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Adrenaline Addiction

I don't do "crazy" stuff.  At least, I don't think of my life that way.  I don't get into "extreme" sports, or NASCAR, or mountain climbing, or sky diving, or...  Well, you get the point.  I wear my seat belt.  I don't smoke.  I try to eat healthy foods.  I at least notice the need for regular exercise in my life, and sometimes, I even manage to make that happen.  

On the face of it, I would say that I'm no adrenaline junkie, but then I wonder...

Some people (and I may be one of them) thrive on crisis.  When I think back over the years of my adult life, I can see plenty of times when I was mired in crisis -- and I recognize that there is something about that circumstance that works to "assure" me that I am alive.  

The "signposts" of my personal history read like a script for an old fashioned TV soap opera:  alcoholic parents, wayward children, philandering husband, death and loss, economic hardship, betrayal, addiction, and just about anything else you can think of that makes for "craziness."  Through all of the hard, bitter, difficult years, I told myself that "someday" life would settle down and I'd be able to just relax and enjoy things.  But, the truth is that that "wild, crazy, continual round of crisis" reality gave me a rush that helped me know that I was really, truly, wholly, fully alive.  

I think that, for much of our time together, He and I practiced a style of BDSM that fed into that NEED for crisis and chaos and a continual sense of threat and danger.  There was a part of what we did together that fed my inner "adrenaline junkie."  

Then, of course, the level of personal crisis became overwhelming.  The catastrophic events of the past two years provided an ongoing adrenaline overload that was too much -- even for a lifelong crisis addict like me.  He has worked hard to recognize, understand, escape from, and recover from his compulsions -- and in doing that, He set the stage for me to confront my own.  Life is quiet here now.  We are comfortable and happy and sane.  There is no threat; no danger; nothing to set off that adrenaline rush.  For awhile, I have questioned whether there was still anything left of our power exchange dynamic.  Can there be Dominance and submission without the drama, without the push and pull, without the constant struggle that told me who I was and where He was?  I have not been sure of the answers to those questions.  

The people who study these things; compulsions and addictions; are learning that they "travel" in packs -- where you find one sort of compulsive disorder, there are likely to be others.  That is true for individuals, and it is true for families.  My adrenaline addiction wrapped itself quite nicely around His issues, and my codependent behaviors fed off the chaos created by His addictions.  We were quite the pair.  As He has recovered and learned His way into a new, healthier, saner way of being, He has been insistent that what would come to be between us would have to be something new and inherently different than what we had before.  I have felt that as a denial and a sort of "pay back" for my part in the crash that we experienced.  I could not comprehend how we could ever BE D/s partners without all that high drama -- without the place where I would have to battle my own feelings and impulses in a never ending struggle to BE His submissive.   I've been a mess.  

The good news about compulsions, though, is that if you quit indulging them; if you resist the cravings; if you simply wait through the incredible pull to fall back into the old, destructive habits; things quiet down and it becomes possible to understand and appreciate the life that is given.  I am beginning to feel that I am catching up to Him in recovery, finally.  In the last few weeks, I am noticing how really good it is to be His without struggle, without the chaos.  I AM alive here -- and safe -- and secure.  I do not have to be continually on guard anymore.  I do not feel the need to remain ever vigilant for any shift in the relational winds.  He loves me, totally.  I love Him more and more with every single day.  It is a joy to be allowed to see this man that has fought so hard to come to this place.  I am truly proud to be His, and I feel lucky that He still loves me and wants me.  



Personal Private Public

Years ago, I refused to own a personal computer.  I fought ferociously against the earliest versions of grocery store rewards cards.  I was suspicious of filling out those little product warranty registration cards.   I was quite sure that my privacy was being threatened from every single direction, and it outraged me.  I was quite sure that the technology that was cropping up everywhere was a threat to my right to decide who should know the details of my life.  That was then.

Somewhere along the line, I gave up that Luddite stance regarding the rush of technology, and capitulated to an online presence.  It wasn't long before I followed the technological path into the alternative lifestyle realm, and, in time, to a very non-traditional set of relationships, erotic proclivities, and this very public mode of expressing that set of interests.  I have, for over eight years, written some 1910 blog posts (here, and at The Swan's Heart, and Herons Transforming) discussing my/our most intimate interactions, and most private thoughts.

