Xanadu

Xanadu
In Xanadu did Kublah Khan a stately pleasure dome decree

Friday, October 13, 2017

Consent

Last year I didn’t get a flu shot and I paid for it. About $1600. That was the cost of a trip to the ER after throwing up for a night, and being unable to rehydrate. It wasn’t My intention to skip the shot, but I wanted to try one of the preservative free flu shots. When the nurses come to the office, they don’t have that. I called My doc, I called around, ultimately never got it to happen and then forgot.

So this year I pushed to make it happen. Lots of people seem to assume that wanting a thimerosol free shot is tantamount to being in the antivax camp. I think vaccines are wonderful. I just happen to have a history of multiple chemical sensitivity. I also have a several year history of managing immediate side effects from the regular shots: flushed, dizzy, strong stinging during the shot, and a lump that won’t quit.  It’s enough that I stay on My summer allergy RX until the shot and I take a Benedryl beforehand. If I were honest with the onsite nurses about that, they would definitely refuse to give it to Me at all.

After many gyrations, I found a Walgreens near Me that answered the phone, talked Me thru the options (but repeatedly noted the SMALL AMOUNTS of preservatives which felt like code for “oh please, you are one of THOSE people”), and I got Myself in there despite a rotten day and wanting desperately to go home instead.

Sixteen hundred dollars.

Sixteen hundred dollars.

Save yourself another sixteen hundred fucking dollars.

I got there. Pretty easy peasy. Almost zero line, very little paperwork. No outta pocket. And the dude was even cute enough to want to undress for.

I’m in the little room. He shows Me the box so I can see it sez preservative free. He shows Me the syringe that says it is what the box says it should be. He queries My insistence on the preservative free choice (how did you decide it’s the thimerosol?). I tell him briefly the history, which he appears to accept as adequate reason. Still feel like he’s judging Me a bit but whatever.

I specifically mentioned that the shots have stung Me quite a bit as they go in, so I would like him to count down 1-2-3 so that I can exhale on 3 to manage the pain.  I don’t tell him last time I almost cried, but I ain’t kidding around; he can see I’m serious about all this. Breathing out is a solid pain management technique most kinksters know, and I believe is known to nurses too. He agreed that’s what we would do.

And it went down like this:

1
Stab
2
All done!

Wait. What? That didn’t hurt at all. Great!

Yeah, it’s a little technique I use. I go on 1 when people aren’t expecting it.
Now, I was pleased enough at how much less miserable the whole thing was that I didn’t dig in. I celebrated in fact by buying a little treat from
the new neighborhood chocolatier. I went for sushi. And on the way home I bought a baguette. Eventually My arm started to ache and I had some trouble getting to sleep cuz I couldn’t put pressure on the injection site.

When I woke up this morning, My first thought was: that’s battery. What that guy did was non-consensual. I was clearly exercising My patient autonomy.  I was behaving like someone who takes ownership of their body.  I told him what I needed AND HE AGREED TO DO IT.  And then he substituted his judgment for Mine and did exactly what I was clear I didn’t want.

Now it happens that My requirement proved unnecessary. And maybe it hurt less because he did it his way. No way to know. But I keep coming back to: that’s a consent violation. I’m not one to go there fast normally, but I’m hard over this time.

Maybe it’s because he’s male. Maybe it’s because he is male and wearing a white medical coat; I’ve got a history with that. Maybe it’s really not worth complaining about. I really was overall very pleased with the experience. But I’m deeply unhappy about this feeling that a male medical person paternalistically overrode My clearly and specifically negotiated consent.


And it extra annoys Me that it happened so FAST.  That it was indeed, a consent violation DESIGNED to be unopposable. It really feels like a violation.  Not a huge one, but real nonetheless.

New Happy

So yeah. Not really much going on in My life. Once I got over the whole terror of the idea I’m actually different than My historically perceived self-concept, it’s been like falling off a log.  It’s been so very INTERESTING to be able to hear what the static is actually saying. I’ve long said I hate the advice to listen to your gut, cuz My gut never knows. 

Turns out it does, I just at some point blocked My ears and now I have taken some of the earplugs out. There are probably more. I suspect the next piece is something to do with un-expressed anger. We shall see.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is how much straight up ENERGY is in Princess and presumably other pieces. That’s really exciting to consider.

