I have been stuck on the Memphis, darling question I posed to Myself in September: how can there be room in My D/s-M/s dynamic for the kind of tenderness I know I want? Doesn’t taking that much control for Myself mean giving up on tenderness? I acknowledged in September there was only one boy with whom I thought it was possible and so, how fitting that he unknowingly provided Me some answers at WinterFire.
I’ve known j for two years, see him only at events twice a year when his wonderful and generous partner shares him with Me, and from the first meeting, his presence has caused My vision of what I want in a partner and a submissive to snap into focus. It also has given Me confidence that what I long for does concretely exist in the world, is not merely a figment of My hothouse imagination. I’ve taken to using his image when I am frustrated with a boy and questioning whether he is a viable partner. I picture how j would handle the situation and then compare the two responses to help Me spot and articulate what is bothering Me. This patented WWJD technique has allowed Me to identify a critical parameter of service that I have always wanted, but never thought to actually specify: good cheer.
We were cuddling in bed after Saturday’s lunch, during which he had graciously shared a few sips of Jamison’s to help Me cope with polar-vortex-induced asthma. As we lay relaxing back at the hotel, in the early stages of afternoon flirty-nappy foreplay, My tummy began to make ominous noises and knot painfully. I nudged his hand faintly and he intuited My meaning, laying the warmth of his lovely strong paw lightly on My belly to provide comfort, a completely still, steady touch. A presence, really. He spoke, before I did, to observe that lunch had not agreed with Me. As I relaxed into the warmth of his hand, and marveled at how unexpected and wonderful it felt to have My discomfort acknowledged and cared for in this way, I noticed he briefly removed his hand, wiggled his fingers, and returned it to the same place on My belly. The second time it happened, I assumed his hand was cramping or needed a stretch. After the fifth time, My curiosity could not be contained and I reached out from the depths of the sphere of comfort he had wrapped Me in, to inquire what he was doing to Me.
As a Dominant, I expect to know what is being done to My body, and to have My body touched only with express consent. It's pretty damned important to Me, actually, so there was something a little strange - even unnerving - for Me, in the awareness that I did not know what his hand was up to as it touched Me.
I cannot recall the words of the answer because they were surprised right out of Me. This man-boy-dog I adore let Me know that he was actively pulling the pain out of Me with his hand and dispersing it away from Me by wiggling his fingers to release it. I hadn’t even copped to feeling sick - I was struggling as I always do with admitting such infirmities - and he was already trying to heal Me? It blew Me away. There have been moments in My life when I have felt My boundaries expand in a special-effects kind of way, a visual Doppler effect from where they were to somewhere new on a distant horizon. Like the first time I hit a boy in the dungeon as hard as I ever wanted to hit anyone, and he told Me that on a scale of 0-10, I was only at a 3. This was one of those moments... j opened up a horizon’s worth of space in My dominance. A new spaciousness in which I can relax more as a Dominant, be softer and more trusting and even vulnerable. It’s a place I’ve wanted to go, and not known how to reach.
After only a few more minutes, I actually did become briefly and acutely ill, and j said he was sorry he wasn’t able to fix it for Me. I suspect he may have chalked it up to a silly woo-woo thing tried and failed; part of what made it all so surprising is he's been consistently clear that he's not a woo-woo person in the first place. But I actually considered he had rendered a great service. At minimum, he completely removed any woe-is-me emotional angst around the illness experience, and I am woo-woo enough to believe that he did lessen the pain and helped it resolve more quickly. Looking back today, I am struck by how odd it was to have been so ill in the middle of a four day event, and then completely forget that it happened, with no adverse affect on the rest of the experience, as if it never happened at all. I attribute that ease to his presence and his…. service. He didn’t fail to take away My illness, he succeeded in giving Me the best case scenario of being ill at the event. j’s partner had set up a system whereby he could be rewarded for good service with a token, and I gave him a token specifically for this spontaneous service of nurturing. I suspect he was surprised. Once again, his presence has allowed Me to understand something I want but have not previously been able to name. His actions also spoke to My Memphis, darling question… the answer is that it’s not about the dynamic, it’s about the person. A good partner, a loving partner, will be tender in the way I need, the D/s dynamic doesn’t take that away. I don’t need to change the dynamic; I need to choose the right person to share it.