I knew, from the very beginning, that doing this kind of writing was a public act.  There is nothing "private" about writing out here on the Internet.  We considered carefully before we started blogging.  We decided, consciously and deliberately, about the level of risk we were willing to tolerate in order to do this.  We understood that, in spite of the precautions we took to separate this part of our lives from the professional, non-kinky world in which we live and work, there was no such thing as foolproof or leak proof privacy.  From the moment the first word went up, so many years ago, we've lived with the potential threat of discovery.  Periodically, we contemplate the possibilities afresh, and reconsider the risks.  We have, so far, determined that the odds of catastrophe were fairly small ... and so we have continued to write blog entries about whatever it is that is happening in our lives.

Now, in reaction and response to the firing of another educator in another building within our school system, my employer has just published a "Social Media Policy," and I must admit, it has given me some pause.  The provisions of the "new" policy are not particularly surprising.  I've always operated this blog knowing that this was the reality of my work life, AND I feel like I want to make note here of this edge to my life.  The pertinent bits of the text (with my italicized paraphrasing) are as follows:

The Organization ... recognizes that ... employees ... may create Personal Websites as a medium of self-expression. Employees ...  must recognize that anything published on a Personal Website is no
different from making such information available in any public forum. Any information that
... has the potential to cause embarrassment to the Organization ... should be avoided. ...
The Organization ... will not tolerate employees... posting obscene, harassing, offensive, derogatory, defamatory or ... scandalous comments, links and/or images ... The Organization ... reserves the right to review an employee’s ... Personal Website, if there are reasonable grounds for believing that policy is being violated.

So, there it is in black and white.  There is no privacy.  What I write here "will not be tolerated."  The risk is what it is.  I can't calculate the odds.  I know that it would only take one mean-spirited someone, and that would be that.  I am quite sure, based on the recent events, that MY case would garner no sympathy.  The world is not a safe place.

But then, I already knew that.



Holey Ceiling, Batman!

We live in condominiums -- side by side on the ground level of a two story building.  We moved in just over ten years ago, when these places were brand new.

We've had our share of issues...

  • There was a fire in the unit at the end of our building.  That was only a couple months after we moved in, and it forced Tom and T out of their place entirely for a period of weeks while repairs were made in their master bedroom.
  • Water leaked from the roof into T's condo, running through the walls, and causing serious damage.  That damage resulted in a major rehab of the main bathroom, and included tearing out and replacing walls.
  • There was also water damage in T's master bedroom, closet and bath... another major repair.  

My side of the household has been, generally, less challenging.  I seem to have flaky electrical systems.  Lots of flipped circuit breakers and the like, but nothing too serious.  I've been lucky until recently.  A few weeks ago, I began to notice water stains on my bathroom ceiling.  It was fairly minor at first, and very diffuse -- spread over the area above my own shower.  I went to talk to my upstairs neighbor, and after some back and forth, her plumber determined that it was an issue with the grout in her shower.  They redid the grout, and repainted my ceiling, and it all seemed fine.  Then, a few days ago, I noticed a small spot on the ceiling -- a spot, about 2 inches in diameter and fairly faint.  It was so inconsequential that I wondered if it might be a spot that had simply not been well primed prior to the previous repaint.  I figured I could get it with some KILZ and repaint it myself, and there would be no big problem.  Life went on apace for a couple of days, and then, yesterday, I stepped into the bathroom and saw, to my horror, that the little, tiny water spot had expanded to a definite stain about 2 feet across!!!!  Obviously -- a big problem was brewing in my ceiling.

I went to talk with my neighbor, and she assured me she would have someone out to look at it today.  And so it happened that my President's Day holiday got consumed by "the hole in the ceiling."  The plumber came and cut into the ceiling -- and water poured out.  After pulling out the sopping wet insulation, the plumber confirmed that the issue was with my upstairs neighbor's shower drain.  In fact when he went to check the drain pipe from her shower, the piece just fell off in his hand.  It didn't take long to determine that I was going to need someone to clean up the water problem, and then repair the damage to the ceiling.  The plumber fixed the leaking pipe, and gave us the name of a good water restoration company.  We called them, called the insurance company, called the condominium management company, and settled in to wait for the various work crews to arrive.

