Thursday, October 05, 2006

She's Back

Just a quick update on events of last night and today. Back from her business trip, we had an uneventful evening last night, though perhaps a little more flirtatious that normal for a pair of 50-somethings. In bed, we got quite passionate. I got to pleasure her orally, which is my favorite thing, and she sounded quite enthused about it. She decided to finish with me in her, so it doesn't look like I'll be asking about the necklace any time soon.

With a lot of work to catch up on, I got home late today; talking about that she said, "If you get home that late, I don't think you'll have time for exercise before dinner." I said, "I've been slacking off about that recently anyway." Which is true, though I'm not sure why - I really do need it for my health. So she said, "That's OK, I'll make you do it tomorrow."

In my head, I said, "Whaaatttt???" But I think I responded, "OK."

Oh my sad fantasy that this would mean what I want it to mean. But who knows....

The Man Watching

I came across this poem last weekend. I was struck by the last verse particularly. I know I'm taking it far at variance with how it was intended, but I still enjoyed it, and imagine that it does have something to do with how there can be growth in surrender.

The translation of Rilke from German (which I do not speak) is by Robert Bly. I've found his translations from the Spanish (which I do speak) to be quite "poetic" in the sense that they work as poetry in English, but also aren't necessarily totally faithful to the original. I have no idea how this would compare for a speaker of German.

The Man Watching

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively
by constantly greater beings.

Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly

What's normative? What's true? And why write?

This started out as a reply to Saratoga and Polyfetishst's comments on my last post, but quickly got out of hand, so I guess it gets to be a post of its own.

I find that Saratoga has a very prescriptive style of writing which I suspect some people find off-putting. It certainly makes me read things twice before I (think I) get what he actually means.

I found Candace's writing titillating and amusing, and some of the questions she raised about her relationship, interesting. A long time ago, I tried to cultivate the habit of suspending judgement on the "truth" value of stories which I couldn't verify anyway. The "truth" by which I evaluated them became more as I evaluate fiction: "Does it speak to an emotional reality that I couldn't easily gain access to otherwise?" If so, then, there's a "truth" there worth considering.

As someone who's been struggling with this issue for oh, say 35 years now, I found Ms. Rika's writing clear and from a striking different point of view, and thus appreciate it. I don't think I find it "sympathetic" (to borrow Polyfetishist's term), but it feels like a tonic to me.

I certainly don't mean to give either of them normative power, but my goal in reading around the blogosphere is get as many points of view from real experience as I can. And there's a certain voyeuristic thrill to it, which I find actually detracts from the clarity that I'm seeking.

I'm writing about my exploration and my process of bringing this in to the open in my relationship with my beloved wife. So I do expect that the whole thing will grow and change, and even that it will change markedly before we get to being explicit about it; that's OK with me.

I think the "She comes first" formulation is rather simplistic, but sometimes I find, strong simplistic statements are good for changing my point of view. I agree with your friend "V" that a domme with a "I come first" attitude would probably have a short run on relationships. But from the sub point of view, that's probably a valid point of departure. From the Dommes point of view I suspect it's something like "I get a strong claim on this person's time and attention" along with "I'm responsible for how I use that claim." But that's wild conjecture, since I'm pretty far from that mind set.

It looks like perhaps Polyfetishist and I share this trait that makes is a little more focussed on the needs of our partners than of ourselves; this is in general, not a good thing, I think. Or can certainly lead to problems, while it also provides benefits of empathy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What do I want?

MistressLaura's Boy describes what happened when Mistress Laura wanted him to get through an activity of hers that he wasn't comfortable with. Read about it in Dealing with jealousy femdom style.

After reading that, I was laying awake at night with the question that so often bedevils me: What do I want? What am I asking for? What do I want to try.

The process of figuring that out has been (psychologically) much complicated by reading Ms. Rika's site - it's very well written, but disturbing, or actually discouraging, in ways I couldn't figure out. I finally came to look at it like this: her writing is a very needed tonic to the "do me" school of sub-wannabes, who think that "submission" is about getting their partners to be their fantasy of the whip-wielding leather-clad Dominatrix. On the other hand, I think her writing comes close to a dominant's fantasy of the same kind of thing: following her advice, the submissive will become darn-near the perfect helpmate and service person. But, (to turn her question on it's head), what's in it for the submissive?

