Guys, I did good!

My title is a bit of a joke and a bit of a pat on the back directed towards myself.  

For the first time in our relationship, A started dating someone that I hadn’t introduced him to.  Last week, when he let me know that sex was on the table for him and the new girl, I wasn’t particularly upset, but I had some confusing feelings that I needed time to process.  In the end, I realized they were all insecurities that I needed to work through and had nothing to do with him. I don’t want to really go into the details of the insecurities that reared their ugly heads, partly because it’s embarrassingly unattractive and I’m a little disgusted at myself for having them in the first place, part of that is that I was pretty bluntly honest about them with S and G last week, and I didn’t exactly get the response I needed when putting out all that vulnerability from S (G nailed it, as she always does), and because I’m mostly past them and really don’t want to re-feel all the feels.  Also, A and I had a total communication fuck up around the whole thing, he totally dropped the ball, I totally wasn’t clear about what I was feeling, and in the end it became a thing when it wasn’t supposed to ever be a thing and all I needed was some acknowledgment and maybe a little reassurance, so…ugh…no more.

So, A and new girl had their date the other day.  I was genuinely concerned with how I would deal with it, because it was a completely unknown situation to me.  A true first. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it popped into my mind a few times on Sunday night, but the thing was, it was more factual, like “I wonder if it’s happening now?”, and then super excitement for him.  No jealousy. I actually tried to dig deep to see if there would be some kind of upset feelings, and I couldn’t find any. It just didn’t bother me.

However, being proactive, I did ask him a few details over messenger the next day, and asked him to stop by for a debrief.  You see, I know myself well, and I know that my imagination makes up way worse things in my head than the truth ever brings.  So he stopped by after work and we had a (very disjointed thanks to the crazy assholes I brought into this world) chat about his night.  The thing was, he’s so cute. The smiles and exhaustion and general contentment were so amazing to see. I felt a level of compersion I’ve never felt before.  

This just makes me happy.  Happy for A, yes, but happy for me, even more.  I have an amazing relationship with A. We are so comfortable and stable and it’s really fucking good.  I realized the other day that while we’ll never have that NRE and excitement that we may once have had (I don’t actually remember it, because it was all wrapped up in the weirdness that was our beginning), what we have is so much better.  That compersion came easy for me, well, that just makes me happy, and reinforces, again, that this life I’ve chosen is right for me.

 

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Changes and firsts

Last week I had that day where I was incapable of much other than turning completely inward. The day where I was overwhelmed with what life’s handed me lately.  Then I had a couple days where I did my version of procrastination, which involves doing all the things that need doing but aren’t a priority. Including cooking ALL THE THINGS, scheduling my life until December, and about a million other little things.  I’m the most productive procrastinator on the planet. It’s just my way.

I’m been working a marathon week at my second job.  Like 96 hours in 8 days. Nothing like almost 3 weeks of work in a week!  It should seem that this would keep me tightly wound and not coping, but it’s been the opposite.  I’ve got lots done, but I’ve also just generally been able to think and work through a lot of stuff.  I have so far to go and part of that was the realization of how a whole bunch of goals that aren’t really jiving with the way I’ve been living my life.  Hence curtailing the wine consumption and expensive social gatherings and cutting out social media.

Meanwhile, I’ve come up with a pretty solid budget and a list of goals and how to achieve them and a timeline to do many of them in.  I like to plan. Did I mention that I scheduled myself until the end of December? Much to A’s disgust? Turns out people think you’re a little strange when you ask them to block off periods of time in September and November and to postpone a vacation that was planned in December until February.  When it’s early July. Thankfully, his wife thinks I’m a genius and that planning is awesome, so I basically started talking to her instead.

(Irony of ironies was then talking to a guy I’m sort of interested in and asking if he wanted to come to roller derby with me on the weekend and him saying he couldn’t plan that far in advance and that he had to be more spontaneous, while I was planning my December.  My response was: “I really suck at spontaneity, but I’ll let you know if I have available time.”)

