Wonderfulness, Stress, and Living on Bread Alone…

…not necessarily in that order.

Dear Diary,

I am rubbish at consistently writing here. In part, I think it’s because I haven’t felt I’ve had much to say, or much that I wanted to say in blog/journal form. Mainly, I think I’ve felt that I haven’t needed this, not like when I started at least. I don’t mean that I have all this figured out, as I will detail later, just that the need to process and vent and take care of myself isn’t so pressing because I’m not dealing with such…extreme circumstances regarding my closest relationships. It doesn’t feel so dire, not quite so life and death. Which is good. Less drama is a good thing. Being able to breathe is a good thing.

But I have had a rather intense round of stress in the last few weeks, which has highlighted that I do really well taking care of myself after and during periods of suffering. Yet when things are pretty level, pretty calm, I skimp. Which is dumb. I keep having to re-take this lesson and I’m starting to annoy myself. But more on that later.

I had car troubles which was so not a bill I needed. I’m attempting to set up summer employment (I teach, which is lovely with summers off, but at the same time… income-less months are not always grand), and still not sure if it’s going to work out and I would just like to know already. I am trying to juggle work, volunteering with my church, projects with my Mom, family commitments, and doing a deep clean and reorganisation of my apartment. And then got to spend a weekend at the garage with the car.

I have this special category of stressors, that are common things but can just derail everything for me: car issues and budget issues. It’s going to work out, but oy, it’s gonna be tight.

Depending on what happens with the summer employment. Getting it could be better, but that will depend on how things go. Could be awful. Not getting it might be better. As long as no major expenses are incurred. Sometimes I think God poises me on these particular edges because I am being a stubborn student and He has had enough.

I also have lacked my regular introvert recovery time. A few weekends ago, I was spending my time at the garage and at the very, very loud coffee shop surrounded by people. Then the next weekend I had one day off, then spent day two visiting a friend and attending a family dinner, both of which were lovely. Then work stresses and soooo many schedule changes in between (I would like to go on record stating that BC’s ‘spring break’ of two weeks in March where there is no school and people go on holidays in the middle of the bloody semester – these are not, by the way, university students I refer to; they actually deserve a break and would use it to work – is absolute shite and I hate it, literally hate it, with a passion. I am such a joy to be around this time of year). Then this last weekend included my main day off being spent with family, which was again lovely, but I’d hit my limit on Thursday. Friday was painful.

See, when I hit my limit I am struggling so much to process what I need to that any interruption, any person talking to me, my phone giving me alerts, popups in the browser, loud noise, or my current favourites: the person on the radio is saying inane things and won’t get to the point, or the singer isn’t getting to the point of their song fast enough. My brain instantly tells me it needs to stop because it cannot be handled. I am overloaded and exhausted, and I have zero patience left. All I want is to get. out. Get home. Try to shut everything off. Take a nap. Eat something. Just make the world shut up. Meanwhile, I am trying so hard to pretend to be friendly and kind and gracious when that is soooo not what I am feeling inside. And these lovely people don’t deserve this, because it’s not their fault; not exclusively, at least, it’s everyone combined and me just needing a lot of refueling. But I do my best to speak and act well because I firmly believe that regardless of how I feel I am still responsible for how I treat people. But I have to watch my tone, because it comes out as perpetually impatient and harsh because I just want to get it done, and my face. I can keep my mouth shut, but apparently I have facial expressions I’m not entirely aware of.

Thank God I smartened up on Saturday.

I actually, and this is miraculous, got up early. Of my own free will. Well, I strongly suspect the Holy Spirit is changing my heart there because nine times out of ten I will sleep until the last possible second. But Saturday I got up early at 6:30ish, chatted with someone lovely a little, did Bible study, had tea, let my brain wake up, and then headed to my Mom’s. And I was good. I still enjoyed my caffeine for the day, but I was capable of being a nice person for most of the day. I was relieved when I could leave; certain people just don’t move at my pace, and some things were being frustrating and I really did not need more frustration, but overall it went well.

I know that’s because I started my day decently. So now, of course, I have proof of this, I know better… and I have to actually follow through. Because if I don’t, God’s going to look at me with one eyebrow raised.

I went to church today, that was good. I debated going back for a quick meeting tonight and finally decided no, I need to protect my introvert time because it could be another long week. On a happy note, I get Easter off. So if I can just make it two more weeks, then oh I am going to get to go to Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, and in between I can literally lock myself in my house and turn my phone off and speak to no one for hours and hours at a time. It’s going to be beautiful.

So lesson learned. Hopefully. Self-care cannot and should not (duh) be ignored. ‘Man cannot live on bread alone’. I was watching an old episode of Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and he quoted this, and it just clicked. I’ve been trying to live on bread alone. I’ve been trying to catch up on everything from when my car was in the shop, and some things before then, I’ve been trying to deal with the bare necessities. But somewhere in there I forgot this one particular necessity. My self-care cannot be considered a luxury, because when I do that I make it optional. It cannot be left out of the budget, so to speak. So hopefully, again, lesson learned.

On a much happier note, my day yesterday ended in the best way. I’ve been in ‘search mode’ for about a month and a half now; I posted ads on a few sites looking for a formal D/s relationship, and have been spending a lot of time getting to know people who responded. And I have met some incredible people and been quite blessed through our conversations. One in particular has been so lovely. He is one of the most positive, encouraging, and understanding people I have ever met; he has a good heart and I am continually impressed by his character. We share so many of the same interests and beliefs and desires, which is fantastic. And last night he asked me if I would be his Babygirl, and I said yes ❤ So, I have a Daddy. And he is wonderful. And it’s officially been over 24 hours and I am still tearing up about it, he’s made me so happy. I am excited and just… thrilled. And at peace. Which is really lovely to feel.

I’m not going to say more than this right now because I am quite careful about what I post regarding my personal relationships, as they are so precious to me. Right now I am simply basking. And smiling a lot. And enjoying my re-exploration of D/s after over a year’s hiatus, essentially.

God is good. Now for some Bible study, because I’m going to do this self-care thing right.

 

 

So I Haven’t Written in a While…

Dear Diary,

It’s been kind of a crazy two weeks.

First, there is the massive influx of messages that tends to happen with the listing of an ad on FetLife and getDare. This meant a lot of extroversion for me, and I think that while I was quite ready and excited about a new relationship, I was perhaps not so ready to do that much extroverting every day. There were a few times I had to walk away from the computer, turn off the phone, go do something that had nothing to do with anyone else, and just breathe. Because oh my gosh. I can only remind people that being called pet names and terms of endearment from someone I am not in a relationship with so many times before my discomfort levels make me want to either burst into tears or scream.