There are lots of unexpecteds. I totally locked up in a crafts store last weekend, Princess and Master were having a big difference of opinion about what un-necessaries to buy and what amount was reasonable to spend on un-necessaries. Princess had some strong opinions. Master has zero experience managing a 4 year old’s flip out. Unkey was a big help that day when it seemed like the world was ending.

And even at this moment, as I sit in the office building cafeteria eating My modest sandwich, it occured to Me that Princess might not have gotten the news that her younger brother died six years ago. And suddenly there are tears streaming down My face as I hear a four year old scream his name.  I’ve got to find a way to set that aside until I’m not in the office, cuz yeah, Princess clearly didn’t get that memo. Definitely gonna need some Unkey help there.


So that’s the gig, I suppose. I am learning to parent Myself in all the ways I never have before, which I take to be an exercise in  learning self compassion. And I’m getting to have a happy childhood in middle age. The bizarre thing is that I *am* happy. Happy is not at the moment about feeling happy, it is more simply the experience of authentic presence and self compassion, leavened with silliness.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hello, World!

Hello, world!  Princess here. We haven’t really met but I’ve been here all along.  I tried to come out once before when Master was dating that English guy a long time ago but then he single tailed Her foot without CONSENT and that was the end of him. I was VERY mad he did that. Master was too - as She should be !! - and SHE told him he killed me. But it wasn’t true. 

I’m baaaa-aaack.

Because now Master has learned some stuff and She is committed to bringing me along in Her life. She always was but She just recently kinda figured out more HOW.

It’s hard to explain, you know.

So I got to wear the Eeyore costume at Fusion - thank you john and Chloe!  And She let me buy a cute insulated lunchbox 40% off at the Whole Food register,  even though we didn’t exactly NEED it and we have to be FRUGAL and pay the STUDENT LOANS off before we get OLD.  

But we still gotta EAT and now I put some food in there so we aren’t so *hungry* at work when the cafeteria  with the yucky food closes. Master hides my lunchbox in her worky black leather bag, it’s kind of our secret, but sometimes She carries the lunchbox down the hall out in the open and then we feel very Brave.

Master bought me a kigu too!  It about *killed* Her, She was very STRESSED about that. It’s a blue budgie fleecey outfit — PRINCESS IS A BLUE BUDGIE!! —

Sometimes now when She goes to work, when She locks the house door and picks up the bag with the lunch box, She says, “Cmon, princess! Let’s go play in the office!”   Sometimes She lets me hold the steering wheel and we go ZOOM ZOOM on the curvy fast road.  I don’t *really* like it there much otherwise.  The other day I just kept looking and looking at fun things on the internet - fun cuddly pretty clothes. And She was getting stressed with all the work I wouldn’t let her focus on. Finally She got *smart* and gave me some SNACKS and sat me down and said, “I’ve got to *work* now so here’s your snacks, I need you to play by yourself for a while but I’ll be back, and then we’ll go home and have some FUN and then sleep in our snuggly BED with clean fresh yummy sheets.”

That worked. She is catching on.

And we have UNKEY!!! Yay, UNKEY!! 

Master met him at camp and they thought they wouldn’t play ever cuz they are both Tops but they liked each other, so cuddled and stayed in touch and then Master got brave and told him She was interested in exploring with me and would he be my Big? And he said YES!

Unkey says let me out of “pandora’s box”.  Unkey knows pretty good what to do with a princess, and he is helping Master understand too. He is a long-long way away mostly we just text, it’s nice to know there is an Unkey in the world who wants me, even if I can’t see him. And Master tells Unkey when I feel scared enough that the general shows up and yells, and then NOBODY can think straight or hear ANYTHING for a while.  Unkey needs to know that cuz he can’t hear it... yet.  I’m making some extra work for Master but that’s ok. Cuz I’m INPORTANT.  And Unkey doesn’t mind that I get a little sad in the fall when the light changes, cuz lots of people are Seasonally Defective like us.

Master gets scared sometimes cuz, well, She doesn’t QUITE  know what to do with me and I’m a HANDFUL. I mean, She knows about Carl Jung and that OF COURSE a big strong serious efficient effective MASTER like Her has an opposite Shadow piece — ME!! — inside. And it’s really important to let everybody talk to each other and get along.  So that’s kinda hard for Her sometimes. But Unkey says: it’s not my first rodeo. So he knows what to do. 

