Jenny's father is dying. It's at a somewhat unexpected time because he isn't that old but he had a weird injury and it wasn't treated and... that's how life works. There is nothing I can do to help her with this. This is her own journey of grief. I imagine what it would be like to lose a father at this age after having had a relationship with him, having lived with him, for so many years. I can't imagine that. Not really. It's going to be bad when my mom dies. I will feel so much guilt. I don't even know if I will be told. For all that Jenny isn't close with her family she has never broken contact. She has always treated them appropriately and with respect.
Everyone has a complicated relationship with their parents. It's a difficult relationship. I understand it more from the side I am on now. It seems to me that parenthood is a relationship based on temporary, stored power. Right now I have incredible power over my children. I get to decide pretty much everything about their lives. In fifteen years Shanna will be an adult. My power over her will be limited to the amount of influence she chooses to allow me. It will depend on how well I have earned that respect.
Yesterday I spent my off hour reading/watching videos about Steve Jobs again. I like his Stanford commencement speech and his sister's eulogy is gut wrenching. I also watched a few random videos about happiness because D sent them to me. What does it mean to live?
When we were up in Portland I broke a large relationship rule. This is part of why I say I am not good at monogamy. Noah was right next to me and handed me the implement so he's not as angry as he could be. What happened is we were at Dad's birthday party (non-bio dad) and I got to talking to one of my sisters-in-perversity. Dad has a whole harem of daughters you see. The one in question is the youngest in terms of being newest to the family but she is a year older than me and thus technically the oldest of us. I refer to myself as the senior daughter for clarity. He adopted me first. We like to ignore the one he adopted second. She's not my favorite sister.
I don't keep in close contact with this sister most of the time. Her life is in a very different place than mine and we are both busy. It's not a slam or a negative judgment. It's nice to catch up when we can. At this party I heard a lot about this guy she had fairly recently broken up with--see, there he is. She spent a lot of time watching his scene with another woman. Her heart was on her sleeve. One of the things that breaks my heart faster than anything is seeing a woman I love pining over a piece of shit man. And from what I saw of this guy... yeah... he's a piece of shit.
I don't like men who pursue mastery to be degrading to women. If you only want to own women you can insult then I have a low opinion of you. I don't mind that you want to use those names sometimes, but if that is what you think of your partners I think you have a personality disorder you fucking piece of shit. You are not better than women.
My sister managed to kind of get involved in the scene. She really wanted to play with him. The girl he was playing with was slightly less extreme of a bottom than my sister and my sister pretty obviously wanted to show off. The guy demurred. He had been using his belt as a whip. He gave it to his slave/submissive/bottom/partner/whatever her chosen identity label thing is. He then taunted and forced her to hit my sister. She did, but it was lackluster and obviously not that intense. It was a giggly good time. The guy started encouraging fairly random other people to hit my sister. One got her in the eye because he didn't know what he was doing. I felt like I was watching a train wreck.
I nudged Noah and told him to give me his belt. He did. See how it feels kind of fuzzy for him to get mad at me for doing it? But I'm not supposed to play with people any more. It didn't feel like a scene, exactly. I sure didn't do it for my sexual gratification. I did it because I didn't want to listen to those asshole men tell her that she was a dirty whore. They didn't mean anything nice by it.
My sister has had times in her life when she needed to feed her kid and she didn't have a job. She has sold her body to put food on the table. I felt such an explosion of anger when he was picking on her for it. They dated. He knows her history. He was explicitly picking on something that is a mixed circumstance in her life.
I changed the intensity of the scene. I only used the belt and I stayed on her thighs: the fronts, backs, and sides. I hit her hard and I hit her fast and I forced her emotional reaction towards panic as hard and fast as I could. And while I did it I started a litany to her. You are not bad. You are good. You are strong. You are brave. You are fierce. You have survived things that would take down lesser people. You are strong. You are good. She tried to interrupt me and tell me that she was a whore. I paused long enough to hold her face in both of my hands and tell her that even if she has had to prostitute her body to survive she isn't a whore. You are not defined by what you do. She is a bad ass mother fucker. She sobbed and clung to me.
