Xanadu

Xanadu
In Xanadu did Kublah Khan a stately pleasure dome decree

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunshine Away


It was a fair to middling day in the Gulf of Mexico, s'posed to be rainy but by late morning was looking better, it had brightened and I wanted to enjoy the few hours of good weather on My last day at the beach. My father wanted to go to the Naval Air Museum... again. This time the pretext was to show My aunt a specific plane he used to fly, not that she cared. He wanted her to see it, he wanted her to Understand. I’ve come down four winters now and have been compelled maybe 8 times or more to this museum, which is excellent for its kind of course, but I’ve had a lifetime with My father’s love affair with large machinery. It’s his passion, not Mine and I didn’t want to spend the day that way and I resisted. Neither mom nor aunt wanted to go either but they were not saying so. Our family remains more patriarchal than most and by Day Five dad was just chomping at the bit.

MasterMe protested that we wanted to go to the beach and get the last sun and play puttputt, there was a coded negotiation with Father, and in the end, we agreed to go for “just a little while” even as I ribbed dad that he was gonna owe Me $5 if he kept us there til closing. I did My best through all possible good-sport tactics to make clear I did not want to go, but the message was clear: this is the price you are expected to pay when you come to visit. He said that out loud. I observed that material terms to an agreement are supposed to be disclosed before the deal is sealed not after. He said I should know that already. It was a jesting kind of conversation but a serious one, the kind that seems to be the best of bad options.

I wanted a shower but no, no time! Had to get going! After arriving at noon it was beyond 4pm when we left. We made it to the curb once, at 2:15 and mom inquired about lunch. In a flash dad was back inside, and texting that yes, QubiClub was still serving, meet him there. *sigh* So close. So close. I’ve never managed a jail break from this museum successfully; that’s the closest I’ve come.

By time we finally left, with me driving the elders, it was starting to mist and fog. Mom was increasingly anxious in the back seat, fearing an accident. So much for going to the beach. So much for mini golf.  So much for what I wanted.

So much for what Princess wanted.

Master drove us home in the fog and tried to be sanguine about it. I was annoyed but keeping it under the surface, trying to make the best of family Quality Time. Hoping the weather would break open again as we drove. It didn’t. Master was focused on driving safely in poor conditions with mom in the back getting more and more anxious. Just like Grandma used to be. My aunt bought me a Starbucks at the end of the trip, which felt like she was trying to make something up to me, and I appreciated it, but in our family way, nothing was said about the deal not holding even though everyone knew about dad getting what he wanted, and being the only one. So we returned home, sat down, and it took about 10 minutes to notice I was irritable and to admit to Myself why.

I didn’t quite realize it yet but Princess was MAD. I mean H-E double toothpicks FURIOUS. Master had promised her, and Master and our FAther didn’t deliver, and now her trip is OVER and she missed her last of only a few short opportunities to get sun on the beach. She instead spent that time inside because her FAther wanted to show her aunt stupid airplanes, and it was GONE. And she was MAD. And that’s a LOT how she feels about the stupid museum: it takes away her sun on these trips.  Her very valuable, limited supply, hard to get, never-know-when-it-might-happen-again-if-at-all SUN.

Master can appreciate the technology and that dad got to pursue his dream of flying and that dad has survivor guilt about VietNam and that the Navy was the best time of his life, and he feels ill treated by what the Navy did to him, and all that. That’s dad’s story. Mom’s story is that she married a Navy officer, and maybe it wasn’t what she expected but it’s the deal she chose.

But neither is Princess’s story.

The Princess story is that those airplanes took her daddy aWAY. Today the museum took her beachy sunshine aWAY. The stupid Navy and stupid airplanes have done nothing but take her sunshine away her whole LIFE. And today, she just had E-NUFF. Even on her vacation at FIFTY years old, those stupid airplanes KEEP taking her daddy away, and she is SICK of it.

One of the interesting things about today is Unkey said this museum sounds like fun to him, and Princess immediately thought she would LOVE to have Unkey with her at the museum. That would be FUN and it even sounded kinda sexy. That helped Master realize: ah, this is a lot about feeling alone and unsupported in the Princess feelings TODAY. Not 50 years ago... TODAY.

That connected some dots. Cuz we do like SOME things about this museum, it has cool STUFF, we just have such mixed FEELings we have trouble enJOYing it much. There is a sculpture at the museum that makes Me nearly burst into tears every damned time. I hate that fucking sculpture. It tears off the same scab every time. There’s nothing in My life that so predictably makes Me break inside, and it’s fucking annoying. My father has never been present in that moment with Me on any of those trips. He sees the sculpture, he understands it logically, but he is never THERE emotionally with i and with Me. He is looking at the fucking airplanes, he is looking at absolutely everything – anything - else.    There are some important skills he lacks.

Master only dimly foresaw Princess reaction to this reasonably foreseeable progression of events; Princess thinks Master should be a bit BETTER at that kind of thing by now. But it snuck up on Master. The trip to the museum was just the latest in this series of events that Master has done before, and knows how to handle in Master space -- but which is happening for the first time with Princess directly engaged.

And then we were back at the rental unit and FAther was sitting in the front room telling our aunt about his side of his family property feud, that crosses three, no four, generations. Going on and on about his beef.

And Princess could not bear it that she was so upset about being made to go to the museum and NOT getting what she was PROMISED and NOBODY NOTICED !

Princess was INVISIBLE and she HATES being invisible, and she was FURIOUS about it, in a very real, acute and possibly new way. So Master took her into the bedroom and laid down in the dark, cuddled in a blanket, tried to calm her, tried to tell her it was ok and Just Breathe. But we could still hear our FAther comPLAINing to our aunt, wanting her approval for his role in the stupid conflict, and then Princess got even more upset cuz she realized no one had noticed she had disappeared. Princess was really losing it. She felt so alone she just could not STAND IT anyMORE!!  She just wanted to break EVERYthing!!

