Category Archives: love

Remembering the low points

We all have low points.

Father’s Day is one of mine…

There are multiple reasons for this.  One is the abysmal relationship that I have with my own father, but the magnitude of that in determining my overall feelings about the day pale in comparison to the other thing that always sticks in my craw on this day…

My girlfriend is away for the weekend, which is probably a good thing on balance, but at first it was a bit of blow for me.  We recently had a pretty big fight.  The worst of it is that the fight was almost entirely my fault.  If you’ve been following along, you know that my job situation is a bit tense right now – not that I’m in any danger of losing my job, mind you, just that my boss is unbearable and is doing everything in her power to make my work life miserable.  This is one of those times that I’m happy that I work to live rather than the other way around.. anyway.. I’ve been dealing with a great deal of stress lately.  My girlfriend and I just took a Caribbean cruise, so I was able to unplug for a full week and experience some things that were new to me as well as bringing new experiences to her (which is one of my biggest kinks…) so I was in a pretty good place, until we got back.  Then work started to invade upon my consciousness in both waking and sleeping hours.  I was having more and more difficulty in putting the work things behind me when I went home, and that’s where things exploded.

I’m not going to go into the details, but suffice it to say that every relationship requires work, and my girlfriend and I have learned a few places where we need to communicate better, and we’re now stronger for the experience.  Oddly enough, the problem areas for us are not related to anything else in this post, nor to the reasons why Father’s Day is a hard day for me.

So let’s get to the real story then, shall we?

My marriage ended on Father’s Day.

That’s not exactly the whole truth, and there were lots of things that were going wrong as early as a year prior, but it was Father’s Day, five years ago, when my marriage finally ended for truth.

This is one of the reasons why monogamy makes me so squeamish.  I would have let her have her weekend with her paramour and probably even much more if she had been willing to open up our marriage, but when we’d talked about that as an option she was always against it.  I’m still, to this day, unsure why.

Ultimately, I’m not unhappy with the result, because I would not be where I am today without those experiences, but a repeat of the same thing terrifies me to my bones.

My ex-wife was away on a business trip which she had extended for several days – including over the weekend, which was not entirely necessary for business purposes, but there was someone that she wanted to spend time with on the East coast where her trip was taking her.

I had confronted her about her extramarital relationship about a month prior.  I’m something of a computer security expert and I had gathered evidence of her affair and the man with whom she was cheating on me.  I knew that her trip was going to be taking her to his part of the country, and I knew that they would be spending time together.

Before she left, I had a conversation with her.  I told her that I wanted to stay in the marriage, that I still loved her, that I wanted to preserve our family, and that I would be willing to open the marriage so that she could explore this relationship if that was her choice.  She assured me that she was merely ‘going through a phase’ and that she had not, and would not, actually cheat on me with this other man.

She asked me if she could still go on her trip.  To this day, I’m still not sure why she was asking me for permission.

She told me that she needed to go for work, but that she would not see this man if I told her not to.

So I told her not to.

Then she backpedaled and said that she had to see him because part of her job function depended upon it.

I told her to do what she needed to do.

She assured me that she would not meet him outside of work environs, that she would not pursue the attraction that she felt, and that she would remain faithful.

She didn’t.

Electronic surveillance is wonderful, and it can give you all sorts of soul-crushing information if you’re not careful with it, but it can never give you the full picture.

The details of how I came about the information that I received are not important, but suffice it to say, my reach, especially in those days, was vast.

On Father’s Day, with the father of her two daughters (that would be me) at home, taking care of them in her absence, she spent the entire day entertaining him.  She took him to her hotel room that night after dinner, and being very careful to not have intercourse, she did just about every other sex act possible with him.

The worst came immediately following that.

Her guilt got the better part of her, and at 2am local time, just after she has swallowed his semen and he left her room to go to his own home, she called me on the phone to tell me how much she loved me and missed me and the kids.

She woke me to assuage her conscience.

She had betrayed me before that in her heart, but this was the first act that went against her promise and it was the first for which she felt guilty enough to make the choice to leave me.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.

I’m home, alone with my daughters, and tomorrow we’re going to have pancakes for breakfast because that is the tradition that I started with them after their mom and I separated.

It began a year after the events that I just related, and it’s always been this way, just them and me.

I don’t want that to always be the case, and I know that it won’t be, but perhaps it’s good that it is for one more year.

There is a dark nostalgia in remembering the low points.

There is a deep desire to wallow in the pain and misery, but that is no longer who I am, and while I can appreciate these feelings, I am no longer overwhelmed by them.

Life is all about love and learning and growing and I hope I never stop any of those things.

Remembering the low points, I am Rant.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new era.

And tomorrow always is.

Things that made me hard

Get your mind out of the gutter – that’s not what I’m talking about here.

On second thought, don’t – I like your mind in the gutter.  This is a pretty sinful website, after all, isn’t it?

Anyway – that really isn’t what I’m wanting to talk about today.

There have been a number of events in my life that affected me and the way that I interact with the world.  These are things that have shaped who I am and how I interact with people, places, and things – but most importantly, people.  These are the things that made me a hard man, that gave me an edge, that continue to give me the gravitas and presence that caused one of my former subs to remark, “you read as DOMINANT from about 1000 paces… I kind of went o.O GAH the first time I saw your photo… and you do the Dom voice.”

The funny thing is, I’m kind of moving away from that nowadays, by choice.

For much of my adult life, I’ve been hard like a brick.  I was strong, with edges that were mostly sharp.  But the thing about a brick is that while it’s very strong, if you pound on it long enough or hard enough, it shatters.

I had a real brick-shattering event a few years back, and it left me broken for awhile, but I learned from it, and with some minor stumbles here and there, I’ve come back stronger than I was before.

It sounds a bit arrogant to my ears, but I’d prefer to think that I’m more like water now.  I seamlessly mold myself to my environment, I resist blunt force, and given time I even tear down mountains.

But it took me a long time to get here.

I grew up in a mostly boring home.  I’m caucasian and have lived in California for my entire life.  My father is an attorney and my mother was a stay-at-home housewife.  We lived in the country, on a horse ranch.  My family always seemed to have minor money troubles. My father had a very feast or famine income stream and he did none of the things that one should do to even out such things, so there were always lean times to contend with, but my biggest worries as a young child were never about the necessities of life.  I was fed, clothed, housed, and had adequate medical care.

And yet, I suffered a bit from the problems that are endemic to that sort of life.  My father was absent most of the time.  Even when he was physically present, the power imbalance and lack of communication between my parents made him emotionally distant and my mother lived with a siege mentality.  Her livelihood depended absolutely on this man who was extremely cold, mostly absent, and who derived more enjoyment from his relationships outside of the marriage than with my mother and it terrified her.  She lived in a constant state of fear that he would leave her, and assumed that every relationship that he had with any other woman was a sign of infidelity.  While I don’t know that was ever actually the case, he did eventually leave her, so I could go off on a tangent on the topic of whether or not that was causal or predictive, but I don’t have enough information to talk about it and don’t really care.

