I don’t feel safe

I don’t feel safe. I mostly mean sexually, but this could apply to other things too; I’m not sure.

Intellectually, I know that I am safe. Wolf and I have been together for a lot of years, and while there have been rare mistakes or missteps, I’ve never felt that he he looked down on me, disrespected me, or used me. Since I’ve been more aware and deliberate about trusting him, I’ve made a bit of progress but not as much as I would have liked.

I seem unable to feel safe. It’s like I don’t have a sense of safety because I don’t have the organ, nerve, bulb, whatever it is that I need to sense it. Or maybe my sense of safety exists but is partly impaired, since I’m perfectly attuned to detect the slightest whiff of danger.

Not feeling safe means I’m always reflexively on my guard such that I don’t necessarily even notice the tension. (It has recently occurred to me to wonder whether my chronic physical tension is connected to this.) Because of my history with Wolf, I can choose to let my guard down a bit but it takes a great deal of effort, and it’s imperfect because I don’t fully understand why I’m on my guard in the first place.

The other night, Wolf and I cuddled the way we always do. Ordinarily he’d touch my back and rub my neck, and I’m happy to let him because he knows through lots of experience what I like. But it still feels to me that he’s in control.

This time I was thinking about my feeble sense of safety and what I could possibly do to develop it. We decided that I’d tell him what I wanted and he’d do it, or he’d stop if I said stop. I often ask him to touch or massage one spot or another, but this time I just told him “touch me here” or “massage me there”. It’s a minor grammatical difference but it was enough to make me feel a little emotionally vulnerable. I hope I’m not imagining this, but when I told him to hug me a certain way because I needed reassurance, it seemed to sink in more thoroughly than usual.

With Jaime, dealing with my inherent feeling of unsafeness is more challenging. He has demonstrated his trustworthiness to me in myriad ways but we don’t have the same length of time together, and most of the time that we do have is long distance, which is qualitatively different and can’t really address issues of physicality.

I think this is why I haven’t really progressed beyond splashing around in the shallow end of the BDSM pool. BDSM often uses a dash of fear to heighten physiological arousal, but when I don’t feel fundamentally safe, all it seems to accomplish is to make me even more cautious and guarded.

I’ve been thinking about how things are with Jaime, and how I’d like to go deeper but I feel like I’ve plateaued. This relationship started with a BDSM flavour and the undercurrent is still there but right now it’s very quiet. I feel a bit disappointed about that. My difficulties with depression and low libido have been a significant issue, and in response to my general mood Jaime has chosen to back off, BDSM-wise.

Thinking about some of the BDSM things that we’ve done together that didn’t go so smoothly, I realised that I’ve probably deferred to him too much, trusting his domming experience more than my understanding of myself and my needs. And frankly, I’m not always that good at knowing my own needs, so it’s really attractive to believe that someone else knows what they are and will satisfy them.

Now, I like to know why things are the way they are, and when facing a current challenge, I often revisit my childhood to see if there might be some early learning colouring the way I think about things now. One of my tentative conclusions is that my parents were not very responsive to me when I was very young. This difficulty is that you develop your earliest sense of self from what is reflected back to you from your caregivers. If my parents weren’t good at knowing me, then they couldn’t teach me to know myself. As an adult, wanting someone else to know and satisfy my needs without my having to figure it out myself sounds like a mind-reading fantasy. But isn’t this basically what parenting young children is about?

But despite the past, I’m an adult and I now understand myself better than anyone else does. “Just going along with things” is a theme in an awful lot of my sexual experiences, and historically the results for me have been neutral ranging through to actively bad. If I’m going to submit, I think I need to trust myself more and be more assertive regarding both process  (how and when we communicate, how I express my needs and concerns) and substance (the activities I agree to).

I believe that it’s possible to be both assertive and submissive, but what I’m struggling with is whether it’s possible for me to do so, in my way, in this relationship.

