Much water over the dam since my last post, including a week at a family retreat center we've been going to for years, and now some time at an extended-family vacation. So I'm not going to try to maintain narrative continuity, but thought I'd write up the random thoughts that occur to me.
The one I'm craziest about is that this woman loves me to a fault, I think. This morning in bed we were chatting and I appreciated the fact that she's doing this even though it means something so much different to her than to me. She talked about how it is important to her that I be happy and that if we can find a way to do that that works for her, why not?
At another point over the last several days, she said, "I'm not making this easy for you, am I?" And she meant it in the best possible way: challenging me to do the things I said I'd do, without nagging me to do them. Nagging me would be totally contrary to the point. But the absence does does make it harder. A total absence of feedback would make it impossible. But more on that in a minute.
Yesterday was a day in which I did nothing and things fell apart. That was the impetus for our conversation this morning. I guess I needed to feel tired and depressed. At the end of our day, she tell asleep and immediately went to bed. I followed sometime later, but she was asleep - no opportunity for our nightly ritual where I kneel naked by the bed and we discuss how our arrangement is going.
That nightly ritual is the soul of what's making this work: feedback for me in a form that is not coercive and is comfortable for her. Only on this night I just fell in to bed. So it was the following morning - this morning - that we talked about how things were working.
She said that I had looked tired and needed to kick back. I said that the whole point of doing this is to do it at the hard moments, and that I felt I had failed rather totally yesterday. I wasn't overwrought about the not-checking-in part because life happens, and our arrangement needs to be flexible enough to deal with that. What I was over-wrought about (a little) was the fact that there was no overt sign from her that my slacking off made any difference to her.
We talked a little about what's important to each of us in why we do this - to me service and submission and surrender (gee, the three S'es). And to her helping me be happy. And being willing to pursue whether any of this could be interesting and useful for her. As she acknowledges that it could be, and to some extent is now. [Drat - there was something more too it, but I can't remember it exactly - I was after all 1/2 asleep]
In the end, I realized that the most effective way to deal with a day like that - in my minde, was to pick up on what Ms. Rika said in her book: losing the ability to serve her and losing her affection. I would hate that - not being able to serve her for a day, and not being able to be close to her for a day - to approach her for the little moments of affection throughout the day. Then I hesitated with something that was very fetishy but I guess I'm in the place where if I can't ask, I won't get. So I mentioned that sleeping on the floor beside her bed would be exciting for about 10 minutes, then a total hassle.
Much to my surprise, she didn't dismiss this out of hand, but net said, "Let's see how today goes."
And it has been a much better day. Mostly little things. Some weeks ago I had the opportunity to shave her armpits - what a hassle to do yourself, it was one of the most fulfilling things I've done. She was surprised, but allowed me to do so again today. And there were a handful of little things during the day. An amusing one (to me): she saw me eating something for lunch and said, "I'll have one of those" and got up to get it. DUH. I offered to get it for her. The little lightbulb went on and she said, OK.
On the other hand, earlier in the day, as I'd been making lunch, she said, "I'll have one of those" so I gave her one of me plate. That worked.
Overall it was a good day. A good day is one where I get to serve her. I like that.
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