I have a sister, and while my strategy to deal with early life hazards and isolation was to take up the family banner and try to show the world that we were a successful family unit – she took the opposite approach, as one might expect.

To borrow from psychology, in the dysfunctional family archetypes, I was the Hero, and she was the Scapegoat.  I did my best to excel in everything, and I achieved most of my goals.  She refused to compete and drew all of the attention she could by acting out and getting into trouble.

And, as the popular adage goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” and she was certainly a great deal more squeaky than I was.  Despite my accomplishments, within the family I tried to stay mostly invisible, but one can never completely hide from family (or relationship) dysfunction.

On the eve of my first wedding, my father met with me one-on-one and told me that I was a mistake – my mother was not meant to become pregnant when she did, and I was responsible for the misery that followed my father for the rest of his life.  I forced him to abandon his dreams and to instead do the responsible thing and ‘settle down.’

As if this were not enough of a blow on its own, I further led the discussion into tones of denigration when I asked him why he gave so much more attention to my sister than he did to me, and his response was roughly, “You have such a bloated ego of your own, I figured you didn’t need any praise from me.”

Perhaps I can forgive him for failing to recognize how my outward appearance was compensating for a lack of true personal confidence, but to use diction like that with your own child seems to be pretty inexcusable to me.  When he told me, “…you didn’t need any praise from me,” what I heard was, “you don’t deserve any praise from me.”  This is a notion that I do still have trouble with even today, but being aware of it takes most of the strong away.

Parents out there – do not make this mistake, please.  I strive to be certain that I encourage my own children without turning them into narcissists, but I also try very hard to remember that even as young children, the face that they show to the world, the face that they sometimes show even to me, does not always represent their true emotional state.  Children are much better at developing and showing these false fronts than even adults can be.  Love is the currency that they trade in, not dollars.

My father told me that I was a mistake and an egotist and that I didn’t need him so he didn’t either want or need me.  This wasn’t exactly a revelation – after all, he’d been showing me this same behavior for my entire life, making me hard, but that act was the kiln that fired the brick that was my personality.

He repeatedly told me, throughout my youth, that I was doing things wrong, and he seemed to want to compete with me ex post facto for all of my academic and athletic achievements.  Everything that I did was compared to something that he did better.  Every time that I would show initiative or innovation, I was told that I was doing things wrong, if only because I didn’t do them his way.

My mother was only slightly better.  She was effusive with her praise of my accomplishments, but she used my success as a lever against the mothers of the children in my peer group.  For every success that one of my friends would have, something that their parents would show pride in, she would rattle off five things that I had done which were superior.  I knew that she loved me, but I felt that love was always conditional.  I had to continue to succeed or I would lose my vaunted place on the pedestal of achievement.

I was loved, as long as I remained ubermensch.

So I learned that love was dependent upon my supremacy.  I could depend on none but myself.  My place in the world was tenuous, apart, aloof, alone, dependent upon factors that I could not directly control, but oh, how I did try to control them anyway…

I was an arrogant prick in the extreme.  I simply refused to acknowledge any event that did not show my superiority.  I would not even try to do something that I didn’t know I would dominate.  I was hard, but brittle, and my need to dominate things was established, for only through controlling every aspect of every interaction could I be certain that I would not need to depend on anyone but myself, and while I was absolutely certain of my ability to handle a small subset of possible interactions, I was completely incapable of handling anything else at all.

Eventually I came to understand how this was affecting my relationships with others.  I had a few sycophant friends who would follow in my wake, lauding me for my superiority in the things that I chose to take part in, as my ego demanded, but I was completely incapable of forming lasting and meaningful relationships with anyone who refused to admit my rightful place at the top of the order.

Is this my version of 50 Shades of Fucked Up?

No, of course not.  That whole notion is a logical fallacy and merely a straw man argument put forward by a woman who does not even really understand the dynamic that she was trying to portray.  I do not share the bilious contempt for her work that many of my peers do, and while I have suffered events in my past that instilled coping mechanisms in me that are not always the most efficient or beneficial, I am also a reasonable and rational human being who can learn from his mistakes, and I do not think that to be a superhuman feat or that it requires finding a naive virginal personality to fix me.

I choose this lifestyle because it is something that works for me, not because I am trying to compensate for some lack of affection in my youth.  The affection may have been lacking, but I’m not trying to solve the problems of my past any longer.  I look to the future and I look to the things that make me happy.  I look to fulfilling my genuine desires, and while those may have been informed by my past, they are not defined by it.

Of course, I am also motivated by my fears or repeating patterns that did not work for me in the past, even when I am rationally assured that the current reality does not match that old situation, and so, life is a learning process.

I’m still building my circle of friends.  People who respect me for who I am and who I want to be, not people who pity me for who I once was or who want to exploit me to achieve their own goals.

And while I may be more malleable than I was in the past, I am stronger for it, and I can accept the adulation and love that I am worthy of receiving.

I’m still hard, but I’m hard in a way that lends strength rather than projects it.  I am secure in myself and I offer that understanding and security to those that I choose to admit into my life.  Together we are so much more than the sum of our parts.  I don’t need people to be complete, but I can offer much to those that wish to join me.

This world has become hard.  In many ways, the world at large is harder and more brick-like than I ever was.  Just the other day I was walking through a mall and I could not help but notice how people treated each other, how strangers reacted to each other.. each unintentional bump was met with extreme vitriol, each interaction between strangers was tense.  As the population increases, and the economic status of individuals continue to stratify, and the stresses on each person increase, the tension that I can feel emanating from people increases dramatically.

Those in this lifestyle who still react to stresses as I once did, those who feel the need to assert their Dominance in every situation… they are becoming more and more obsolete.

I do not think that this is a sea change, and I do not think that I have all of the perfect answers, but I do think that there is strength in malleability.  There is strength in knowing when to remain silent.  There is strength in seeking harmony.

Each generation says of the next that cynicism is encroaching on our values and making us hate more, that the great reckoning or the great race war or the great revolution is coming, and the fact that this motif repeats itself from generation to generation without great upheaval makes it easy to dismiss, but just because a thing is commonly misunderstood does not make it entirely false.

The songwriter Nick Lowe wrote a song in the 70’s that has come to encompass many of my feelings on this idea.  The song itself has been covered many, many times by many, many artists in different genres.  It’s a meme that holds true and that we can all agree with if we take a moment to lose the veneer of strength that we’re attempting to project.  ‘What’s so funny about peace and understanding?’

