Saturday, August 15, 2015

Devotional update

So, I was in the process of writing an entry and discovered a new distraction-free writing utility for my laptop when I accidentally lost the whole entry. Oops.

Anyway - see, I REALLY love distraction-free writing. Full screen. Dark screen. White text. Nothing but me and the words. It helps me feel more focused. It feels more meditative.

Speaking of which, about that entry.

Here's what it boils down to:

I had told myself that I could ONLY do my devotional daily writing by hand - because typing would be cheating.

And then I realized that it was old programming that was telling me that.

Back in the day I was a mega brat. I mean, I still have my moments but my submission is much deeper and pro-active and, well, active in general - than it used to be. And back in my uber-brat days, if a Dominant assigned me a bunch of lines and told me I could type them .. well...

5 minutes of cntrl+v later, my lines would be done. Voila. ;)

Now, back then, the were line-writing apps like FOW (Fond Of Writing - which I think is still around if you look hard enough), and there were sneaky Dom tricks like when Syr first rose to the challenge and had me type out a ton of lines but do stupid things like make every other letter of every word a capital, or different colours or whatever. And even WITH every shortcut I know, it still took FOREVER.

Anyway, the point is - that typing felt like "cheating".

But I started really thinking about the fact that I totally came up with this whole devotional idea in the first place. So why would I cheat? It's not a punishment. It's a meditative/mindfulness tool to help me deepen my submission and work on the issues I know I need to work on. So it serves no benefit to me or anyone else for me to "cheat" or copy/paste.

So, today, I decided to give it a try. Since I type so fast, I decided it was fair to type the Respect mantra 6 times and each action statement 10 times.

And WOW am I glad I tried it.

For starters, it felt WAY more meditative. The rhythm of the typing. The way my fingers could move over the words while I THOUGHT about them (since I don't hand-write much, I was focusing more on the actual act of writing before) and the sound of the keys clicking and the sight of the words neatly lining up on the screen - all of it enhanced the experience and I felt it down deep.

Now that's what I'm talking about!!! :)

It felt good. But, more importantly, it felt effective. And it still amounted to almost 1200 words and took me around 30 minutes - and that time was focused.

So I think I'm pretty happy with that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Note to self

Sometimes bratting results in your Owner snickering and going about Her day.

But SOMETIMES bratting can result in a lesson delivered....

Such as the one you received today.

While kneeling in the presenting position....

Forehead to the floor.

Her foot on the back of your head.

While She gleefully sprays your entire back down with water from the spray attachment in the kitchen sink.

And leaves you there, forehead down, kneeling in a presentation bow in the middle of a puddle of very cold water asking...

"Who owns you?"

and then... most irritatingly...

"Who loves you?"

And when asked these questions, while you shiver from cold, you will answer (eventually)...

"You do, Syr."

And after all that, once you've gotten up and dried off and changed your clothes, you'll mop the floor with your lesson-water.

And you'll still like it on some level.

Cuz you are a twisted little slavegirl.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Celebrating a moment of doing well

On the way home from the dog park, Syr stops at McDonalds to get us some Iced Coffees (cuz dollar drink days, yo!). Yummy.

When we get the bag, I noticed she's purchased not one but two greasy, salty beef patties for our little doggies.

"You got them one patty each? That's a lot of grease!" I said disapprovingly. (passive-aggressive much?)

Exasperated sigh from Syr, "Then don't give them to them."

Me: Shutting up. Thinking. Considering what just happened and figuring a few things out...

1. I was being critical (read: nagging!) and passive aggressive with my comment. A more productive and direct comment might be - "I'm not sure I want to give this to them all at once. Is it okay if I split one between them now and give the other one to them later - or tomorrow?"

2. I could take Syr's exasperated comment at face value. In other words, if I objected to giving the patties to the dogs, I could just ... not.

So I took the time to think through all of this. Recognized that Syr had a right to feel exasperated in that moment based on the way I went about expressing my disapproval, and realized that since the dogs had just been running around - and since one of our spoiled pups runs normal to thin and the other heavy - that I felt okay giving it to them, but I just divided the patties much more unfairly. So that's what I did.

But I knew I COULD have given them less, or saved one for later, etc so I realized I felt fine about that.

