Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jack Pines and Jell-O Tossing

Since starting this ACTION packed ADVENTURE called ttwd I have referred to myself and our relationships as many different things.  I have used too many analogies to count.  Well this post isn't going to be any different!

Last post had left off with me sitting on the ledge but desperately wanting to rejoin Barney inside.  I would LOVE so much to tell you that after all your kind words and encouragement I found my way back in.  But let's face it, anyone who KNOWS me, knew the likelihood of that happening was slim at best.

A few days after my post was published, I got around to telling Barney I had written. In our 'comfy' couch of ttwd

he had stopped asking if I had written any posts, and well I stopped volunteering the information.  In his defense I no longer write as often as I did the first 10 months or so.  After reading my post he began to ask me questions on why I thought I was out on the ledge.  Do I know if he actually REALIZED I was out there?  That I can't answer.  I didn't really have any answers to give him to his questions.  At least nothing that was new.  He gently stated,
" Well tomorrow morning when the kids are gone to school, let's see what we can do to bring you back in from that ledge"
As is our usual agreement we talked for a bit before r/a ( reconnection appointment *cough* Lucy *cough*) . I then straddled the corner of the bed and he wailed away. While he wailed he did talk but basically he was giving a recap of what we had just discussed. After about 30 minutes or so and several,
" How are you doing?" and
 " I'm fine"
 he asked me what was the matter.
" Well the way you are talking to me, it is like you are reading off a grocery list.  We have talked about this before.  I need more from you"

I know. I know...for all of you out there saying give the guy a break...take a look at my back end. We use wood in this house, there was a break alright but it wasn't in my armour it was on my skin.  And for the record prior to the spanking I was in a pretty good place.  I was softening.  But considering we just talked about many things.  I felt like he wasn't listening.  Fast forward to later and some curt discussion
" I think then if you have to figure this out, we should take a break from Dd.  I am not saying I withdraw consent. " 
" I think you are right"
"What?  That is it?  No fight.  No discussion over this?"
"So this was a test? "
" I suppose it was.  In which you failed.  There is no passion.  There is no desire, apparently in you anymore for this if that is how quickly you are willing to stop.  At least before you would have put up a fight"
Basically that was the last 'meaningful communication we had for a good 18 hours. To be fair I did sleep a great majority of those hours. I was hurt, yet I decided long ago, no more major tears over this thing we do. I know it isn't going anywhere permanently . Knowing that deep down makes life so much easier, as that anxiety of if this is it, is removed and replaced with how long are we going to be here?

I'll spare you the actual conversations we had the next day, but lets just say there was some attempted walking away from Barney and a snide remark that brought him back. Some broken rules over those 18 hours, ( and yes I knew I was doing them). A few, " what the FLOCK are you talking about" , if only I used flock...ahem...Some accusations about lack of passion because he didn't want to start an argument the night before, so he left it.

NOW my dear friends here is where the Jack Pine comes in....( there are several types of trees that have similar type pine cones, but we only really have Jack Pines where I live)

Jack Pines have cones on them that are serotinous. Basically this mean that they have a resin-like substance that seals them shut. They require high heat to melt the 'resin' which allows them to open - like a forest fire,or extreme temperatures, ( I know this is Canada, but we can get VERY hot in the summer).
Do you see where I am going with this?  This is how Barney and I appear to be.  Well especially me, which drags Barney into it.  Whenever we are in a funk, we stay in a polite discussion stage for so long.  The tree keeps standing but our future growth in new areas does not look promising.  Without realizing it, the temperatures begin to rise around us, and eventually a crack of lightening starts a small fire.  Often my husband Smokey the Bear, will try to walk away  put out the smoldering blaze.  And truthfully sometimes this works, but for the most part, we need a controlled burn.  I did say I threw out a few colourful adjectives in our discussion, but it certainly wasn't a knock 'em down, drag 'em out fight.  It was however Passionate!
Eventually we both opened up a bit. He confessed that he does know what it does to me when he doesn't remember things we talk about. He came to this conclusion after me asking him many questions. I used to simply express my feelings before, but now I find we work better if I ask him and he has to verbalize and realize it on his own. He knows I feel invalidated and that if he can't remember things that are important to me that I must feel that I am not important to him. To be honest, I know in my heart of hearts that I am important to him, but at times this is where my mind will go- yes. I did tell him that by the way.