Bdsm is rarely about sex for me. That is not how I grew up in the scene. I made every top who was kind of sort of leaning in to get in on the hot available action flinch and back off. I was not going to be one more person starting a pile up on a poor girl. I was nastier and meaner and harsher. I kind of like being the visiting bad ass. This wasn't a game. It was very serious business.
I do bdsm because it is one of the best ways I know to force the body to get rid of the excess energy that poisons people. There is atonement and release and a journey to find the core of yourself. When you are in the middle of a very intense scene you can't hide who you are. You react from the animal core of yourself. I am a vicious animal who will strip you down to the bone and show you what it looks like. I will tear the flesh from your body so that you know that I can see all the way through you. I see exactly who and what you are.
And you are beautiful. Your strength amazes me. That you can allow me to do this to you amazes me. I worship you. I adore you. I love you. Thank you for showing me this fierce core of strength and intensity that other people simply don't have. It takes a warrior to experience pain like that over and over and over. We don't have a good place in our current world for people who have to suffer. Even being a soldier is more about being a cog in the machine.
I see in my sisters-in-perversity a desire to be made clean through suffering. Not all people in the bdsm world are after the same thing. But I know my sisters when I meet them. I see the same need in men, but I am less able to address it. It has long felt like a flaw in me. I can't offer the same experience to men. I am too locked in being afraid of men. I can't look at them the way I can look at a woman. I can't identify in the same ways. I have always believed that is a grave failure. I'm sorry for it. There is a part of me that understands men as other and I don't know how to change that. I see a specific wildness in women. I see women in bear traps thrashing about. I understand their feelings. I don't have to know all their feelings. I don't have to really know everything about their lives. I know that trapped. I know that desperate need for release.
I know how to rip someone down until they can no longer stand nor defend themselves. I know how to make them cry and hurt and wish they could do anything to get away from the pain. The pain I am giving is just a stand in for all those things they can't change in their lives. All the things that hurt and hurt. All those other things make you feel worse about yourself. Because it hurts and you can't stop it. It weakens you over time because no one can stand up forever under an onslaught.
My beatings are short in duration. And the whole time you are taking it you are being coaxed and reassured and told that what you are doing is impressive. You are showing your mettle. You are proving how very strong you are and I will delight in building you up with it. By the end you know that you are an intensely strong person and you can go do fucking anything. Anything in the whole world. Most people are cowards compared to you. Not very many people will permit a beating like I give. I only hit the girls who can't say no. They have outrageous pain tolerances. Other people want warm ups and I'm not here for that shit. I'm here to prove that I can take you apart but it will be a lot of hard work for both of us because you are so god damn intense.
I always stay in contact with my sisters-in-perversity for a while after a visit. It seems important. They see a part of me I don't reveal much in life. It's interesting for me to get perspective on how we are changing over time. I learn a lot more from brief flashes of my wounded warriors than I do from dozens of conversations with people who have never been hurt. This is the part I hesitate to say because it sounds so awful. I learn what mistakes are there for me to make. When I see my wounded warriors I see There But For The Grace Of God Go I. In their struggles to perceive themselves as valuable I see what could happen to me if I had a lower opinion of myself. I know that I was brought up to be one of them. I was quite literally brought up to be competitive about being able to take more pain during sex. Thank you, Jim. You were an inspiring father.
I have been binging on sugar for the past few days. It's kind of obscene. I came home from Portland and both girls are acting out in various ways. I feel trapped and angry and frustrated. My life fucking sucks. But my life only sucks because I have a bad attitude. I look at my sister-in-perversity and I have to understand that my life is quite cushy in terms of me having everything I want when I want it. Sure, I have to do it with my kids along. That just means I need to figure out how to work with my kids.
Someone on facebook linked to an article about why French parents are happier. Apparently in French they do not have the concept of "discipline" the way we do here. They constantly think that they are educating their children. My entire life right now is an education to my children. What am I teaching them? Dissatisfaction. The funny part about sitting in the garage as I write... it's a constant reminder that I get work done with my children around. I didn't have child care when I insulated the walls and put dry wall up. I didn't have child care when I painted a mural. I had help sometimes. I had friends who did it with me. But my children were around and under foot and I cared for them. I had help for all the stuff that was genuinely beyond my ability to do it alone. I could not have done the drywall without the consistent and reliable help of T. He saved my ass. I'm going to owe that man for a few lifetimes. He doesn't understand what he is to me.
