So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

15 February, 2009

Actually, there was something I hadn't said

It was an odd beginning.

I had spent the day in screaming rage, pacing in frustration, gesticulating broadly, trying to work my way through the seething tangle of emotions that a dying relationship had mired me in. Eventually, exhausted, I flung myself down on the couch, and he asked me if I wanted a hug. I don't remember how I responded - probably with a grunt and shrug - and he got up, moved to the other end of the couch, and put his arms around me, pulling me gently to rest my head on his shoulder.

I sobbed.

When they got up to leave, he gathered me into another hug, holding on longer than friendship, just wanting me well and hale and whole again. As I stepped back, I thought about the feel of his body against mine, thought about long conversations swapping stories, discussions of religion, all the other things.

And, anxiously, with memories of a truly bad relationship that had started on the rebound to keep me sober, I started to flirt with him, a little, quietly, trying to feel out whether my reactions were attraction or not, exploring things quietly. When I got more serious, I made sure to get his partner's permission; she said, when I said I wanted to flirt some more, "Oh, please do. It might cheer him up."

He was mired in a complicated tangle of helpless depression; my early explorations had gone unnoticed entire. When I got more overt, I was not sure still if they were perceived; he can be hard to read at the best of times, and the wrenching low-affect of the consuming melancholia made sure the times were not the best.

One night, he kissed me, and we snuggled a while, and I crashed on his couch reasonably contented. When he brought me home the next day, after a reasonably pleasant gals'-day-out with his partner and some other friends, we talked about relationship histories, patterns, where we were coming from, what we were looking for. We agreed that a reasonably stable fling would be a nice thing for each of us, just something light and undemanding and friendly.

In the ensuing snogging, I dropped far enough submissive to be completely nonverbal. When he realised this, and realised that he did not have explicit consent for what he was inclined towards, he dragged me back out of that trance-state to ask.

I stumbled on words, and eventually found, "It probably would have been okay at the time, but I don't know about afterwards."

"Yeah, I thought that might be the case."

It was a thrilling, frightening experience, to go that deep with so little context; somewhere in the years we had known each other, in the comfort he had given me, in the stories we'd traded, we'd built a trust as well as a chemistry that let me simply drop into his arms. Perhaps if I'd thought about it at the time I'd have realised that the whole friends-with-benefits idea probably wasn't going to work out that way in the long-term.

We talked a great deal, working through things as up-front as we could. I talked about my assault experience and the flashbacks and traumas of that. We discussed limitations and agreements with our respective other partners, and spent several nights together, curled up skin-on-skin, hungry for flesh and holding, no matter how difficult, to our agreement to refrain from intercourse.

I asked, for when those agreements might be relaxed, that we not have sex without me having a whole night with him, to hold on, to take comfort in case the demons came for me - because the assault demons come strongest on first times with a new lover. In times of lust when I might have discarded that desire, he would murmur in my ear that he had promised me a night, and he would not go back on that; that was what I needed to be safe, and that was what I would have.

First declarations of love were made before we got to the fully vested 'benefits' part of the friends-with-benefits, an almost hissed triune, "I love you" followed with "What I tell you three times is true" that made him tilt his head back and close his eyes with the intensity of it.

When we got our night, he held me gently for a long time, feeling the fear rippling in me as the demons circled. I watched him, watched his eyes, full of love and concern and caretaking as he slowly tried to ease the fear, to let me relax, felt myself sliding into that altered state again, just a little, into a place where I could consciously choose to trust enough to work through the fear, unlock the chains of the trauma, and embrace. I saw the spark of joy in his eyes, dark and wild, when the fear left me, and we were able to be with each other without having to wrestle my old terrors.

Physicality was easy for us; so was that slip into that gentle cradled wild space that I so readily circled around with him, that twist into altered consciousness, mind suddenly expanded to fill an entire universe full of stars to match the hungry darklight I could see in him. We talked about kink, about sex, about relationships, about desire, about dreams and goals, about all these things, trying to find the place we could have in each other's lives.

One night, shaking with fear of rejection, I looked up at him and asked, softly enough to be bare more than a mumble, if he would be willing to have a d/s relationship with me.

It was a while later, when I was having one of my fits of anxiousness about having my sexuality and my preferences drive, shape, and command the form of the relationship, I asked him if he had ever considered anything like this before.