On Sunday, I dropped in on Dr. Ruthie’s trauma class, which was fantastic. I really only went because I was trying to schedule something with Dr. Ruthie and I thought catching them after class would help with scheduling. So I slipped in the back halfway through and resolved to remain unobtrusively until it ended. The class turned out to be sort of a guided group meditation, in which they asked us to reflect upon a traumatic event, identify the body part affected, think about what color the trauma is, what texture it is… consider what lie the trauma told Me about My pleasure and write the lie the trauma told Me down on a full-sized piece of pristine white paper. Then ask Myself: When did I first hear this lie? Did the person who told the lie have Mbest interests at heart? Who else has been told this lie? What I would want them to know about the lie? What would I like them to tell Me that I need to know about the lie? And eventually: cross out the lie the trauma told Me on the piece of paper. Cross it out and replace it with another message. As I reflected on these questions in a meditative state, tears streamed down My face, and I unexpectedly grappled with something I lost at a specific point in time, something I had the sense I knew was lost and wanted to reclaim but couldn’t begin to name. And here’s the new message I came up with:
Pleasure is innocent, safe, and easy.
It occurs to Me that My Dominance is partly a response to the lie of trauma. Don't get me wrong. I’m sure I will remain a Sadist and a Dominant; I know that’s core to Me. But how I go about it, that is inflected by personal experiences. What I’m feeling today is that the Memphis, Darling question… the fingers wiggling unbidden to disperse My pain… and re-discovered truth under the lie… all have a great deal to do with each other. Some people talk about abundance, and some years back I found that a useful construct… no need to work so hard at getting what I need, because there’s no scarcity, all I need to do is be present and be open to what is all around Me. I feel today, though, that abundance was just the start.
It feels now more like the special kind of breathing I do in singing lessons… exhale using every muscle of My thorax, abdomen, back, and pelvic floor. Insisting on pressing out every molecule of the breath, and then relaxing all those muscles so profoundly that when the air rushes in - as it must thanks to the laws of physics - it is effortless. It is not mere abundance. It is an Inevitability.
I don’t have to try so hard for pleasure. It certainly needn’t be work. I don’t have to hold the control if I don’t really want it right now. I certainly don’t have to modify how I do Dominance in an effort to make spontaneous things happen. (Control of spontaneous things? Did I think that was even a choice?) I can leave more space for Memphis, Darling. And even if I don’t, there will be huge-small acts of profound kindness because kindness is an inevitability. Communication - that topic of countless books and hours of classes and loads of considered effort - can be the lightest, most whispy indicator of what I need and still sufficient for tenderness and nurturing and pleasure to flow inevitably to Me.
I pointed to Gatsby in the last post, boats borne back ceaselessly into the past. In this moment, I am borne way back to My religiously-infused upbringing: Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.
I never bought that as a kid.
I remember, in fact, the child equivalent of being cynical about it from an early age, even resentful, because there were big things asked for, prayed for, in childhood that never came. Monday: Dear Lord, please make it rain so that our crops don’t die and our animals won't starve. Tuesday: Dear Lord, please make it rain… Wednesday: Dear Lord, please make it rain…
Maybe part of what I have brought Myself to through Dominance is a felt sense, a faith, that asking does lead to receiving. And the magical part is that in Dominance, the asking can be as simple as the nudge of a hand, or snap of fingers, a look, or sometimes, with the right person, the asking is so minute that it feels like I didn’t ask at all. It becomes fulfillment of a wish I barely heard Myself making.
The poet Mary Oliver writes:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to crawl on your knees for a hundred miles, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
The poet David Whyte says that word “only” is the pivotal word in Mary Oliver's whole (longer) poem. He calls it the ten-thousand-mile only, because listening to the wisdom of the body is hard for us all. I have worked on it a lot, for quite a while now. I feel like in the middle of all the kinky fun, I somehow did that at WinterFire. I had a breakthrough in just letting the soft animal of My body love what it loves.
I have a funny feeling something has opened that will allow new things to happen. I love the sense of anticipation for what might come next. Stay tuned.