If you are aspiring Dominant and you are reading this, know that compassion is a show of strength and Dominance.  Know that you prove your worth by reasoned interactions and that while you may some day be required to hold the line, there is strength in knowing where that line needs to be drawn, and letting people in and holding compassion can be stronger than holding people at a distance.

I’m every bit as strong as I ever was – in many ways I’m much stronger – but I am nowhere near as hard as I once was, and I neither need nor want to be.

I usually think that quoting song lyrics in a blog makes for an uninteresting read, but I’m going to violate my own policy here.  Think of it as poetry.. courtesy of Nick Lowe:

 

As I walk on through this wicked world,
Searching for light in the darkness of insanity,
I ask myself, Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain, and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?

And as I walked on through troubled times,
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes,
So where are the strong?,
And who are the trusted?,
And where is the harmony?,
Sweet harmony

‘Cause each time I feel it slipping away, just makes me wanna cry,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?,
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?

The Aftermath

I’ve been waiting a while for the other shoe to drop.

I didn’t really realize this until recently.  I was initially just stunned, then I was overwhelmed with support coming in from places where I didn’t expect to find it, but I think I’ve known that the exodus of ‘friends’ would begin eventually, and it started about two weeks ago, it would seem.

It hurts.

I know it shouldn’t, and even when my ex and I were still together, I knew that the circle of people to whom she introduced me were only interested in my participation because I was there with her.  I wish that were not the case, because I genuinely like them.  I genuinely like her.  It was not a horrible break-up, as such things go.  Of course she was hurt.  I was hurt. But our reasons for ending things were sound, even if we don’t agree on what they are.  Her reason was sound to her, and mine was sound to me.  In the end, we were no longer on the same path, and I wish her the best of luck in getting what it is that she really wants, and that I was unwilling to give her.

So far, it’s not obvious what the future will hold as far as my relationships with those people go.  I’d like to remain friends.  I’d like to continue to see them places and even do things with them, but that might be hard, since I think it might be awhile before my ex-partner and I can be at the same places/events/venues without it being awkward.  And I really wish it didn’t have to be that way.

But I’m reconnecting with old friends that I haven’t seen in years, and it feels good.

My ex has a very dynamic personality.  She is naturally the center of her circle, and while I was a part of that it was intoxicating, I’ll admit.  I felt like I was eventually able to stand as a part of the group on my own merits, but it seems that perhaps some individuals were interested only in my presence for the perks that I could provide, and I don’t need that sort of influence in my life anymore anyway.

So now I build a new circle, with me at the center.  I am rebuilding the core that was once there and that I left to founder, and I am adding new people who share my ideals and motives.

As a Dominant, I belong in the center anyway, and this was something that I could not see clearly, but that I think was something that held me back in several of my past relationships.

No more.

I want to be clear that I do not blame my ex for my behavior in allowing my old friendships to founder – I accept full responsibility for that.    And many of the relationships that I let die then, I have no interest in rekindling now, but there are a few people that I can still count on and who would have had my back at any point along the way.  They are the people that I’m bringing back.

In most of these friendships, I was the hub before, and I withdrew for a bit, becoming someone that I don’t really recognize.. Dominant in private only, and while I liked to consider myself stoic and perhaps even aloof, I was really just quiet and brooding or even perhaps, unsure of myself and hiding.  And that’s not me…

I’m doing well in the aftermath, I must admit.  I am working on a new relationship with someone that I find I care about deeply.  She is opening up new parts of me as well as pulling things out of me that I thought were long dead and buried.

I’m not so silly as to be completely blind to the possibility that this new relationship is blinding me with NRE and that there may be transference of feelings that are common in ‘rebound’ relationships, but I’ve walked that path before and this feels different.

I’ve been happy all along, and I think that makes all of the difference.

The breakup was hard, yes.  And I didn’t really see it coming, that’s true, but I can look at it and say, objectively, that it was the right thing and I don’t regret it.  I can feel it’s loss and not be overwhelmed, because I know that she is better off and so am I.

And now I have a new girlfriend, and she’s magnificent.

I’m still Rant, but I’m changing – back to who I used to be – back to who I want to be.

 

 

 

Expectations and cutting the path

Expectations…

The root of all evil?

I would make the above a statement rather than a query, but this has been a year for change.

In two days, I’ll be 40 years old.

Given that the average life expectancy for men in this country is currently 72 years, and that I have both a family history of heart disease and a medical history of serious injury, including cranial fractures and multiple concussions, my own life expectancy is likely to be less than that, unless medicine advances to the point where those elements change, which is possible, possibly even likely, but it’s not something that I would bet money upon.

So – taking these things into consideration, it’s reasonable to assume that I’ve lived more than half of my life by this point.

This is the sort of thing that makes one look back over his life and wonder what might have happened differently.

This year has brought change, as every year does, but the end result is not unlike the beginning.

I end the year in much the same state that I began it, having picked up experiences, but tangible change still sits in the wings, waiting for something – I know not what.

Early in the year, I stumbled upon a young and brash new submissive who desperately wanted to push her way into the BDSM world, and I took her under my wing, trying to mold her, to prepare her for the experiences that she would encounter, to introduce her gradually to a world that she ended up jumping into with both feet and outgrowing my influence in short order.  I like to believe that my guidance made her transition easier than it might have been; I suppose only time will tell on that count.  But the world is a different place than it was when I was brought in to it, and her experiences at this point in many ways outstrip my own.

At nearly the same time, I shared a spark with Autumn from servingmaster.com and we melded minds on subjects far and wide.  She started me on the path that this blog has taken, committing my memories and experiences to an ever widening audience, which I suppose is a tangible change for the good, but in the face of what else happened, and then un-happened, this blog seems insignificant.  She and I remain friends and in contact, and I hope that she will remain my friend, supporter, and confidant for years to come, but our relationship has cooled and we both have busy lives.  The spark that ignited between us sits in the ether like the Mithras and is unlikely to ever completely die, but with no new fuel, its flame burns cold.

I reconnected with the woman who I expected to spend the rest of my life with and over the course of this year we had months of glorious joy, many adventures both big and small, and plans for things both near and far, but ultimately that ended not so very long ago.  Our lives were on different paths for longer than I realized, and when push came to shove, I got out of the way.  This is still fresh and new, and we don’t exactly share the same views of what went wrong and why it couldn’t be fixed, but that is normal in breakups, I think.  I sincerely hope that she finds everything that she wants from life, but ultimately, I was not the one to give it to her.

I have made other friends, touched other lives, had other romantic and play partners over the course of the year, not all of which ended the way I would have liked, some of which remain, and others still exist as smoldering embers sewn into the landscape, waiting to be stoked back to life.  There is one relationship here in particular whose ending I grieve still, but the circumstances of the time left me no other choice, or so I believed, in any case.

