Thursday, July 14, 2016

Embrace the Struggle!

A great deal of this post was inspired by two things: my conversations recently ( pfft ALWAYS) with other submissive wives, and seeing Menopause the Musical.

Why Menopause the Musical ( by the way if you have the opportunity, go and see it!  I laughed, actually laughed for 90 minutes)?  because at the end of it they tell you ( no spoilers don't worry) to share your stories with each other.  Be there for each other. Every woman goes through some of this, so why not talk about it!  The same can be said for struggling in  ttwd.

 While our struggles are as diverse as the couples who live ttwd, some tend to run through many.Consistency on BOTH sides of the coin comes to mind.  It can be a pretty typical conversation on any given day among the women of ttwd. I have come to believe a number of struggles seem to mask themselves as consistency.  Have you ever wondered, 'why now?  Why is consistency and issue after all this time?'  or " why has his/her approach changed after all this time"?  To me the struggle may APPEAR to be consistency, and obviously to a degree it is, but really it might only be the symptom not the cause.

Let me give you an example from our lives.  Last autumn I had an experience.  I am not entirely sure how to explain it really.  In the interest of keeping this brief, and not to bore those who have already read about it, I reached a new 'level' within myself.  I felt wonderful and free.  I did however seem to need my husband more than ever.  I know sounds like such a contradiction.  Anywho.  I felt amazing, a little off balance in someways at times when I felt things were moving us away from my wonderful feeling-my husband?  Well he felt pretty good too, and then he didn't.  He didn't because my reactions seemed to hurt seem to echo those reactions and emotions that I had experienced at the start of ttwd years earlier.    Of course being the 'long time' Dders that we were, why would we communicate?  LOL.

As time went on, my husband seemed to drift away from me.  It actually became a very big issue for us.  We did eventually talk about it, but our conversations only seemed to scratch the surface.  One of the things he did say (eventually) was that it was my reactions  he feared.  Naturally I was insulted.  He thought I was irrational? Eventually he said it was his fear of hurting me with his words that had him withdrawing.  Over and over again we discussed this.  Over and over again we believed we made progress.  Over and over again we fell flat on our faces.

I kept thinking, why doesn't he just go back to doing what he used to do?  There were a few times when he really stepped things up in the D/s department.  Those times we seemed to be heading right back to the place I longed for.  The Dd aspect (ie punitive measures) still seemed to be in tact.  In fact if I said it once, I said it a hundred times, the Wilma from 4 years ago would have been over the moon with the consistency of punishments ( well you know what I mean!) we have now.  That Wilma however is long gone.  Don't get me wrong, punishments have their place in our relationship, but it is the other aspects of D/s, the between that keep me where I need to be.

You see at the surface this is a matter of consistency.  Why does he not consistently demand 'his things' anymore?  Why won't he just tell me to xyz like he used to?  Why is he..........COASTING? Ahhhhhhhh but there is the real question...WHY???  He isn't being consistent for a reason.  WHAT is that reason?  I'm not a slow  person, I knew that.  I asked him many, many times, " what has happened?  Why have you changed?  Why does it seem like you forget our conversations? Why can you seemingly have no issue in punishing me, SEVERELY , yet telling me to submit in other ways no longer enters your mind?" ( yes , yes a lot of YOU statements). Aside from the " I am afraid of your reactions" I got nothing from him.  And before you start blasting me, I worked very, very hard at changing.  Too hard actually I began to suppress again.

While Dd still continued in our house the more D/s aspects came and went.  And even when there were 'here' they were not like they used to be.  Sure there were pockets of them, times that gave me great hope we would return....but then poof!

The whys are not really my story to tell, and in part Barney is still working a great deal of them out in his mind.  Suffice to say a small aspect ( or maybe a large ) had to do with his acceptance of him enjoying his role as Dominant.  Before it was for MY benefit...and then the benefit of our some of it is strictly for his.  He said " Ttwd has put a mirror in front of me and I don't always like what I see".  At first he used to say  it was because he realized he was selfish ( he's not).  As time has gone on, we have talked more about this and it has a great deal to do with his acceptance of himself and his like of certain aspects of D/s.  Trust me when I tell you this is still very much a work in progress.

All this to say, while consistency appeared to be the cause, it really was not the root of the issue.  It was a symptom of his personal struggle, and still continues to be. Some things aren't as easy to figure out or over come anymore like ( I remember )they used to be the first year or two of ttwd.