Know what I didn't do? I didn't keep running my mouth, try to explain to Syr why I felt the grease was a problem, didn't go on and on.... didn't get annoyed with or question Syr for being exasperated.... I just ... took things at face value and then everything proceeded quite healthily from there.

I recognize that, to some, this is super uneventful and simple stuff. But for me, I'm still learning and working at basics like this so it felt like a big win. :) 

And I do have to say that I think the devotional writing exercise is helping. I did reduce the number of repetitions from 10 to 5 on the action statements. It still feels like it takes a good amount of time (if the cramp in my writing hand is any indication) and I feel the words sinking in. I do think the repetition is important for me to have the time to reflect but 5 seems sufficient whereas 10 felt excessive.

I do think it helps to remind myself not only of what the things are that I'm working on but WHY I'm working on them... and so writing down WHY I respect my Owner is as important as (or even more than) the fact that I DO respect my Owner.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Devotional

Devotional.

Reminder.

Ritual.

Whatever I want to call it, that's what I'm about to create for myself.

See I fucked up yesterday. And since fucking up isn't allowed, it's like I broke a big ass rule.

And there were consequences. Ouchy ones - and not the physical kind.

Then, today, I stumbled across this quote:
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." -C.G. Jung

Yeowch.

See, our dynamic is all about responsibility. I come from a traumatic, dysfunctional and abusive past. And the remnants of that past that show up in my behaviors, we call "fleas". Dysfunctional little clingy buggers that rear their ugly heads usually during times of stress and/or conflict. And they cause some big ol' drama... PARTICULARLY because said fleas are embedded and unconscious behaviors. But as Syr always says - they may not be my fault, but they are my problem. 

And yesterday they were her problem - er as in they affected her.

I did some Her Eyes Only writing on this yesterday, but I'm still reflecting today and realize that if I truly want to make the unconscious conscious... then part of what I need to do is make sure these behaviors are front of mind and that I'm making deliberate choices in the moments that matter most - so that I can have more perceived control over my own actions.

All of which is to say that since writing is one of my most effective methods of dealing with my shit, and since writing is a requirement anyway, and since I thrive on ritual and routine, why couldn't I create my own devotional process around the behaviors I want to change - bringing them to the forefront of my mind every day.

And I realized it needed to start with me - and continue with me. I don't need (though I may sometimes want...) Syr to assign me things like this. I know what needs to be done to make our life better, our relationship stronger - so why don't I just fucking do it already? ;) 

So it started with something Syr said yesterday and has said before.... sometimes She doesn't feel like I respect Her. Now this comes about because my fleas sometimes 'win over' (translation: i let them take over) and I end up treating Her in ways not in line with how I actually FEEL about Her. In other words, I DO respect Her... so much. But I sometimes suck at showing it. 

So I began with this.. the definition of respect: 

Re-spect / re'spekt (verb) - to admire someone deeply as a result of their abilities, qualities or achievements.

And so I wrote down the things about Syr that make Her so worthy of my respect. And then I developed a mantra based on the list of qualities I had made.

"I respect my Owner because She is patient, strong, kind, understanding, supportive, intuitive, loving, affectionate, intelligent, honest, trustworthy and knows me better than I know myself."

And then I came up with a list of commitments based on previous reminders to self and issues I know I need to work on:

Each commitment begins with these words
"I will treat my Owner with the respect she has earned by actively doing the following:"

  • I will respond to difficult moments by listening instead of controlling or 'fixing'.
  • I will communicate calmly, clearly, and directly.
  • I will answer questions honestly and without hesitation or redirection.
  • I will not argue. If I feel "right", I will think about it and then write my thoughts down.
  • I will NEVER deny my behavior when Syr points out that I am either arguing or not listening.
  • I will proactively offer personal services that Syr finds enjoyable.
  • I will abstain from picking and chewing
  • I will trust her motives and intentions are always in my best interest. Always.
So a great deal of thought went into each of these statements. I wanted them to be clear and speak to some of my most tenacious fleas.

The BIGGEST issues I have revolve around my inability to listen when a situation is tense or intense in some way.

Essentially, I have recognized that there is a HUGE difference between actively listening and thoughtfully responding and jumping into "fix it mode" (the latter being a huge flea from my childhood). Fix it mode is all about "say anything ANYTHING so that this unpleasantness goes away", which also means it's also not always honest (with myself or others) and is more about 'damage control' (key word - control). What I realize is when I'm in fix it mode, I am more likely to 'say what i think she wants to hear' instead of being really aware and mindful and saying what I really think/feel/mean... and this always - ALWAYS leads to problems. For obvious reasons.

