16 December, 2008
there are advantages to the new place, but i'm not sure how ttwd will work out, since our usual spanking location, w's room, is right at the front of the apartment, facing the street, and isn't very soundproofed at all. for a variety of reasons, my room isn't a great place (mostly for my psychological well-being, and our general belief that i should have a space that is sort of my domain... but perhaps we'll rethink that.)
so that leaves the dining room (at the back of the apartment, largely without windows to the outside, but lacking in comfortable spots for w to sit while spanking me) or the living room (at the front of the apartment, near enough the front door that sound will carry).
or maybe we could get a louder stereo and imitate the neighbors' tendency to blast their music. i'm not sure what kind of implements would sound like the bass on a stereo, but it's a definite thought.
in the meanwhile, what with being busy with the move, we've been on hiatus from the rules. i'm not sure when we'll get back to them, because we're moved now, but unpacking is overlapping with getting ready for the holidays, and then... well, maybe in the new year. i'm hoping i'll be able to hold out that long. i know there are parts who need the rules, but at the same time, it's been hard enough to manage with all the things that need to get done, so having the little break is pretty nice.
so more writing at some point later, when we're more settled into the new place, but i thought i'd let people have something to comment on just in case anyone is checking for updates to the blog.
04 December, 2008
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Gift bags--fabric ones I make myself. Partly, it's environmental, partly, it's easier to wrap things, and partly, it gives me an easy way to use those great holiday themed fabrics at the fabric store. I just need to make enough of them that I'm willing to let people keep them!
2. Real tree or artificial?
I broke down and got an artificial tree last year, when the cost for a real tree was higher than for a decent artificial one. The down side is, it's all the less likely that the tree will be taken down within a reasonable time frame!
3. When do you put up the tree?
It depends somewhat on when Chanukah falls, because when possible, we wait until afterwards. Otherwise, the tree generally goes up around the Winter Solstice (21st December).
4. When do you take the tree down?
It's supposed to get taken *down*? I do my best to have it down by Valentine's Day. Barring that, it's *definitely* down by Passover!
5. Do you like eggnog?
Mmmmmmmmm. Eggnog. I love eggnog, and I've even had homemade eggnog that was delicious.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
This is a hard call. I think I got the Holly Hobbie Bake Oven for Christmas, and that was a great present. My all-time favorite gift, trumping the trip to Disneyland I'd gotten that same year, was a large paper grocery bag filled to overflowing with used books. I was in heaven. Yes, I am *that* much of a bibliophile.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
I think this varies from year to year. We generally do what we call a "sweatshop craft," where we choose one thing and make a whole bunch of it, which definitely makes it a little easier to decide what to give people (they get some combination of the things we've made that year). With my family, I traditionally give them a combination of the sweatshop craft and home baked cookies. So I guess that brings it down to W, for whom I need to get real presents for both Christmas and Chanukah. Then again, she's happy with pretty much everything, so it's pretty fun to shop for her.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
When I have money and time, pretty much everyone on my list is easy to buy for. The people who are picky about things either won't like anything I get, or have specific wish lists up and I can just choose something from that.
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
More or less. I have a Playmobil nativity, but I'm not sure if all of the pieces are going to survive the move. And the nativity has gotten mixed in with my other Playmobil toys, so I tend to just kind of mix and match if we decide to put up a nativity scene (last year's nativity included several pirates, and three Santas as the wise men!)
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, all the way. Mail is more special, and while I don't often get letters sent off, I like to give people the thrill of real mail when I can.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
The year I was 14, it wasn't so much the gifts I received (which did kind of suck) but the contrast between what I was getting and what my siblings were getting. We'd had a lot of money trouble that year, and so my mother didn't get too many presents. But people outside the family gave a TON of gifts. And somehow (I'm sure it wasn't personal), they got things that were perfect for all of my siblings, and then things that were just the opposite for me (watching each sibling in turn open up their heart's desire, and then getting a spring green, unadorned sweatshirt.... I am not making this up.)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Probably A Christmas Story, although several others are on the list.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Depends on the year. I start when I have time and money, somewhere in late November or December. The latest I have ever bought a present was Christmas Day (although that *was* a Chanukah present, and was added on as kind of a joke).
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Probably, although I can't precisely remember. Well, and if it's a magazine subscription, eventually the magazine gets recycled. ;)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Probably cookies, in the sense that I make a ton of them, and they are yummy. In terms of real food, finger foods are the best! I'm always busy, and it somehow feels like less of an interruption if the food is already in bite-sized pieces. But I also like to make Ethiopian food around the winter holidays, so that's another thing entirely.
16. Lights on the tree; colored or white?
Colored, definitely. White lights outside, colored inside on the tree.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
I like pretty much any Christmas song, so long as it's a nice version. But I was realizing recently that Carol of the Bells and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day are both songs that I can listen to in pretty much any version.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home, definitely (although we'll travel across town to have dinner with my mother in law, depending on our preferences for the day).
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Well, I don't know about *all* of them. I can name Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolph, and Olive the Other Reindeer. And there's a song that refers to "Randolph," but I'm not sure whether or not he's a reindeer.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
It's either a star or a snowflake. It's been a while since I saw the Christmas ornaments.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
One present Christmas Eve, and the rest Christmas morning. Although this gets complicated with extended family and then you add on Chanukah, so there are eight nights of presents as well. And a friend of mine and I had a long tradition of exchanging our gifts on the winter solstice.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I like the decorations taken as a whole--our tree is *covered* with lights and ornaments, and there are decorations throughout the apartment. When it comes down to it, probably the *lights* are my favorite theme, because that's what ties together all of the holidays this time of year, the celebration of light.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Are you supposed to eat *food* on Christmas? When you've got all those *cookies*? Seriously, lately it's been Chinese buffet (traditional Jewish Christmas dinner) but every so often we get inspired to make a more involved meal. For a few years we were doing things like duck and goose, which were fun.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
For my fibromyalgia to let up enough that I can accomplish the move without collapsing either during it or after. And for the move to go smoothly enough that we are able to do a real Christmas this year. And to find time to do presents and cookies and all the traditional stuff.
26. Who is most likely to respond to this?
I doubt anyone will, but I'd be glad if they did!
05 November, 2008
The tears surprised me. I had been trying so hard all day, not to hope, to prepare myself for going to bed tonight, disappointed, not yet knowing who would win the election, having the outcome precarious.
And then, as I was counting up the tally on the Google election map, they announced it on TV. Obama won. McCain conceded. And I noticed there were tears in my eyes.
I voted for Obama because I believe he will best represent my interests. I voted based on the merits. Intellectually, race didn't matter to me. Obama was the better candidate. Whether he will live up to the promises he has made, whether he will fulfill the hopes that people have piled on top of him, he is still the better candidate to represent me. Intellectually, I was willing to leave it there.
But when they announced that Obama won, I noticed I was crying. And the thought that kept running through my head was, "This is someone who is like me. Someone who looks like me. Someone who had some similar experiences. Someone like me is going to be the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES."
I am still just... awestruck.
The cynical part of my brain keeps analyzing the speeches, keeps aloof, looking at the ways that news reports fall back on a series of cliches; I look at the representations of supporters on each side--white, downcast supporters of McCain; jubilant or crying multiracial supporters of Obama. I analyze, I criticize.
But inside, I feel like my heart has filled up with wonder. That this moment should occur, that I am writing about it right now, tonight... it's amazing to me. There is a level that cynicism and intellectualization can't conquer. Today, November 4th, 2008, a majority of the United States elected someone like me to be president. And I think about all of the little children who will spend the next four--or eight--years with someone who looks like them in the White House. Who will have this example in front of them, as they imagine the possibilities in their lives.
It's a spiritual moment for me as well, and I just want to say "Thank you" to the powers that made this possible.