A great deal of this I wrote about , but then stopped for fear of sounding like a broken record.  In all honesty I felt like people would be thinking, "oh for goodness sake what is she whining about this time?" or " why can't she just be happy with what she has?"  or, " maybe she should except that this isn't him?" .  The truth is none of those things going through my mind at the time should have been.  I think many of us fall into that trap, doing the thinking for others that is. I knew in my heart then as I do now that I wasn't whining. I was genuinely perplexed, this IS him. I have seen it.  I have seen him flourish in it, and I don't have to accept what isn't completed.  We have gotten to the point in our relationship where I know it is possible.  I have felt it.  He has witnessed it. We just needed to get to a place where we both can embrace it again-guilt free.

So then why did I stop writing?  I don't know.  All I do know, when I talked to friends about different aspects of our struggles in conjunction with theirs, more often than not I hear, " why doesn't anyone write about this?"  or " I thought we were the only ones who dealt with this"  or " that makes sense, I never thought of that".  When I boldly suggest they write, I often hear, " So I can hear, 'it will all work out', or versions of 'just be happy with what you have', 'communicate' or worse NOTHING at all.

I can't think of a greater comment on a post than, " I understand",  " you are not alone"   " you are normal", or a simple " thank you for sharing"  and then give a bit of your life to the blogger.  Show them you understand, that they aren't alone, that they are normal.  Bring it out into the open again.  That is how blogging used to be, and is still in some areas.  Embrace your struggles!  Share your struggles.  Be brave.  You are not alone, and you'll discover that.

As for the  second part of my initial statement, the women of ttwd,  I know many of them, and I have been there myself, cannot read in blogland or on forums when their relationship/dynamic seems to be on hold or struggling.  Many feel out of place.  Many long for what others have.  But I say Embrace The Struggle Ladies...and write.  Write for yourself and write for others.  Because I can guarantee you for every happy 'story' you read there are many behind that are struggling or have had a similar struggle.( And I am by no means not saying to share the happy, but if you share the struggles your happy becomes a community triumph... we are great cheerleaders!).

 There is NO shame in struggling.  It means you are not staying stagnant, even if it feels like you are going backward. It means you need more from your partner, your relationship or yourself.  That is not a bad thing.  It isn't failure on anyone's part.  It is growth!

The Poster Child of Dysfunctional D/s ..LOL

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Vulnerable Isn't the End Goal

I realize I am about to potentially open up a can of worms here, but here goes nothing.  I was trying to find a way to express to my husband what it is like to feel, what up until today, I would call vulnerable. You know the way you feel when everything is 'right' in your D/s relationship and you feel you can just 'be'.  I thought I would look up the word for inspiration~ not because I don't know how it feels, but because I was looking for a less floral  willie way to say it.

Those who know me, know there are a few terms I don't relate to around 'here'.  Journey for example is one of them.  As I have said countless times journey conjures up a vision of a cat and two dogs travelling across the country trying to find their owners who 'forgot' them when they moved.

 For me ttwd is much more like an adventure. Some great friends, some scary times, and creatures that appear scary initially, but aren't in the long run.

  So I use adventure not journey.  ( Also not a fan of referring to my husband as my HoH or Dom, again that is just me)

It would appear now that vulnerable may make the list of words being booted out of my wheel house. As I said I looked up the word and the definition not the wide interpretation of the word, it wasn't something I could actually BRING to my husband.

Simple Definition of vulnerable

 easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally
 open to attack, harm, or damage

I am unsure how other men would interpret this, but I can tell you that at the beginning of ttwd my husband would NOT want to take me on an adventure if the description above was the destination for his wife.  I KNOW, I can hear you yelling at me now, " Yeah, but...."  Look, I am just sharing the actual definition.  Try and 'think like a man' ladies.  LOL.  How many times have you read or heard women ttwd relationships say " My husband is concerned I will become....(insert a version of this definition).

I know among ourselves here, as women and perhaps even husbands who have been able to concretely see/feel what we mean, understand a different ttwd-version of vulnerability.  ( I do agree, as I will talk about later that we have to be vulnerable to GET where we are going however).

DON"T yell at me.  I am not saying we are WRONG, I am actually trying to say, maybe a collective 'we' have been sending some conflicting messages by using the word vulnerable with the opposite sex.   When I approached Barney with my findings he admitted that when I first talked about vulnerability he couldn't understand why that would be a good thing.  He thought of it in a military way, like fortress that was susceptible to harm.  Over time through reading blogs and on forums, he understood what the collective 'we' meant, but it isn't his definition of vulnerability, again as the end result.

While clicking around on the internet, I came across invulnerability. Here is a definition given for this word
Incapable of being wounded, or of receiving injury; not vulnerable.
Unanswerable; irrefutable; unable to be damaged by an attack or convinced

  I will tell you when I am what I have previously stated in my most 'vulnerable state', I actually feel VERY content in my own skin, I am almost euphoric, and I feel very, very STRONG because of it.