She alludes to the fact that she enjoys doing "domly" things to her submissives sometimes. It's the thing I've always found unsatisfying about her site: there not enough of her there, nor any of her husband and stable of submissives - I forget, one live-in and a couple of part-times or something... There's not enough of anyone there to get a sense of what their relationships are like and why this works for them. Why aren't they all highly paid personal assistants to powerful people, if they like serving so much?

Clearly they're getting something back (psychically) from the relationship. Clearly, as Ms. Rika says, there's a relationship there. I'd love to know what it is, only because, having said, "Your relationship is not going to look like this fantasy," it would be encouraging to read, "My relationships look like this; this is one model that's working for me and my submissives."

Many thanks to StrongNSubmissive for pointing out that all relationships are quid-pro-quo. It certainly was the thing that I found difficult and challenging about Ms. Rika's site.

This digression about Ms. Rika happens because, after reading her stuff, the question "What do I want" isn't even relevant. I think it's taken me this long (and about four attempts at this post) to figure that out.

So, returning from our digression, I came up with two answers to "What Do I Want?" One keys off of MistressLaura's Boy's experience. The most succinct way I can sum up that post is that "she took him." And, for whatever reason, I want to "be taken" that way. I suppose I could (and probably will) try to figure out why that is. And, more productively, what that means. But the experience he describes, of being with someone who is so secure in her relationship with him, and he so willing to go where he's uncomfortable when demanded to by her, results in his being "taken" there. Psychologically, I find that as irresistible as a moth does a flame.

The other thought occurred to me on the way home tonight: "How do you tell someone you want to make them the center of your life?" Because that's what I think I want to do with my beloved. I want to be comfortable enough in our relationship that I can make her the center of my life without demanding that kind of detailed attention from her - without being her being "the mommy" and "responsible" for me. I clearly still find that dynamic a dangerous shoal.

I realized this when I realized the ridiculous number of things I do - trying to get exercise, learn an instrument, be on a couple of community boards, and be active in our church (and just so you get the right idea, it's a big part of our lives and it's a hyper-liberal church). Would I give some of them up if it meant that I could focus more time and energy on her and the things she wants? You bet.

Would I do that if we didn't have some quid pro quo in place about what was happening and why? No way. Not because I'm selfish (well, maybe - I supposed that's best left for others to judge) but because those things feed me, and if I'm going to give them up, I need to be fed other ways. And I thing being in a committed submissive relationship is a way to do that.

What I want back in that quid pro quo is an acknowledgement of what I'm doing, and and acknowledgement that it's important to my beloved that I be aware of what I'm doing. It's all those little rituals that some submissive husbands describe, and which have meaning because those in the relationship give them meaning.

For example, WhateverSheSays points out that he "forgot" to make the morning coffee and that this little incident became a moment whose dynamic I suspect they will return to until they figure out their mutual expectations about it. I make two double-lattes every morning (or very close to every morning) here in our house. It's not a submissive act - we like good strong coffee. When I used to leave in the wee hours for a long commute to work, I'd leave hers on the counter and she has said it was like a little lovely reminder from me. But she expected it only out of habit, and its absence would be seen as WhateverSheSays' wife saw his lapse with the coffee: as the intrusion of other events on to life, and a reasoned decision on his part (too tired) to make the coffee. Whereas his expectation/hope/fantasy was that she would make her convenience/expectation of service more important than his judgement about the balance of other events in his life.

In other words, I'll venture to say that WhateverSheSays, and certain I (at this point in my thinking) are saying


...before my convenience, before my "being tired," and in fact, before everything except my best judgement about what is good for us, our relationship, and our family. That I've agreed to subordinate "what I want" for "what she wants," "what is convenient for her" in return for her agreeing to expect that, acknowledge that, remind me of that, and make me acknowledge that.

Phew. I don't think that's exactly right. But this is my fifth try at this, so up it goes and maybe it will break the log jam and help things get clearer.

On another note, I'm sorry about the demise of Candace's "Woman Rules Roost" blog. I don't know if it was an experiment of hers that failed or whether she got hacked, but which ever, it seems to be gone. Any info appreciated.