In a heated moment when we got to discussing lectures, out of frustration I blurted out
" Well make notes then! "
"Hey that is a good idea.  You won't be upset? "
"Not if you remember to use them"
The rest of the day we spent discussing his notes.  At first he wanted me to tell him what to say, but I didn't think that was a great idea.  Instead our conversation went something like this:

"Well take for example a punishment spanking, I am big on guilt.  Use it.  Tell me how my actions are detrimental, whether it be to my health, our relationship, the boys, our dynamic.  Tell me how it makes you feel if I don't follow or obey. "

R/a became a more difficult 'lecture' to talk about. I had pulled a few blog posts up that I had sent him over the past months. A great deal of  them were question and answer type posts-  " Who is in charge ?" etc...
Long ago he had decided that Sir was NOT the thing for him, ( we will insert , for now here as we know how men change). He had said in order to answer the question respectfully I could/should answer " You Barney" ( which sounds better with his real So that was decided on for good.

Later that day we had r/a. Barney had his notes.

Sure NOT the things that  are written in Dd novellas, but you know, it worked.  Especially when he pulled out the ,

" Who loves you? "

That one really got to me.

Of course I did have to tease at the beginning...I mean he'd be confused if I didn't

" Who loves you?"
" You do"
" No remember to say Barney with a question"
" Who is in control here?"


" Barney? "

Laughter from behind, followed by a FLURRY of smacks

" What am I going to do with you? "

Since that day we have had many mini discussions.  On days when he is working crazy hours I try to stay up or sleep on the couch until he gets home.  Just to touch base.  Although I think he may be putting those times to an end with the exception of weekends.  We have talked about how he let me take control at the beginning of the month.  How he thought with one of our 'issues' it was decided that I would handle it, but he didn't realize that he should have come to check on me and see if there were things he could do to at least support me.  We talked about how whenever I have to ask him to read something that he is putting the onus back on me, if I am continually doing it.  He understands how over time me continually coming up with the solutions makes me feel in control and resentful...and starts the gap.  He has begun to  ask me more questions-  How are you feeling about this situation?  Did you write today?  Should I check my email? ( although just checking it will be a nice BIG step...we'll get there)

I am to tell him if I have broken a rule.  I am also to tell him areas I have had to take control over during the day if he is not around. If an issue can wait, I am to WAIT for him to deal with it, ( that one is difficult).  We just had another mini discussion the other morning about his lecturing and his notes.  I explained to him how well they worked but I can see myself in the near future becoming a tad frustrated if he doesn't alter them a bit.  He understood completely and had already thought of how to do that.  We told each other what we had liked about the past few days and discussed a 'heated' situation that most likely could have been resolved in a better way next time, ( although not necessarily favourable for me...honesty sucks at times).

All of our mini discussions, for now, have been constructive with no one taking offense to the topics on hand.

In case you are wondering about the Jell-O Tossing and how it comes in.  That is how I think of ttwd. 

Wobbly.  But strong.  Deliciously soothing, but not everyone's idea of delicious.  AND every once and a feels like we are tossing it back and forth.  It is messy, and sticky and NO one likes the idea of cleaning up after. When you are in a rough patch TTWD and talking can seem as pointless as tossing Jell-O .  You think you will never catch that^ so why even bother?  Because if you try, you won't catch the entire thing, but if you look down, you'll notice some of ttwd managed to stick to your hands.  Maybe that is the part that was most important after all?

I say this with great I'm a little irked at Barney right now because it appears he forgot about something that was very difficult for me to tell him, surrounding punishment spankings.  I was too angry last night to talk about it with him.  Let's just say, cane or no cane, if Willie is mad...NOTHING is going to reach her.  So tonight we toss the Jell-O again. LOL...but no need for a forest fire at least!

Our little forest fire wasn't as big as it could have been.  It didn't take out acres before it was under control. The great thing about the Jack Pine is, once the seeds manage to hit the soil (which is extremely fertile after a burn), it is one of the first trees to start to grow and flourish.

**** I feel once again the need to add this.  I suppose because I no longer write very often I have lost my touch, and I don't let you in on every detail of my life so things get lost in the shuffle.  We are NOT in a bad place.  Sure I was irked at Barney for forgetting something the other night, but the events I describe in the above post are in the PAST.  We aren't struggling.  Honestly.  We hit a bump in the road but it isn't the end of the world.  It wasn't even then.  Sure we had a rough 18 hours but that was it...just a blimp in time.  I don't want everyone to take away from this...poor Willie.  We feel great.  We overcame..but that was never in any doubt in our minds. 
Sorry for the confusion.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Out On the Ledge

So today I am sitting here, on the ledge. 

