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Bondage Fantasies

Not me.
I am not a big bondage fan.
Sometimes, being restrained "helps"me in the midst of a difficult session -- a sort of secure anchorage to lean into.
That's it for me, though.
No pretty rope harnesses, or fancy suspension stuff, thanks.
It bores me.

But here's the thing:
We are 11 days out from His total knee replacement.  He is slowly recovering; gaining strength and mobility. In those early days, He was pretty well immobilized, and He wore me out jumping to fetch everything He needed and wanted.  I'd crawl into bed exhausted at night -- glad for an hour or two where He didn't actively want anything.  Now, though, He is capable of getting up and scooting off when He takes a notion.  Being the sort of dominant personality that He is, He wants to do what He wants to do.  And He really isn't as capable just yet as He seems to think He is.  He still needs to use a walker for stability and balance.  And He is still taking lots of potent pain medication.  I love Him to death, but the stuff makes Him "stupid."  He gets up and takes off ... and forgets to use His walker.  I find Him stumbling, staggering, and grasping at anything He can reach to keep from falling.  Two days ago, I found Him in the kitchen, pulling the trash bag out, preparing (I kid you not) to take out the trash!!!  Yesterday morning, there was the small matter of a plugged toilet.  By the time I got to Him (because He insists that He is capable of going potty by Himself), He was plunging the toilet like a mad man; soaked to His knees in poopy water, red faced, and streaming sweat.  He is faster than a jack rabbit, and likely to wander off and do darn near any fool thing that pops into His medicated brain.  If I blink, all hell breaks loose.

It makes me think about bondage in a whole different way than I have in the past.  We have plenty of bondage gear around here:  cuffs, and ropes, and spreader bars, and the like.  Maybe it is time to fasten this Man down?  

Yup.  Bondage fantasies.



New Knee -- 2012 Edition

We were allowed to remove the dressing from the incision on His knee today.  Always a big "event" in the progression of these things.  And, as we did in 2005, we took pictures, so here is the knee -- 2012 edition:

It feels like a step forward.  We need those right now.  He is still really hurting, so life is difficult.  Having visual confirmation that we are on the right track helps just a little bit.




My post from late last night, reporting the ups, downs, and struggles of our first five days with Tom's left knee replacement, drew this comment from an anonymous who comes to us from Cave Creek, Arizona:

I'm confused. I thought you WANTED to be "His" slave. This post sounds like you are complaining. Please clarify.

OK, then.

It would be pretty easy to assume, based on the use of the CAPS LOCK feature, and the quotation marks around the word "His," that our anonymous Cave Creek denizen is intending to be judgmental, arrogant, and nasty.  However, I am going to work from the kinder assumption that this is a person who is ACTUALLY confused, and simply is not well enough educated in English grammar to realize how their written language comes across.  Here, then, is the clarification requested by "Cave Creek:"

You are correct, Cave Creek.  That post does sound like I was complaining.  There is a very simple reason for that; I was complaining.  I don't know how many total knee replacement patients you have personally cared for in the days immediately following their surgery, but I have been on hand, acting as the support and primary care giver for three of these now:  Tom's first one in 2005, T's in 2010, and this latest one of Tom's which was performed last Friday morning.  

A total knee replacement is a brutal surgery.  Essentially, the orthopedic surgeon amputates the leg, removes the original knee joint, and then hammers a prosthetic into place by driving long spikes into the bones of the leg.  Our orthopedic surgeon is one of the best anywhere, and he uses a minimally-invasive, quad-sparing technique that results in less damage to the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tissues.  Even with that, the surgical incision is probably a foot long, running from 5-6 inches above the knee cap to about 5-6 inches below it, and closed with staples for that entire length.  There is significant bruising, significant swelling, and stunning pain in the first few weeks.  Although the prosthesis will support weight, the muscles around it are damaged and need time to heal.  A patient in the first weeks of surgical recovery requires assistance for just about everything -- they cannot use the toilet, or roll over, or move their leg even an inch without assistance.  Pain medication helps manage the discomfort but creates a whole host of issues of its own -- sleepiness and lack of balance make it dangerous for these patients to be left alone for even a few minutes.  Their judgement is often impaired significantly.  They suffer from constipation.  There is a very real risk of post-surgical infection.  Anemia is not uncommon.  Pneumonia and blood clots are threats that have to be monitored closely.