So Master did something new. Master dressed her - didn’t try to make noise, didn’t try to be quiet - and put on shoes and a coat and got a bottle of water in the open-concept living space, and walked out the big heavy front door. And no one noticed.

We walked out the door in the dark and fog and we went to the BEACH, like we wanted to this MORNing and we walked the beach at the water’s edge in the weird darkness like being in The Shining movie. Alone. 
And this is what I thought:

I cannot bear his pain, there’s so much pain in him. He has pain about everything.  I cannot bear his pain and I cannot bear his joy, because his joy for those damned airplanes is Princess’s pain for his absence. And there doesn’t seem to be any space in the middle for connection that feels real, that doesn’t feel like being trapped in a glass bubble. And it seems impossible for Princess’ pain to be seen and heard and comforted.

So Princess ran away from home for the first time tonight and she ran away to the ocean. In the fog and drizzley misty dark. And even though it’s maybe not so safe, Master let her. Because Princess has needed to run away many times before and never did and that’s why she feels so STUCK. Master decided she needed to be allowed to run away.

We are a little afraid we might be raped or murdered out here on the beach, or hit by the beach cleaning truck, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or carried away by a rogue wave and a rip tide. And we are trying hard to not think too much about the last scene of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening book, in which the woman decides her only real option is to walk fully clothed into the Gulf of Mexico, and let the water take her.

We are in a very dark place tonight, we have felt very bad like this before, many times. Princess is despondent, despairing, and alone. Master hopes choosing something new will make a difference. So Master got us to the beach and then turned around and took a picture of our building in the weird dark fog so we could recognize its unique pattern of colored lights to get home - smart Master, good Master, wise Master.  And then Master let Princess go.

Princess, do you wanna stay in Alabama or walk to Florida?

FLORIDA!

And it was not a little bit genuinely scary. I’ve never walked on a beach in the dark like that. I have spent very little time on beaches. It seemed unsafe and unwise. We walked along the edge til we got to the place it gets a little steep and sand-suctiony, and after a while we couldn’t see our building for a long time and it really was kinda scary being alone out there. And then we sat down on a pile of sand and stared at the ocean waves in the dark wondering if a tsunami would come. And MasterMe started writing what became this blog post, just because there was no one we could talk to and we just couldn’t find anything else.

Eventually Princess’s BUTT got sore. 

That sand was not soft and fluffy like it LOOKED. It was packed from the wind and waves and it was HARD.  And it SUCKED.  She didn’t mind being on the beach, but she wanted a comfy CHAIR or a SOFA.

Princess, are you ready to go home?  We’ve been gone a while.

NO !

Wanna walk a little further just to make a point?

Yah.

Just to prove you CAN?

*nods*

Ok.

So we walked a little further. And then eventually:

Princess are you getting tired?

Yeah.

Gotta pee?

Yeah.  

Are you ready to go home?

*sigh* 

*mumble*... i GUESS.

So Master took Princess home, it was a long walk, and we were nervous we lost the building but we didn’t, and at the end, we left the water’s edge, sat on a dune outside the condo building and grumbled that STILL nobody noticed. We wondered how long til somebody would TEXT and ask where we WERE. We were gone about 90 minutes all together, and it was definitely dinner time, and eventually our FAther came out to ask what we were doing Out There. Slowly Master and he had a talk, in which Master managed to say that we need him to understand that museum is NOT all fun for us, it makes us sad and it makes us angry.  He said me too, and he talked a little about what it was like back then, how hard it was to leave his family to go away to fly the airplanes, and it was nice he shared that cuz he doesn’t talk like that much, but still it was about his perspective, his pain.

It didn’t make Princess feel any better. She just sighed in her head about how it’s always Like This.

Master tried again, she said: when we go there and get upset we feel trapped; we want to be a Dutiful Daughter and we don’t want to be a wet blanket on Family Fun, but there does not seem to be a way to leave when it gets to be too much for me. 
Master did manage to say an important thing:  that we don't know how to be upset now for things that happened so long ago; we don't know to be upset with him and we don't *want* to be upset with him cuz we know it hurts him too, but that just leaves us upset and confused. And that's why we don't want to go to the museum. He said he wouldn’t make us go again unless we really want to. He knows he did that today, he MADE us go. He said he won’t do that again. He said that twice. So we know he Meant It and we know that means he was feeling Sorry he made us.

That’s a good start.

Master didn’t quite manage to say the big thing, the hard thing: that these museum trips are all about HIS experience, his joy, his pain, and there doesn’t seem to be room for Princess’ feelings anywhere among those airplanes. We don’t need him to feel guilty about the past, we need him to be present NOW, for the part of me who gets sad and angry. But Master says that’s a Big Ask cuz he does feel so terribly Guilty.

But it was Progress. So we got up and made a hug happen with our FAther, our deeply human FAther, and then we walked to dinner with mom, and the three of us had dinner on a covered porch at Flora-Bama Yacht Club, which is just a big beachy bar place. And we all shared a boozy milkshake that got us each a little tipsy and made us all FART a little, and we walked back feeling some better.

I don’t know what got said in the apartment while I was gone, I would like to know, but I think something got said. Maybe it’s just that they got scared when they realized I had disappeared and they had not noticed. Maybe my mom or aunt said something to dad. Maybe they were just startled by their Dutiful Daughter doing something she Doesn’t Do, and in the Dark no less.

Looking back, Master says this was all ok. We felt the feels and at first, Princess tried to stuff her feelings and pretend to be ok and when that didn’t work she tried to hide in her room. And it made her chest hurt. All of that is the freeze part of the fight-flight-freeze response to trauma; it’s the way we pretty much always have coped with the hardest problems, including the Parent Problems. 