19 October, 2008
17 October, 2008
You preferred Obama's statements 100% of the time
Voting purely on the issues you should vote Obama
Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?
Find out now!
I could've predicted this pretty easily. I did some interactive online thing last year to see which of the Democratic candidates was most in line with my beliefs, and according to that, Obama had voted the way I would have preferred on something like 85% or 90% of the issues. So then I checked him out more. Yup, Obama seduced my vote with his charismatic voting record. (And BOY am I hoping two things: one, that he wins, and two, that he continues to vote the way I'd want him to vote as much as he did as a senator.)
Listening to: Kelly Joe Phelps - Beggar's Oil
13 October, 2008
As for me, my brand new spanking name is Snarky Angel Halo.
Take The Domestic Discipline Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.
28 August, 2008
ok. so maybe, just MAYBE no one at dunkin donuts has heard about DD. but am i the only person who has noticed just how many times they use the term DD? are w and i the only ones who have this ongoing urge to yoink one of their oven mitt things that hang from the ceiling, and say "DD" with steam rising from the cross-hatched mitt?
19 August, 2008
(click the photo to see the book on Amazon)
A month or so ago, I got an email from Rachel Kramer Bussel ( here's her blog ), inviting me to be a part of an online book tour.
At the time, it seemed like a manageable thing to do. I knew I'd be away from home for part of August, but I figured I'd have time to read the book, write a thoughtful post about it, and then set the post to show up on my appointed date. Why I believed this would happen, I now have no idea. But I had made a commitment, and here I am.
The first complication ensued when the book didn't arrive until a few days before we were heading out of town. Now, some people are organized. Some people don't go away to a folk festival and have the ongoing leak in their bedroom turn into a gaping hole, and spend the next week arguing with their landlord about how "I have to think about what to do" is not the appropriate response to large, wet holes in their tenants' ceilings....
So, there I am. I have a brand new, gorgeous book of erotica, and instead, I'm spending my time fuming about what an idiot my landlord is. Oh, right, and also making sure the car is as ready as possible for a 1500 mile road trip. Oh, and packing for said road trip. Not to mention all of the various other things I was doing. So in the two or three days I had the book before leaving home, I only had a chance to glance at a few of the stories.
What does this mean for what I thought of the book?
Well, being the responsible person I was, I decided to take the book along with me on vacation. But also being who I am, there was *no* way I was going to read a book of erotica in my usual fashion (you know, the kind that involves a vibrator or a hand down my pants) while sleeping in a friend's living room.
So I read the stories more for content than for getting off. And I'm pleased to say that the stories were worth reading, even when I had both hands on the book.
One of the things that caught my attention was how many of the stories focused on the dynamics of relationships. Maybe it's because I so often skim until I get to the "good parts," but I don't remember noticing the characters in erotica as people who happen to engage in spanking (or sex) so much in other books.
I also really appreciated the stories that demonstrated an intersection between spankings and "real life." The three stories I'm thinking most of are "Daddy's Girl" by Teresa Noelle Roberts (an interesting take on Daddy/daughter role plays), "Pink Cheeks" by Fiona Locke (exploring the question of where life on newsgroups meets with reality), and "Page by Page" by Laura Bacchi (looking at what happens when a professional masochist begins to fall for her client). Sure, the spankings and sex in these stories were quite hot (also true of the other stories in the anthology, naturally!), but the characters shone through as people as well. (Okay, that is also true of the other stories in the book.)
I'm not saying I'm going to confine my reading of this book to times when I will have to keep both hands on the book, because, as I've mentioned, the stories are hot. And if something can get me warmed up and squirmy, even when I'm sleeping on the fold-out couch in someone else's living room, with them only an unlocked door away....
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, over at Essin-Em. And check out the other great blogs that have participated in this book tour here!
Oh, right, and the contest!
Now, your prize will either be a nice postcard promoting the book (presuming I can find it again--I will send it in a friendly envelope so you don't have to explain to your mailman what kind of friends you have) or, if you're really lucky, a copy of the book itself. Plus, you get the invaluable knowledge that you were the first one with the correct answer. And you get to show off how good your memory is for erotica.
So, here's the contest:
Go to this page on Amazon, and search for "Betty Crocker Gone Bad." Choose page 17 (or browse the whole story--I'm not sure how much you can see without buying it). Read that page, or as much of the story as you are able, and then figure out where else it has appeared.
The first person to tell me where they saw the other version of this story, and to list three differences between the version in Spanked and the other source, wins the prize, whatever it may be. ;)
20 July, 2008
seems like the answer should be easy, right? i don't want a spanking right now. pretty much i (the part) *never* want a spanking. but then, maybe there's some subconscious thing going on, because i keep on doing things that will earn me a spanking.
and it's not like there aren't parts who can write. there are tons of parts of this system... lots of people who live in my body, and who love to write. who would spend their days expressing themselves in words, and more words.
and it's not like the rules say it has to be *me* who writes. but somehow, i find myself stuck out here, and i really hate doing this.
so i go back to that first question: do i write, or do i get another spanking?
i don't FEEL like writing.
and i don't WANT another spanking.
but i guess i've gotten this far so i may as well try to write something, since why else would i bother to post anything in the first place.
part of the problem, maybe, is that i'm not even sure who i am. maybe that's hard for people ont he outside to get, or understand, or whatever. i know that i'm not one of the parts who feels really comfortable with writing. i usually can't even bear to look at what is happening while i'm doing it. i know some of the others can tell i'm around because i start to stare at the ceiling as i type so that i don't have to see it happening. so please forgive any typos, because i also really hate reading what i've written.
what's going on with me? maybe you want to know why i was getting a spanking in the first place. i guess it's because i didn't eat today, and i didn't journal, although maybe i did, i can't really remember. i know there was a fair amount of typing happening, but whether that was journaling, i couldn't precisely say. well, ok, so i do know that the specific kind of journaling, the kind the rule is aobut, that definitely didn't happen.
sometimes, i really wish that i could know why it is that i am breaking the rules. i'm not used to breaking rules for no good reason. i'm not used to pushing the boundaries. i'm the kind of person who always used to follow all the rules. but here i am, breaking them.
and really, this is all i can write just now. my head is hurting more and more, and i'm feeling nauseated. that is how much i hate to write. but maybe making myself do this was enough.
well, ok, so one of the reasons that i don't feel comfortable with writing is that it is really triggering and it makes me feel sick with fear to write things down, particularly things that are more specific and with details. i don't mind when some other part is writing a story, at least, mostly i don't mind, but i really don't like it when something about my life is getting written, and it is easier if writing just gets stopped generally, thanks. i'm pretty scared of someone finding out about the things i've written. well, like some specific people.... but i won't specify, because that feels like a way of making it happen.
19 June, 2008
Natty mentioned something about nerd porn last week. Oddly, it was the same day that one of my friends introduced me to the little gem above (well, to the audio-only version of it, which I appreciate much more. So turn off your monitor and turn up your speakers for full enjoyment.)
So I thought I'd share that with you. Because we nerdy girls can enjoy it just as much as the guys do.
23 May, 2008
I don't know if you have been following the whole saga of the group of Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. Google that, plus perhaps "removing children," because I'm not up to describing the whole situation.
Now the courts have ruled that it was wrong to remove the children, that there wasn't sufficient evidence to justify taking them away. It's supposed to be a happy ending, the families reunited, everything just ducky. And I am frothing with rage.
I know that the bulk of the fury I'm feeling over this is on behalf of myself, as a child. But I don't think I'm just projecting. The assumption I see, over and over, is that the rights of parents to maintain control over their children nearly always trump the rights of the children to be safe, so long as there is reasonable evidence that the children will survive to adulthood. This is not right. It just isn't.
Yes, the I am furious over this because of my own experience. I don't think that invalidates what I want to say. So let me tell a little bit about where my own rage is coming from.