I’m still alive

Is something wrong? she said
Of course there is
You’re still alive, she said
Oh, do I deserve to be?
Is that the question?
[“Alive”, Pearl Jam]

Oh dear, it’s hard to get back in the groove after so long away. I’ve had a busy couple of months, but it’s been so long that nothing seems significant enough to talk about. I have lots of ideas of things to write about – or at least I thought I did, until confronted with a blank page. It feels like when you run into someone you haven’t seen for years and yet somehow you’re able to catch up in about 10 minutes. I must be forgetting something…

So, what have I been up to? Well, I went to Eroticon, and it was my second time attending. I’m definitely glad I went and I hope to attend next year too. Although this last year has been very quiet on the blog, it was good to hear interesting talks, visit with people I’ve met before (friends? is that the word?), and just be in a room with a bunch of people who are weird like me.

When I arrived at Heathrow on the Friday morning, Jaime was there to pick me up and escort me back to our room. We spent the next three weeks travelling together, mostly in southern England but we also spent the better part of a week in a Paris AirBnB. By the end of my trip, I was starting to get homesick and tired of the pace. I am, in many ways, a delicate flower.

Being away from Wolf is always strange, since we always spend so much time together. Well, we’re both introverts, so this often amounts to him at his desk and me at mine, but we’re doing our solo stuff together, if you see what I mean. I had good wifi connectivity throughout the trip so staying in touch wasn’t too hard, but this whole me having adventures while he’s at home thing is new so we don’t have a long-distance routine worked out as such.

While I was on this trip, I was tapering off my anti-depressant medication – citalopram, which is an SSRI. I had a bit of a bumpy ride but there were too many variables to know whether that was due to the meds or all of the other novelty that was going on around me. Prior to going off the meds, I had been feeling consistently good and the side effects were starting to bother me, so I think the timing was right. An issue that’s been plaguing me is the not really caring about doing things, or finishing things I start. This was a symptom of the depression but in a slightly different version it became, I think, one of the side effects.

I’ve had a series of mild but still significant health complaints in addition to the mental health stuff. The most recent in the litany is arthritis in my neck, the treatment for which has caused low-grade tension and chronic pain from the shoulders up, plus mild nausea. Add this to the irritable bowel syndrome, whose primary symptom for me is wicked bloating, and my ongoing hypoglycemia, and my stomach is very confused and unhappy.

My libido is still very low and the above seems to have killed it again. I have given Tabitha Rayne‘s #30DayOrgasmFun project a go, but my disinterest, it is high, and persisting would defeat the purpose of having fun with it. So.

Even though I haven’t been posting photos, I seem to have established a habit of taking mile-high selfies (and the occasional comparable ground-level ones) whenever the opportunity arises. It has arisen rather a lot in the last while, and I expect it to do so a couple more times before midsummer.

So that’s my life in a nutshell.

NYE with Rosa: a coming-out story

New Year’s Eve, a day marking an arbitrary end point on the yearly cycle, doesn’t mean a great deal to me. I didn’t expect it to coincide with a real ending and new beginning.

I went out for coffee with my good friend, Rosa, as we do about once a month. We’re surprisingly alike in the sense that I think we were both surprised to have found someone so much like ourselves. We’ve shared a lot with each other, which is something that neither of us do readily – we’re both introverts, highly sensitive, cautious, self-sufficient, etc.

I’ve told her plenty about the family difficulties I had a few years ago that led to serious personal growth and ultimately (though indirectly) the creation of this blog. I told her about the blog itself (its existence, not the URL) at least a year ago and she treated it as a total non-issue. (She has never really asked me about it which I’d interpreted as disinterest, but now I wonder if she has refrained from asking about it because she’s leaving the decision whether to share entirely up to me. She’s like that.)

She takes privacy and confidentiality very seriously and is as much of a dead end for confidences as I am so I knew that I could trust her with the information.

I’d been thinking about telling her about Jaime since I’d told her about the blog, if not before, because, frankly, Jaime is much more exciting. But caution, as always with me, prevailed. I suppose I worried that she’d judge me as “cheating” on Wolf.

At some point my reason for wanting to tell her had gone beyond “hey, something fun is happening in my life” to “this relationship is really important to me and not sharing it feels inauthentic, like I’m cutting off a part of myself”. The last couple of times we met up, I’d been actively thinking about telling her. The same was true this time and it popped to mind from time to time while we chatted.

After a couple of hours Rosa looked at the time and announced that we should probably think about leaving soon; it was in fact the time when we would ordinarily leave, but we’d gotten there 30 minutes later than usual so I wasn’t ready to go yet. Also, for the previous 10 minutes, I’d been thinking seriously enough about confiding that I had begun to feel nervous. Fuck it. I took a deep breath, smiled and stared off into space somewhere beside her head while I tried to figure out what to say.