We had some bad days at work this week, and aw... Unkey did the *best* thing... he sent a voice memo of the Peanuts sound track playing in his house and he said it always cheered him Up and he hoped it help us... and he’s here, still HERE.

Best. Unkey. EV-ER.

He didn’t even think his phone could DO voicememos, but we told him it would really help us to hear his voice so we can feel CLOSER to him, when he is far-far away. So Unkey made it happen RIGHT AWAY, even though he had that phone a long time and never thought he could.  Last he tucked me in on the phone. *so happy*

That’s what he’s like. He sends snuggles and cuddles and headpats and forehead kisses. It’s wonderful.  He came to visit the first time last week and we went and had DUCK HASH and WAFFLES. And I showed him my kigu and we cuddled a lot and talked, and he made us feel *so* good.  

I don’t understand it but when Unkey takes care of me, Master and I get so HORNY!  Why?!  I dunno. But it keeps happening.  A LOT!  Maybe cuz it was taking a lotta ENERGY to keep that lid on old pandora’s box.  I want Unkey to come visit again SOON.  And stay LONGER this time.  

*sigh*

Now I want LOTS of things. I want a one piece fleece jammies that has a drop bottom so I can be warm and snuggly AND have Unkey pat my bottom at the same time.   I love bottom patting and scritching.   Maybe SANTA can bring that for me!  I’m gonna write a LETTER.


Uh oh, Grampy is calling Master, I gotta go now.  Bye!

Battlestations

REPORT!!

Sir! A little has infiltrated our defenses, Sir!  We do not know what she wants, Sir!!   We’re not sure how she slipped past us but she is in the control center, SIR!!

Perform a thorough assessment and report back!  If we cannot get her out, find a way to bring her into The Cause!

YES, SIR!!
I’m a Dominant.  I’m a Master. I take responsibility for My life. I accept that I neither know nor control everything. So, I need a plan.

WFT was that coaching technique? Good shit, that, can I get some guidance like it? Find the coach. He’s in Europe. Message on FB. Send an email. Request sessions if nearby soon. Request info re: what techniques used. No reply.

I think something like this was in the van Bessel book. Yes. Do research. Looks like an internal family system (IFS) technique. Who made it? Find the guy. Buy a book. Here’s a website. They train. They certify. Search certified therapists near My zip code. Choose best candidate. Email. She called. First visit scheduled.

Assess what a little needs. Assess signs of little ish tendancies I may have discounted. I see some. Pause.

Be ruthlessly honest. I didn’t attend that ageplay class with Nayland at Fusion randomly. *breathe*  Daddy is too squicky, little girl is too squicky. Must find alternative ageplay paradigm that doesn’t feel squicky. Pause.

More ruthless honesty, viewed through this new filter. I have said for a long time that I am attracted to men who have successfully parented. *breathe* not panicking. *breathe*.  I floated trial balloon to john at some point and he observed people with actual kids aren’t usually into littles play, he has kids, thus he has said gently that he is not interested. That was My easiest, most emotionally safe entry point. Door closed.

Last spring I asked My friend Don if he’d be interested in playing with a bit of a Daddy energy; we may have been talking past each other but regardless, he very nicely turned Me down on grounds that is reserved for his primary. Score one for Me, at least he is into it.

Hrm. I met a good man at camp. I liked his energy. We cuddled once night, completely chaste. I loved it. We stayed in touch. We began on premise we both are tops so no opprtunity to play. Ooop, his partner just left. Ooop, just realized he is a Big type. Deep breath. Tell him you are interested in exploring.

He. Is. Interested. Too.

REPORT!

Sir!  We have established communications with the little in the control room.  What shall we do next, Sir?!

Establish trust, find out what she wants, report back. Don’t spook her, this could take awhile. Whatever you do, keep her talking!


YES, SIR!

Big

When I worked up the nerve and finally broke the shocking news to john, he was nonplussed. He said, “well, you did blog that you might be becoming more of a switch.” At first his response was a little disappointing, I was hoping for a bigger reaction (like when I startled people in the Eeyore costume), but I got it later when he began to tease Me about new kinds of porn he might send, just tweak Me. I’ve told several people now, and debated quite a bit how far to spread this new information, but I don’t really see a legit downside (mere discomfort doesn’t count) and I think we all hide too much anyway. So following in the spirit of one of my favorite blogs, theDrewduality, I choose relentless honesty.