But this time we did something different, we got outta Freeze and we did Flight. We fled. And when we ran away, we felt angry and we kicked some sand, and we Talked Loud And Annoyed on the beach. That’s Fight. We went from cold pain to hot pain and then it burned itself out and got extinguished and we were All Done, so we went back Home and while it wasn’t ideal, there was some amount of Support and Understanding when we got there.

That’s all ok. It’s never happened before like this. Maybe Princess has NEEDED to know how to run away, how to Flee and to Fight. Maybe that’s part of The Medicine.

It was deeply beautiful out there on the beach, at the water’s edge tonight. Alone in the fog and dark. It felt raw and wild and dangerous. It felt Real. It was the very antithesis of Sunshine but it was still Beautiful. It’s almost as if for the first time, I stopped fighting for the missing sunshine and allowed myself to be fully present, to sink in that beautiful Dark in a way that worked, in a way that let Me come back to Light better.

At first tonight felt like a Disaster but maybe Master did better tonight than it seemed. Much better.




Fifty Shades


The shaman visit was part of my plan for turning Fifty, which feels like starting my life over in a way. I’m starting the second half of my life. The biggest piece of course is that I paid off the student loan last year; I kept the Big Promise to myself to pay it off by Fifty.   And I remain immensely proud and gratified I managed it. After that, I spent the year spending about a student loan payment’s amount of money every month on deferred maintenance and various repairs so it’s not like I feel any richer. But I kept that promise to myself.


Always keep the promises you make to yourself.

So now I get to think about some fun things I could do. Late January in northern climes sucks for a birthday-haver, esp. when you want to go big. I declared it a birthday month and it’s heading toward a birthday year, and it’s possible this new approach - which began as Indulging Myself and Having Fun - could become the new normal.  My birthday month consisted of doing things I like but often do not allow myself, usually because they are not in the budget.  2018 was sort of the year of All the Things I Do Not Allow Myself, and now I know what many of them are and what the visible price tag is.  

So a nice visit with the shaman to kick off 2019.  I saw my good bodyworker, the Rolfer.  I bought a ticket to go to the beach with family in the beginning of February.  I paid the reg fee to attend Winter Fire.  I decided to do something fun with my hair. I made plans for a birthday gathering of friends, a Happy Hour, the day before the birthday when I hoped more people would come.  This was a bit complicated by weather and the shitdown, but it happened.  There were several points before the birthday when Princess had a freak out. She was afraid no one likes her, no one was going to come to the party, she was upset Unkey didn’t seem to be interested in her big birthday, she was mad at Master for picking Sunday afternoon instead of Monday after work, she had some tough sledding there for a bit and Master wasn’t feeling too good about it either.  Then the day before suddenly people were showing up.

We gathered at my favorite little restaurant.  The staff there knows me and takes good care. I’ve done this enough it was relaxed.  I provided a little buffet of appetizers, and everyone handled their own drinks.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by people I love and enjoy, some I had thought low probability to attend and I was so happy they were there.  Amazingly, boy mike was there, and that was such a satisfying experience to have him by my side.  He was delightful and charming, subtly being just a bit of a host, keeping an eye on Me and My drink and My plate.  When I had a problem with the tab, My knight was right there and fixed it smoothly.  It was just as I like such things to be with My main boy, and something we really have never gotten to do before together.  I loved it.  The food was great, the staff great, the friends great.  boy mike got to meet the man I met at NN and most of the other men there like cock too, he got to be in a group of fun, kind, kinky, delightful people, he finally got to experience what it is like to have friends who know all of who you are and accept it. We added energy to the restaurant as a group but without hurting their business by keeping others waiting who might have spent more.  It was just a glowy experience on all levels, and I have plans to see the people who couldn't make it.

On my birthday, I slightly regretted not taking the day off of work, but I had come up with nothing I really wanted to do and no one to do it with, I consoled Princess with a promise we would have an ersatz birthday on another day when it is nicer.  I walked in to the office and was handed flowers, which were from mom and dad.  I opened my office door and found a vase of tulips and a ginormous birthday balloon tied to my chair by my three co-workers, which was so shocking I started laughing.  Although in the office we often have trouble doing birthday lunch on the day of, they made it happen – which I did not even bother to hope for.  And we walked to the same restaurant I was at the night before, which they did not know had occurred. It was great, because at the happy hour, I never actually had a meal.  As we sat down the waiter pulled me aside and said that in his country, there is a saying that you know a person by their friends, and he wanted to tell me that the party last night confirmed his belief in me, because all my friends were so delightful. That was very touching, if a bit confusing to my colleagues.  We had a long lunch, no hurrying to get back, and even though the talk was about their children and neighborhoods I know nothing about, so that I felt as I usually do, unable to participate in the conversation, it was still the high end of what my office environment is capable of.

On the way home, I took myself out to dinner then went home and had birthday calls with friends, and played with the bluetooth speaker boy t sent me as a surprise gift so that I can have music in the house on both levels.

Later in the week was the site’s monthly birthday gathering for all in the office having a birthday that month.  The receptionist pulled me aside as she was ordering the cupcakes and asked what I would like.  Half seriously I pointed to the ones with unicorns and rainbows on them, in light purple and light blue, and jestingly said these would be fun before suggesting more professional alternatives.  Without me knowing, she ordered the fun ones.  Princess got a light blue unicorn cupcake and a light purple rainbow cupcake IN THE OFFICE AT HER OFFICIAL JOB.  That was really exciting for Princess.

A few days later, I went to visit the parents at the beach which got a bit messed up by the storms, so my flights were cancelled and the in re-booking I lost a full day of a five day trip.  But I made the most of it by taking the check-in upgrades, so I got to fly first class both ways for a non-exorbitant amount.  That felt VERY birthday.  Princess loves first class.

Home for about a week and then I went and got the birthday hair, streaks of blue and just a little purple.  I think the stylist got scared, it’s more subtle and professional and tends slightly to the mermaid side of things, but I am very happy with it.  It’s not a bad thing to break the boss in slowly to this change.   I can always amp it up over time a la frog-in-slowly-heating-pot.  

