Monday, May 7, 2012

Fill 'r Up

Once you move in with each other, the sexy has a hard time of keeping up with things. What was once planned and scheduled and anticipated, has suddenly become non-existent. While each of you may have had “life issues” to deal with separately before, somehow when they’re combined under one roof, things seem to more than double in size.

Where once you could go home to get away from calls from the ex wife, where once you could tell someone you had to “work late and needed to take the night off” for some quiet time, such escapes don’t really exist when you’re living with someone. The small untruths we tell to avoid conflict don't really work when you're living with someone. It’s also really easy to overlook bad habits, snoring partners, idiosyncratic sleep and work habits and thousands of other little details of any relationship- when you’re dealing with it only a few hours or days at a time.

But I think everyone recognizes that it’s really important in a relationship to maintain rituals you had when you were both trying so much harder to be impressive. (I’m kidding- but you know how everyone is on their best behavior while dating). To that end, we have a regularly scheduled date night. Most of you can probably figure out it is also our regularly scheduled martini night! The point is, on that night, we date each other again. We talk about all the same things as we would at home, but in a far different tone. We smile at each other more often in public. We listen more. We have that couple of hours to reconnect as people who really like each other- without worrying about kids, jobs or dirty socks.

I think that it’s just as important to schedule playtime. Especially if your play is of a S&M variety. I know it sounds rather silly, and oftentimes feels foolish to schedule a time for this (trust me, the first few times we did this I felt rather stupid for planning it). Did I really want to make this part of our lives into just another “chore” for us to get through?. Isn’t part of the attraction of kink the uncertainty? the spontaneity? When I think back to when we first started seeing each other- we didn’t plan scenes. They just sort of happened when we were together. I was a little miffed that this didn’t remain the case.

At first, I let things go too long. A large part of me said we were in a D/s relationship for fucks sake! If he didn’t “feel like beating me”, was it really all submissive-like for me to ask for it? Who am I kidding- I didn’t ask. I pouted like a stupid bitch and expected him to “know better”. Fat lot of good that does. It just made me cranky and him less likely to want to me around at all. Which started another of those evil going around in circles that always seems to clutter my life.

I think it is not only a good idea to absolutely expect that your own needs are met, it is unrealistic to believe that your partner is consciously unwilling to meet them. The key is to compromise.

You see, when my own needs aren’t being met, I can be a cranky little bitch. And I really don’t care to be all that submissive. I’d just as soon drop everything to do with any part of our D/s relationship, if the alternative was to have our S&M pieces doled out to me in little dribbles. But what happens is that exactly when he most needs me to be pleasant and helpful, without regular beatings, the odds of me being anything other than a bitch aren’t in his favor.

You can think of this another way. If you own a car, it needs regular maintenance. New tires, an oil change every so often and even simple washing and waxing. Without maintenance, the car gets run down, doesn’t look it’s best, and will often quit on you when you’re late for work. Owning a submissive is like this. For some submissives, the chance to DO something is what they crave. For others it’s the “taking one for the team” in a beating. And for masochistic submissives, maintenance is more like filling up the gas tank or recharging the battery. Taking care of the needs of each other is an investment in your relationship. Go too long without filling the tank or maintaining the relationship and you might as well take public transportation.

There have been long stretches of time when he just can’t work up the energy to concentrate on my needs. It takes a lot of energy for a sadist to concentrate on doling out a significant beating for his masochistic partner. They certainly don’t want to be in the middle of beating your ass and have their mind wandering all over the ex wife, the principal of the kids’ school or the work problem that’s bugging the shit out of him. The one thing I constantly hear from sadists is that the time when they’re most angry with anything, is the time when they least want to let that part of themselves have free reign. So, understanding this, it can be difficult to work up the heart to beg for a beating, to convince him to play. Nobody likes to be another “problem” for their partner to deal with. And rarely do people really like the sadism/masochism relationship that evolves from anger.