Tonight, my master bathroom is occupied by a high powered fan and a gigantic dehumidifier (and the cats are totally freaked out).  It should be three or four days until everything dries out.  Then they will repair the wallboard, re-texture the ceiling, and repaint as necessary.  Hopefully, by the middle of next week, I'll be all fixed up and back in action.

I know this is not a crisis, and I understand my ceiling hole is hardly an interesting topic here, but there it is ... the hot and sexy parts of this thing we do.



New Look

He and I have gotten into watching movies together.  Sometimes I swear that we pay for 250 cable TV channels and still there is nothing to watch.  And... it does seem like that sometimes.  It is particularly an issue in this part of the year when football season has ended and baseball season is yet to begin.  Over the last few weeks, we've watched both the Bourne Identity and the Bourne Ultimatum.  Neither of those are going to ever qualify as top drawer theater, but they are fun, and they do have some entertainment value.

I feel like I am coming back to life these days.  That survival thing has finally begun to recede, and along with it, the "survival look" is starting to let go as well.  For me, the "survival look" grew out of a belief that it mattered not at all what I looked like.  He was going to be angry and bitter and resentful and just plain mean ... no matter what.  Why bother with all that girly stuff when no one cared anyway?  Passing through the hell we all endured, I stopped doing the things that were once just part of my normal routine.  I quit shaving my legs and underarms on any sort of regular basis -- especially in the winter.  No one sees the fur, so why bother?  I moved to wearing very prosaic, very plain clothing.  My school wardrobe is very practical:  slacks and sweaters.  Nothing flashy, and definitely nothing "sexy."  Weekends and evenings?  I've gotten into leggings and sweatshirts.  Yeah.  Not awful, but not alluring either.  For years, I colored my hair; tending toward strawberry blondes and fairly subtle red shades.  But that, too, has fallen away.  I've just let my hair be its natural color -- a dingy mix of dull brown and even duller gray.  I have even gotten into "cutting" my hair myself; trimming my bangs with a pair of scissors and using an electric clipper to keep the sides cut short.  Not attractive, but functional and cheap.

And then ...

Watching the Bourne movies, I began to contemplate those "Bourne Women."  I became fascinated by the transformation that inevitably ensues when a woman becomes entangled with Jason Bourne.  Always, as things evolve, they find it necessary to alter their appearance and become "less recognizable," and it seems that the way to do that is to cut their hair very short and then dye it a dark, almost black.  So, there are these predictable scenes of beautiful young women, in dingy bathrooms, hacking at their own hair with scissors, and then washing out that very, very dark hair dye.  And, if the movie scripts are to be believed, the move to raven-hued and cropped locks renders them almost impossible to resist.  Sexy!

So, thing 1 plus thing 2 added up to my own "Bourne Woman" transformation.  After all, I already have the short-cropped thing going on, and a decent haircut by someone who actually is trained and knows how to do that gave me the impetus to go ahead and try out the darker color, too.  It felt sort of daring and a little risky.  I'm not at risk of being shot at by some unknown spy agency, but I do have to appear in front of a host of people who are between 11 and 14 years old.  Talk about a "tough" audience!

I considered lots of color choices, and finally settled on a color that is called "Cola," I read all of the directions and timed it all carefully.  I washed the dye out and rinsed and conditioned and dried and took a deep breath -- looked in the mirror, and saw my own face looking back at me from underneath my new darker mop.  And...  I loved it!  I know it is a small and insignificant thing.  I know that I'm no 20-something Bourne beauty.  There's no denying the age in my face.  I've earned those lines and every mark of character that gives away the story of years lived.  Still, I love my pretty dark hair, and the sparkling eyes that show even deeper framed by that "cola" color.  I might not be the one that enchants the Jason Bourne's of this world, but I sure like the look ...



