December was an interesting month. Well the past 6 months have actually been interesting. Unsettling times of personal discovery. I have mentioned to many that chaos and confusion agitate me. In part I think that is why I have been unsettled. Discovering yourself, after you think you have already discovered yourself, ( MULTIPLE times) can 'rock you' to your core. Hmm, that doesn't sound quite right. It can cause an uncertainty, and anxiety that silently seeps into your life in ways you can't or won't allow yourself to see. Yet, there isn't an overt negativity that takes over, just ....white noise. You know how quiet it is when the power has gone out? All the background noise is gone. You don't realize how much noise your refrigerator can conjure up until it is silenced. How much noise your furnace makes until it goes off. I didn't realize I was unsettled in mind and truthfully in body until today,for today is different.
A fellow Dd wife who I have known almost since the start of our little adventure said to me not too long ago, " You sound different. More settled....how did you change?" ( or something along those lines). Off the top of my head, I mentioned what I had basically written about in October. All of those little discoveries, I truly believe helped me once again feel more settled. Yet something still wasn't right, inside. ( Oh if you are waiting for a big epiphany reveal later on, you can stop reading now....there is none).
This December, in so many ways I was ahead of 'the game'. I had more baking done, yet it barely seemed to me that I had done any, as I spaced it out ( um anyone require some baking, we are STILL knee deep in squares- send teenage boys ..stat!). I had entertained several times with no last minute rushing around. Life was fantastic. No stresses. BUT things began to slip away. I suspected they would as the holidays tend to get us a tad off track. However, I can actually pinpoint when we hit our first bump in the road. One day I asked Barney, before he started making out his list for me for the day, if I could do 'my own thing today' as I had a million things to do. He agreed. Looking back that was the start of our detachment from each other. Not so much ttwd, because we do still live it regardless, but it was different. I then contracted a nasty cold, ( thank GOD I was uber organized this year) that lasted basically from the 23rd of December until around the 3rd of January. At this point, Barney contracted it. Naturally he was dying of the plague, searching for locusts and seven horsemen while snotting all over the house....but I digress. In between I had seen and maybe even fixated on a few things that I hadn't recognized about our relationship in a long time.
Also in December I focused my thoughts on myself. WOW okay that sounds selfish. I reflected on myself.
Willie the Introvert
Back in October at a Halloween party of all places, I stood there talking with two girlfriends. One is a stand up comedian, the other a human rights advocate and liaison to the Canadian Government. My one friend, let us call her Joan, went on to explain how the three of us while appearing very different were in fact very much the same. We were all introverts. This was the first time I think anyone has ever said I was an introvert ( she is actually correct, by the way but no one ever thinks I am). She further went on to explain how Kim, the stand up comedian, puts on a persona to perform, so others who are not introverts would never understand how Kim could be classified as one. We discussed how friends fail to see us as such because whenever they are around us we are among friends...so we are comfortable. This may seem like something so small and insignificant, but to me that discussion and the realization that not only am I an introvert, I can actually be 'spotted' as one was huge. To me, I realized that night that Joan SAW me. Now Joan and I are friends, and I care for her very deeply, but we are not friends that phone each other up and 'hang out'. We will lunch together. We will go and see Kim's show together or have 30 minute conversations in a grocery store if we run into each other, but we are not in each other's back pocket. Joan has known me since I was about 20 and lived with a friend of hers. Our relationship status was all the more reason for me to appreciate being 'seen' by her. It was okay to be me. If that makes any sense.
Chaos, Confusion and Control
I know a few people who do not like being in large crowds. I consider myself one of those people. I do believe my reasons are different than my friends'. I don't like large crowds but there are various reasons. I can be at crowded shopping mall by myself and not be nearly as effected, as if I am with one or more people. The 'whereabouts' of others causes me such stress. I can zig and zag through a crowd quite easily and I ALWAYS know where the exit is.( For a limited time that is.) However that is a room full of strangers. If I am at a party I am okay as long as I know EVERYONE there...everyone. Insert ONE person I don't know....it can be crippling. It is like I am being watched, ( I know, nice ego on you Willie). I used to sit on a Board of Directors. During our AGM I would have to sit at a head table. MOST of the people in the audience were my neighbours and friends. Sprinkle in a few people I don't know...silence. OR God forbid have me present as opposed to just answer questions...PANIC. What I discovered about all of this, once I was willing to admit it to myself and then dissect it, I don't like chaos, I don't like the unknown. I don't like confusion. Those three adjectives are all about loss of control. Don't get me wrong, I don't DESIRE to be a control freak. As I have said before my need for control is based on fear and anxiety. Needless to say, I am not great with the, go with the flow mentality. There lies in my fear of crowds and groups. It is too unpredictable. ( Plus I can never see LOL).
