February Photofest – Day 4

“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we’re waiting for.”

Waiting for Sir

Unfortunately I’ll be waiting awhile – I’m off to Mexico to spend a week, maybe two, with my Canadian, who is a snowbird and winters in the tropics to avoid the snow and ice up north. I’m fortunate to be able to join him a few weeks each year, even if my freckle-and-sunburn prone skin won’t let me soak up the sun as much as I’d like. I’m taking a whole pile of panties with me, though – hopeful that we’ll have opportunity to take some pics for February Photofest! Stand by…

February, and the Yearly Photofest Challenge

Hard to believe it’s that time again – February Photofest, when those of us participating commit to (trying) to post an image every day for the month of February. I don’t remember if I participated last year, but yeah, I think I will this year. I haven’t thought of a theme, and I don’t have access to many of the past years’ posts to see what I’ve done before, so – unless I come up with one in the next 48 hours or – these may be scattershot. But what the hell, at least I’m here. Let’s see what I come up with for the next 28 days!

New panties for a new month.

Celebrating Life

I have so many reasons to celebrate lately. It feels a bit like bragging: “Oh my life is so wonderful” and I feel guilty about being happy when things are so damn hard for a lot of people, but I have just gone through a shite time, and things have been so hard and so ugly and depression and anxiety has been such a devouring beast, sucking the joy from my life for so long, that having things to celebrate, even the small things, feels absolutely necessary and appropriate.

Wow, how about that for a compound, rambling sentence? But that’s what it feels like to me, this bubbling, tumbling feeling of…joy. Hope. Happiness.

When you’re in the middle of darkness, it’s hard to believe that you’ll ever feel any other way. That things can ever be bright again. Intellectually I knew they would. I reminded myself daily, when in the midst of the depression, that “this too shall pass.” I mean fuck, if I could come out of those awful days after Warren died, I could sure as hell get through a break-up. (And the pandemic and the Trump presidency and selling my house and moving away from my beloved city and dealing with the complexities of becoming my parents’ caregiver.) And I learned something during those dark days. I learned to give myself pause when it seemed hopeless, when missing V and that life filled my every thought, and when depression set in as I realized I would never have it back. I made myself pause, and breathe, to allow myself to feel even the dark feelings – because feelings change. I made myself lean into and experience it, all the while reminding myself that I wouldn’t always feel that way.

Oh, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns now. My mom had a pretty big health scare that made my sister and I face the fact that we can probably measure the time we have left with her in years, not decades, and maybe not many of those. I still miss V (acutely at times) and our long, rambling, sometimes contentious discussions about all things robot and brain science and the meaning of consciousness and AI and self-driving cars. I miss, too, the way we related in D/s and our sexual connection, even as I am building and experiencing a new one with SirQ. Not as often, for sure, but it rears its head every so often, and still twists my heart just a bit. And while the move has been successful, and I love my new house and I am so glad I am here – especially when something happens like this past incident with my mom – I still miss my solo poly city girl life.

BUT –

My Mom got out of the hospital and is relatively healthy.

I have this wonderful new relationship that reminds me every day why I am not in that old one.

Adam and I are better than ever – it appears living together is good for us both as we approach out first year-in-the-house anniversary.

My daughter and I – though we had a recent, highly unusual rift – are back on track and planning vacation time together.

I’m getting the opportunity for travel again – to see the Canadian & to work remotely for a couple weeks in February; to travel with the daughter to the Pacific Northwest in March; and then with Adam to hike in Utah in April.

Life feels…good again.

So, yes, I’m celebrating.

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The Second Price

There’s a blog I enjoy a lot called Raptitude. Raptitude is “a blog about getting better at being human.” Yesterday’s reading, Everything Must be Paid for Twice, really resonated with me. The “second price” of everything is the effort we must expend to enjoy, or benefit from, the things we buy – or even, extrapolating here, the relationships we embark upon.

For instance, in his post, he talks about buying a book. The first price is the cost of the book. The purchase gives you happiness – you have this new book you’ve been wanting to read! But the second price is the cost of time and effort in reading it. You can’t fully benefit from the purchase of the book until you expend the time and energy to actually read it. And yet, convincing ourselves to actually spend that time/focus/energy is sometimes really hard.

