relativity and the rearviewMy beloved L recently wrote in her weblog about the mixed feelings that she often has when reading the journals of others.
it doesn’t seem to matter whether dominant or submissive has written, but that i walk away feeling, well, mixed. whether a real-life account of a scene, or just musing, or a fantasy written out, i can never seem to just accept it and enjoy it.
[ . . . . ]
the truth is, there are simply tons of things that other couples in the lifestyle do or say or partake in, for which i am just not ready. and some things for which i will never be ready.
but what i don’t get is why it affects me so much to read about those things.
[ . . . . ]
i think the difficulty for me is that i start to identify with the ppl in the story, especially the love-based ones, and i think the story is headed for a familiar place, and it does go there, but then it takes what feels like 100 steps beyond what’s familiar, and all of a sudden i’m freaked.
i know that my limits will change; hell, they’ve changed already [...] but there are so many things within submission that i don’t want. there are terms doms and subs alike use in their descriptions of activities, or of themselves, that i don’t like, don’t agree with, or just plain don’t understand.
L and I have talked about these reactions in the past, and we talked about her most recent post. What I'm going to say here is in part a reinteration of things I've said before.
First, I'll admit that I don't have all the answers by any means. I have not been able to find a nice tidy little remedy for this difficulty, no words of wisdom that have been able to dissolve this hurdle for her. What I have tried to tell her is that the only prescription for this is the same one we've used to get where we are now in all aspects of our D/s relationship: a combination of communication, trust and time.
It's my belief that even the most profoundly submissive partner is going to be subject to resistance some of the time. The stretching of limits, the pushing of boundaries that's necessary for growth by definition takes one into unfamiliar, uncharted and typically (initially) uncomfortable territory. The size of the "known world" has increased tremendously for L during our time together, in terms of her sexuality and her submission. The magnitude of these changes have pleased me greatly, and regularly astonish her when she pauses to reflect upon them.
And though I don't think she's ever felt that I was pushing her too far, too fast, I wonder if perhaps subconsciously there's a sense of, "Geez, let me catch my breath for a minute!"
I know that some of the words and some of the activities which elicit negative feelings for her are emotional triggers for painful memories. In other instances, it's a matter of perceiving things that are so outside the realm of her experience thus far as to be totally alien. What I would love to give her is a sense of "relativity" in her perspective. Without a doubt, she has vanilla friends who, if confronted with many of the things WE do, would find various of those things offensive, disgusting, degrading, or at the very least perverse. Yet these are things that we enjoy, things that work for us. L knows without question that I respect her, and she would be the first to tell those vanilla voyeurs that she never feels degraded or the object of disrespect.
It's the same with other couples, other dominants and submissives. Not everyone is going to like the same things. Not everyone is going to play with the same levels of intensity. But these preferences are not necessarily static. I know that L thoroughly enjoys some things now that only a few months ago she found quite repellant. I want her to know that I'm going to exercise the very best judgment of which I'm capable in living up to my responsibility to help her become all that she can be as a woman and as a submissive. I intend to do that with love, with nurturing, with encouragement, with discipline, and with the occasional nudge onto unfamiliar turf. I want to broaden her knowledge, her experience, and her thinking. In the process, we're going to discover that some things just aren't for us, but that won't be based on preconceived notions. [Note: There are some things which we've always agreed are HARD limits for us both such as children, animals, and scat.]
In comment to L's post, danae made some good observations:
[Y]ou have said the magic words in your post. John respects you.
With mutual respect in the relationship - you can't have distrespect even in degrading or humilating acts during your play. The respect he has for you is that that is why he can do that and why you can enjoy it.
When you read a person's post that seems like they don't have self-respect, look at other posts or other things within in the post. Do they seem happy, fulfilled or sad, unhappy?
If they are happy, then how does a person have no self-respect. I feel if a person does not have self-respect then they probably are not happy and don't know how to even feel that emotion.
I love L exactly as she is, I cherish her for all that she's become, and the vast potential that I see still within her gives me joy beyond measure. She has grown SO much in her submission during the time we've been together, and I am confident that she'll continue to do so. The rapid pace of this development has not been the result of extraordinary efforts on my part. It's been merely because I was able to ultimately show her, allow her to feel, each step of the way that she was ready for that next step ...that she actually could do it.
Sometimes maybe she looks over her shoulder, she glances in the rearview mirror so to speak, and seeing how far she's come finds it a little daunting. Maybe more than a little. Though to an external observer the increments might seem modest, she has redefined her comfort zone again and again and again during the last few months. Six months of awakening and discovery, however, do not erase a lifetime of inculcation about what's nice and proper and appropriate and respectful.
We both will continue to learn and to grow, and we will do it together. You're not going to lose yourself in your submission, sweetheart. You're going to become more yourself. You often tell me that you belong to me, and it's true. You are my most precious possession, the most priceless treasure in the world.
posted by John | 11:57 AM [permalink]