( Please don't sit there and analyze where you 'rate' one is not 'better' than another, this entry is how *I* RELATE to, not RATE friends) I started thinking about friends and relationships a while back. Joan for example, on paper might not seem like a close friend, but my heart warms when I think of her. She is very special to me for many reasons, yet probably none that would sound any different than another friend. It is merely how I relate to her. I was trying to explain freedom of feelings to Barney one day. Feelings of freedom in friendships. I'm sure, or I certainly HOPE you have at least one friend ( not including your partner) who you can just 'be' with. Some of you, like I thought, might actually think you have many, many ...truth is, I don't. Again, I have so many wonderful, beautiful and loving friendships, but after putting them under a microscope, and I don't mean my friends, I mean my feelings and how I personally interact with them, I realized I don't have many, many.
I tried to illustrate ( poorly) with a visual to Barney.
Some of my friends, emotionally hover around the 4 cup mark on this measuring up. One would assume that means full. PLEASE this is Wilma speaking of course this analogy will be bass ackwards!
Think of things that float in the measuring cup. Some friends float around at the surface. I enjoy, care, perhaps love them very much, I just don't share the depths of myself with them that I do others. There can be very many reasons why. Perhaps I feel they don't share their whole with me? Perhaps I have felt they don't understand all of me, or maybe I don't grasp key parts of them. Perhaps I feel guarded or interpret they have an uneasiness about them? Or maybe there is nothing I can put my finger on as to why, it just is for me. Don't get me wrong I don't look at the call display on my phone and say " Oh 4 cupper I'll let it go to voice mail" . My friends are very important to me. I have a large family but they are spread out all over my province and our ages vary too. My friends are my family. I will rush over in the middle of the night to emergency babysit or drive your mother to her 'exercise' class while you are away no matter where we are connected emotionally in my heart. Because all my friends still reside there.
On to the 2 cuppers. The half way mark you may think, but to me it is the symmetrical line. To steal the word from a friend, balanced. Right in the middle. Even. Emotionally free. The (few) people who I emotionally connect with here may or may not be 'like' me, ( okay well to be honest they are definitely more intelligent than I ...I mean who wants stupid friends ....except them I suppose! lol) Being with them is like being with myself, as in I can just BE. I am not there to tell a story, although I do. I am not there to pick up their pieces, although I can. I am not there to drag them down with me...UM no comment. You know the saying, " Be the friend you want to have" ? These are those women. They are the friend I want to be. I am. At the core that is what is most important to me. That is the greatest freedom of friendship. No 'over thinking' . No hesitating ( you know once you are past the 'breaking in period"). Just being.
Ah so what of the deep dark 1 cuppers? They are the ones I also hold dear to my heart, but they are well....The ones that see through you. Oh not that the others can't or don't, but it feels different. The 4 cuppers are made up of all different sexes. The 2 cuppers are all women, so far in my life. The 1 cups? All men. All dominant men, but of varying degrees. Ones that make you unsettled at times. Ones you don't want to disappoint, yet I hesitate to say that because I don't ever want to disappoint any friends. It is just different ( NO not tingling in your naughty bits different!). I once had a friend tell me over 20 years ago " Don't ever let me catch you....." and to this day I haven't. It isn't that he has any authority over me. Well I can't really vocalize it without sounding completely insane.
So Barney, where does he fit in emotionally? He floats between the one and the two cup line. When I become afraid I sometimes push him higher closer to the 4 cup line, but really he isn't ever there. I am just afraid or stubborn.
Why was this an important discovery? Because I discovered how I can close or open depending on who I am with. Again not necessarily because of THEM but because of me. Barney has repeatedly told me over the last few months how he is proud of my friendships. An odd thing at first to hear, but I am beginning to understand. I am in a more aware because distractions of holding back myself emotionally are not there. I didn't even realize that was an issue. It is like taking complete breaths of air as opposed to shallow. Eventually all those shallow breaths had me hyperventilating. I didn't realize that until now.
Can't Touch This
I don't like people touching me. I will even wash my hair before going to get my hair cut I dislike it so much. Just the thought of it makes me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps the thought of it more than anything. I have never had a massage. I have never gone for a manicure or pedicure. I probably never will. Don't get me wrong, I hug my family and I long for my husband's touch. For a long while now I have wondered about all of this. The 'service industry' touching I always just chalked up to not enjoying being waited on. Perhaps in part that is still true.
