Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Harsh Reality of Glee! or Better Personal Processing Through Television

There has been a very important storyline on Glee for the past several episodes. Coach Shannon Bieste, a very large and physically imposing woman who's also a complete softie at heart, is married to Cooter Menkins, an OSU football recruiter. 

On the May 1st episode it became known that Cooter has a temper, and that he hit Coach Bieste. It started as a joke that several of the girls made when they saw the coach with a black eye - because who would ever hit her?! But that's exactly what DID happen, and after spending the episode denying the truth, she finally admitted it to the girls, at which point they serenaded her with the most moving rendition of Florence and the Machine's Shake It Out that I've yet heard.

Here is where I really need to applaud the writers. True to life, and true to my own experience, Coach Bieste did not immediately leave her husband. Wouldn't that be tidy? We could wrap it all up in one nice little message: If someone hits you, you leave them immediately, and wow, isn't that easy? 

No, it's NOT easy, and it wouldn't have been realistic either. While I'm sure that there are people out there who have left after the first verbal or physical attack, I highly suspect that those of us who try, try again are in the significant majority.

Those of "us," you ask? Yes, Us. Just like Coach Bieste, I don't look like a woman who would allow myself to experience partner abuse, particularly more than once. Most people who meet me see me as strong, capable, self-aware, and confident. How could such a person stay in an abusive situation?

For Coach Bieste, it was her fear that she'd never find another person who'd love her. It was only when she heard her own fears in the voice of one of her students that she realized she wasn't alone, they weren't true, and that she finally took action. Watch the May 15th episode to see her transformation. She and Puck do a cover of Taylor Swift's Mean, and I have to say, I think their voices are lovely together.

For me, it was the fear of ending up alone; and not knowing how to set and honor my own boundaries, and not believing that I deserved to have entirely inflexible boundaries at all; and a false belief that leaving him would have been Quitting, and that I was not allowed to quit until I had given every single thing and every ounce of energy that I could possibly give, because "I am not a quitter."

Accordingly, when I finally left - and it was one of those dramatic 'shoving clothes into a bag and running out the door to a friend's waiting car crying and sobbing and scared for my life' events that I thought would never happen to Me - it was the end of giving everything I have just because I have it to give. Some people don't deserve everything I can give. Or, if they do in the beginning, they lose it the moment they hit me or call me nasty names during a disagreement. Them thar's my boundaries, son, and that shit just don't fly with me anymore.

When I left, it was the death knell for "I'm afraid to end up alone." I'd rather live the rest of my life alone than scared for it, or bruised and in pain, or suffering the beginnings of PTSD, or walking on eggshells because I never know when he's gonna start yelling at me next.

Now, you've got to be aware... if they were like that ALL the time, we'd never have gotten involved with them in the first place! They are often very sweet, loving, passionate people, if damaged, and it occurs to Us that it's for that loving side of them that we stay. But it's also for our own damage that we stay, because no fully self-respecting, self-loving, and self-honoring person would allow that kind of abuse (unless it has been explicitly negotiated and serves some other purpose, as in a BDSM context).

So it is that I am extremely proud to be a fan of Glee, and that I applaud their writers for portraying the challenging truths about partner abuse. By taking the honest road, they have allowed me to see myself in Coach Bieste's struggle, and I have cried for who I was and what I went through. Instead of portraying Shannon's husband as a villain, they showed him as a man under stress, repentant for his actions, with a quick trigger toward violence. I think that was the right choice. Making him a "bad man" would have been too easy. 

Besides, it's never really about the other person anyway. It's about your own ability and willingness to stand up and say, "I deserve better, and I will have it NOW."

To all of you who have experienced partner abuse and left, I applaud your courage. For those of you still in abusive situations:

You are not alone, and you deserve better.

Copyright 2012, M. Makael Newby, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

E-Dating Don'ts - #2 Don't be a pest.

Do NOT keep contacting someone every day after they've told you they'll get back to you soon.

He contacts me at 9 AM on Wednesday, but his profile is incomplete and I tell him so. He apologizes, finishes his profile and messages me again, and again, and again, finally asking if I've run away after reading it.
My response:
"No, I've been extremely busy living my life! I probably won't see your profile until Saturday. Have a wonderful end to the work week!"

He apologizes for being a pest, but he's just so excited and hopes I'll get back to him soon.