"It had never occurred to me."


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say: what a beautiful story.

belledame222 said...

I asked, for when those agreements might be relaxed, that we not have sex without me having a whole night with him, to hold on, to take comfort in case the demons came for me - because the assault demons come strongest on first times with a new lover. In times of lust when I might have discarded that desire, he would murmur in my ear that he had promised me a night, and he would not go back on that; that was what I needed to be safe, and that was what I would have.

That's wonderful. That you knew yourself well enough to be able to ask for that, and that he gave it.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

That's the sort of thing that characterises our relationship, fundamentally; that level of care and consideration, that sort of communicating about things.

Which is one of the reasons that I'm so disgusted by the anti-BDSM crowd who want to manufacture abuses out of nothing to blame him for, who suggest that suicide would be better than how he treats me. I just ... what kind of creatures are they, to spit on that sort of commitment, dedication to my health and well-being, to treat him as vile?

And they call us monsters. They call us monsters, while baying for the obliteration of such devotion.

belledame222 said...

Yes, well. Frankenstein's monster snapped and went on a rampage for a -reason-.

Becstar said...

I won't claim to understand all of this but the one question I do have is whether all of it came about from a weakness or from a strength? I'm the kind of person who is incredibly independent and need to be in control and I will admit the thought of being emotionally reliant on someone freaks me out - a possibillity of why I can't seem to understnad BDSM maybe?

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Hrm. Yes? No?

Let me see if I can untangle things here.

Any emotionally intense and committed relationship will be emotionally entangled; people become vulnerable to each other when they are close. This is true with or without kink being a part of the picture.

I don't believe there is anything ever as simple as a position of strength or a position of weakness in these sorts of things. I mean, take the initial bits there, where I was venting about my then-boyfriend.

That relationship had been basically dead on the operating table for about six months at that point, and both the boyfriend and I were in denial on it. I was in a lot of pain, frustrated and angry, and at the same time knew that if I ended the relationship right then I had a good chance of destroying the underlying friendship too (which I valued and still value highly).

It is a position of strength to be able to be angry, to be allowed to be angry, especially in the context of a relationship where the existence of my anger was treated as a major problem.

It takes a lot for me to be strong enough to show vulnerable areas; I am intensely self-protective around my wounds, for various reasons, and I frequently retreat into the false strength of denial and hiding them rather than express where I am hurt.

And being held -- is it weak to be able to take refuge in a safe space, to let it go, to cry? Some would say so. But it is also a form of strength, to be able to release the control and the tension and be taken care of, if only for a little while.

The problem was still there, but the intense fragility of having to manage the problem, my own stresses, and all these things alone ... was not.

Everything is a balance of strengths and weaknesses. And someone might say that anger is a sign of underlying weakness, of not being strong enough to handle things without it, and there's a truth in that too, along with the truth that taking away anger is one of the things that has been used in oppression.

When you start getting into d/s -- it's generally obvious that the submissive party in a relationship is vulnerable; it's less obvious that there is vulnerability on both sides. In order to take up the responsibility of doing this sort of interaction with power, I think one has to be intensely open, and that openness is a vulnerability.

One of the things that I value about my d/s relationship is that it lets control-freaky and self-protective me have space to be vulnerable.

Becstar said...

The thought of anger and holding it in as actually being weak is an interesting one. I think I'm going to have to ponder that more.

I've read before elsewhere about d/s also making the dom vulnerable but I'll admit I have no idea how that works.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

If you spend a little time poking into history of various civil rights things, including feminism, you'll probably come across a lot of stuff about reclaiming and allowing people to express anger. Because one of the big things about oppression is that the people on the bottom aren't permitted to be angry.

"Nice girls don't do that", right?

My 'examination burnout' post was, as I commented to my sister right afterwards, the first time I had actually allowed myself to be angry at how I felt set up and betrayed by the whole process of 'examination'. Because not being angry kept the fault and the shame all a part of me, something that I had to own, rather than admitting to cultural influences and expecting them to bear some of the weight of what happened to me.

Also, part of my purpose in the universe appears to be to look at the world from a funny angle and make people go, "Hmm. I'll have to go think about that." See also the quote in my blog header. ;)

As to the vulnerability in d/s ... I'm not sure I'm capable of writing about that competently. I may go talk to my liege about it and see if together we can articulate something.