When I started thinking about my blanket statement, " I don't like people touching me" I began to think of people I don't mind touching ( hugging ) me. This in a way sort of goes hand in hand with the freedom of feelings. First off I pick up on others awkwardness, or who knows, creates my own and they pick up on it? I do know that if people don't send off that vibe, their hug and affection is natural to me. I have friends where I have no option, and mostly that is more than fine with me. I have other friends now that I look back and think on it, that hug with hesitation and it is like banging two stones together. Perhaps we are? My wall against theirs.
Pain, another discovery. I believe I touched on this before but I will expand a tad. I have known for a few months now that one of my issues concerning letting go during the physical aspect of ttwd stems from the deeply ingrained feeling that pain is something to be conquered not given in to. Do I *like* pain? No. Do I enjoy the after effects of pain I have submitted to? Yes. I thought that this realization would be enough for me to 'coach' myself through and submit to the pain while it was happening. It wasn't. More recently, like REALLY recently, I discovered that I needed to add emotional pain to my list of the deeply ingrained feelings that it needs to be conquered. THIS is a huge obstacle to overcome. Coaching myself out of this was not something that was going to be easy, as really I haven't a clue even where to begin.
But today is different.
Yesterday I was punished for the outburst I had on Friday. The kids were home, so in part that was the reason for the delay but more than that, I think Barney needed to distance himself from that day. Some would think it would be due to the fact that he was too angry. Emotion I'd assume played a huge part, but the other end of the spectrum. He was upset that he let me become so detached ( or his part in it). My punishment for me, my body, my mind, my heart was lack luster. Oh there was evidence of punishment after, it just didn't feel that way. Barney focused on how my actions during my outburst could have caused me injury. I sensed he needed to focus on what might have happened to me as opposed to what it was doing to our relationship because he felt responsible for the latter. I said nothing.
He did ask me later what was on my mind. What was on my mind was that I wished I could have been reached. I wished that it was unbearable because I needed to forgive myself. Only I couldn't say that. Not this time. I needed to let it go. Later in the day he was different. Still true to himself, but different. I submitted to something in a situation where I normally might not have. That is not to say I would have actually SAID no, but he would have stopped. I held back my tears ( okay not really but I was quiet about it) and submitted. Barney most likely noticed, but he continued to want my submission. This was all very different for me, for us.
Later I felt different. Yet not. Different from how I had felt for a very long time. I felt right. I don't mean overjoyed that 'I did it" I mean deep down inside . I felt right AGAIN. That feeling had slowly slipped away and I didn't notice because so many other things were taking place in my crazy head. So many things that needed to take place, but they were shading my little seedling in there I suppose
Now I am an optimist, but I do have realistic thoughts too. I was hoping this was the turning of a corner for me, but I was cautiously optimistic. I was 'coached' on how to water my little seedling. And a little rewards program too. Move one rock over from a vase to a bowl each time I water my seedling. ( Sounds simple right? Nope it took me three tries to find the right size, colour and weight of the rock. I couldn't find a bowl I liked so I opted for just the top of a cabinet for now~ perhaps I am still thinking they can slide away. I did something less vulnerable and submissive the next day, and walked back and forth between the vase and the cabinet with various sized rocks contemplating if it 'counted' or not. I settled on a sea shell fragment that was very small, but beautiful ...I need help I tell you!)
Onto today ( I heard that FINALLY people..rude), Barney decided another spanking was needed. I don't even know how to classify it for those who like names. It wasn't a reset. It sure wasn't maintenance. Reconnection? You know, maybe it was role affirmation. I honestly don't know if we have ever truthfully have had one of those. If we have it has been a long while. But as you may have heard, today was different.
Within minutes I could tell something was different. Except I don't believe this time it was different with Barney. Sure I had been punished the day before, but those physical feelings had left by the evening. No this was different. Not too long into the spanking I was sweating. I haven't sweated for a long time during a spanking and I was really sweating. I felt every swat. Normally I try to stay focused and present during a spanking as I can detach. I think it is my way of coping with pain. I can't say I stayed focused yesterday, I just WAS. My mind bounced around, but stayed. I honestly don't recall a lot of what Barney said either. Usually it is his words that keep me 'there' or bring me back, but this time was, different. I wasn't actively thinking. The pain came and went as time wore on, but something was definitely different.
Today my little voice became louder again. I believe all of these bits and pieces of me have been tossed about like puzzle. Piece by piece I have been putting the bigger picture of me back together again.
Except this time I am not using a hammer to pound the pieces in. Or maybe it is a scavenger hunt to me. I am not sure.
All I know is that today is definitely different.