Sunday, February 18, 2018

Allowing Him to Love Me

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called “Spank Meeeee.” In the comment section, one reader mentioned that he had brought this dynamic to his wife, and despite her insistence that she really, really enjoys the fruits of this dynamic, he still has some hang-ups about pursuing the dynamic. The comment was actually in reference to something else, but I picked up on that, and offered my opinion.

Shortly after that, a reader friend of mine wrote to me and said she’d read the comment and had a bit of a lightbulb moment herself. So I decided this point was worth exploring in a blog post. Another reader also mentioned this excellent article on Acting As If. It’s worth a read.

Jason and I have a somewhat different experience to our start to DD than I’ve encountered with other couples. In most cases, one partner is interested in pursuing a DD or D/s dynamic, and things naturally progress from there. In some cases it’s a natural progression; in others it takes years and years of hard work and heart ache. Sometimes, the dynamic flourishes naturally, and at other times, it doesn’t.

With me and Jason, we were exploring erotic spanking in the bedroom. I was a major prude when we married, but after a full decade of marriage, I finally got up the nerve to ask him to spank me. That story’s here. After we explored erotic spanking for a while, one day he decided I needed a “real” spanking. A punishment spanking. At the time, I was convinced that Domestic Discipline, though it secretly turned me on, was wrong. That it wasn’t right for a husband to discipline his wife. I protested, and when I protested, he marched me to the bed, pushed me onto my belly, and gave me a few quick smacks with his belt to show me he was serious. I’d never been spanked with a belt before. He’d never punished me. And it changed my life. I wanted this. Badly. So I pushed it with him… badly.

We had a lot of kinks to work out (pun intended). And even after he’d totally embraced this lifestyle, and admitted he loved seeing me flourish, he told me one day that he hated punishing me. I was so upset about this.

“What do you mean you hate punishing me?” I asked him. I felt my heart skip a beat, and suddenly, this awesome dynamic that had transformed my marriage felt so wrong.

“I hate it. I don’t like to hurt you. I don’t like to see you cry. And I don’t like punishing you.”

Jason isn’t a sadist. He enjoys spanking me and embraces his dominance, but he does not glean any real pleasure from causing me pain. That doesn’t mean that taking me over his knee doesn’t arouse him. Sure it does. I’m usually bared, and he’s only human, and the vulnerability and dominance of it all does turn him on. But he doesn’t enjoy the pain. He enjoys the exchange of power.

I didn’t understand all that then, though.

“If you don’t like it…and really hate it… maybe you shouldn’t do it anymore.” I love Jason. And I disliked knowing he was doing something he hated, for me.

He smiled at me and took my hand and said, “Don’t misunderstand me. Just because I hate punishing you doesn’t mean I won’t. I shouldn’t like punishing you. I love you. It’s natural for me to not want to cause you pain.”

“So why do you do it?” I asked him. “Why do you do it even though you hate it?”

“Because it’s the most loving thing for me to do. You need this from me. You thrive with this in your life. And because of that, I need to give this to you.”

I think I’d been harboring some sort of hope that he would embrace this as his own, that he wanted to dominate me as much as I wanted him to. That something deep down inside him would fuel his desire to make me behave, and demand my obedience. And that somehow him doing it for me made it less authentic.

I was wrong. All of that was wrong. And it was when he explained that he does this because he loves me that I understood. He was giving of himself to me, just as I give myself to him in so many other ways. I hate cooking. I really, really don’t like cooking. But I still make myself do it, and make Jason his favorite meals, and go out of my way just to please him. Because it’s the most loving thing to do.

And I realized… that I do things I hate, too, out of love. I hated  telling my baby “no,” and hearing her cry, but I knew that a good mom stands firm and doesn’t spoil her child. I knew that there were many things I did in my life that I disliked, for the mere reason that it was the loving thing to do. So why would I demand things on my terms? Why did Jason have to be some sort of “natural disciplinarian” with me for this to be authentic? No. Instead, I had to graciously accept his generous gift of self, and allow him to love me. I had to shelve my pride and take him as he was, and love him just like that. Just like he did me.

And now, over five years later, I can honestly say this was a turning point for us. He loves my obedience. He loves the fruits of the power exchange in our marriage. He’s cultivated his dominance and I’ve cultivated my submission, and though we still grow and evolve and learn, this has become a beautiful, natural part of how we relate. We’ll never turn back.