Anyone who has had occasion to have a friend or family member spend time in the hospital in recent years knows that even the best hospitals are chronically understaffed.  Nurses and personal care assistants on almost any hospital floor are overworked, caring for more patients than they really reasonably can handle well.  Knowing this, we tend to "augment" hospital care with our own efforts whenever one of us is hospitalized..  T and I stayed at the hospital with Tom throughout His entire time there.  We "slept" in reclining chairs in His hospital room, providing much of His personal care.  Exhausting.

We brought Him home on Sunday afternoon.  Since that time, I have managed about three hours of sleep a night, augmented by brief naps here and there.  I am beyond tired.  

Caring for someone after this kind of surgery is hard, physically demanding work.  He must be assisted to stand up (read almost lifted to His feet) -- from the couch, from the table, from the toilet...  He needs me to pull Him up to a sitting position if He's been lying down -- while simultaneously supporting and moving His affected leg.  He is only today beginning to be able to move it by Himself, and that just a bit.  He needs me to put on His socks and His shoes and His pants.  To do that, I need to sit on the floor -- and I am not as young as I once was.  I am 57 years old.  My old lady bones and joints can make that happen, but it is not graceful or easy -- and getting up is not a cake walk either.  It may surprise you to know that gravity works.  I am stunned at how many items end up on the floor each and every single day... things that inevitably roll under the couch or under the bed or behind the toilet...  And down I go again, on hands and knees, to retrieve whatever it might be that needs to be fetched.  

There are two prescriptions for pain medication.  One is to be given every 4 hours as needed.  The other is dosed on a six hour schedule.  I set the alarm on my phone to make sure I hit those times all day long and all night.  There are visits from the physical therapist, the occupational therapist, and the home health nurse.  I keep that schedule, too; making sure that He is up and dressed and fed and ready to do whatever it is that they need Him to be doing.

He needs good, nutritious meals.  He needs to be reminded and encouraged to eat those meals once they are in front of Him.  He needs clean laundry and clean towels and clean sheets.  

I don't know if I am "His" slave.  I was, but life has brought us through a lot of twists and turns in the last few years.  Maybe that label fits and maybe it doesn't.  If it is, in fact, the descriptor we would choose to identify the role I play in His life, then I do not  believe that it precludes "complaining."  I know lots of self-identified BDSM slaves who serve their partners in various capacities, and I don't know one who never feels overwhelmed, exhausted, burdened, sad, scared, worried, or just plain frustrated.  To choose the path of slavery does not, in my not at all humble opinion, eliminate the normal human reactions.  Slaves feel.  They laugh and they cry. They rejoice when things feel "good" and they complain when things are "hard."  This is not a game.  This is real life.  We are real people.  

Maybe, Cave Creek, you are one of those fabled uber-slaves we sometimes read about.  Maybe you know how to do it "right."  If that is the case, I know there are lots of us out here, working to live this to the best of our abilities.  We might benefit from your expertise and your know-how.  Please.  Do share the URL for your website, so that we can all bask in your superior wisdom.



New Knee -- Day 5

We got about three hours of sleep last night.
He hurts.
Can't find a comfortable place for that new knee.
Pain pills every four hours -- I set my alarm, and wake up to make sure He gets what He needs.
He was getting valium, too.  It makes Him "stupid," and so groggy.  Time to stop that I think.  And then I wish I could ask Him about it, but He's been taking valium... It makes Him "stupid..."
He is grumpy, demanding, frustrated, grumpy, demanding, frustrated, ...
Can't get up from a chair without help.
Can't shower without help.
Can't dress without help.
Needs a walker to move around.  Not at all steady on His feet.
He worries about His weight, and can't stand on the scale yet.
A low grade fever.
Needs to use His Incentive-spirometer.
We do not need pneumonia.
PT at 8:45 tomorrow morning.
Nurse never called back about what dose of coumadin He should be getting.  We had to call them.
So... tired.
Wash out the compression stockings and set them to dry over night.
Make sure the ice bottles are frozen for use in the chiller machine.
Bags of frozen peas make great ice bags.  Twenty minutes on.  Forty minutes off.
Make sure He gets His laxative, and His iron...
Take His temperature.
Cold drink.
Fresh coffee.
Chicken soup.
Wash the towels.
Make notes about the medicine, and the PT, and the nurse visit.
Call the surgeon to reschedule the follow up appointment.
Frozen peas, coffee, tea, cold drink, popsicle, pain pills...