But for the most part, it has been lovely getting to know people (which is an ongoing process). I had a few domly doms and trolls, with some very lame attempts at negging, and just some poor judgement calls. Most people, though, have been fantastic. Gradually, very gradually, I’m getting the messages down to a manageable number. I’ve paused a few conversations with friends/acquaintances for sanity’s sake, and once I recover will resume them.

Which brings me to last weekend. I had a car mishap, I’m going to call it, which resulted in a very late night where my Mom and her husband came and rescued me (for which I am deeply grateful; I am so, so, so glad that they moved out here, because it is really nice to not have to deal with some of this on my own), one day of car repairs and a bill I so did not need right now, and then a second day of the regular maintenance which took about three hours longer than it was supposed to, which meant that my day off was spent in a very loud coffee shop and in an equally loud garage, dealing with people and not getting the introvert rest that I usually spend my Saturdays providing myself. This last week has been…trying. My stress levels are better, but still quite high. I keep catching myself clenching my teeth today, which is a sign that I need to stop talking to people for a while because my mind is just too loud and I need time to think and process and breathe in relative silence. Higher stress levels last weekend and early this week led to some relatively minor but still not fun health situations, after I was sick the week before, so that’s been a delight. I am behind on almost everything I planned to do last weekend, which also stresses me, so this week I’ve been trying to catch up so I can cram the rest of last weekend into this weekend along with what I need to do this weekend.

I am trying to get things set up so I can work at some farmer’s markets this summer, and honestly I’m more than a little scared about it. I don’t want to apply because apparently I have this fear of failure that’s cropped up in the last while, but I’m going to apply because I think I should at least try. I’m not entirely sure if this is what God wants me to do or if it’s a huge mistake and I’m trying to cling to my own plans rather than listening to Him. So I have prayed that God will confirm it via acceptance into the markets if He wants me to do this, and so if I don’t get in then I am going to conclude that God’s not cool with it. And I think I’d be fine either way, as long as I’m doing what God wants me to do. This is always my frustration and fear with discernment. I’m fine with biblical interpretation, I know what the Bible teaches, I have no issue talking to people I trust in the church and getting their input, and I get some answers from God when I pray. But things like this…I just don’t know. And I can’t wait to apply or I won’t get in for sure, and I don’t want to use ‘waiting on God’ as an excuse to not apply and not get in.

My place is in chaos because I’ve been focusing on messages and work and church projects, which are all good but the chaos stresses me. So step one is going to be getting that under control this weekend. Step two is going to be dealing with the market applications, and I know I’m going to feel better when that’s not hanging over me.

And I can’t even plan things out beyond that right now. I have taxes to deal with, more work stuff, prep for Bible study (most of which I can get done this weekend, I think), prep for markets in several areas, baking to plan, a summer trip home to plan, school to deal with, my computer needs to be organised, I have about 67,000 books to read…

But I can’t figure everything out right now. I think that maybe, and I stress the maybe here, God is raising my stress levels for a reason. I keep praying for Him to allow me to experience Him, to know Him better, to grow my faith. Well. Without God, none of this is going to go well. So I am starting with the basics I know I need in self-care. I am trying (I still loathe mornings, so it’s a struggle) to start my day with Bible study and prayer; at the very least, I pray, and study when I have time during my more ‘awake’ hours. When I get frustrated with the constant extroversion, I do yoga when I’m at home, I drink tea or go for a walk when I’m out, and if I’m at work I pray. That very simple ‘Lord Jesus, have mercy on me’ prayer makes a world of difference. And I have piano to practice this weekend, which I am excited about. So between that self care (which will include very specific and limited times with my phone on and my chat logged in), I’m going to reign in this chaos and deal with some of the stressful things. Just do it. Nike knows what they’re talking about.

So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got right now. I hope I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I’m still rather upset with myself over the car mishap and how I didn’t put more away when I could have and arrrrgghhh! But it is what it is, and I know that God is good and He is faithful, and I just need to trust Him.

I now realise that the reason I haven’t written is because I have nothing conclusatory to say. I’m smack in the middle of this story. I haven’t really learned anything new, I haven’t for sure figured out the lesson in all this, I am not in a super good place because oh my gosh the stress, I am still learning how to deal with all this… I’m not feeling so together this week. But God is still God. And I’m doing my best to make that my focus.

 

I’m A Little Bit Proud Of Myself

Dear Diary,

I haven’t written much lately, in part because I’ve been swamped with work and answering messages and generally trying to catch up projects, and in part because I haven’t felt like I had much to write about in the meantime. Things are going well, I had this fantastic day about a week ago where I realised I was quite ready to start considering entering into another relationship. I’ve been more consistent this week with prioritising Bible study and prayer than I have been in a long time, and it makes such a wonderful difference.

Currently, my brain is being handled with great care after all the extroversion over the last week. I have to pace myself better, or I am going to be in tears. So, taking lots of breaks today between the longer messages (which I love, but they’re tough when I feel like I’m running on empty) and doing the self-care things I know I need: prayer, Bible study, playing piano, organising/tidying my house, etc.

The best thing that happened today, however, is I realised that I actually can and will say no to a situation I know isn’t right for me. In my last relationship, I said yes to a lot of things I didn’t fully want. I said yes because I knew my significant other wanted them, I wanted to please him, I hoped that if I just gave a little more that he’d be in the right place to give me what I wanted so badly, and on and on, until after the relationship ended I realised three things.

First, that I gave up a lot of what I wanted, I gave up hoping for the things I wanted, and even the things I needed because of what my ex wanted, and I let him convince me it was not only okay, but right. When I started considering looking for a D/s relationship a little over a week ago, I got so incredibly excited that it reminded me of when I first began exploring this part of my life, and I was elated. I didn’t think it’d feel that way again, but I actually have hope that I can and will find the right person, and the person that I genuinely fit too.

Second, I realised that I was right, and I let my ex convince me I wasn’t. It was such an incredible relief to realise I was in fact right, I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t horrible at relationships, I wasn’t entirely out of touch with myself and lying to myself half the time. I was right. And I’m still unraveling some of that from time to time, but I feel so utterly free all the same.

Third, I realised that so much of what I wanted in the relationship, so much of what I treasured and loved, they were promises that were yet to be fulfilled. They were promises that got put off, set on the backburner, replaced, sometimes deleted entirely, for a long time. And I hung on, and I fought, and I was faithful, and I supported my ex as best I could, I was understanding, I was patient, I prayed my heart out, I was available whenever possible…and I set aside what I wanted for him, I set aside my own needs to meet his, and in the end all I had worth grieving over in that relationship was things that never even got to happen.

So I’ve been rather careful with myself in the first leg of this search, I’ve been keeping an eye on what I say and what I am willing to change my mind about. I keep going back to the list of things that I realised I wanted before my last relationship (during the course of which I gave up on hoping for most of those things) and reminding myself that I want these things for a reason, that I need these things within the relationship, and to be patient and trust myself, to trust what I learned about myself through my experiences.