He still hates punishing me. He will always hate punishing me. It is up to me to accept what he gives me, and give back to him in return. It is up to me to accept his love.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Attention, please!

Do I have your attention? ;)

A few months ago, I found myself really needy for a spanking. A blog commenter here wondered if I needed some higher expectations. I sort of shrugged and wondered myself, then ran it by Jason. He listened, shook his head while I knelt in front of him and said, "No. What you need is more attention from your Daddy."

He knows me so well, it's scary sometimes. He's one of those people that studies things, understands them, and then masters them. I, apparently, have been an object of study to him. He knows when I need attention, when I need rest, when I need a little pampering, and when I need a good session over his knee.

I came to him when I was feeling very needy and said, "I really, really could use a session over your knee."

He chuckled, shook his head, and said, "Oh, honey. You really, really do."

It's surprising what a little attention can do for us.

Around this time of year, our New Year's Resolutions begin to wane. Some of us have committed to more consistent DD or D/s dynamics. It's mid-February and the gung-ho excitement of early January has faded. Now it's when the real change happens. 

It's when we discipline ourselves to push past comfortable that real change happens. 

Today, Jason asked me to check in with him. I did not want to. I had been up for five hours already by the time we had privacy. I had such a long to-do list, I literally ran out of lines on my planner. I had things to do. I was dying for a second cup of coffee. He locked the door, grabbed an implement and pointed to the floor. 

My initial reaction was no. I didn't want to. I knew where that would end up very quickly, so I was smart enough to get on my knees even though I didn't want to. We went over my rules. Then I went over his knee. He spanked me long and hard. He knew I needed this. I was stressed, and it was Monday. Lots on my mind. And he knows that a good spanking calms me down. Then when he was done, he said, "And if you need me today, come to me." 

I felt so much better. So much better. 

Sometimes all we need is some more attention. 

Today, I have a challenge for you. 

Some of you know you need more consistency, but you don't know how to get it. Add more rules? More consequences? How do you begin this, anyway? How do you pick it back up again after you've had a hiatus? How do you keep it going when you stagnate? 

Here's the challenge: Commit to a focused maintenance night or session once a week for three months, no exception. 

Find time for each other by committing to this one small change that could bring the focus back to where you need it: on each other. Commit to doing this every week, even when you don't want to do. It's amazing how a little bit of attention can really go a long way. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Importance of Self-Care

Good morning, everyone! Poor Jason is sick now (I’m better), so I was going it alone with my kids yesterday, and just couldn’t quite make the time to finish the blog post I had planned for you.

I really don't like when he’s sick. I can handle the extra work load, but I miss relying on him. We didn’t have our check-in, I really could’ve used a good session over his knee, and I just miss having him around. He spent most of the day in bed. But when I went to bed last night, he praised me “for being a very good girl and letting me rest.” In the past I’ve been a little needy when he’s sick, and pouted for real (unlike teasing pouting which he doesn’t mind), and let’s face it: that’s just sorta silly and immature. It would be a lie to say I didn’t miss my daddy though, a lot.

I’ve been mulling around the idea of this blog post for a while, and touched on the topic a few times in the past, but recent interactions with a few of you lately have confirmed that revisiting the topic could really be a good thing.

Early on in our dynamic, when this was all still new, I depended on Jason heavily. This is pretty common, I’ve since realized, and even maybe necessary to make the necessary dynamic shift. When it’s all new, and suddenly sparks are flying in the relationship again, it’s pretty common for a submissive to realize that, wow, his or her dominant partner can really make an enormous impact on their emotional well-being. Jason had the power to calm me down, lift me up, relieve my stress, and essentially, make me happy again when I was sad.

He still does, of course, as you likely know if you’ve read other blog posts. However, things have shifted a bit. They had to. When we were new, I developed some habits that were borderline unhealthy. I relied on him for everything.

Now, I still do rely on him heavily, and he does me. We met each other nineteen years ago this spring. Just this past weekend I got fired up about something and said, “you know how I feel about injustice!” and he chuckled and said, ‘Honey, I’ve known you for a long time. I know.' " Yeah, when you're best friends with someone for this long, you do rely on them. 