I have also recognized that when I'm listening and thoughtfully responding, I am being (overall) more honest, more mindful, and am way less likely to let a flea take over/take control in that moment.

I've also discovered that, to date, Syr has NEVER EVER turned out to be wrong when She's accused me of either a: arguing/fighting, b: not listening or c: trying to control a situation. Not once has she been wrong. I always see it after the fact.

So, it behooves me to learn how to shut the fuck up when she points out any of these things and remember that she's right. Even if I don't see it in that moment, I'm going to very soon and then I'm going to feel like an idiot and be ashamed of myself for days for my misbehavior and Syr's going to get hurt and it's just gonna be all around really really bad so. yeah.

I've discovered that there are three major "cues" for me to shut up (STFU/Shut The Fuck Up) when a moment gets tense.

Cue #1: Syr says, "You're not listening."
My Pattern: "Yes I am! And here's why/how/etc". Note that this response negates/defends and invalidates Syr's feelings. Yuck.
Appropriate Response: "Sorry, Syr. Please continue." and then STFU.

Cue #2: Syr says, "I'm not going to argue/fight about this."
My Pattern: "But I'm not fighting/arguing.... and here's how/why/etc." Note again that this response negates/defends and disrespects Syr's wishes/boundaries.
Appropriate Response: "Okay. I'm sorry, Syr." and then STFU (note: if I'm still feeling like 'arguing' at this point or still feel there's a misunderstanding, miscommunication or anything else I need to "clear up" then my job is to sit the fuck down and write about it - not continue with the verbal battering ram. 

Cue #3: Syr says, "I'm not doing this."
This is pretty much EXACTLY the same thing as Cue #2 so basically... see above.

ALL of this went into coming up with the respect mantra and commitments. 

I also know enough about how my brain seems to respond to words on paper and repetition and focus without distraction. So, I've decided to try writing these things out daily in a notebook for a while as a daily devotional/ritual to set my mind/focus on the right track each day.

I don't know if this will help/resonate but it feels like a useful thing to do and so I will try it and see if it helps. Here's what I intend to write.

Respect Mantra - 3 times.
Followed by each Commitment - 10 times.

And yes, that means 83 lines, every day. And maybe that's too much. I'm not sure. It's not a self-assigned punishment. It's about mindfulness. If 10 turns out to be too much, I'll pare it back to 5. But I think it's important to write them out by hand. And I think it's important to do it regularly. And I think that if I can, in this way, start to bring these commitments to the front of my mind every day that I can really start to make the unconscious, conscious. 

That's the purpose.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

On listening

So one of my assigned rotating writing topics is listening.

Thinking about how listening impacted our day today, I am aware of a few examples of consciously choosing to listen....

Earlier today, I asked Syr if, as a celebration of our upcoming anniversary, I could use the change in my piggy bank to buy a Wii.

Context: I wanted a replacement Wii since we'd lost our original one to the man-kids when they moved out (though it was kinda broken, and they've now upgraded to a WiiU). ANYWAY, I was asking if I could use this change money on a Wii (guessing we had almost enough if not enough).

Syr said yes, and we took the piggybank to the change machine at the bank and cashed it in and it came to almost exactly $100.

That was exciting! We knew we could get a brand new Wii Mini at Best Buy for $99 but then there would be taxes and extra controllers and... well it adds up. Then I found out that it doesn't have internet access OR a memory card slot and I was all like.. uhh..... so I checked Craigslist and found a used Red & Black Wii bundle someone was ditching for $100 - and it came with two controllers, an induction charging pad and a game!

So I tried to ask Syr without beating around the bush if we could go get it today.... and here's where I finally get to the point...

Syr said yes. But She showed some signs of ... hesitation? annoyance? I'm not sure.

Now, in the past, Syr has told me that I need to accept the answer I'm given EVEN IF She doesn't seem happy about it, seems annoyed or whatever. But that's hard for me, because if Syr seems unhappy I want to backtrack and retract the question... but that causes its own set of problems and sometimes makes Syr feel like She can't have an emotion or a 'moment' without me turning it into a federal case.