But amidst all of this, I’ve been quite afraid that I will make the same mistakes. That I will like and even love this new person, whoever he may be (it’s only been a week, I’m not rushing this at all), so much that I let him dictate when I’m ready to say ‘I love you’, that I let him decide what kind of online interaction we have, that I let him decide what I am and am not comfortable doing. That I will end up in that same place, where I feel afraid to talk about how I feel for fear that I’m ‘wrong’ again, where I feel more alone in the relationship than I ever did out of it, that I feel constantly set aside and pushed out, and that I give up things that I love for someone who does not actively love me back. And Friday night, I realised how afraid I’ve been and spent a solid hour crying while I explained it to someone else. It was cathartic, but now I was even more wary of myself because I know that is a kind of weak point for me, that I am sometimes self-sacrificing in the wrong ways. And I firmly believe there are good ways, very good ways, in which one can be self-sacrificing, and I don’t want to stop doing those but I need to get a handle on my bad habits here.

At the very least I want to make whole new mistakes, not cycle through the old ones.

One person seemed to stand out for a few days. He was insightful, we appeared to be on the same page regarding many things, we could message at length and have wonderfully detailed discussions (which, for me, is a very good sign, and I was surprised it happened so quickly). Then through our conversations I realised he was looking for more of an offline relationship and has certain views regarding online relationships (which is what I want) which do not fit with my experiences or desires. And perhaps I will write on why I love and feel genuinely fulfilled through online relationships sometime, but I’m prattling on enough as it is.

Way back when I first began exploring D/s, I had this one incident where I submitted to someone I could not please; essentially, I tried to be someone I wasn’t to make him happy, and it was an awful experience, I wound up hurt in many ways, and I swore: never again. If I ever submitted to someone again, I would only do so as myself, I would only submit if being myself, as purely and fully as possible, was what pleased that person. That was the confirmation that led me to submit to my first Dom, who was fantastic and taught me more than I can ever thank him for. And when I realised that this new person, with whom I thought I was feeling the ‘click’, wanted something I was not ready to give, did not know how long it would take me to get ready, and had very different views regarding the nature of online relationships, I went back to that core concept: if I cannot be me, I am not the person he is looking for; correspondingly, he is not the person I am searching for.

As nicely and encouragingly as I could, I wrote him and told him what I thought, explained why, told him I thought he was wonderful and I knew he’d find someone who suited what he sought. He had said in his previous message that he would respect my decision, so I also offered to be friends, because we did converse well and shared some similar interests.

Then today I got an extremely long and emotional message from him, which I understand, I was a little disappointed too. But this message crossed some lines. He assumed the role of ‘Dom’ when I had not submitted to him. He told me to apologise to him and to reconsider. He told me that it was about him and his feelings, and not mine (he was half right). He accused me of making decisions for him and not giving him a chance to decide how he felt – and there I can understand his frustration, but at the same time this is my life and I know from experience, multiple experiences, that it’s absolutely miserable to be submitted to someone that I know I’m not pleasing, not to mention it causes some significant emotional damage. He accused me of using this as an excuse because I am afraid of being in a relationship with him, and that I haven’t allowed myself to be truly open to anyone in the last 2.5 years (he and I have been talking for five days, just so we’re clear about the strangeness of that conclusion).

Then he wrote this: “So I am going to do the very best dom/daddy thing I can for you and tell you that you are mistaken here. That I love you (figuratively, don’t know you well enough yet to say that) and that I think you should listen to me on this, because I think I’m right and if you honestly search yourself I think you’ll agree.”

And dammit, if that wasn’t something that sounded eerily like my last relationship, and I realised Wow, nope, I do not feel bad about ending this. Because I know I’m right, I have lived the difference between being in a relationship because it’s kind of what you want and being in a relationship because it’s exactly what you want.

Then this clinched it: “It has become more and more apparent that you do indeed need a dom. Not necessarily to tell you what to do, not my style, but to give you a swift kick in the ass and say pull out of your head and live your fucking life.:

I just stopped and enjoyed the moment. Because if I learned one thing, one solitary thing from my last relationship, it’s that I can have the most important person in my life putting me through this hellish rollercoaster of emotion and drama, and I can not only take care of myself but him too. I have realised that I can lose the relationship (referring here to my first D/s relationship) and feel utterly crushed 24/7, and I can not only survive but that I can continue living and being happy without a D/s relationship. I have learned that as much as I want to be submitted to someone, that as much as I treasure getting to express that part of me, that is absolutely part of my core self, I only get to genuinely do that with the right someone. And I have learned that I can be right when it comes to knowing myself, that I am not being unfair when I take my needs into account, and that if a relationship ends it is not the end of the world and I will be okay. I will be better than okay. I can be alone. I can be happy and be alone. I can be myself and alone. And I’m not afraid to be alone.

So no, I don’t need a dom. And I am living my life, and learning to live it better by the grace of God. If anything, I need God, because He’s the one who has led me through all this and never once failed me.

I wrote this person a reply, and I was polite but firm, I clarified things as best I could, and then I told him that I thought it best if this was the last message exchanged. I have a lot of wonderful friends, and there are plenty of people who respond to me respectfully, but this message did not fit either of those scenarios. And I’m a little bit proud of myself, because I said no, and I thought it through a second time, and I said no again. I did not bow to pressure, I did not let someone else talk me out of my conviction, I did not let myself start doubting that I knew what the right thing to do was.

And I feel that freedom again. I feel pretty good. I’ve continued talking with other people and getting to know them, and enjoyed it quite thoroughly today. I feel like I can trust myself a little more, like I made it through the first trial and have proven that I have perhaps learned a valuable lesson and am capable of applying it.

Finally, I am grateful that things didn’t go further, because that is not a situation that I think would end well otherwise. I don’t do well with people who cross lines at will, and who are not respectful of my decisions when they become emotional. I cannot and will not submit to that, and I feel quite strongly that I’m being watched out for.

So I continue, slow and steady. To the kitchen to enjoy my strawberry ice cream, because frankly I think I deserve a treat.

The Intrinsic Components of a Power Exchange Relations

 

I’m working through this week’s Bible study (bear with me  for this one paragraph, this really is about power exchange relationships), and learning about how one of the core purposes of prayer is to provide us with an opportunity to ask God for what we need. Now, this is not so we can tell God what we need, because if He really is all-knowing then He already knows. But rather, this is because when we go to Him and ask for what we need, and He shows His love and power and provides for us, then we get to experience Him, draw nearer to Him, know Him better, and trust Him more. God could simply give us what we need, but then we do not get to actively build that relationship with Him and come to know Him through our experience. So this got me thinking about my past relationships.