So this is why it’s important to schedule a time- and it doesn’t have to be long- 15 minutes, a half hour- to maintain your S&M relationship with each other. That small time, regularly scheduled, seems rather aggravating and very much like another chore at first. And, at first, it probably won’t be anywhere nearly as enjoyable as all those other scenes you’ve had together. But it is an important thing. By keeping that line open, by refiling the tank, by meeting enough of your partner’s needs to keep them, if not happy, at least content, a strange thing tends to happen. That 15 minutes turns into a 1/2 hour. And that 1/2 hour turns into a full one. You forget the time when you’re doing something you’d forgotten that you really liked. The chemicals that masochists rely on for focus and clarity come back and the connection between the two of you gets stronger. You start out with intending to just wash your car, and you end up waxing it as well.

It basically comes down to reminding the person you love that there are things that only he can do for you. That you know it’s difficult to put the day’s crap out of his head. But remind him that you will be in a much better place of helping him if only he is able to fill up the tank.

But don’t expect the premium grade every time, and don’t hold him over the coals for a car wash with the fill up. Besides, we get better mileage out of repeated fill ups than with running the tank to empty.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

You've Been Proved Correct

As you can imagine, things haven't been really easy for me in the past few days. But I knew that when I wrote the post and published the follow up.

Oddly enough, I don't really care- it's something I'll deal with, or not, depending on my mood at the time. Right now, I'm in a pretty good place. I did the right thing. I made good on my promise that the NEXT time anyone came to me for any kind of help or support, I would do my best to make up for the way I handled a similar matter with someone else. I've kept my promise.

I really do hope Buddy gets the help he needs and does have support in the future. And someday, I hope to eventually be able to buy him that beer that I owe him. But that's my wish. I think the reality is that he just won't be able to forgive anyone.

I know how people in this community get their panties in a bunch when someone disagrees. I know how they "read into" things using their own filters. I know that most of the time that happens because there is no really good way for some people to disagree other than to just be disagreeable.  And I knew that by putting my neck out, I'd again be the target for the vitriol. I'm actually quite okay with that. Mostly because I felt that by speaking my mind, even if others couldn't, that people who were suffering from this entire mess could take comfort in at least knowing that  I was listening to them, that I understood, and that I tried in my own way to help. It is very easy for so many others to discuss consent theory, abuse, victimization, tone policing, etc.  But it is unlikely they will ever know or feel the fear and the self-condemnation themselves.

I've been told that I am no longer respected "in the scene" for my opinions. I giggle at the very thought of that sweeping generalization. But I didn't write this for respect. I don't really care if anyone respects me especially when it's become clear that that respect is a right reserved for those who agree with you. And as for "the scene"- well, I think I've been pretty clear about what I think of that.

The most disappointing thing about this whole thing, I think, is the reaction of so many people who have thrown around the phrase "victim blamer" so easily in the past but think that in this case, the person who caused the damage (either by willful disregard for his own needs or from collateral damage) is the only one who needs their support. While Buddy may have every right to recovery and happiness and may have medication and therapy and time to ease his problems, his collateral damage victims have no such surcease. But they certainly have had their share of bullying to deal with.

So, to those people who have bashed me- I offer my sincere apologies. I was wrong.

You may now raise joyous banners and fist bump each other, write your "vindication!!" speeches, and take comfort in the fact that you've been proved right. You're absolutely correct when you say that victim blaming is rampant. That victims are silenced,  shamed, and pushed away.

But was it really necessary to make your point by doing it yourselves?

I have truly never been more disappointed with so many people as I am today. To use this situation to settle old grudges, to foist untenable choices on friends, and to put the people who have been harmed once again in the position of being silenced is unconscionable.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Forgive, Not Forget

What I've posted below I received as an anonymous comment. Although I don't generally publish anonymous comments, I think this one says what I tried to put into words much better.