I enveloped myself in a new circle of friends, most of whom I severed contact with when my partner and I split.  Since they have known her for far longer than I, and are counted among her support structure, I may never interact with them again in any meaningful way, and that makes me sad, but is understood to be a part of life and love.

I am in roughly the same shape, physically, emotionally, and psychologically as I was when this year began.

The majority of my friends are not kinky, not in the scene, and don’t know about this blog or the aspects of my life that it illustrates.

This is not because I am ashamed, but because they have no curiosity about this part of my life.  They live in the vanilla world and find the concepts of nonmonogamy and risk aware consensual kink to be unfathomable, perhaps even disturbing. They are generally tolerant people – I do not generally get along well with those who are not – but they limit their own experiences and exposure by choice, and it is not my desire to force them from that.

My own social support system has contracted.

But I am not alone.

I am never alone.

I am, however, reduced from what I was at the high points of this year.

And I am not convinced that this is a bad thing.

The grief that I feel in each of these cases comes from expectations met and then dashed.

If there is a pervasive theme to this blog, and indeed to the way that I live my life now in a post-nearly-fatal-car-accident world, it is that.  I am happier and more successful when I can live my life without expectations.

When I was a teenager, I looked to the future.  The year 2000 was looming.  I would be 25 when the odometer of life rolled over.  That seemed like such a distant thing, and yet so close.  I was going to be successful by then.  I was going to be married, own my own home, be on the path towards greater things.  Expectations levied upon me by others for the most part, but that I took to be my own.  Expectations that were unrealistic and different from my actual desires, though I had no idea at the time what those might be.

I achieved all of those things.  By the time I was 21, I had nearly all of those things.  I was married.  I owned my own home.  I was accepted into medical school, and I was on track for meeting, even exceeding, all of those expectations.

And I was miserable.

I was quite possibly the unhappiest I had ever been in my life up to that point.  I had everything that I was expected to have.  I had achieved most of it ahead of schedule.  I was always an overachiever, but none of it ever made me happy.

I ended things there.

I started over.

I went deep into the rabbit hole and learned a few things about myself.

I pulled myself back out and put myself back on what turned out to be a very similar path once more.  For a time I was high on life, I was living what I thought I wanted to be, I was meeting the expectations of others and I was a part of the functional cogwheel of society, producing, living in the suburbs, parenting, and trading my time for a paycheck.

And I was miserable.

I was even more miserable than before.

I was not the one to end that relationship, but it followed a similar trajectory.  I dove into the rabbit hole again, learned some more things about myself, and crawled out.  I wandered in the deep woods for awhile, but eventually I found a path, and I started walking it.

This time, the path was less trodden, it was thin in places, and it diverged from the main road in many ways, but it was still a path that others had taken, the expectations levied upon me were still not entirely my own.

This time, the choice to end things was largely my own once again.

I had a partner.

Our dynamic should have preserved my priority.  It should have let me cut the path, and had I been strong enough, it probably would have.  But I am still a product of this society, and I could not, would not, rigidly enforce my will, so the path diverged from where I wanted to go when I chose to allow the choice of direction to follow expectations not my own.

I take responsibility for those actions, but they were not my Will.

In order to remain true to my Will, I had to make the choice to be partnerless again.  To do otherwise would have required crushing the will of my partner, and that is something that I have always been unwilling to do.

I fight to hold the ideal of non attachment.  I fight to hold to the object of no expectations, but these are not tenable long term options.  If you walk where there is no path, you must cut it yourself, and that means that you will not find anyone else there to walk it with you.

But that is what I am trying to do now.

I don’t know if I will succeed.

I don’t know if I can succeed.

I know that my path will intersect others from time to time, so I’ll never be entirely alone, but I am learning that I need time alone, more than I thought I ever did before.  I need to cut my own path, and while others might follow along behind me, the decisions about where to cut and what directions to move in have to be mine alone.

I have relationships with people still.  People that I care about deeply, but I watch, and I cheer success, support setbacks, offer my own experiences, but I don’t follow.

I can’t know what lies ahead of me because no one has ever walked there before.  There are no guides to this trail because there is no trail to guide me upon.

I may be signing up for a very solitary existence in the long term, but that does not frighten me as it once did.

I may attract followers to walk the path that I cut, but I do not expect them.

I have less than half a life to complete at this point, and while I have made mistakes in the past, and I am guaranteed to make more in the future, I have faith in my ability to get through them.

I grow more open and honest with myself and those around me as I continue my journey.  I don’t say ‘as I walk this path’ any longer, because I’ve gone off the path.  I go where my Will points me, and I see nothing but obstacles in the way.  The smooth path is gone from my sight, and there will be trials, but I believe that I am strong enough to face them.

I will rekindle some relationships that were left to wither.

I will start some relationships that I have not made yet.

I will support relationships that are currently in place, but I will not hold on.

I will live my life without attachment or expectation, to the degree with which I am able, and I will not get down on myself for building attachments or having expectations when I do.  For while they always seem to lead to pain, sometimes the pain is worth it.

I will make goals and walk towards them, but if they vanish, I will keep walking, keep cutting the path myself.

I need time alone, but I need people in my life too.  I have my children.  I have my family.  I have those few friends who would take a bullet for me, just as I would for them, but those are always fewer in number than one might think, and levying expectations upon others is something that I specifically intend not to do.

I crave companions, but I do not require them.

I am perfectly capable of cutting this path alone and letting it close behind me if needs be.

If my wisdom is something that you seek, then you know where to find me.

You are welcome to walk this path with me, but make no mistake, this path is mine.

I am evolving.

I am grieving.

I am meeting the rise of the sun with alacrity and hope.  For that is what this time of the year is really about, and I was born at just the moment of Rebirth for the world.

And though grief comes from loss and loss comes from dashed expectations and I will continue to strive against holding those, I acknowledge that life goes on, and so shall I.

I am Rant.

New beginnings are in the wings, and they terrify and electrify me.

 

Stasis

I know, dear reader…

I promised you that December would bring the end of NaNoWriMo and that I would assail you multitudes of new posts, topics ranging wide and that these would assume a more normal cadence once more.

However, life has a way of interrupting our plans, does it not?

I’m living in stasis at the moment, caught between possibilities and unable to move – analysis paralysis is the term most often applied to the same situation in a business setting, I believe.

The situation at hand requires emotional intelligence to resolve, and whenever I bring it to mind, my emotions retreat entirely, leaving me unable to process things.

And so I wait.

I am purposely omitting details, but rest assured that my health is superb, I continue my physical recovery, perhaps even at a quicker pace than before as this event, or impending event, I’m not quite sure which, has nearly sapped my appetite completely and I’m losing weight as I choose to not eat.

