Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And so...

Mist eddies silently through the quiet streets, drifting moisture-laden clouds that breathe cool on my face and slick vapour into pores until I look down and see tiny droplets of water glistening on the sweep of arm and know my face shimmers like the pulsing dark around me. I gaze up into the shrouded night and feel the sky press around me and in that secret part of myself hear the resonation of something just beyond the curling mist.

Do you ever feel so restless that your skin crawls along the tendons and muscles of your body, a flickering live thing, so you shudder and your skin dances as if an independent cog and not an intricate part of corporeal reality of self?

The Celt in me trembles and feels the weight of possibilities pressing against my soul, pushing maybes into the tangled web of possibilities entrenched in each of our souls, unfledged, deep inside mind and heart. For each of us carries with us the promise of new beginnings, new paths to explore and tributaries overhung with potential and the promise of finding peace.

Moisture weeps from dark morning and sweeps in on factitious winds that tug tendrils of hair from the bundled mass at the nape of my neck, as I slip through clouds of mist and fog which soften and obscure familiar streets and lends to them an air of mystery. A heavy strand of hair becomes unanchored and with a sigh flutters across my face, scented of vanilla and spice and the hot warmth of body.

I’ve realized lately that I seem to have lost some vital parts of who I used to be. The reactions garnered from certain situations have shocked me in the message delivered and prodded me into some uncomfortable soul-searching to ascertain whether those pieces can be regained or are lost forever.

Do you ever look in a mirror and wonder what the hell happened to the person you thought you knew?

The physical realities of aging are inevitable (which I think SUCKS incidentally) and from that perspective I find myself sometimes appalled when I see their realities embossed on my flesh. Because from inside looking out, one never feels all that much different, it is sometimes shocking to see a stranger looking back.

But more emphatic are the emotional and spiritual impacts of maturity. This whole middle aged crisis thing for instance, joking aside, has proven to carry both positive and negative implications – but thus far, seems inevitably entwined with some kind of pain. Now for a masochist, that is not always necessarily a bad thing but there is pain that liberates and pain that cripples and while I internalize that change in itself brings discomfort, some of the revelations I’m being granted have been unwelcome and hurt something deep inside.

I have burrowed deep down into the hidden nooks of my elemental self, seeking the spurious safety of dark, hidden places to mask the totality of my capitulation to sorrow. I have hidden beneath my skin, removed myself from behind my eyes, do they dim? Is their spring green less brilliant?

There is a comfort in separating from sorrow.

There is a calm to be achieved from refusing to feel.

But there is, despite my whinging, a commensurate comprehension of events and insight conferred that carries with it an ironic satisfaction and a niggling sense of rightness. Because in truth, the intellectual in me cannot help but savour the mental acuity which I have gained while the optimist (who I thought, truth to be told, had expired) is quivering and wiggling a little modicum of hope.

I continue to marvel at the complexity of the human animal and its infinite ability to fuck things up.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yearning


I stand, nose pressed against the cool glass and yearn into the endless sky which sweeps past in a dizzying expanse of cerulean want and possibilities of another life. I hear the call of the lake, the mournful seeking cry pulling me into the coolness of its embrace.

I am restless and discontented today, chafing at responsibilities and demands, my skin aching

I miss being bound…I miss the sweet touch of rope holding me tight and safe and embraced in caring. My back aches with the need to feel the sting of want across its pale surface. I lean my forehead against the cool windowpane and ache for what was.

My masochism huddles deep in my belly, curled up in a fearful huddle of limbs and need. So long. So long since I fed the need. So long since I felt the sting against my back, the hot, wanting lash of his desire, kissing pink into my spine and blushing lust into the curve of waist, the swell of hip. The feel of his hand against the meat of my bottom, the hot stinging thud, the wriggling, needy, stomach tingling frisson of him against my belly, firm, aching and moist.

I sigh and my eyes drink in the mumbling grey of the lake as it moves restlessly under the wheeling expanse of sky and horizon, and press against the window as if I would dive into the freedom of flight and then find the cool, damp embrace of lake enveloping me in its healing want.

I want to feel my wrists chafing in the binding of spirit. I want to feel the certitude of right and sink deep into my mind and find that small, intimate place where I sit tranquil and with a heart so full of quiet joy that the water from my selkie soul wells up and spills into the reality of now and feel his finger gently trace the glistening trail down my flushed cheek.

I want to lie quiet in my surrender and feel the faint fluttering as I wait patiently for the anticipated hurt, pain I understand and pull into my soul to savour, the sting of lash, the whistle of the cane or the sweet, warmth of flesh on flesh and in the doing, there is giving and in the giving there is acceptance.

I sigh and my eyes blur and fill with regret and mourn the loss of faith and the severing of trust .

Sunlight spills through the cool air and like a capricious kitten skitters through the green glint of leaves which dance and flutter their aching newness in gleeful abandon in the square below. Smoke eddies through the air from the iron and steel of tomorrow’s world and teases my memory with other moments which trail tears through my thoughts and sting regret into my heart.

I am fallow. A parched field, untilled and forgotten. And I realize as my heart beats painfully against the prison of my chest that like a phantom limb, the ache of my loss continues.

Paths


I was going to ask – do you ever wonder where you would be RIGHT now if you had chosen a different path? But then I realized the question answers itself – I don’t believe there is a person alive that doesn’t at some point speculate where they might right now had they made different choices way back when….

What is an even MORE interesting exercise is ask someone CLOSE to you to speculate where you might have ended up had you made different choices.

D. intriguingly thought I would be unmarried, no children and immersed in a career. I’m not sure why I was surprised at his prediction as he was correct that before my very first child I was NEVER one to yearn for children nor seek the white picket fence life. I was driven, ambitious, competitive and a workaholic.

