Thursday, July 10, 2008


Tomorrow is my sisters wedding. I've been fairly ambivalent about this because well... it's a family social function which is generally shall we say less than the optimum of stress free experiences.

I was rather shocked when my sister announced she was getting married. She has been with her boyfriend for 24years. She has been engaged for 22years. She has two kids with him. It's always been a source of distress for her though that they weren't married. She always wanted it (especially because she knows my mum disapproved early on of them living together unmarried or hum hummed and made them sleep in seperate rooms when they came to visit, pre-the-kids). It always stressed her she never married. It always made her feel... less... I think than the other two of us who did marry (even though mine ended after ten years). I think it was that little girl dream of being married and committed and happily ever after. It's been bothering her more recently as the kids grew older and adults started noticing her surname didn't match theirs. She didn't want to just change her name... and her bf knew this was bothering her and so he finally said, lets go ahead with it.

I could understand that, for practical reasons. Even if society has moved on about unmarried parents it bothered her and made her feel less of a family. Not my reasons, but I could understand it. She said initially, a small registry office wedding followed by dinner afterwards. This felt good to me. Family only, no friends. Intimate. Unfussy. Well Un-weddingly actually but appealing to my sentiments of being a confirmation of previous commitments rather than any flashy showoff or ultimately for the guests.

Of course it grew. I thought feature creep was bad in software development but it has nothing on wedding plans! The first step was the registrar telling my sister that she had to make sure she had a nice wedding dress if she wanted one as you only get married for the first time once (yes... she did say the first time once). Enjoy it, make the most of it. So, the plan of a nice gown which she could wear again to a ball apparently transformed into a white wedding dress. The dinner for family into a more formal reception. Little little things being added so my sister stressing more. If you think i am a panicker, you should meet my sister!

I spoke to her on Saturday and she was stressing a bit about how she would have time to do it all, how she would manage to get the table decorations done as she had to do it the day before her wedding, etc, etc. I told her to stop worrying about all the details, all the other people and that everything was perfect for them and to stop putting pressure on herself or she wouldn't enjoy it as she would have too many expectations, too many things she was worrying about for other people, when no one else mattered apart from them. I hope she really does try and relax and enjoy the time for her and stop trying to make it perfect!

I am very excited though because Kay's coming with me for the first time. I know this was hard for my ex and for my son to begin with but it was what I wanted. This is my family, my families occasion. Not my ex's family even if she gets on with them. I know my boy found it hard to begin with that his Mum wasn't coming but that I was inviting Kay... but... I want Kay there for me. I want Kay to keep me company. I want Kay there so it will be fun for me. I want Kay there so I can show her off to my family as she is my girlfriend. I want her there just so I get to see her for a little bit.

So, for both Kay and for my sister as its her special occasion I made the effort tonight and will put on a tie and put on the suit jacket despite grumbling upto now saying I'd probably just stick to a smart shirt and trousers. I hope it goes well, and it'll be nice to be a smart pup for once for both of them.

Hey it might actually be fun :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How much does a collar weigh?

When I asked for my collar (and for some reason I don't really think of it as having it back, it's different this time so in some ways as we are different people, its a new collar for a new time in a new way) I knew that it wasn't just a light and fluffy "oh I'm hers isn't this nice" kind of thing. I know it means responsibility. Yes it means care for me, being treasured, loved, protected, looked after but it's a two way thing and I know that asking for it means responsibility on my side. All the nice stuff. Looking after her. Looking out for her. Adoring her and stuff and helping her out. Protecting her. Yeah that kinda happens anyway though because, well I love her.

No, what it adds most on my side I think is the responsibility for what it means to be hers - which is dealing with things which keep me away from her. Physically. Emotionally. Looking after myself in what I eat, how I am, when I am ill. Dealing with things I struggle with and facing them and trying to get past them and not running away. Being honest. Not hiding things. Working on them. Of course the advantage is I have my friend on my side and I know she loves me foibles and all and in the end she wants me to be happier because its good for me. So uncomfortable it maybe but I can be honest and she will be honest back with the hard truths and I can trust what she says.

