Archive for July, 2012

A Short Note On How To Get On The DNF List

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2012 by sanguinesnow

DNF = Do Not Fuck.  It’s a mental list (but may need to make it onto paper if it gets any longer!  Just kidding, my memory isn’t that bad!) that I keep of people I am not ever going to be having sexy fun times with.  Some of those people are ones that I have indeed had sexy fun times with in the past, but guess what?  Consent is an ongoing thing.  I get to withdraw it any time I please.  Assuming that I am going to be doing anything with you in the future just because I have in the past is a good way to get on the list.  If consent were a one-time thing that granted you access FOREVER, I seriously would not have time to leave the house.  I’m not a fan of sharing numbers, but mine is up there.

That’s part of why I like having these mental notes to go by.  I used to be very bad at saying no, and a lot of that consent that was given in the past came more from my not really being good at saying no than it did from an enthusiastic yes!  These days, my yes is strong, and that makes my NO strong as well.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Point is, we’re pretty deeply socialized in ways we don’t even notice, as women, not to give a strong no.  Instead of saying no, we’re encouraged to say “Not right now” or “Maybe later” even if we really want to say NO and leave it at that.  Making my own mental note that I Do Not want a particular person helps me be ready to say no, and mean it, since I’ve already done so in my head before I’m propositioned.  Not that decades of social conditioning can be shut off just like that, but it’s kept me from sleeping with a couple of people already and I am better off for having thought it over before they even had a chance to bring it up.

Once again, it’s Strong No time, because my subtle socially-acceptable hints have not worked.  The guy in question is someone I hooked up with ONCE, over a year ago.  We had worked together, and were casual friends at best, and one day I was invited to drop by and visit.  I was fresh out of my marriage, and suspected that “visit” meant “have sex”, which I was right about.  I don’t have any complaints about the sex part, but right after that – even though we’d had what I thought was a very clear conversation about both of us just wanting fun NSA sex – this guy started calling and texting me a couple of times a day.  I admit, I went with the “I’m very busy right now, I’ll call you when I want to see you again” thing – which was true.  And if he hadn’t been calling and texting all the damn time I may have found myself with a free weekend and an itch and called him up.  One message could have been nice and enticing, but several a day looked like a huge red flag – one I’d seen before from guys who “only wanted to hook up” and then decided they owned me a week later.

Like I said, this was all over a year ago.  Hadn’t seen him since then.  We’d had a chat on facebook back in May (which I just reviewed for the purposes of writing this note) where I said I was dating again when he asked if I was seeing anyone.  Well, this guy turned up at my party very briefly.  I said hi, and then after I’d finished whatever conversation I was in I noticed he’d left.  He wasn’t there for the toasts, and at least one other person commented on it, but I’m not THAT strict about parties.  Leave whenever you’d like!

Just today, I got a message from him.  He said he was sorry about leaving so soon, but that he hadn’t realized I was dating someone, so he felt jilted.  Excuse me?  First of all, there were two people there who I’m currently connected with in any sexual or romantic way.  Right there, I have no idea who he’s talking about since I wasn’t asked.  Secondly, neither of these people are in a monogamous relationship with me (obviously, or there wouldn’t be two of them!).  Thirdly, you cannot “jilt” someone you’re not actually involved with.  Again, VERIFY.  All this could have been avoided if this guy could have just checked in with me.  Instead, he decided to wait and then get all whiny about me not fitting his idea of “up for grabs”.  That right there will get you on The List.  At the end of his message, he said ” if you ever get single and horny again you know how to find me.”  Direct quote.  Apparently, this guy is not interested in being added to the “filthy orgy” list, which is fine because he is now officially on the DNF list.  It is AMAZINGLY bad form to listen to someone go on about her ideals of free love (it’s still called that, right?), agree with said ideals, and then get all snitty when you see her kissing another guy or girl over a year later and run off without talking to her about her actual relationship status and THEN message her with the assumption that you know all about her status but she should totally fuck you if she ends up single.

There are many, many ways to ensure that I will never want any kind of sexual connection with you, but this is a good case study.  In the interest of living up to my own ideals, I’m off to give a very clear NO to this person, and damn the whining!

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to throw a party for yourself

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2012 by sanguinesnow

When I’m not making dramatic arm gestures and shouting Sturm und Drang! (Which is something I do much less of than this blog might have you believe), I enjoy a good party.  Any reason to have a party is a good one!  I had a Very Good Reason recently; I finally got officially divorced!  If I were getting married, or having a baby, or just a birthday (which happens to me every year weather I plan it or not) there would be vast precedent for other people to organize a party for me, particularly female relatives in those first two cases.  Divorce parties are not quite as common, but you can’t drink at your baby shower so I’d argue that the divorce party is an idea whose time has come.  I planned my own as soon as I knew I was getting the divorce.  That was on the Monday before the party.

Here’s a funny thing about getting married vs. getting divorced here in my home state in the south:  When I got married, all I had to do was show up with a man (Fun fact about my state!  The man could be my first cousin and it would be totally cool, but if I’d brought a woman with me I’d have been shown the door.  Pity all my male cousins are taken!)  show both our IDs, and pay $50 and then sign a paper.  Done!  I could grab some random dude off the street and it would be just as easy!  To get divorced, though . . . I had to live apart from him for a year (because I could totally change my mind, right?  Not that I might have done that if I’d had a year to wait before getting married . . . but I digress.) Then I had to go to the courthouse and pay some money for a packet of papers to fill out.  Then I had to turn in those papers at the courthouse and pay some more money. (More than $50.  I could have another pair of Fluevogs AND a new corset AND a decent bottle of whiskey if I hadn’t had to pay up.  Or I could have bought all my textbooks for next semester.  Not that I am bitter.)  Then I had to send him a copy of the first round of papers via certified mail (small bit of money, but let’s add it to the total and get a fancy new glass to drink the whiskey out of) since somehow things didn’t work out with the teenager he ended up with suspiciously close to my moving out and he moved back home to live with his Mum.  Then I had to wait for his signature to come back on the receipt so I could prove he’d gotten the papers (third trip to the courthouse so far – parking isn’t free either) and then once THAT was filed I had to wait 30 days (because . . . oh, why the hell not!) to call the Clerk for an actual court date.   Oh, and you have to call during a one-hour window on a weekday.  When I finally got through, everything was booked up until August – right in the middle of my vacation.  The Clerk cheerfully informed me that divorces were very popular “this time of year” so at least I could feel fashionable for once.  I asked to be put on a list to be moved up in case anyone else cancelled their appointment and then let myself feel annoyed.  Not only was he going to fuck with my vacation – which I don’t get much of to start with – but also, I had already planned my party and I wasn’t actually going to be divorced yet!