While I liked babies well enough, I never as a child or teenager or young woman had a desire to propagate them nor in any way desired the stability of married life nor the reality (and what I perceived the stultified existence) of what I saw as a “mundane” life.

Truth be told, I was intense, passionate and highly aggressive when it came to a career.

The choice came as I finished up my Master’s. It was take the offer of a full scholarship to an American University to pursue my PhD or follow D. to Toronto, getting married beforehand. Well, it is obvious I picked the latter but in hindsight, he is PROBABLY right – had he not been in the picture I probably would have taken advantage of the scholarship – which would have lead me to a VERY different path than the one I now tread.

How odd to think of it!

Because there are so many other factors that would come into play.

I have what my parents always termed “tinker’s feet”. Perhaps as a result of a childhood spent in various countries, moving on a whim, travelling extensively but I developed a penchant for it.

Due to the realities of life, my travelling forays pretty well came to a screeching halt and one of my still aching held regrets revolves around the lack of exposure to new countries, cultures and milieus – not just for me but it is like a physical ache that my kids and D as well have never had the opportunities I had. I very much suspect had I pursued a PhD I would have ended up here, there and everywhere as the world is out there for people with advanced degrees and a lack of inhibitions when it comes to exploring it.

While I am cognizant that musing on possibilities is both pointless and in some respects, counter-productive, it sometimes provides food for thought. Because it occurs to me in considering past choices, that in some ways, I have lost sight of some intrinsically personal personality traits that defined in large part who I am.

The whole “mid-life” crisis thing is not always just full of negatives and clich├ęs. The reality is some of us reach an age where there is more behind than ahead and as the realization filters through our workaday brains that we’re on the other side of the hill, it urges us to pause at the top of that hill and look back at where we’ve been.

And distance – metaphysical and real – can sometimes give perspective. Add perspective, throw in life experience, sweeten with maturity and then a dash of sorrow and you end up with a viewpoint that is often remarkably distant from your original intent. Oddly, negative experiences can be even more powerful in providing insight and illumination and the past few years have provided rich opportunities to me to contemplate the realities of life.

Most profound about this new awareness is the understanding that life continues to evolve, that each of us continues to change and the future remains open to interpretation, choice and determination. In short, our future is OURS to create and it is WE who are responsible for making the choices.

I believe it is within our grasp to seriously explore our own psyches and find what motivations, what urgings, what needs we have failed to succour and decide whether the consequences are worth the impetus to change.

At the end of it all, there are consequence and impact to every choice made – even the ones we refuse to make and no one but ourselves can be held responsible for the unfolding of new paths … or keeping our trudging steps in the ruts of the old.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Village Square - Musings on the Internet


The much-touted “anonymity” of the internet is a concept I think vastly over-rated. The belief that you can be who you like, what you like, take on the persona, the appearance of what you would like to be or perhaps how you would like to present yourself is I think an erroneous assumption..

This is true only in quantifiable measures, I think. Now while it seem that sociopaths seem to be everywhere these days (which leads one to questions the morality which is prevalent in our society), given that one is NOT a sociopath, I truly believe that people can't hide their ultimate personalities. You may start out "pretending" but the real you will eventually stand up and make itself known - I think that is human nature. This is particularly apt to occur if you carry on long-term internet "friendships" or dialogues.

I’ve never even attempted to be someone other than who I am – I know that the “real me” would just rebel against it.

There are SO many ways to track where a person has been after all, so lying about where you’re located, for instance, is almost an exercise in futility Even among housemates, it is not simplistic. While simple enough to erase cookies, history and files - if the person owning the computer or with administrative rights has Mcafee for instance, they can track an "event log" which details exactly where a particular user has been. And for the myriad computer geeks out there, tracing someone’s whereabouts is fairly straightforward if you know the tricks and have the (often) free programs.

Further, with a very few exceptions, we are all creatures of habit. We use certain names, certain passwords - our themes remain fairly consistent because to do otherwise would make it impossible to keep track of your user names and passwords - most of us think sequentially and our short-term memories are limited - so we use markers to remind us of certain things - this is true not just on the internet but in the plethora of "security" that abounds out there now, in our daily lives - we seem to need some sort of code for everything these days.

So ultimately, you can run but you can't hide.

I am really starting to realize that the promised anonymity of the internet is all a big load of hooey - we can ALL be traced.

Not having anything to hide, this in itself would not normally bother me - the spurious privacy extended by either Vista or XP is enough for regular privacy needs in the home- i.e. you don't want the kiddies seeing daddy or mummy happens to like (in my case) BDSM, for instance - you have your own name, your own password, your own page as it were.

Even more important, there is such a thing as personal morality involved. From an early age, I tried to teach my kids respect for personal space and in turn, tried to allow them their own privacy (within reason). D. and I assumed our children (yes, even the teenagers) were telling us the truth until events or words proved otherwise. Did it come back to bite us in the ass? Absolutely at certain times- but I still think it was the moral choice to make and overall, our children did not abuse our trust.

As they are older now, I find that they provide us with the same respect. For instance, my kids know I have a blog – but have never once asked to see it, in fact they actively avoid searching for it. When one of my daughter’s friends came across it, Rowan was mortified and furious and told her to stay away- that it was “my mum’s personal space”. In that vein, I am not on their facebook site nor they on mine – all concerned find it horrifying to think of “sharing” that way.

While I think to some extent, what we peruse or enjoy, the pages we frequent, the blogs we love are indicative of certain personality traits and can to a limited extent, define the totality of what we are – they are again, ultimately only a facet of the complicated psyches that we are. So to extrapolate an in-depth and personal “knowledge” of an individual simply through online dialogue is I think a very erroneous assumption and potentially disastrous if one starts assigning too much weight to a perception that is ultimately based only on what the individual chooses to share.