At least once during my childhood, someone called children's services. They came, investigated, and determined that there was nothing going on, or at least, nothing that required intervention. But they were wrong. I know for certain that there was physical abuse (it did stop short of breaking bones), emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect (I'm ambivalent on that one, since some of the neglect was unavoidable given my mother's lack of resources).
But because children's services determined that the kids in the household were likely to survive to adulthood, we were left there, and there was no other intervention.
And this just increased my parents' ability to continue with what they were doing. They punished me for having said things at school that led to the investigation (I'm unclear as to what, exactly happened at school; my memory is that I said something, not even realizing it was a huge red flag for abuse, and a teacher called it in.) And what I learned was, no one was going to intervene. What was happening to me at home was justified. For reasons I really did not understand, I deserved the things that happened, just as my siblings must deserve the things that happened to them.
It was a hard thing to figure out, particularly as I got older. When I was not quite twelve, and my youngest brother was not quite two, my stepfather was taking care of him, and beat him black and blue, from the middle of his thighs up to his lower back. And it was hard for me to see that this was justified, because what the h*ll could a toddler do, to deserve that? His crime? Not laying down to take his nap.
The thing is, the response within the family was largely that it had been wrong to do that, not because it is wrong to beat a child, but because my youngest brother had a heart problem and didn't get spanked like that. I mean, no one ever said that it was wrong to beat *any* toddler that severely. The only reason my brother shouldn't have gotten that "spanking" was because he was sickly.
I tend to shy away from describing my childhood as a time of unalleviated horror. It wasn't only horrible. And in many ways, my family did love me.
Would I want to have not spent my childhood with them? I really don't know. I can't imagine who I would be, or what my childhood would have been like, without that thread of abuse. I don't know who I would be, if that hadn't happened. Maybe it did make me stronger, or at least, more fierce in my anger at people who are treating children badly. It definitely made me more determined to succeed in school, because that was the only way I could imagine escaping: to get into a college on the other end of the country. But I'm pretty smart. I'm willing to bet that, even without the abuse, I probably would have been able to succeed in school. Heck, I might have done better, had I been responsible for less at home, had I been able to sleep soundly at night.
I'm not saying I don't love my family. In spite of all that was bad, there was also good. I do love them, and I wouldn't want to have had all contact cut off. But what happened was not ok. And when I see similar things happening, or the possibility of similar things happening, I am livid. The burden of proof should rest on the ones who are more powerful, to prove that they are not being abusive. Nobody, nobody has a right to abuse someone else.
What is more, having spent my adult life trying to understand that what happened to me when I was growing up was not justified, I shudder for the kids in these households. I was able to escape, because for all of her flaws, my mother also had times when she encouraged me to think for myself, and to protect myself (odd, from a woman who also would beat me harder if I tried to protect myself from her; strange, from a woman who felt it was right for her to have a full adult relationship with her teenaged daughter). And I spent enough time at school, around people who showed me a different way of living, that the thought was able to enter my head, "This is not right. This does not have to be happening." It was a very quiet thought, for a very long time. But it was there, enough that I could imagine escaping.
But the kids in the FLDS compound? They are being told that not only do their parents believe this is right, deserved, what they should do. They are being told that God ordains this. They do not have contact with anyone who is not a member of that sect.
Ok. So the court doesn't want to separate the children from their parents. Then they had damn sure better make certain they are keeping tabs, offering other thoughts, both to the children and their parents. But nothing I know about how children's services works, or how the negotiation between the rights of parents and the rights of children happens, leads me to believe that there will be any surveillance. The court has determined that these children are likely to survive to adulthood, so they are on their own.
And the message they are getting from this, in part, is that what is happening is justified; that when an adult tells them something is ordained by God, or is for the children's own good, or any of that garbage, then the children will believe that to be true. Because they have no evidence that says anything different.
22 May, 2008
the one today... she came out as my therapist was talking about how the rules and structure are a bad idea, and how we should stop because it just seems to generate testing (by the way: this is the first time she has ever said this; before, she was all for the rules, although she was a little doubtful about the spanking, but didn't seem to object beyond wanting to be sure it wasn't abusive.)
so then the other part came out. and was talking about how she just needs to learn to stop expecting people to help, because they pretty much aren't going to. that she should be willing to accept that other people will do things when it is easy, or if they see it as part of their job, but aren't going to help her to feel better. what did she want/need to hear? that it is a good thing to look for help, and she does not need to cope on her own. but my therapist was saying that she DOES need to stand on her own (i don't *think* in the same way this part was thinking, but i have nothing to prove that wasn't what she meant.)
the therapy session ended with that part saying she just wanted to understand what was wrong with her, that kept her from deserving help. my therapist said she would help her to understand what was wrong that kept her from deserving help. i'm pretty sure, once again, that my therapist didn't mean the same thing that part heard, but... there it is. and now that part is pretty much at the point of quitting therapy, because she has put this together with other things my therapist has said to mean that she (my therapist) basically wants us to suck it up and just convince ourselves that things are different than they are.
then, after therapy, a friend called. he wanted to talk about having picked up his new car, but that part was out really strongly, and was feeling ready for rejection at the drop of a hat. the friend commented that i/she sounded sad, she said "therapy," he said, "oh, ok. just wanted to tell you about picking up my new car. we can talk later." now, i figure he was respecting my space, and not intruding. i figure, had she said she wanted to talk, and needed some support, he would have been glad to do it. but what did she take from it? that people don't want her around when she is not doing well, and only want to talk to her if she is listening to them talk about what is going on in their lives.
i wish she had subtitles or a voiceover or something, letting people know what she is really saying when she says things. because what keeps happening is that a bunch of parts come out, and test people, and somehow, people keep confirming their negative beliefs.
21 May, 2008
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08 May, 2008
27 April, 2008
20 April, 2008
i don't know why it's so hard to write about these. i guess partly it's because it's pretty much the same every week, and i'm afraid it'll get boring: we checked in about last week, talked about my behavior, and then i got a spanking.
the main problem with my behavior last week is one i can see posing a problem this week, too. that is, i have really been feeling the need to push up against the edges of the limits. it's like i *need* to be breaking some rules, and need w to step in and enforce the rules.
but there's the problem of me also not wanting to hurt w's feelings, or make her unhappy... i really don't want her to be unhappy. and the problem is, very often, the way it works with the rules is that it's like she takes it personally. i mean, some of the things (like me being directly mean to her, or picking fights, or pushing her buttons) are definitely things that, on the surface, are about me wanting to hurt her feelings. the problem is, that's not my *goal*. it just kind of happens.
but there are other rules that it also seems like she takes personally. like bedtime. that's one that really is mostly about me--we've been sleeping in different rooms, so me being up late doesn't keep her up late. but in trying to set a tone for the discussions, w often personalizes things, saying that i'm keeping her up late, or something like that.
that came up partly when we were talking about how i need some rules i can break without it being about her, so that i don't need to intentionally break the rules that *are* more for her benefit. and i pointed out that it seemed to me like any rule i broke would wind up being personal.
so it's a frustrating thing. i haven't been able to figure out what it is that puts me in this state of needing to break a rule. well, i guess part of it is that every so often i need a spanking that's hard enough that i can still feel the effects after a couple of days. and it's been a while since i last had one of those, and i'm guessing that i'm gonna keep pushing until i wind up getting one of those.
but the weird thing is, it's not like i *enjoy* them, not those ones. pretty much any spanking i'm getting, after one or maybe two swats, while it is happening, i'm pretty sure it's been "enough." that i won't need another spanking for a really long time. but it's way less often that i can feel the spanking for a while afterwards, and when that doesn't happen, it's like i'm not able to bring the limit testing to an end, at least, not on my own.
but at the same time, i'm really wishing i could think of a way of testing the limits without hurting w. but the rules that are more likely to get me spanked are things like picking fights with her, or stuff like that. or skipping meals, but i've been trying hard not to do that one, because i do recognize that it's bad for me to skip meals.
anyhow. so that's what's been going through my head after this week's maintenance spanking.