Feelings and Words -- Sense

In commenting on my Abject Obedience post, Malcolm wrote (in part):
...Somewhat like me, you always want to think things out and put them into words ... I'm not sure that is very profitable ... Trying to make word sense of life is not the same as making feeling sense of it ... the feeling way is more useful. Words ... narrow down one's experience of life and even make it kind of second-hand - experiencing the thoughts about life instead of life itself.

Malcolm is, I believe, my oldest blogging friend.  The very first comment ever left at The Swan's Heart, way back on December 27, 2004, was from Malcolm -- and he has followed along ever since.  He and I have listened to each other, and on occasion, growled at one another across miles and over some eight years of our lives.  Somewhat older than me, I think Malcolm tends to wax "paternal" with me by times -- and that is sort of sweet and endearing.  We have learned, over time, to understand (and sometimes even appreciate) the differences in the ways we see the world.  This is one of those times, when Malcolm and I see this very differently.  
I do try to make "word sense" of life and the experiences of life that come to me.  Words fascinate me, and I absolutely believe that words are intrinsically human.  We are animals that make language and share language, and that makes us unique of all the creatures that share this planet with us.  
The words we use define our reality.  The feeling sense of things, that Malcolm claims is somehow "better," occurs inside of us framed by the words we use to express it, explain it, evaluate it, and remember it.  What we SAY about things, to ourselves and to each other, colors how we FEEL about those very things.  I can describe a hurricane in the language of the meterologist, noting the symmetry, describing the path, going on about the eyewall and the outflow bands and the storm surge -- and the feelings that are evoked by my words are likely to be very different than the emotions I might experience if the same weather event is described in terms of potential threat level and likely path of destruction and fears for the impacts on me personally, should I find myself in the path of that "weather event."  We feel and we talk, and I do not believe that the two are really separable.  What I say about what happens to me may reflect how I feel about that occurrence, but it will also shape those feelings.
Malcolm, I can assure you that there is no dearth of FEELINGS around the events of the last two years.  We have felt every gust and downpour of the emotional storms through which we passed.  That hurricane might be a very good metaphor for the tempests that we endured -- except, I don't recall ever passing through anything that seemed calm (as I have been told one finds in the eye of a hurricane).  There was plenty of "feeling sense" around here -- and plenty of "feeling nonsense" as well.  We each earned advanced degrees in FEELING by the time we fell out the other side of that mess.  
There was very little intellectualizing about what we were involved with.  We lived, for all of two plus years, in survival mode -- we raged and we sobbed and we considered the END of us all.  We hurt; inside of ourselves -- and then we took that hurting and flung it outward at one another, seeking to somehow ease our own pain by spreading it around.  Does pain shared become somehow more bearable?  We felt shame.  And fear.  And anger.  And loneliness.  And despair.  And guilt.  And outrage.  And bitterness.  And grief.  And, more often than not, we felt just too tired to go on.  We didn't write much here during this passage -- not compared to what we had done in the days before.  As you point out, it takes words to make a blog happen.  No one is going to read very long if all that appears here looks/sounds like:  AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
But yes, I will grant you that I am inclined to sort and sift through the debris -- just a little bit.  I want to find the mementos that might be salvaged out of the rubble left behind by the storm.  Might there be the "language equivalent" of a family picture or a child's toy or an heirloom piece of Grandmother's jewelry to be unearthed from the heaps of stuff piled everywhere?  For me, Malcolm, that is part of what the exercise of poking at WORDS is about.  The language that I used before, and the language I used to stay afloat through the worst of it all -- those words seem like important bits of self that I hope to retrieve, and I do feel protective and sentimental about that self.  I doubt that there's much left behind that will be very useful in my new life, but still I find I want to gather up the bits and pieces and catalog them and tuck them away safely in mental bins and boxes and scrapbooks, so that, someday, when I've forgotten how it all felt I can pull up the collection of memories and look at it all again from a safe distance.

"Car Talk"

Car Talk is a radio talk show broadcast weekly on NPR stations throughout the United States and elsewhere. Its subjects are automobiles and repair, and it often takes humorous turns. The hosts of Car Talk are brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, known on the air as Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers. 