I’d thought so much about the fact of telling her but I never considered the words themselves. I don’t really remember what I said ­— something about having something I wanted to tell her but wasn’t sure how to say it — and when I paused to take a breath she said, “I’m all ears!”

So I took another deep breath and, by way of preamble, told her that this was something that no one* knew about, except for Wolf. But … I was also in a relationship with someone other than Wolf.

From there the conversation is even more of a blur. I remember that she started a sentence with “He” and then caught herself — “Is it a he?” — and I said yes, and she continued on with her sentence. How sweet, I thought, that she should be so conscious of not making assumptions about me, and that she has also pre-emptively accepted that I might be bi. But then I don’t expect anything less from her.

Though she hadn’t guessed or predicted it, she said that in a way she wasn’t surprised because she figures I already live a bit outside the box. She didn’t know whether I would take that comment well or poorly, but I found it reassuring. I suppose it’s comforting when someone knows you well enough to expect you to be weird and to be open enough to difference to be OK with that.

She did a lot of the talking and I really don’t remember what she said, though I recognised at times that she was filling the silence with a stream of comforting words to say, “I see you, I (still) like you, and I approve of you.” She recognised that the relationship with Jaime was something I hadn’t undertaken lightly, and respected the fact that I was circumspect about the effects on Wolf and Jaime (and others).

I didn’t tell her a great deal about Jaime — I didn’t even mention his name. I did explain that he’s the person I was visiting on certain of my recent trips. She and I don’t really talk about sex, so it didn’t make sense to lead with that aspect of the relationship but I told her about some other things that make Jaime special to me: that I feel deeply loved by him and that his emotional support is unwavering.

She basically was cool with it all and happy that I was happy. On top of that, she was very happy that I trusted her that much to tell her about it. And she told me she loved me.

Throughout it all, I found myself on the verge of tears despite not being sad or upset. I think it was just the intensity of the vulnerability, like holding my ribcage open for an hour, hoping she wouldn’t reach in and crush my heart.

She shared a couple of personal things with me too, though not so intense. An hour and a half after I launched into this confession, we decided it really was time to leave.

And that’s why I began 2018 feeling happy, accomplished, and even more full of love than before.

 

* I also mentioned it briefly to Lucas, after he first confessed his own BDSM-based poly situation; and to a mutual acquaintance of Rosa’s and mine who I unexpectedly ran into at a play party, after she first confessed her own queer poly situation.

who is Gawan?

I’ve mentioned Gawan’s identity in passing before, but this time I think I’m dropping that name for good.

When we first met online and started corresponding, it was too early to even mention him because it might not have amounted to anything worth talking about. When it started to become significant and my thoughts were in a whirl, I wanted to talk about it but not where he or Wolf could read about it, so I wrote privately. Eventually things settled down and writing didn’t feel so pressing anymore.

When I did start writing about him, a little obfuscation seemed appropriate, so I asked him to select a pseudonym for use here.

After some time we realised that it wasn’t a problem if people made the connection so we stopped concealing things quite so thoroughly. We figured someone would work it out and so maintained pseudonymity but started deliberately dropping hints, sometimes really obvious ones, as part of the game. A few people worked it out eventually, but since we hadn’t said anything they stayed discreet too, even after we turned up together at Eroticon 2017. The game got stale.

Is there any need to continue to conceal his regular pseudonym with the one I’ve been using here? None that we can see, beyond my natural tendency to play things close to the vest and the fact that it has become habit. And since we’ve established a strong relationship and he’s about to collar me, it now feels inauthentic to me to keep hiding it.

My lover and dominant is Jaime Mortimer, who blogs here (where he had been calling me Gretel).

My need for truth and accuracy has turned this blog into a tool of self-discovery, which has been a real benefit to me. If I’m worried that a detail is too revealing, I either won’t mention it at all or I’ll make it obviously vague. That’s not how Jaime’s blog works though, so just FYI, you can’t assume that any specific detail he mentions about me is necessarily accurate.

In less than a week, I’ll be going to visit him again. Our first three visits were all big on travel, but this time our adventures will all be close to (or at) home. I’m very much looking forward to it.