A, on the other hand, seems to have found himself a little more time, and has actually had a couple first dates lately.  I was slightly surprised that when he told me he had a date, it didn’t bother me. Maybe I was just surprised that he had a first date?  It’s been so long since he dated anyone, that it wasn’t exactly expected. He’s been regularly talking to different women the whole time we’ve been together and frequently talks to them until they get bored because he hasn’t asked them out.  It was slightly surprising to me that one of the girls made it to a second date. Although, she is a smart, strong woman and sounds super interesting, so he may have just chosen his kryptonite and I should have known better. (More on this later, because it needs its own post)

These first dates happened in and around the time that all the stress of my dad’s funeral was going down, so I really didn’t register much about them.  However, I remember a night right before my dad’s funeral where I was in a really dark spot, thinking about my dad and writing his eulogy, thinking about my sister and how awful she was being, and thinking about F and how awful he was being, feeling like maybe A was replacing me.  I have to admit to some crushing self-doubt and a getting super twisty. Then recognising that what was driving these feelings wasn’t logic or reason, but the crushing emotional load I was carrying that had nothing to do with A. In fact, he was instrumental in me making it through those horrible four weeks.  I will add that there were a lot of other people also giving me a lot of support, key among them, S, who I can talk to about all the feelings, and was there every day to listen to me and just let me vent, in a way that A can’t be, because feelings aren’t his thing.

But back to A, because I don’t really want to get into my grieving and what it was like, because it was hard enough going through it once.  I found out that dad died the morning we were supposed to head home from our weekend away in May. A forced me to orgasm until I tapped out just before and said it would be his turn after breakfast and instead of fun sexy time, he had a crying girlfriend, then he had several weeks of a girlfriend who cried on daily basis, even if it wasn’t on his shoulder. That was how he started supporting me through losing my dad.  He was the one who stopped by at 1:30 a.m. just to give me a hug when I was having a really hard time. He’s the one who checked in on me daily to see how I was, and even if he didn’t know what to say, there was sympathy and love. He’s also the man who flogged me and fucked me and flogged me some more and helped me forget how I was hurting. He flogged me until I cried, then flogged me some more because I needed to cry more, and even more. It was the first time I ever cried from physical pain during one of our play sessions (I had cried afterwards, as I came out of subspace, but never during).  He checked in with me often. At one point I said “Stop”, and he asked me if I really wanted him to, which got an immediate “No!” and he resumed flogging me. It was hot as hell and it was also the most cathartic sex I’ve ever had. After he flogged me head to toe on front and back, he fucked me and made me cum until I asked him to stop. I was so far into subspace that I actually fell asleep and woke up a few hours later still under, and realized when I felt the pain when I got dressed to get up with #4. The next week, the night of my dad’s funeral, he flogged me to tears again. It was amazing and exactly what I needed.  But most of all, he held me when I cried, he listened to me, he did exactly what I needed, and after he made me cry the most cathartic cry of my life, he held me while I slept in his arms.

So when I was feeling all twisty about A having dates and potentially being replaced, even though I was in no place to be rational, I was cognisant of the fact that no one can be what A has been for me this last month while he’s thinking about replacing me.  No one can fake that kind of love and attention. In fact, I didn’t even see a point in talking to A about it, because once I thought it through, the twisty bits were untangled. Although there was a moment where he joked about reducing me to every two weeks instead where I asked him to either stop joking about it if he was kidding, or that we sit down and talk if he wasn’t. He told me he was joking. The truth is, if he was thinking of replacing me, he would have already broken things off with me.

About a week later, out of the blue, I got a spontaneous “Hey, I love you” from A.  My response was “Are you OK?” A isn’t the type to just send a random “I love you”. As part of that conversation, he reassured me that his recent dating efforts weren’t meant to supplant me or reduce his time with me.  Honestly, the fact that he just reassured me out of the blue like that meant more than if I had asked. I told him I knew, but I really appreciated the reassurance. The truth is, I know what we have is really amazing, because I’m part of it.  I also see the way he looks at me and know the connection we have, both in the bedroom, but even more so out of it. A is a huge source of comfort for me on so many levels, a place of calm, my anchor, someone I laugh with, and can be myself with.  But I am all of those things to him too.

A dating is new to me.  The last time he dating someone he met online (I’ll not count U, and their confusing ‘dating’ week or two) was the week after the first time we fucked (a year and a half!).  Before we had decided it would be a repeat thing. Every first brings its own feelings, experiences, and learning opportunities. This is just another one of those.

Raw

S and I cancelled our date on Tuesday.  It’s a combination of her house having the vomits yesterday and things going on with her boyfriend, who, at least I think, needs her to be there for him 100% this week.  I’ve been riding the high of realizing how much I’ve grown and healed and changed in the last year. Last weekend, I had a good talk with my boss who failed me last weekend, we hashed it out, and then I sent an email to the entire management team.  It’s a well-written narrative that asks them to be better at responding to the needs of their staff. I’ve had a few responses and they are positive. My real responsibilities with my full-time job finished apart from a few details and summer is looming large.  I’m dealing with the heaviness of the responsibility of everything being on my shoulders in my home and with my kids. I’m raw as fuck. I’m happy with my new-found ability to share my hurt when it’s going on, or at least doing it that one time. The fact is, it just sort of happened.  I realized I had two people in my life who needed to know what was going on in my world at that moment. I needed to tell them, because I want to share my life, the good and the bad, with them. There’s a level of trust, respect, and acceptance in what I have with A and S that I’ve never had in my life.  It didn’t happen by accident, we built it together, but it didn’t happen purposefully either.