At its most simplistic, assuming you “know” someone simply through their words is like claiming a personal relationship with an author – because you’ve read everything he’s written you claim to know him intimately. But the reality is you do not. You only know what he has shared in his art.

Not that I discount the possibility of real friendships occurring. I think they can. Because ultimately the internet is simply another tool – a meeting place which in today’s global village substitutes for the town square. We reach out and dance our thoughts along the strings of the web and skitter along its highways and byways and along the way, find little nests of comfort, places where thoughts and words and personality attract and intrigue, “kitchens” where we can sit and catch up and bend the ear of a sympathetic friend, “clubs” where we can flirt and dance and know ourselves safe and quiet places where we can sit and contemplate and muse on thoughts which spark familiarity in our hearts.

But caution must be exercised. A certain wariness maintained. Because the unfortunate reality is that the spurious anonymity often gives cruelty a mask and dishonesty a patina of respectability. Clever words do not always reflect intelligence and insight nor erudite musings compassion.

Like any other relationship, a healthy dose of self-esteem, an unjaundiced eye and clear sight offer the best protection.

Venture into the square and meet your neighbours – just know like in real life, you don’t know what occurs behind closed doors.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

7 things

So the Imp tagged me - I actually like doing these silly things but have a rule about tagging others - so I would love to hear some of "your" seven things - just won't put anyone on the spot.:D

Rules:
1. Link to your original tagger and list these rules in your post
2. Share 7 facts about yourself in the post
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post, leave their names & links to their blogs
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged

This is actually way harder than I thought when I first read it:

Selkie Fact 1 - I don't tan - ever - at all - I just burn - I learned this early on when I lived in Grand Bahamas - so I was around 15 the last time I even tried. I wear 45 spf sunscreen and spend most of the summer cocooning - I love my garden but only work in it early morning and late afternoon in the shade - this isn't that hard as I adore trees and have many of them in my yard.

Selkie Fact 2 - I broke my back when I was 15 - was in a steel body brace for 1.5 years - and still went dancing - I did this in Ireland when my cousins and I were being stupid on a tractor. I fell off and went under the wheels. I saw the wheel coming for my neck (vivid memory of this) and twisted. I broke 4 verterbrae and crushed 3 and the surgeon told me I missed becoming quadrapalegic by a whisper. We didn't even tell my aunt (who was away as my uncle was in hospital sick) for three days as I was afraid my cousins would get in trouble. (A Sub-Fact - I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance - a sadist's dream!)

Selkie Fact 3 - I have an undergrad degree in English and Classics and a Masters in Communications (speciality Journalism). I worked for 14 years in the media field - from journalist to editor to various other things. I gave it up for typing at night when I had my first child. No regrets (and ended up having 4 kids in less than 6 years - another Sub-Fact - I never do things in halves).

Selkie Fact 4 - D. was my first lover in every respect - intercourse, anal, oral, you name it.

Selkie - Fact 5 - I was threatened with jail and almost kicked out of university when doing my Undergrad. I discovered the University President was making illegal deals and exposed it in our student newspaper. It was stressful but I hung tough, never revealed my source and the President resigned.

Selkie - Fact 6 - I am SERIOUSLY craftily-challenged - I mean I am HORRIFIC at doing anything "crafty" - and detest them. I tortured myself on and off over the years before I embraced my lack of fine motor skills and accepted it. My friend Sally would do the stupid crafty things my kids were required to do at school and bring them over in a bag and the kids and I would glue them on the banners and stuff. I love Sally.

Selkie - Fact 7 - I don't panic - ever. I can keep my head in really stressful situations. I keep calm when situations are falling apart and do what needs doing. I only fall to pieces when I'm by myself and where no one can see me. I also stand up and do what needs doing rather than sit back and wait for someone else to do it. This makes me either a pushy broad or extremely capable.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just remembrances ...

Daughter No. 2 has moved into my living room.

Her books are piled in a growing tower of procrastination on the coffee table, while loose-leaf, notes, binders and various and sundry other essentials required for the Perfect Essay spill off the loveseat and slowly, insidiously take over the couch.

Rowan is a fungus. Largely benign, but implacable and incapable of being stopped.

5 to 7 pairs of shoes litter the floor while several of her quirky book bags lie forlorn on the floor, weeping granola bars and oatmeal squares festooned with chew marks from the dogs, vomiting wisps of paper, gum wrappers and hand creams into a mess of rapidly increasing gargantuan proportions.

She is ensconced on the loveseat, laptop perched on her knees, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, bare except for the straps of her summer dress (Rowan logic –blanket AND summer dress). Facebook whispers from one screen, while regular little MSN squeals punctuate her animated discussion of medieval English religious rites.

I’m frustrated – we’re going into Month 2 of the Occupation yet she amuses me despite myself.

She is often there to greet me when I get up at 3:15 a.m., fingers busy, chipper and together, my night owl child. I feed her tea and advice and admonish her for staying up all night. But it is a wise child that knows herself and easily distracted Rowan works best when there are no excuses left to occupy time better spent writing and no family left to supply amusement.

And truth to tell, it brings back memories of my own. For the child comes by it honestly!

But she has it easier in some respects. I remember my old battered armchair, where I would nest surrounded like her by books and papers and necessities of life (in my case, a huge mug of tea and cigarettes), an old plank across the arms providing a writing surface where I would scribble my thoughts in my outrageously unintelligible scrawl. My coffee table was a crassly stolen Stop sign, laid atop “borrowed” milk cartons.

When a rough draft was done, I would leave the comfort of my chair to perch on a wobbly kitchen chair (rescued from the garbage) and flexing my fingers, began the battle with the ancient Underwood typewriter liberated from the musty archives of the newspaper office where I worked part-time to pay the piper.