So I feel that again. Responsibility for how I am. That I am accountable for my actions and my behaviour and what I do. It reflects on her and also it affects how much she gets to enjoy me. I want to be a happy, balanced, responsible pup so she can enjoy me and not worry or be distracted. That she may point out things which distract her from enjoying me and will expect me to deal with them as best I can.

*smiles* thats a funny thing. The weight of a collar. I guess I like having a puppy collar for that reason, it's thick, it has a certain heft to it. It has prescence. I am not trying to make it sound like a burden, it's not. But it's not just happy airy feelings and the weight of the collar makes me feel the seriousness of the descision made. Makes me feel the permamence of it. It also reminds me of the strength of the bond and the promise behind it and the security it provides.

Hmmm no this is not the blog I intended to write, it just kinda happened by itself. Weird huh?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Yay me!

It's always bugged me that the shower head dribbled at the connection and also it was too limescaled up. So I just replaced it and found that it had two washers in it not one so it wasn't making a tight fit. So our water pressure still sucks but at least now we have a nice new shiny shower head which is all unblocked and doesnt dribble! I love my showers!

Recognising changes

The previous post was straightforward and practical so I wanted to make a record of how I handled it inside, in relation to my normal oddities and foibles and stressedness. I got there very out of breath as I had got stuck in traffic and it was a bloody long walk from the hospital entrance to the clinic! Nothing like rushing to take your mind off things. I wasn't actually really nervous. It's kinda odd, more things I learn about my anxiety. If I know what I am doing and why then the fact I don't know exactly how things work is quite managable and less stressful as I am focussed on it.

This is however a big change to how I used to be as I used to worry myself sick before interviews, appointments, would I make a fool of myself and sound stupid. Would I not know where to go or what to do. Why was I going. Lots of stupid things like that. Now though, there is some intertia to get over but I know there is nothing really to be scared of. I can ask questions. I can talk. I can make small talk occasionally with staff. I can push myself and handle these simple practical situations. I may need to make more of an effort than some people who just take it in their stride but just like flying to the other side of the world, break things down into little steps and then you don't get so overanxious or stressed. Get there. Go in. Do this. Do that. Keep focus. It really does work and I know its a huge change from how I was a few years ago. It opens up the possibility I can do this more and more and learn to relax more when doing things with other people too and the tension that comes up then. It's not about other people doing this naturally, its about the change in me and the gains I have made and the fact it opens new doors (which are hard too when I start with them). I was tense at times in New York trying to make sure Scarlett had a good time and she had to tell me to relax. Realistically though, some time before that and I would never have been able to go to meet her. Some time before that I would have had panics about going to see the counsellor... let alone telling a doctor that I liked SM. So, signs of the change and promise of what can come.

The first receptionist was busy so I had to go to the other one who (of course) was young, blonde, cute with a gorgeous outfit on and lovely long hair. I don't *think* I blushed too badly. I didn't stammer thats for sure. I did have a smile to myself as I watched various of the very pretty young nurses and admin staff wander in and out counting the number of them that had very nice little heeled boots. Well. It was a long wait, I had to keep myself busy.

Sexual Health Checkups

I wasn't going to write anything publically about going for a sexual healthcheck but after having been through the experience I decided it might benefit those who had thought "oh I should" but not been too sure or been too nervous about going or otherwise found excuses not to.

The clinic I went to in the UK is attached to a major hospital so you have to walk all the way through the hospital to get to it, but once there it felt private and very much different than the rest of the hospital. It was more modern, better laid out, much more like a doctor's surgery than one of the normal specialist areas in a hospital. Those who have been in a UK hospital will know what I mean - there is a certain "functionality" of the design and decor over style. Not that it's not clean... its just designed to serve a purpose and be maintainable rather than feel comfortable. This was much more like an office waiting room. The receptionists were friendly. The reception designed nicely so that even though it was open on their side for them to talk between each other, on our side it was divided by barriers to give you privacy from anyone else that was speaking to another receptionist. Whilst some of the receptionists were young they were very friendly and efficient, asking if it was my first time and asking me to fill in a registration form and wait.

