. You can release your submissive, and you can dissolve your dynamic, but the imprint within the mind is made. Will your imprint be positive, colored by clean, clear energy? Or will your imprint be negative, colored by negligent, pungent pain?

I may never practice a sexual power dynamic again because of the level of responsibility I felt. I cannot stand the idea that my imprint on another is anything but radiant joy.

I cannot imagine a scenario in which I submit to another Dominant in an ongoing way. Reliance on another isn’t predicated on power dynamics expressed, but that bond is special. I learned of its potential power, and I will practice only with eyes wide open in the future.

My hope is that people reading this…and thinking about exploring BDSM…I hope that people will take the responsibility seriously, and practice with skill and awareness. You are responsible for caring for your partners beyond the fuck. Do not crawl into another person’s mind and take a proverbial shit. Be careful, be cautious, and be loving.

Vulnerability breaking

Years ago I took a class on body language communication from a world renowned mime. I paraded around a room full of participants, and he would tap a person to freeze them. We would all then view that person as a piece of art…sculpted perfection. We would look at the softness of their hair, the expression in their wrinkles, the glint captured in the glass of their eye, the tension held in their suspended movement, their chest and breathing open or protected by the posture of their arms, their vulnerability exhibited.

If you look at any person, you can see all the things they are not divulging with words. You can see secrets they haven’t yet told themselves. The language of the body is very vulnerable. It says everything even when it is protecting itself from mortal attack.

I believe very deeply in presenting my most vulnerable self to people, specifically as it relates to partners in love. Vulnerability free and cared for is a high like no other, and vulnerability in the face of fear and trial is a low that is equal in intensity.

For the first time in my life, I want to shell up like a turtle and lay in the middle of the road waiting for the end. Where is my energy to play “Frogger” with a frenzy and time my crossing of dangers with accuracy?

When did fear take over?

It happened when I fell in love.

When all is right with us, I can do anything. When we shake, I see nothing but movement in even the most static of realities. I experience motion sickness as everything rocks. I look at the world as if infinite chaos. The vulnerability is extreme, but the opportunity is present as well.

What does it feel like to trust someone with your complete, vulnerable tenderness and have it cared for? What risks would you take to experience that? Does sacrifice or compromise feel like harsh payments when the goal is mirrored, loving, fully expressed SAFETY in vulnerability?

I want to turtle…I do.

But I will not. The shell slows me down and makes me shit at agility. Shed the shell. Remove the layers of safety that are not really safe anyway, and I run for it. NAKED. Vulnerable. Free to choose life of open, expressive, love…

Please, let me make it to the other side.

What happens when I get to the other side, and we decide it is all wrong? We hold each other, we care for the vulnerability, we heal, and then we do whatever comes next. We have learned, and we have loved, and vulnerability is still worth while.

Yes, I switch.

In recent post Take Control or Submit, I began talking about concepts in BDSM that feel relevant to my learning. I feel like the practice resonates with me even if I am not always actively practicing it sexually.

I was first introduced to the language when I was picked up by a Dominant online. I was in a chat room, NOT for BDSM, and a man popped into my direct message in order to talk about art…something I posted was of interest to him. Looking back on it and watching him with others over time, he looked for these sorts of connections. He looked to find women that were specifically not trained in BDSM. He looked to pick through minds and light fires he was not equipped to tend. He fucked up my head, but I learned.

I was fascinated by the language of it and its impact on me. He asked more questions, and he seemed to listen to me. Being heard was something I specifically needed at the time but didn’t realize. His presence made me feel assured, confident, centered, and beautiful. Conversely, his absence made me feel lost. He was very present, and then he wasn’t.

He taught me about tasks and poses. I clothed in things he chose for me. I felt wrapped in his care when I walked around in my day. I sought in person learning experiences with other Doms, but I didn’t understand the convention of being “owned” by someone. There were not rules about that, but I didn’t understand rules at the time anyway. I hurt him by not understanding rules. It was not the first or last time in which expectations not clearly communicated would cause pain. I learned from a Dom who picked me up off of FetLife. His language was strong and exciting. I learned a lot from him. He was very clear that he had a love and our interactions were just play. He disappeared with no notice. I learned from a Dom who was less a Dom and more of a protector. He introduced me to parties and the potential for play with people only linked by the language of BDSM and kink. I learned to articulate my boundaries in those situations. Articulation of boundaries…this is the single most useful skill that I have learned from the kink community.

Somewhere along the way…I realized that shitty experiences with Doms made me grow to switch. I don’t like being told how and where and when. I don’t like being used. I don’t like the language of removing choice. I don’t like rules, but I love clear expectations. I think I realized it first as I was being told to orgasm on command, and expected to perform as such, and I leaned over to bite the pants of my Dom. I grabbed hold of his pants with my teeth and I got slapped, hard. And he yelled, “No biting.” I was confused. We had not talked about that as a rule or limit. I wouldn’t have bitten him hard or left a mark. I had expressed that degrading, abusive language, and yelling were all hard limits for me. He told me to stop being bratty as he doesn’t like brats. I don’t have an ounce of brat in me. I don’t push boundaries and rules expressed. I don’t seek to be put in my place or managed. I seek to be on equal footing. For me, that means having some equal time with my own dominance.