Over the last couple years, I’ve unpacked so much that was unhealthy in my life.  I unpacked years of passive aggressive communication and blame and manipulation. That was how my childhood was with my dad, so I grew up thinking it was normal.  I dated a series of men and even attracted friends who communicated in the same manner, not to mention my sister. Despite how amazing my mom is, I was completely broken in the way I responded to others and communicated myself.  Changing myself began when I went on depression meds. I asked for help, because in that moment, I was desperate for anything to help me cope, because the alternative was unthinkable to me. It let me cope, antidepressants made me…well…me…again.  I think it was hard on F that I was OK again. For at least six years, I had been depressed. High functioning, low level depression, that turned into acute depression of the emergent sort after #4 was born. My low-level depression was gradual and was accompanied by the arrival of baby #1, #2, and #3, plus my pregnancy with #4.  It was wrapped up in an acute period of depression between baby #1 and #2 when I had two miscarriages and secondary infertility caused by an ovarian cyst. What this meant is that my early years of motherhood were coloured by the constant anger and defeatism that overcame me in ways I didn’t understand at the time. It was made worse by a very manipulative husband who didn’t take an active role in our life without me asking or demanding that he did.  I became the caretaker of our life together. Organizing the kids, the house, the meals, the activities, the childcare, the yard maintenance, all the logistics of life. There is a post on Facebook that goes around about the emotional workload of being the wife and mother that seems to drive it home every time I see it. The workload that we take on as the managers of our lives, on top of our full-time jobs (or full-time and casual job), is enormous. All of this put together meant I didn’t communicate well.  I just did. I did all the things and didn’t ask for help and when things were hard, I just got angry and huffed and continued to do all the things. I did the things because I had to, because I didn’t have a partner to do it with me. I had a partner who attacked me for my feelings and didn’t engage in our life without pressure from me. I was easy to manipulate and control because I wasn’t capable of communicating effectively and I was depressed and just trying to keep afloat. Add to that pregnancies and newborns and toddlers and moving internationally and new jobs and more new jobs and the fact that we both worked in emergency services and new houses and more newborns and more toddlers and three kids under three and I finally couldn’t handle it and I had to ask for help because for so long no one had been giving it to me and I needed a way to keep being strong.  

Then I was strong again.  I was me again. I started making good decisions for myself. I went through the six weeks it took to adjust to meds and went through the crazy time that was having a newborn, a one year old, a three year old, and a five year old and a husband who turned my illness into a reason to be a victim. Slowly, inch-by-inch, I began to establish boundaries.  I became strong, advocated for what I needed, stood up for my children, and then, a huge coincidence happened. I ran into an old friend from my grad school days who told me a job in my field was being posted. One that I would be perfect for. I applied for it, I got it. I took it. I took it despite F not wanting me to. He wanted me to stay home with the kids.  Even though he knew that wasn’t something that made me happy. Even though he knew my career was important to me. Basically, my happiness wasn’t important to him. Then I excelled at my job, but even more, I love it. It’s my dream job, with amazing coworkers, a fabulous work-life balance and so much support. Then polyamory came into my life. I was forced to communicate with my partners and learn about the things I needed and the things they needed and everything in between.  Something even more amazing happened at the same time. I had A and D and they cared so much about how I felt and what I wanted and needed in our relationships and I learned how much was missing in my marriage. F was dating W and that just caused a world of hurt in our world and as I established boundaries, he would go to greater lengths to violate them and get his way, and since I didn’t back down, it got worse and worse. Then I asked for a divorce.

That’s when the healing began.  When you remove the poison that is slowly leeching the life out of you, one drop at a time, the titration stops, but the damage is still there. It’s not an immediate fix. It takes time, medicine, patience, and rehabilitation to to recover from a lifetime of hurts.  I have no doubt that I’m not done healing. I don’t think we really ever are. I remember talking to my parents about how conditioning from F dictates my response to situations, and my step-dad saying my mom still is triggered sometimes, 31 years later, by things because of the dysfunction that my dad brought to her life.  I expect the healing to continue and the hurt to probably hit unexpectedly as life goes on. Time has worked in my favour to heal my wounds. My medicine has come in the form of the amazing partners who love me and accept me for who I am despite my flaws. For me the patience is always a huge struggle and the rehabilitation is ongoing.  Part of the rehabilitation is opening the wounds, exposing them for what they are, treating the infection inside, and then sewing up those wounds to heal properly. The problem is it takes time to find, open, and expose those wounds.