This extends to lots of things. The tarot journal I bought at Christmas, the budgeting, yoga and menu planning apps, the treadmill, the garden, all my beautiful, colorful yarn, and even the puzzles and games I have bought over the years. I have books I’ve never read, games that have never even been opened, summer plants that I could have wintered over with proper care but that I let die. The treadmill – while it got a lot of use at first – has sat unused for all of the winter, when it should get the most use.

But using them, getting use out of them, costs that second price: effort. Attention. Perseverance. It’s easier to let myself do things with a low second price – play phone games, zone out to television, lose myself in social media – than to expend the effort of the second price that these things demand.

And yet it is that very effort that makes the first price so worthwhile, and every time I expend it, I am glad that I did. I have recent examples: finishing my year-ahead reading in my tarot journal, using my specialty winter gear to hike in blisteringly cold weather, completing my budget in the new app I downloaded. I finished an afghan I’ve been working on forever and discovered new games that I love. Cooking delicious meals.

Our latest Ticket to Ride game.
Winter hiking.
A year of perseverance – worth every minute to see my Mom smile when I gave it to her.
The year ahead.

Other things – things that feel like they demand a higher price, like the treadmill and the yoga app and the sock organizer (lol) – well, I just need to remind myself that the first price is only worth it if I pay the second price – and it is the effort that the second price takes that makes it all worthwhile.

So what about relationships? How does this apply?

For me, the first price of finding a new kink/D/s relationship, was vulnerability. Allowing myself to be open to a new relationship, to the angst and potential rejection and pain it could bring. That was a steep first price, but, ultimately, one I paid… as I always will.

And the second price? Why the work, of course, in developing and embracing a healthy D/s dynamic. But oh how the work makes it worth it.

Introducing My New Sir

“Turn to an entry in your journal or diary from a year or
more ago. What has changed, and what has stayed the same since then?”

In my last post I mentioned that there’s someone new in my life, and even shared the image below on Twitter after a play session the other night, but I haven’t really said too much about him here yet. Maybe I’ve been waiting to see how it settled, maybe it’s just too new (we’re only a couple of months in), maybe I just haven’t been ready to share yet.

Aftermath

Maybe it was this 5-year diary that my sister gave me, One Line a Day, in which you write (as it says) one line per day all year, then just beneath the first year’s lines, you write the next, and so on and so forth, for five years, that shook loose what I needed to feel comfortable sharing here.

The idea fascinated me – yes I can look back in this blog to see where I was and what I was doing at roughly this time last year, but (especially in the last six years) I haven’t always kept up, and when I did it was heavily self-censored and I was often deeply self-conscious (and anxious) about who might read it, and what the fall-out might be. So it hasn’t been a very accurate look at what’s really going on in my life. My OLAD diary is for my eyes only and as such, I have been very upfront about my daily life – what is challenging me, what is making me happy, what is making me sad, what I am feeling in the moment and what I have found important enough to put down in one (or two) lines there. And, as I record each day, I can look back and read where I was on that day last year.

And holy hell it’s hard to read.

This time last year…hell, all of last year (but especially the first half) was really fucking hard. It is PAINFUL to read where I was, what I was going through. What I was putting myself through. I just want to gather myself in my arms and rock myself, tell myself it’s going to be all right. It was about that time that I wrote a note to myself that I stuck to my monitor: Everything changes. I am not sure I believed it then, but I put it there, to remind myself of that truth. “It’s true, believe it!” I would tell myself if I could go back. Because it was all right, eventually. Things did change. And not because I met someone new. No, I was all right before that happened – in fact I believe I met the new person in my life – and was ready to explore a new relationship – only because I was finally all right. I wouldn’t have been ready to be here, now, if I hadn’t made it through the past year and come out the other side whole and healthy. In fact only about a week before we met I had written, “I’m all right. My life is good, just as it is.” And it was.

I mean, of course the fucking pandemic still raged. Of course my aging parents were still a challenge. Of course there were challenges in all of the changes that have happened. But I was happy, for the first time in a long time. Happy in myself. More than just “over” V, I had found myself again.