I began in Grade 9 with a small turquoise Brother portable typewriter – bought when my English teacher called my parents and swore he had never seen such terrible writing. But my fingers learned to dance over the keys and my thoughts tumbled and fought in my mind and sought liberation in the hunt and peck of inky want and the typewriter would skitter like a dry leaf on a brisk autumn day across the table.

Discovering the Underwood and its 90 lbs of cast iron beauty was a wonder and a joy. After years of chasing the elusive Brother in its journeying, I was victorious in my rough love of the Underwood.

I marvel at how lucky Rowan is to have spell-check and insert and delete and the great comfort of making versions, erasing and redoing … all with a few keystrokes. White-out was my friend when I was in university and I learned early on to spell correctly and type accurately to avoid tripling the workload.

Plus, in addition to my own writings, I had D’s to transcribe as well. Like father, like daughter.

D was a denizen of the university library, a procrastinator extraordinaire, a maestro of avoidance when it came to actually putting his thoughts on paper although his debating skills and ability to control the discussion are legendary to this day.

Inevitably, he would arrive home in the wee hours with coffee-stained penned papers in hand, and handing them to me, have his tea and toddle off to bed. I, on the other hand, would sit at our smoky kitchen table, pounding away at the Underwood, straining eyes already exhausted to read his chicken scratch manuscripts which were inevitably due at 8 a.m. the next morning.

That is how in his final thesis “Transcendental Aesthetic” became “Transcendental Athlete” – I know, I know – at the time I thought it odd, but then it was Philosophy! And as I pointed out after the paper came back marked (and well, too, his Professor luckily had a sense of humour!), it seemed apropos in the context of the essay!

The cycle of life … I watch my child with fond eyes, her voice animated and loud in the dark of the early morning and wonder at the paths taken – who would have thought I would be doing THIS, standing in the early dawn watching my child repeat with her own twist the excesses of my own youth?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sexy - or Not


I have been meaning to revisit the recent discussion engendered by the cyber Sexy Blogger’s Award which made the rounds a few weeks ago. Specifically, I found an aching poignancy and sense of comprehensive sorrow and acceptance in swan’s passionate repudiation of such a designation here. Simplistically and rationally, “sexiness” ostensibly lies in the mind and heart, it is the vision as seen from the eyes of one who adores you, the reflection of self from the eyes of one predisposed to find you compelling (her Tom puts it beautifully and with a poetic passion that made my heart melt).

Emotionally and spiritually, however, it is instead the inward vision of self, the always implacably rigid and unrealistic yardstick by which we measure our own charms, and sadly, for many of us, our own worth.

As much as the rational mind, bolstered in my case by a feminist conscience, preaches sexy is in the mind and heart, sexy is in how you present yourself and in your conviction and innate belief in your own value, the lingering malaise of childhood realities, the suffocating weight of societal imperatives, the increasingly visual inundation of what are blatantly termed “sexy” images and the inability of very few flesh and blood individuals to measure up, ensure that what we know we “should” believe and what we actually internalize are two different things.

Like many North Americans, I know that my sense of “sexiness” is inevitably entangled with my personal appearance. Growing up, I was teased unmercifully (and I am NOT talking abuse, this was normal sibling interaction – I LOVE my sisters) – for my small breasted reality. My sisters (all 3 of them) proudly flaunted the North American idea of large bosoms and my own lack inspired much hilarity and teasing. Now the rational part of me understands that small or large, breasts are breasts and their sensitivity, the ability of that soft flesh to give and receive pleasure is ultimately what makes them sexy and appealing. But when I look in the mirror and see the paucity of curves, emotionally I internalize “lack”.

Again, the obsession with thinness (particularly in North America), the slavish adoration of washboard abdominals, the snide, often cruel treatment of celebrities that even have “normal” figures simply underlines the “rule” that to be “sexy” one has to be thin (skeletal in some respects). Again, while rationality, hell, reality shows again and again that your waist size does NOT have a bearing on your attractiveness; it takes great strength of character and a solid sense of self-esteem to resist internalizing that belief.

I know that it was a mantra with me for years that IF I just lost weight, IF I were skinnier, IF IF IF .. then for a fairly long time I WAS thin ... I was wearing the small sizes, had no flesh to “pinch the inch”, even to my jaundiced gaze, I was borderline skinny ... and was I happy? Nope. Because then I just focused on something else, the flesh that is simply there because I had four large healthy children, the breasts that were no longer as firm, the thighs that weren’t long enough, straight enough, curved enough, the lack of butt ... there is always fault to be found when your eyes are clouded with self-loathing.

But I remember moments in time when the slick feel of flesh against flesh engendered not anxiety but a delicious thrilling delight. When clothing was thrown off eagerly with a fulsome, delightful abandon that ignored the depredations of time and found self-love in the sensuality of being desired. When I could lie sprawled on our bed, unashamed, revelling in the flesh I owned despite the battering of experience and the reality of less than perfect flesh. When the hot slickness of my need was enough to perfume the air and paint lust into our hearts and perfection glowed from his eyes and hands and in the flesh that filled his hands and heart.

Because it is not simply that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, but rather it is the look that lies in the eyes of one who finds in your flesh, in your mind, in your heart, in the hot, quivering need of you for that person, a lust and a want and a desire so intense that it catches your breath and metamorphasizes a simple body into that of a goddess.

It’s not a need to have every man (or if so inclined, woman), look and desire you; albeit seeing that reflected in a stranger’s eyes is not unwelcome to most of us (given it is within acceptable limits). But that in itself does not make you feel “sexy” – not to the core. For at a certain age, at a certain point in our lives, all of us drop off the radar. It is as if we “disappear”.