And wait. And wait. My appointment was at 10.45 and I didn't get called until 11.30. I kept hearing other people that get called that weren't actually in the waiting room so I assumed there must be a second waiting room actually inside the clinic. It was big enough though that people could sit discretely away from each other if they wanted, whilst they did the nervous and I need a pee and why haven't I been called yet bum shuffle.

They called my name. Well called my name twice as I ignored it the first time as it disappeared into that general buzz that you get from loudspeaker announcements and told me the room to go to. This and the long wait were my only real nervousness about the whole experience and I don't think I was the only one. Everyone waiting kinda looked at each other going "what did they say?" when the voice came over the speakers. I guess one of those shared nerves things, I may drop them a note to mention it as I don't think I was the only one and they have obviously gone to a lot of effort to make people feel at ease. When I did hear my name I went off to the room mentioned and knocked on the door and went in. It was a nice older lady doctor waiting. The room was really well laid out with the examing table at the far end of the room and her seated by a table just as you came in, with your chair just by the door, 90 degrees to her. I don't know if this was intentional but it worked very well. None of that long walk across the room to the doctor which can be intimidating or having them directly opposite you and peering over a table at you. I suspect actually that they have spent some time thinking about this.

She started asking a few simple questions but was very conversational then stopped herself and said she should explain about the unit. It was completely independent in its records. It had its own lab for smear and urine samples. Blood samples would be sent off to the main lab but would be coded anonymously by an internal patient number. No reports would be released to your local doctor or anyone else. She stressed the confidentiality of it and that they saw themselves as a service. She explained what they could test for. That the process would involve a discussion of why I was there followed by a urethral swab, a physical check of testical, penis, etc, for any swelling or infection and then the urine sample. The swab and sample would be processed immediately for initial results and then final results would come back on the longer term tests. They could offer a blood test if I wanted for syphillis and HIV for completeness. She explained the meanings of the results, the time period it takes for HIV to come out so when you would need a retest if it was something you were worried about.

This was all very reassuring and again, kind of different to the experience I have had with doctors before who have always been kind of rushed with consultations and got onto the practical buts without taking time to explain.

So we sat and asked about my past history and it was all very straightforward. Most recent partner, activities. Details of any other partners in the last six months. Any symptoms. Any other concerns. She wasn't rushed but quite happy to discuss things and happy to admit I didn't quite fit in any of their standard categories of which tests to perform. I mentioned I was involved in BDSM relationships. She took this quite easily in her stride except I had to explain what the B and D were as she hadn't heard that before... so from then on I just refered to it as S&M to save repeating that. She mentioned they offered Hep B immunisation as it was often was easier than at a local GP who tends to ask lots of questions why. We talked about it and agreed it would be a good idea because of the possibility of coming into contact with it at play parties. She gave me a piece of paper with the things they could test for and when the results would be available and also an indication of how treatment would proceed if any were found positive.

Then the physical exam, she drew the curtains around the examining table so that if anyone walked in it was screened from the door. Told me to lower my trousers and underwear. First a check of my testicles whilst I stood up. A few pokes and prods and her saying it might be uncomfortable and asking if it hurt anywhere. Then laying back on the table (do you know how hard it is to climb up onto an examining table with your trousers round your ankles?) and her examining again and around my penis and foreskin. It actually wasn't at all embarrasing and she said immediately she didn't see any problems. Then the urethral swab. A little stick with a swab on the end pushed a little way into the urethra. She said to look at the ceiling and it would feel mildly uncomfortable and sting but would pass quickly. I didn't have the heart to tell her I've used a sound. I was impressed though that as always she explained what was going on.

Then she led me to the bathroom. Gave me the cup to pee in and said pee to the given line and then the rest down the toilet. Leave the cup in the little hatch in the wall to be collected, go and sit in the second waiting room and wait to be called. Again, clear instructions.

More waiting and then called by first name to the nurses room. Sit up on the bed and first blood from one arm and then the Hep B in the other arm. The nurse was nice and went and got a vaccination booklet and filled in the date and gave me a leaflet about possibly side effects, etc. I asked what next so she looked to see I hadn't got my results and told me to go wait back in the waiting room.