Day five.  Almost done.  The knee is coming along fine.



We're Home

We got to bring Him home early this afternoon.  He is still very sore, and moving very slowly, but it is GOOD to be home.

Now the long, slow climb through rehab to wellness and renewed strength begins in earnest.  We'll have visiting Physical Therapists and visiting Nurses over the next few weeks -- until He is well enough to go out for what He needs.  In the meantime, we'll sleep in our own beds, and eat our own food -- and that will make us and the cat people very happy.



Good News

Tom's surgery went very well.  The surgeon told T and I that he couldn't imagine how Tom has continued to walk about on THAT knee...  Whatever, He came through with flying colors; was into His room just after noon; has eaten two pretty good meals; and is able to stand and bear weight on the new knee (with the help of a walker).  He's already perceiving the pain from the surgery as less than what He experienced on a regular basis before, although He does have a pretty good bolus of pain medication yet from the surgery, and is being managed with oral and intravenous pain medications by the nursing staff here.  He'll have a couple of sessions of physical therapy here in the hospital tomorrow, and then we will see how He is.  It is likely that He will be home on Sunday, although as it appears tonight, we might even be home in our own beds tomorrow evening.

Thanks for all the good wishes.


The "Big Day" Is At Hand

Tomorrow at 9:00 AM I will, if all goes as scheduled, have my left knee replaced.  We have scurried about the last couple of weeks with stocking up on groceries and prescriptions, supplies, getting medical details handled, and everything that goes into preparing for a period of disability and post surgical care, to be ready for success.  t and sue have as always worked hard to take better care of me than I deserve.

Going into this I have a few thoughts.

We have just completed 10 years of the three of us together real time, here in our home.  What a wonderful trip it has been (joyous,tumultuous, tough, easy, and always loving) and this latest hurdle will usher in the next chapter for us all.

Saturday morning will be t's and my 11th wedding anniversary.  We have celebrated already with gifts and dinners out, etc., imagining that I may be somewhat less than festive the first full day of hosting my new titanium knee, but nonetheless it will be this milestone of one of the most magic gifts life has ever granted t, her love, and our never ending joyous conversation that has continued between us since we first met on a blind date November 29 1998.  We will prattle on together for a long time yet to come...........just now with my having two good knees for the first time since she has known me.

Some here have commented that they have read us here on this Blog since my first knee replacement back in July 2005.  This this time there are several really helpful contrasts that have me approaching this with far greater serenity and optimism that I did almost 7 years ago.

I weighed 330 pounds in 2005 when I had my first knee replacement.  This morning I weighed 157 pounds, and I am in great physical shape both in terms of overall health and fitness.  I have completed four 25 miles bike rides in the past week. I can only imagine how much easier this recovery and rehabilitation will be than in 2005.

In 2005, I went into this experience drunk.  I drank heavily everyday approaching the surgery............hell the night before the surgery, and was an emotional mess as I went into the surgical ordeal.  I was brave and toughed my way through it but I was a mess.  I am today 513 days sober, and am now not only at peace with that, but pleased and proud to be sober.  I am approaching this surgery serenely.  I am not panicked.  I understand the medical risks of all this better than most people who undergo it.  I have  a wonderful surgeon who has been tremendously successful....for me....for us with my previous knee replacement and shoulder replacement (a year ago), and with t's knee replacement a year and a half ago.  I am well.  I have done this before and quite successfully.  I "go after" rehabilitation voraciously, having a Masters degree in that field, and, by personality, wanting to reassert control over my life, I will embrace the struggle of rehabilitation that will create the magic of a healthy knee for me and for us.  My knee has not been healthy since I was a boy.  In a matter of months it will be.

I am enjoying a spiritual awakening to shamanism.  It began with my own soul retrieval a few months ago which led me to encourage t and sue to undergo the same healing experience.  We all three are looking forward to our first Way of the Shaman workshop this August.  I don't know how I know this is real, and is right for me....other than that I know.  I have read and studied a good bit about shamanic practice now and the intellectual exercise of reviewing it anthropologically, psychologically, and in terms of religious history has been some of the more challenging and rewarding intellectual explorations I have had in recent decades.  I look forward to its being the fount of my future.  It is already becoming the means of my reestablishing my leadership in our family....a new Dominance that is not based on position status, that includes SM play as an expression of our relatedness but that is not a basis of some Dominance/submission exchange, but a new fuller reality that is based upon our all following down a path together towards a spiritual awareness that I have begun and that we will all pursue together.