One of those weird dark goddesses I keep writing about must have intervened, since I got a call not too long after that saying I could move my court date to July 2nd, which was the Monday before the party.  Perfect!  I had an outfit and everything, since someone who will remain nameless here had liked my fitted pencil skirt/low-cut blouse/stockings/heels combination and said I should wear the same outfit to get divorced.  When I mentioned this, He had forgotten all about it, but it’s a good outfit anyway.  There were seven other women (why all women?  I wonder . . . ) at my court date, but I was up second.  It was pretty quick and easy, after all that preparation and waiting, and once the Judge said she was granting my divorce and I could wait outside for my papers I hopped up and trotted happily out of the room.  And then the woman after me came out crying and I offered her a hug (which was accepted).

SO, then there was this party.  About twenty people showed up, from various parts of my life, and I was enjoying watching them all mingle.  Even though I felt silly doing it, I decided I wanted to have toasts and then dancing.  No one seemed to mind, since it was my party and as far as I know I’ll never have another one like it.  I kind of wish someone had been taping that part, since now I don’t remember everything as well as I wish.  I started off by saying I was happy to have everyone there, and that my life and body were now mine alone to enjoy.  Or something to that effect.  Hopefully it was more clever and eloquent than I suspect it was.  Even if it wasn’t, I’m sure the point was made.  Then other people added some thoughts.  One of my newer friends who I love more every time I see her, the person there who had known me the longest (since I was about five years old), my sister, my brother, Sir, all of them had things to say that made me feel all warm and happy.  I almost cried a couple of times.  More than that, though, was the feeling I got looking around at everyone during the talking bits.  I had this group of people all gathered up in my little apartment, and as I was looking around while I was talking to them and listening to them, I knew that they were all just plain Really Great People, and that all of them were people I chose to have in my life.  Well, I didn’t choose my siblings, but the fact that as adults we’re all friends does have more to it than just shared genes.  I’ve had so many toxic friendships, of the kind where just hanging out for an afternoon can make you feel crummy, and now I’m weeding them out.  I just don’t want to spend any time with people who need to make me feel bad so they can feel better (or at least have another person be as down as they are).  So, even if I didn’t have some amazingly clever speech to offer that evening, the really important thing was taking a moment to look around and see that there are lots of brilliant, kind people in my life because that’s the sort of person that SHOULD be around.  I think everyone got along well because of this – I just have a great group of friends.  Realizing that was one of the best things about having the party.

Once everyone was done talking, I said that it was dancing time.  My brother had put the playlist on random, so when he switched over to the dance music no one knew what would be first, myself included.  It turned out to be Janelle Monae’s “Many Moons” which is not only catchy, but fit in well.  It includes the word “Freedom” quite a bit.  After that there was silliness and sexiness and all the things that should go on during dancing time.  I finally got to dance with Sir, which might not sound exciting and unusual but is because 1) I am a large person, and 2) I never actually learned how to dance.  This is a particularly dangerous combination that has led to me either knocking people over or being dropped on the floor more times than I care to think about.  Luckily, He is 1) Bigger than me, and 2) Does know how to dance, so no one got hurt and I had more of a lead to follow.  I’m sure it’s hard to lead when you’re afraid your partner will roll over you like a juggernaut.  (Sorry, guys I have frightened during dancing time in the past.  Unless you dropped me.  Then I’m less sorry, because I’m honest about my weight and you should have known it was over your limit.  /end digression.)  I also got to break out the scary Nick Cave songs and at one point danced with a very new friend who had come by even though she’d met me exactly once before.  Add that to the great joy of seeing everyone else have fun, and it was all I had hoped for.

Gradually, people started heading out, and my sister and I started drifting into maudlin family story time, and it just generally got to be apparent that I should have turned in an hour or two earlier.  I had stayed up too late, and probably had too much wine, and the night ended on a low note.  That doesn’t matter now, though.

The thing is, this is the sort of occasion where people are supposed to be sad and regretful.  I do regret having to go through this in the first place, and am sad that a couple of years of my life were taken up by someone who ended up being such a liar and a nasty person, but it felt so much better to look forward to the future and take time to appreciate all the good parts of my life than to dwell on whatever bad shit had gone on.  It was important to me to celebrate this instead of moping, and to let everyone that’s close to me because I want them to be know that they are appreciated.

My divorce party ended up being more fun and having a better turnout than my wedding had.  That makes sense to me, too, since when I get married lots of people could see that I hadn’t chosen a good partner.  This time, I was having a party to mark my commitment to myself and my own life, so anyone who has any kind of fondness for me couldn’t possibly object to that commitment.  Maybe this isn’t a popular party idea because it sounds so selfish to say you’re celebrating yourself, but it’s no more selfish than getting married and expecting everyone to show up and celebrate you as a couple.  For the record, I love big fun weddings that are between two people who really are a good match.  I’m not against celebrating couplehood in the least.  But to be part of a really good couple, you have to be happy and secure with your own self first.  My being able to say that I’m marking the official, on paper, legal end of my marriage happily is also marking my being able to be good enough and true enough to myself that when I am ready to get into another serious relationship I’ll be able to do so happily, since I have taken a vow, so to speak, never to do that with anyone whose motivation is anything other than truly appreciating and loving me as I am.