On Thursday, he messages me again, and again, and again. Ever single time I receive his message, I am reminded of something that I still have to do in the future, and it takes my focus away from whatever I'm currently doing in the present.

My final response: 
"I told you I'm busy. I told you I'd get to your profile ON SATURDAY and get back to you. Today is FRIDAY. Every single time you send me yet another message, even a small one, you are showing me that you DIDN'T LISTEN, and that you can't respect boundaries. You're doing the adult male version of, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom!! Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Accordingly, thanks for helping me come to a decision about my interest in you. Thank you, and no, I'm not interested. Have a lovely weekend and good luck finding exactly what you seek on OKC!"

NOW - I have to apologize to the offending suitor. It may not be that he doesn't respect boundaries, only that he's overly enthusiastic, and not exercising the requisite self-control to keep it in check. My mistake. I'm totally sticking by Didn't Listen, however.

DO listen to the other person's response, and honor their timeline.

If someone says that they're busy and will get to your message on Saturday, do not message them again until Sunday.

If they say that they'll get back to you "soon," or using some other term that has no specific definition as a time period, wait at least one week before checking in again.

If you have checked in after a week, and you do not get a response, leave them alone. If they are interested, they will contact you. In the world of E-Dating, you are not entitled to closure.

Persistence is checking in every 2-4 weeks. Multiple emails to a total stranger each day is Being a Pest.

Copyright, M. Makael Newby, 2012 - All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 18, 2012

E-Dating Don'ts - #1 Don't be blank.

Do NOT contact someone when your profile is blank.

Really? What am I supposed to glean from a blank profile that's going to make me want to talk with you?

"Ooooh, a blank profile. Finally, a complete mystery!" NOT.

DO put quality content into your profile. 

Tell me a bit about who you are, and what you're seeking from this site. Remember, I'll be reading your profile looking for the following:

Do we want similar things?
Can he provide what I want?
Am I a fit for what he's seeking?
Is this someone I'd enjoy talking to if we ever met?

If your profile is blank, or populated with one-liners (EX: Self-Summary I'm a nice guy looking for love. What I'm Really Good At Cooking.), you aren't giving me enough information to determine the answers to the aforementioned questions.

If I've got a ton of free time on my hands, and I'm on the site just to meet as many people as I can, I may choose to meet you anyway! If, on the other hand, I'm serious about finding a partner with whom I can create a deeply fulfilling relationship, you are wasting my time.

One liners tell me that you aren't really serious. You're just poking around on this site. Which is fine! And, it may not get the results you want. Your profile doesn't have to be a masterpiece (like mine, *cough cough*), but it does need to tell me enough to spark some interest, enough for me to be curious to discover more.

So set aside an hour and put some energy into your profile. The results you get will likely be consistent with what you put into it.

Copyright, M. Makael Newby, 2012 - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Appeal of (Self-)Control

Yes, yes, it's well known that I'm a service submissive. I hate to say no, I love to please, and I enjoy giving the control to my partner both in bed and out of it. However, that doesn't mean that you can simply walk up, say hello, and pin my hands behind my back! I don't know you – we just met! Before I'm a sub, I'm a grown woman, and I need to be Wooed before I can be Taken.

You couldn't help yourself, you say? Well, that's about the perfect approach to make me end this quickly, and here's why... What happened to your Self-Control?

Stealing a kiss may seem a little thing, but stealing three, or five, particularly in the face of my resistance and discomfort, sets a precedent and a pattern. Similarly, your lack of self-control raises the following questions:

How can you control me if you can't control yourself?
Power exchange is a complex undertaking. True, first and foremost, as a sub it's my responsibility to control myself in your service. That said, you still need to be the one running the show, plotting the course, and guiding the action. If you can't control your own impulses in the most basic of circumstances, how can I expect you to succeed with the added responsibility implicit in a scene?

How can I trust you to honor my boundaries in the future if you can't honor them now?
You kiss me, I lean back slightly. You lean in further, grab me and pull me closer. I squeal and lean away again, and say, "I need more time. I need you to go more slowly." If, soon thereafter, you grab me and forcefully pull me close again and plant another passionate kiss on me, we've got a problem! 

I do not want to say no to you, but my boundaries are my responsibility. If I speak them and you roll over them, you have just become UNSAFE. What happens when a boundary shows up while I'm tied to the bed... will you roll over that one as well? 