Eyes slide over us as if we were insubstantial phantoms, our presence in stores goes unremarked, the door before us is let go and slams in our face, and service has to be demanded rather than anticipated. That is a reality that many women my age experience. But back when the dynamic between us was incandescent with want, it was as if suddenly I existed in the world again. I found attitudes were more positive, that people seemed to ‘see” me… men opened doors, smiled and generally acknowledged that I existed.

And at the time I felt sexual and sexy .. but it wasn’t a stranger’s glance that ignited the fire in my soul nor an acquaintance’s sudden reaction. For incorporating the concept of sexiness is an internal process that begins on a micro level in your soul, fuelled by the look in the eyes of the one you crave, by the frisson of lust along flesh aching for his touch, by the absolute conviction that you are desired, cherished, wanted.

And it was THAT sense of being wanted by the one I adored that allowed my true feelings of sexiness to be internalized. Grasped to myself, cognizant of my physical imperfections, nonetheless an incandescent belief in my own desirability glowed through me, illuminating a plain face, imbuing a work-a-day body with grace and with sensuality and exuding from the pores, pheromones that enveloped me in a walking, sensual shower of lust.

I KNOW that the perfect breasts, the slender waist and long lissom legs do not in themselves bring contentment and sensuality. I remember Caroline with her luscious, generous curves and come hither eyes and how the men flocked around her, young as she was. I remember Erin, with her narrow shoulders and concave chest, and winsome, plain face with the men three deep. Perfection of face and form then is no guarantee of ‘sexiness’ – a reality I know is true because of the number of wonderful women I have known without the “perfect figures” or “stunning faces” that nonetheless exude an earthy, real sexuality that attracts lovers to them likes flies.

But inside many of us lurks the insidious worn of disbelief, fuelled by a combination of memories of awkward childhood growth, when shyness and lack of awareness coloured us wallflowers and neglected. Inner visions of our outer shells pocked with the soulless abuse of hollow people, tarnished with perceptions of falling short, buffeted by the careless cruelty of first loves whose shining visages never turned to our hopeful faces.

But worse than that; even with a youth normal in all respects, many of us carry inward scars of disillusion and crushing disenchantment. Scars worn shiny from experiences best forgotten but indelibly inscribed on our souls. Wounds festering still beneath a thin layer of skin, pulled tight to protect against prurient curiosity and painful revelation.

My own scars are layered thickly on a body grown cold, tissue knotted and twisted with disdain and repudiation. They lie just beneath the surface of the skin, invisible to the casual eye, but to a discerning soul, throbbing painfully beneath the patina of insouciance.

And I mourn the loss of my belief in my desirability and lament my paucity of sexiness, my inability to pull the mantle of want around my shoulders and feel to my soul its warm embrace.


… But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

(excerpt from Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In the end (conclusion)

Thought I was done, didn’t you?

Never underestimate my verbosity ... or as my father kindly coined my words my “oral diahhrea” LOL

AND... because it’s a Rule – yeah...a RULE -there’s ALWAYS a “but”.

When it all comes down to it, damned if I know what it is about two personalities that just mesh. Why do any of us ``hear`` what I have always termed the “call” from a certain person and not from another? It’s not a rational thing in the end, I think. If it were, I am sure there are many relationships that just never would have happened.

And while I cling and believe implicitly in my conviction that we nonetheless ‘choose’ – there is a part inside of me that whispers sometimes the need is just so intense it is as if your ‘choice’ has been decided for you.

It is as part of you stands aside, defeated before the battle even begins and accepts the inevitability of giving into that overwhelming need to submit to that person, the one whose voice resonates and compels and pulls you, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes protesting, sometimes dragging your feet which nonetheless forces your feet to step, one in front of the other, bringing your heart and body and emotions along the path of a new journey even while it leaves your rationality dragging behind.

It is that small, dark, private piece of you that recognizes what your workaday rational mind does not – the potential rightness of taking that path – the one that curves up ahead with the sky wheeling against the tangled wavering line of forest and sea, clouding vision and possibilities and creating that dragging, dreading, quavering, WONDERFUL roiling mess in your heart. Romantic, probably, for despite my posturing and my rationality, my hard-headed practical grasp of realities, I remember what it was like in those perfect moments.

That sense of rightness, of the world which shudders and stops in mid-motion, of eyes opening, truly opening as if for the first time and the mundane realities bleed away the monochrome grey of before and drip salt rainbows of colours you never knew existed until your vision blurs and expands and explodes in an orgasmic conflagration of YES that overwhelms in the intensity of its purpose.

It is a contentment so profound that time loses meaning as you sit quietly awaiting another`s pleasure with no sense of urgency or niggling pricks of unease.

It is the warm, encompassing embrace of ease and simplicity that buoys you up in the midst of a hectic life and gives that sense of safety for which each of us yearns.

Yet at the same time is that humming thrum of hot, red sexuality that flushes heat into your face, that tightens things deep in your belly, that keeps your breasts feeling full and aching, your thighs trembling and moist ....

When all is said and done the siren call is implacable, inevitable and so utterly seductive.

But it’s STILL a choice.

It is STILL a personal decision to answer, reject, surrender or reconsider.

Because in the end, there are no promises that can’t be broken nor assurances that can’t be repudiated. In the end there is only the gamble and the hope and the inevitability of consequence. In the end there is the roll of the dice and the promise of forever that is really only until it is over.

In the end, there are only realities which can’t be ignored and consequences that must be embraced.

In the end, there is just self.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Concept of Slavery (Training and Conditioning 202)



Choices ... in the end it is ALL about choices, but choices predicated on certain immutable precepts. With full awareness of the consequences of each path stretched before one – and needing, indeed, REQUIRING some insight and inner knowledge about the individual who is the other part of the desired dynamic.

For choosing to submit, be it as a slave or a submissive must, in the end, be an internally driven decision. A decision based on information only the individual can decide is crucial to taking the step.