I am looking forward with a mean little kid's glee to checking in at 6:00 AM at the registration desk of the very Catholic hospital where this surgery will take place, and when they ask my religious preference telling them Shaman.  I am imagining that they might well have a cadre of Sisters of Mercy positioned outside my/our hospital room chanting rosaries throughout our stay to prevent any possible infestation of demonic contamination in their holy halls.:) We shall see.  It should, if nothing else, provide some entertaining comic relief.

I don't post here enough, but I am un-endingly amazed and grateful for the interest, time, and genuine caring so many here have invested in us.  Thank you.

I'll be writing again soon to tell you of the positive outcome of all this either in person or via sue or t.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you've imagined.


About "Breaking"

Sometimes, the BDSM blogging circle focuses in on a single thought stream.  When that happens, it is as if the usual kaleidoscopic flow of our chatter coalesces into a single hum of shared awareness.  In recent days, the conversation has reflected on the idea of "being broken."  One after another, bloggers have been drawn to add to the conversation:  monkey, morningstar, sin, and Omega and mouse.  Probably, there are others, too...

I've read from place to place with a sense of detached interest.  I'd say that He and I ventured into that territory for a period of time.  I don't think we ever described what we did in those terms, but we've engaged in the kind of sadomasochistic interaction where the line that delineates "self" from "everything else" vanishes -- for us both.  Full disclosure -- we've eschewed that territory in the last couple of years.  Our path to health and healing and relational wholeness has led through other experiences.  We've sought out other kinds of learning and awareness.  It might be that we'll visit those realms again in time, but that is not clear just now.

And so, my point of view is "other" than most on this topic.  Inevitably, I am reading and thinking about this from the context of my own life, and our interactions with one another.  I've held back, reluctant to comment on this topic, wondering if there was anything for me to say that could possibly have any validity ... but, of course, once my head latches onto something, the chatter just keeps getting more and more insistent.  So, in the interest of quieting the voice in my head, here's what I have to offer.  You have been fairly warned :-)

I am reminded, thinking about this, of a similar convergence in our conversational flow around the practice of "orgasm denial" or "orgasm control."  That discussion came bubbling up, perversely enough, about a year after I'd been forced into my own personal sexual desert following the surgical removal of my reproductive organs.  There were, in those days, what seemed to me an almost endless number of posts extolling the wonders of power play around controlled orgasms, and every gushing, soaring, ebullient blog post on the subject made me just a little bit crazier than the one before it.  Finally, in a metaphorical sense, I put on my grandmother glasses, and my sensible orthopedic shoes, and my matronly old lady underwear -- and waded into the fray.  I stomped up and down and offered the ever unpopular unasked for advice:  "Do not waste the riches granted to you by virtue of youth.  Find some other arena in which to dabble with power and control.  Fuck as much as ever you can until the unstoppable march of time enforces permanent 'orgasm denial.'  Do not be foolish!"

So, this will not be the first time that I will offer a perspective that boils down to this:  "There really are some things that may not be worth the risk."  I understand the rush that comes from flirting with the razor edge, and I know that it is common in the context of power exchange relationships to continually up the ante, looking for the next horizon -- it is just "HOT."  Hot is a good thing.  Sexy is a very good thing.  Entering into the realm of psychological darkness with a trusted partner, being laid bare, making the BDSM equivalent of a vision quest -- this is intriguing and tempting stuff.  I understand.  Really.  But, I am going to stand in the same place with this that I do with "orgasm denial," and be the bearer of bad news:  Life will break you.  It is the nature of living and breathing in a human body.  Because we think, because we dream, because we love -- life will grab us, tumble us head over heals, and throw us, battered and torn, gasping onto the rocky shore of whatever lies ahead.  We cannot see that future, but we ought not to pretend it does not exist.  If, in fact, there is something in us that longs for that place where we are emptied out, stripped bare, washed clean of every shred of self, we ought to rest easy and know that we'll be given over to that in due time...