And then I met my Sir. I met him in a hiking group that consists of kinky folks. The hikes aren’t kinky – but they are open in that we are all in the lifestyle in some capacity, new or long-term, 24/7 or just exploring, and as such it’s a very open, freeing experience. We talk about anything and everything, as varied as our travels, pets, careers, relationships, curiosities, books we’ve read…as well as kinky topics. I don’t have to be careful of how much I share about my life and experiences, and I love it and the group.

Plus, you know, hiking. The last one was ten-and-a-half miles in below 30* weather in the Ozarks. It was beautiful, it was challenging, and it was so much fun. Afterwards we all played card games and ate and drank and laughed and talked, and I was at the heart of that group, with friends – and with my Sir.

He runs the group, and as its leader, I kind of naturally gravitated towards him as we hiked that first time all those weeks ago. We talked a lot that first hike, and later I emailed him about a hike that I had mentioned. We ended up messaging back and forth, planning to meet up to do the hike outside the group, kind of feeling each other out, what we were looking for – as potential hiking partners and eventually, as potential play partners. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but his profile made him sound like someone I might be interested in playing with – I was looking for a play partner – and I told him as much.

We started seeing each other, and in a very considered, deliberate, and yet natural way, we ended up realizing that being play partners was not what either of us ultimately wanted – we wanted more. He wants a D/s dynamic. Initially reluctant to embrace that – due to feelings of betrayal of those desires in my relationship with V – I came to realize and accept that really is what I want and need. It has been since the beginning when I discovered kink. Play is good, play is fun, but I crave the depth of a D/s-based relationship. It fulfills something in me that feels hollow and empty without it. And just because it ultimately didn’t work with V, doesn’t mean it can’t work with someone else.

And so here we are. In a developing D/s dynamic.

I’ve realized, in reading through my previous year’s entries, how very broken things were with V and I. This is not to place blame on V. He struggled and suffered just as I did – maybe, in some ways, more. We neither of us was good for the other by the time we tried to get back together at the beginning of last year. I should never have said that I would try again – we were well and truly broken, and no amount of love or wanting it to be different was going to put it right. But only in reading it now, from the perspective of a year on – and in the midst of what feels like a very healthy dynamic – especially comparatively – can I see that.

But the truth is, I learned so much about myself in that last, impossible year. How can I regret the growth it brought me, even if that growth was gained through so much pain? And how would I even recognize the growth, if I didn’t have my own words – honest, heartfelt, in-the-moment words – to read, to listen to?

So anyway. That was the impetus for this post, as well as the prompt from 365 Days of Submissive Journal Prompts, a PDF he sent me from submissiveguide.com – to introduce my new Sir – Sir or SirQ – here, and also to celebrate the fact that I can write here again. (Actually it’s a task he has given me, weekly (at least) blogging.)

And ah hell, since it is my kink and sex blog, here ya go – the one “kinky” thing I did while hiking, because if there’s an opportunity to get the girls out… well, you know.

(I know, I know, big surprise, no? No.)

It’s Been a Minute

All right, more than one. And yes, it seems like every time I come back I say, “hey, I’ve been gone awhile, but I’m trying to come back!” And then I never really do. Call it a lack of inspiration…the pandemic…the breakup…a loss of my sense of self as a kinky person, as a sexual person. Or laziness or fear or… I don’t know what, or why. I guess the thing to do is to stop trying to analyze it and just…do it.

Or don’t. That’s also acceptable.

I’d been thinking about doing a 2021 retrospective. To try to sum up all the things that happened over the year, gain some perspective on them, move beyond them. But damn, it was such a shitty year in so many ways. Not just for me and mine, but for the world. I am so over raking through all of it in my head. I got over that shit, damn it. I don’t need to stab myself in the heart anymore.

I have finally reached a place where I am not stabbing myself in the heart all the time. Yeah, regrets poke at me occasionally, but…there are many – many – times that I think, “I’m glad it’s over.” I’m glad I am free of the angst of six difficult years. I am glad for what I learned from it, and for who I have become in the aftermath – and I won’t ever regret loving him, or all the fun and high-jinx we got up to – but, at least the last two years, maybe three, all that was wrong overshadowed the rest.