The bottom line is that none of us can predict the outcome of the choices we make– all we have is the knowledge that there WILL be a consequence to that choice. One we may think a solid probability, one that based on logic should occur but in the end, it is ALL a gamble, a roll of the dice. For every action there is a reaction ... for every choice there is a consequence. That is the reality.

Labelling oneself “slave” or “submissive” is, when all is said and done, a pointless exercise. The reality is that no one individual will have the same vision of that label. For in the end, labels are useful only in the sense that they give a grounding to those outside the dynamic. Within the dynamic, only the individuals involved have a full understanding of what the label encompasses – and then only after open and honest communication and sharing of that concept. (Gillette gives a truly insightful discussion about how communication can be misinterpreted and have different meanings here)

And because NO dynamic is immutable nor static, every relationship is an evolving, constantly shifting work in progress. Thus, even within the magic circle, the nuance and impact of words will themselves change and shift.

But another paradigm which has been postulated by PK is equally crucial and to my mind perhaps marks the biggest differentiation between the fantastic and reality – and that is RESPONSIBILITY.

I think PK’s erudite (grins) grasp of the subject says it best - It's not that living with someone and choosing a M/s dynamic is wrong as long as both parties know what is what. It's that it is (for me anyway) the absolutely fucking WRONG choice to choose that when it is not a choice, but rather an ABDICATION of my own personal responsibilities and power.

And that, dear friends, is one of the places I see the demarcation between reality and fantasy. Because while the concept of abdicating all decision-making can have a delicious and compelling pull to it, the reality is that it would be almost impossible to live a life wherein one would have the inclination, time and degree of effort required to make the fantasy work every moment of every day.

I also personally view it as the ultimate ‘cop-out’ to seek someone who will live your life vicariously and make all decisions for you because you refuse to find the strength of character and discipline to take the responsibility yourself. I would also question the stability of such a relationship –as I believe it inevitable that ennui and burn-out will occur in the Master and on the submissive’s part, believe it is a foregone conclusion that constantly having to seek advice and guidance on even the most mundane matters will quickly pall.

I would also, at this point, emphasize again that submission is not for the weak of heart. Putting your mind, body and spirit into the often untested safekeeping of another`s hands is at best, a leap of faith, at worst, a sometimes overwhelming and often frightening proposition; a step which takes great strength of mind, a willingness to trust and in the end, a certain fatalistic acceptance and willingness to experience possibly negative consequences.

That takes strength, and I believe that part of a submissive’s attraction to the right person is the strength required to submit; D. often said that there was no victory in mastering someone easily mastered by anyone – that the true satisfaction lay in having a strong, independent, capable individual kneel through choice.

And as I truly believe an ongoing M/s or D/s relationship is simply a variation on ANY type of relationship, it also requires ongoing and committed dialogue, a willingness of both parties to open up insecurities and concerns, and finally – and Swan says it best – ultimately an understanding of the parameters of the dynamic – thus the choice of both to live inside of that apparent inequity.

Crap days happen. Real life intrudes. Work, family issues, health concerns are all inevitable parts of each of our lives. And while as M:e says We strive for the perfection of it...whilst recognising it will always be imperfect, because relationships contain human being and humans are imperfect. So yes, maybe a mix of fantasy AND reality....for many of us heavily weighted towards the latter though .... there is an understanding there that as in ANY relationship, the ebb and flow will fluctuate, the intensity increase or decrease, that as in any of our lives, the incandescent moments that many of us have experienced at those seconds of complete understanding cannot (and probably should not) be there at every interaction.

There are real people involved. There are real, ongoing issues that affect the individuals entwined in the dynamic. As every parent I have ever noted has said at some point why don’t they come with instructions .... that comment about children can be equally apropos when referring to either the dominant or submissive element of the equation.

The complexity of the human mind, the sensitivity and quirkiness of the human spirit should never be underestimated. There is a reason that the submissive and dominant are attracted to each other. It is not a universal truth that every dominant is equally attracted to every submissive nor that every submissive is automatically compelled to serve and bow to every dominant – that’s the fantasy thing again.

While there are certain intrinsic traits that are perhaps comparable among individuals (without question, service for the submissive, control for the Master), it is the personality of the individual that triggers the initial attraction. Which brings me to my earlier querying of the reality of training and conditioning. I believe, that ultimately, a good dominant enhances and embraces ALL the qualities of a submissive as the submissive does the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the Master’s personality. Otherwise, it would just not make sense to create a personal dynamic in the first place; i.e. any port in a storm (or any submissive when in the mood). But if that were the case then we’re not talking about a Master/slave or Master/submissive dynamic – we’re talking about “tops” and “bottoms” - an equally valid but very different kettle of fish.

Sir J I think has an excellent grasp of it when he talks about his initial contract with his h - -h has the right to expect her Master to both know her, who she is and has always been, and to respect these facets of her personality and not to require her to do or become anything which would make her uncomfortable or in any way interfere with those facets of her personality.

And Vesta, when she says two people like each other fundamentally as they are.

Every single one of us has individual character traits which to a greater or lesser degree define who we are – traits whose complexity and nuance create the uniqueness of one person. Some can (and in many ways should perhaps) be altered to some degree; we all carry baggage, baggage from life’s many buffetings and experiences, baggage that is not always healthy nor desired. In that sense, a good guiding hand can help us get rid of unwelcome baggage. However, there are other personality traits that to some may look like baggage but are in fact, an important part of our perception of self. Innate personality quirks that define the essence of what we are. I strongly believe that to fully integrate acceptance of self, then those that profess to care about us, must accept those parts of us that may not always make the person comfortable but are understood to be part and parcel of the whole package.