I have a Big.

But let’s be clear:  I’m not ready to say “I *am*” a... little.

You remember Littles, right? I hate them. I hate Littles with a passion I feel for almost nothing in My life; even iphone data loss does not trigger in Me the disgust response I have in My innards at the sight of Littles in full blown regressive whiny play mode. I’m pretending when I neutrally say something benign like “not My kink”.  I just want to hurt them, break them, really, and not in a fun way. I can think of few things more terrifying and repulsive than the Little  Miss Littles Contest.

I don’t use the word hate lightly. I hate Littles.

So of course I have to wonder why. Why are they uniquely offputting to such a degree? I have tried not to think about this too much, but it has been in the back of My mind a long time. Waiting.

The relationship with slave t pulled some of this off the back burner. Specifically, My lack of interest in sex with him made Me notice that My Dominance is as a rule not about sex. At first I thought that was just a gender difference (it’s logical somehow a guy Dom would go more easily to “suck My dick!”), but I realized I do have a strap on and I have liked having My cock sucked. So if I have willing boys at My command, why doesn’t it happen? Why is it never the right time? Why do I forget I own that strapon? Why is it always too much trouble to find the right O ring? Why does that not get planned out better? 

How is it that I have men willing to serve Me and yet I do not have the sex life I want?

For a long time I told Myself a story that subtly blamed the men.  John is in chastity. Other subby men don’t give Me the sexy vibe.  It feels too parental. I’m a competence freak, they are not competent enough.  It was all sort of true. Until tarin in our breakup conversation said:

I feel sorry for you.

I feel sorry for whatever happened to you that makes it so difficult for you to have the sex life you want.

I hope you figure it out some day.

In the moment those statements mostly sailed by, with so much other stuff flying around. But the arrow actually found one of the little castle tower turret windows and zipped through the walls and struck the heart of things. Thank you, wonderful tarin.

Why **don’t**  I have the sex life I want? I’m almost 50, and in 35 years of sexual activity I’ve yet to create the sexlife of My dreams... and I’m a big bad uncloseted Dominant. It’s got to be Me, not them. It’s got to be Me. I could fuck a lot more than I do; I don’t. Because I don’t want to. Or at least, the part that wants hot wild gratifying primal sex is not the part driving the bus when the guy with the penis is within arm’s reach. And in the last year, I’ve lost interest in other activities too. Fine in the abstract, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but those activities have lost whatever hotness they once held; when the guy is RIGHT HERE, I don’t want that.  We end up in bed, naked, he is willing to do whatever I ask.

And we cuddle.

At Fusion, Midori said to us: Beware the tyranny of the technician, focussing on all the skills. Ask yourself, where is My hunger?  Begin with that.  Where is Your hunger?

Ok, I am hungry for cuddles. Most of the time. Enough that it is derailing other things.

Pondering all this, I remembered a single coaching session I did once in Europe with a total stranger. We sat in a room and invited all the parts of Me to come in and talk.  The first one marched in like she owned the dump, all hyper competence, vigilance, kicking ass and taking names; we later named her the general. The other was silent and timid and could hardly be coaxed to talk at all.  She asked only for this: bring me along sometimes. For purposes of the blog, I’ll call her little one.

Two weeks ago under great stress at the office, I flashed on an image of the general screaming at the little one, who was lying on the ground defeated and dirty and exhausted. The general was screaming at her to get up, but she couldn’t.  It was like the scene you often see in movies about a fresh recruit who almost fails in boot camp, but gets screamed at enough by the tough DI, and the recruit goes on to succeed. Three years after that single opera coaching session, I suddenly had a live wire connection to those parts of Myself.

Of course. The general mostly runs life for Me and it has long been thus.  It is exhausting for Me and others sometimes but it works pretty well. The little one is there unnoticed but not without effect. The general gets the boys in the door but when we hit the staircase to the playroom and the bedroom, the general leaves. Very quietly the little one takes over, she gets to play with her fun toys.  And she gets a way to meet her hunger for cuddling.  A long time ago I wrote a story which included a statement saying everything that happened in the impact scene was just to get HERE, to the neural magic of aftercare; I was more right than I realized.  I have always dropped hard and needed a lot of aftercare.  It’s funny how we sometimes accidentally overhear ourselves say a truth we didn’t know we knew.