Early on in my relationship with my first formal Dom, I remember at least a few instances where my former Dom would give me certain instructions like ‘Be careful with the icyhot and make sure you don’t get it in your eyes,’ and I would respond by indicating, politely, that I already knew to be careful. I didn’t do this because I was trying to be sassy or because I felt he was being condescending; I just felt the need to show that I wasn’t a little child or clueless and I didn’t need to be told.

Because at that time, I felt my former Dom was telling me those things because he believed I needed to be told. I’ve since realised it wasn’t really about the specific instruction, but rather a show of his affectionate, caring domination over me. He was being protective. He was dedicating himself to my safety and ensuring that I had all the information I could possibly need and want in that situation to minimise the possibility of negative incidents that might detract from what he was giving me. Whether certain instructions were precisely needed or not was incidental; the purpose of those instructions was to express his abiding care for me and to give me an opportunity to experience that care.

Over time, I figured this out, albeit not so explicitly. I stopped feeling the need to assert my knowledge (in part because I knew he respected me and knew my abilities, and he made me feel safe just being me, without having to prove anything, which was incredible in and of itself), and I instead would reply ‘Yes Daddy, I will,’ and endeavour to honour his instructions and reminders. Even before I figured this out, he continually reminded me, helped me, guided me, not because he thought I was an idiot or helpless, but because he cared and he realised I needed to experience that care, actively, day in and day out. And gradually, my continual experience of that care led to the development of this phenomenal trust and intimacy developed between us. I savoured those commands, because I had all this experience of his care before, and I knew that whenever he gave me instructions, whenever he updated my training, whenever he told me to do anything, it was out of this deep, consistent, genuine care.  Of course, there were other things that we both did which fostered this, but I realise now how those commands, that attention to detail, the consistent care and instruction even when he could have assumed I knew well enough on my own, they made a world of difference in our dynamic.

In my second formal relationship, my responses became quite different when I felt I could not go to my significant other at the time. Not for lack of invitation or even willingness on his part, but because I saw how busy he was, how he was often preoccupied with his own struggles and difficulties. He always was dealing with something big, and I either didn’t want to intrude or didn’t think he’d be available. Sometimes I would go to him, and things would be okay for a little while, and then something would interrupt us again.

I have known for a long time that I can take care of myself, and I will. But in one of those relationships I was given the chance to develop intimacy and trust. I got to see that I mattered and that there was a space in my former Dom’s life and mind where I mattered. I learned that my physical and emotional safety was a priority. And it was not done through bossiness or arrogance or extra rules. It wasn’t done through whips or toys or stellar erotica either. It wasn’t done through degrading me, diminishing what I knew or what I was, nor through proving himself my superior in some way. It was done through this simple expression of his care. In perhaps unnecessary instructions, that became absolutely essential to our dynamic.

In my second relationship, I learned a great deal about myself. I learned to love myself. I learned to take care of myself. I learned to look for my own answers and not use someone else as a substitute for God, eventually to look to God myself. All of this has been invaluable, and I am forever grateful. But amidst all that, with all the time, energy, straining, fighting with myself, the determined bandaging of my wounds before attempting another round, we never quite developed that trust and intimacy that we both needed. That the relationship called for, and, if we had been able to form that first layer of trust and intimacy, that a D/s dynamic would have required. This was partly because, I firmly believe, the relationship was not meant to be, and I fully own that relationships go both ways and everything I ever did or said or neglected to do or say also shaped the relationship. I just see this…factor. Where he didn’t seem to have the opportunity, and sometimes the energy, to give me that kind of consistent care, and we never seemed to grow past a certain point. It is not that he did not care deeply for me, I know he did. But we never got past a certain stage of trust, we never got to develop the intimacy, and we never got to do much more than scratch the surface of D/s together.

I’m not writing this to rehash my relationships, but because today something clicked regarding the nature of domination and submission. The experience of domination, I am slowly realising, is not just in the giving of instruction, nor is the experience of submission just the obedience to that instruction. We tend to say things like trust and intimacy are the essential foundation of a power exchange dynamic; I wonder if that would be better nuanced if we said that trust and intimacy are the the very nature of a power exchange dynamic. That the faithfulness, the consistency, the very basic follow-through of a dominant-type and a submissive-type where they endeavour to keep their word even in the smallest things, where care is shown in simple ways but reliably so, that perhaps this is not the foundation on which the power exchange relationship is built, with all the rules and kinky things, the accessories, the scenes, the titles, the protocols, and everything else we see as pieces (or potential pieces, we get to mix and match) of a power exchange relationship. Perhaps this consistency and faithfulness, this reliability and genuine commitment and care, is the relationship itself.

Let me attempt to clarify this another way. If the exchange of power, of control, cannot happen without trust and intimacy then it follows that a genuine power exchange relationship must include trust and intimacy. Therefore, if we define a power exchange relationship (D/s, M/s, DD/lg, O/p, etc.) as a relationship in which the power of one is given over to the control of another, then it follows that as much as the exchange of power is part of the core nature of such a relationship so too are trust and intimacy. Not merely the means by which we get the power exchange, not the necessary hoops, not the process that comes before the fun stuff, but the very core nature of what a power exchange relationship is and requires in order to function well over an extended period of time.

And the more I think about the people that I have seen over the years building their relationships, growing closer, taking further steps into intimacy, learning to trust more and more, some to the point where they do not even feel the need to have limits so insanely, miraculously, beautifully intimate is their relationship, the more I think that yes, these are people who are consistently caring for one another, on good days and bad days, through thick and thin, not with big grand gestures but brick by brick, every chance they get.

The little things are the ones that matter the most.

Perhaps this is just me, maybe I’m overreaching (two relationships, count ’em, one, two), and perhaps this is something that has more emphasis in a DD/lg relationship (which I am more familiar with) than in other dynamics. I can certainly see how I am biased here in that consistency and people simply doing what they say they will do is of paramount importance to me, so I don’t want to impose this on anyone. I also realise I’ve focused more on domination than submission here, and I do not mean to imply submissive-types are not also responsible for earning trust and building intimacy through consistent care and genuine faithfulness and all that good stuff. It goes both ways, I just didn’t want to make this twice as long as it already is. This is a theory, and I lay it out here because I would so love and appreciate your thoughts on this. Does this resonate at all with your experience? Does this seem warranted or a stretch? Is this even helpful and worth discussing? If you disagree, why?

 

This Week’s Realisations

Dear Diary,

It’s been a kind of…up and down week. Not in an awful way, but I’ve been somewhat frustrated with myself. I’ve been feeling strongly for a while, a long while, that I really ought to be prioritising prayer and Bible study, quiet time where I wait on the Lord, far more than I do. Because I try to get everything else cleared out of the way, and sometimes that becomes an excuse to avoid, and then go to pray and study. Or I tell myself I’ll get up early to do it, and I suck at getting up in the morning. The object at rest would love to stay at rest.

