I decided to let my rambles be previous ones, and maybe start afresh. I didn't like how somw of them read, how I was coming across, how anything.
But then I read some posts by other bloggers and I realised that just maybe this is all a part of the blogging experience? Sometimes we will come across as moody and troubled and rude, and that's okay! We are all human beings, with human feelings.
Still, perhaps in part I've had an attitude shift from a rather unlikely source: my neighbour, Martin.
Things are kind of weird between Martin and I because a man and a woman who aren't attracted to one another don't normally spend an hour or so talking, in fairly close proximity and with strong eye contact, laughter and deep, flowing conversation. There are things that Martin doesn't want to tell me about but ends up sharing with me anyway; parts of his past that most gentlemen would much rather hide. He has an easy vulnerability with me and I do appreciate it. I think he quite enjoys it, too.
"So let me ask you, do you consider yourself a victim or a survivor?" I ask.
"Neither" he replies, "I'm a winner because I am winning, despite them expecting me to fail". I smile.
"I like that" I say.
Martin and I have another part to our relationship which often comes up in conversation: sex. Not actually having sex, but talking about sex. Martin and I have discussed Fifty Shades Of Grey in great length and he and I are both of the opinion that, even if it is highly controversial in places, there is little that is truly abusive in the movie. Tracking Ana and selling her car (spoiler alert: Christian replaces Ana's car with a newer, shinier, safer one, and promises her a cheque for the cash from the sale)? It's a breach of boundaries, an overindulgence and a show of wealth for sure, but Ana makes it quite clear that even if she is grateful for the gesture, she isn't okay with Christian selling her stuff. The contract? Ana edits it with Christian's approval, though both forgo it in the end because they're both all swept off of their feet with one another. In the Red Room, Christian says that he practices BDSM with "women who want me to", AKA women who consent. The belting scene towards the end? Ana asked Christian to "show me how bad it can be" - she actually asked him for that scene! If you read the books, you'll know that Ana had forgotten her safeword - that's not abuse! Rather it highlights the dangers of improper communication and rushing into a BDSM scene with a newbie partner, and rushing in just about any relationship in general.
"So I have to ask you, just what makes a Dominant man?"
I have to ask Martin this question on the back of my most recent post because he considers himself to be a Dominant man, and I'm curious to hear his take on it. This is another part of our relationship: he considers himself to be Dominant, and he considers me to be submissive. That as is it may be, he's not my Dominant, and I'm not his submissive. Sometimes maybe we get slightly close, and then he goes and says something that kills our dynamic completely.
"Not Matthew" he says pointedly, then smiles apologetically. I'm unphased by it - jealousy always brings out the worst in people.
Martin tells me that to him, a Dominant man is a provider - he can provide for his woman such that she doesn't need to work. I can feel my eyes wanting to do a full rotation in their sockets, but I did ask and he did answer. Arguably I don't need to work, but I want to work, and therein lies the difference. My husband likes the work that I do too. In fact, it was even Matt who encouraged me to do it.
"So do you think that a man needs to be rich, mean and muscly to be Dominant?" I ask. Asking this of a man who is passionate about working out in order to impress women is a bit of a trick question, I do realise. Oh well.
"No, I don't" he says, he doesn't even pause to consider it. He tells me about his portly rich uncle who is doted on hand and foot by his naked wife and a part of me feels grossed out. It's a level of submissive servitude that I could never agree to nor would ever be comfortable with, but then unlike her, I've always said that I can't be bought anyway.
"It makes you more Dominant" he says, "but you can still be Dominant without having loads of money."
"Interesting, thankyou" I say. I say nothing more on the matter.
On Tuesday I helped Matt train the dog, or rather, I trained Matt to train the dog to his command. I can't give him full control, I am still the Alpha (at least to Hugo), but Hugo needs to respond to Matt too.
I demonstrated to Matt how to use a time out, how to use treats effectively, how to use the "sit!", "stay" and the "quiet" command and how to raise your voice (to be heard over barking) without hurting your throat.
"When you can assert yourself, you will believe in yourself" I say. I'm not a certified dog trainer by any means but I have thirty-five years of dog ownership/experience and with happy, friendly, confident dogs (and one that won us a trophy, in agility). Surely that counts for something?
"Quiet!" Matt commands. Hugo ignores him and continues barking so Matt leads him out and places him in the kitchen for a minute to cool off. I smile.
"How do you feel?" I ask. It's undeniable - this new, assertive Matt is pretty damn sexy.