Right now, I’m somewhere in the middle of this whole process.  I have open wounds, partially healed wounds, festering wounds, and wounds I haven’t identified.  I have wounds that have healed and helped me form a protective barrier and be strong after being vulnerable.  This here is the whole thing that is getting me right now. For the last year(s), I’ve had so many people comment on how strong I am.  These last few days I realized that strong was not what I was. I was broken and in need of rebuilding. Strong for me has come out this last week as I’ve been vulnerable and shared so much more about who I really am with A and S.  I’ve stood up for myself and asked for what I need and got it. I’ve recognized how positive this was and have been riding the high of it. But I’m not healed, I’m raw. I’m so, so, so, very raw. Like any exposed wound, I am cognizant of the fact that I could re-injure myself at any time, far easier than if I didn’t have those pre-existing wounds.  That’s what makes it really scary.

Earn my submission

My submission is not owed to anyone.  My submission was given to A as a gift because he earned it.  He earned it through gaining my trust, respect, love, and obedience (in bed only – I’m a pain in his ass the rest of the time).  He earned it by talking through things with me, establishing limits together, discussing fantasies and how to fulfill them, and showing me, through his actions, that he is worthy of my submission.  He earned it by being there for me every day for the last year and a half, by working through twisty bits with me, and by dominating me in the most amazing ways every week.

So you know what, aspiring doms?  You need to do the same thing. If you are a dom and you want me to submit to you, the first thing you need to do is gain my trust and respect.  So when I tell you that I am a submissive and that I’m poly and I’d like another boyfriend, that is not your cue to talk dirty to me or demand that I meet you in a field somewhere for some kinky fun or call me your dirty little slut.  

What should you do?  You should talk to me. Get to know the strong, independent, intelligent woman that I am.  Talk to me about my life, my philosophies on how I create connections with people and allow my relationships to evolve, about my career and what it means to me, about my kids and how I manage coparenting with a narcissistic passive aggressive asshole, or even about where I’ve travelled, lived, or call home.  You know what, the subject matter doesn’t even matter, just take an interest in me as a person. Until you know me as a person, respect me for all the things I bring to the table, value me for my brain, strength, incredible nerdiness, and openness to every type of connection, I will not submit to you.

When I was dating D, we had really hot vanilla sex. There was never going to be anything more than a really fun vanilla connection between us, had we continued dating to today, and I never wanted anything more with him.  The sex was fantastic as it was, and he, to me, was a gentle giant with a soul that invited me into comfort and love. I would have never considered a D/S dynamic with him, and loved what we had. When I was dating O, he was really jealous of A.  A consequence of this was that he pushed for a D/S dynamic with me. The first time we did it, it was pretty fun. The second was a disaster. It felt forced and awkward to me. I realized that he was pushing for a sexual dynamic in the bedroom that wasn’t a dynamic we naturally had.  I was never comfortable submitting to him, our dynamic was vanilla, and had he left it at that, it probably would have remained really hot, but alas, it didn’t. Contrast this to A, who was only ever just himself. At the beginning, we just had really great sex. There was no power exchange, just mutual ravaging of each other as soon as consent was given.  I loved that he took charge, guided me with what he wanted to do, but I was just as likely to take control in the beginning, and even still, I’m often the one who initiates. What triggered our descent down the rabbit hole? Me. Not him pushing me, but me asking him to take control of me and experiment with me. Who drives our ongoing descent? Me. Who has control in the bedroom?  Him, because I give it to him, because he earned it.

There is nothing more offensive to me than the man who starts talking to me like I’m his submissive before he earns that place in my life.  Really, it turns my vagina into a desert capable of dehydrating the strongest camel in the herd. All of this makes me wonder how doms and subs work in the larger community and if that approach, the one where a man sexualizes a woman and assumes things about her desires and position in life without actually knowing her, is normal, or actually works for men.  But for me, you need to dominate my brain and stimulate me intellectually before you dominate by body and stimulate me sexually.