14 April, 2008
06 April, 2008
deep down, i know that is probably a good idea. i mean, i know that when the maintenance spankings aren't happening, i don't do well. but i don't know why that is. i can't say what it is about the maintenance spankings, exactly, that helps.
the thing is, they make me more grounded. they kind of remind me that w cares about me and will keep me on track, no matter what.
but at the same time, it's a little strange, getting a spanking when i haven't done anything to be punished for. i mean, just because i know it works, doesn't mean that i like getting them. and spankings are usually seen as something that is either about sex or about punishment. and neither of those things is true with a maintenance spanking. i get them whether or not i have been bad. but they aren't about sex.
i don't know. they're weird. they do make me feel better, at least when they are over. i guess i feel this sense of being able to trust that w will follow through, be consistent, really be there for me. maybe there is a way we could do that without me having to get spanked. maybe just the check-in, and then i would only get a spanking if i'd misbehaved over the week before. but somehow, i guess that wouldn't wind up working.
it's pretty confusing to me. i know the spankings i get on sundays aren't as bad if i've followed the rules as they would be if i hadn't. and i know we're both relieved that we've had several weeks of good behavior.
the check-in before the spanking is also a good time for me (or whichever part is out at the time) to get any last bits of the week of my chest. so i can bring up things i feel guilty about, and we check in about them. it doesn't always affect how hard the spanking is. sometimes, it's just... i know it's something i feel bad about, and i guess it feels good to have the chance to talk about it with w. maybe i could talk about it just as easily in a different way... or maybe not. somehow, the corner time before a spanking, knowing i'm about to get the spanking, lets me sort through my thoughts and, i don't know, any bits and pieces i feel guilty about bubble up, and so i bring them up and talk about them.
and it's not like we don't talk throughout the week.
i guess the other thing i want to write about is how we are talking about this, at least some, with our couples' therapist. and i don't know how i feel about trying to explain to her what we're doing. i do know it's good, and it feels right to me. and really, it's not about sex.
oh, right. the maintenance spankings. how they can be something that isn't sex, and isn't punishment. i guess it's more like getting a vaccination or something. like, a little bit of discomfort, to prevent a larger amount of discomfort later? or to prevent having something go really wrong?
not sure. just thinking things through. i guess that's all i have to say right now.
03 April, 2008
ok. i will try to just start writing.
one thing that came pretty clearly into my mind after therapy today was this: usually, when i tell my coming out story, i talk about how i figured i couldn't be a lesbian, simply because i didn't find men repulsive. i liked guys perfectly well, and figured the only reason i wasn't attracted to them was, hey, who is attracted to high school guys? (sorry, any high school guys who are reading this blog. i'm sure some people do find you attractive. sorry to any guys who went to my high school who are reading this blog--it really wasn't personal. turns out, i'm a lesbian.)
but there was another reason, something i had trouble acknowledging to myself, something i never talked about. and it is this:
not only was i not repulsed by men, but i got physically ill when having sex with one particular woman. the thought of doing it repulsed me, i hated it, i wished i could find a way to make sure it wouldn't happen. at the time, i thought it was because i wasn't interested in having sex with females. but the fact is, it wasn't the femaleness that was making me ill.
maybe another part could put this into touching words, or make it something more readable. but i'm the one who is writing this, and it's something i need to get out of myself. i'm finding i need to talk about this, even though i'm really not sure how to do it.
you know how "they" say that homosexuality is somehow caused by sexual abuse? i'm pretty sure that's not the case with me. the fact is, what the abuse did was make me not want to have sex at all. made the whole concept of sex really repulsive and unpleasant. it was something i hated doing. i did everything i could to distance myself from it. and when those memories come up now, i still can't stand the thought of sex. i get angry at w, because we are in a relationship that, on the surface of it, includes sex. we haven't been having sex, but the undercurrent is there all the same.
other parts have been trying to get me to see that the feelings i have are about being triggered, rather than about anything that is happening in the present. and when i can pull back a little bit, i see that that is true.
but it's complicated. what triggers me, what makes me feel ill, what makes me want to escape any way i can think to escape is this: i, me, the part, am in a situation that has some similarity to what happened when i was a teenager. that is, i am in a relationship where i am expected to take on the role of a partner.
well, honestly, no. w doesn't expect me to take on the role of her partner. that's messed up, right? that the person who met me when i was an adult, the person who got into a relationship with an adult, can have the boundary of not asking me, or the other non-adult parts, to be in a relationship of that kind with her. whereas, when i was a teenager, when i really was too young for it....
my first serious relationship? it was with my mother. it started... i don't know for sure. some parts probably started when i was in middle school. it was definitely going on by the time i was fourteen. it's hard to say where it started, or ended, because in a lot of ways, the sex was the least of it. the sex was just one part. there is so much more than that in a relationship. and the complicated thing is, a lot of that stuff would've been fine as part of a parent-child relationship. just... not all of it.
i keep hearing those voices in my head, telling me that i'm making this up. but the fact is, i really can't see that i gain anything from making up something like this. i don't get any more sympathy than i would from anything else. i don't get more attention. probably, this blog would get waaaaaaaay more hits if i could be writing about sex, you know? so it's not like talking about the abuse gets me attention, or positive reinforcement.
thinking about this stuff doesn't make me feel good. i feel much better after therapy sessions when i talk about my life right now; after therapy today, i felt (and still kind of feel) like i was choking, like i was about to puke. the contents of my stomach were utterly unwilling to stay there. i feel ill.
having this stuff in my brain makes it difficult for me to have sex, or even to think about sex. (and it intrudes on the other parts, who, sure, maybe i made them up too, but... oh, right, still no real advantages except i can be in therapy for longer.)
makes it hard to sleep. makes it hard to eat. makes it hard to have a relationship, because the sheer fact of the relationship existing makes me want to be dead.
so i'm telling the voices that they are not working in the real world. i have no reason to be making this up.
the thing about all of this is, it makes me feel horrible, but i do still also love my mother. that really makes things hard. in some ways, the stuff that happened with other people, when i was younger, is much easier to deal with. i mean, i really don't particularly care about those people, other than the obligatory love for family members. if we never spoke again, there would only be a kind of theoretical regret for what could have been.
but my mother? that was a relationship. there was good so mixed in with all the bad that i don't think i'll ever be able to sort it out. there were things that were totally appropriate, and they were so thoroughly mixed in with the inappropriate stuff that maybe i did like, and the inappropriate stuff that i definitely did NOT like.... how to figure it out? i hear myself (well, other parts, actually) talking with her on the phone. and i understand why they do it. visiting with her. spending time with her. being grateful for the gifts she gives.
and the thing is, the gifts no longer come at a cost. so it's likely that the gifts when i was a teenager had very little to do with what else was going on.
because there's another piece to this: i am beginning to strongly suspect that my mother is further up on the dissociative scale than i had thought before. i've started to notice how often she will express one strong opinion, and then a day or two later say the opposite, and really not remember the other state. and we're talking about things like whether or not she likes muffins, or enjoys a particular author, or likes a particular color. not things where someone would want to deny their opinion. and my mother being dissociative explains a lot about how inconsistent things were with her, and how she could at one moment be one way, and at another, totally different.
not that it excuses anything, but... it explains it. and the mother i generally interact with is not the one who was abusive, and i think she honestly doesn't remember it. not in her usual states, not in the states where i talk with her.
but it explains part of how other parts of me are able to have a relationship with her. but it also makes everything that much more murky. i mean, how much of the stuff that has become tangled up with emotional incest really would have been fine, if it had only been the non-abusive parts of my mother i interacted with? and there is no way to know.
it's a tangled mess.