Not speaking my boundaries is on me. Once I speak them, it's on you. If you then do not give me the space I've requested, I WILL start pushing back, and pushing you away. If you don't want that, get a grip on the larger picture and back the fuck off.

How can I trust you to be the one in charge, if all it takes is a blink of my eyelashes or a flash of skin for you to give in?
If you are so enraptured by my beauty that you simply can't resist me, you have just given ME the power, and I don't want it! 

Be the man in this relationship - be stronger and more clever than me. Don't let yourself be manipulated by my beauty and charm. There is something extremely sexy in a man who can resist me, who can say, "Yes, I see that you are lovely, and I desire you, and I'd love to touch you right now. And, I am willing to sit right here until you come to ME to be touched." Now THAT's control.

So when I tell you that I need more space, step back and give it to me. Want what you want, but do not think that you can simply step in and take it. It MUST be freely given. Taking what you want right now is the booby prize, and will ultimately cost you the game. Show me that you are strong enough to resist me, that you are in control of your desires instead of the other way around, that you have enough insight and vision to see beyond an urge to what's possible, and the wisdom to allow it to mature. 

The vine of a fledgling relationship will not grow faster because you yank at it... tugging only disturbs and weakens the roots. Nurturing the foundation, with safety, honor, respect and integrity, will allow for succulent fruit and the delicious taste of success and fulfillment. 

Believe me, I'm worth your patience.

Copyright, 2012 - M. Makael Newby - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Vanilla Adventure

I only came to think of him as Vanilla after he started proudly chanting, "You like a Vanilla!" Before then he was just the guy I was dating, one with curiosity and some good instincts, if no previous D/s experience. And then he started calling me "Kitten," and it was all downhill from there.

"Downhill" in that I fell for him, fairly hard. "Fairly" in that I only got to see him every other week, due to his co-parenting responsibilities, that we knew we were coming to this relationship from disparate backgrounds (Him: old-fashioned Southern gentleman married for 19 years; Me: alternative sexuality educator, recently divorced after a short marriage), and that there was always a question of whether or not we'd find "enough" common ground.

Nonetheless, we're both what he calls "love bombs" - complete lovers and givers - and we co-created a feedback loop of sensual, loving touch, fully-expressed and adventurous sex, curiosity, open communication, and spoiling one another that transformed my experience of how a relationship could be. He gave me the chance to Allow myself to be spoiled by another, and to give completely to someone safe, and that is a gift. I hope he hasn't spoiled me TOO much. :)

You see, I expanded his horizons so much that when he recently visited his ex-GF, for the first time since we'd met, and told her all about us and our adventures, she at first recoiled. Then, she thought it was hot, and they ended up in bed together. (Which, on it's own, is so not a problem for me, though I'd have wished to know about that possibility in advance.) And now, rather than exploring his D/s potential with Me, he's going to investigate what's possible with Her. *sigh*

Now, to be fair, this happened on the very same day that I told him that I need to also date explicitly Dominant men to discover how much D/s I need. We were both sad, uncertain of whether or not his traditional mind could handle me romantically dating other men. Two hours later, however, he'd made his peace – so much so that he took me in front of the living room picture window in the most D/s sexual act we'd ever performed together! I was thrilled, and tingling for the rest of the day. I had renewed hope, and was VERY excited to continue our D/s experimentation together.

Alas, it seems that he'll be taking that experimentation elsewhere - not because HE wishes to stop seeing me, but because SHE cannot handle him seeing us both. They're wondering if the kind of openness and experimentation that I brought to his life is part of what was lacking between them before. He has to find out or he'll always wonder.

Here's the funny...

He now (finally) understands how someone could be poly.
If it hadn't been for me, he wouldn't be back together with her.

Accordingly, I'm sad. I love the man, and for the foreseeable future, I will miss not only his kisses and the addictive way that he touched me, but his laughter, his humor, his genuine caring, his insight and self-awareness, his generosity of spirit, and so much more.

AND, I'm very fulfilled in my mission. I got to BE an extraordinary, loving partner, and I got thoroughly loved and spoiled in return. Yay! I found (and encouraged) a lost dominant lamb, and led him back to the herd. He's just chosen another shepherdess, I suppose, and I thoroughly support his choice to follow his heart, even if that leads him away from me.

We both have investigation to do - apparently we'll be doing it separately. Losing "us" has created a big open space in my world. I choose to trust that the Universe has something even better on deck.