And then a week later it was WinterFire and the big round birthday month was in the rear window.  Except for one thing.

I struggled a lot with what to do for my birthday for most of the year, and in a desperation move, I asked Princess what she wanted.  

Well. 

As usual, she had a clear answer.

DIAMONDS!!!!

Uh-oh.

So I have been jewelry shopping for a little anniversary band. Five stones, one for each decade.  Tiny stones and the best sparkle I can get for the money, so that when Master is humping away in the office, Princess can look at her hand and enjoy the shiny-sparkley that’s there just because she LIKES it.

Happy Birthday to us.

Wild and Free

I went back to the shaman shortly before New Years. It had been a cool experience this summer and going again seemed a fine New Year’s-y kind of choice. I mostly went from a place of curiosity about the sacred technology and psychoneurobiology at work. A mere curiosity. I had no plan. During intake she asked what concerns I wanted to bring to the session, and without planning to, I brought up my back injury. It’s been a long time now, it feels a long time, and I have done So Many Things for it. Yet it remains chronic. Is there anything in it that her technology might be able to speak to, on a non-materials plane?

She scanned me, rattled, bird-whistled a bit. And she sat and thought, for what seemed a particularly long time, then surfaced and said: when you fell, the physical injury re-activated and connected to the deep emotional injury you were carrying under the surface, and they became enmeshed. That’s why it is persisting.

Also... it matters that you fell into a hole. You were in an emotional hole early in life. When you fell into the physical hole, you fell back into the emotional hole. Those two things connect. Also, it feels like there might be something here from a past life. In a past life you may have spent a long time in a dark hole. Maybe in a dungeon.

I just nodded. Like you do. So we began the session.

Singing, invoking, chanting, brushing, drumming. I was working hard to follow instructions on breathing. The brushing was so strong it almost hurt. The work part of the visit seemed to go on a long time. Eventually she had me stand and breathe in a different way, picture bringing the breath up from the Earth through my feet, then on the exhale breathe out what needs to be released into the stones she placed in my hands. Then back onto the table, and just about the time I was thinking nothing was really going to Happen in this session, thinking that the cool first session musta been some kinda fluke, I felt the breathing change.

It reversed.

You think you know how to breathe, you don’t think of it being possible it could REVERSE. But it did. I have asthma and am often congested. My experience of breathing is one of pulling the air in through my nose and mouth, sucking it in through a straw and working fairly hard to get it all the way down into the middle of my lungs. Getting it to the bottom of the lungs feels quite difficult. Guided meditation can get me there sort of but I didn’t feel altered and it wasn’t exactly relaxing; I was working. Exhaling also requires work, I am actively blowing out, squeezing the ribs together. Sometimes in opera lessons I have felt it be different and easy, I know it SHOULD be, but it isn’t.

But the breath reversed lying there on the table. Suddenly I wasn’t working, it just was welling up from my feet, filling my lower lungs first, inflating the rest of me, and when it was time to leave, it just kept going out of my mouth. In yoga we sometimes say: “allow yourself to be Breathe-ed”. But I’ve never felt this welling kind of breath before, just HAPPEN.

After only a breath or two of this different Being Breathed thing, an image popped into my head, and I had the thought: breathe that out. So I did. I breathed out the face of the first someone who traumatized me in childhood, made me feel hunted. I didn’t blow it out though. It was just a leaf I chose to release into the strong river of breath flowing through me, and it floated quickly away. Then another face came, the second one; I released him too onto the surface of the river and he was gone. Then the third one came, the one in adulthood, breathe him out. He was a big one. He needs two. Breathe him out again. Then they were gone and I melted into Being Breathed.

At which point the shaman who had said nothing to me for a while exclaimed: “Ah! There it goes!” And changed something what she was doing.

At the end of the session, we dreamed a dream, which is core to shamanism. The dream is even called The Medicine. As before, she invited me to a mountain meadow, Mother Earth beneath me, covered in sweet grass and wild flowers, embraced by Grandmother and Grandfather Mountain, and Father Sky above pouring down his sun. My image changed abruptly and the light from Father Sun was an arcing waterfall, like the arch of a rainbow and it was pouring into me, into my belly which pulled it all in, like a cup being filled with fountaining water. I’m lying in a mountain meadow and I’m the black pot of gold drinking in the gold shimmering rainbow.

The dream moved on. Go to sleep. Feel how Mother Earth embraces you as you fall into sleep. Now awake. You are on the Plain. You are a young. Male. Indian. This is your home. The herds of wild Horses are galloping across the Plain surrounded by the mountains. Feel how that feels. The sun. The shaking of the ground. The breeze as they pass. The sound of the breathing. Their animal smell. Now you are the young strong vibrant Indian man and you are riding with the herd, bareback. Feel the warmth, the connection to the wild animal beneath you, feel the movement in your body, feel being part of the herd. He-you carries the staff, with feather and streamer attached, all of this flying in the wind, flying across the Plain with the herd of wild Horses, joyous. Wild and Free. Feel how it feels in your body, to feel Wild and Free with it all.


Now the horses are gone. You lie down again in the grass, and go back to sleep, and then awake. And you bring the dream with you.

———————————

Afterward, my middle aged shaman lady that you would walk right past in a grocery store without remark, said that she had cleared stubborn, crystallized darkness from my torso, especially the chest. She said:

Go be wild.

That’s the antidote for what was removed. Find wildness, put wildness in that place. Replace the feeling of darkness with feeling wild and free.

I walked out feeling high in a way I’m starting to associate with the shaman and nothing else. I bought some prayer flags in the shop that hosts her monthly sessions, cuz the flags in my garden are due for replacement. I noted that I have no idea at the moment how to be Wild in the middle of my mid-Atlantic megalopolis in the winter. It was sunny and warm so I left the shop and walked away, enjoying the feeling of sun on my face and feeling alive.