Healing a lifetime of hurt

My dad died last weekend.  I found out on Facebook. I was shocked. I didn’t know who to call, so like anyone, I called my mom and then my step-dad.  A few minutes later, my step-dad called me back and I asked him what happened. He was shocked I hadn’t heard. Then he told me that they found out the afternoon before when they called my sister to wish her a Happy Birthday. Turned out she found my dad around 1 p.m.  He had been dead for a couple of days. My mom asked her if she wanted her to call me to tell me and my sister said she would call me. She didn’t call until 9:30 p.m. She had to call from my dad’s phone because I have her blocked. She didn’t leave a message. I was already in bed when she called.  I had noticed earlier that someone had sent me a message request on messenger but ignored it because I was enjoying my time with A. That message came in around 6 p.m. It was a message of condolence from my dad’s boss’ daughter-in-law. She knew my dad was dead a full 16 hours before I found out. I got her message and a message from an aunt and was so confused. I had no idea who died.  I went to my dad’s Facebook page and saw messages of condolence, all posted before my sister called to tell me. In the end, I called my sister and talked to her. She was obviously hurting as she told me the story. She kept saying “When I get the body” and “I have to…” I reminded her that I was there to help. I am still reminding her that I am here to help.

After I got off the phone with her, all I could think was how awful it must have been that she walked into my dad’s house on her birthday and found him dead in bed.  He had been there for several days. It must have been so very traumatizing, especially since she isn’t exactly medical in nature and she was really close to my dad. She hates me, and I can see how in that situation, it must have caused her a lot of anxiety just thinking about calling me.  I’m not sure why she didn’t leave a message. I wish she had. In the end, while I don’t think she dealt with the situation well, I decided that she had been through enough pain and trauma with finding my dad that forgiveness was the way to go about the way she dealt with telling me. I’m still working on forgiving her as I process my dad’s death, but I’ll get there, hopefully without ever mentioning to her how much it hurt that I learned about it after so many other people.

Here’s the thing about my dad: I mourned the loss of my relationship with him years ago.  I realized that I couldn’t go on being disappointed and hurt every time I saw him or talked to him.  I had to be the adult in our dynamic, because he never would be. It meant coming up with realistic expectations of who he was and what he could be in my life.  It also meant coming up with some pretty well defined boundaries about what was acceptable and what wasn’t in our relationship. This means I really restricted the amount of time he spent with me, especially after I had kids, because I couldn’t have him hurting me anymore and I couldn’t have him doing to my children what he had done to me as a kid.  Really, it was just a series of unmet promises and passive aggressive attacks. I don’t want to focus on those negatives, but let’s just say that I married a smart version of my dad in F, and repeated the history anyway. Now F is just doing the same thing my dad did to me to my kids.

What this all means is that I’ve been processing the death of my dad reasonably well.  I didn’t feel guilt or even sadness that I hadn’t talked to him for so long. My sister has enjoyed making quips about how “he felt the same about me as I did about him”, which I think to her means he hated me, but the fact is, I didn’t hate my dad. I loved him.  I just couldn’t give him power in my life and couldn’t let him be a big part of it. I want to get to the funeral and to the estate settlement part more so that I can be done dealing with my sister than anything. I just finally got her out of my life three weeks ago, and now she’s back in it.  The problem is that the details of settling his estate will probably be messy. I’m very actively hoping that he cut me out of his will and left everything to my sister so I can just wash my hands of the whole thing and not deal with her.

The problem is, as much as I am OK about dad dying, what happened was that his death took my capacity to deal with everything else away. This hit me hard this morning.  On Monday, after I found out about dad, I got my kids back. F and I had an amazing chat on my front step where we got along really well and I was really hopeful that we had turned a corner in our dealings with each other. Of course, this meant that I let my guard down and on Friday when he deducted money off his child support payment unfairly, I started crying in the middle of work.  Without getting into detail, my second job is in emergency services. Yesterday, I was triggered due to an event that happened that really was a nothing event, but brought back the memory of some really horrible things I’ve experienced in the job. I didn’t understand at the time, but I knew enough to ask my boss if I could have today off work. Now, I’m not exactly a delicate flower. I don’t show my “weaker” emotions often.  Usually, if I cry, it’s alone in my room with no one the wiser. Sometimes I’ll tell people after I’ve processed. It’s just who I am. Add to this that in 5 years working there, I have called in sick twice and I’ve never ever asked for anything from anyone. So when I advocated for myself to my boss, it was a big thing. Like huge. But I wasn’t over the top emotional or anything, I was just advocating for my needs. And he forgot.  At least that was his excuse this morning when our mental health support team lead talked to him about the situation. So, in the end, I came in to work this morning, pissed that we were not actually short staffed, and talked to this team lead and went home. I slept the day away. But as I did, I realized that so many things that have been making me emotional this week are because my capacity to cope is gone.