"Good, empowered. That little shit isn't going to be bossing me around anymore" he says. I laugh out loud.
"Good, so you should" I say. "Remember, we don't negotiate with terrier-ists."
I did get myself into a mess again on Wednesday, on the state of the world and the media. I know that I've been like this before: every war has the potential to escalate and come home in my eyes. Ever since 1998.
And a possibility is a certainty, and a certainty means death, despair and destruction, and wouldn't that just be terrible and why is my government not doing more to prepare? Oh my god, I should do more to prepare! Why is nobody else scared?!
Catastrophic thinking is a thing I do and I know that the media doesn't help me - and doesn't want to help me when more eyeballs means more profit. Sometimes I even know that I am the product being sold, it's just that I can't stop.
What if I miss sonething important? What if something bad DOES happen and I'm not ready for it?
The bit that annoys me now is that he wasn't supposed to love me, and I wasn't supposed to love him, but he did, and I did, and then there was the whole shitfest that followed because of jealousy and morality and a whole bunch of other shitty things that all other non-monogamous, non-homo sapien animals just don't concern themselves with. If we just fucked like wolves instead of thinking ourselves like wolves, then frankly everyone would be happy.
"What if?". That's both the story the curious and the imaginative soul, and the bane of our existence. "What if?".
I know that Matt, Bill, Will and my family - and a few of my friends - have tried to talk some sense into me, it's just that my brain isn't listening. Outcomes that aren't chaos, despair and destruction fail me - my brain can't handle things that don't confirm my mental bias.
Not that it would be very satisfying if they did confirm my bias, mind you, but at least I would be right.
I know that's exactly what this is, and it's what the media does - they play on cognitive biases and availability heuristics to keep people scared and keep us tuned in. I even dedicated some time to study the media way back in... 2010 I think it was, yet still it scares me now. As Matt oh so correctly put it, how many newspapers would they sell if they just said "don't worry, everything is fine. War didn't break out in our country today"?. Plainly put, they wouldn't.
I know this, yet still I fall for it. It annoys me, about me.
Some part of me knows that perhaps it isn't enough just to expect me not to doomscroll. I need accountability, I need consequence, and I need some help with that. I can't hold myself accountable - the need to guarantee my safety and my survival far outweighs my need to not doomscroll. Ironically perhaps, that is the very reason why people tend to doomscroll.
I also know that I am still struggling with moving on from Will as well, but I am somehow finding that being able to be honest about that, helps. I'm missing him, yes, but I'm no longer internally pining for him or trying to convince myself (or the world) that I somehow have my shit together. I'm slowly learning to accept my feelings - feelings are okay.
Part of it comes from the kick up the ass that he gave me, and the other part of it comes in the way that he helped me with my anxieties about the world we live in now. I know that my diet displeased Will, and as I found myself tossing the ingredients for some low-sugar, low-fat apple & raisin flapjacks into the food processor last week, I couldn't help but think of him again.
"To the man who taught me to love myself as much as he loved me" I say, and press the pulse button.
Maybe in part that's just it: I kicked his ass and he kicked mine. I could hate him for it but instead I'm grateful that he did it. I'm glad that I could kick his ass for him too, I'm just not proud of my approach. Looking back, I think that probably goes for both of us.
Ironically, it's two things that Will once said to me that are helping me to be a little calmer right now: A) "nobody wants to blow up the world", B) "focus on 'what is' not 'what if?'".
"He's a very smart man" I acknowledge to Matt, "even if he was a pain in the ass sometimes."
If I could just be over someone then I would, but in reality it's not that easy. ZAYN & Taylor Swift's "I Don't Want To Live Forever" plays out in my mind, an inner voice perhaps to the way that I feel right now. I've noticed that my own "Inner Goddess" likes to express herself in songs sometimes - a bit like Transformers' Bumblebee.
Also frankly, this isn't even about D/s because - and with no disrespect - D/s without love ain't shit anyway. I'm not talking exclusively about romantic love here either; love can be platonic too. What I mean is that D/s without some form of feeling or attraction behind it is utterly crap - been there, tried it, didn't like it. If I wanted to simply "go through the motions" of being a part of something with no emotion in it, I'd probably get off of my ass and go wash the dishes instead.
No, what I mean is that what we had was love, not just D/s. Not a love we were supposed to have, but a love we had unintentionally anyway. That's not something that I can just get over, that's someone that I have to let myself get over. Falling out of love is just like falling in love - it takes time.