So I’ve been inconsistent, feeling somewhat guilty and other times making excuses like my Thursdays are busy, and then Fridays I catch up on sleep, and then I’ll just watch one episode while I eat lunch, and then it snowballs from there. Saturday I have all day to study, and I often end up putting it off because I have an abundance of time. Until I have no time left, and Monday I’m rushing to cram in everything I meant to do all weekend. It drives me crazy but this has been my cycle, unless I have some commitment that I feel will directly affect someone else.

This last weekend things became worse. I started sleeping a lot. Like a lot, a lot. Friday I had some work. Saturday I was volunteering at my church in the evening, and so I wanted to have some time to myself before I had to spend part of my introvert-recovery day around people. I did not want to be around people. I was definitely wrung out from people from the rest of the week, and was hopefully I’d get to leave early (and I did). But I spent most of the day sleeping beforehand, even took my temperature because I thought it was weird I was so inclined to sleep. Then Sunday I had the usual church services, and then went home. Ended up napping for several hours. And my schedule was all out of whack, but it was definitely way more sleeping than I usually need, even with catchup from a busy week figured in.

It reminded me of how I felt a few years ago when I would spend the better part of the day in bed, usually asleep. School would be finished up for the year, I would be waiting for work to start, and I just…slept a lot. Too much. It scared me a little because I really do not want to cycle through that depression again. And it’s been so long since I felt that way, not having a defined stressor that made me inclined to nap for an hour here and there, but wanting to be asleep almost every chance I got… I thought maybe it was the weather, but that didn’t satisfy the dissonance I was experiencing. I thought maybe it was stress from people, that I was more affected by not having a full day off than I realised, but the timeline didn’t quite fit. Then I thought, briefly, it was because I was neglecting prayer and study. Regardless, I didn’t figure it out, I just tried to get myself in gear, and I did do better when I got up and started working on things like cleaning my kitchen, cooking, prepping for work, etc.

Tuesday night I spent a good chunk of time in Bible study, finally, and that helped too. The feeling was passing, definitely, but the memory of it still bothered me more than I cared to admit at the time. Then Wednesday I had planned on getting up earlier in the morning, as I had the first part of the day off, and finish Bible study for the week. And I hit the snooze button a few times, and reset my alarm, and eventually I think I just shut it off. Same cycle starting up again. Sometime in there, though, I had this dream. I am not the kind of person who thinks everything means something mystical, I am definitely not the kind of person who looks for meaning in all of the randomness of her brain processing things and amusing itself all night. But this dream struck a chord, so whether divine message or subconscious processing, I’m going with it.

I dreamt that I was in a hotel room, and the alarm went off, and I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I did get up, I realised my Mom had been waiting for me, and she was disappointed and rather sad, not in an accusatory or guilt-tripping kind of way at all, but sad that our time together was cut short. There were things she had hoped we could do together. And then I found it later in the dream that because I’d slept in and missed the checkout time, she had to pay extra for the hotel room. Later in the dream (skipping the stuff that’s foggy), I realised I’d better get working on my thesis, and my other term papers too (I have none right now, but dream ‘me’ did). My next thought was that I needed to go into my research mode, where I spend every spare moment reading and researching, taking notes, planning my papers, and then writing, editing, formatting, etc. I know this mode well, I’ve spent most of my adult life in university, and I love it. It’s exhausting sometimes, but I love getting to dig in, and I know the discipline and dedication it requires to do this well.

This was where I woke up, a bit disconcerted but not really sure why. Mildly annoyed with myself that I’d slept so much again. I got up and began getting ready, and slowly my thoughts sorted themselves out, particularly when I got back into my Bible study. I realised three things. First, that I need to stop spending my time asleep. Not just physical sleep, although I need to be careful of that (I love sleep, naps are beautiful, good sleep is healthy and important, but too much sleep can be a sign that something else is amiss in my life), but spiritual sleep. I keep going back to sleep. I keep putting off what I know I need to get up and do. I keep avoiding rather than doing and studying and seeking God. Which brings me to the second point, that this is the time, right now, when I need to get into study mode. And not just for my thesis, although that was definitely part of it (I have actually wondered if maybe I was pursuing something that wasn’t God’s will for me, that perhaps this was my plan and not God’s plan and perhaps I should drop it, that this was why I was unmotivated sometimes, but this was fantastic confirmation that no, this is where God wants me, this is important, this is where I’m supposed to be, and I’ll come back to this rabbit trail later). But for the prayer studies I’m supposed to be working on, all the Bible study stuff and devotions and the actual practice of prayer that I ought to be working on – it is not a coincidence that people keep recommending all these phenomenal studies to me and I keep getting these answers to things I have been asking about and praying about and seeking some halfway satisfactory answer for now. Here. In this church. Under my current pastors and the various other wonderful leaders and friends there.

And third, that there is a cost, a real cost, when I spend my time asleep. When I don’t do what I ought to do. I don’t write this in guilt, just…it’s a solid realisation that it isn’t just about me. It’s more than me pulling an all-nighter to catch up, there’s fallout that affects people around me. Not just my Mom, although if God wants to get my attention about how I’m affecting someone negatively and uses my Mom to drive that point home, I really don’t think there’s a more effective way for Him to do that. Which obviously, God would know. It’s not just my Mom. It’s my church. It’s the people I serve with. It’s people at work and school. My advisor, who is going to smack me for taking so long on this thesis, and has every right to. It’s my family and friends.

And then to top all this off, I think God allowed (not caused, but allowed) me to slip back into that old habit of too much sleep this weekend. I also had started turning to some distractions and substitutes for God, which I have since removed from my life (again). I wasn’t seeking Him, I was hoping for fulfillment of some kind where I knew from so much past experience that I would not get it. And I went right back to being mired in that kind of…out-of-touch place where I slept, and functioned more at night when almost no one was around, and I did little of substance, and just sort of drifted until I had to get up and go somewhere. I can’t even decently describe it, it’s kind of a Twilight Zone kind of feel, and it scares the hell out of me because I so do not want to be in that again.

So points have been driven home. I knew in my head that I needed to pray daily, I needed to spend time with God, I needed to draw near to Him, I needed to study diligently, I needed to prioritise my relationship with Him. And now I know it experientially, and I have some jarring (in a good way) memories and impressions which will keep that need at the forefront of my thoughts, even when I am tempted to let busyness crowd it out. Today has been better. Tomorrow will be better still. God is good and He is faithful.

