Things used to be different, very different around here. Despite what my husband believes I am not trying to romanticize the past. We have had our struggles within the context of D/s and we have had our struggles in so many other aspects of our lives as well- I suspect the latter, especially now, is more comment than not with many these days. So I bought a dating book.
Can I blame the pandemic? In part, perhaps a bigger part than I am willing to admit as I do not work outside of our home and B works directly with the public. Perhaps it is my ever fluctuating hormonal levels due to the slow transition into my father that has been occurring due to my age? But perhaps it is history repeating itself over and over again eroding trust and creating barriers that I had long thought were gone, or worse solidifying new ones for B? Of course the simple answer would be to just plow through, and there is definitely merit to that- a great deal of merit. However while plunging through may give instant results on the surface, the underlying issues that cause disconnect or confusion can still remain. I discovered long ago I need to know why I react or feel a certain way about something. Trust me I truly wish I could just go with the flow and ride the wave to a better place not looking back- to me that seems most idealistic.
A little back story, years ago I used to be what I refer to as a ‘runner’. Sadly, not in the ACTUAL, physical sense. I would run from my emotions. I perfected it actually. When I was a kid and well into my teens, my eyes would well up at even the slightest hint of a a serious conversation, especially with my Dad. Anyway I won’t bore you with details, but tears were my deal, happy, angry, worried, relieved, everything but sadness for some odd reason. I trained myself to stop that. Insert ttwd and for the first couple of years all of those tears I trained myself to hide came pouring out. I know this isn’t unusual for those in the lifestyle. Emotions take on an entirely new life of their own once we start.
Eventually life evened out and not only did I embrace certain emotions I flourished because of them. It was during this time I wrote a post entitled Fear. I mention this post because in it I write about The Core Gift Theory and I find myself with a greater understanding of it’s premise now than I did before. While I wish I felt like I did when I wrote that post- in fact I’d give ANYTHING to feel that again, I know we have work to do in order for me to get there again.
I have a tendency to make my posts rather long so please forgive me for not explaining the above paragraph more and boldly suggesting you read it if you are curious so I can hopefully get to my point sooner- though no guarantees.
So why did I buy a dating book? You can never be too prepared for the future and it’s options. I’m kidding. I bought it because I reread my old post discussing my Core Gift and the bullseye theory. The Fear post basically talks about how I feel when I’m on the bullseye which is a wonderful idea, but currently I am not there and the dating book discusses how or why we react to not being there. I needed to know and more importantly I think I needed B to know why I react to things the way I do. Initially I believe that is why I bought the book, but now I need to know why so that I can accept it and not feel ashamed. Let me see if I can explain a bit better.
The book I purchased after clicking along further on the Psychology Today blog when rereading my old post .I’m not saying necessarily that my Core Gift is my submission. I actually haven’t finished the book or the work that goes along with it to determine what my core ‘gifts’ are. What I can tell you is that through submission my core gifts, whatever they may be, are exposed.
What does this have to do with submission if I am not sure submission it’s self is my core gift? It has to do with how I react when my submission is brought to the surface. A quote that resonated with me was,
“ our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts“
( I’m too many years out of school to cite this reference, or numerous ones coming properly so forgive me plagiarism police).
When I am feeling like I am moving toward my submissive self in anyway, I can also feel the most hurt if something happens to pull me back from that direction. I could argue that it should take me a long time to feel that deep hurt if I am longing to go into that direction, and for years it really did. I set my track to my core and did everything and anything to try to keep my mind and heart focused on that area. But life has a way of wearing you down at times and sadly I can say I haven’t been as resilient as I had hoped lately.
Along with things within our house that toyed with my journey, I would say that other things have played a huge part. The book goes on to discuss how when we are in or near our Core, we attract like minded people and they are drawn to us as we are to them. In a submissive context I can most certainly say this was without a doubt true for me.