 I'm not precariously perched on a window ledge.  Just sitting out here.  As the wind licks at my skirt, I am concerned that one of my shoes will slip off and land on a passer by on the sidewalk below-but basically I am in no danger.  The ledge is wide enough to safely accommodate me.

So why am I out here?  I am not 100% sure.  I certainly have my theories.  The Christmas holidays while fantastic,( if we were to base it on low stress levels and no meltdowns) found both Barney and I working parallel but not side by side in our dynamic.  There actually was no dynamic if I were to be completely honest.  No active domination.  No active submission.  That is not to say we weren't mutually respectful.  We were, but the connection seemed to be lost or weak at its best.

Barney has tried since 'life' went back to normal in the past couple of weeks to 'bring me back', yet here I sit.  On a ledge, watching the goings on below and through the window behind me.  Several people have come to the window to ask if I needed help coming back inside.  " No I am fine"  This isn't a lie.  I am fine.  Detached- but fine.  I am not sad- although life does throw some very interesting things at you. Let's just say we've been bombed by a passing bird shall we?

One bird has made a direct hit while off on the horizon we can spot the potential for more.

But that is not what has me sitting out here.  In fact Barney has commented on how happy, albeit surprised, he was that I broke down and cried with the first hit instead of my former non coping mechanism usual angry outburst.  Together we have marvelled how we are stronger going through these challenges this time than we have in the past.  Not because experience has made us any wiser, but  because neither of us feel alone in our fears and worries.

No I am sitting out here because I won't get up and move back inside.  As I said Barney has tried to bring me back.  He is still trying.  Last week he tried for over 40 minutes.. ( good times).  He sits on the window sill and talks to me.  Asks me questions.  Demands I eat.  Tends to my needs.  I am grateful and each time I think, "Okay that should do it.  Time to get up and take his hand and go inside".  Yet I don't.

He is trying to reach me and yet I feel like I am barely inching over close enough to take his hand.  Months ago, heck probably even weeks ago, I would have sat on the ledge in righteous indignation.  " Why doesn't he come out here and GRAB me?  DRAG me back inside ?"  First off, it isn't really his style and secondly, physically I can go wherever I need to but mentally I would still be on the ledge.

I need to find it in myself to actively submit.  I have been doing all he asks of me, and well more. Is it helping?  Perhaps.  I am still sitting on the ledge, I haven't fallen off.  So I suppose he is keeping me grounded to it.

These acts of submission whether required or voluntary are like a lighter that has little fluid left in it. It sparks, giving hope of warmth

and light.  But often not much more.
Occasionally the  accelerant ( wink ) catches and the flame emerges for a bit.  A smaller, weaker flame but a flame nevertheless

This is what has been happening lately in our house.  I am only allowing the small flame to emerge.  It  does make me want to come off the ledge and back inside, but the draw is temporary.  I am realizing that the issue this time is mine and mine alone.

Barney and I have been communicating.  A lot actually.  It has been good.  He is still reading his The Control Book, but wherever he is in it at the moment is not 'speaking' to him.  I have been rereading Conquer Me by Kacie Cunningham.  We decided that maybe reading separately isn't always such a good idea.  Lately I will read several chapters in my book, underlining as I go.  I will pause and when Barney has time he will read what I just finished.  We then have our Book Club meeting, just the two of us, no Oprah, to discuss what has been read and underlined by both of us.  It has been really helpful.  Many of the subjects have been discussed before between us, but it keeps Dd in the forefront of our minds and the lines of communication open.  Both of us have been far less frustrated lately and I am certain this is one of the many reasons why.

So why won't I come close enough to take Barney's hand and come inside?  I am not entirely sure. One of the issues we are facing right now in our lives has to be primarily taken care of by me.  I have said in the past that I am not great at multi-emotionalizing ( in case you are new, it is my made up word....meaning just that, feeling more than one emotion at a time).  If I have to remain strong and guarded to get through a situation I remain that way until the situation is over or has resolved itself.  I am in task mode.  This is not to say my mind is constantly engaged in the task, but my heart hardened to do so and stays that way. 