Which brings me to the previously abandoned rabbit trail. I realised while spending some much-needed time in prayer super early this morning that I have avoided the thesis because I am afraid that I’m not going to measure up, that I don’t actually know what I’m doing, that everyone is going to realise I’m not nearly as smart as they think I am. That I’m going to let everyone down. Queue that Bible study, which was almost brutally challenging this week (which I needed), and then ended with one of the most encouraging lessons I’ve ever received. God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He knows everything that’s going on in my life, He knows me, He knows what I need, and He doesn’t call me to do anything that He is not entirely prepared and capable of accomplishing in and through me. But the key is He does it. God prepares me. God teaches me. God shapes me, brings the people and opportunities, the studies, the experiences, even the heartaches and trials (that sounds so overdramatic, but sufferings felt grammatically weird), that I need. It doesn’t depend on me, I was never meant to take the assignment and figure it all out on my own. I was designed to depend on God, and when I don’t do that, then I end up terrified because I don’t know what I’m doing. But God does. And after struggling for a long time about why I was avoiding my schoolwork and how to deal with that, this is the first thing that feels and sounds like a satisfactory answer.

I still have a shit-ton of work to do, but I know where to look now. God is good. God is faithful. So every spare moment is the order of the day now. Every spare moment I seek, I study, I pray. Which, it turns out, is a lot more satisfying than sleeping.

“A sub needs to feel wanted. A Dom wants to feel needed.”

 

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I came across this image on Tumblr the other day, and it struck a chord with me. I imagine it is in many ways an oversimplification if one takes it as the grand summary of submission and domination, but I find it intriguing nonetheless.

There were many instances in both my past relationships where simply feeling wanted by my former Dom or my significant other was the most wonderful, glorious thing in the world. And feeling unwanted or just not significantly wanted was one of the negative thoughts (and often, I am quite certain, an incorrect perception) that I battled when the busyness of life and such prevented us from pursuing certain intimacies or even spending much time together. I have realised now, and I certainly wish I’d realised it sooner, how much it does mean to dominants (and from what I’ve read and experienced, even more so with Daddy-Doms) to feel needed, to be relied upon, to be sought out for comfort and guidance. (I don’t have experience nor have I done significant research into other dynamics, so I’m refraining from speculation – there are many lovely readers who could comment with much more meaning on this than I.)

But at the same time, it means a great deal to me as a submissive to feel needed as well. Not sexually per se, but to know that I am not only a significant part of my Dom’s life but that the role I play is a meaningful and helpful one. That what I do and how I serve makes a difference. And I would imagine a dominant-type would want to feel wanted too.

So I’m curious about people’s thoughts and experiences regarding this. Does this connect with your own experience? Does this reflect what you, as a dominant-type or submissive-type or switch, seek within your preferred role? Not necessarily to prove or disprove the initial quotation, I’m just highly intrigued now and want to see if there is a particular emphasis for some people?

A Mini-Blog Tonight

Dear Diary,

I’ve realised something that I am still processing and strongly suspect I’ve only scratched the surface and have a great deal more to learn. But here goes.

I’ve lived by the Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary Love, it is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in Life; Love shouldn’t be one of them quote for a long time, before I’d even found the quotation itself, really. I’ve steadfastly maintained that unless love, romantic love, is all it’s cracked up to be then I am quite content retaining my independence, my space, my time, my energy, my freedom.

And now I can see that there are substitutes that masquerade remarkably well, but eventually fizzle. Drama sounds passionate, but is self-focused and tends to take, whereas passion will thrive when given and shared. Unusual circumstances are not necessarily the kind of ‘madness’ indicated above; sometimes life is just crazy, and love probably shouldn’t make a person feel like they’re losing their mind in the scary sense. Extreme situations may demand we attempt some seemingly extraordinary things…but it does not automatically make the relationship itself extraordinary or even the love within it true.

On a related note, I am continually frustrated with my inability to realise these things during the situation in which it would be most helpful to have known all this…

Some Re-Evaluation

Dear Diary,

The fog of my cold/flu has lifted and I’m gradually catching up on everything, so I thought I’d do a little journal check-in.

First, I’ve decided to start with ‘dear diary’ from now on. I realised I have veered into writing for this unseen online audience, and given my track record with trying to meet expectations that I think exist (whether or not they actually do or don’t is not always a factor), I think it’s best that I focus more on writing for myself. While still utilizing the accountability factor and occasional conversation.

Second, I’ve done some re-evaluating of the things I thought I needed to work on. That list of ‘resolutions’ I posted still stands, but my perception has shifted somewhat. There are things that I believe God has genuinely been nudging me to deal with and work on and grow in – which is fantastic, and a sheer privilege, and I find that so wonderfully encouraging that I just…it makes me feel safe. Like everything is going to be okay because God really is looking out for me and helping me learn and grow, even when I don’t have a clue (which is often). Specifically, these are things like returning to my first Love, God, and learning to seek Him more than ever, drawing nearer to Him, learning to hear from Him and discern His voice (not always His literal, audible ‘voice’, as a little reminder to my sometimes too-literal mind), obeying Him and continuing to pray for Him to change my heart where it needs to be changed (which He has done in a few areas, and it’s incredible), learning more about prayer, serving where He wants me to in my church, building up some good relationships so I can feed into the lives God has placed around me and so that I am not walking alone either. I could write for days about all the little things God has been pulling together in my life, through various circumstances and people and conversations and resources and how it’s all so ridiculously perfect. But it’s also 2:30 AM, so I’m aiming for a summary for now.

I have also realised that some of what I thought I needed to change about myself, about what I want, what I need, particularly when it comes to relationships and stability, etc….a lot of that was imposed on me by someone else and not necessarily accurate. And I believed it, I chose to believe it and obey that person in those areas as best I could, because I really thought he was hearing from God and that he was right. And there were a lot of things about me that he was definitely right about, and helped me with, and I have learned so much and grown, for which I am always grateful. But not everything that was a difficulty between us was because I needed to change, but because we really were not compatible. Not everything was because my needs were an issue, but because the needs he was prepared to meet did not line up with those I actually had. I believe he really wanted to meet my needs. I believe he really wanted to be there for me. But after a particularly enlightening conversation with my pastor’s wife who, it turns out in a profound twist of…well, not fate…Providence?, has been through something remarkably similar, I have realised that he was not there for me. I don’t mean that in the sense that he was deliberately absent and selfish and made excuses and would take but never give back. I mean, rather, that he was never there for me because God had him there for other reasons. For someone else. And maybe, I don’t actually know for sure, but maybe God has someone else for me.