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” 



Honey in Your Heart

There is a fair bit of ritual wrapped up around the work of a shaman.  I imagine that the bits and pieces of that may be very different from person to person, so what "our shaman" does and says may not be typical.  It is, however, what we know at this point.  One part of working with her is an opening set of prayers and chants that are intended to set up the space and invite the help and support of the spirits from all four directions.  East, South, West, and North, she chants and prays and shakes rattles to invite spirits to guide and help, while sealing off intrusion from those who would harm or hurt.  At the end of that, she shakes a rattle four times around the "client," finishing by touching her rattle to the chest and blessing with the words, "May you walk with honey in your heart."  The client then repeats the action, shaking a rattle around her four times and offering the same blessing.  Well and good.  Ritual observed, we went on with the "real work" of our various soul retrievals, and I suspect that not one of us gave that blessing much thought.

Our weekend has, however, made me consider more deeply...

The youngest of our children graduated yesterday morning from The University of Cincinnati.  He actually finished his courses in March, and is well underway working with a prestigious IT consulting firm.  In these times of economic uncertainty (especially for young people just entering the work force), he seems to be making the transition to full adulthood with remarkable aplomb.  He has a seemingly good, strong relationship with a delightful young woman.  He owns his own house.  He has a nice car.  He is handsome, self-aware, self-assured, good hearted, and wise beyond his years.  He will be quite spectacular, I imagine.

The university graduated some 7000 students; conferring bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in three ceremonies over two days.  The festivities were held in the arena on the campus where graduates completely filled the floor level of the arena, and one whole section in the stands.  Each of the three separate commencement exercises lasted some three hours.  Being there was an interesting experience, including all of the expected pomp and circumstance (literally), with interminable speeches by an array of student and faculty, culminating with the commencement address -- offered by Nick Clooney (it IS Cincinnati, after all).  Crammed into the huge arena space with thousand and thousands of other proud family members, we watched the pagentry, straining to catch a recognizable glimpse of our young man -- marching like a tiny 2-inch toy in the endless line snaking across the arena floor so far below.  We knew we were supposed to be awash in pride at this remarkable moment, but it was far flatter feeling -- too big to really feel like it involved us or ours.  We drove home shaking our heads, wondering if there might not be some more human scaled way to acknowledge the accomplishment of such a milestone -- and the passage it marks...

At home, we had time to eat some lunch and even catch a bit of a nap, and then we were off to an open house style "reception" for the new grad at his mother's house.  We had just one small concern about that event ... His older sister was, of course, invited -- along with her husband.  The sister is the same young woman who dis-invited us to her wedding a couple of years ago... resulting in a deep silence between her and us that has endured through all these months.  How, we wondered, would we navigate a gathering under the same roof with her, and keep things civil so that THE DAY wouldn't be ruined for our young graduate?  What might we expect?  What were our options should things turn ugly in the event?  We didn't really discuss it much, but it weighed on our minds.

Arriving at the house, about 20 minutes after the appointed time, we found our guy, his lovely girlfriend, his mom, and one other guest.  We said our greetings, and found our way, fairly quickly, to the dining area -- the one sunny spot in the house, and settled in to watch the goings on.  It was a small gathering; a few friends of "our ex-wife," the graduate and his lady, the three of us, and in time, Big Sister and her hubby.  They were the last to arrive, and they quickly scoped out the territory.  The "great room" style layout of the house makes it impossible to completely avoid someone, but they opted for the kitchen, and we continued our occupation of the dining area.  It was awkward, but workable.  We stayed a couple of hours, and then said our goodbyes and headed home -- potential ugliness avoided.  T wasn't feeling well by the time we got home, and elected to rest.  Tom realized He'd left his hat hanging on the hook in the hallway of the ex-wife's house, so we turned around and headed back to retrieve the chapeau.  All in all, it was a weird but successful day.

I spent the evening feeling oddly wired up, and captured by the wisps of the day.  I was fussy and out of sorts.  He seemed pretty much fine.  By the time we'd slept, things were just the reverse.  This morning, I felt fine, but He was caught up in the web of weirdness from yesterday.