I have never been a fan of the radio show, "Car Talk."  I find it jarring and jangling.  The hyena laughter annoys the crap out of me, and I tend to feel like the callers are hand picked for their willingness to appear stupid/foolish on the air.  It is, to my way of thinking, a clear sign that the force that drives the universe is perverse and mean-spirited, that I keep ending up in relationships with people who just love the show -- who would rather do almost anything except miss a "Car Talk" broadcast.  Mostly, I just grin and bear it.  One of those "submission" things they don't tell you about when they are trying to convince you that it is all hot and sexy all the time.

So, anyway...  Did I mention that we "played" on Saturday morning?  It is a time of renewal and "reinvestment" for the two of us.  We are spanking more and enjoying it more -- and that means that I am waking up to the sexual part of myself and the sexual part of who we are together.  Spanking, when it is good for me, is multi-layered.  It means a lot of different things at different times.  Spanking hurts.  That is a constant.  Always, there is the battle to get through it, into it, on top of it.  Spanking is connective for me.  The pain and the patterns and the rhythms, help me to feel Him and know Him more deeply and more intensely than otherwise.  I don't really understand it, I only know it is the reality.  And then, there is sex.  All of that pain, all of the energy, and the connection... can all serve to turn me on, make me horny.  Not always.  I am forever unpredictable and my responses are never automatic.  Especially since the hysterectomy, that experience of sexual excitement and arousal is elusive, fleeting, and fragile.  When I am "horny," I want.  I really want.  And that was the story yesterday morning after my spanking, after He and I had made love, after His orgasm...  I was ready to try for one of my own; to lie curled up in His arms and vibrate myself off into my own release.  

And that was when, He asked me to hand Him the radio remote so that He could turn on...  "Car Talk."



Spanking and My Nose?

So...  We are spanking more.  And spanking more means that there are stories to tell about THAT part of our lives again.  Now, fair warning -- not all spanking stories are necessarily hot and sexy.  Sometimes, in the middle of a session, my mind is wrapped up around "getting through" whatever I encounter in the event.  This is one of those...

We didn't spank much over the last couple of years, but we are working our way back to it.  I don't remember having to "learn" my way into spanking play in the beginning -- but that was a long time ago.  As we move together back to sadomasochistic relating, I feel like a neophyte.  Spanking play is still erotically charged for me.  It is just hot and sexy, and as I have longed for it over the last two years, I think I imagined that, if we ever got back to it, I'd just jump right back into it where we left off.  That was probably silly...

So, here we are, and spanking is coming back into our relatedness.  It is good.  I want it and I want it to be good and I want to be good with it.  So, when we actually have time, and space, and we are both feeling good physically and emotionally, it is almost breathtaking if we actually get into spanking play.  That was this morning...

Yay!  Spanking!

One thing hasn't changed...  He still likes to jump right in just as soon as I manage to get bottom up.  I'm not even remotely settled in before He is smacking my butt.  One of the issues deriving from being "older" is that my joints creak and ache.  Things don't bend the way they once did.  I always feel like I need to rustle around and wrangle myself into some sort of halfway comfortable spot ... so that I can concentrate on the spanking and not be all wrapped up in the fact that my elbow or my shoulder of my back is screaming.  Blech!  So, from my perspective, all that initial wiggling and squirming is sort of necessary.  Otherwise, I'm fighting the achy old lady joints all the way through -- which just makes things harder than they need to be.  This morning, I finally got myself settled, and He was back there, behind me, whacking away on my backside -- and I suddenly realized that my nose was all stuffed up.  Breathing was suddenly very difficult.  All that panting and breathing that I tend to do as a way to process the pain and find the energy was nearly impossible.  Achy joints and stuffy nose, and still He was spanking me harder and harder.  I did finally find a tissue that had been stuffed under my pillow overnight, and managed to quickly, during a break in the action, blow my nose and clear my airway enough to breathe a little easier.  It was a huge relief!

And so, breathing in rhythm with the blows He was raining down on my ass, I found my way into the waves of energy, and slipped into the good place of it all.

It was a good morning....