After more waiting. Called again by the first doctor. This time she made sure she spoke my name clearly as I had said I had struggled to hear it the first time. She told me straight away all was fine. She asked how I wanted the results, to either call and get them or to get an anonymous text. I said by text and she filled it in on a slip of paper for me to hand over to reception. She handed me another piece of paper explaining about the text service and that it would either say "All is clear" or "Phone the clinic on xxxx" and that it would be in ten days time. Very efficient. I asked when the next Hep B was needed (as they have different schedules depending on if you are at risk) and she looked and saw the nurse hadnt said, so she ticked the box for a nurses appointment one month later.

She told me to hand over the slip of paper to reception when I left but to go wait one more time as the health advisor would see me before I left. So go wait again. Called to a different room, a different lady. Very friendly. This room laid out obviously as an education room with samples of condoms and things for those that needed them as well as penis models to teach people how to use them. Less medical looking and just casual chairs facing into the centre of the room. She explained that they always saw someone on a first visit to make sure they understood what was going on and what it meant. I thought this was a great approach even though things were fairly straight forward with me. She went through my notes. Repeated what had been done and why. What happened next. Asked if I had any questions. She made comment about the Hep B and I explained why, that I was involved in SM situations even if at the edge. She agreed it was a wise precaution. Again, no hint of judgement. We talked about the possible implications of bisexuality and spread of HIV. She asked me what the biggest risks would of being involved with men in an SM situation. I gave my thoughts and she agreed that they showed a reasonable awareness and reiterated the needs for care. She didn't lecture though and she seemed to fully respect the fact I said I was there because I wanted to be responsible for my sex life. She told me they had a booklet specifically for men involved in SM with other men, just in case that did occor, did I want it as they didn't keep it on display. I said sure and she spent a good ten mins off trying to find it before deciding that they must have run out and not reordered. She looked quite annoyed about that as she said it was really good. She obviously really did care about trying to spread information on the subjects at hand and she mentioned about the internet, etc, as a good resource instead. I was very impressed with her open and practical attitude, promoting awareness even if it was on the fringe of what you might experience just in case things went further.

Then I left. Handed in my slip and made the appointment for the Hep B stage 2 and wandered off. All in all it took about 2 hrs, so half hour over the original "90 mins" they told you to plan for but it was a very straightforward, routine and well organised experience. The staff were professional but still managed to be friendly and not keep that aloofness which you sometimes see in the medical profession. This made things a lot less stressful and I am very glad I did it.

I didn't expect there to be anything wrong and am glad to be proved right but I am also very glad I took the responsibility for myself and those I am with to find out for sure. I don't really know how I can say "I love you" to both of my very much beloved and adored partners without trying my best to take care of them.

Heaven is..

being able to pee when you want to!

Ahhhhhhhhh bliss!!!

Wrapping up

Just got my cellphone bill emailed in. It was high, I knew it would be, but not absurd. Calls back to the UK to check on the boy and Mum and Nan and Kay. Calls in the USA to arrange things with sae and MzA or chase where our power was. I kinda split it between my work phone and home phone so I knew it wouldn't be silly, and also, I was quite prepared for it.

The nice thing is it comes in under the amount of the deposit, so its money I've already factored in. I will go chase Jewel to see whether she was happy with the state of the apartment. Last credit card bill came in too (hehe nice to come home to) so basically everything will be paid off by midmonth and then I can start planning again :D

It's so great when a plan comes together. Kinda like thats everything from this trip all wrapped up and it all worked out fine with the amount of overtime I had planned, so I could spoil Scarlett rotten and she would know it was all taken care of and not feel like she was putting on me. Lol, of course I am not promising next time will be as extravegant, hehe but lets face it... I only got to meet her for the first time once so it deserved to be a special time.

God is a sadist

And I have proof.

I have a hospital appointment this morning and so am not allowed to pee until then. For the last hour or so I've laid in bed listening to the rain splash down over the back roof of the house.

What more proof do you what that he is a sadist than that???

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday blues

I'm feeling kind of "eh" tonight. A little lonely. A little lost.

I'm home from my parents and from dropping my boy off at his mums. I took my son down there to play with my niece (who is still over from the USA) and apart from when he was being a little sod they had a great time. So I know it's a mixture of things:

I don't feel well (sore throat, achey, hot, probably down to coming back to a rather wetter and cooler climate as well as sharing all those lovely germs). Thats a big (probably biggest) contributing factor as it's always harder to be positive when you are feeling "eh".