I don’t blame him – or her – or me, for that matter, for what happened to us. We were all complicit in our own ways. I wish I’d known…well so much more. But I guess that is what experiences are for, to teach us, if we will learn.

So, the year has passed, and here we all are. New beginnings, and all that.

Here’s some fun stuff that happened toward the end of last year, Adam’s birthday, actually, and I think when I was just starting to know that I was going to be okay, I was going to survive my broken heart. I was going to be okay, even if I didn’t find someone new (although I did, quite by accident, but that’s another tale.) But this weekend happened to be the one that I said to myself, “I can do this.” It’s also the weekend that I “got my kink back.”

The border between the US and Canada had finally opened, and my Canadian Top, M, had come down to visit me. He stayed with us for two weeks, and I got to have someone share my bedroom with me (we built the house with a master bedroom and a separate “kinky” bedroom, for me.) Only V had been in it before, and…it had always been his and my bedroom in my mind, though he’d only stayed here three times before we broke up. But it left me feeling…conflicted…about the space. I love my bedroom, but I couldn’t sleep alone in it anymore. (I am a restless sleeper and had often started out in the big bedroom with Adam only to decamp to my room when I was unable to go back to sleep after awakening.) But when we broke up, it hurt to be in that room, imagining the last night we’d stayed there together, when I had thought we were just taking a break…only to break up completely 3 months later.

(Sometimes I wonder – was that his intent all along? Was he just too cowardly to make a clean break? But that’s the bitterness coming out. I have to believe he was as conflicted and confused as he purported to be, as I was, and intended that we would come back from that time away healthier in mind and spirit, with a desire to forge a stronger, healthier relationship. Of course there is also a part of me that recognizes and reminds myself that a “stronger, healthier” relationship wasn’t possible, for so many reasons – reasons that ultimately made me glad that it ended.)

But I digress.

M was here, and we shared the bedroom, and it helped banish the ghosts that V had left behind.

One of the weekends while he was here was Ad’s birthday. Adam and I had had a wonderful week away about a month earlier, that ended in an impromptu stay in Louisville, in which – because it was impromptu – we were unable to do the two things that I had wanted to do there: watch live racing at Churchill Downs and do a couple distillery tours. So, with M here (who I knew also enjoyed horse racing) we went back to Louisville and celebrated in style, going to the races, doing distillery tours, having amazing food, and – because I’m me, and a trip away always has to = kink in some form – a lovely kink session with the two of them.

The setup: I offered (sweet, giving woman that I am) to take Ad’s bday spankings. To accomplish this, I suggested that each of us choose 5 implements from my extensive collection of ass-beating toys. We all did.

And then, after a heart-pounding and amazingly exciting day at the races…

My shit-eating grin after winning on a horse called “A Girl with a Dream.”
Mint Juleps, because you have to, right?
Me losing (“Pink Horse”) and Adam winning.

And after some interesting distillery tours…

We ended up back at the AirBnB with me half naked and them with implements of destruction in their hands (I know, shocking.) Here’s the fun part: they offered to only do part of Adam’s fifty-six whacks with each implement – totaling fifty-six – but I said, no! Fifty-six whacks with EACH one…not adding up the total in my head because, well, I’m me… 15×56 in other words. And I had to count each one.

And much hilarity ensued.

Wicked Wednesday

Another “After”

Hello again! I know, it’s been a really long time. It’s been a long, hard summer, in so many ways. I’ve sat here and tried to write so many times, but have dissolved into tears, or just been too numb to make words, or too angry, or just despondent. I’ve run the gamut of grief over the loss of my relationship with V – six years of friendship, of loving, of D/s, of all-the-kink, of highs and lows – swept away in an instant. I’ve been through denial, made negotiations in my head, raged at myself, at him, at the situation. I’ve cried until I had no more tears left, and then cried some more.