So, this time, I took Her answer at face value and before I know it, we were on the road to pick up the Wii and Syr seemed totally fine with it. When we got it home and set it up, Syr actually seemed a little bit excited. ;) So whatever the moment was that Syr had obviously wasn't that big of a deal - or She would have said so.

So that long-winded thing was one example. LOL

Another example?

When Syr was navigating to and from the pickup place for the Wii.....  often I question Syr's navigation instructions when I'm driving (yeah I'm THAT driver) and then Syr gets annoyed. I took all Her instructions in stride even when they didn't seem to make sense and wouldn't you know - we got to our destination and home without any fuss. heh.

Listening. SO simple, right?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Learning from a fight or flight moment

So.... "fight or flight" came up today. I got so angry so fast. :( Haven't had that happen (bodily) for a very long time.

I mean.. righteous indignation/shaky anger.

And you know what, it lasted all of about 15 minutes. At the very most. 

And wanna know what I learned by observing how I felt and how long it (didn't) last and how Syr responded/reacted? TWO things... actually.

FIRST - 
I noticed something almost immediately. Syr didn't try to fix/control/micromanage or understand my anger. She didn't suddenly start asking me why I was acting so pissed off. She didn't try to justify or defend anything She'd said or done. She watched. She waited. She maybe made one or two comments about it (at most) to indicate She was noticing/seeing it. But otherwise She stayed relatively quiet. She chose whatever words She spoke fairly carefully (not in an anxiety-ridden way but in an.. hm. open way). She didn't RE-act. She didn't get angry at me for me being angry. I mean, She didn't seem happy about it... maybe even annoyed or exasperated. But She didn't panic, freak out or get angry AT me.

And you know what I recognize looking back? She was LETTING me have my feelings. Experience them. Even though, they were pretty much directed RIGHT AT HER.

And when I think about this... I think about how when Syr is angry or annoyed or frustrated it is so fucking hard for me to just let Her have Her feelings without jumping into anxiety-filled "fix it" mode where I try to control/micromanage/help/explain away/justify/defend or do anything so she won't have that emotion 'at' (perceived) me.

But Syr didn't see my anger as an attack. Hm. Correction... whether or not She saw it as an attack, She didn't immediately squash it. 

But I do. She seems so... comfortable (for lack of better word) ... with the discomfort of intense emotions ... that is, by comparison to my intense anxiety/discomfort with intense emotions. I see/perceive anger and I'm like 'omg make it go away' and I KNOW deep down in my bones that this is a response to childhood trauma/abuse around 'unpleasant' or difficult emotions. BUT the contrast to how I behave when She's angry vs. how She behaved when I'm angry was... startling.

I've been trying to work on NOT squashing/defending/jumping into fix-it mode the second I see/perceive/notice an unpleasant emotion. It's total damage control mode... it's also totally survival mode... and it's super unhealthy for Her.

So.... SECOND....
After noticing all this stuff about being allowed to have my emotions, I also noticed/identified the trigger. 

It was a dang email from someone who I had a business relationship with and who may be 'coming after me' financially....  someone who hinted I owed them a particular set of behaviors that i know damn well I don't owe them but I got 'triggered' none the less. So, after identifying how intense/out-of-line I was being, I knelt for my Owner to get a little internal headshake and Syr gave me a wonderful foot-head moment to ground..... and afterwards said something that SERIOUSLY hit home....

It wasn't that I got this email from this dude and just had a moment of wanting to shut the guy up by doing what he wanted... it was that I was triggered and jumping like I wanted to rush out and "obey" him.

That word. Obey.

And yes. That's exactly how I had been feeling. EITHER WAY I was not in any way going to act on it. But the ICK factor of that feeling of rushing out to obey someone who doesn't matter when my real life in-the-flesh Owner was sitting next to me in the car? Ooooooh boy.... did that clarify things or what?!

No wonder.

See I have a trigger around authority figures/unhealthy/dysfunctional type trigger where I get to feeling weak and like i should do whatever "they" say when they have some sort of "power-over" me (real or perceived). But I did NOT make the connection to the fact that it's like I'm being submissive to these people who are not my Owner when I react like that.

Ew.

Syr installed my backbone you know. Before this relationship, I really was just barely beginning to learn how to stand up for myself and it wasn't exactly smooth sailing. So much of the early years of our relationship were about Syr teaching me how to be more assertive... how to stand up for myself especially to people trying to "power-over" me. 

