I don't know what I was thinking. How did I think I would get through over-night without Noah and the kids yesterday? Ha. I came home for bed-time. I called and told Noah to let the kids stay up a bit late and wait for me. When I got home I felt better.
I crawled into the lower bunk between Shanna and Calli. I cuddled both of them. Shanna rapid-fire told me all about her day. I wanted to know. I wanted to know about every second I missed. I was sorry that I missed them. I was sorry she got hurt yesterday and I wasn't there to kiss it. She survived, of course. Kids get hurt. It's ok. It sounds like she figured out most of the "class" parts of ballet. No more telling the teacher no one else was present. Ha.
I spent the day working in a coffee shop. That's tiring work. I worked from the minute I arrived until I left. I took one ten minute break. I was in the shop for seven hours. Then I left to find food because I was starting to feel mean. I can understand why people in the community tell me that they don't come in because they don't like the food selection. We don't have filling food. We have snack food. Hm. And I don't want to take food from the shop because we need to make money and I'm too stubborn to pay for my food there after working that hard all day. Complicated. Luckily my share of the tip money (which I didn't expect to get--that was kind) covered dinner. Woo.
At the shop I am working with Noah's former partner. The one he was dating when he and I originally met. It was quite smooth. She has a very cheerful professional "face". If she has a problem with me it was totally absent from her training me for the job. I wouldn't say I felt comfortable but there is no way that I can say that any discomfort I felt was her fault. I was really impressed with watching her as an employee. That woman works like a demon. She takes pride in where she works. (Not this whole Gay Pride weekend stuff.) If something needs to be done she up and does it. She doesn't wait for anyone else. She certainly doesn't wait to be told what to do. I'm quite glad the coffee shop has her. I doubt we would have made it this far this year without people who just up and do things like she does.
It was kind of funny. When I got there an employee I don't know was the only one working. I introduced myself as one of the owners and asked what work needed to be done. She gave me tasks and it worked out. She kind of fished around for how I got involved. I told her I met R many years ago at Shibaricon and then I ran TNG4 with him. D and I knew one another in junior college--we met when I was sixteen. She expressed surprise. Oh! Then you do know these people. Because she has never seen me around it is hard to understand that I existed all that time. Ha.
I like talismans. I like fetishes (in the traditional sense not in the modern "kinky" version). "An inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit" Like that. Noah and I do not have a formal all-the-time d/s or m/s relationship. We play with power exchange occasionally but it isn't a formal all the time part of our life. This means that I have strong feelings about collars.
In the bdsm world that I grew up in there are signals. Signs that help people understand how to relate to one another. Different collars are used in different ways. The thing is, this varies by person. I have seen patterns emerge but there are always people who break the pattern. Nevertheless I observe trends. I have given away most of the collars I shared with Tom. He wished that I gave them back so he could reuse them. I said hell would freeze over first. You are a rich guy. Fucking replace it if you care so much. No you may not use my god damn collars on your long-line of women. Just no. Anonymous people with little-to-no-connection can have them with pleasure. Enjoy them. I still have some collars we shared. I don't think I will ever have them around my neck again.
When I am going out to a bdsm event and I do not want to be hit on I have to think about signaling. I have a Big Shiny Wedding Ring quite on purpose but in the poly world it doesn't matter much. In the bdsm world many people are at least open to playing with many people even if they won't have sex with them. If you represent yourself as property then you aren't approached as much. People have to feel really fucking confident that it's ok before they ask to play. And they don't do things that are pushing my boundaries because they want to respect my partner. It's hilarious. People don't seem to care if they offend me but if I look like property they want to not offend my owner. Fuck all y'all.
So I wore a shiny padlock on my sternum. It's a very simple, old fashioned sort of collar. Dog choke chains make a statement. It's been a long time since I have gone out in public making this sort of statement. I notice that I have a different kind of wariness now. I assume I am invisible now. I feel like I have learned better camouflage as prey. I no longer feel hunted a large percentage of the time. The space I take up in the world has changed.
I have spent a lot of my life moving from place to place. I always meet people easily. Looking friendly and approachable was part of how I had friends at all. People see me from across the room and come over to say, "You look like a good person to talk to." I can generally talk to just about anyone. I am quick with words. Part of this was because I was in the habit of scoping every room I was in for people to have sex with. It makes you look friendly. Seriously. You smile a lot. I don't do it any more. I can feel my facial expression. I always look harried an frustrated. Ha. Harried and frustrated looks like it might bite your head off, not give you a pleasant chat.
I spend my life in a very small and secluded sphere. I live in my role of "mom" for the vast majority of my time. Even given how much time I spend on that role I give it a disproportionate amount of energy compared to any and every other thing I have done. I am no longer hunting. It's quite simple, really. I am not looking for lovers but I'm also not looking for friends. I have a full roster right now and I don't even feel the need to particularly seek out new acquaintances. People will wander into and out of places I am standing. I don't feel the need to chase them any more. I don't need to fill up idle hours of my life. I'd give anything to have more idle hours. Oy.
I have no interest in modeling m/s or d/s while my kids are little. I want them to see a partnership. I want them to think that women are bad ass, not obedient. I want my kids to see an actual long term partnership. Staying together is important to me. People get distracted and unhappy with one another and they turn to other relationships to keep things interesting. I want my kids to think that their parents find one another interesting. I want to spend a lot of time with Noah. I like him. Being near him and talking to him makes me feel far better than I have felt at any point in my life. There is no other person on this planet who is as willing to put a mountain of time and energy into me. I am special to him. If he took that energy and gave it to someone else I would know. It would be an active withdrawal. There is a limited amount of time and energy in this life. I have something really special. I want to nurture it, not ignore it.