The quietness after being around people all weekend.

I am missing having Scarlett around a lot, thats tue, but whilst I miss her thats not really contributing to it. I know she is close to me even though I can't hold her. I mean don't get me wrong, I so wish she was here to cuddle on and laugh with and there is an ache where she is absent but there is a sort of promise there that I know it's an unfinished story and there are more chapters to come. I may not know when it will happen, but it will... and I so look forward to them.

The biggest thing preying on my mind at the moment though is a conversation with my landlady last night. We had a falling out some time ago and we haven't really spoken since. I will hold my hand up. I lashed out at something. I didn't handle it well. Whilst I don't think that changes that I had a point, the way I reacted was bad and because I kept my mouth shut to avoid confrontation and let it bug at me til it came out badly. Very much a sign of the "old me" and how I try not to do things now. Letting it fester til it explodse. So, I am not proud of the situation even if I think the reason it bothered me was valid.

It's been bugging at me for awhile now as we haven't really spoken since. I know she's been avoiding me online as well as just general life things keeping her away. I don't like bad feeling like that lingering around. Well. We talked last night and it was uncomfortable. It's hard to read things online sometimes but the implication definitely felt that she saw me as being overstretched, overtired, overemotional, tetchy, oversensitive. That I had stretched myself too far with the trip to the USA and got myself worked up into a state and that was why I was like I was so she had avoided me til after it.

We talked a little. I told her I love her, which I do. We may butt heads occasionally but she has always meant the world to me and I do love her even if we bug the hell out of each other. It was quite tense though. She said she didn't like that side of me, didn't know it was there and didn't want to see it again. I said I reacted badly but I thought I had a point. That's by the by though. The uncomfortableness has left me unsettled. The distance between us, especially that she felt she had to avoid me for so long. The worry that it's a distance too far and I have lost something precious that can't be remade. Also... also... this is hard to explain. The feeling that I was being told just why I was wrong really rattled me. The whole thing of, you were having a tantrum because you were stressed because of this, that, the other... having someone whose opinion matters to me classifying me into a box of "avoid because unstable" it hurts a lot. It digs back to a lot of past things I think, especially Dad and my teachers dismissing me like that of... "oh its just because he...". Almost like you aren't really there and get talked about over your head. So the initial thing is it puts my back up and then, then after that settles... it eats at me. It makes me doubt myself. When I think I have been doing so well. Making so many small changes, progress, doing things that would never have been possible before... it leaves me just seeing the black things. The negative. The things I find so hard. All the times I struggle. All the bad feelings, the anxiousness, worry, stress, I can see all those so clearly at the moment it bites. All those positives are just a lot harder to see at the moment, overwhelmed by someones view (or my perception of someones view, maybe thats more accurate) of me.

So, caught between two things. A plumetting self-confidence knowing the feeling of someone being hurt and angry at me when their feelings and opinion of me matter a lot, the feeling they see me as someone who is just depressed, stressed, uptight. Then the feeling of a strained relationship and aware of it nagging there in the background.

I think... Well I know that this and feeling generally yuk are what have wrapped up with everything else to make me feel especially "bleh" suddenly tonight.

What to do then? What to do. Not mope, no. Not sit and suffer and hurt myself. No. Action is what is required. The first thing was to get on and do things. So I tidied round the house. Put away the clothes that had been left out prior to my holiday. Put the luggage away. Tidied up my toys. It's not perfect. To be honest the clothes are kinda just stuffed away and I will have to go back and tidy the drawers another time, but they are away and the bedrooms are clear. The kitchen is clear. Everything is at least away and that made a difference. Then sit down, write it out, tie it here in paper and leave it here. Pin the bad feelings in a place that I won't dwell on them and can move away from them. Finally, finally once I've written this and am in a more peaceful place I will email her. I am not sure what I will say, but I will say something and we will hopefully both find ways to move past this. I mean, if we didn't care so much it wouldn't hurt so much would it?

So I hope this didn't sound sorry for myself, it isn't meant to be, nor an accusation. Just a working out, out loud so I can face things a little more clearly and get on. I do feel a bit better for it already.