This time around I am better with this issue, but I think the situation coupled with not being fully recovered connection wise from the holidays is a key factor on why I am out here.  All is not lost however.  This time last year I would have driven miles away from the building

As I have mentioned, I am not sad, or down, or even frustrated.  I think my sitting out here is going to come to an end soon.  I am actively trying to do some things to bring me close enough so Barney can grab my hand.  It will come in time.  I just feel like my backside seems to be stuck to the ledge at the moment because I have been out here far longer than I realized.  I suppose that happens when you leave the window open.  It gives you the illusion you are inside, when really you are not. The upside of that might be knowing that you can choose to go back in  THROUGH it as opposed to jumping and having to climb back UP the stairs again to be in the same room together.

No matter as long as we both keep trying, I'm certain we can get that lighter flame to last a little longer and keep those home fires burning so we feel strongly connected again.


Or maybe its just....

Friday, January 10, 2014

Up the Mountain with Phyllo Pastry

 A few days ago Barney and I were sitting on our bed discussing a post I had recently written ( I have pulled it for personal reasons).  Anyway we were discussing the positive changes I have noticed about myself.  He had noticed the changes to a degree but not to the depths that we were discussing.  After all - he's not in my head.  lol

While we were pondering a few things, Barney started talking about how our lives have changed over the past year.  For those watching the Barney and Wilma show, you know there hasn't been one defining moment where everything began to work.  In fact today via email I was telling a girlfriend who asked if it ever got easier

Nope.  Every few months or so it seems like we  have to go back to the starting line and get back to basics.  Granted the starting line isn't as far back as it once was and 'basics' are more advanced in nature at times.  The trail has been broken in so it isn't as difficult if we just allow ourselves to follow it without being frustrated. 

Along that vein Barney was talking about the layers ( no not peeling them back ) of our relationship.  How throughout all our struggles in the past year or so we have grown even if we didn't realize it at the time.  NATURALLY that got me thinking....about  Phyllo Pastry.

...and we're off!

You know ( or maybe you don't) when you buy Phyllo Pastry it appears in this huge thick lump

Looks pretty solid right?  If you look closely around the edges, you might be able to see the layers coming apart .  Not very impressive, but there is potential  I suppose this could be used as an analogy about us and our marriage.  We were there with potential, solid, yet we could slip apart at the edges.  Phyllo pastry in this state has a powdery substance between it so the layers don't adhere to each other, however being folded together in the box and the weight and time does make them stick in what seems like crucial areas.


In our relationship with ttwd/Dd it now appears we had to separate each layer before we effectively move on to the next building process.  Last night I was reading an old post of ours from April of last year.  In it a friend commented as such to me.  She said it appears that Barney and I both seemed to be the type of people that needed to take something apart, put it back together and figure out how or why it works in order for it to work. 

Once we had all the pieces apart, (this is where Barney's analogy kicks in) we started to layer even though we didn't realize it.  If you notice the phyllo pastry is very thin on its own. You can practically see through it.  It even becomes more translucent when you brush it with the egg wash or butter that is used to bind it to another layer.


Gah....honestly this is such a painstaking and finicky process.  I don't like thinking about doing it.  However once it is over I think, meh that wasn't so bad.  DURING it?  The potential for frustration is great.

Bit by translucent bit we were building.  Adhering our layers without realizing it.  One day we turned around and we had created a great foundation that could be filled with all the yummy sweetness ( gag I know).  The layers became strong.  Individual yet strong.

End of story?  No far from it. Merely the beginning. 
 End of struggles?  HARDLY.  You see this is one little niblet.   One mouthful.  Our lives both individually and together have so much history and we are making new mistakes history everyday.  I look at this foundation to be in one area. We are silently, right now putting layers together in other areas of our lives.  Which area specifically?  No clue. lol

There are many more 'treats' to create.  That being said often during the egg wash, adhering process, we tear the phyllo pastry sheet.  Sometimes we think it will be okay to use that ripped sheet and during the baking process the 'heat' will bake it together.  I suppose it depends on which layer gets torn.  It doesn't always work that way.  Frustration builds.  Pastry crumbles.  So what do we do???

This is where we find ourselves at the moment.  While we used to get frustrated in hiking up the trail again, now we often can get excited about seeing something new this time up.  Of course that is after resisting going back to the start again.  Once that decision is made we both feel better and less frustrated.

That isn't to say that some days I  didn't
wish there was a side path  to toss a certain caveman in!