We talked, lying side by side in our bed.  About the graduation, about the wonderment of this boy turned to man before our eyes, about his shining future, about his resemblance (in temperament) to his Dad, about the uncomfortable, House Beautiful feel of the ex-wife's home, about the preoccupation with money and things, about the alcohol-centric focus of the gathering (we were offered champagne, beer, or wine, but nothing else -- not even water), about the contrast between Tom's two grown children, and about how very sad it is that "daughter's" life bears such a burden of bitterness.  We talked about what we've learned, so far, about soul loss -- and speculated about what benefit might accrue if only...

And then we got up, and I made French Toast for breakfast.  It was yummy :-)  We got ourselves together and headed off to spend the afternoon at a celebration and gathering of Native American peoples at Fort Ancient, just north and east of where we live.  We arrived in time for the Grand Entry, and had the pleasure of watching the dances and listening to the drumming and singing.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  Soothing and healing.  It is always a little bit surprising, how comfortable and at ease we tend to feel in the company of our first nation peoples.  We wandered through the various vendor booths, and bought a lovely bamboo drum, and several handmade rattles.  As the temperature climbed and the humidity began to feel oppressive, we returned to the car and headed home.  We had dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and Tom and I settled in to watch the baseball game (which goes very, very badly tonight, unfortunately).

It has been a very full weekend, our last before Tom's knee replacement surgery next Friday.  It has also been a weekend where we've seen for ourselves what it might mean to "walk with honey in your heart;" noticing the sweet things as they occur, and finding compassion where there had been hurt and anger.  Yet another set of changes for which we have no explanations...



Reintegrating -- Part 3

I continue to work my way along reacquainting myself with the soul parts that came back to me during my soul retrieval.  The first was me as a little girl and the second was the young woman self that I lost in my mid-twenties.  The third and last bit of myself was the one that I went into this "expecting" to find -- the part of my essence that I lost as a result of the surgical removal of my uterus and ovaries in December of 2005.  It is harder for me to talk about that part.  It is a part of me that brings up many difficult and painful feelings.

In the intervening years, I've poured out much of that pain right here, examining and elucidating all the anger and bitterness that I carried with me in the aftermath of that surgery:

"… it feels as if the hysterectomy was a success but I "died" as far as being female…I've felt myself hauling the bucket of my own personal, internal, sprit up from the depths -- and finding it dry as dust. That dryness has been disturbing and frightening…I want to live and BE again, whole and balanced and alive… to "embrace" the new realities of the shifted and diminished responsiveness that is a fact and result of the hysterectomy…to stop or finish or complete the mourning for what has been lost and get over the last bits of my anger at that whole passage...I haven't completely forgotten that there has been a loss either, and I haven't gotten to a place of being "happy" with the change…a huge wave of sadness, grief and anger that was largely driven by my sense of sexual "nothingness."…I want what I lost. I want it enough that some days, contemplating the years that lie ahead, I wonder why I should have lived through all of this...I have real trouble achieving orgasm. It just never really came back… it still hurts me and I still grieve the loss…I eventually stopped expecting anything much from sex…Although we sought out medical advice, and although I went through a significant course of hormone replacement therapy, my sexual responses were forever changed…I was caught between my own wanting and my inability to actualize that physically…The state of medical knowledge is such that, while the doctors and surgeons were very capable of performing the surgery that rendered me sexually inert, they had nothing much to offer to remedy that situation…My libido remained intact, but my amputated parts and pieces were just as gone…I'd have done anything -- ANYTHING -- to have myself back again...thrust suddenly into the land of menopausal femaleness...It sucked.  It sucks.  There is no going back, and there is no recovering what was lost…"
My path to heal from that wounding took me through all the places you would expect.  I saw a "women's sexual health" specialist -- and took a variety of hormonal supplements including off-label testosterone.  I did a course of psychotherapy with a "kink aware" therapist.  I took prescription anti-depressants.  I undertook a quest to find and engage the fabled g-spot.  I bought a staggering array of over the counter and herbal products intended to enhance libido.  None of it helped much.  I did, over time, come to some sort of resigned sense of calm and acceptance... but I was still an awfully long way from being happy, healthy, or whole.  The part of me that I'd lost when I lost the "parts" remained absent, and without her, I've been incapable of creating a vibrant life for myself.