These things include A’s comment about me being “Temporary”.  Normally I don’t let words get to me like that, and would just talk to him and deal with it instead of let it cause me to really doubt him and our relationship. Normally, I don’t cry when F is being a colossal douchebag (he always is), I just get annoyed and then remind myself how happy I am that I no longer have to live with him and have a life together.  Normally, a couple harder calls in my emergency services job just make me sad for humanity, not cry in my car during my break. Normally, I don’t cry in front of several coworkers as I explain how my boss failed me when I reached out for help. The thing is, this situation isn’t normal. So much about my life isn’t “normal”, but it’s not normal to have your dad die and have your sister not tell you and find out on Facebook. It’s not normal to have to deal with babies dying as part of your job.  It’s not normal to have all this happen and not have time to talk to the person you love about something he said a week ago. Realizing that helped remind me that, as my mom says, I’m “a normal person reacting to an abnormal situation”.

Knowing why I feel the way I do, why I’m not coping well, why it’s OK that I’m hurt and sad is the key to me processing and moving on.  It makes it easier for me to understand and let myself be “weak”. Yes, I know that I’m not actually weak because I’m feeling all the feels, but this is who I am, and having others see me emotional is not comfortable for me.  It’s something I’m working on, but after years of being attacked for my emotional responses to things, hiding my hurt is my go to, and unlearning such an unhealthy protective mechanism isn’t easy.

I’ve been forced to show some pretty raw emotion in many situations this week because the shock of the emotion or the ferocity with which it hit have been too much to hide until I’m alone. This includes the tears I shed on A’s chest after I found out my dad died and today at work when I was talking to my coworkers/team leads about how I wasn’t coping and why I was triggered.  What’s more, I recognized immediately that I needed to explain to S and A what was really going on in my head, so I had to dump the horrible details about what triggered me and why it happened and acknowledge that my lack of coping with everything was affecting me in ways I didn’t understand at the time, but was only now processing. As hard as this has been, the fact that I was able to communicate the hard time I am having to both the people who love me and ask for help from the people I work with is a huge victory for me.  Me from a year ago never would have done that. I would have said that I was having a hard time, but never asked for what I needed and definitely never explained why I was having trouble. The most anyone would have gotten from me was a narrative after I had processed the pain and the emotions that told them what I went through in a casual, unattached, factual way. To me, the fact that I asked for what I needed, even if it wasn’t recognized, and that I communicated, while highly emotional, exactly why I was so upset, is a huge victory.  What it tells me is that I am really working my way towards healing from the dysfunction of my marriage. I’m not fearful of my emotions and how other people will take them any more, I’m owning my emotions and advocating for myself.

As I sit here and think about that fact, I think about my good friend who apologized to me when I told her something she said to me upset me many years ago.  How I was shocked and amazed that someone could apologize for something without blaming me for my response to what she said. She didn’t accuse me of being too sensitive or make excuses. She acknowledged my feelings and apologized.  She was the first person to ever do that. Years later, I’ve only just realized how F always blamed me for my feelings or criticized me for overreacting. Even when he hurt me so badly that I couldn’t stop hurting, he would tell me I should learn to take a joke.  A year after I asked for a divorce, thus removing his ability to minimize my emotions or hurt me for being human, I’m a completely different person. While being vulnerable is still scary as hell for me, I am not incapable of taking the steps to reach out to people around me.  This has a huge amount to do with the fact that I have really chosen the people in my life who lift me up and love me for me. A and S are the main people who figure into this fact. S, for validating my emotions, understanding my motivations, desires, and complexities, and for just being her.  We’ve never had conflict, so I don’t know how that would go, but probably a whole lot of functional conversation and giggles. A and I though, we’ve had our things. I generally write about them here, so it’s not exactly a secret. The thing is, there’s a theme too if you look at them. No matter what happens, when I tell him about how something he did or said hurt me, he apologizes.  Sincerely and without blaming me or attacking me for the way I feel.

It isn’t easy apologizing to me.  I don’t just take an apology and accept it.  In the beginning, I would have to force myself to just believe he was actually sorry.  I was always waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop as he blamed me for being too sensitive or attacked me or minimized my feelings, but that shoe has never dropped.  Sometimes, I was just so happy he apologized, I eagerly moved on without properly talking through what had happened. In those cases, the issue always reared its ugly head again and forced us to talk.  But all this time later, I’m no longer fearful of talking to him about an issue. OK, this isn’t entirely true. I still get all twisty and scared that my feelings will be attacked or he’ll be upset by my emotions and choose to leave me, but that’s years of indoctrination of fear, and I can logic my way out of that spiral pretty quickly.  I know I will always be listened to with respect and patience. I know he hears me and I know he cares about how I feel. I wasn’t scared to post my post about being called ‘Temporary’ yesterday because I know he loves knowing how I feel no matter how intense the hurt or emotion. I also knew he would read it and feel horrible about how his words affected me. (In this case, I offered him a chance to read the post in advance, but he wanted it published first). So when I received his messages apologizing to me and his comments on my post, he confirmed, yet again, what I already knew – he owns his shit.  He owns his shit without blame, pretense, drama, or hyperbole. What I didn’t realize until today was how much his ownership of his actions has meant to my healing. As I came to him with issues and we worked through them together, I gained the strength and ability to ask for what I needed from him and everyone else in my life. Slowly, one validation at a time, he helped me fix something in myself that neither of us knew I was fixing. How amazing is that?