Fighting Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2012 by sanguinesnow

It’s never just one thing, it it?  I got all my warm fuzzy feelings out, and then not a week later something else came up.  I hardly had time to bask in knowledge of how deep my serving streak runs and how it can make me stronger in difficult situations before I was off to see if I could stir up some difficulty of my own.  Not that I meant to.  If you know what your subconscious is up to, that’s not really your subconscious talking.  Mine snuck up and hit me, and before I had any idea what it was up to the slippery bitch did it again!  But I can talk about it now.  One of the many things that make Sir a better match than anyone else I’ve met is he has this really odd knack of not even knowing what is up with me and fixing it anyway.  Yes, clearly I’m just really good at fixing things myself and need a sounding board, but no, it’s not that.  Hear me out – this isn’t just a friend who talks to you over tea.  Instead, it’s this:  Sanguine’s brain does something unexpected and she acts weird because what is this?  Sir watches the what is this? part and sees that some sort of interaction might be needed.  Sanguine is put in a position to let go of the actual thinking part and instead of what is this? starts letting some really fighty things come out.  Instead of a) Running the fuck away because bitches be crazy or b) Fighting because bitches be crazy (these are the two usual reactions) Sir gets all serious and handles those fighty things like he’s a cowboy breaking in a horse.  Sanguine calms down and it’s all okay.  Simple!  No, it’s STILL not.  The next bit is the hardest.

The next part is where most of us are taught to do the wrong thing.  Next, we have a calmer Sanguine and clearly some weird things just came out of her.  If this is where you “help” by trying to dissect whatever the fuck that just was and offering solutions, there was no point to all the madness of the last couple of hours.  I will get defensive and want to be left alone.  This is why it works with Him:  The odd knack of not knowing what is up but fixing it anyway exists because He trusts me to ask for help ONLY when I have to.  This is a serious level of respect that very few men have ever offered.  This is respect that comes from being able to see a flawed, complex human and knowing that that is exactly what a human is.  Not a thing you can fix to your specifications, but a constant work in progress that will surprise you.  The only way to really love another human is to let all that weirdness and complexity exist, accept it, and work with it as you build a relationship.  Just got warm and fuzzy again.

So, that said in general, I have had two really rough episodes recently that prompted this.  I am so happy to have been handled both times the way I was, because the technique of getting in there and matching my fury with calm control allowed me to come out of them knowing more about how this works, and why.  Leaving me to mull things over and not have to explain my emotional states was what I needed, along with allowing me to ask things and discuss them once I was ready.  There’s some ugly stuff there, but I’m ready to look at it.  Now for some ugliness:

The first one happened after a good long talk over the phone – not about stressful things at all.  By the end, I may have just been tired (okay, I was) but a small misunderstanding turned into the closest thing to a fight I do these days.  It can be summed up as: I was offered something I REALLY wanted.  I took it as a joke, and then got all upset by being teased with something I REALLY wanted.  Turns out, it was not a joke or a test of how much I can be teased. (Like I am with most things, I am very particular about mind games.  Do it right, and I will melt, but do it wrong and I will add you to the DNF list.  It’s a challenge, I admit.)  Well, by the time it was entirely clear that I had just misunderstood, I was so worked up that I just wanted to get off the phone.  Which I did, with a stern warning that nothing like that should EVER happen in a teasing context because I will rage. And then the phone was off and the sternness turned into a lot of crying.  I was so angry with myself for letting my own lust get in the way of my ability to discuss things logically.  That turned into taking a sleeping pill to relax and be able to get some rest, and that turned into an e-mail written in the period where the meds are working but haven’t knocked you out yet.  (Pro Tip:  Do not e-mail anyone during this time.  Do.  Not.)  I was not only ragey, but sounded like I was putting myself at serious risk.  (I was.  No, I’m not suicidal, I just had it in my mind to do something under the influence that should not be done.)

All that brings us to the next morning.  I woke up clear and perfectly all right, but with the deep conviction that I was way too dark at times and should wall all that up before it ever again got the better of me.  Which was fine until Sir turned up at my door.  He was concerned, but I was all, “Look!  Walls!  I’ve got this one!”  Still fine.  I was not about kindness and hand-holding, and finally He decided to leave, having seen I was okay.  I was trying to keep those walls in place, knowing that if He left I would just go about my day but also be stuck with my resolve that the only way to handle the night before would be to build those walls higher.  That is not good relationship material, in general.  Not for anyone.  Something gave me away (fretting Sanguine gets claw-hands), and He decided to kiss me instead.  I tried to warn Him that I wasn’t going to be able to contain myself any more if He didn’t STOP, but that was the moment when He figured out (I know, I should be really awesome at communicating, but not when there are walls to be tended!) that all that gentle approach stuff was not working in any way, so He went on, and then I couldn’t hold those damn walls up any more.

Big Disclaimer!  This is another of those journal-type entries I like to do.  Don’t try this at home unless you’re me, or Him.  I’m not giving relationship advice – if you hit your girlfriend because she’s acting funny you are an abuser.  If you hit your girlfriend because you already know she likes being hit in a very specific way and wants you to, that’s great!  Seriously, I feel like I shouldn’t have to add this bold disclaimer bit, but some people do not know the difference.