I didn’t notice I left my thin, ultralight, full length black raincoat behind. The one I bought in Maine with john last fall, that was a bargain and is so useful. It has been wearing thin with surprising speed.

I haven’t gone back to pick it up. I strangely feel that maybe it’s better, maybe it’s on some level Right, that I put it down with the shaman, and choose not to pick it back up.

I need a raincoat of course but I could get another one. Princess thinks maybe raspberry could be fun in the rain.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dungeon New Year’s Eve


I spent a good swath of yesterday wrestling with the internet, registration/payment processes (damn you, conflicting cookies!) so I could listen to 3 hours of online webinars that had to be done by midnight. They turned out better than expected and the last one gave Me ideas for a kind of work I’d only dimly considered before. So I decided Princess had earned a reward and registered us for last night’s New Year’s event at the dungeon.

The DJ was predictably too loud and the food was not what you might wish for, but we were OUT AND ABOUT and that’s what mattered.  There were intermittently people being spotlighted doing notable stuff, I had missed the burlesque but caught the naked chubby man dancing like nobody’s watching, plus intermittent people pole dancing, and a guy doing liquid nitrogen play, including hitting someone with a deep frozen rose that shatters on impact. Great party trick. Saw a few friends and generally just hung about feeling slightly at loose ends and despite Myself, picturing My recent ex crossing My path.  I also got to participate in a human smores event and well, there’s just nothing that can improve a marshmallow toasted on someone’s flaming torso.

A group of friends, Lady M, her cute cross dressing hubby J, another top I’ve known a long time S, and a girl who is friends of the couple had a scene planned.  M and S planned to suspend J and girl from a support beam using pallet wrap.  I’ve seen a scene like this before, it’s not for beginners. S seemed to have the technical skills, Lady M seems to have conceived the idea and contributed the bodies and supplies and Her labor. I love them all, and went to J’s birthday party at their house this year. Lady M sent an envoy across the dungeon inviting Me to come over and watch the scene. She even kindly put a folded blanket on the metal folding chair so My back would be more comfortable during the long scene. 

Lady M’s partner was dressed to kill as his alter ego female side, and wearing a well boned corset. The girl being suspended was considerable shorter and more slight. I watched S and M (heeheehee), wrap them with a commercial roll of pallet wrap from chest to knee, put them standing on chairs, then wrap the support truss, and wrap the two people facing each other, then wrap diagnonally from truss top to opposite thigh and around the body. This happened many times and I was satisfied they were doing a good job with the enginnering and construction.

Admittedly I am a Safety Domme, so of course as I watched the scene I saw a few thinga that made a worst case scenario movie play in My mind’s eye. I offered some suggestions to Lady M who agreed and implemented them, and with her permission I stepped into the scene as a spotter, and stood where a slightly surprised S directed. It was so loud and there was so much happening that he didn’t realize Lady M had agreed; he seemed just a smidge miffed but it was ok. So I lent a hand where asked, stood ready to pounce in case the pair being suspended should flip backward, etc.   When the chairs were taken away, I helped get the safety mat under them quickly. When the rig had stretched enough their feet could almost touch the floor, their feet were bound up, so I suggested an extra mat was needed to protect their kneecaps from the concrete in the event of a sudden failure. Once they were rigged up, I participated in some whacky-whacky pokey-pokey fun as they gently swung suspended. It was cool and interesting enough that for a while we had the dungeon spotlight trained on us. They were up a long time so I stuck close but eventually turned My attention to the advanced rope scene next to us. 

When I looked back through the screen of wanderers a bit later, I realized they had just cut down the rig and J was sitting limply on the mat. I popped over to find him of course altered, but not feeling great. He had coded due to sudden sharp pain (possibly a corset stay digging due to the pressure of the pallet wrap), so they had cut it down and now he was overheating.

To be clear, this is a 40 year old man, very energetic and fit, maybe 6’2”, wearing a hot pink wig, tights, double layer skirt, and corset. And he looked great, for the record. I didn’t know it yet but he was actually wearing TWO corsets on top of each other. And he had been encased in plastic wrap for an hour.  No wonder he was hot. The common tool in these situations is to grab cans and bottles of cold water and soda from the bar; they had one on his neck but it wasn’t helping fast enough and he was really in some distress.  Removing his outfit was obviously a last resort and really up to Lady M to decide. So I told him to spread his legs and I stuck an icy bottle of water firmly
against his taint. Then I got an icy bottle on his sternum, pulled off his socks, and rubbed another icy bottle on his feet and ankles. S happened to be there at the moment a bit concerned and attentive, saw what I was doing, smiled just a little and said:  “Not Your first rodeo”.  Then apparently comfortable all was reasonably ok now, he turned his attention to other matters.  In time, J turned the corner and began shivering. We got a blanket on him and Lady M and I agreed that I’d take over the rest of aftercare so that She could wrangle taking down the rig and freeing the equipment. So the girl and I slightly carried a wobbly J to the social area, and cuddled him on the big poof cushion, one on each side, which he shivered and twitched and snuggled. Not exactly hardship duty though it was a bit chilly by the exterior door. And there we still were when the 5 minute warning was made. We got J up, and got a glass of champagne or cider in everyone’s hands, and toasted the New Year with a balloon drop (Princess HAD to stomp ONE of them).

With the scene over, I hung a bit longer, as Lady M told Me of another scene she might want a hand with. Then instead she handed me a nice young man who she felt was a good match, and we negotiated a thuddy scene. It was getting late and neither of us had thuddy toys adequate to his needs, plus he was having some reflux that interfered a bit, but we improvised. He got hit with. A roll of saran wrap in box, knotted hanks of rope, handles of wimpy floggers; elbows, fists; and oh year, he really liked being hit with the silicone dildo wrapped in a knitted Christmas stocking.  J popped over at one point to lend some toys. It was not a great scene but it was solid under the challenging circumstances, and I was gratified that as we did aftercare, he expressed thanks and said it was exactly what he had needed.