So it appears the little one has been pimping out the general to get her wordless hunger for fun and cuddles met.


Shit.

I Miss My PalmPilot

Once upon a time I lived on the cutting edge of technology. I stayed there for several years, owning a series of PalmPilots early in the PDA revolution. Then QWERTY keyboards on phones came out and being both a power user and slight gear whore, I abandoned PalmPilot and had an LG phone with QWERTY keyboard and flip up lid, initiating Me into the age of texting at the expense of all other data functionalities.  Blackberry just never seemed worth it to Me, tiny buttons and that pesky lawsuit.

In time, three things I love (PDA, querty, apple) combined and I got an iPhone. And I have had a series of misadventures with iPhone backup.

Once a well-meaning subby who works in IT decided to help me by upgrading My iOS to the new version. Despite being told I was terrified of losing all My data and he must not lose all My data, he lost all My data, including several years of photos and 20 very expensive opera lessons in another country. Thereafter I resolved to never trust anyone else again with My iphone, and to get better at this, so I have been very careful with the current iPhone. I bought it before leaving the country and chose it to have the max 128 MB of memory so that I could take unlimited photos and videos while I was traveling abroad. It was SPECIFICALLY the need for more photos and videos and storage that caused me to buy the new iPhone 27 months ago. Perhaps, gentle reader, you begin to see where this road may lead. Since then I have amassed a mountain of photos and wonderful videos. This week the phone began acting strangely after I installed iOS 11.0.1.   I called Verizon to complain that I couldn’t text anything over the LTE connection, they ran a diagnostic which took almost an hour to install due to the poor connections on both 4G and Wi-Fi. And about the time the nice rep was telling Me that My sim card might be going bad, he interrupted himself to announce I would be receiving a refurbished phone because My battery had a flunked
the diagnostic in spectacular fashion. A replacement phone arrived in less than 24 hours and I carried it around for a few days until I had the mental energy to focus on the upgrade. Last night I did that. 

I very, very carefully followed ALL the instructions. They were a little annoying because they consisted of six steps, and each step told Me to go read online for the details. I of course can’t do that when I’m screwing with the phone. So first I read all the websites to make sure I was clear, and it was at this point that the Verizon website decided that it needed a nap. So I ended up on tech-support and eventually was able to proceed.  One of the super duper important steps is to back up, so I backed everything up to the iCloud, and was proud to confirm that indeed a back up had been done 36 hours previously, so I was almost feeling good about myself and my tech skills with the iPhone again. I successfully erased my iPhone, damaged an earring trying to remove the sim card, fixed the earring post that was bent by the sticky sim card tray, moved everything over to the new phone, got it to work and was generally feeling almost proud of Myself, like I had recovered from the previous trauma of losing everything. 

That lasted about 30 minutes until I went to pull up a photo. It was at this point I realized I had no photos. There then ensued several hours of swearing; head scratching; deep depression; complaining; wringing of hands; raging against machines; imposition of ashes; and the search for overnightable sack cloth on Amazon. 

Having already erased the previous phone it was impossible to look at My Settings and see what might have been fucked up. I considered calling My previous slave who might have some answers and decided that that was no longer a choice. I was dutifully advised by boy d to look in the iCloud and see if I could find them anywhere, but since the new phone was telling me that iCloud had not been set up yet I became fearful that I would accidentally over-write what photos might be in the iCloud with the nothingness currently on the new handset. 

I went to bed convinced that I was deeply screwed, resolved to throw Myself on the mercy of the Genius Bar on Saturday at whatever point I could generate enough hope to get out of bed. I woke to a beautiful morning not immediately remembering how screwed I am. Then I did, and opened Notes to draft a blog. Then My head exploded as I realized I have lost all My Notes TOO.   As I laid there (in bed, naked in the golden, liquid life-is-good sunshine) blankly looking at the screen, I was confused. A moment ago there were zero notes. Now there are more. I look and I’ve only lost a year, ok, whew, that beats the alternative. Then I actually saw a progress wheel come up and spin. And ah-HA! Suddenly there it all was. 

Well, at least I didn’t lose ALL My data.