So, we ended up in the bedroom.  I was going on (all out of proportion to the original misunderstanding, in retrospect) about things like Stay Away, I Am Too Dark And Weird and You Cannot Possibly Handle My Demons and other such romantic themes.  As always, the big challenge in writing about highly emotional situations after the fact is that emotion makes memory even more unreliable than usual.  All I remember for sure is, whatever I actually said led to hair-pulling and being thrown on the bed and the pulling off of clothing.  Which made some deep part of me laugh at the remnants of my recent walls and get more into fighting.  I know some leftover nastiness from meeting the other girlfriend showed up, and that worked wonders.  I think that’s when the belt came out.  And I did not fall into my usual space and get all calm and floaty.  I started really fighting – not against being punished, but so I could have more.  This won’t make sense to a lot of people.  That’s okay.  I just want to get some notes down before I forget, and all this is relevant to what happened next.  Point is, I like being pushed when I need it for some reason and when the person doing it can be trusted to read what is going on.  This whole time, I was suddenly being read unusually well; having needs met not because I was asking nicely but because I was asking by fighting and being generally nasty was a surprise.  That takes a certain level of trust on both sides – trust on my side that I can let anything at all come out and not have to control it myself because He can, and trust on His side that if something does go wrong and I’m no longer taking this handling in a way that is ultimately good for me I will stop Him. And it worked – oh fucking bloody Christ it worked!  At the end of it, I was bruised and subdued and knew that He wouldn’t ever hurt me by playing games I didn’t like, so I need never fret over a thing like I had the night before, and more importantly that I should never put myself in danger out of the whatever that was feeling I had when I wrote that e-mail.

Everything was all well and good until a few days later when I had a party.  The party itself was wonderful, and hopefully I’ll write about that soon.  But at the end of a long night of drinking and dancing and such, I had this thing come up again.  Not quite like last time, but I ended up giving in to one of those terrible impulses you’d only give in to after a long night of drinking and revelry when there’s still some nasty thing lurking.  The drinking had loosened my inhibitions, and seeing the fun end left a vacuum for this next ugly thing that came out of me.  I lost control again, and in the early, early morning found myself purposely baiting Him over a lie OG had told me.  Granted, I hate being lied to, but that was not a time to discuss it rationally and I knew it.  I was using it to see what would happen.  Maybe I was trying to see if His end-of-the-night mood would allow Him to be angry about me being lied to.  I think He had some warning, since only a few days before I had acted so strangely.  He got me to go to bed, and the next day I got up and made food for the few people who had stayed over.  Once they left, we had the house to ourselves, and it all came to a head.  I think I was sad and disappointed in myself over so obviously lowering myself to being manipulated by a lie.  I should just brush it off and get on with it.  But again, He knew more about me from the last time, so He could get right into what I needed.  In a way, it was more gentle and calm than the earlier incident, but also more raw since there was now a precedent.  This time, He made me see something He’d known all along – a thing that put to rest some of my problems.

See, one thing that made a LOT of OG’s critique of me so hard was this:  I know how I work.  I usually keep things on the positive healthy side (for me) and I gain a lot from it.  I like to think the right partner can appreciate that.  I also have this big nasty side, and tend to hide it.  By the end of that whole fiasco, I was pretty well told that neither of them were any good.  (Waving my arms, saying, “They’re BOTH good – they make me SANGUINE!”  Is not any help when you’re talking to someone who is not a Sanguine Fan.)  So, I was stuck.  My lighter, positive side might be too light and warm-fuzzies for Sir, but my Deep Dark side might be too dark and ugly.  Although I wrote about that whole thing and discussed it with Him, I did not realize how much I had internalized that until these things happened.  But (again, hindsight) how could I not?  Here was a long-term partner explaining all my faults to me in such a casual way that it would take a much stronger woman than I not to worry.  I’ve only been around a couple of months, and how should I know what I need to offer, or even if I can?  Again, I am (still) disappointed that I took the bait, but who can listen to someone with YEARS of history with a partner going at them like that and not let it creep in somewhere that maybe they really are just  a new toy whose shine will soon fade?  I hope you (general you) never have to be put in that place.  I thought I could handle it, and I couldn’t.

Well, as I said I hadn’t realized how much those manipulative comments had stayed with me until I found myself baiting Sir with them.  My tiny mind was going, You are being a bitch to bring this up again!  I hope He beats me!  So there was some inner conflict.  That time alone, when He MADE me see it, rather than tell me?  All sorts of lovely things were being done, or about to be done, and I don’t even know what I was saying (again) but it boiled down to, You are going to punish me for being bad?  But I want it, so it should be a reward for being good!  But You will give me this no matter how bad or how good I am, just because I need it?  You will give me what I need no matter what I am?  Or maybe the punishment/reward, bad/good bit was reversed.  Point is, I said it.  He already knew, but wasn’t going to tell me until I saw it.  I was leaping around, shouting “Testify!  Be Healed!”  inwardly while I got some new bruises and orgasms and such.

Bruises and orgasms are lovely, thank you, but having someone show me that no matter what I am or how it comes out, I will still have the things I need offered to me?  And SHOW me, not tell me.  Some guy saying, “I love you no matter what” is cliche and I think most of us ladies know that when it comes down to it, they’re only words.  On the other hand, a man who can MAKE me know that with no words at all is someone who doesn’t just show up for sex because I have pretty eyes.  That’s something that I can really feel. That’s what I need.