We parted happily and it was off to home in the thick fog.  When I recounted the evening to Unkey, he commented that it was a wild night. Funny, to Me it didn’t seem wild, it was just a night at the dungeon. I’ve missed it, I need to go there more and get back into the swing of pickup play. It’s fun, it’s exercise, it’s energy and movement, it’s social, it’s what I enjoy.


Princess says:  That’s RIGHT!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Going First

I paid more than I wanted - MasterMe did - but it was the best fare I could get home for Christmas the way I massively prefer: on a direct flight from the airport near My house. When it came time to check in, I groused a little about it. $500, no seat assignment, lowest boarding priority for back of the bus, AND $30 to check a bag. They’ve really managed to take all the fun out of flying.  I decided to push My luck and try to carryon/ gate check the bag, then was annoyed I still couldn’t get a seat assignment on the early outbound flight. I generally sleep little and poorly before a morning flight, up late packing and shutting down the house, afraid to catastrophically oversleep a non-refundable ticket. A few hours before checking in, I had asked Princess why she hadn’t packed yet and she replied she didn’t really want to go, mom and dad’s isn’t really very much FUN. That surprised MasterMe.  

So halfway through the flight checkin process, when the software asked Me if I wanted to upgrade to first class for an additional $85, Princess said YES and pretty loudly.  I gave her that. 

I’m sitting in American first class on an Embraer 170 now, in a leather seat, no one next to Me. I check two bags, which itself almost pays for the upgrade. And saves Me screwing up My back dragging heavy luggage up and down long hallways. I got priority curbside bag check; TSA precheck sped Me through security; both of those meant I got a little extra sleep. I was third on the plane; I have both seats in this row of first class. I boarded with one of My injury headaches but am feeling markedly better after half an hour with an ice pack filled by the flight attendant; coffee provided by the floght attendant; now sipping a bloody mary provided by the flight attendant; a much needed ice pack wedged against the right spot on My head; and feeling enduringly good that she told us she is sorry for our pain. A little compassion goes a long way.  

Also I saw a really adorably cute and pink faced baby, wearing a matching pale rosy pink onesie and smiling. That’ll make your day every time.

I forget sometimes that living alone means there is almost never anyone around to keep an eye on Me, help Me out, nurture Me.  It means fewer inputs to the system overall and not as many positive, very few that I do not have to generate Myself. God knows work does nothing of the sort.  My boys fulfill that function sometimes but since boy t left, there’s a lot less of that and I have to ask for it quite definitely, with many times it not being possible for good reason.  This morning boy m provided the requested wakeup call to ensure I did not oversleep, and I could tell he had woken himself up to provide that service (God bless can-do military men).  It made Me feel good and loved and cared for, but it was not physical touch. 

Today we needed someone to be nice to us, to touch us in a more physical
way, and we found it in the form of an upgrade.  Princess is happy, I can feel her happiness is Me, she just needs someone to pay attention and care how she is. MasterMe still learning to do that, though I’ve made enough progress that a few days ago someone commented unprompted that I know how to care for Myself (because of the pink sheepskin cover on My car steering wheel that helps My painfully cold hands when I cannot find My gloves in cold weather).  That made Master feel good.

Really, first class is about the perfect environment for Me. Comfortable, minimal distractions that can be blocked with earplugs, someone to help and slightly pamper Me, time and space to think and read and reflect.

I’m feeling markedly better than I did an hour ago when I boarded, and after feeling like crap for a day already, that’s no small accomplishment. Maybe it’s the six sips of Bloody Mary talking, but mostly it’s the icepack and the feeling that the feeling of stress has lifted for a while.  I’m also pleased to be travelling dressed in some of the new clothes I’ve acquired this year, wearing the new look: leggings, a knee length linen duster coat in a fun color over a long sleeved nice Tshirt for warmth, fun earrings, fun scarf.  Princess feels pretty and FLOOFY, Master feels comfortable and put together in an age appropriate way.

I’ve been kicking around what to do for My big birthday next month and nothing has really seized My imagination.  Then a week ago I asked Princess point blank what she wanted for her birthday and of course, she had an immediate answer.

Diamonds!!!!!!!!!!

Princess wants a diamond ring, one little stone for each decade of her Big Birthday. Diamonds have come up before, a decade ago in the form of earrings, but back then  we were still paying the giant student loan and being done with it was still so far away MasterMe felt we would never get there. I’d forgotten about that. Now with a year of space since paying it off in a blaze of glory, it’s a conversation I can have.  I spent 27 years paying that loan, getting Myself out of indentured servitude. I can allow Myself to spend a few months-worth of student loan payments on something beautiful, esp. since the annual bonus at work arrives in April.  

Princess wants a ring so that when Master is working hard in the office, Proncess can look down at her hand and thrill to the shiny-sparkley.  She just loves shiny-sparkley. That seems like a fair trade.  Princess puts up with a lot from Master and this job.  Sure it might be better spent on improving the house. But there is something here.  I’m gonna be fifty FFS and no one has seen fit to put a diamond ring on My finger. I can do it for Myself now.

Master took princess to the mall to do research for the ring and it was nice for maybe the first time to walk around and feel like yes, I could buy this ring on My finger right now. I choose not to because of other reasons at this moment, I am just researching.  It was nice to notice that the feeling of “I shouldn’t” and “I can’t” and “I mustn’t” in response to everything I want in a mall has lifted.  It no longer feels like a choice between nice hand lotion and survival.

Cake or death.

Um... yeah.  Cake.  Definitely cake.


We are going to have our cake, and next month, we will eat it too.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Echoes

As I reflect on being unceremoniously dumped, I'm noticing the similarities with other experiences.  What is this pattern?  How is it that these men who are so wonderful to Me in a subby way seem to have this impressive ability to hurt Me, in such a pinpointed and consistent way?  I think I'm getting to a new layer of the onion.