I have learned a lot about being gentle from being with Noah. He is the only big-tough-guy I have ever dealt with who will actively tell me I am hurting him. He's both extremely picky and not picky at all--meaning that he chooses when to talk about when he is feeling. He can endure things stoically like the next big-tough-guy. He just doesn't do that with me. He thinks I shouldn't hurt him. He doesn't want to be hurt by me. So he tells me when and how I hurt him so that I can lean to do better. Mostly we don't hurt each other any more. It's rare to have a slip. I don't even lick his nose.
I feel really glad that I get to model the relationship I have with Noah. Some day we will do more with other power structures because we want to. I really like that it will happen after many years of earning careful trust. In the modern USA "slavery" is kind of an ephemeral concept. It's not real. It's not binding. It's a choice to have a conscious power structure with someone else. It's just a consciously and specifically chosen relationship style. There are a lot of Father Is In Charge mentality left in this country, I'm not sure why people are surprised that people want to formalize this. The language is charged, yes.
Right now I am using all of the caring-for-other-people energy I have for my children. They will not always need it and some day it will be unhealthy for me to pour this much energy into them all the time. I will still have this energy. I had this before I had kids. Noah spends a lot of time massaging me. He went to massage school as part of his learn-to-pick-up-chicks training. He really did go to school for how to be a better partner for me. I win. He also did hypnotherapy training. I'm totally going to be able to make him sound like a freakishly good fit when I write about him. I'm thinking about dialogue. I think I am hilarious. This will be a very different book to write.
I'm thinking very hard about what slavery meant to me. What did I do with Tom? How did that relationship fill my needs? I was under contract for two years. He ended that part of our relationship in a couples therapy session wherein the counselor told me that our problems were all my fault because I was asking too much of him by saying that he should follow the relationship rules of the contract we both signed. Needless to say, I felt quite good about myself at that point, right? That was when I started hounding him about kids. I was nearing the end of college. I had told him that I had no interest in getting married before I graduated from college. There was the strong implication that I wanted to get married after. He prevaricated for a while and pushed me to consider grad school.
I decided I had two paths for teaching. If I was going to do the get married and have kids thing I should teach K-12 something. If I am going to "be a grown up" forever and build my life around the bdsm scene I should teach college so that I can be out. I decided to start the masters program first. Either way I didn't feel qualified to teach much yet. I felt like there was some magical level of smart I would feel at some point and then I would be qualified to teach. I would know enough about a topic that I felt comfortable saying, "Yes! I know this!" It's ironic that I failed the final test after years of getting good grades and being told I was good at this--writing, that is. Oh well.
I asked Tom if we could open our relationship in December of 2003. I didn't technically have sex with anyone till January. I think I knew from the first person that I was hunting. I started the masters program first but I started the teaching credential the next term. I moved out of living with Tom in October about six weeks after I broke up with him. I started the credential and broke up with him at the same time. He would never answer the marriage and kids thing. So I disengaged. I threw that energy out into the world. I went hunting. I started dating Noah in February.
It's going to be really fun to write about Noah. Knowing how this story goes it means that I am having an interesting time figuring out how to approach tone. This is going to be so different to write. How do I represent my time as a slave? What did I tell Tom? What kind of relationship was that?
I want to wear a lock on my sternum while I am working at Wicked Grounds because I want to announce that I am protected. I am wanted. Someone has already found me. When I was part of those communities I was always hunting. Always willing to say yes. It changed how I talked to people. In the past I have had issues with men taking liberties. I want to discourage it. Signaling is complicated.
I have been raped at a public sex party. I'm aware that it happens. A coffee shop isn't a sex party. But I have had people casually touch my breasts. I have had people grab my ass. These actions aren't "rape" but I'm kind of a ticking time bomb. One of these times I am going to break something on someones body as a result of them grabbing me. And it will probably escalate from there and be "all my fault", right? I'm scared. I don't like that I am scared. It is very hard for me to be in places I think of as hunting territory when I am not hunting. I feel physically sick. I feel scared. I am going to bring any fetish of protection I have.
Slavery is a way of acknowledging that someone is that interested in me. Different people do slavery differently. I'll write more about that later. It's time to start getting ready. Today will be a long day. I need to bring a water bottle and specifically drain it every so often. I think I was dehydrated yesterday. I know I was hungry. I ran five miles yesterday morning before working on my feet for seven hours making food and washing dishes. I ate a bowl of oatmeal, a thin slice of quiche... and that wall before dinner. By which time I was starving and had a raging headache. I think I should take better care of my body today. Today is supposed to be a "cross training" day. I hope this counts. I hope it will be fun. I had fun yesterday. It was fucking awesome to get to talk to people with a counter between us so they couldn't touch me. I have serious issues. Whatever. It worked. I felt safe. I felt like I was doing something and I had a place and a purpose. I was using some of my caring-for-other-people energy on that community. Twelve years is a long time. I'm not gone. I'm on sabbatical. I'm training for my next relationship. It will be very different to use more of that energy on Noah. I feel specifically spooked.
And I should go take a shower.