27 March, 2008
Too zoned out to make a more coherent post. But here's a link to the article I was talking about.
26 March, 2008
And since Natty got her posts up before me, I feel *totally* justified in focusing on the things that really bugged me about the article. There were some good sides to the piece, and for a moderately mainstream examination of DD, she did portray a couple of different viewpoints.
HOWEVER. Whether because she wound up writing for Bitch Magazine, or because of her own biases, the structure of the article, the framing of quotations from her sources, and her choice of sources she quoted at all really reinforces one end of the spectrum of domestic discipline.
By beginning and ending the article with an extended discussion of sources like "Loving Domestic Discipline" and the people who believe in the whole "surrendered wife" thing, readers unfamiliar with the range of approaches to DD are likely to come away with the idea that those attitudes define DD. Throughout the article, Wakeman failed to draw a distinction between the different ends of the spectrum. For example:
The crux of domestic discipline is that women's behavior is inherently rife with transgressions, and the discipline provided by their intimate partner will be a leveling force... In addition to disciplinary spankings, MrLovingDD also advocates "maintenance spankings," which, he explains, "help to build on the existing levels of the woman's obedience, respect, and honesty.
Mija... describes DD simply. "To be really trite, take the Volkswagen ad. 'On the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers.'" In their figurative VW, Pablo... disciplines Mija....
"I decide that there's some sort of goal I want to achieve and he enforces it," explains Natty... who writes about her DD relationship on a blog called The Punishment Book....
(Yeah. Cause Natty is the *only* woman writing there. Hmpf. ;P )
By framing the quotations from Mija and Natty this way, Wakeman implies that they believe gender is the central dynamic in domestic discipline. I think, had I not already known Mija and Natty, I would believe that they also believe the point of domestic discipline is to rein in women, whose behavior is "inherently rife with transgressions." Now, I don't presume to read their minds, but I'm pretty sure that neither Mija nor Natty really agrees with MrLovingDD.
The repeated focus on the male/female dynamic set a tone for the article that rubbed me the wrong way. It reinforced the (imo) misogynist beliefs of the LovingDD types, and undermined the feminist possibilities of other ways of doing "this thing we do." It would be as though she were writing an article about Christianity, and framed it to imply that all Christians are of the Jerry Falwell type, even when she was quoting people with more liberal views.
In order to do that, Wakeman had to exclude a portion of the DD community. In her mind, it is a small section, perhaps not relevant to the larger discussion. Buried between parentheses in the middle of the article, she noted
Theoretically, a man can be the submissive in a heterosexual domestic discipline relationship, and a DD relationship can be same-sex, but based on both Internet presence and the couples that I interviewed, it's far more common to find heterosexual, female-submissive practicioners.
Let me speak up as one of the people interviewed for this article. I am in a same-sex relationship, and we practice domestic discipline. I have a blog, and I am one of the writers at the Punishment Book. And I have some opinions as to why it's far more common to find heterosexual, female-submissive practicioners of DD.
Groups like "Loving DD" specifically exclude couples who don't match their vision of why domestic discipline is necessary in relationships. They deny that anyone who practices outside of the male-dominant, female-submissive paradigm is truly engaging in domestic discipline, because they adhere to the misogynistic belief that women should be sumissive to their male partners. All women. All partnerships.
Last fall, when W and I were struggling to figure out how to navigate this thing we do, we tried joining a couple of other bulletin boards. We tried a few, and weren't having much luck. I finally snapped when the moderators of the least annoying board I found moved my introductory post to the BDSM forum, insisting that because W and I are both women, what we do is kink, and not discipline. So I started This Thing We Do, and discovered a lot of other people who have felt excluded from other DD forums for a lot of reasons.
Just because people are excluded doesn't mean they don't exist. Fifty years ago, there weren't many black people in Ivy League insitutions. Was this because black people weren't intelligent enough, or because they were specifically kept out of those institutions? Yet, there were those who made an argument that intelligence was inherently tied to whiteness. Right now today, same-sex couples are denied the right to marry, with the argument that marriage is about heterosexual partnership. Does this mean that same-sex couples don't exist, or that they don't make long-term partnerships, or that they don't do any of the things straight couples do? (Well, according to my mother, the big difference between my lesbian relationship and my sisters' straight ones is that W and I spend a lot of time working on communicating well. But I wouldn't argue that it's our homosexuality that makes that happen!)
So okay. Some of this is irritation at all of the ways my relationship is dismissed, and most of that is not Wakeman's fault.
But at the same time, I am annoyed by this exclusion as a feminist. People tend to fall back on gender as an explanation for behavior at points where gender is not, in fact, the cause. Whether it is domestic discipline or the discussion of who is responsible for doing the grocery shopping, gender cannot be the answer.
Very often, I will hear straight people talking about their relationships, ascribing the challenges to the differences between men and women. Some of our (perhaps less enlightened) straight friends say they wish they weren't straight, because they think their relationship problems would go away if there weren't those gendered differences.
I am here to say that relationships--straight, gay, polyamorous--are WORK. They take work. They take HARD work. And they take a lot of it. And domestic discipline takes work. It isn't going to save you the trouble of learning how to communicate with your partner. It doesn't excuse you from being able to express your needs and desires. All DD is is a tool couples can use.
Taking gender out of the equation forces me and W to look at ourselves. It forces me to take personal responsibility for this need. I do not need it because I am a woman. The reason W does *not* need it isn't because of her gender, either.
Accepting myself for who I am is a radical act. It challenges the idea that there is only one way of doing things, only one way of being a good (take your pick: feminist, woman, Christian, pagan, black person, abuse survivor, healthy adult...). And it does challenge me to think about why it is that I have these needs. If the answer is not "because I am a woman," then I'm left with a lot of work to do on understanding myself and who I am.
I suspect some of the reason that W and I were excluded from other forums is that some people don't want to have to do the work of understanding themselves and their relationships. It is easier sometimes to exclude dissenting viewpoints, in order to not have to examine your own experiences too closely.
And Wakeman's article gave those people an out. It left a broad path by which readers of the article can dismiss DD as misogynistic, and reinforced the tendency of feminism to exclude what isn't comfortable. It also allowed those who believe that DD works because "women's behavior is inherently rife with transgressions" not to challenge that belief for themselves.
I'm not completely certain why this thing we do works, but I know it's not because my behavior is any worse than W's. I don't know why I need external discipline, but it's not because I am submissive to W.
To me, the best of feminism comes when it challenges our assumptions about how people interact with each other in the world. Wakeman's article, for all of its positive sides, doesn't do that for me.
23 March, 2008
what time do we have to get up for coffee and a spanking?
so here it is, not even nine thirty in the morning, and i've had a spanking already. it wasn't a very hard spanking, but she said i wasn't allowed to squirm, which really seemed to make it hurt more. and it's hard to control that involuntary response.
as the spanking was ending, it was like something loosened inside of me. like some knot of something untangled. not sure how to describe it. what it meant was, as soon as the spanking was over, i grabbed hold of w to hug her. i needed that hug as much as i needed the spankings.
what was going through my head? well i guess it was that for a little bit, i felt safer than i have in a long time. it's ironic that this would come from a spanking, because, you know, there's all that stuff where they talk about how it's re-enacting abuse or something, or else it's sexual.
that's not at all what went on with me.
maybe it's that some parts in the system have really been thinking about how spankings happened when i was growing up (well, beatings that were *called* spankings). and how even when it's really bad now, the worst spankings i've gotten from w, are nothing compared to the kinds of things that were doled out to little kids in my family. there's one particular memory... not gonna get into it right now, but i'll probably post it before too long, either here or at my other blog. i know there are parts who want to write about that one, but it's hard.
some of the release was just... it felt like a little barrier being taken away from my ability to trust w. like, i was able to trust her just one bit more, and that came with this feeling of release, like i had to hold onto her really hard, because all of a sudden, that was more possible for me.