Abject Obedience

Friendship is a disinterested commerce between equals; love, an abject intercourse between tyrants and slaves. 
~~Oliver Goldsmith~~
It has grown quiet and gentle in our lives since we discovered the roots of the debilitating despair and depression that gripped Tom, and with Him our whole family.  The addition of the metabolic supplement, L-methylfolate, created a balance that was, quite possibly absent throughout His entire life -- and restored Him to clear-eyed, happy, sanity.  When the darkness cleared, everything changed.  The storms that nearly tore our world to shreds ended, and suddenly we are alive together in a reality that feels so much better than what was … It is also true that there is much about that new reality that seems foreign; unfamiliar in a host of ways.  

On one level, I have been glad for the changes.  It is good to not be caught up in a continual fight for survival.  It is good to not be constantly afraid of what the next moment might bring; good to find stability and consistency and sanity.  However, I have also been prone to question who we are now -- what is it that we have left now that we don’t have all that fire and fury and frantic struggle?  
He seems content to just let us be what we are, and to see us become what we will become.  He does not appear to feel the need to define our relationship or our roles.  When I have fussed about it, He looks bemused, and suggests that we can just be Tom and Sue.  I have lain awake nights, railing in my mind, at the ordinariness of that -- just Tom and Sue.  How many couples must there be who are “just Tom and Sue?”  I’d imagine that those who have followed me along these many years might not be surprised by that bit of mental fussiness -- is it funny?  Probably.  
Were we extraordinary when we styled ourselves “Master and slave?”  Was my capacity to serve somehow more than that of any other loving partner, and was the erotic bent toward sadism and masochism that He and I shared sufficient to set us apart from others who enjoyed a powerful and passionate erotic love?  For whatever reason, I had myself convinced that the love we shared was “special,” and that my drive toward submission and masochism, paired up with His sadistic and dominant personality traits, constituted a formula for perfect and unmatched love.  I guess I needed to feel superior and special, like He and I were fated, star-crossed, meant to be -- for always and in all ways.   
I have, through months of therapy, and through all the agonies of recovery through which we have passed, bemoaned the loss of my “slave” status.  There is irony in that, is there not?  After all, what sort of “status” ought to accrue to one who is truly “slave?”  I know it makes no reasonable sense, but I have felt that as a loss -- and grieved accordingly.  On more than one occasion, Judy, my therapist has challenged me on the issue of whether I really wanted, or was prepared to give Him (or anyone, for that matter) what she termed “abject obedience.”  It has remained, between us, a question that I have avoided answering directly.  I have, over time, come to terms with the undeniable reality that I have clear limits, and will act to protect my life and well-being when those things are threatened.  I have accepted that as a fact, and I am clear that it is appropriate that I maintain those boundaries.  I am even willing to acknowledge that my failure to establish and defend those boundaries contributed to the huge crisis that befell our family.  That was my responsibility and I did not manage it well.  But, still...  I have believed that, somehow, my failure to offer that level of obedience in that awful moment cost me the depth of intimacy that was wrapped up in the M/s dynamic He and I shared.  I have believed that.
Back in August of 2009, I wrote at length on the subject of “mindful obedience.”  That piece grew out of a question about “mindless” obedience, and it was a pretty easy step off to turn mindless into mindful and then hold forth about what that meant to me.  I’m not ashamed of the writing there, but I am a little squrimy about the contrast with my actions and choices in the moment of crisis.  Still, I have been unable, when pressed, to give a full and direct assent to the idea of “abject obedience.”  So, maybe it is time for me to consider the questions that phrase raises for me...
The word, “abject” comes from Middle English, and before that from the Latin abjectus -- to cast off or reject; literally, “to throw away.”  In modern usage, it implies a sense of hopelessness or resignation.  And so, to offer “abject obedience” would be to become obedient out of a belief that there was  no other path, no way beyond, nothing at all to be gained by any other course.      
I think that, as life spiraled out of control here, I did move toward hopelessness.  There was nothing that I would not have done to bring Him out of the addiction that nearly destroyed Him -- and all of us.  There was also, in the depth of my being, a knowledge that my love and service, and yes, even my obedience was never going to be enough to break the hold that alcohol had on Him.  I grew up with alcoholic parents.  I raised an addicted child.  I knew the truth, and so my continued obedience was, in fact, “abject.”  I was resigned to the increasing distance between us, to the escalating anger and bitterness, to the recriminations and bitterness and accusations and abuse.  I knew, in some deep and wordless part of my mind that nothing good could come to us along the path we were traveling, and I had no hope of any sort of rescue or reprieve.  That is the abject obedience that I offered my Master in the last weeks and months before that part of our life finally ended.  It was pitiable and pale and lifeless.  It was a poor, poor sort of submission I gave in those days.
So much for the high-minded, and prettified version of “mindful obedience” that I once detailed for another.  THAT sort of obedience would have found a way; would have sought out appropriate help and taken the risks to assure that He received the help He needed.  That sort of active, listening obedience would have been selfless enough to withstand His anger in order to find the resources that He needed to break free from the demons that were pursuing Him.  That sort of slave would have never given up hope; never settled for what became our daily reality; never allowed for some kind of resignation to whatever would come.  What sort of slave “resigns?”
So, the answer to the question about “abject obedience” is that I will not offer that to Him again.  I am ashamed that it was what I gave Him in the moment when He most needed my strength, my integrity, my intelligence, and all my effort and energy directed toward His well-being.  I understand that, given the road we have traveled to this point, we are lucky to be still alive, still together -- and I am in awe of the fact that He still loves me and wants me.  We are, clearly, better than we were a year ago, or two years ago...  We are healthy and happy and amazed to have this life together.  He is right.  We are who we are.  We will be who we will be.  And, to be just Tom and Sue is not ordinary at all -- it is the most wonderful and extraordinary thing imaginable.  Perhaps that highly charged label, “slave,” is gone forever from our relational lexicon.  Perhaps that is all for the good.  I hope to grow into the woman He wants and needs; to love Him well and with all the best that is in me; and I hope to live the always and all ways that I promise.  If I can come to a place of doing that, I believe that will be enough.