 

Temporary

I’m super twisty about a couple things that happened on my weekend away with A.  One, I suspect was just a drunk thing and has me a little insecure. This happened a short time before A passed out on the Saturday night. I asked for a ‘proper kiss’, something that happens more and more frequently the longer we’re together, because the only time I don’t get a “suitable for grandma” kiss is mid-sex lately.  Anyway, he said something really critical about kissing me. It just made me feel rather undesirable, and since making out like a teenager is pretty much my favourite pastime, it hurt my feelings and has me devoting a bit more emotional energy to a drunken conversation than I normally would. I’m not sure what to do with it, because I don’t know if he really feels that way or it was just his failed attempt at humour or he was just being flippant or just being kind of drunk and mean.

 

The other hit me deeper and try as I might, I’m having a hard time processing it and moving past it.  A made a new friend a while ago who is his “new BFF”. I haven’t met her, but she has had an amazing effect on his life, time with her makes him happy and feeling renewed, and, not surprisingly, she is a strong, independent woman. So basically his kryptonite.  I’m super happy he’s found someone to connect with like this again. A thrives on connection and part of his interest in people is getting to know them, hearing their stories, and knowing what makes them tick. Part of this is his graduated method of sharing himself.   He is a multi-layered man and it is no longer surprising to me 1.5 years later when he tells me something that I’ve never heard before or known about him. The night before we went away, A went out with his new BFF and I came up. I love hearing about how people take the news that he is poly with a girlfriend. (I’d also love to be a fly on the wall to her how he talks to me.) I always ask about how the conversation went, how the people responded, what was said….you know….everything.

 

Just after we checked in on Friday, A was telling me how he was describing our dynamic.  Of course, this is the poly dynamic, not the kink dynamic; not many people get to hear about the kink part, and I like that.  However, I also like be acknowledged, at least on some level. We all like to be recognized and appreciated for the roles we play in others’ lives, I’m no different.  A doesn’t gush love for me, he’s just not the type that does. Fortunately, S makes up for that with all the barfing rainbows. That doesn’t change that I know A loves me.  He was explaining how his new BFF was trying to understand the logistics and dynamics of our relationship in the context of his great life and he explained to her that I’m temporary.

 

I can’t even begin to express how much it hurt to hear him say this.  He tried to explain, saying things about the lack of trappings of his marriage, that it could end at any time and be “easy”, and we had abou few more sentences back and forth about it.  In the end, I said “I don’t like being referred to as temporary, I don’t think of us as temporary, it really bothers me to be referred to as temporary.” Say what you want about A, but he’s a smart guy, and stopped talking and offered me a drink at that point.  That was the end of the conversation.

 

I had intended to talk to A about these things and clarify what he meant in both situations on the way home, but then my dad died.  So instead of working through my emotions and twisty bits with A, I got to work through my emotions and twisty bits with my dad dying.  I’d prefer the former. So here I am a week later, trying to wade through the rather deep emotions I feel about these two things. I think they are wrapped up together in some dysfunctional way, and all come back to me feeling a loss of security in what I thought we had in our relationship that maybe isn’t as strong and committed as I thought.

    When I hear “temporary”, I hear “disposable”, “insignificant”, “unimportant”, “uncommitted”, or as the definition states: “lasting for a limited period of time, not permanent”.  None of these descriptors are things I would use to describe my feelings or relationship with A, ever, and it really, deeply, hurts me. Truthfully, no relationship is permanent. Lord knows that I am a shining example of “permanent” relationships that became temporary.  In the last year, my marriage ended, I cut my sister out of my life, and my dad died. However, in the context of A’s comparison, it was directly said that his relationship with me was temporary and the relationship with his wife was permanent. I understand and appreciate the difference between a relationship with nesting partner and kids and the obligations, financial, family, and lifestyle in nature that come with it.  I get the difference between his obligations to his wife and family and business and his obligations to me, because despite any ceiling on our escalation, we have obligations to each other, they just come in the form of time, priority, respect, support, and our dom/sub dynamic. It just never occurred to me that I was temporary. Add to this the cruel insult and I feel….. I don’t know? Disappointed? Insignificant? Unimportant?  Like what we have built together and what it means to me versus what it means to him is a really scary imbalance that makes me want to curl up in a ball in my fuzzy blanket fortress and protect my heart, while I know in that same heart that it’s too late to protect anything, because he’s touched every dark corner. This is especially so after he was there for me when dad died, to hold me and support me.