This includes understanding motivations and triggers for a submissive or slave. Vesta, for instance, brings up another valid point about training which touches on a personal hate of my own – the useless imposition of pointless exercises on the submissive. I just don’t understand what demanding pointless exercises simply for the sake of ensuring the submissive completes them does and to me, again smacks of the online fantasy thing rather than reality. She says:

The things I am asked to do need to be meaningful or else I am going to struggle
to consistently do them. Unless the submissive (or slave, or whatever) feels
that there is a purpose for the change, then I don't see how she can maintain
her desire to make the changes simply because another person desires her to do
so.  


The reality is that there IS no Manor in the country where naive submissives can be sent for training. Many of the “rituals” one reads about are in fact variations on practices derived from the Leather community; certainly many of the rules and regulations originated there. And there is nothing wrong with that – in fact I find generally speaking the Leather community’s open and honest appraisals are refreshingly free from pretence or fabrication.

When all is said done, an M/s or D/s relationship is a relationship with all the nuance, variations and distinctions of any other relationship. The dynamic that works provides a rich, fertile and luxuriant tapestry of pleasure and a deep soul-satisfying background to living that is compelling and ultimately intensely rewarding to all parties.

But it is premised, based on and intrinsic to personal choice. Choice, which when given, ALWAYS has the possibility in our society of being revoked. Slavery in a free society is only possible if the individual chooses it – in a sense, an oxymoron yet intrinsically valid as a lifestyle choice if you are so inclined.

As Gillette puts it, succinctly, humorously yet effectively ...Muahahahahaha...she takes herself wherever she goes... the individual is ultimately in control of her destiny even to the extent of putting that destiny in the hands of another.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Concept of Slavery (or Training and Conditioning 101)



Over the past several months, there have been several discussions about the concept of submission and slavery and the degree of choice (or not) a “slave” in particular is privy to. Some thoughts have been tumbling around in my mind lately about the degree and extent of “ownership”; whether in truth it really exists, whether it is simply a lovely fantasy, or conversely, a dangerous precept based on an unbalanced and intrinsically dangerous vision.

While I am cognizant that a great number of people quite passionately feel to their core that they are indeed “slaves’ to their Masters and as such, have no freedom of action, choice or want, I question the veracity and ultimate REALITY of that belief.

But that’s me and at the best of times, I know I tend toward cynicism and a hard-headed practicality that can effectively quash any fantastic imaginings.

I thought it might be instructive? fun? illuminating to get some viewpoints!

To clarify, I don’t challenge ANYONE to the right to call themselves whatever they damn well want nor do I question an individual’s sense of self. I don’t live in your skin, have your experiences, experience your dynamic, nor think your thoughts – and believe to the soul that your perceptions are JUST as valid as mine – so challenge me.

These are just my views – not the only ones, not even the “right” ones (I don’t think there are any hard and fast ‘right’ ones) – let’s just have fun with this.

It’s no secret that I believe the entire concept of “slavery” is in itself a lovely fantasy, one in which adults are entitled to indulge and enjoy, but one that, IN MY OPINION, has no basis in reality.

Jean-Paul Sartre said as long as there is consciousness there is the ability to negate - to say NO. Regardless of whether that negative is internal or external, it is the NATURE of consciousness that there is awareness - if there is awareness there is the ability to say no.

Regardless, I don't believe in the concept of "internal slavery" - I see it has a mythic dream or fantasy and works very well only if both participants choose to believe that fantasy.

Freedom is not itself a matter of choice,” Sartre insists; it is the ineluctable, inherent and foundational quality of human being. We are, as he puts it in one of his pithy formulations, ‘condemned to be free’: every time we act, we are destined to discriminate anew between various possible courses of action in pursuit of our project to modify our situation in the world. Whether we like it or not, we are responsible for the actions we commit, and we are therefore, on the evidence of these, amenable to moral judgment”… Ultimately, in Being and Nothingness, Sartre asserts (and I agree) that we ALWAYS choose how to act.

The fact that a submissive/slave CHOOSES to obey every single command of his/her Master STILL makes it a choice – conscious or otherwise and in that sense, “conscious choice” and awareness are probably more prevalent and obvious at the beginning of the relationship but less obvious (yet my assertion is nonetheless existent) in the end.

Now, in terms of an M/s dynamic, Sartre would see it as a conscious choice made by BOTH parties – one on which they are willing to be judged. One which is “chosen” by both parties within the parameters created by one and accepted by the other.

I am also aware that in the long-term, what starts as choice, becomes almost a form of “muscle memory” – which leads me into the concept of “training and conditioning” which Pygar first brought up here .

Because as with the entire concept of “slavery” (in the BDSM construct), “training” and “conditioning” smacks too much to me of an excess of Story of O readings. (I mean, am I the ONLY one here that finds that story tragic to the extreme and the “Master” in it the epitome of what a Master should NOT be?)

The human brain, the complex physiological makeup and incredibly intricate psychology of each unique person ensures that there is no simplistic way to “alter” behaviours that are bred in the bone – whether as the result of genetics, experience or training.

But before I argue the semantics, I want to address the concept.

I’m not a puppy.

I don’t see myself as something to be moulded and changed into a perception of someone’s fantasy. I come complete with my own personal set of triggers, experiences and mindsets.

While I understand (and yes, concur) that it is neither unreasonable nor odd for a Master to have expectations and desires with respect to what he wants in a submissive or slave, I personally would not want to submit to anyone that wants to change me into something foreign to who and what I am. Apart from anything else, I would find it perplexing as to why he would wish to alter to any considerable extent the characteristics and personality of someone I assume he was attracted to for specific reasons in the first place?

But that aside, the reality is that it is entirely beyond the abilities of MOST people to really undertake. As Cutsey Pah succinctly points out in her comment to Pygar’s post – psychological manipulation can cause long-term trauma and issues and should not be undertaken at all without experience, education and expertise.