Anonymous:
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Buddy is very, very sick.  He has quite publicly admitted that he suffers from Bipolar disorder, and that he's been in and out of the hospital since March.  This decline has been well self-documented, on twitter, audioboo, and youtube. He has also quite actively resisted help during this dark time in his life, even threatening the very people trying to help him.  He has repeatedly gone off the meds that help him get better.  He has, during the height of his mania, hypnotized at least one person, and offered hypnotism as therapy to many more.  He's also made countless threats of physical violence to a large amount of people, including myself.

The choices he's making now?  Absolutely not within his control, and absolutely a symptom of the disease (resisting help and meds is quite common).  However, he made the choice to not seek help when it was obvious that this was coming, which I personally suggested when he said he was starting to feel the start of the mania.  He made the choice to not see a doctor for a disease he's known about for over a decade, thinking he could manage it on his own.  And the first time he went into the hospital, I was hopeful.  Hopeful that he'd get better, hopeful that he'd be able to salvage his reputation.  A few long months later, I'm just hoping that he'll stay alive. 

I'm glad that people are offering support to him - he'll need it.  I'm happy that people will be there for him when he exits the mania and enters depression.  I hope he can forgive me for the things I've had to do to ensure my own safety, but I am not optimistic.  

I think the people that have been deliberately poking him online to get a rise out of him are giant assholes, especially if they knew that he's mentally ill (I'm positive a very large portion of them are aware of his condition).  Deliberately baiting him by asking if he's taken his meds or creating a "banned in Boston" fetish is childish and serves no purpose to make the situation better.

But this post - I don't understand the backlash to Silverdream's post.  When Buddy is better, and I hope that will be soon, I'm always going to be braced for the next episode.  I hope he'll accept my friendship, and I hope that he'll find places where he's loved and accepted, but I would never let him top me, or recommend that anyone else allow it either (though obviously, the choice is theirs).  I would recommend that newbies not play with him.  At the end of the day - a sociopath is suffering from a mental illness as well.  We're not going to forget about the harm they've done; why would we forget the harm that Buddy has done?  In Buddy's case, I can forgive, absolutely.  But never, ever forget.

So I thank Silverdreams for this post.  She's not kicking a man when he's down - she's speaking for people like me, who once again feel like we can't speak for fear of hatred from the community.  I've agonized over the actions I've had to take to be able to feel safe.  I have felt achingly alone.  I've come dangerously close to needing to go to the hospital myself for the emotional damage caused to me directly by Buddy, and I'm not the only one.  Where is our support?  Where are the people saying "wow, it is not okay that you had to experience this"?  Because some of us really need to hear that.
===============================================================

My Thoughts:
 
I think this post shows is the feeling that, while giving Buddy all the love and support you wish to, it's not easy for the people he's hurt to have their voices ignored. Or worse, to have their concerns treated with such disdain by people who purport to know better.

I, for one, will take all the heat that anyone cares to throw my way. I'm far stronger at the moment than many of the people who are hurting so much and if you wish to tell me what a horrible person I am for not having compassion or understanding a "sick man", then do it here. Because I'm sure as hell not going to let these people suffer without having any voice at all.

For the record, I do have compassion. I do wish him well. And I do hope that there are people who will be able to support him.  You may assume what you like. You may assume that I have no experience with mental illness and seek to "educate me". You may assume that I'm just another one of those people who like to tear people down. You may have a pre-existing grudge which colors your opinions or you may just like to argue to show how much smarter and more worthy your own opinions are. You may assume that I'm a rotten person and that I just don't understand. You may wish to attack my opinions, and you may do it as passive-aggressively as you'd like. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding, If you're going to do any of that, then please never speak to me about support for the people who have been hurt by this if all you're going to do is bitch about how unfair I'm being to Buddy.