The book Rethinking Narcissism says everyone is on a scale of narcissism, and most people are in a range where if you understand it, there are ways to appeal to the person's better nature. Narcissism isn't necessarily fatal.  The book begins by recounting the myth of Narcissus, the beautiful boy so entranced with his reflection in the water he falls in love with himself, and becomes the flower.  Narcissus has a friend, Echo.  Echo has no voice of her own, she can only echo Narcissus.

I've reflected for a while that subbies tend to be Echo types and Dominants, especially bad ones, tend to be Narcissus types. And of course, they tend to travel in pairs.  I see this a lot in unhappy marriages where there is an un-acknowledged power dynamic. The wife Narcissus, the subby hubby Echo.  It has explained a lot to Me over the years about how these men get in these marriages, why they stay, why they are attracted to Me, and why they ultimately disappear back into the unhappy marriage, often abruptly.

I think what I've figured out though, is that the Narcissus/Echo duality goes deeper.  It can also be inside each person.  I had noticed that D and I got along so wonderfully, we had essentially zero friction, it was all so easy.  And then BOOM!  out of the blue, he does this wildly hurtful and selfish thing that seems almost calculated to be as painful to Me as possible.  Really, if he had a concern about the relationship, say if he felt things were moving too fast, why not discuss it at some point before actively blowing it up?  It's not far off what happened when My wonderful slave left so abruptly, he was distraught, ended it with minimal explanation, and despite promises of a transition, he was just gone, and he never came back for transition as promised. All he really said was that he had realized he didn't know who he was, but he was sure he was not person he had led Me to believe in our relationship.  Much the same happened with mikey, who had a Narcissus wife, and we were together for most of a year then one day, POOF! he ghosted and that was that.  I still have no idea what happened, and I did ask six months later to meet for coffee so we could smooth things to avoid awkwardness at an upcoming event.  But there was no coffee, and yes, it was very awkward for years.

These three share some traits. 1. They often told Me how awesome and wonderful I was, what a great friend, partner, support, Master.  2. They all were very sweet and seemed  like they'd all struggled with not being accepted for who they are, with not being seen.  3. They all were very easy to get along with, we basically never had any real friction, and any glitch was worked out with ease.  4. They all had a harsh streak in them, usually self directed but also an un-forgiving attitude toward others, a really surprising harshness, and I talked with each of them about compassion and self-compassion. 5. I encouraged all of them to grow, to become more fully themselves, to learn good communication, to articulate boundaries, to learn from Me how to do this, and then apply the skills I taught them in their lives.  6. And then they left, all of them very abruptly, totally, with effectively zero discussion, in what is the most hurtful way possible for Me, to be simply cut off.

I think...  the being told how wonderful I am, how great a partner I am, so much... I think that's a key.  I think it might be a poker tell. Maybe it tells Me they on some level recognize I'm being better to them than they know they will be to Me.  It's not a compliment, it's a confession, it's a statement of guilt.  Maybe they stay as long as they do because it's seductive to be well treated and because they feel guilty at the prospect of leaving someone being good to them.  They want the water, they don't care about the bucket. Perhaps people who have been treated badly feel entitled to treat others badly given the chance, perhaps it's some sort of a growth step for them to get to the point of having enough agency to hurt someone else. Perhaps it is liberating I helped them grow, I happen to be the person available to hurt.  Perhaps it's like differentiation of a child from a parent, there must be rebellion in order to separate and rebellion by definition hurts.  But I don't believe they actually think about it all that much.  I suspect that as it seems to have happened this week, I was not actually a person to them, I was... an idea... a chimera... not a mirage but I seemed a mirage to them.  And so they don't even consider that hurting Me is even possible.  Certainly they are remarkably unmoved by evidence of the pain inflicted.  That's sad in a way, the possibility that I was really present for them, but they didn't realize it.  Like a thirsty man drinking the desert sand at the oasis.

Perhaps when a man is an Echo, he has inside him a suppressed Narcissus.  Maybe by encouraging them to grow and have boundaries and voice and agency, perhaps it allows the switch to flip to Narcissus. Perhaps that explains the bizarre-seeming lack of concern for My feelings despite what had seemed deep intimacy until that point.  Perhaps it explains the shocking level of selfishness in forgetting there's another person present. I don't know how long the Narcissus thing might last for them. I don't know if it is a development stage they pass through or just situational.  Maybe it's sort of a tool, not a great one, but a new tool that's sharp and they don't know how to wield it.  Maybe it's the first time they took that razor sharp knife out of the sheath.  slave t said that to Me once sort of.  he said he had never tried to have an amicable breakup before, there had never been a person so kind to him that amicable parting was a choice, and he simply didn't know how.  In fact, it hadn't occurred to him it was a possibility.  He all but said the only way he knew to leave was through cruelty.

Perhaps Echo and Narcissus is a pendulum that swings. I have noticed that in My own parents.  Both capable of each, both resenting the other for some moments on the outer arc of the pendulum.  My bullying father complaining in quiet moments that he is hen pecked.  My seemingly passive, never angry mother somehow getting him to do All The Things, even as he resents doing them.  They seem in some duality they have not transcended in 50 years.

It makes Me wonder how much I am Narcissus.  I like to think not too much.  Princess maybe is where the Narcissus lives, she is the selfish part.  She is the Echo too, when she is with Unkey, she is like a puppy, all attachment, interested in doing whatever Unkey wants to do, she just wants to be near him.  It is helpful to think of her as being a separate set of impulses from Me.  Master Me is not super comfortable with that puppy behavior.  The General doesn't like it either.  Master Me has some ego investment of course in being a good Master, I'm not immune to playing the saint, I suppose, maybe even the martyr in these cases where I get hurt. I'm learning things too, and I'm happy that the recovery period for these times of having My heart broken by these Echo boys is getting shorter.  Fail Faster, they say in Silicon Valley. I cannot see how the puzzle pieces all fit, but if this pace of Failing Faster continues to increase, one day soon, maybe it will force the paradigm to shift. Maybe it just did.  Maybe I will stop picking these Narcissus boys and Echo boys at all, or pick a version much fainter and less destructive.  This layer of lessons will have all been learned, like advancing in a video game.  Maybe there could be a point of  Healing or heck, why not, Enlightenment. 



