Sunday, September 15, 2019

Motivation and D/s

Happy Sunday, blogland! 

I mentioned last week I recently read Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies, and I've been trying to wrap my brain around it ever since. 

I'm one of those people that loves personality tests like Myers Briggs and the Ennegram, or even the Harry Potter Pottermore sorting hat quiz, and things like that. I'm fascinated with the psychology of it, and find it interesting to find there are other people out there just like me. But what I love most about learning about myself is that "once you know better, you do better." If I understand how my personality works, I can accept who I am more fully. In Rubin's book, she quotes Thomas Merton, one of my favorites. I can't find the quote right now but can paraphrase it. He said something to the effect, "My life's goal is to become who I already am." 

And as I read the book and my mind began to put two and two together, I started to see how personality type really impacts a D's lifestyle. 

For those who are interested, the test is HERE

Essentially, Rubin argues that there are four different types of tendencies, or how one operates based on how you respond to external and internal motivations. There's a really good summary HERE.

Upholders: These are the people who are both externally and internally motivated. They are the people who thrive on meeting both internal and external goals. To quote Rubin, "Upholders want to know what should be done." And once they do, they do it. 

Questioners: Are motivated by internal motivations, but often fail to meet external motivations. Questions question everything, because they want to know the logic behind what they do. 

Obligers: Meet external obligations, but frequently struggle meeting internal obligations. They need external accountability. 

Rebels are driven by neither external nor internal motivations. Their natural response to nearly everything is a, "no." Ask a rebel to do something, and he will want to do the opposite. 

After reading about the different tendencies, I would hazard a guess that many naturally submissive people are obligers. 

Obligers are the "salt of the earth," the most loyal friends, most dedicated employee, and they live to serve. Submitting to another person's authority is how obligers thrive. Give them a vague assignment and they flounder; give them a deadline and accountability, they will thrive. Obligers enjoy pleasing others, so submitting to someone else comes fairly easily. An obliger-type would do amazingly well in a D/s relationship with a task list and routine. 

On the other hand? Someone with a natural obliger tendency may struggle in the role of dominant unless they dommed out of service to another, to meet the needs of his or her partner. 

Obligers, when paired with rebels, make for an excellent match. Obligers love that rebels do what they want, don't cow to anyone else's expectations,. They're fearless. It doesn't mean they're necessarily irresponsible (though many are), because if they value their responsibility, they do indeed do what they're supposed to. 

Guess what I suspect a natural dom is, y'all? Yep. A rebel. Guess what my Jason tests as? Yep, a rebel. 

Certainly there are variations on any theme, and variations within the tendency. And none of this is meant to box anyone in or stereotype, but I do think that understanding our responses to internal and external motivation can shed some light into our relationship with others. 

Some of you may be wondering which tendency fits me. I'm actually not an obliger, but an upholder. This made sense to me after I read it because I am both internally and externally motivated. I've always said I'm not a natural submissive. In fact, as an upholder, I hold the weight of so much responsibility on my shoulders, it's a relief to me to obey Jason and put the weight of all that down for a little while. (I'm also a kinkster, so yanno, I love the whole spanking and submission thing). But natural sub? No way, no how. It isn't me, and I have at times been jealous of people who were naturally submissive. 

Upholders hate holding other people accountable. Since people within this personality type frequently sail through upholding their own expectations, they have a super hard time when asked to uphold someone else. 

Anyway, for me, I don't need those rules for external accountability, like chores or a budget, because I meet those easily without having to answer to Jason. I need the expectation of respect, and permission to put everything down for a while. 

Another tendency is questioner. They question everything, are highly internally motivated, but often don't care about external expectations. "Why?" could be their theme word. It would be hard for a questioner to submit, but if a questioner trusted his or her dom, it could work well. I daresay that a questioner dom might find dominating comes naturally. 

A rebel, on the other hand, questions everything. So I would suspect a rebel would not find submission comes easily at all. It doesn't mean it can't be done. It for sure could, and I know rebels who do submit. But they need to not only trust their dom, they need to have a damn good reason for rules. They need to know there are consequences if they disobey. And then need to feel like they have autonomy in all of this. 

An upholder like me--someone who's both internally and externally motivated--usually clashes with a rebel like Jason. But I suppose we've just made it work over time (and my ass has paid the price.) There have been a few times another sub has said to me, "OMG how could you have said that/ done that/ acted that way." Well, y'all, it's because I have to work damn hard at submitting, and I often fail. 

So for those who might find their dynamic is challenging, or that you and your partner are having a hard time communicating to one another, you might find it something worth pursuing. 

If you've taken the test or read the book, do you have any thoughts on how motivation impacts D/s? 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The "60/60" rule

Helllo, Blogland! Gosh it feels so good to be blogging again. For us, this is one of the hardest time of years for our dynamic typically. As of November, Jason and I will be seven years into this crazy way of life and without fail, every year around “back to school” we find that we struggle. Well, at least we have in the past. 

Why is this? I think it’s many things. Because our dynamic takes time to cultivate and grow, the added stress of “back to school” depletes that free time. The added demands on our schedules means less time together, so we’ve had to develop super strong communication methods to help ward off potential pitfalls. It helps that we’ve done this now many times, so we have systems in place. 