But I have the weight to lose – I’m still over my ideal weight as a result of my car accident which is now more than three years past.

My doctor has been after me to lose weight for some time, he thinks it might help with my pain, so he will probably be pleased when next I see him, though I will probably omit for him the reasons as well.

My emotional health is on hold.  I make no progress forward or back, as I am stuck.

But I am still here.

And I am still Rant.

Rant off.

Hurting My little

Before I begin, I’m going to be knocking an important post down by posting this, so if you have not yet, please go read : Practicing What You Preach

Thank you.

********* 

Relationships are hard.

Nonmonogamy is hard.

This seems to be a recurring theme in my life right now.  If you click the links over there to the left where I list ‘Blogs I Read’ you’ll find that the front page posts for two of them deal with variations on this theme.

I am in a nonmonogamous relationship because I do believe that no one person can fill all of the needs of another.  I believe that it is impossible to be everything to someone for the long haul.  In the beginning parts of a relationship, when NRE is strong, you can easily overlook the things that are missing in the light of all of the fantastic that is currently going.

That is a pretty easy concept to embrace when the point is academic, or possibly even when it is you selfishly seeking a need that you aren’t getting met currently, but it’s a bit more of a struggle when you have to realize that it is you who is unable to meet that need in your partner.

I’m in love with my partner.

Nine months ago, I could not say those words, much less write them in a publicly accessible place where anyone from teh interwebs(misspelling intentional) could read them.

It’s true though.  I love her.

And I can’t be everything that she needs.

And intellectually I’m okay with that.

I want her to have other friends, other confidants, other lovers, other play partners.  I want her to be healthy and happy and the best her that she can be. 

I try to help focus her where I can, and while I don’t always succeed, I think on balance I do a decent job.  But she has needs that I cannot satisfy.

I’ve talked a little bit about this before in my post Owning the Object of Your Affection, where I wrote this:

Semantics sorted, we’re left with a modicum of understanding about what this ‘love’ thing is, at least in Rant’s mind.

So – for possibly the first time in Rant’s life, he finds himself in love.

Please forgive that brief and annoying use of the third person to describe myself, but those concepts are so foreign to how I perceived the world a scant few months ago that I find it difficult to express in any other way, but here’s the defining statement for you: I believe that I have found the love of my life.

The emphasis is new, but appropriate.

But it’s been a few months since then and things are coming into short relief right now.

And I do mean right now.

As I write this, she’s out on a date with a guy that I haven’t met, but from everything that I can tell, he’s a great guy.  I’ll meet him someday soon, and I’m sure that when I do, we’ll be fast friends.  My partner has a type, and we’re both slightly different specimens of that type, so either we’ll be great friends or bitter enemies, and I have every incentive to make sure that it comes out the former rather than the latter.  She likes him; she may even love him someday, and I’m intellectually okay with that.

But then there’s the feels.

My partner is my babygirl.  Our dynamic is not one of diapers and age-play in that vein, but she has a naturally bubbly personality and she is happiest when she is channelling her inner child, her little, to use the appropriate nomenclature of the BDSM world.  And I am happiest when I am being Protector and nurturing, so we naturally fall into one of the classic Daddy/babygirl archetypes – of which there are several.

However, when I am in Daddy headspace, I cannot hurt my little.  I simply cannot bring myself to do it.  My body stops.  My mind spirals away into cuckoo land.  My dick goes limp, my limbs get heavy, and I simply can’t lift my twitchy palm.

I love my partner and I have a hard enough time hurting her when I am not in Daddy headspace, but when I’m there, I just can’t do it.  And when she is little, I go into Daddy headspace automatically.

I am not a Sadist, and I never get pleasure from inflicting pain, but sometimes I like to be a Fluffy Service Top(™) and provide pain for those that require it, and when I do, I can be brutal.  I can slap you so hard that you think you left a tooth or an eyeball behind.  I can leave bruises on you that will last for weeks.  I can grind your shoulder into the carpet until it bleeds and seeps for days.  These are not things that I need to do, but they are things that she needs to feel, and I cannot provide them.

And it’s not that I don’t care for the women for whom I am able to provide this service – sometimes I care for them quite deeply, else I’d not put myself into FST mode – but I’m not in Daddy headspace then and I’m not in love.

This other guy can do that for her.

And for that I am grateful.

And I’m also jealous.

And I’m afraid.

And I’m happy too…

Compersion is a weird thing.

So, she is, right now, with this guy, my friend-to-be, getting her needs met, and I’m feeling happy and afraid and jealous all at the same time.

Because I love my partner.

Because I love my little.

Because I cannot hurt my little, but someone else can, and that will help to make her the best her than she can be.

I love you, my sweet angel.

Rant off.

Pain – the nonconsensual kind

Three years ago I was in a car accident.

I was the last car in a line of cars trying to merge from one freeway to another when a guy in Ford Econoline E350 work van was driving along, texting on his cell phone and not paying attention to where he was going.

I was at a dead stop.

He was going 55 miles per hour (that was the CHP estimate, he was probably going faster…) and not looking in front of him.

I saw him coming at me in the rear view mirror.

I saw the back window buckle first.  It sort of got pushed up from the bottom and then it popped.

It’s kind of amazing how your perception of time changes in a moment like that…

I felt the shards of glass hit the back of my neck at about the same time I was aware of being pushed into the car in front of me and then the back of my seat collapsed, fell back, and was pushed up again by the hybrid system battery pack being forced through the seat behind me and pushing the car seat (empty – thank whatever gods there may be) into the back of my seat.

Then I became aware of the noise.

Somehow, the van careened off of the back corner of my vehicle and struck or was struck by a car in the lane to the left of me.  It was that car that t-boned me on the driver’s door.

I was flung forward against my seat belt at an angle and then bounced back to hit the post between the front and back seat with my head.

I don’t remember anything after that for what I’m told was about 35 minutes.

I regained consciousness with paramedics asking me if I could move my arms and legs and whether or not my neck and back hurt.

“Yes,” was my answer to all of the above.

I was proud of my succinctness, and amused but the whole situation.

The next thing I remember is one firefighter talking to another,

“Be careful there, this thing has side airbags.”

“It does?”

“Yeah, I don’t know why they didn’t go off, but you don’t want it breaking your arm if it decides to go off now.”

They decided the only course of action available to them was to cut the doors off and take out the post between the front and back seat.

I didn’t much care, I was just sort of floating there in space and time, aware of most of what was happening, but not really involved.

They tore the car apart, cut the seat belt off of me, cut my shirt off as well (it was wedged in something, I think..) and secured me to a board to carry to the ambulance.

The ride in the ambulance to the trauma center was interesting, but not really worth relating.   You imagine it being a smooth ride at high speed, but it was really mostly stop and very little go.