So, having that essence back is good and powerful and healing.  I am so glad to be back together with that lost self.  Perhaps, because I was older when I lost "her," I've been more acutely aware of what was missing.  She brings me the gift of my identity; I know myself as a woman again.  What I've known intellectually for all these many years, that my female identity was not removed with my organs, is finally something I can FEEL.  My essence is female.  My identity is female.  I am that, and though I've aged and though my hormonal realities are what they are, my SELF has come back to knowing how to be female in the world.  It is a great and wondrous gift after so many years spent in that dark desolation.  

Like all the soul parts, this third one -- I refuse to name her "Hysterectomy Woman" -- wants something from me.  When I talked with her a couple of weeks after the actual soul retrieval, she told me that she wanted to come "out of the dark," and I knew exactly what that meant.  The image that I've carried in my mind, through all of these post-surgical years, has been of a dark, dilapidated basement space filled with cobwebs and broken water pipes and dangling wires.  Whatever happened in my world, good or bad, my spirit lived in that dark basement.  I can just imagine that my WomanSelf refuses to be relegated to the basement of my psyche.  She wants to live out in the clear light of day -- and so do I.



Reintegrating -- Part 2

Three essential parts were returned to me on the day of my soul retrieval.  I've discussed the little girl part here.

The second part of myself that came back to me on that day was a young woman, aged about 24 or 25 years.  She is the part of me that left when, as a young mother, I decided to remain in my marriage because I believed I needed to do that in order to be able to care for my two small children.  She was the strong, adventurous, lively "me" who was possessed of a wicked sense of humor and a rich appreciation for life's ironies.  She knew who she was, and she knew what she wanted from life.  She dreamed dreams.  She yearned for a powerful and intimate partnership; for a love that would carry her through whatever life might bring...  And, she knew what I would not acknowledge -- that the man I'd married would never be capable of being a full participant in that partnership.  When I would lie awake in the depths of the night, and imagine what my life might be if I would take my babies and strike out on my own, she it was who urged me on to grab the possibilities with all my heart.  When, out of fear and a lack of belief in my own power, I chose to stay in that dead, stultifying, pitiful excuse for a marriage, she gathered her power and her courage and her bright spirit -- and she left me behind to endure the disappointments and the diminishments.

Now she is back, once again a part of who I am.  She is funny, and a bit naughty, and absolutely fearless.  She lives life fully, and she tells the truth.  She rejects the mealy mouthed prissiness that I can sometimes fall into.  She speaks plainly, knowing what she wants.  She is practical and mature enough to know that dreams don't always work out, but she absolutely will not stand for not trying.  She demands that I try -- at the very least.  Try.

If you want to know the truth, she scares me.  When she first came back to me; when I first talked with her; when I asked her what I could do to make her welcome, and keep her with me; she suggested, with a twinkle, that we might try skydiving.  Eeek!  The shaman assures me that some of this is "metaphorical," but I am not at all sure that I feel better about metaphorical skydiving than I do about the physical potential for jumping out of an airplane.  Really!

But, then, I worry ...  What if she were to leave me again?  What if she were to grow weary of my caution and my timid approach?  What if she offers me the gifts of courage and adventurousness and curiosity and daring, and I cannot find my way to accept them and use them?  I want her here.  I don't want to lose  her.  I am feeling my way along with all of this, needing time and patience and, maybe, a fair portion of luck?



Another Year Ends

School years, inevitably, end -- and once again, I am at the end of another passage of time spent teaching and learning with another group of young 11 and 12 year old people.  The lockers are empty, as are the desks.  All the battered and dilapidated notebooks have been tossed into the recycle bins.  The glue and the crayons and the markers and the rulers have been sorted out and assigned to their various tubs.  We've shared treats and memories; tears and hugs.

Ultimately, the last frenetic days come to an end in a flurry of cleaning and last assignments and our own unique version of  "field day."  We sing the school song one last time, and they are off with an over the shoulder wave and hardly a backward glance.  They carry with them bits of me -- my words but also my heart and my sweat and my tears and my midnight worrying -- woven into the very fiber of their beings.  They will go on from my little classroom kingdom to learn and grow and become the people they are destined to be.  What has been given and provided this year will grow in them as it will, and I will know very little of the outcomes of the work I've done.

They are off to the future, my little band of adventurers.  I wish them strength and joy and courage for their journeys.  For now, I am content to rest; put my feet up; unpack my boxes and begin the work of re-ordering all the "stuff" of teaching.  It is summer and I am beyond tired, but I am also well content with the year that was.