because, yeah, for me, having this disciplinary relationship is a key part of my ability to trust w. the fact that she keeps on being consistent. that she will enforce the rules even when i don't want her to. that we have built up our ability to communicate, and our trust in each other.
it's not like discipline or the rules solve any of our problems.
and actually, thinking about the initial text message... it's not like i'm not still in charge of a lot of elements in our relationship. i am the one who suggests lots of the rules. and we work together to figure out when the rules are working, and when they need to be changed.
and also, there's the fact that we take my mental health into account. when the reason i haven't followed the rules is because i just couldn't handle it, then we decide together, on a case-by-case basis. because the fact is, it probably *would* be a replication of abuse to ask me to ignore what's going on inside of me in favor of following rules (specifically in this case the daily tasks; safety-related rules still have to be followed).
i think it's the communication we have to do for the discipline that helps this to re-write the patterns i learned as a child. no matter how i behave, it's clear that w still loves me, and respects me, and cares for me. and she's not going to go over the top just because she is frustrated. she's shown over and over again that she isn't going to cross those lines. and i really appreciate that.
not sure what else to say, so i guess i'll leave it at that.
09 March, 2008
but it was the sunday afternoon spanking. so w and i were talking beforehand, and i (jamie) admitted that a lot of why i didn't do my tasks last week was because sometimes i just need to push at the limits, and also that i kind of suspected the punishment wouldn't be very bad (and the spanking she gave grace on friday night just wasn't that bad).
and a lot of other stuff i can't remember or don't want to share in a public forum, but the part that matters for here is that the spankings are often just not particularly bad, and much as i HATE to get a bad spanking, once it's happened, then i am more in control of my behavior, and it's a LOT easier to be good and follow the rules without fighting, for a couple of weeks afterwards.
so i admitted that to w. and she followed through with a really, REALLY hard spanking. it was only 10 minutes, which is shorter than lots of the spankings she's given me recently, but BOY was it harder. most of the time, i can sit down on my desk chair pretty much straight after a spanking, and barely notice it. now, it's been most of an hour since the spanking, and i'm sitting down gingerly on my well-padded desk chair, and wincing at the thought of having to sit on anything harder.
and i guess the effect of a really hard spanking is this: i do NOT want to earn another spanking like that. i really, REALLY do not. and for as long as i can remember what this felt like, which is easier with a hard spanking, it will be pretty easy for me to follow through. well, presuming i can continue to trust that w really will follow through on another spanking, even if it hurts.
we're trying something new with tasks, and having them assigned by particular days, and particular parts. hopefully, that will work.
so, here's the list:
sunday: sort laundry with w's help (whoever is out, i guess)
monday: jamie: do laundry
tuesday: little kids: sweep living room and dining room; therapy; maybe go to a movie after therapy
wednesday: jamie and grace: thoroughly clean the kitchen (see notes); couples' counseling
thursday: ellis: see what's going on with the vacuum, fix it if possible; therapy
friday: jamie: vacuum all floors in the apartment.
08 March, 2008
Anyhow, I was going to post this over at This Thing We Do, but then it turned out to be four pages long, so I'm posting an abbreviated version there, and the whole thing here.
#1 most important: It's okay to be mad. It's NOT okay to be mean. This means it's good to let out anger in safe ways, like writing, playing the "explosion game," talking, drawing, hitting something safe, writing, etc. It is BAD to let out anger in ways that hurt other people, OR yourself. Even "accidental" hurting like breaking your foot by kicking a concrete garbage can. (Um, can I just clarify, I only did that *once*.)
Also in this category is not saying "whatever" to W. (As in rolling my eyes and saying "whatever." The consequence for that is getting my mouth washed out with soap. I suppose were I the type to swear at her, that would also be cause for getting my mouth washed out with soap, but it has yet to happen.) And I should do my best not be a punk or deliberately jerky or difficult. This includes “button-pushing.” This is hard to quantify, but we both kind of know what’s going on when it happens.
We have to eat three nutritious meals every day. A bagel is nutritious. A donut is not. Use your head. If you can't eat, a smoothie is an acceptable substitute. Soda is not. If I have "tummy yuck" that rule can be suspended.
Bedtime is 11:15 on school nights, 12:00 otherwise. An adult, or W, can decide on a change. "Not wanting to fight" is NOT an acceptable reason to suspend bedtime. Consequence for not following this: go to bed as much earlier the next night as I delayed the previous night. Even if the part who is out the next night isn't the one who delayed the previous night, this rule remains in effect. If you resist a second time, it's 2 minutes earlier per minute than the first earlier bedtime.
As a system, we're responsible for doing at least one "job" a day. If it's mostly the little kids out, these are things like feeding the cats or taking out the trash. If it's teens, it's washing dishes, sweeping, etc. Adults: grocery shopping, laundry, errands, major housecleaning, etc. (There have been several versions of this. Currently, it's that W will give us a set of jobs to get done during the week, and we work on them as we're able. Or that's the theory, anyways.)
NO LYING or OMISSION OF TRUTH.
I cannot read W’s mind. She cannot read my mind. I need to accept that neither of us is a mind-reader, and to be willing to say what I’m feeling, and believe her when she says what’s going on for her.
The book (where we keep notes about what works, process-related stuff, copies of the rules, and the pages of lines) gets returned to W’s bedside table. Do not destroy or hide the book. If you do destroy the book or “lose” it, then you are responsible for replicating everything that was in it, including all of the pages of lines.
Non-adult parts are NOT allowed to rescind the rules. It isn’t fair to take advantage of W’s desire to do the right thing by insisting that the rules are not helpful. It’s not acceptable to trick W into thinking that you are someone who is allowed to negotiate when you actually aren’t.
No part is allowed to “go away.” You can stay inside the head, but NOT try to get rid of yourself. We are a system, and each part is important. We have to learn how to work together, even if it’s hard.
We all have to work on being clear about which part is active, internally if nowhere else. In safe situations, we need to let trusted people know who we are.
NO ONE is allowed to run away or hurt the body. Not at all. Or to plan or threaten to do this.
No one under 14 is allowed to drive the car. No exceptions. If someone under 14 needs to switch in, we GET OFF THE ROAD FIRST. This rule is not negotiable.
No one under 20 is allowed to leave the house alone after 9 PM (except for specific, time-limited errands, like going to the store; this is only with permission). You are not allowed to trick W into thinking you’re an adult. If someone DOES sneak out, another part is entirely correct to tell W. This is serious: it’s about safety.
There’s a LOT of process-related stuff throughout the notebook, about consequences that do and don’t work, and stuff like that. One thing I want to say is, it’s kind of nice to look back and see all of the progress that *has* been made, even when it seems like there hasn’t been much. Anyhow.
I’ll try to go through and summarize what’s there.
Consequences that work:
Spankings are effective with most of the parts who do things that would earn them a spanking. They are more effective depending on the position (ie, bent over the bed vs. lying across the bed in front of W). Lighter spankings are less effective (except with the younger parts, who really don’t need a very hard spanking for it to be effective). There’s a balance between long/hard, and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what works best. A spanking that is too short, or too light, isn’t effective. One thing that would help spankings to be more effective is for W to not worry about whether it will hurt me/us. She really is not going to be able to cause serious damage.
Writing lines can be effective. It helps when it’s used to reinforce a rule that has been broken a couple of times. They work better after a spanking, rather than before, or in place of a spanking, although writing a LOT of lines can sometimes be a punishment in itself. Writing just a few lines, before a spanking, lends itself to resistance and that being ineffective.
Corner time works well mostly as a way of focusing my mind before a spanking. It helps when there’s a short lecture beforehand, making clear WHY I am standing in the corner, and keeping me focused.