And no, I'm not going to give the identity of the commenter, so don't send me emails asking who it is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Belief

  

“If you feel like I've abused you in any way (or if I do so in the future), please do the community a favor and let others know.” ~DrSlashBlight


A person, well known to the local scene, has vocally and publicly created an atmosphere of fear, heavy handedness and intimidation. Has made vocal and written threats against people’s safety. Has threatened to “out” people. Has constantly violated expressed personal limits of others. His own statements about people who have done nothing except disagree or voice their own fear of him have been documented and heard by anyone who cares to listen.

People seem to be quite willing to believe that this behavior is an aberration. Mostly because their experiences with this person are quite different. People offer encouragement to the person who is now acting with such threatening behavior and creating such fear. People send wishes for this person to “get better soon”. People refuse to stop and think that what this person has done is not very much different from any “red-flagged” person everyone is warned about. His anger. His lack of self-control and judgment. His disregard for expressed personal limits. His animosity and his rage. And his blame of others for all of it.

I’ll have to admit that I find it odd that there is so much support for a person, whose unacceptable behavior is well documented, witnessed by so many, and whose own words and actions have provided the evidence. A person who has caused so much damage in recent weeks that it’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been directly affected by his behavior.

I’ll admit that I find it odder still that people somehow think that this person deserves to be welcomed back once he is “well”. As if they’ve never considered the next time he feels thwarted in his “mission” or desires. As if this person, the one they now are seeing, isn’t the one that’s been there all along, under the guise of the “good guy, white knight, savior” persona. As if the self-induced problems he’s having, either by failure to treat an illness he knows he suffers from, or from ignoring every single person who has tried to help him, should get him a pass.

I get it. Nobody wants to kick someone when they’re down. Nobody wants to believe that the people they think they know and have in the past trusted, could actually “be like that”. Nobody wants to be the bad guy to stand up and question whether this person should ever be in a position of authority over others or ever to be trusted again to be left alone with any “poor innocent young submissive”. Nobody wants to be the first to say “why are you making excuses for someone who has done so much damage?”. Nobody wants to blame someone for a mental illness. The tendency towards forgiveness is a strong one. And forgiving someone you think you know is even stronger in its pull.

I called this person a friend at one time. I don’t like to think that my judgment was so flawed as to overlook all of those “red flags” and “behavioral warning signs” that were probably always there. I don’t want to second guess myself about someone’s behavior- whether self-induced or not. I do not want to be the one to think that someone I liked at one time could behave like this. My experiences with him in the past were much different. I rather liked him most of the time. And even when the first whispered allegations come to my attention, I discounted them because I thought I knew him. He was a good guy and if anything, suffered at times from an overabundance of enthusiasm.

But how much of any “good behavior” in the past should get a pass for his behavior now? How many times have people complained about all of these “well known scene leaders” who get a pass simply because they are “well known”, a “leader”, or haven’t had an overt history of bad behavior? Why is this one different? If one instance of bad behavior is enough to cause someone significant trauma from any of these “well-known scene leaders”, so much so that every one of us is spitting mad when it happens, what happens when someone has more? Why is this one different? What happens when an aberration becomes a pattern of abuse? And why do we turn the abuser into the victim? How much of the fear that many now feel, and many have now voiced just not count against all of his good past behavior?

There comes a time when all of the well-wishing and wishing-it-was-different has to come to an end. Now is the time to stop thinking of this person as the victim. He is not the victim. The victims are those he has harmed by his own actions and words. The victims are those he has made afraid, has intimidated, has threatened, and has sacrificed in his quest to become a hero. The victims who are remaining silent, for their own safety. And because they don’t wish to become the next target.

While I too, wish him well and sincerely wish that he is able to recover something of his past self, I have to face the reality that the Buddy I knew is gone. The one that may return will always be tainted by his behavior now, and I will always be afraid of him.

So Buddy, as you requested, here is my notification to the community. I, and others who I speak about but never speak for, am afraid of you. Please do us all the courtesy of removing yourself from the scene. When or if you’re ready to come back, you’ll have to prove that your words are not just what we want to hear, but what we can believe.