Which I am pretty sure is why I felt such relief and hope and excitement after being out from under all those expectations and preferences I’d placed myself under, and tried to conform to because I thought it was morally right…when really it was just that person’s preference and extremely deep hope. Which seems kind of silly now, although at the time I genuinely believed it was a word from God, it was His will, and wow am I grateful to not be in that anymore. But that’s maybe an indication that I really need to spend time getting to know God more and being thoroughly grounded in Him. And getting to know myself and being thoroughly grounded as me. Either that, or said person really did a number in de-stabilizing me, and even then I think it’s best to take lots of time to make sure I have my feet under me.

Of course, now I get so excited that part of me wants to draft a new ad and get looking, but then when I have these little revelations I think better of it. I feel good, I feel better than I’ve felt in years, to be honest. God is drawing me out of struggles and frustrations and dry places that I’ve dealt with for a really long time. But I see too that perhaps there’s some things from that last relationship that still need to be unraveled. At the very least, I want to make sure the detangling process has been properly completed before I start any serious consideration of another relationship. I have learned a great deal of what to be aware of, what not to compromise, that it is okay to let someone deal with their own problems, and what things really should not be acceptable even if you do love someone deeply. But good grief I am naive and have a lot to learn.

Third, God keeps coming through. It’s a little bit overwhelming when I sit back and look at it all, actually. I’ve been rather frustrated with and disappointed in myself regarding my lack of discernment, how I keep getting fooled into thinking this is God and it turns out to be a mistake, or that is what God wants me to do and I pretty much just plow face-first into the ground, and it just feels like a lot of guesswork. And yet. I can look back and see times where I definitely did hear from God, it just wasn’t always when I wanted to hear from Him. And I see how He is drawing together all these threads right now, particularly in how He is teaching me to pray and now this latest study is about discernment, and just the people He’s brought into my life right now. God has it all handled.

So that’s it, really. Usual stressors, work is sometimes silly and frustrating, school looms over me, I never seem to have quite enough time for everything, extroversion is exhausting, and I would really love to be in Disney World right now (sans crowds, because again, extroversion is exhausting). But God is good, and step by step it’s all getting sorted out.

Christmas Reminders

Personal update at the top. If you’d like to skip it, then scroll down to the bold font :o)

I haven’t written in a while. Partly because I’ve been busy with other things, but mainly…I haven’t felt the need to write. I feel good. I am generally taking better care of myself, primarily through prayer, eating better, etc. My emotional health is better overall, and as much as I wish it were otherwise I do know that’s at least partly because my last relationship ended. My emotional health is also much better because I am applying what I’ve learned about needing time to myself and setting good boundaries, and most of all because I am focusing more on my relationship with God, returning to my first Love. I have a ways to go there, I think, but it’s good. My life feels good.

Not that everything is perfect by any means. I have some work frustrations that have been discouraging, but I am learning to trust God that He has it under control. There never seems to be enough time for everything I want to do. It is the perpetual frustration. I also am horribly behind on my thesis and it stresses me out to no end, and I keep avoiding working on it because it intimidates me. One of my former profs keeps telling me, gently and subtlety (he knows…I know he knows…he’s being polite and pretending he doesn’t, but I know he knows), that it is a monster that I need to kill before it kills me. And he’s right. I’m currently battling the flu (yay), which is also kind of a mini-crash course in self-love. I’ve been getting less than a good amount of sleep the last while, and now I have to sleep a lot. And it’s kind of frustrating because I had projects planned this weekend (although now I’m catching up on reading and prayer and stuff I can do from my cozy bed, so it`s more just a rearrangement that I need to get over). And lastly, I really miss being in a D/s relationship. In my last relationship, we never really got around to it. Scratched the surface, and then always ended up dialing it back for various reasons. I keep feeling like I am very over that relationship and I want so very, very much to list an ad and start looking…

But. I said it would be a while for a reason. Because while I feel good, and have felt good consistently for the last few weeks, free, hopeful, at peace, more myself, emotionally balanced, encouraged, strong, all things that apparently one is supposed to feel when they are ready to re-enter the seeking phase, I have some things I still need to do. Like think about the ex less. Not that I think about him often, nor that I think about him negatively, or even hoping we’d get back together. I don’t want to be in that relationship again. But I think about him, and I pray for him, and then I go about my day. I just think maybe it’d be good to get to a point where I don’t think about him every day. Maybe. My brain tends to think about certain things every day for years and years, so I’m not quite sure about that. I have stopped checking to see if he’s been active online at all. I worry about him, I want him to be okay, and sometimes I just want to make sure that he’s alive. But I’ve been convicted about that, and realise that he is not my responsibility anymore and I need to quit acting like he is. He’s in God’s hands, and my focus ought not be on my ex but on God.

Speaking of, thank God I made that list of things I wanted to work on, because reminding myself of that is the only thing that keeps my submissive trigger-happy fingers from finding their way to the ad section of certain websites. I need to return to my first Love. I think when I feel quite strongly, to the very core of my being, that I have done that well and consistently, then and only then will it be a good idea to look for a new relationship. Because these things need to be ordered properly in my life, or things go awry. I just struggle with patience and discipline. Which is, of course, why I keep having to deal with them :o)

But enough updating. I came across this lovely snippet in the book I’m reading that points out something regarding Christmas (and other holidays/religious festivals) which I absolutely love. I know a lot of people get rather fed up with Christmas (and other holidays) because it’s so commercialised and because the goodness, the generosity, the kindness, the love that so many express at that time of year seems fake. Like they’re trying to get on Santa’s good side. Or that they only remember to live like that at this particular time of year, and the rest of the time they’re generally self-centered, arrogant, narrow-minded, etc.

I’ve written a little on this before, I won’t rehash that. But I tend to view Christmas as a reminder of what we ought to be all year. Not to condemn us for falling short, not to be an opportunity for extra credit to balance out the rest of the year, and not to fake who we are; but as a refresher, a time to reorient ourselves to the things that truly matter, to being the people we ought to be, and (for those who believe) to God and His great love and mercy. This is precisely what so many of the festivals and feasts were meant to do in the Old Testament, which according to Scripture God Himself commanded His people celebrate. Because He knows we forget. We get distracted. We get busy. As grown-ups, we have 1000000000 things vying for our time and attention and energy and thought and money and effort and you know what? Sometimes I forget to be a nice person and I need someone to remind me of some very basic things like thinking before I speak. So we have these lovely little reminders throughout the year. 