Cared For

I suffered my first migraine attack when I was 9 years old.  In those years, I didn't really know what it was.  I only knew that my neck would hurt terribly, and then I'd be knocked down with a headache that sent me off to bed, sick and crying and miserable.
After nearly 50 years, I've battled the monster in my head using every sort of trick I could find.  I've used a host of medications:  preventative and abortive and those intended to "manage" the pain.  I've tried sinus remedies and decongestants and homeopathics and herbal medicines.  I've studied biofeedback and accupressure, and I've tried chiropractic.  I can give you the list of things that trigger migraine attacks for me:  flickering lights, and intense fragrances, and MSG, and nutrasweet, and...  Oh yeah, and big, stomping weather fronts.
I've seen doctors for years in the search to find a way to live with my migraines.  Mostly, doctors who claim to "specialize" in treating migraine headaches are neurologists.  I believe that I've worked with some pretty good neurologists, and I think they were doing the best they could.  However, most neurologists have very broad practices.  Their waiting rooms are full of people with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and stroke, cerebral palsy and dementia,...  When I appear in the office of a neurologist and complain of chronic headaches, I can understand how easy it is to rank my issues way down on the list compared to the folks out front with REAL problems.  I get it.  AND, I still suffer, sometimes daily, pain and nausea and confusion and depression and anxiety, and all the rest that goes with my migraine attacks.
Recently, listening to NPR, we heard an interview with Teri Robert who has written one of the very best books on the subject of migraines.  Her book is full of up to date information and the latest research on this little understood neurological condition.  One of the enlightening bits was a discussion of a growing medical specialty area -- board certified headache specialists.  These doctors come from a variety of medical disciplines, but they share a common focus on the causes of, implications to,  and treatments for migraine and headache.  Here in Cincinnati, there are three of those very rare, certified headache specialists.
According to the 2010 US census, the Metropolitan Statistical Area that includes Greater Cincinnati, has a population of 2,130,151.  Some studies indicate that 13% of Americans suffer with migraine disease.  That calculates out to about 277,000 people here in our town.  So, our three board certified headache specialists are likely to be BUSY people.
As my headaches have increased in frequency and intensity in the last months, Himself has become more and more determined to get me to a doctor that can do something that can help.  When calls to our local specialists ran into roadblocks and gatekeepers, He jumped into His lifelong ADVOCATE mode.  There are times when it pays to have your very own, personal, medical establishment warrior.  He has spent hours and hours and hours tracking down the people in charge of making things happen in these practices, explaining and describing and insisting and badgering and ...  I don't even know what all else.  I've heard the frustration in His voice as He has battled on my behalf.  In the end, He has won the day.  I never doubted He would.  I have appointments with all three ...  March 11, March 14, and then (if it becomes necessary) on May 1 with the last one.  That is, for me, a relief... but it is so much more than that.
That battle, waged for me, speaks to His love and His care and His dedication to my well-being.  He wanted this for me, almost more than I wanted it for myself.  He chose to take up the challenge and make the calls and unravel the tangles and make it happen.  It gains Him nothing at all -- except, hopefully, my improved health and happiness.  There have been plenty of words written, here and elsewhere, about what it is to "belong" to another.  For me, right now, in this time and in this place, nothing makes it clearer that I BELONG to Him than that He would fight so hard on my behalf.  It is love made real in the real world of our real lives.
So, this is my story, but it is also my formal and sincere "Thank You" to the Man I love and serve:    Thank you, My Dear Tom, My Sir.  When I was too weak, too tired, too worn to fight this battle anymore, You made this happen, and I cannot ever tell You how grateful I am.  I love You with all my being.  Yours always and all ways...