I had no idea how badly I was injured.  I am lucky to be alive.  I am grateful, every day, that my kids were not in the car with me at the time.  I had recurring nightmares about that for over a year.  I still occasionally do.

I have constant pain from my injuries.  I have not had a day completely free of pain since then, but most of the time it’s pretty manageable.

I broke my collarbone, cracked one of the vertebrae in my neck, broke three ribs, cracked my skull, got knocked unconscious for about half an hour, and suffered tremendous intra-muscular scarring as a result of tensing up right before the impact.

The bones have all healed by now, the soft-tissue and psychological damage remains though.

My car was totaled.  I was out of work for four months.  When I finally did go back, I had to take a different job that was closer to home because I couldn’t handle the commute.  I wasn’t able to pick my kids up for a year.

I’m a different person now.

I have some physical tics.  My back feels like it’s always tense, and that my spine needs to pop.  This causes me to lurch my shoulders and twist my back and neck several times an hour, and much of the time I’m not even aware that I’m doing it.

I get grumpy a lot.  I snap at people for things that don’t merit it sometimes.  Constant pain, even if it’s low-grade and manageable, wears on you like nothing I’ve experienced before.

I was addicted to opiates.

I kicked them, but I’ll always be dependent on over the counter drugs, TENS treatments, physical therapy, or something else in that vein.

I exist in a constant state of conscious suppression of my pain and the emotions that fall in its wake.

Usually, I can ignore it.  I can push past it.  I can act and appear as if it’s not bothering me, but it’s always there.

Patience is one of my super-powers, and without it, I’m certain that I’d be an angry and useless person.  I manage to live mostly in grace and love, and I am grateful for whatever it is within me that makes that possible.

I am stronger than I ever believed I could be, and I’m getting stronger every day.

Today isn’t a good day.  I have a lot of pain, and I’ve retreated into my own mind more than I normally have to, but I am still here, and I’m going to be here tomorrow.

There are people who love me.

There is one who is Devoted to me, and she made me dinner and sits here beside me, wanting to take my pain for me, and though I’m not a Sadist, sometimes I wish I could lend it to her for awhile.

I am fortunate.  I am strong.  I am alive.  I am Adored.

I am Rant.

Fear is the Mind Killer

I have trouble trusting people.

I’m going to write about trusting people, but what I’m really writing about is fear.

I don’t think he intended it to catch on as it did, but Frank Herbert nailed it when he put down the Bene Gesserit litany against fear:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

I have trouble trusting people because I am afraid.

I trust the wrong people, I trust people with the wrong things, and I don’t trust some of the people that I should with enough..

I deal with emotions differently from most people, but I still feel things.  I have love, I have happiness, I have hurt, I have anger, and I have fear.  I crave love and happiness, I deal with hurt, I address anger, but fear that is the thing that gets me.  Fear paralyses me.

If I can turn fear into anger, I can sit behind my fortress walls and calculate your devastation.  If I can turn fear into hurt, I can cry over it and be done with it in time.  If I can turn fear into happiness, well, I’ve just been on a roller coaster, and that’s pretty awesome.

If I could turn fear into love though… that would be the epiphany to rule my life.

I thought I did.. twice.

I gave my fears to a man who called himself Jubal and he showed me a family.  My own family was broken and my faith was shattered and I had no power to fix it, but I needed that feeling of belonging and he and his followers supplied it for me.  I thought I was a part of something, but in reality, I was objectified and used like any other object, to be tossed aside once I hit my expiration date.  Jubal took away my fears for a time, taking ownership of them as he took ownership of me, without my knowledge or consent about what was being done.  He gave me more things to fear in the end, not less.

I submitted to Simone and I thought that I was turning fear into love, but her betrayal was the hay hook that twisted into my gut and pulled my insides out, metaphorically speaking.  Her tutelage did not come without some benefits, and I cherish the experience she gave me as part of what has made me who I am today, but where she took some fears away, she replaced them with others, and it has taken me quite some time to get clear of those.

In each of these cases, I thought the path to turning fear into love lay at the hands of someone else.  I suspect that this forms the core of many D/s relationships.  I’m not convinced that I was wrong, but I’m not convinced that I was right either.  What I do know is that D/s will ultimately fail without absolute trust and transparency, and those things are difficult when fear is in play.

There are various people in my life that I have no choice in trusting, or that I trust with things to one degree or another, but I may still keep some secrets from.  I dislike secrets, but I’ve come to learn that sometimes keeping secrets protects the person that I’m keeping them from, and the burden of that secret becomes mine to bear.  For this reason I now avoid things that lead to a need to keep secrets at all.

Intimacy is built on trust, and can only be fully realized with someone that you trust completely, someone from whom you hide nothing – this is about transparency more than truth.

I have had my trust broken, as we all have, many times.  This is the thing that I find hardest to let go of, and it is the single largest source of anxiety and depression for me.  I worry about my trust being broken, I worry about my trust being used to take advantage of me, I worry about confiding something in someone and having it used against me by someone else, and when these things happen, because they have all happened to me, I am crushed.  Over and over again.

I think this might be the core reason why I prefer polyamory to monogamy, but that is a treatise for another day.

I spend an inordinate amount of my personal resources worried about a breach of my trust.  Because I tend to carefully choose who I trust and with what I trust them, this is something that happens rarely and something that I should not devote so much thought and energy towards, but I do, and it does happen.

It happened again yesterday.

Yesterday was a weird day.

I was coming down off of an amazing Sunday evening with my partner at a fancy hotel and fancy restaurant, where I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people who are deeply into the local scene and also – and much more importantly, in my opinion – incredibly intelligent and good conversationalists.  My partner and I had the fortune of being upgraded to a two bedroom suite, and since it was just the two of us, we invited a friend to come and use the second bedroom and make herself at home while we were away at dinner.  She’s been unhappy with her living arrangements, so the thought of a clean bed and bath all to herself was something that made her very happy, and I am always a fan of anything that can bring joy to others.

So – I’m coming down off of that great experience, and yesterday morning I also got to briefly see another good friend (who my partner and I will be having dinner with this evening) and everything seemed good with the world.

Then I learned that Robin Williams was dead from an apparent suicide.   He struggled with depression and the other myriad of problems that follow in its wake.  I liked the view of Robin Williams that I saw – I think almost everyone did – and I identified with his struggles to an extent.

I’ve long held that fame is the ultimate mind-fuck, and I don’t know that demon, and I’m glad that I don’t, but I had compassion for him, and his passing, especially in the manner in which it occurred, affected me more than I would have expected it to.

My partner was out of touch for most of the day, having her own things to deal with, and then was dealing with some extreme work-related stress of her own, so we haven’t had a chance yet to talk about my day yesterday and my struggles as I’m moving through today, but I know that we will, and that brings some comfort to me.  Missing her is getting harder as time moves on, and that scares me too.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

But these things are all minor in contrast to the knife that hit my heart late last night.