Losing computer games is most effective as a punishment for Jamie. Less so for the others.
Losing the computer might be effective, but it also seems to induce some serious upset/panic, so I’m not sure whether that’s because it’s a serious consequence, or because it really is too much.
Mouth washed out with soap: as a consequence for saying things that are not okay, this is really effective.
Being “grounded” is probably an effective punishment, except that lately, I haven’t been getting out of the house for much other than therapy. But it’s still a thought in general.
Early bedtime: very effective as a response to not going to bed on time. I’m gonna rat the rest of us out, and point out that in the last bedtime negotiation, you said that bedtime would be 11:15 UNLESS RULES WERE BROKEN that day, in which case it would be 9:45.
Having extra chores, either when I didn’t do the ones I was supposed to, or as a consequence for being a jerk. This is a complicated one, because it needs to be balanced between being strict and being reasonable. But maybe if I remember that I can say “red light” or something similar if I get overwhelmed (rather than pushing limits), this would work.
One thing that comes up a lot is that it’s better to be too strict than not strict enough. Giving me extra chances results in harder pushing of the limits. We do have a safe word (red light/yellow light), and we WILL use it if we need you to stop or slow down. Anything else is mostly either a response to the punishment, or being manipulative (I think you know who I’m talking about there!).
TELLING me what to do is better than asking, particularly in the context of discipline.
Doing the consequence sooner rather than later, or making it clear that there will be a consequence (and following through on that!) is better.
W is getting MUCH better about following through on consequences, and not negotiating over the rules. That helps a LOT.
Maybe it would help W to think of her role in discipline as though it were improv. If she doesn’t commit, it won’t work. I trust her to be safe, and not to hurt me. And we’d all much rather that she made a mistake than that she did nothing.
We all respond to direct questions, and our lies are much more likely to be by omission than outright lies. So asking a direct question will help to hold us accountable.
New plan for Sunday maintenance:
Do it on Sunday afternoon.
Check in about the week that just went by, and talk about what went well, and what didn’t go well.
Corner time, with something to focus on (ie, about how the past week went).
Check in about the week to come (discuss anything that’s happening, and also give a list of tasks for the week).
JA journals for 15 minutes, and comes back to spend time with W.
07 March, 2008
the current one that we've been pushing hardest against is the one that we asked for. we asked w to give us tasks to get done each day. yeah, something a responsible adult wouldn't have to ask for. something i was expected to intuit even as a teenager--you know what needs to be done, so you should just do it. but i wasn't. i couldn't.
it's a complicated thing. some of it is because there are parts who get triggered by particular tasks, like putting away plates. some of it is because lots of us are terrified of beginning to seem to function as an adult, because the more we do that, the less it feels like we're able to get support. some of it is because, in the midst of everything else, it's so hard to be able to focus enough to break tasks down into their various pieces any more. i know i used to be able to do that, but it hasn't been happening for a long time. and some of it is because if w gives us specific tasks, that means we're not responsible for getting everything done, and it gets a little less intimidating. and helps the more, er, über-responsible parts to be able to back off before the entire house is clean, and every other concievable task has been done. presuming i/we did the task, that would be all that needed to get done.
so we asked w for some help with getting tasks done. and then discovered some problems. i don't think any of the teenaged parts really trust her to follow through with consequences. but at the same time, there's a desperation to break some kind of rules. i think even if i/we trusted her completely, we'd still be breaking the rules sometimes. i've seen it with the little kid parts: sometimes, they just need to be reassured that it's safe to break the rules, that w will still be there for us. but more, that the response to rule-breaking isn't going to be catastrophic.
had i not done expected tasks when i was in high school, things would've been out of hand. and it would have included a lot of emotional abuse, and i think there are parts who say that there would also have been physical abuse. honestly, even had i completed them, had they not been done to exacting standards, it still would have been bad.
even though i should be old enough to understand this without experiencing it, i can't quite understand emotionally that things are different, not without pushing at the rules to see what happens.
and some of it is being desperate for the reassurance from w, that she's really going to follow through, and keep on dealing with me, even if it's hard.
so i didn't do my tasks this week. and they're the same tasks, more or less, that i didn't do last week. and tonight, i got a spanking for it.
i had done some of the task (washing some of the dishes), and since w didn't say anything about consequences when she got home, just commented on the number of dishes i had washed, i kind of fell apart. it was like, "well, ok, see, i knew that she wasn't going to follow through on consequences, if i made even a token effort."
there'd been a lot of arguing to that effect. one of the things that's really hard to admit is, we don't all get along inside. and us teenagers are probably the worst in that respect. ellis is too responsible. she tends to want to do all of the work we're supposed to, and to push really hard to make sure that gets done before the fun stuff. jamie tends to like to do things that are rebellious just kind of because she likes to do things that are rebellious. and grace... well, grace kind of has trouble letting go of the idea that no one is going to help us if we look like we're even a little bit ok. and a lot of the rules center around either self-care (eating, sleeping) or around daily functioning (like tasks). and so we argue and fight.
i guess it's kind of like if we were sisters or something, not that i was ever this... communicative with my actual sisters. and not like we were ever that close in age. jamie is 14, ellis is 15, and grace... not sure exactly, but somewhere around there in age. we are kind of stuck with each other, and we have a few things in common (like, oh, living in the same body) but aside from that, we're really no more alike than if we were sisters. which is inconvenient, because it's not like we can go off and spend time elsewhere, you know?
oh, right, so back to the spanking. w hadn't said anything about the task not being finished, and so i wasn't doing so well. that was mostly grace this evening... seeing it as confirmation that even the least little bit of seeming to be ok, and i'm back being expected to cope without help.
so when w asked whether i was ready for bed, and then told me we had "unfinished business," i felt a serious wave of... relief? kind of. mingled with being nervous, because it's not like i wanted the spanking, no matter what my behavior might have indicated. i guess it's a matter of the difference between "want" and "need." i definitely needed it, but i most certainly did not want it.
so i got the spanking, and it's over, and i can only hope this will mean that i'm able to have a good week.
i can hope.
but now for a kind of gross analogy (thank you, jamie): limit-pushing is kind of like a zit. it builds up and builds up. and a spanking, or other consequence, is kind of like popping that zit. sometimes, doing it just once works fine. apply a little pressure, pus goes zooming out (ew. i hate writing with other parts!) and everything is ok for a while.
other times, it takes more than that, and the pressure builds back up again really soon.
but i (ellis) am going to add that sometimes, it will seem like the zit didn't get sufficiently popped, but then after an hour or two, the pressure backs off on its own. you know, just for the record.
one thing w talked about, and our therapist has been talking about, is how ellis needs to not have to be responsible for everything all the time. she was crying today about feeling like she has to be too responsible, and feels like she has to figure out how to get all of us to cooperate, and it's hard. and the thing is, ellis does not cry easily. and i guess it is hard on her. on the other hand, we (that is, right now, grace and jamie) also realize that ellis won't often let the rest of us do anything fun if she feels like there is work we ought to be doing. and she's not very good at listening to the rest of us, or feeling like we've listened to her if we haven't just fallen into line and done exactly what she wants. i mean, yeah, she is pretty smart. and she's made some good decisions. but she's not the only one who can make good decisions, and sometimes, things she thinks were a bad idea turn out to have been the best choice we could have made. just for the record.
04 March, 2008
It really resonated with me, and I found myself with more to say than it seemed fair to fill up the comments section of *her* blog with, so instead, I'm writing here.
For me, and I mean this collectively, I've worked for at least the past 20-odd years on being perfectly imperfect. What I mean by that is, somewhere late in grade school, and definitely by middle school, I realized that being *too* good meant that I wasn't appropriately demonstrating that everything was ok. It was vital for me to seem to be like the other kids at school. Home was something of a different story. At home, not only did I need to maintain levels of perfection that, looking back, were *insanely* difficult, but I needed to behave as though I was not, in fact, doing so. I needed to look as though I didn't consider myself to be especially good, or smart, or hard-working. So I guess some of the perfect imperfection happened at home, too.