Straight behaviour modification requires stimulus response – but if you’re a thinking being, that conscious response will not work effectively. Without a solid, scientific background in behavioural modification, in cognitive therapy and psychology, the chances of altering an individual’s behaviours to a degree that is considerably different from their “norms” is problematic, unlikely and can (if the individual has a fragile emotional balance) be dangerous.

The bottom line is that I think a lot of people fool themselves into believing they are “training” and “conditioning” their submissive or slave when the reality is that as in any relationship, compromises are made, behaviours modified and choices undertaken that reflect the Master’s wishes – because said submissive or slave is motivated, driven and eager to please the one they serve.

Now, having established that in many cases, it is simply relationship-driven, there ARE cases where conditioning, habit and willpower do create changes in the individual. These, however, are not based just on a Master’s whim but rather are usually apparent in long-term relationships, where certain behaviours have been rewarded, others discouraged, and yes, psychologically manipulation has taken place.

This cannot (in my OPINION) happen in short-term situations but occurs in a longstanding, intense relationship where the simple passage of time and the day-to-day interaction and impact of the dynamic consistently and persistently emphasize certain behaviours and requires constant repetition, consequences and rewards (becuase psychological studies show in humans, as in animals, POSITIVE reinforcement is far more effective a tool than punishment).

And the impact will be not only on one individual only (the submissive) but will have a commensurate impact to a degree on the dominant as well. Because when all is said and done, we are NOT dealing in one or two dimensional individuals at either end of the spectrum – we are dealing with complex human beings whose interactions can and do result in changes to both.




[more to come]


Friday, May 1, 2009

I lust (after more than leather)


Lust .... yes, I lust after the feel of leather against soft skin, kid-soft leather, supple and cool until your skin warms it and the slight stiffness of it heats and moulds to your body. But truth be told lately I’ve been lusting after far more than leather.

Watching a silly movie the other day (Watchmen) I found myself lusting after the ethereal Dr. Manhattan’s computer-animated body, specifically his delicious sex which in a refreshingly shocking reversal of movie etiquette was actually visible off and on during the course of the film. There are always plenty of flashes of women – their breasts, their asses, sexes ... panoramic views of long legs and svelte backs but other than the occasionally tease (can you say Hugh Jackman pouring the water over himself in Australia) there are damn few shots of penises.

I know I am not the only woman out there that appreciates and delights in seeing a man’s sex. Granted, I know D. says I am sometimes almost masculine in my lusty appreciation of sex, my letch for good pornographic novels and my occasional delight in pornographic films (but only if the poor wee girls don’t look like drug-addicted messes). And I am also well aware that the plethora of skin magazines for men pander to their more visually-inclined delight while the lone female-oriented magazine of which I am aware (but frankly, found yawningly boring the last time I looked at it, which was easily 30 years ago!) Playgirl, is a vivid example of WHY magazines displaying naked men just don’t generate the same appeal.

This is also why I think MOST women find it FAR from appealing when like little boys, men send (usually unbidden) the gratutitous "erect penis' shot.

And I’ve thought on it and concluded that the static penis just doesn’t appeal.

Like predators, we females like our penises to have some flesh and blood reality, some movement and possibility to excite the animal in us and arouse those twinges, the ones that you feel deep inside your belly, the twist and pull of which moistens things and makes your eyes narrow and your voice go husky and makes you want to stalk and tease and present those female parts of you....

Because when all is said and done, there is something so wonderfully erotic about a penis. Even soft, the way it hangs from a man’s groin, framed by strong thighs, nestled in among testicles loose and relaxed, it has a delicious, mouth-watering appeal, a vulnerable yet enticing appeal that coaxes one, that makes me yearn to touch.

A man’s penis, even when not throbbing and hard, just looks so delightful to play with. The skin is so incredibly soft that it makes my mouth go slack with want, a visceral, shivering delight to run fingers along that soft, firm flesh with its spongy texture which cries out to be caressed and gently squeezed. To cup him in my hands and put my face near and close my eyes and breathe in that tart, starchy smell makes me go weak with desire.

Once upon a time, not a day went by, every morning and every night that I wasn’t rewarded with the feel of him in my mouth.

It is in fact my preference to first take a man in my mouth when he is soft, when my warmth can envelop him in moist sensation. When eyes closed, hair spilling over his groin, I can gently suckle the entire length, roll my tongue around the unique, firm yet pliable flesh, run my tongue along the velvet, shivering skin and narrow the tip to lap and probe gently at the tip, run the softness under the foreskin and taste the delicious unique tang of him.

And then, to feel him hardening, the jerking, almost imperceptible firming and swelling, the pheromones twirling and eddying in the close air, my nostrils filled with the scent of his want as it mingles and mixes with the hot moistness of my own need and the throbbing, pulsing feel of him in my mouth.

I adore and find it incredibly arousing to suckle and sweep my tongue around the increasing length but most of all to lap at the now purplish tip and pull back, eyes open, to watch the clear, viscous droplets of his want swell from the tiny, winking hole and then slowly ooze out over the glistening surface of his prepuce.

I like to roll the taste around my tongue, savour the consistency, tease out each nuance and hint of flavour then dip down and greedily taste again.

I love to sink down on the now throbbing muscle, feel it tickle me at the back of my throat, fill my mouth with its now pulsating want, push deep inside until I feel my eyes tear and my throat close and still feel him pushing back and down until the breath whistles from my nose and I swallow convulsively to stop from gagging and his fingers now entangled in the thrashing silk of my hair and his groin banging up against my working mouth and the hot, aching pain as he pulls my hair and my tongue works against him, a sinuous snake thrashing around and up and down the throbbing shaft ...

Damn.

Yeah, “static” penises just don’t do it for most of us....