I’m a parent.  If you read my About Me page, this is no surprise, but I have custody of my kids half of the time.  In the summer, this can be difficult because they don’t have school, but I still have to work.  This week they are staying with my mom, which is hard enough because I don’t get to see them during the week like I normally do, and I have some issues of trust with both of my parents, but especially with my father.

Before your imagination goes nuts, know that my kids are fine.  They are safe and happy and as far as I can tell, they are completely oblivious to my trust issues.

So – my parents are divorced.  They divorced when I was a freshman in undergrad and chose to hide this fact from me for months – basically until my fees came due (which they had told me that they would pay for me so that I could focus on school) and I called home to ask about them.  That’s when I learned that they would not be making good on their promise to me.  I actually knew about the separation and divorce filing long before they told me, because my sister was still at home at the time, distraught with the news, and reached out to me.  She swore me to secrecy on the point though, stating that they had told her they didn’t want me to know until after my finals.. we fail on communications as a family.

Anyway – the loss of their funding was a tough blow to bear, because while I’d held summer jobs since before I was old enough to drive, I had never been responsible for supporting myself entirely until that moment and it was scary.  But much worse than that, in the ensuing chaos of the separation and divorce and more, my father did something for which I still have not forgiven him, and I’m not sure that I ever will.  He took out student loans in my name – which I had no knowledge of – and kept the money for himself.  I found out about these when I matriculated and was asked to pay them off – a delayed financial blow that caused me extreme personal hardship when I could least afford it.  He refuses to acknowledge that he did this to this day, and has never made any effort at restitution, even attacking me for making the accusation despite confronting him with the paperwork.  So – for that and a plethora of other reasons, my father and I do not get along.

The largest part of this is mine, and I’ll own that.  I don’t trust him.  I don’t trust him to keep his word on anything – he has failed me too many times in the past.  I don’t trust him to even look after himself.  I have not seen him sober in ten years, maybe more.  But he is remarried and has a whole new family of codependent dysfunction, and it is everything he thrives on.  I would be happy for him if it wasn’t so toxic.

My mom is an alcoholic as well.  A high functioning one, perhaps, and generally she has a good heart and makes the right decisions as long as money is not involved, most of the time.  I had some difficulty in trusting her to be the responsible party for caring for my kids for an entire week because of her substance abuse problem, but she is splitting the time with my sister and she promised not to drink while she was the sole caretaker for them – a policy that I keep for myself as well.

My sister is crippled with anxiety and depression.  Where I stare into the abyss and wonder, she is still battling the call.  She is on a myriad of treatment plans, and I know she has a good heart, but she makes some of the worst decisions.. I wish I could empathize with her better to understand her motives sometimes, but I am none of the things that she is.  I am not female, I am not the second child, and I was not actually there when my parents dissolved their relationship.

I love my mom.  I love my sister.  I might love my father – I’m not so sure on that point, but I have always held to the belief that my children have a right to know him, so whenever he remembers that they exist, I try to make it possible for them to see him, but I always control the interaction because I do not trust the man.  I feel like he would look me in the eye, tell me that he loves me, and then literally stab me in the back if there was something in it for him.  I mean that I believe he would literally put a knife in me if there was something in it for him.  I truly think that he is a genuine sociopath, and not just for how he has treated me, but in witnessing his dealings with others for whom he is supposed to care.

So when I received a text message from my mother after 10:00pm last night asking me to call her, I responded quickly.

She had obviously been drinking.  She was not slurring her speech, and she was probably not even aware that she was under the influence, but she talked at me for nearly an hour, going over the same series of events again and again, informing me about how my sister had taken my kids to the park with my father and his new wife (of about 7 years now) without having consulted me on the issue first and lamenting the fact that she was in the middle of all of this.

My mother has never remarried.  She has not even really dated anyone since my father left.  She still – after more than 20 years – fosters a great deal of bitterness towards him and, by extension, his new wife, so I know that a great deal of the motivation behind her drinking and calling me was those feelings that she has not resolved.  She has always thrived on drama, and I think she actually needs it to feel anything at all.  I told her numerous times that I didn’t want her to do anything and that she was only in the middle of things between me and my father because she was putting herself there.  This is not the first time I’ve told her this, and I repeated myself four times again on the phone last night.

This morning, I received a number of irate text messages from my sister telling me all of the things that my mother accused her of after our conversation last night, despite the fact that I told my mother specifically that I would talk to my sister and that I did not want her to say anything to her.

Again… my family fails at communication.

I know that by 22:00 my kids were safely asleep and that even in her influenced state my mother could and would have called 911 if there was some catastrophe that were to emerge in the middle of the night, an event that is highly improbable anyway.  She was almost certainly coherent enough to parent, though probably not legal to drive.

But here I am, confronted by my familial failure at communications and betrayal on multiple fronts, and my first impulse was to hop in the car and retrieve my kids for the rest of the week – work be damned.

My mom should not have been drinking, and she should not have called me to try to pull me into all of this drama.

My sister should not have allowed my father to join them without asking me about it first (I would likely have said yes – provided she agreed to my ground rules – but can I trust her with those now?)

My father should not have solicited my sister to meet with my kids without consulting me about it first, directly.  He knows this, but he hasn’t contacted me in any form in over a year now, not even to talk to them, or to send them birthday cards, or anything like that.

Each of these things, individually, is a breach of my trust.

Each of these things, individually, is a cause for me to fear.

All together, I was nearly overwhelmed and I nearly did jump into the car to go retrieve them.  I’m not altogether certain that I won’t tonight.

And yet…

My kids were never really in any danger.  They are still young, just 6 and 8, but they are old enough to recognize bad situations and mostly to avoid them.  I’ve made certain that they both know my address and phone number, and that they know how to dial both a landline and a cell phone.  They know that they can call me at any time and I will drop everything to get them.

My sister did not leave them under the care of my father – I think that despite her desire to appease him and the secrecy through which she has lived her entire life that she knows if she were to do such a thing that I would find out and when I did find out that it would mean an end to her privilege of seeing my kids entirely.

My father is a coward – as all sociopaths are – and he does not have the courage to even just pick up the phone and ask me about spending time with them because I do not bend to his will like the rest of the sycophants that he surrounds himself with, so this may be the only chance he has to see them until I next decide to reach out, which will be lengthened due to this event, but I always do come around – because I am forever trusting the wrong people with the wrong things and I still occasionally trust him with my emotions.

My kids are fine.  They are having fun and they are not in danger.