And then, there’s more ugliness.  I was basking in my happiness, tending my bruises and feeling at peace with it all.  Then who should show up but First Husband?  He’s got no place here at all, so that’s unexpected!  He wasn’t literally here, since for all I know he’s dead (and better off for it) but it shouldn’t surprise me that his shadow turns out to have tinted these episodes.  I always think it’s gone, but then I catch it out of the corner of my eye.  I’m happy now, and able to work toward the relationship I need, so why are you bothering me?  Well, readers, hark back to those bad date posts.  And all the other mishaps I’ve touched on in my writing here.  Were you wondering why I didn’t just kick some dudes out of my house/bed/life?  I sure was!  Yes, I’m better at it now, but still not very good at it.  A huge part of that is his influence.  I was taught very thoroughly that if I fought, or disagreed, or brought up things he didn’t want to discuss I would be hurt.  Not in the good way.  Hurt in a way that I hated, not in a way that left me in a giggly endorphin puddle.  Yes, these memories are very much complicated by the fact that all that happened when I was very young and very naive and also in a D/s relationship.  That brings on the shadows.  I’ve mentioned here the fact that my ideal relationship model would involve me having a Master.  The only time that has ever happened it turned bad.  Since then, I’ve had nearly 15 years of unsatisfying play, and looking at what I don’t want, and false leads, and so on.  I’ve learned, slowly, to take care of myself and I’ve learned that what I want may not happen in my actual life.  I’ve gotten to a point where I can be alone, single, and happy, so why now?  Why this?  I just saw why.  Since I know what I want and need, I have that still-present shadow mocking me.  He suggests that if I let myself be too free, I will be hurt.  I will deserve to be hurt.  I should not want anything more or better than him.  I get angry.  I rage that he was never a good man at all, much less a good Master.  I’m raging at a shadow, and since it’s inside me I cannot rage without bringing things up from the depths.  This affects Sir in ways I am ashamed to admit.  I don’t care how new our relationship is, or how it’s going to be in a year.  My demons make me goad Him on, just to see of He can keep His control over me, and them, and Himself.  I want to see if I can use my rage and my lust to drive Him to handle me better, in ways I need, or if all my darkest parts will drive Him away or make Him loose sight of me and really hurt me in a way that is no longer what I want.  That is really fucked-up.  I know better, but I suspect that’s been the ultimate force behind these last two encounters.  I’ve let myself get comfortable enough to turn ugly, and He has taken it all and given me better things back than I could have asked for from years of therapy.  And yet, I don’t feel I’m using Him.  I want Him, but I have to test this.  I have to see if I can show Him all of this and hear Him laugh with His own anger and power, I’m not afraid of your monsters.  And then I have to see what’s next.

What is next?  I will be asking that as I die, since life is fascinating and beautiful.  (All of it!  Really!  I’m not being silly here!)  But THIS, specifically, makes me ask, what is next for us?  Will I prove to be a new toy that tarnishes, or will these surprises that make me more me be a part of this thing that’s between us because He does actually want me?  What happens if I can let go of everything and see what’s next?  Being allowed to explore this side – the side that wants to see what happens next if I trust Him – is thrilling.  And now I see that both chambers of my heart, the desire to serve and the need to fight, are sharing blood and pumping in rhythm and only the one that can listen to the entire cycle can love me.  Maybe they were set in motion and fed by someone who I now hate, but since they beat on I want to see what they could do next, with the right one.  And I can listen to them now, even if I am left alone, since I am not afraid to hear.

Service Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2012 by sanguinesnow

Unless you know me well, or have been looking at the parts I choose to expose here in writing, my heart tends to stay hidden.  I’m going to tell you about my nose instead, since that’s always visible and my feelings around it have followed a similar path.

It’s a bit on the larger end of the spectrum.  I liked it just fine without thinking of it, and then stopped for a while during that awkward teenage phase where nothing fits together and it’s all up for scrutiny.  Then I loved it, since it was perfect for my face and matches my Dad’s and his Mum’s and so on.  It was part of what made me look like myself, while tying me to a big family I love belonging to.  Then my second husband whipped out every non-physical abuse tactic known to man, and one of them was insulting my appearance.  Now, a grown-ass woman who is happy with her looks should not be swayed so easily, but really effective psychological fucking-over can do some weird things.  I internalized all the little things he said until I was seriously considering “fixing” my nose so I could be attractive for him.  Not only did I get out of that situation, I rebuilt myself until I was not only happy with myself again, but possibly happier than I had been to start with.  Yesterday, my divorce was final, but before that I could already look at pictures of myself from the angle that shows off my hardest, most androgynous profile and say, “Damn, that’s a good face.”  (I have two different profiles – my face is asymmetrical enough that one is notably different from the other, and yet I’m still beautiful.  Suck it, evo psych!)

What was I talking about?  Oh, right, evo psych is a bullshit science, and also my heart.  It’s on the larger end, crooked so it looks different depending on the angle and the light, and now I can recognize it and love it even though it’s been used against me.

As soon as the term “Service Heart” leaped, full-fledged into my head I knew I was going to end up wanting to talk about it.  My feelings about myself after the nonsense detailed in my Poly posts firmed up anything there I wasn’t sure about.  And then a good conversation with Jonathan’s main partner recently made me sit down and get to work.

The most important thing about this, and how it works with my sexuality and self-image is that it is thoroughly mine to own but I get the most enjoyment out if it when I have an appreciative partner.  The partner I get the most out of sharing this side of myself with is one who accepts service of any sort as an expression of my love.  One who takes anything I offer as an expression of my desire, and not my obligation.  One who knows I don’t have to do anything, butwantto.  That right there, people, is the key to it.  It has to work on both sides, with my independence and lack of obligation mingling with the other party’s lack of entitlement and exploitation.  That is when I can offer to do anything possible to please and comfort my partner, and be fulfilled by my actions.

This is one example of what it looked like recently:  I had picked up on (and this is not hard to pick up on if you spend five minutes discussing desert options with him) Sir’s seemingly endless all-powerful love of cheesecake.  I’m also aware that He’s on an even more restrictive diet than my own.  I was off to the internets, seeking out a recipe that would work, despite not doing much baking lately and never having tackled one of these things.  Time is at a premium, so it was a while before I could get into the kitchen and have it match up with a visit.  Then, the other Friday, I was ready!  After a stop to pick out some good whiskey (also a favorite) I was prancing through the grocery store picking up ingredients along with food for both dinner and breakfast and some wine.  (These trips out for supplies are an interesting balance for me – most of the week I’m focused on work and keeping my perfect GPA and congratulating myself on being the independent self-sufficient woman I am, but then I get the urge to put on a frilly apron as I pick out steaks with the keen eye of the 1950’s hausfrau.  More on this later.)  I got home and put on a record and had more fun baking than should be legal.  If I’d just been doing it for myself, I would have said, “Fuck it, I’m off to the bakery.”  And if someone had said, “I want cheesecake, and it’s your job to provide it,” I would have said, “Fuck that, go to the bakery.”  But being able to choose to do something and possibly have it please someone had me all silly and happy. I get the same kind of silly and happy when I’m cooking dinner or making tea or pouring a drink – for Him.  I have this need for it, and now I have someone to use it with and that is great when it works.