So what could I do? I didn't have the space to make mistakes with this. It wasn't something I could really do through trial and error. I had to figure out how to be perfect without ever calling attention to the perfection (not that I achieved it, naturally. Not bragging here!)
I started by reading. I would read stories about normal kids, or kids who had access to magic but were otherwise normal, or kids who lived in the past but were otherwise normal. I would see that they made mistakes, or misbehaved. I memorized how they would respond, and practiced it in my head. Then I began to write my own stories, stories about kids who were normal, or maybe they had access to magic or lived in a different world, but were normal. That is to say, kids not going through abuse.
I did this for a couple of years, until I felt like I had some sense of where the boundaries were. How to be a little snarky in safe situations (ie, school), but not cross over the line into misbehavior.
And I learned to create a semblance of normalcy. I learned to put out a vibe that let people think that everything was ok, that the reason I didn't go to parties or really hang out except for at school functions was more that I was introverted, and not that there were things going on behind the scenes that made it impossible for me to be a normal kid.
I learned it well enough that I don't know if any of my teachers realized that the hard work I put in to doing well in school was that the only, absolutely the ONLY escape route I had been able to see was getting into college and leaving home. Because I practiced being like the other smart kids, the ones who had always known they would go to college, the ones who had some reason to be confident it would happen, the ones whose families might even be helping them to figure it out. I constantly watched the signals, figured out what to do by guesswork.
A lot of what I mean by talking about being perfectly imperfect is that I also did everything I could to act as though mistakes weren't life-shattering. By high school, I had a good sense of what "normal" looked like, and I was getting pretty good at imitating it. I don't mean that I tried to fit in much with the other kids, because there wasn't a snowball's chance of me doing that. But I *did* know that there was nothing wrong with being different, and I figured if I had the persona of being quirky, that might mask the deeper differences beneath the surface. So I was a nerd, I didn't bother trying to be fashionable. I made myself not care about not being able to do lots of normal teenaged things.
By adulthood, I realized another thing. Someone who had gone through my childhood was gonna have issues. I had issues up the wazoo. They were causing some problems.
However, I also had a community where this was... I guess normal enough. I knew lots of people who had issues, and I knew what to do. You go to therapy. You work to heal. And I knew what healing looked like, and did my best to copy that. Probably, if I didn't have DID, it would have worked.
The thing with being perfectly imperfect, though, is that the point is, you have an obstacle (lets say, oh, fibromyalgia and DID). And you accept it. And you do all of the right things, and choose to overcome that obstacle. By sheer force of will, in the Zen sense of force of will, which is to say, by accepting it and working through it, and doing all of the right things. You know, by walking with a cane and resting when necessary, but somehow, being able to continue to overcome. By going to therapy and support groups and writing in your journal and deciding that you're going to communicate with the different parts, and somehow, being able to make it all work.
I am desperate for that vision of perfection. The version where yes, these things are here, and there is something I can choose to do that will hurry me along to the place where I can continue to be perfectly imperfect. Someone with flaws, but who is able to be... I don't know. Perfect, without being perfect.
So then there's discipline, or rules, or this thing we do. And I still strive to be perfectly imperfect. I expect that maybe just by having the rules, or by breaking them very rarely, and then getting punished, then I will miraculously be able to have self control, and not need the rules any more. That I will be able to stand on my own, needing only the help that makes other people feel good for helping me, and not the help that makes other people (W) frustrated and overwhelmed.
Part of being perfectly imperfect is being able to be helped easily, with the first thing a person tries. Or, if not that, it's being able to explain clearly what it is that I need, and how to give it to me.
The fact is, though, I'm not perfectly imperfect. I'm just plain old ordinary imperfect. I hate that like poison.
I break a rule, get punished, and break it again. And again. And again.
W gets exhausted and frustrated, and I'm not able to make myself trust that she's not going to give up on me, so I marshall all of my persuasive abilities to get her to agree to stop having the rules. And then I am furious with her for giving up on me.
Or I go to therapy, and I learn strategies, or I talk about the things in the past. And somehow, it doesn't get through. I find myself unable to use the self-care strategies, and instead, spiral into things like not eating, or pulling away from the people who might be able to help me. I close off, I shut down.
Even when everyone around me insists I really am working hard, and making progress, I find myself unable to accept it. Instead, I push myself to get better faster. Or, more likely, I get furious with myself (myselves) for being unable to get better faster. I struggle to make myself do the right things, and fail. I push myself to do more, and fail.
Not quite sure where I was going with this. I guess the point is, I'm never going to achieve that level of perfection, the one where I am flawed yet perfect. I'm just going to be plain old ordinary imperfect. And I'm not sure how to allow myself to accept that.
02 March, 2008
so i guess i'm writing here.
maybe i should say something about the whole different parts thing. i don't know. not sure where that fits in, or what's ok to write.
the last post i, in the sense of "someone who is in this body" did, that was mostly jamie, and some of me. i guess i started coming out during the earlier "sunday night" spanking which i guess will now be a "sunday afternoon" spanking. i'm grace by the way.
anyhow, i guess since i was out, and there was stuff going on that i don't know what it was, so it seemed to w like i wasn't feeling any better, or that i was feeling worse. but more, that was just kind of a switch in who was out. not that the spanking hadn't worked. but i couldn't figure out how to explain that.
then we went out to a coffee shop to see some of our friends. i walked there, but someone else came out for the social stuff (not very social, since the friends are really pretty introverted, but i guess for the being around people part). but that didn't last too long, so i came home early.
i was having a hard time, but i wanted w to have a chance to spend time with the friends. so i just came home. feeling really crummy, and i *did* try to think of who to call, but there really wasn't anyone, so i didn't call anyone. just kind of buried myself in a book. good thing i had a book i wanted to read.
but then, for a whole lot of reasons, when w came home with dinner, i chose not to go eat right then. partly, it was not being up to being social, since one of our friends had come home with her. partly, it was because... i guess because it's a way of being able to express that something is wrong? i don't know. it wasn't exactly deliberate rule-breaking, and yet, refusing to go eat dinner breaks one of the big rules, and i did it... except not entirely on purpose, if that makes any sense.
but anyhow, pretty much as soon as our friend left to go home, w came in and sent me into the bedroom for a spanking. which i got. and then we talked some, which was good. and then she sent me in here to write, which i am doing. still not sure that i'm really ok being the one writing here, but i guess it doesn't really matter, and those who aren't interested aren't required to read.
maybe someone else will be out later and write something that's worth the time it takes to read. i don't know.
22 January, 2008
Today is "Blog for Choice" day, and I figured it was worth it to me to have my say on this.
In an ideal world, babies would only be concieved to parents who were prepared--mentally, physically, emotionally, financially--to give them the care and support they need. In an ideal world, no fetuses would have genetic or physical disorders that would leave their parent(s) with the choice between subjecting them to unknown pain and suffering, or having an abortion.
I am pro-choice because this is not an ideal world. And in the actual world, people have to make choices between imperfect alternatives.
I am pro-choice because I believe every child who is born should be wanted. I am pro-choice because I believe it is wrong to subject a child to a life of suffering if there are alternatives. I am pro-choice because I believe that the life of people who are already alive is more important than the lives of people who are not yet born.
The suggested topic for today was "why is it important to vote pro-choice?" So, on that, I will simply say that, even if you and those you love will never need to make a choice about abortion (and who can say for sure they won't?), there are still people who will need to make that choice.
What is more, I find that the people proposing anti-choice laws are unwilling to stop with abortion. When choice is restricted in one area, it is more easily restricted in other areas. So I vote in support of other people's right to choose, in order to protect my own right to make choices in my life.