I took a photo. Last night in all the drama I had taken a new photo and it showed up in the memory as being “1 of 1”. That’s how I knew Houston had a problem. This morning when I took a different photo and went to text it, it was not 2 of 2. Instead all of My photos were present - all 27 glorious months of photos are on My iPhone replacement. I guess that’s not considered an essential function and so it happens later in the reinstall process. I had noticed third-party apps were still downloading in the background at one point last night but I didn’t care about them very much so I figured they would arrive eventually. I didn’t realize that was the case with the photos. It apparently it took all night for them to come. 

So as much as I love Steve Jobs and as much as I love Apple, I want to say that I miss My PalmPilot. My PalmPilot had a physical cradle with a physical button and a physical cable and all I had to do was set My PalmPilot in the cradle and push a button and everything in the palm pilot auto magically would go into the laptop. And I could see it RIGHT THERE.  There was an extremely simple interface that allowed Me to choose whether I wanted to synchronize them both or have one overwrite the other. I never screwed that up.  True, if the laptop crapped out at the same time as the phone, in an iCloudless world, one was still screwed.

In point of fact, I did not screw this one up this time. I just didn’t understand the reinstall process and suffered flashbacks as a result.  So I did not screw up but it was so upsetting for a while, it *feels* like I did. So I did good but it strangely does not feel like a success. 


Now I shall get out of bed and finish My taxes.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Camp Is My Overdue Schoolyard

A recent Facebook meme encouraged Me to open up a book and read the first sentence on page 57 to see My love life described with uncanny accuracy.  It said:

25% More Growth!

Admittedly picking up a big gardening catalog tends to skew the results, but still.  Uncannily accurate.  Lots has been in flux this year.  I've recalibrated in My head how I interact with john.  Tarin has gone. boy m is less and less physically present due to family issues. boy d appeared at Fusion but now may need to move away for work.  Through all this I have been weirdly ok.  Which is to say - intermittently devastated and depressed and yet fundamentally fine and capable of joy.  I hear this is normal and healthy.  I find it bizarre and yet it is a massive success.  Allowing Myself highs and lows of joy and grief is the opposite of depression.  I have it from a number of very expensive and persuasive professionals over the years that this is how normal people experience life, they take it for granted. 10 years after ending treatment for clinical depression, I really do consider it an achievement that I can sob over My dear slave's departure (with another person in the room, no less! Being emotionally supportive!), then go to camp only days later where he is present, and enjoy the hell out of Myself... aware, yes, of the slight pricking of discomfort occasionally, but nonetheless fully living the experience.  I had a great time at camp and the split did nothing to harm the experience.  Much of My life that would not have been possible.

I come from good hardworking Dutch and German farming stock.  There is no drama. The emotional temperature is always measured in degrees Kelvin. The painting "American Gothic" is a dead ringer for the portrait of My grandparents in its colors, its timbre. On the spectrum of emotional heat, if Italians are on one end, My micro-culture is on the other.  It's sort of emotional Kremlinology, knowing what's happening is something derived from microscopic research of tiny shifts.  When things are fine, no need to talk, there's nothing you need to say.  When things are bad, no need to talk, doesn't change anything anyway.  When things are fine, everyone is quiet and modest and not taking up more space than absolutely necessary.  When things are bad, everyone one is doing everyone a favor and just making themselves invisible.  Come to think of it, invisible seems to have been the ideal.  It was normal until I realized it's really fucking weird and inhumane.

Things were more acute for Me because I was alien to that land and therefore ostracized with my funny accent and knowledge of not only where the Mediterranean is located but how to spell it correctly.  Then I turned out to be smart (maybe pulled along by high octane parents, too) and was skipped a grade, so clearly I thought too much of myself and needed to be taken down a peg through years of being tormented.  So I just sat on the school bus for two hours a day and read.  Sat by myself on the edge of the school yard and read.  Sat in my desk and didn't talk to anyone. Sat at home and read or played the piano or milked cows or did chores.  I had two shining moments in childhood: both involved kicking/ punching a boy who had long tormented me.  (Oooo, never thought of it that way before. Hmmmm...) Having grown up in such social isolation, I didn't learn all kinds of things. The research says it is through play that children learn how to decode social threat from real danger; it's how we develop social skills, through that sort of pack rough-and-tumble play.  Well, I was on the remote edge and on high alert at all times, never knowing which kid on the bus or in the class might be the next to say or do to me something that I was unprepared to handle. Hypervigilance pays some handy dividends but it is tough to unlearn:

I'm reading a book, I'm not here.