What about when it doesn’t work?  And what about everyone who’s shaking their heads saying “Oh, sure, cook a couple of times a month and that means you’re all Service Heart! Sure, I’m calling that one right now.”  Let me offer some further case studies . . . .

I’ve been married twice.  Conveniently enough, despite both of those ending  . . . I’m going to say, “badly” . . . they offer an excellent contrast in examples of how this Heart works on a daily basis.  In the first marriage, before things tuned bad, I got up every morning to make coffee and breakfast before He was up.  Heck, I started that one by going over to the apartment we lived in before we’d moved in and scrubbing all the floors and windows happily thinking of how He would be pleased.  I made dinner every night, and took care of housework.  And early on, when everything was going well, He honestly did appreciate all of it.  Granted, it was easier since I wasn’t in school and worked limited hours, but the important thing was that every single meal or cup of coffee or curtain hung or batch of dishes cleaned and put away was noticed and commented on.  I had, for a short time, someone to offer to serve every day and a sense of being appreciated for it.  As it turned out, that appreciation was not enough to keep other issues as bay, and that marriage turned into an example of Why Some Guys Might Not Be Good Masters, but that part remains.  Possibly the other issues made me resistant to accepting and loving my propensity to serve for a time after that, but that is all a good stretch into the past.  And there’s Second Husband to give a good contrast.

This one is different.  He never had any title with me, so the power dynamic he was expecting wasn’t laid out the way it had been the first time.  He didn’t praise me for cooking or cleaning, since he automatically expected it of me simply because as far as he was concerned it was the wife’s job.  Never mind how much time the wife might put in at a demanding job, or how much the wife might be seriously considering further education.  “Where are my clean socks?” and “What’s for dinner?” were more important topics than “I want to make time to start writing again.” or “One of my patients died this morning.”  This is probably why we didn’t actually talk to each other much during the final year of our marriage.  Thing is, if I DID make an effort to serve in the hope that it would please him, it went unnoticed.  Once, I heard him mention a dish he liked.  It was something I’d never made, so I looked up a recipe and gave it a try.  The first time I made it, he ate it and when I asked if he liked it he said, “It’s good,” and went back to watching TV.  I took that brief comment as approval, and made the same thing several times before he finally said it actually wasn’t very good at all and could I please make something different?

So, back to the cake.  I served it, saying, This is my first time so it might not be so good.  Please tell me if it’s not and I’ll try to make it better.  Because as much as the act of doing something purely out of my desire to please makes me happy, it also makes me want to offer whatever service I can give to the best of my abilities.  If I can be corrected, I will use that to serve better next time.  That’s a deep theme in all that makes up the Heart I speak of.  And I said I was going to come back to the essential question, Why would an otherwise modern and strong woman have this aspect at all?

That 1950’s hausfrau ideal I mentioned is fictional as far as I’m concerned.  The whole idea of “Modern women have careers but their mothers and grandmothers stayed home and did womanly things” is HIGHLY class-based.  My mother worked.  Both my grandmothers worked, and all my great-grandmothers worked. Sure, a lot of the work they did, up until the last generation (my mother) isn’t what any of us would call a “career”.  My point is, as long as there have been women, they have been handling things outside of their own homes while still being wives and mothers.  If I could travel back in time and interrupt one of my great-grandmothers while she was in the middle of some menial but profitable task that had to be done before she could take care of her own house and tried to discuss all this she would probably say Still sein!  and go back to mending or baking and I’d feel pretty silly.  The only reason I can examine my own current desire to serve and how it fits with my desire for a career and education is because I do have privileges available that are a part of my luck at having been born into a world that allows more choice than we women had a century ago.

That said, the choices available to me are what makes me able to embrace and express my service heart.  If I were tied to one man I had to serve regardless of my own feelings I’d have less joy in it.  As it is now, I can choose the man I think is worthy and serve Him.  Honestly, as much as I want to follow my education and career path and excel in it, I also strongly want, someday, to have a husband and (if I am lucky and choose well) a Master I can come home to and cook and clean for.  Being what I am, I need this to feel entirely satisfied in a relationship, but I also need someone I can tell, “I’m too tired to cook, can we order in?” or “I can’t handle the laundry today and I really need to talk to You about this thing that happened at work.”  And I need that amount of equality, where I can be seen as a full human being with her own life and needs.  Only then can I feel comfortable enough with my partner to also say, “I’m going to cook dinner naked, do you want to fuck me while I saute the vegetables?”

I mentioned Jonathan’s partner asking me about how I handle balancing a primary relationship with others, and how I balance my submissive side with my feminism.  The question of feminism is what makes my heart hang in a delicate balance.  I have to respect the fact that the need to serve is there, and nurture it to the point that I am happy and can use it for good, but I know it looks sketchy at times.  Again, the key is to find someone who has respect for me as a full human, and can accept what I offer as an expression of love freely given and not as an obligation based on my gender.

To answer her other question, I told her a bit more about what went down during our poly adventure and why I handled it the way I did.  Her specific question was, “How did that happen without it turning into a fight?”  Service Heart, of course.  I was in a mindspace where my main objective was to serve Sir as well as I could and I would be DAMNED if some sniping was going to break me out of that.  He did accept and appreciate it as well as could be expected, and although things have gotten difficult since then as we’ve dealt with the fallout, I felt better for having kept His comfort foremost in my mind as I was caught in the middle of it all.