But the IMPULSE or... instinct (?) maybe to do this is still there. It still rears its ugly head now and then, especially during times of stress because, and it makes sense.... that was how i got by day to day for so long. OBEDIENCE **WAS** my survival skill. Some people dissassociate. Some rebel. I obeyed. Always. Without question. 

But THAT type of obedience is crazy-dysfunctional, disempowering, super duper unhealthy. **nods** it's just bad juju all around. So when Syr sees me behaving that way.... it's like a big ol' slap in Her "hey I totally earned your obedience you ungrateful little...." face. Yep. 

Duh.

I don't need to obey anyone.... ANYONE... except Syr. No one. NO ONE else is my dominant, my owner, and NO ONE else has earned that kind of blind faith and trust. But Syr has. 

So when Syr says I don't need to do what "so and so" says, I damn well better listen because...

She's right.

And doing anything else is like flipping Her the bird (and not in that fun bratty way but in the holy crap i'm being an oblivious and selfish little slavegirl way).

Monday, July 27, 2015

Control Issues

Soooooo, today some control issues reared their ugly heads. :(

I've been just sorta bouncing around in an almost round-the-clock subspace so I was convinced, I mean CONVINCED that I was coming at this thing from at totally subbie/service mindset... but....

Nope.

Deep down, what was going on was a desperate grab for control - control that I neither want nor need (and that is actually super unhealthy for me to have).

Of course, you'd think I'd be able to figure that out on my own, what with all this personal growth shit I've been doing for the last while...  but...

Nope.

And so, since this ended up looking like shades of many previous (dysfunctional) mad grabs for control on my part, Syr responded to this little act of service (read: grab for control) with all the patience of a gnat (and an angry gnat) because dammit I'm still doing this shit?

Basically.

And since my Owner seemed to go from zero to pissed in a manner of 3.5 seconds, I went from anxious control-freak girl to defensive dysfunctional girl in 4.5 and well you can guess how well that went over.

As in it didn't.

As in I fucked up.

It always comes back to shutting up and listening. Goddamnit. It's not that hard. I mean it is. But it's not that complicated and it SHOULDN'T be that hard. Really it's simple....

Stop. Fucking. Talking.

Listen.

TRUST

Cuz when I don't, it goes down like it did this afternoon. Syr pissed off. Me confused and anxious and not sure what I did wrong (cuz I didn't listen) - and then finally shutting up..... getting a few minutes to think and then my favourite moment ever happens (note: sarcasm)...

Oh shit. She was right.

Every.

Fucking.

Time.

For real. Every time. Every damn time. You'd think by now I'd have figured out that She always has my number. She ALWAYS ALWAYS knows what's going on under the surface even... no..

ESPECIALLY

when I don't understand what's going on.

So, cue me, contrite, red-faced, ashamed, and feeling like an idiot.....  about an hour later....admitting that yes... actually... I was trying to control the situation. I didn't realize it at the time... but that's what I was doing. Yes Syr. Exactly that.

And um, I'm sorry for making You have to tell me that about eight different times, eight different ways while I stared at you like a complete moron going "what are you talking about?!??!" because I wouldn't shut up long enough to listen/understand what you were talking about.

Again.

:(

As. Always. once I shut up, everything made sense. *sigh* So as always it comes back to that.

But I think, sometimes, more importantly even... what it comes down to is remembering and trusting that when you say I'm doing something or exhibiting a particular (usually unhealthy) behavior that you're right. And even if I don't know it now, in about fifteen minutes once I shut the fuck up, I'm going to realize you're right and feel like an idiot and a general fuck-up and maybe I could just save us both the trouble next time?

That's what I'm thinking right now.

These defensive, untrusty moments are totally undeserved and a colossal waste of time.
So.... I have more work to do.

Maybe perhaps part of that work is revisiting my old daily topics, and checking in with my Owner about these..... if they're still relevant, if they need to be updated/changed, and getting them back in the writing rotation, properly.

*Shutting Up
*Fight or Flight
*Listening
*Learning Coping & Behavior Strategies As An Adult
*Responding vs. Controlling a Situation
*Normal Situation / Abnormal Response
*Negating/Defending instead of Admitting/Moving Forward
*Answering Questions Indirectly

I need to check with Syr to see if ALL these are still relevant or if She wants to change/update any of them.