My sister and I will have a chat and I’ll talk to her about transparency in the same way that I have done with submissives in the past – not because she is a submissive but because the only thing she understands and takes seriously from me is authority.  My father and I will have a chat and I will explain to him once more that I don’t trust him but that I believe my kids have a right to know their grandfather and I will never deny him the opportunity to see them when it can be arranged, but that he does not get to spend time with them when I am not around.  My mother and I will have a chat where I will explain to her that I want to handle my own relationships with my sister and father and that her counsel is appreciated but her meddling is not.

And nothing will change with any of them.

But maybe I will change.  A little bit.

Last year I would already be back home with my kids after having run off in the middle of the night to retrieve them and probably having some very stern words with my mother.  They would feel like they had done something wrong, and no amount of explanation on my part would completely remove the stain from this experience for them.  It would be a horrific thing for everyone involved.

Last year I would have written off my father completely one more time and written off my sister as well, putting months between any contact with them at all.

Today.. I’m sitting with my thoughts, and trying to let the fear pass over me and through me.

I know the facts and they speak to one course of action.  The mindful course of action is to address the problems I see with a level head and let my kids remain there for the rest of the week where they are having fun and have activities planned and would not be stuck inside while I work from home, feeling like they had done something to deserve being punished.

I know my feelings and they are overwhelmed by fear.  Fear would have me act in a manner which will hurt everyone – myself included.  And though I may be able to turn my fear to anger if I act on that path, and sit high and mighty in my fortress of righteousness, the severed relationships and the message that would give my children would be harmful.

I am going to try something new.

In each of those conversations that I outlined above, I am going to try to start my conversations with love.  It will be most difficult with my father, but I am going to try.

Because, more than anyone else I’ve mentioned here, I love my kids, and I want the best for them, and when I use my logical mind, I can see clearly what that should be.  I just need to get out of the way.

I am Rant, and this was a growth opportunity seized.

 

Owning the object of your affection

It’s been awhile since I’ve made an entry and to those of you who had become accustomed to frequent updates, I apologize and will see that things get back on track in short order.   My life became pretty interesting for a couple of weeks there and I had to focus my energy elsewhere, but things seem to be normalizing now.

This is going to be a bit more of a personal entry than I’ve been making, with the possible exception of the Distillation of Rant entry.

That entry was about life and limerence.  This blog’s mission has been stated as to provide the views of one Dom (namely, me) on life, love, and limerence.  So far, I’ve avoided love.

Oddly, when I started this blog, just about two months ago, I believed myself incapable of feeling love again in the traditional sense of eros.

Most people who are likely to read this blog are probably familiar with the ancient Greek concepts of eros and agape.  If not, I’ll provide a grossly oversimplified definition and then urge you to do some research of your own.

The Greeks believed in two forms of love – other cultures have had more or less, but generally these two types are pervasive.

Eros is romantic love.  This is what you feel in the pit of your stomach when you’re around the object of your affection.  This is the thing that makes it feel like your heart has skipped a beat, like your mind has fled your body, and you’re mired in the depths of some kind of sticky, warm, comfortable trap from which you don’t want to escape.   When we speak of matters of the heart, this is what we’re talking about more often than not.  Often this gets equated to ‘lust’ in English, but that’s not quite right… it’s deeper and more fulfilling than lust.  And quite a bit more dangerous.

Agape is ‘brotherly’ or ‘familial’ love.  This is what you feel when you think about your children, your parents, your close friends, but also your romantic partner — if you find yourself in a relationship rather than an arrangement.  This is characterized more by loss than presence.  Whereas with eros, you feel it deeply when you are in the presence of your love, with agape you are more likely to notice its absence when you are away from the object of your affection.

Of course, there is a lot of bleed-through with these concepts.  It’s nearly impossible to feel eros without some agape seeping through, and it’s often the case that those for whom we feel agape (when not so prevented by taboo, and even sometimes when it is) will be the object for which we feel eros from time to time, if not consistently.

Semantics sorted, we’re left with a modicum of understanding about what this ‘love’ thing is, at least in Rant’s mind.

So – for possibly the first time in Rant’s life, he finds himself in love.

Please forgive that brief and annoying use of the third person to describe myself, but those concepts are so foreign to how I perceived the world a scant few months ago that I find it difficult to express in any other way, but here’s the defining statement for you: I believe that I have found the love of my life.

This is problematic for me for a few reasons, but those problems mask their own solutions, and they are a path to a deeper understanding, one that allows neither of us the luxury of seeing ourselves as soft or breakable, but something that strengthens us both immeasurably, together and separately.

Firstly, our relationship is steeped in the BDSM world.  Our friends routinely beat, bleed, berate, and fuck each other, sometimes where we can bear witness, and neither of us is a stranger to that sort of activity.  Blood and I are not the best of friends, and I’ve already mentioned my difficulties with humiliation, but physicality rarely bothers me – I am a very physical/tactile person.  I get off on tying girls down and smacking them with my hands or tools or shocking the hell out of them with my violet wand.  I bite.  I choke.  I enjoy sex when it is both soft and slow as well as rough and tumble, but there is little that gets me harder more quickly than my hand on the throat of a woman who has given herself to me, and little that does it for me as much as my hand coiled and firmly grasping the hair at the back of her head as I hold her down and fuck her with every bit of force I can put into it…

But can I do that to the one I love?  Can I watch someone else do that to the one I love?  I’m a protective person by nature – I will go to extreme lengths to protect and ensure the welfare of those I care about.  The dichotomy that this sets up in my mind when I think about someone delivering pain to the one I love, knowing that she has asked for and desires this, balanced against my desire to prevent it… it is interesting.  I’ve allowed her to play with others, and my love for her and confidence in her devotion to me allows me to experience true compersion, but the desire to protect and keep safe is always there in the back of my mind.

Devotion is my kink, and because she loves me every bit as much as I love her, the devotion I feel from her is worship, truly.   The call of one who shows me the trappings of devotion is normally quite strong, but when I see love and devotion coming from the same set of eyes, something in my heart breaks.  When my love commits an act that is disrespectful, our agreement, our understanding, our roles require that I correct that action.  To do any less than that would be disrespectful in kind, not just to her, but to myself and to us together.. so even though those puppy-dog eyes make my heart melt, I must follow through.  I have raised my hand to her in punishment rarely, only once that I can think of, and the punishment of all punishments – being sent to the corner – has been employed once as well.  But she is a good girl and I am a patient Master.

This is a process.

This is a deepening of our devotion to each other.  And despite what the dynamic would lead one to believe, despite the fact that my love is owned and collared by me, despite the fact that she has submitted to me and become my property, the partnership that we have formed together is stronger and more powerful than any other I’ve ever experienced.

Relationships are hard.  They require patience and work and devotion.

Did I mention that devotion is my kink?

I am Rant, and I am the big serious.

And I has a happy.

I hope this wasn’t too much of a departure, but I had to broadcast it.

Rant off.