And things have gotten difficult, as I knew they would.  No amount of me behaving well during that weekend will erase the fact that it has made both of us question our relationship.  What I have gained from that, even if this experience was enough to crack and eventually break the relationship we have so far (and it’s too early to say, it being a new relationship), is that I love having whatever capacity for service that I do, and that this capacity makes me stronger.  If things go all to hell?  My heart will still be strong, and I will keep it safe until I can serve another.  If we come out of this better off for it, and in a year or five years we can laugh at it all and I’ll be using a stronger term for Him?  I have already begun to cultivate my ability to serve Him and my heart is still going to be strong.

I have a Service Heart, and it is my own.  All my recent angst has only made it stronger, and has only made it more my own.  If you learn anything from this long rambling explanation of how this works for me, let it be this:  A weak heart would make me serve out of fear of losing its object, out of obligation to serve or be rejected.  My strong heart makes me ready to serve no matter how much I may lose, no matter how much rejection it has to take.  I can walk away from things that hurt me, not made less by them but carrying the power my submission raises in me.  I know it takes strength to kneel, because weakness turns that into the only possible position,  while strength makes it the most deep and honest position because it is a choice.  It is me, on the floor or bent over a kitchen counter, saying I want you to possess me, take this now.  If I couldn’t stand up and walk away, I’d have nothing to offer.

 

 

Waiting to open Your ninety-eight wounds

Posted in Music on July 2, 2012 by sanguinesnow

This is about music.

This is about being a teenager and being so sure that you are the only person ever to have felt the things you do, until the right album falls into your hands and you have to listen to it over and over because someone else just said it, and said it better and now you’re not alone any more.

This is about driving and flipping through the radio and finding a bunch of crap until the right song comes on and you would never have expected it, but there’s the exact thing you needed to hear at that moment.

This is about not really being able to dance, but then something grabs you and you’re moving in ways that feel so good you never want this to end, your body taken over by someone’s art, turned into a living expression of everything you thought was locked up safe in your stillness.

This is about years and decades passing, and putting that same damn album on and fuck me, but someone else just said it and said it better and now you’re not alone any more.

Everyone know this.  Everyone has these experiences with pop songs, with obscure shit even the current crop of hipsters don’t listen to, with songs that were recorded before they were born, with songs they can’t admit to their friends they like, and with songs that were written with an entirely different meaning in mind, but which have taken on a personal totemic status apart from that.

Patti Smith’s album Easter is very slightly older than I am.  If current music history is to be believed, it will last much longer than I will.  Interesting question, there, since recorded music – particularly rock – is much newer than forms of art such as literature and painting, and so has not had to stand up against the centuries that Shakespeare or DaVinci have weathered.  I’m not going to be around to see how that question shakes out, so I’ll leave it alone.

The important thing to me is that I have this album, and that I can throw it on at home, or in its CD format in my car and it always works.  If I’m feeling low, it can raise me back up, and if I’m feeling powerful and joyous it can magnify me.  If I’m tired it will energize me, and if I’m energetic it will channel my excess energy into singing and dancing.  Why does this particular album work so well?

Half of it is the music.  I grew up on a mixture of styles, and still enjoy quite a range, but rock has always been in the mix.  The opening of “‘Till Victory”, the first track, hits raw and hard and shakes your bones if they’re wired to respond to instruments plugged in, electrified, and played with a heavy hand.  When Patti says I trust my guitar . . .  on “25th Floor” she isn’t just saying she has a decent axe, she’s saying that guitar is as much a part of her as her arm or her heart is, and she knows she can make it tell us everything.  Throughout the album, there is music that shakes me hard, soothes me, and pushes blood faster and hotter through my veins until the final track (“Easter”) eases me into a peaceful trance state.

The other half is the lyrics.  Despite what your high school English teachers may have told you, the point of poetry is not to figure out what it means; the point is to feel it match things inside yourself as it washes over you and fills the gaps the mundane world has failed to recognize.  Poetry, when set to music and shouted, moaned, growled, and whispered, pleaded and declared, screamed and murmured, is lent power that the printed page envies.  This is the power that, as a poet and a musician in equal measures, Patti can offer me through her recordings.

At this point, the only way to show what I mean is to drop the needle and shake and scream and roll on the floor and gasp until the grooves run out and I am glowing with pain and joy.  Obviously, I can’t do that here.  If you could watch me, maybe it would make sense, or maybe you would wonder why I like this album so much and write me off as crazy.  I could just print the entire lyrics, but without the music you’d only get half of it.  My love of this particular album really only makes sense if you experience it as a whole, and then maybe only if you’re me.  I’m foolish enough to try and explain further, though.

1) ‘Till Victory  As I said, this opens the experience and hits hard.  Take Arm, Take Aim, Be Without Shame!  As a companion piece, try PJ Harvey’s “Victory” from her first album, Dry.  I have nothing to back this up but I swear to all that is filthy and beautiful Harvey took direct inspiration from this song.  This is the anthem that fills me up with energy, then has a soft spot in the middle (And you will see us coming, v-formation, through the sky) that allows just enough calm before rising back up again to pound yet more energy into me and straighten my spine.  I can now face the world.

2) Space Monkey  There’s a section in this that sounds orgasmic.  Otherwise, it sounds like late-psychedelic music with its electronic organ.  Am I listening to some sort of statement on the excitement of the space age (we sent chimps first, but we’re pretty well monkeys too, after all)?  The dates don’t match up, since we’d already set foot on the moon about ten years earlier, but I like the way this all matches in my own mind.  That dream of getting free of my planet?  Yes.  I know I was just saying the best poetry doesn’t have to be “about” anything, and that’s true.  But it’s also true to me that Space is a good thing to reach for when I need an image.  It’s mystery, exploration, depths that you can never see or fathom.  And I had to check the lyrics, but that orgasmic sounding part I so love to sing along to is the word Up over and over.  Even better.