Jason asked me to buy a huge whiteboard calendar. Then we have a family calendar that we go through as a family during Sunday night dinner so everyone makes sure what needs to be on the calendar is on the calendar. Who’s coming and going, who needs a carpool ride, who has a doctor appointment. And pretty much the rule is, if you forget to tell me on Sunday night then you’re kind of on your own. I plan our dinners for the week, get all the shopping done (as a mom of many who works full time, I order groceries delivered to the house and I’m telling you, it’s a life-changer). It’s almost over-the-top how hard we prep on Sunday. I even fill up the soap dispensers and toilet paper in the bathrooms on Sunday lol. So by Sunday night, we’re ready for the week ahead. 

What does this have to do with our dynamic? You’d be surprised. Jason is a natural dom. As such, the man likes order. I have to say I’m not super sure if all natural dominant men are like this, but the ones I know are. Jason feels when our house is in order, we’re all less stressed, and I agree. He’ll do what it takes to get there, too, usually. He mostly does all the laundry on the weekends and we both tag team nighttime routines with the kids.  He knows I’m busy so he doesn’t get on me about much. It just pretty much has to be a team effort to work. 

And when we aren’t a team? That’s when things start to fall apart. It’s when our priorities are out of whack. It’s when we fail to communicate adequately. 

Recently, he was exhausted and couldn’t really do much of anything on a busy evening. I was kinda fuming by the time I took myself to bed, but I know what happens if I snap at him. He might punish me (and always will, eventually) but in the moment, if he’s exhausted, he’s much more likely to get angry and withdraw, and there’s pretty much nothing I hate worse in the world than when he does that. 

So I had to do the self-talk thing. Self-talking my way into the right mindset is a huge coping mechanism I learned years ago from another submissive. I asked her how she changes her mindset, and she said, “Well, something like that usually takes a lot of self-talk.” 

My self-talk the other night went something like this. 

“Yes, he didn’t help tonight. He’s probably tired, or maybe doesn’t feel well. Did you survive? Are you dying because he didn’t help you? When you’re tired, you can really get unreasonable. If you snap at him now, and tell him all the things on your mind, he’ll either punish you or worse—withdraw. He won’t talk to you at all, then you’ll have to go to bed knowing he’s upset with you and you’re going to be punished. Worth it? Nope. And anyway, it wasn’t as big a deal as you’re making it out to be in your head. Get over it and go to sleep.” 

Essentially, I have to tell myself what a more logical me would think lol. It sounds weird, but it works. I can’t depend on him to do all the reasoning for me. And isn’t that what owning this dynamic is all about? Owning your own part in this, and putting your best effort forward? 

“Yes, you want him to dom you. But he’s exhausted. He’s got his mom to take care of , too, and it’s so much on him right now and he doesn’t have much energy left for you. Just hang in there. You have good friends, a job you love, supportive children, and so many things to be thankful for. Give him the space to do this. He’ll have time for you again.” 

When Jason and I were getting ready to be married, a dear family friend said to us, “Just remember, there is no fifty-fifty. This isn’t about splitting things right down the middle. Each of you do sixty percent all the time, and that way there’s always overlap to pick up the slack.”

And I have to say, I really think that’s true in our dynamic. It is a very, very rare day when our efforts are equal. There are days when I need him to dom me and he’s not up for it, so I have to work hard fulfilling my role as his submissive. Sometimes with no help from him at all. Then there are days I’m stressed and not up for submitting, so he has to take a more active role of dominant to help me get in the right head space. 

But this is what works. The only way to move forward in our dynamic is for me to submit to him, out of love to him and for him to dom me, out of love for me. Because at the heart of this is the power exchange, and for us, that power exchange is fueled by love. And on that note… it’s my bedtime and we have rules about that (though he did give me permission to blog first). 

Next week, I’m unpacking something super interesting. I’ve recently finished The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. This fast-paced book is absolutely fascinating. She believes that one’s “tendency” can be determined by investigating external and internal motives and viewing the dynamics in light of this hypothesis is fascinating. For those who want a sneak peak, the book is HERE.

And the quiz to identify where you might fall on the spectrum is HERE.  

I’ll see you next week! 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Back to Blogging

Hey there, readers. 

After much deliberation, Jason and I decided we aren't going to keep the blog private anymore. Ok, I decided I didn't want to anymore, I told him why, and he spent about a month thinking about it. ;) He finally said that yes, he thinks it's time.

Blogger limits the number of private viewers, and we quickly maxed out the number of private viewers allowed. Even after that happened, we weren't sure where we were going to go from here. We talked. We waited. We gave it some space and time. And finally I told Jason, I don't feel like myself when I'm not blogging. I need to process the dynamic, to tap into that side of us that fuels us, and blogging does it in a way that nothing else does. 

We went over the blog with a fine-toothed comb, making sure that there is no way anyone could violate our privacy again (which is why we went private to begin with). 

I'm so excited to be blogging again!! It's fall here in America, kids are back to school, and we're getting back into habits and routines, and y'all, I love that. As of next Sunday, I will be back to weekly blogging. Thank you to those who have stuck around during this hiatus. I hope you're doing well, and I look forward to blogging again! 

With love,