I laughed myself when he said this. Now, the truth is, I adore the man. I could wax eloquent on the very many reasons he’s my favorite person in the world. He’s my very heart. But it wasn’t healthy for me to rely on him for so much, for many reasons. One day, he won’t be here, or I won’t. Logic tells us that separation is inevitable in some form or another, and though I don’t focus on it much, I do face it, as does he. If I didn’t, I’d flirt with making him an idol, and he isn’t. He isn’t a god. I don’t worship him. I simply love him as much as a human being possibly can love another.

One day, after I was upset about something and expected him to solve it for me, he said, “Listen, I can’t be one hundred percent responsible for meeting every one of your needs. I can't manage all your emotions for you.” Well, that hurt, but I was glad he said it, because he was right and I needed to hear it.

I’d fallen into the trap of expecting him, who meets my needs so beautifully, to meet my needs fully. And it really isn’t healthy to expect that.

It was about this time I’d embraced some of the principles I still hold dear today, and was making my way through Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. As a mom of many and submissive, I’d been  pouring myself out to others and neglecting my needs. He did his best to make sure I took care of myself, but without my own cooperation, some things fell short.

This wasn’t something I needed him to fix. I was really the only one who could do it for me.

And so, the journey began, of rediscovering my own need for self-care.

I began exercising regularly. I changed my eating habits and focused on eating healthier foods (Jason helped me with all of this – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!). Weekly nights off for me became the norm. We budgeted for one night a week where we’d order takeout or buy a simple meal that required little to no preparation from me. I actually allowed myself to spend money on myself. It sounds funny, but we have a large family in one of the most expensive places in the country. There is always someone who needs shoes, or a house repair that needs attention, or the like. I’m frugal by nature. Doing something like – gasp – spending money on a manicure was unheard of. Not anymore.

I found other ways to nurture myself that took little time or money. Unplugging and drinking a hot cup of tea. Taking what I now call a “spa shower,” a longer one, with all the lotions and soaps and scrubs and things I’d been gifted for years that gathered dust under my bathroom sink. I’d buy myself a new bag, or a journal. If I saw a scented candle I liked, I bought it.

I focused heavily on doing things that would make me feel good.  That would nourish me. Drinking enough water, working out, regular nights out with friends. And now that I work, it means recognizing when I’m reaching burn-out and stepping back, taking a day off. Sleeping in. Going dark for a while.

What does all this have to do with a D/s dynamic? More than you might think.

As I focused more heavily on my own self-care, and Jason made this happen, too, I no longer had an unhealthy dependence on him. He still met my needs, and the needs were still many. But it was no longer consuming him. My need for his attention lessened a bit. Being more well-rested, nourished, and pampered a bit, meant that I didn’t resent my many household duties like I used to. When my kids were younger I’d get so angry with Jason on weekends because he’d rest! He’d watch TV or game or sleep in, and I’d be doing all the things and want him to do all the things with me. He’d say, “If you want to rest, rest.” I was horrible at it. I needed to learn to stop.

And a funny thing happen. When my own self-care was met, I appreciated what he gave me more. I didn’t need him as desperately as I needed before, so when I needed him, it became a lot easier for him to give me that attention I craved. 

And the kicker? I’d neglected my own self-care for so long, under this misguided notion that taking care of myself was somehow selfish. Wrong

When I focused on my own self-care, I became better able to meet the needs of my family. When I focused on my own self-care, Jason’s meeting my needs fell into balance.

This shift was huge. He was proud of me for taking care of myself. And now, I do these things as a matter of habit, little things that keep me well-rested and happy.

I posted this, because I can tell you that there are readers here who can relate to this. I know, because I’ve spent a good deal of time talking to so many of you. You’re tired, and depleted like I was. You resent your duties, and, like me, expect your dominant partner to somehow make it all better. If this is you, I urge you to stop. You spend so much time and energy meeting the needs of others in your life. Take time for you.

Read a book. Take a walk, or a bath, or meet that friend you haven’t seen in weeks or months for a cup of coffee. Paint your nails. Buy that book you want, or that coloring book, or the pretty little frivolous knick-knack that will make you smile when you do the hundredth dish this week. Get enough rest. Drink more water. Nourish your body with healthy foods. Give yourself time to do nothing. I give you permission to let go of the guilt that tells you it’s selfish. It isn’t. It’s necessary.

And submissives, you might find meeting your own self-care is the very thing your dynamic needs to flourish.