I have been struggling for a long time with feeling trapped. It's been a lot of ... well... all of it. I have a lot more freedom than most. More than most people for all of history. I am somewhat unique in being financially secure in a tumultuous period of history. Yes, we could be hit with disaster. For now I am going to continue with the fact that I am ridiculously safe. I have a lot of options. Even as Noah and I fuss back and forth about the fact that we have to carefully budget... we have a lot of options. Noah only gets $600 to spend on a weekend trip with his buddy. Cry me a river. We have a really good life.
In every relationship I have in my life there is a mixture of uplifting and wearying. I need to start thinking a lot harder about the uplifting or I am never going to get out of this muck. I have a marathon to run. I can't be hanging out in the muck. It's too tiring. I will injure myself. I have to run five miles today. You know--just get up and do it. And tomorrow I'll run three miles. On Saturday I will run seven miles. Next Saturday eight miles. So on.
When I run I feel strong and capable. What I used to get from getting my ass beaten. I don't know how to get it from getting my ass beaten any more. Now I'm always mad that Noah isn't doing _______ exactly how I would. It's kind of sick.
I don't know how to be a follower right now. But we don't have room for much else in our relationship and I don't know how to guide us. I don't know how to guide Noah. That's an interesting thought. I resent being the guide for more than a couple of minutes. I'm impatient. I want to be lead. There are journeys Noah simply can't lead me on. He doesn't know how to get there. I've had kind of this dawning horror around this topic recently. I have some ideas. I'm not ready to spill them yet.
I don't know what the future will bring. I hear that if you spent more time focusing on the positive you can change your life. You can actually make things better. I am fairly uniquely positioned to do so. Dr. Frankl taught me that if you have something you are burning to do you can get through any circumstance. Some dude on a Ted talk yesterday brought up the idea that everyone desperately wants to live. Then I listened to Steve Jobs talk about how much he wanted to live.
How does one go about finding their own path? Well, I think by definition I can't ask anyone else. Whatever it is they did or would do will be wrong for me. That's why I'm not fond of advice. I do like hearing stories though. I like finding out what other people have done and why. I've been reading a lot more recently.
When I feel fussy about what I am doing I need to decide what I would rather be doing and do that. That's part of the binge eating of sugar. The kids are pestering me for sugar. We have a lot in the house that we don't normally have. I am tired of fighting the kids off of it. I'm tired of being whined at for it. I'm eating it with them them till it is gone. Then we don't get dessert unless you can talk me into making some with sweet behavior. I like doing it when I have a cheerful house to do it for. I won't do it for whining. It has worked for me in the past. I think we ran out of chocolate last night. Now the sweet snack in the house is fruit. When the answer is, "We don't have any chocolate in the house; would you like an apple?" The response is more positive than you think. And then we just don't think to buy it at the store. It works out. One of these days she will remember to ask for it at the store. That will be figured out later.
I'm getting defensive already. That's lame. I felt cheerful through most of the writing. I'm tensing up as I think about going in. The family is awake now. The girls are extra clingy right now. I will miss these days. It's a lot of physical contact for me. I feel bad about how difficult it is for me to handle physical touch sometimes. I wish I liked it more. This is part of my feeling of inadequacy. I'm not sure why I feel inadequate though.
I'm supposed to think about three things I am grateful for. I'm always grateful for a white wall in my house. I like thinking about how I will paint it. I think I should paint it next month after I get the book edited and up on Amazon. We'll see.
I'm grateful that I get to raise two daughters in an environment where I am not under ridiculous stress all the time.
I'm grateful for stories to think about. Something is bubbling in my head. I'll think about it on the long run today. I'm going to run to Lake Elizabeth. It is just over five miles roundtrip. I hope it warms up soon. I have to leave by nine. Noah is having a late start day. I should probably go see him for the time I can today.