“Christian holy days (holidays) like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter ought to be times of renewal. On these days and during the related seasons, place your focus on both celebration and renewal of relationship. These are days to remember all the love God has lavished on us by sending His Son. Rather than going through time-honored traditions as mere ritual, these can be times for remembering God’s love and responding to that love.” – Blackaby & King, Fresh Encounter

Now, I know not everyone reading this is Christian, but I think there is a general premise here that can be embraced regardless: purposeful celebration. Not that everything needs to become a chore, or character building like Calvin’s dad was always so freaking obsessed with, but rather that the things we spend our time and attention and energy and thought and money and effort on be purposeful. That we take some time to reflect at Christmas and Easter (and Thanksgiving, I guess, I was kind of…intrigued that they included that as a Christian holy day, perhaps I’m missing some history there), that we make time to evaluate and include the things in our lives that we actually want in our lives. That we perhaps, when necessary, flip the bird to the commercialised suggestions advertisers ply us with and shape our own holidays. If that means colouring eggs with family to reconnect and share some love, fantastic. If that means changing up the usual Christmas meal celebration and having a minimalist feast so the extra funds can be put toward meeting a need, lovely. If instead of buying presents we all donate to a charity that means something personal to everyone on our list, excellent. If doing every single classic, cliched, done it a million times holiday tradition brings you closer to God or your family or just makes your heart full and happy and genuinely impacts your life in a good way then gosh darn it you better do it

The point of Thanksgiving is to remind us to be thankful for what we have. So we should do what accomplishes that. And the point of Christmas is to remind us that even in the darkest times of the year (unless you live in Australia, in which case please stay cool) we still have hope and love is very, very real, and wonder still exists and can be experienced by us all, that life is wonderful, then let’s do the things that feed into that. And the point of Easter is the incredible hope of new life, of renewal, of joy after a long winter (or freaking hot summer for those who are still in Australia), so let’s dig into this however we can. I just think that some mindfulness could make the holidays a little more fulfilling for those who are frustrated with certain trends and habits. And I’d love to hear some thoughts on this. 

Gratitude

The last week or so has been a little bit…not crazy, just lots to get done. Full. Very, very full. I look forward to the establishment of a routine.

But I am extremely grateful for the peace I’ve felt almost the entire time since the breakup. I don’t have a lot of experience with such relationships ending, it’s really only the second full relationship (had one other that was extremely short-lived) that I’ve had, and the circumstances are quite different…but I am quite aware this is not exactly the norm in terms of emotional fallout (understanding, too, that it’s different for everyone). To a certain extent, I’ve wondered if I was just numb or in denial or avoiding allowing myself to grieve fully, that I was avoiding emotion altogether. But since then I have felt other things. I had a mini heart attack when I thought I had a message from him, because no one else emails that account anymore – it wasn’t him, but I did realise how much fear I have of another confrontation, even the possibility that we attempt another relationship (I will get to that in a moment). I have felt worry for him, but realised that I do much better when I keep my distance consistently and don’t even try to look for evidence that he’s at least alive (which is tricky for me to do because I want to know that he’s well and safe, so learning to let go in that sense is definitely against my instincts). And then when I was on my way back to my apartment, from holidays, I suddenly remembered he’d sent me a package I would finally get a chance to open, and I felt waaaayyy more anxiety than I have in a long time. Because I didn’t want to go through grieving all over again. I didn’t want to have to figure out what to do with whatever he sent me. I didn’t want to have a sense of loss and feel guilty for not being able to figure out how to fix something that is, the more I think about it, quite out of my control.

And then I got home, I opened it, it was a nice gift but it’s also something that I know I can just put away until I figure out what I ought to do with it. And there was no message and it all turned out to be a lot easier than I had anticipated. Just like that, anxiety was gone, peace was back. Prayer helped, of course, but it was still hard to face at first.

I have come to a place where I miss the person but considering how much peace I feel now, how much clearer my thinking is, how it’s easier to breathe and function in general, how I cry less, I worry less, I feel less anxiety, I in all honesty am not missing the relationship itself. I miss the prospect of what I hoped, at times quite desperately, the relationship would be; but the fact is, it never became that. And I think more than anything I grieve the loss of what I hoped for, what I think we both hoped for, and I miss being able to talk to him and share our common interests. But, without wanting to label something about which I still don’t trust myself to be entirely objective, I can see that this relationship was draining me, that it was at least related to, if not causing, a great deal of struggle and strife for me. I don’t want to speculate about what he was going through, I don’t think I can speak to that. I am, and unapologetically at this point, grateful the relationship has ended.

And I don’t mean this to be harsh or vengeful or hurtful or certainly to be judgement on him, because again my objectivity is hilarious when it comes to my relationships, but I don’t want to be in that relationship again. Subjectively, I don’t think the relationship was quite right for either of us, despite our vast hopes. I don’t want to go through those same issues again, I don’t want to fight those same battles and feel like it’s futile, I don’t want to be that worn through and bruised and hanging by thread. I loved him fully and sincerely, and I do believe he was worth fighting for. But then the rug got jerked out from under me one time too many and it just…was not a relationship that was good for me, and so probably for him too. I understand people go through rough times, and God willing they go through it with someone, and they come out stronger than ever. This was the vast majority of the relationship. I feel less alone being single now, less hopeless, less confused, less discouraged than I did for the majority of the time I was in that relationship. And by no means am I blaming the relationship for everything, because I know I had and still have a lot of things in my life and about me that need to be worked on, and I am so incredibly grateful for what I learned through that relationship and how I have changed, and I don’t want to stop learning and growing and dealing with those things properly. I know, too, that some of that negativity was my own doing, me not forgiving fully the first time, me having expectations that could not be met, me not genuinely listening at times, me just…fighting the wrong battles. But I am still grateful that this particular relationship is done; not that I don’t want to interact with the person ever again, I do, and I still sincerely hope there’s a way that can happen again. But the relationship is done and I believe quite strongly that’s a very good thing.

I’ve been enjoying being single. Having a little more control (due to a number of things) over my time and commitments. I got to set up a FetLife profile again and get involved in that community once more, and I missed those group discussions and the writings and the kinks list (lists make me happy). It was fun to rebuild my profile (still have teddy bear pics to add). I’ve even started dabbling in writing erotica and had way more fun with that than I expected. I am working on other projects I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time. I am getting more involved in my church and meeting new people, which has been fantastic. I am finishing up a Bible study I didn’t think I would get too much out of, and it’s turned out to be exactly what I need, and I have two other Bible studies that are exactly what I’ve been wanting to study and work on. God is so good. My apartment is still semi-chaotic, but I’ve had a lovely time getting organised for the rest of the year and planning and just…getting excited about what I get to do next. Over the possibility of someday getting to meet and get to know and submit to an incredible Dom. Getting to pursue a relationship where we are both prepared and ready for it, and able to pursue it at a pace that’s right for both people involved. I’m excited to just see what happens next, and I don’t even feel anxiety about that, which in itself is miraculous.

Gratitude. That’s all I can reasonably focus on at the moment, because I can’t sort out the rest, part of me doesn’t want to, I don’t know what will happen, I am just so deeply grateful that things are better. And I think that if they are better for me, then odds are things are better for him too. Which makes me smile.