3) Because The Night Starting off sweet, with piano and a gentle flow of words that turns quicker and deeper, and then the drums hit and you just know that this is why you even bother with sex at all.  And then there’s a gentle moment again, but then there’s more and MORE, and then forgive, the yearning burning.  And then it peaks and it’s all over and Yes.

4)  Ghost Dance  I admit, I often skip this one.  When I do listen all the way through, though, I sway and then toward the end I get it and sway until I could fall.

5) Babelogue  I don’t fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future!  and it goes on until Spare the child and spoil the rod, I have not sold myself to God!  I love her voice here.  I love everything in it, and I wish all of us could feel something – anything – so much that we could speak with such conviction.  But then the music comes up around that voice and let’s shake those bones out harder again . . .

6)  Rock N Roll Nigger  Hi, my name is Sanguine and I fucking love this song even though I have a lot of trouble singing along.  After the Babelogue, the music comes up and you feel as if Patti has just taken a single deep breath between her shout of God and her next line: Baby was a black sheep, baby was a whore.  And YEAH!  The music is rough and dissonant, Patti is shouting-singing her words as if she’s just gargled some whiskey and spat it in your face, and I am absolutely going to growl about Baby being a whore because I AM baby and if you dare call me a whore like it’s a bad thing I will spit in your face too.  But then, oh, damn, I was raised not to use language like that.  I wasn’t given an “except when you are singing drunkenly in your house alone” clause, either.  Okay, Patti, you DID include the liner notes telling us all what you meant, but I’m still stuck.  Maybe that’s the point.  After twenty years with this album my lefty upbringing may be keeping me away from really getting those liner notes, or maybe this song just hasn’t aged well.  I wish I had something clever or insightful to add here, but that’s it.

7)  Privilege (Set Me Free)  The organ starts up, eerie and mournful, and I’m in church, but then I look closer and the candles are all black and Christ on His cross isn’t suffering for my pain, but showing it to me, magnified, writhing and letting me know there’s ecstasy in it if I can take the thorn and lash and learn . . . and not only is that real blood in the chalice, it might be my own.  This is a religious song, but it’s not the safe, tax-free, whitewashed-steeple religion others feel safe in.  The days of Love and Torment, The nights of Rock and Roll.  And then with the wish for energy, there is rock, and now it’s time to cry out in honor and reverence to pain and the capacity for it and the need for what’s beyond: My body is aching/Don’t want sympathy/Come on, come and love me/Come on, set me free.  But before my spine can snap and my hips shake loose from their joints, we’re in church again.  The organ is deeper, somehow, having the pain and exultation that came before staining it as we hear the 23rd Psalm.  In this context, it means more than it ever has in a “real” church to me.  Thou art with me, and now it’s going to rock again – most of you probably left while the first side was playing out, to avoid the sheer madness that come on after I flipped the record, and that’s fine, because this right here  – Hey Lord, I’m waiting for You/Oh, God, I’m waiting for You/Waiting to open your ninety-eight wounds/And be Thee, be Thee  (but I always hear bleed, bleed, bleed, bleed.  And I’m sticking to it.)   This is what it’s about; this is where Christ goes from being that cute Jewish boy I was checking out because he has a nice smile to LUST and now I want to tear into that bare chest and make myself slick with blood all the way down and now I’m taken over and I don’t care if it’s music or joy or pain or love or animal desire and then – only then – the calm of the organ comes back to tie it all up as the Psalm ends.  And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever, Ah, damn, Goddamn, Goddamn, Goddamn, Here I am!  And I’m spent.  (And as a side note, this is why on the odd occasion I do go to church it’s really hard for me to finish that Psalm off with an “Amen”.  It somehow seems weak now.)

8)  We Three  Every single time I am in any kind of love or sex complication involving more than two people, this is it right here.  There’s a montage of me and whoever else might be involved playing in my head as I sing, only we’re somehow living in a much cooler more bohemian world that involves us all having nothing to do but stride along dirty streets late at night under sickly streetlights and drink straight from questionable bottles and live in communal housing with our art and poetry scrawled directly onto the walls.  We all love and hurt in equal measure, but please stand back now and let time tell.  And I don’t really live there, I just see it and remember that no matter how it feels to me, it’s going to be much more mundane in real life.  So I can stand back.

9)  25th Floor/High on Rebellion  I need this to follow “We Three”.  I was kind of sad, but whatever’s going on in my triangle montage, I’m leaving it there as I go off to a dirty club and dance with strangers.  This is a filthy city, but I’m filthy enough to see the beauty and look at me I am laughing. I am laughing.  Go ahead, show me all that trash and decay.  See if it stops me from dancing.

10)  Easter  I should be worn out after that night at the club and all the substances I consumed and all the strangers I danced with.  Instead, I wake at dawn and everything is more clear, more peaceful.  This is slow, this is a chant, this is an incantation, and this is exactly how it feels when I push myself too hard physically, emotionally, but still have something left that tells me my life is beautiful and good.  Bells punctuate the dawn in my head and give me a steady rhythm to follow as I put it all back together.  I glow and breathe as I rise back up, stronger and better once more for all my ecstasy and despair, sorrow and lust, sacredness and profanity.  I rend, I end, I return.

Writing about music may well be an exercise in futility.  Trying to explain this album, and why I love it so much I’m convinced I’d be less for never having heard it might not translate to anyone who doesn’t already feel the same.

This isn’t really about this album, though, or about me listening to it as I shake and undulate and scream and gasp along with it.  This is about the need for music that does the same to you, and I hope everyone has at least one song they can pull out in any state or at any time and get the same fulfillment.  You might not understand mine, I might not understand yours, but as long as we have them we are better for it.  Any poet or musician that can offer this to at least one other person has earned their title.  Thank you all for enriching our lives.