I used to believe that my submissive/Dom friends augmented our dynamic through discussion when our dynamic slowed or struggled, and in part that is true, however I now view it differently. Those relationships more augmented me not my dynamic. Their acceptance of my authentic self, not one I presented to others but who I really was, helped me stay closer to that self. And I know the reverse was also true. It was more than just believing in me when I couldn’t, it was feeling me when I became too afraid to feel and wanted to run to the outer circles away from my core.
” When someone recognizes our gifts, those gifts are given licence to come alive, to become generous, expressive and brave. The truth is, we need each other in order to grow- learn” ( pg 9)
I still have these friendships, it has just ‘been a year’ for everyone. The conversations and revelations have been far different due to many distractions and lack of emotional energy because of them. So a deep part of me feels like it has been on pause ( again why I became interested in this book to begin with).
What is it that I need B to understand, and what do I need to acknowledge so I can push past and recreate? There is another zone outside of my core, Ken Page calls this The Zone of Protection. He goes on to say that while being in or closer to our core, we often ‘set up shop’ here. It is a place where we can feel the heat of our core, but not be burned by it. I’d definitely say I have been setting up shop here more and more over the past year, but thankfully haven’t moved into the furthest zone from my core. Page explains:
“When our core gifts are touched, our reactions have a greater charge than usual, we may feel deeply inspired, highly emotional or surprisingly hurt”
And as a result to being surprisingly hurt or highly emotional I leave my core area or my approaching journey toward it, usually by way of distancing followed by some sort of meltdown (I’m not proud, just honest )
“In your relationships, you may become prone to becoming angry or distant, when you feel wounded around your Core Gifts. When you feel inspiration, validation, and acceptance around them you will shine” ( pg 38)
I feel a sense of loss when my submission is engaged, and step 2 tends to be missing, or timely.
I shall give an example as opposed to just quoting this entire book. Not too long ago B decided to use ice as a way for me to engage my submission. He placed it in the usual spots, and it burned (not all sexual spots by the way) and then for whatever reason, he ran it all over my face, and lips. Again this was not a sexual thing. For some reason, at the time unknown to me it deeply affected me. When I start to become engaged in a significant way toward my submission, or my defenses/walls come down for those who don’t identify with the word, I tend to go very quiet for a while especially later. B ,out of frustration not long after brought up how I was ‘not reacting’ to him. He did not remember that as contradictory as it may be, me not reacting is actually me reacting in a very significant way. I felt crushed for many reasons. Prior to his comment, I had so many things inside I needed to share and wanted to talk to him about- why it seemed so odd for me and what I had discovered. Instead, that vanished. The thoughts were there but the feeling of giving every last aspect of myself over to him was gone.
” Core Gifts are often things we are ashamed of – try to fix or hide”
“Also the place we love from most fully”
“most of us have had minor or major “car crashes” around our gifts, because our deepest immaturities and greatest points of dysfunction usually surround these gifts. Without a good deal of hard work, we will keep making the same two basic mistakes around our Core Gifts: suppressing them or acting out (expressing them in ways that are harmful to ourselves and others) in connection with them. Whenever a gift hasn’t had a chance to mature, there will be a lack of grace in the way we express it, usually shown in behavior that is overly aggressive or unnecessarily timid.
“Our tears are a great gift because they reveal what matters most to us”
My take away from this is that my closing up isn’t a complete failure to accessing my core it is a sign that we are definitely on our way there, it is just that pushing on has stopped. I have to relearn some of my responses and trust that things will be fine despite what I feel in that moment. I have to push aside the fear and the insecurity and stop distancing and moving away from my core. It is far different now than it was years ago when I first wrote my post on Fear. Back then I had been in the centre of the bullseye and stayed very close to it. Sometimes it is worse to dip your toes in the water and then be pushed back up on shore. The same must be true for B. There was a time he stood solid where he was, even if he believed it was briefly- we differ in our memories here.
The solution? To acknowledge why it happens, when it happens but more importantly to try to stay in the good zone mentally and emotionally longer and longer each time. Ken Page claims,
” These moments are more than merely moments, they actually portals” going on to say the more time we enter them the more our ability…”