In no way do I mean to infer that subs are not equal to Doms…far from it, but power dynamics have a potential for abuse, manipulation, and dependence that make equality a rarity. Equality is essential to healthy sexual expression of BDSM. I think it is fair to claim your choice as a sub to submit to anything. I think it is an enormous responsibility for a Dom/Domme to care for the expressed needs of the sub.

I have spent a good amount of time using my Domme voice with others, both in a strictly play situation and with an ongoing partner. I feel an intense responsibility for anyone for whom I am a Domme, for any amount of time. I am not sure any of the Doms I have been with felt anywhere near the same sense of responsibility for me when I was serving. I was not equal in those cases.

When I look at myself, and my desire for balance, it is no wonder I switch. I like to plan, and I appreciate others planning for me. I like to be on top, and I like to be pounded from behind. I like to release myself not to think, and I like to care for another completely. I like to be close and equal. I like actual mutually balanced sharing…my voice and another combined. I like mutual desire and mutual responsibility…mutual accountability.

So, I switch, whether or not I practice my Domme or sub voices.

Take control or submit

Along my journey, I found some tools. They are sexuality tools, but they make profound sense outside of sex. I am talking about Dominance and submission, I am talking about BDSM, but beyond that…I am talking about the struggle balancing the desire for control with the release of control relinquished.

Over the next few posts, I want to talk about an accidental path I found. I am not sure if I will continue down the path. I may blaze my own trail back to the middle road. I may sit here a little while and think or sleep or dream. I may turn around and travel back to my diversion point. I may invoke magic and click my ruby red slippers to send me back to my home and my comforts.

Look at what I have learned though…

  • BDSM is not essential for me, but there are things to learn within its language.
  • I am a switch, and whether or not I practice it sexually, I feel it as an accurate descriptor of my spirit.
  • Power and dominance has a language that also encompasses responsibility.
  • Relinquishing power is amazing too, but it is NOT a substitute for making actual decisions about needs, wants, or desires.
  • Intensity of experience within the Dominant/submissive dynamic needs to be well respected for the equal intensity of potential drop in feelings associated when something goes wrong.
  • Aftercare…this is the most important part of any dynamic. I am learning to prefer to call it “allcare” – preparatory care, care throughout, and care after. Frankly, this is about every interaction with every partner EVER.
  • Every learning experience requires evaluation. Hindsight…in retrospect…now that I think about it…
  • My labels can be stretched, but the most relevant ones, those swell to encompass new ideas. Stretching…always tends to snap back…sometimes leaving a welt on the skin from the energy of the stretch released.
  • I want to write more, because that work matters to the development of my voice. I want to say out loud that Domme inside me. I want to surrender my will sometimes too. I want to be clear though…these voices are not about leather outfits and floggers. They are about decisions, responsibility, and the intimacy related to sharing that balancing act with a partner. I don’t need to practice BDSM to be a switch. I just need a partner who sees my spectrum and appreciates me whole.

I am taking control of my life and my decisions. I can say what I want and need, and I will make my life my own…for me…with my partner or partners over time. Call me Aria, I am solo voice…but I am not singing for myself alone. Can you hear me?

Closure: does it mean closed?

I can spend a lot of time thinking about closure, endings, and asking the never ending list of “what if”. It is the rabbit hole of no return. I want to know that I mattered, and that maybe, after the time to think has passed, he is sorry he was a fuckwad. There was something he didn’t tell me at the time. There was another factor in the decision making process that happened in his mind and not in our discussions. There was something other than…

There was something other than he didn’t want me…

I don’t care in most cases. I have had plenty of partners that just faded. Don’t need “closure” as I was never really invested. I was interested. I learned. I moved on. Door closed.

Needing closure is different. I want to understand the things that changed the investment level. I can see the stated reasons don’t match what my gut is understanding. The cognitive dissonance between my gut read and my mental understanding drives the need for closure. At the end of the day, I need to trust my gut more than any other tool I use. My intuition is spot on, and I need to believe in that instinct for everything I do. I need to trust it in order to make the upcoming changes for the future I deserve. Everything happens in an instant, in a succession of instances, and those judgements in snap time matter. I need my gut.

This means when we meet for lunch after not so much as 15 words in 8 months…that I need to see his face. I miss my friend – yes -, but what I really miss is knowing my gut instinct borders on flawless.

I want to see if he tells me what happened without my asking. I want to see how easy it is for him to look me in the eye. I want to know if he will try to hide from me…when he absolutely knows he cannot. When we met, he was attracted to the idea of radical, open communication. NO FILTERS. Will he tell me why? Will he say he is sorry for hurting me? Will he pretend no time has passed and that nothing has transpired in the way of pain?

Or, will it be evident that it was a gut read misinformed? Will it solidify that I made a mistake believing his words? Will it add to it a mistake of closure that will be extra painful? Will I then be sure it was me and not some unseen issue?

Does it matter?

Oooooof. That question.

What does closure really close? For this door, maybe I know after lunch on Wednesday. Maybe I will never know.