What I haven’t done is contact him again after he said goodbye, though it’s a daily test. We’re still friends on Facebook, but I manage my consumption of social media judiciously, so I am not faced with seeing how wonderful his life is without me, how easily he’s moved on and how effortlessly he has discarded our relationship. I want him to be happy – I haven’t stopped loving him – but when making himself happy has resulted in so much sorrow for me, it’s not something I need to bear witness to on a daily basis. I’ve learned about establishing boundaries for my mental and emotional wellbeing – and about adhering to them. And…I’ve started to move on, finally.

For awhile after he left, I dated and played with and sought out partners to fill the void. I missed our D/s and the connection it forged. It was a constant ache, that loss. It had been such a constant in my life, and had gone so deep, for both of us – or so I had believed. He claims now that it hadn’t been that way for him, that the need and desire for D/s was just a symptom of his ADHD/OCD/traumatized mind. I can’t deny him his experience, all I can say is that it seemed real to me, and it hurts deeply to know that it was all, in his words, “manufactured,” by a mind that was/is unable to access his own feelings. Hearing him say he can’t say he loves me, or anyone, and doesn’t know if he ever has, was pretty fucking brutal after hearing it every day for almost six years; after feeling it every day of those six years, as well as the steady connection of our D/s.

I’m getting over it, moment by moment.

But.

I still miss our morning and afternoon phone calls, I miss debating ideas with him and I miss playing Words With Friends and the Train Game with him. I miss loving him and being loved by him.

But, as the tagline says, there’s always an “after,” isn’t there? And here I am, now, in the aftermath. And I’m okay. I have survived, and I am ready to move on. And moving on in part means reclaiming this space and making it mine once again. The reasons I stopped writing are as varied as the reasons I stopped running – reasons I didn’t fully understand until I sat down here to write again. Yes, sorrow from my relationship ending, but also a sense of…disenfranchisement?…with this space. Part of it was a feeling of shame for having used this space in a way that hurt someone I cared deeply for, resulting in the loss of that relationship. But there was also the residual feeling that sharing myself here – and the need to do so – was somehow shameful. I’d never felt that before, and it’s taken me a long time to work through it. I still am, frankly. As with running with a playlist in my ears that reminded me of him, this space has a lot of echoes of our relationship, so it bears treading lightly. But also like with running, I can change the playlist and find joy in running, and in being here, again.

I hope.

So where does that leave me? I go back and forth. Some days I want nothing more than to spill my guts here, to write about inconsequential things or consequential, to cry in these pages when my heart still aches for him or to congratulate myself when I see myself moving on. Some days it feels hard to face the changes in my world, and talking about it only makes it worse; other times I am sure it will help to bare my soul as I have done so often in the past.

Back and forth.

I do know that I feel less and less ache as time goes on, and think about him – wishing things were different or that we had one more chance – less and less. But it’s still there, the desire to reconnect, to see him and talk to him again.

I resist the pull.

I go back and forth with what I want my new life – life without him – to look like, as well. Days are that I am sure I will never want a D/s relationship again. I have friends that I can turn to to scratch the most basic of my BDSM itches, and at times that feels like enough. Other times, just fulfilling the physical needs is not enough, and I long for more, for deeper, connection. But at least my first thought upon awakening isn’t of him, nor my last thought before sleep. I still do wake in the middle of the night and miss feeling him curled around my body, though; the smell of his skin, his scratchy face brushing against mine, the way our kinky thoughts and words fueled each other. I miss knowing he was there, at the other end of the phone in a text message.

I guess this is the way it feels to have your heart broken, to love someone who no longer loves you. How very different this ache is from losing someone to death.

Last night I went to a play party with my friend T, and we had an amazing scene. Funny, before that moment I’d been thinking, “Maybe I’m over this kink stuff.” Ha – not even close. She and I have such good energy, and I have lovely sore spots and bruises to remember it by.

Today I had brunch with another friend and tonight Adam and are I seeing Alannis Morissette in concert for my birthday. I thought my birthday might be sad – an acknowledgment that I’d never celebrate another one with V – but it wasn’t, and hasn’t been.

There’s always an “after”.

Adam and I doing a little “pre-gaming” before I head off to the play party.