Warning Sign

It’s been wonderful spending time with the switchy dungeon guy, Dillan.  Recently he has brought up going to Naughty Noel together, maybe sharing a room at WinterFire. I said I wanted to do a kink glamour photo shoot for My impending big birthday, he said he’d like one of his presents to be a contribution to the cost. I was so, so incredibly touched at the way he jumped on the idea, how big he smiled. I asked if he’d be willing to be there, in the shoot with Me, to help evoke My dominant energy. He was enthusiastic and asked only that his face be covered. It was a beautiful, beautiful, wow moment about two weeks ago. 

We’ve ridden a giant ferris wheel, played puttputt, cooked together, gone to the dungeon, played and fucked and talked up a storm.  I cannot remember the last time I liked someone so much on so many levels all at once. It’s a light dynamic, just in the bedroom. It’s an open relationship, we see other people. Neither of us wants to parent. We talk Deep Thoughts and personal growth.  I’ve been very touched that after we see each other, he consistently texts the next day to say how much he enjoyed being together. He tells me he appreciates how supportive I’ve been as a partner during a bumpy period in his life. He tells me he looks forward to being together again. It’s all so good.

It occurred to Me last week that D and I have been together about three months, we are at about the same point now where I was with ethan when he died.   It occurred to me to mention that to D but I thought no, no reason to live in the past. Focus on today. Of course, life has begun to get a little bit in the way in the three months since we met, he had a little travel, we realized we keep different schedules, I had a crazy-crazy week at work. 55 hours, massive deadline.  I had only just achieved victory late Friday afternoon. I was exhausted and looking forward to our Sunday date. We had decided to spend the afternoon together but he suggested I join him at a kink-foodie Sunday brunch, hosted by a group I have been meaning to plug into. So many events we have in common, it’s great to have a partner in crime, I love having someone to share events with again.

I finally was able to pick up My phone at 6:15pm Friday at the end of the horrific week, and I was excited to share the news that victory was achieved and I found, "I am terminating our relationship."

Summarily dumped.

By text.

Yes, My delightful millennial decided that three months of many forms of intimacy, including fluid bonding, could be adequately terminated with a text. In it, he managed to not apologize. He didn't inquire whether our recent unprotected sex might have had unintended consequences. He helpfully explained that he hasn’t wanted to spend time with Me for a while now. He’s been pretending, showing up from a sense of obligation, hoping the feeling would pass but at the same time recognizing he is not the slightest bit invested in us and has zero interest in working out what he acknowledges are the minor bumps of being together.  That’s where he is.

I responded that I’m surprised to hear this, the kink community is small, and I would really like to have a conversation about this, so that I can try to understand and hopefully get to a place where I can feel a little better about it than I do. I really want to avoid it being terribly awkward every time we bump into each other in the dungeon and at the events in both our orbits.  I'd really like to avoid that.

It’s now been 3 days of silence now since I wrote that, and as the silence has been deepening, Princess has been getting angry.

Princess says: What. The. Fuck.  

You can imagine what the General says.

Apparently, liking someone more than I have in a long time travels hand in hand with stone cold fury. This is interesting. When I moved out at the end of living with My basically common law husband, I didn’t feel angry then. I do now. 

That must be growth.

At ethan's funeral, his mom explained to Me that  e’s doctor had recommended heart surgery -- urgently -- but he had not wanted it. he found another doctor who said he might not need the surgery for a decade, he could wait and see. he could wait for Warning Signs before having the surgery. His mom had had the same heart defect; she had had the surgery; with tears in her voice she told Me after the funeral what she had told ethan several years before it: 

With this kind of defect, sometimes you don’t get a warning sign. Sometimes your first warning sign is Dead.

The whole time I knew D he expressed in general terms that there were things in his life he wasn’t proud of. He wants to be a better person, he is working on it, I admired that about him. I honestly never thought he told Me anything particularly worrying, certainly not compared to what I have seen in others. I was impressed in our talks with his emotional honesty and self-reflection.  I believe that when someone tells you who they are, especially when it is not entirely positive, you are well advised to believe them. So I had watched his behavior for warning signs of a grave problem for quite a while, but I never saw any.  Everything I saw was a pleasant surprise, delightful even.

Then Friday at 6:15pm the first warning sign was Dead.

Princess says: Defective Dillan is Dead as a Dumb Doorknob, Dammit!!

She’s pretty upset. Levelled. Flattened actually. The steamroller hit her, backed up, went over her again. Princess never got her heart broke before and well, Master didn’t see it coming so Master never laid the groundwork. Princess was... very upset Friday.  The General had a lot to say at high volume, to EVERY body. We had to lean a lot on boy m and our BFF a thousand miles away. 

Fortunately, Master already had a first not-camp playdate on the books for Princess and her Unkey the next day, so Master told Unkey that Princess got her heart broke. It took Master some big doing to get Princess to Unkey’s house -- she was all OVER the place -- but once there, she settled down and in the end, she felt a lot better. Unkey was happy to see Princess and it helped her remember that just because *THAT BOY* doesn’t want her, it's not the same as NOBODY wants her. Unkey reminded Princess that OTHER people DO like her and DO want her and Princess REALLY needed to know that cuz she forgot for a little while.  By Sunday night, Princess still felt bruised but she was pretty sure she might live after all, and she realized it’s just that Dillan is a POOPYhead.

Looks like we’re gonna be OK.

Master has a new rule:  No more millennials. This club is Grownups Only.