If I'm totally focused on this task, because you can't see me.  That makes me such a small target it won't cross your mind to come after me, so I all is well.  Even if you say something awful, it bounces off the book.  If I never respond, it officially never happened.  Turn the other cheek and all that.

Ostriches might bury their heads in the sand, but I highly recommend books. They get you into college.  But the la-la-la-la-la-not-here technique has major disadvantages in adulthood, especially in bed.

It occurred to Me singing My way down I-95 today that DO camp events are the playground I never had. At both events this year, I have stepped out of My comfort - read safe - zone to be more silly, more playful, more bouncy, more...

Effervescent.

I dressed as Eeyore and wandered around among strangers relaxed. I had sex with the boy two beds over wearing a dinosaur costume.  I allowed Myself to be orally pleasured, quite noisily, in a cabin that holds 25 people. I cuddled easily and quite happily with someone I know not at all. I rubbed mud all over an ex and kicked him on the ground, without stressing over it. I swam and walked naked for hours, bouncing, prancing, smiling, laughing, shaking My ass and My boobies at men, surrounded by people who do not know me, whose opinions of Me I do not know, and I did not have even a passing thought about how they might hurt Me. I was the opposite of invisible. I was fully relaxed and authentic, and somehow a somewhat new-to-Me organic personality came to the surface. It is really impossible to overstate what a big deal this is for someone who used to have a hard time walking through a restaurant to the table, because she hated the feeling of people looking at her. Honestly, I really was once the moral equivalent of Amish.  And all this was easy.  I didn't work at it a bit.  That's how I know it's real, and it's progress, and it's truly Mine now.

Camp is My safe place. Camp is My happy place.  Camp is the overdue childhood I am getting to enjoy now.  I will always be grateful to Greg of Dark Odyssey for giving Me this.

The poet David Whyte posits the interesting possibility that we might grow more innocent through our lives.  We might grow more innocent toward our deaths.  We normally think of innocence as something lost, virginity lost.  What if we could actually grow in our ability to experience wonder, joy, awe, to be amazed?  To not reason from the bad things that happened before, ever narrowing our possibilities, but instead to keep expanding them?  I discovered David Whyte's Poetry of Self Compassion a long time ago and I like realizing that I've managed to live my way into those ideas he planted with Me.  I'm suddenly reminded of a Rainer Marie Rilke quote I used to keep above My desk at work about 10 years ago when I was going through the depression:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and books that are for now written in a very foreign language. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you; you would not be able to live them. Because the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,  some distant day live your way into the answer.”

I did it. The distant day has come.

As I sang My way down I-95 today, I also considered faintly that maybe it is time to take opera lessons again. Maybe I am ready now to take that step; I wasn't four years ago when My teacher left. I really struggled to give Myself permission to make loud noises, even in a private voice lesson.  I might be ready to take up more space.  To fill a room with My body and energy and presence and voice.  To be a person who draws attention, be someone you want to look at, someone from whose luminousness it is difficult to look away.  And to feel so at peace and rock solid within Myself that I can be completely vulnerable, completely relaxed despite the risk of aural catastrophe and the judgment of a crowd; to let the music flow through the instrument of My body. To give Music its voice so it can be heard, and to do that without any feeling of responsibility for what happens.  To be a vessel, as the Bible suggests. Allow Myself not just to breathe, but to be breathed.  To allow Myself to be played.  There's a confluence here with camp and Dominance and owning a house.  It's a groundedness, a certainty, a feeling of being able to stand rooted in the center of everything internal and external.  I am the Mountain.  My feelings and thoughts, My arousal and voice are the clouds that shift around Me.

Even more radically, perhaps it is time to consider identifying as a switch. I really am in switch territory, when it comes to play at least.  Mountains are, after all, not monoliths. I find more and more I am playing with switches and playing in the sensual territory in between the labels in My head.  It is true that I have bottomed to fire play, scratching/knives, massage, and other pleasurable sensation for a long time; I just have thought of it in terms of being served, receiving service.  Maybe calling it service was a subtle mental crutch. Maybe.  It's something new to consider.