    One of the first conversations I had with A online was about how words have power.  I, truthfully, thought he was a bit wacky at the time, but we’ve had a version of this conversation many times and I grasp his meaning a lot better now.  The premise of this argument is simple, an attack with words has more capacity for sustained pain than any physical attack. My argument often focused on chronic physical or emotional abuse, not isolated events.  There’s a good example of acute pain from words and acute physical pain in my example though. I still have some pretty amazing bruises from last Friday night on my body. They don’t hurt at all anymore (we’ll ignore that they were consensually obtained and that in any other situation, there would be emotional pain completely interwoven with the physical pain I received, although that probably makes it a more adequate analogy), but one word, and the subsequent attempt at justification of that word plus one other word a day later, those two words hurt me in a way I can’t quite process and move past a week later.  It really hurts. And it really sucks.

    Words do have power.  

Red

In the days preceding my last date with A, I spent some time anticipating our date.  I had received a rather large box full of toys that I had ordered online and wanted to try them all.  I also wanted some limits tested. I asked for exactly what I wanted and A, like the gentleman he is, obliged.  In retrospect, I probably asked for too much. After a long time flogging me and forcing me to orgasm over and over, I was tied up, kneeling, with a spreader bar holding my ankles apart and my arms behind my back.  He flogged me hard. I had candle wax poured over me front and back. I sucked his cock. It was hot. Really fucking hot. Then I felt nauseated and dizzy and had to stop. Immediately. I suppose it would have been a good time to use my colours and if I had, I would have been saying “red”, but all I could say was “I need to stop, I’m dizzy and don’t feel well”, and I broke out of my arm restraints and sat down because I couldn’t do anything else.  A undid my legs and I crawled, covered in wax, into bed. I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I couldn’t articulate my feelings, I only understand them now, in retrospect. It’s pretty clear to me now that I had some form of shock, but at the time, I couldn’t process anything, my logical brain just wasn’t functioning. I remember A talking to me, but don’t remember what I said in return, but then he did the most amazing thing. He cuddled up to me; he spooned me and wrapped his arms around me tightly.  It was like I was falling through space with nothing to grip on to, struggling to breathe, and then suddenly I was surrounded by an anchor that kept me safe and warm and because of it I was able to return into my body and reset. A, who had, minutes before, been very much in control of every sensation that brought me to the place where my mind shut off and my body took over in a scary way, instantly became my place of calm.

The first thing I remember A saying to me is “You’re clammy, I think you’re in shock”.  I couldn’t really respond at the time, but now that I look back, I think I was in shock.  I was dizzy, nauseated, hands tingly, shaky, and scared. Really scared. What I suspect happened was a mix of adrenaline from the pain of the flogging and heat of the wax and endorphins from all the orgasms.  I think I hit fight or flight mode and my body shut down because it couldn’t reconcile how much I was enjoying things with how much pain I was experiencing. Once A wrapped his arms around me, my body chose the path it wanted to go down, my brain rebooted, and the adrenaline disappeared.  The endorphins must have stayed, because I was instantly turned on again. It’s amazing to me that as soon as I was grounded and calmed by A’s touch, I wanted to be engulfed in it again.

It all happened so fast, I’m not sure A realized what was happening to me. Truthfully, I’m not sure I realized what was happening to me.  I know that I didn’t have time to feel anything other than fear and then safety. There’s something truly amazing in that. In my past, there have been times that I have laid in bed next to a partner scared or sad or overwhelmed and been as alone as if I was the only person on the planet.  Times where I was afraid, crying, and desperate for someone to hold me, and that person was in the room but unavailable. I wasn’t even capable of asking for what I needed the other night with A and he did the only thing that would help me process and be me again. It was so fast that an outside observer could have missed it, but sometimes the big moments are like that, they flash right by.  I suspect he did it without really thinking. Perhaps his default it to hold the people he loves until they find calm or maybe he holds people when he doesn’t know what else to do. That doesn’t change what it meant to me though. Having someone provide me safety and calm when I don’t have the ability to ask for it is pretty much the greatest gift anyone can give me. A and I spend a lot of time joking and minimizing the meaning of our relationship.  I’ve written several versions of the end of this post and each sounds flippant and catch phrase-y. I can’t minimize what A means to me and I can’t shout it from the rooftops either. What I can do is not do either, and sit back and be happy with what I have. I am so very happy with what I have.