Sex Positive?

I have always believed that I am one of those who might be characterized as "sex positive."  The definition that I found is:

The sex-positive movement is an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits beyond an emphasis on safe sex and the importance of informed consent. Sex positivity is "an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation.

That all makes sense to me.  It works with regard to my own life, and I don't usually feel like I have any need to make judgments about other people's sexual proclivities or behavior.  So, yeah...  I really do believe that sex between consenting adults is essentially healthy and normal and pleasurable.  Go.  Have sex.  Enjoy the heck out of one another.  Why not?

Except.  There is just this one small thing.  My capacity to feel like that seems to not extend to the reality that my daughter, my youngest, has been arrested again (Yes.  AGAIN) for prostitution/solicitation.

I know there are plenty of "sex workers" out there, and it bothers me not one little bit.  But my girl?  The child I carried, birthed, nurtured, raised, worried about?  That little girl turned troubled woman?  No.  I know how I should feel about it, but I don't feel that way.  I hurt.  I want to cry.  There is a place where I get all technical and political and legalistic about the notion that ARRESTING WOMEN FOR PROSTITUTION is sexist and discriminatory and serves only to make criminals out of those who might probably be victims.  But, that doesn't really help.  My heart still breaks when I imagine my daughter turning tricks for money that she likely uses to buy crystal meth.

So, I guess that I am left with the ugly truth that it is easy for me to say that I am "sex positive" when it is YOUR DAUGHTER.



Big Strong German Girl

For years, He has referred to me as "His big, strong, German girl."  I have been sometimes amused by that designation, and sometimes proud of it.  I've tried hard to live up to the not so subtle expectations embedded in that characterization.

I've been strong through sicknesses and surgeries; through healing and rehabilitation.  I've been strong through death and loss and sorrow.  I've been strong through addiction and despair and anger and desperation and depression.  I've been physically strong, fixing and repairing and maintaining the stuff of our lives.

I've been strong in the practice of submission, bending to His will through changes and challenges both large and small.

Now, as He proposes that He is ready to "reinvest" in our lives -- in the eroticism of SM play, in the expression of our poly relatedness, in some manifestation of the power exchange dynamic between us, I find that I do not feel strong.  I seem to have used up all my strength.  I feel needy and small and want only to curl up and be held and sheltered and protected.  I am not at all sure that wanting those things is a "fair" place for me to be, and I am not at all sure that He is ready to take that on.  I think that He and I are both tentative about trusting in the way we once did.  We are learning what we can believe in, and what we can trust.  It is a process.

It is hard to explain.  It is hard to understand.  I often don't know what or how to feel about any of it...  I am, I think, still strong, but I am also that needy, frightened, lost bit of human.  It feels a lot like this:

For Strong Women by Marge Piercy

A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing Boris Godunov.
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears
in her nose.

A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
aren't you dead?

A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.

A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.

A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.