I wrote recently about hair trigger emotions, and being vulnerable and the potential for hurt.  After reading and discussing today, I am beginning to think I was wrong about that.  The potential for hurt isn't IN what I used to refer to as my most vulnerable state, it happens as I am leaving it.  The fear of losing it has me reacting the way I do.  While I am what I refer to as "in the zone", " true to my core" , "in the bulls eye" or " squishey, squashy, cuddly with my husband"  I am Teflon Girl.  The little troubles of the world slide off me, rather than stick and burn.  Sure life and all her bipolar bitchiness throws stuff our way that has me moving from my core, but I am open and unguarded with my husband and others.  I am not defensive.  I don't look for 'monsters under the bed' that aren't there.  Bumps in the night are just that.  Even moving slightly away from my core, those things all have similar perspective.  What I am not though is a dictionary definition of vulnerable.  Because that definition has not one word of strength or contentment in it.

I now believe that we do have to spend a great deal of our time in a vulnerable state.  For myself I will say that when I am slightly away from my centre, core etc.. I have to be willing to be vulnerable again.  I have to 'put myself out there' with my husband.  I have discovered recently that even though we have reached this amazing level (for lack of a better term here) in D/s emotionally, there are still many many times where we encounter issues.  There are still times of miscommunication. These times occur when we stop communicating (or at least I do) about issues that I would have considered 'novice' Dder or D/s issues.  And while the steps are still similar,the emotions are deeper, and the situations surrounding are different. The new depths can echo old insecurities, just with a different spin. I think *maybe* because there aren't as many epiphanies as we go along or they aren't always as great, we tend to lose focus on the sharing aspect....again I am speaking for Barney and myself.

When we are where we want to be, there is no need to be vulnerable.  There is as I said this amazing euphoric state of being.  I am not worried about rejection, or his reaction, about getting hurt.  I feel an acceptance in my own skin. I am no longer vulnerable.  Maintaining that level of being is extremely difficult however, with life always seeming to have me inching away from my core.  Hence forcing me to be vulnerable again and not wall up.

I suppose the real question is, can you be vulnerable if there are no threats?  Take an orchid plant for example.  It is extremely vulnerable in many parts of the world.  However in a controlled environment, ie a greenhouse, is it really vulnerable?  If its needs are met adequately; water, sunlight, temperature, is it really at risk?  I don't think so.  It is at risk when someone opens the door and the outside world can make its way in, but if the caretaker is aware, adjusts the temperature, closes the door fast enough, squishes any pests that enter, the plant becomes no longer vulnerable again.

Maybe I 'lied' a bit.  There are times when I do fit this text book version of vulnerability since starting ttwd even in my euphoric, I am on the bulleye state.  There are times I am a bit afraid, more than I used to be.  Or rather more aware of it than I used to be.  I seek out my husband ( say in a crowded place) for comfort, and that little bit of vulnerability does make my heart flutter as much as it does my stomach turn.  Why?  because he can make it alright.  No one else can.  Sure I could be with any number of people who love me, but only he understands (as best he can) that I am anxious. He is my anchor in times like these.  That being said, those times don't define me.  Those times are outwardly, concrete and tangible signs of vulnerability that he can change.  Is it rewarding to him?  I'd imagine so, (swoon -my night in shining armour) but how rewarding would it be for him on a deeper level, if he felt he 'created' a dictionary version of a vulnerable wife?  Ttwd has forced me to face many of my fears.  Some of which I have been able to almost overcome, or at least quiet them a little. Other fears have been given a voice and therefore are out in the open more.  There is a potential for hurt there, but generally it doesn't surface.  So I am unsure if I could say I am text book vulnerable at that time.

I will say I allow myself to feel more.  I will say that has the potential for great hurt....potential.  It isn't a forgone conclusion though, for if I am standing on the bulls eye I have an ability to see 360 degrees, and that is a fantastic viewpoint to see all stories behind something/someone actions, words, motivation.  One sliver off of the bulls eye however and things do tend to alter the view a tad. And the longer I am off the centre, the more I drift away and the more the perception begins to alter.

One could argue that if your walls are down your unguarded self is open to attack.  I can't argue that.  Everyone is different. When we are where we desire to be, which as I said is not often, vulnerable is not what I feel.  I feel so utterly content.  I feel powerful (inner power) with the armour shed, because it is not needed.  I feel weightless. I feel strong.

 I do have to reenter my vulnerable state over and over again to regain what we desire. I therefore believe, at least in my case, that vulnerability is a necessary 'evil'-  A means to an end but NOT the end goal.
 Something  I have never done is ask what people think ( I just always assume people will share if they want to..meh guess not) but have been told by a couple of ladies, one bossy *cough* Susie *cough* one to ask " So what do you think? "  ( sheesh that still sounds lame to me...just sayin' )