Anxiety, honesty, growth, challenges

I am a work in progress. I admit that. Definitely not near the end goal, very rough around some edges.... raw and exposed in many others as I've tried to change and learn from the past.

People seem to have seen potential in me and in some ways thats almost harder than when things were hopeless. When people see potential in you. When they seem to think you are something special it sets you up to fail. It is so much easier when you can sit quietly and loathe yourself and not have to consider things might be different. Easier, but futile.

In some ways, the further I come the more uncertain things seem. Sometimes it feels like you are just setting yourself up for a bigger fall. Things hurt more. Maybe the time will come when you will find actually you were right and everyone who thought you were special was wrong. That's the great lie of the depressed spirit. Always waiting for "reality" (or your twisted form of it) to set in.

I am not being down in writing that. Just trying to be realistic and honest about how the dark side of me can feel. The things it whispers in the harder times. Trying to face it directly and thereby take away the power it has in the corner of my mind.

My trip to the USA has given me a lot to think about. A lot to be honest with myself about. A lot to hope for with the future. A knowledge that things don't just happen but you have to work at them. A realism about my part in all this and the role I play in keep changing things for the better.

It's hard to write about, because writing about the things which are difficult feels like a betrayal of those I was with. Maybe I should have said something, maybe I should have done things differently. The reality is though no, it's not about them, it's about me. It's about my perceptions of the world around me, how they are skewed, how they are bent by everything in my past and how I am trying to untangle them. How (sometimes through sheer effort of will) I will push through them and things will get better and as they get better they will become easier and new challenges will emerge.

Thats (as a side note) one of the hardest things about change. You don't really see it in yourself. You see the new things which are challenging you, you don't see the ones which now you do and take for granted and don't think about. Thank heavens for friends who can be a mirror and point out that 3 months ago that was impossible, now you just do it.

So back to being honest without being hurtful at myself or critical, but just saying "this was hard... it will get easier with time".

The first half of my trip to the USA was with a lovely couple in PA. I knew MsSilvie but didn't know her bf. That was kind of scary for me. Staying with a couple in their house and only knowing one of them. I struggled with the fact that I would be disrupting their schedule, the feeling that I was putting them out. This I know is very one sided and in reality they looked forward to the chance to get a break from what was going on in their lives too. I knew this in my head and so despite those niggles of putting someone out, I went. This is a big step for me. Overriding those feelings of being a nuisance or getting in the way and doing things because I wanted to and I knew my friend wanted to.

Making that decision doesn't take away the feelings though. That comes with time. By doing it. Doing it again and reconfirming yes, you are wanted and welcome. Ms Silvie is one of the most hospitable people I know, so I know it was a pleasure for her. I could see it was a pleasure for her. Being there was definitely another chip in the iceberg inside that says "people put up with you because they are nice". Its a slow process, its a painful process, but my friends are patient.

Last year when I went to Thunder I was basically doing it by sheer force of will. Turning up at Jolies hoping I wasn't disrupting her life too much. Concentrating almost bullheadedly of "I will get to Thunder so I can say I have done it" almost ignoring the bit before hand, staying with someone that invited me. This year with Ms SIlvie it was definitely... I am going to go see my friend as I want to see her, she wants to see me. Anxious... yes... but at least this year not having to play diversion games with myself to stop myself completely panicking.

This is progress. Slow progress, yes, but progress. Yes, it was still uncomfortable but I could do it. The panic was there, but I could look it in the eye better.

Whilst I was there.... I spent a fair chunk of time pretty anxious. There were times when I was so uptight I had to force myself to breathe and relax and let it out. To focus myself. To remind myself why I was there, why I had come, why I wanted to be there. I really did want to be there... and I hated that anxiety in me that took away that pleasure. Its very frustrating, and I can't afford to get angry with myself about it. This is a process, learning to deal with my anxiety issues and overcome them. It's not going to happen overnight and I need to go through it the long way.

So, I tried to be honest about it. There were one or two panicked moments when I thought "why am I here, I can't do this again". But there were only a couple of those, which isn't a bad change from before. I kept reminding myself how much I had changed from before, that not only was I there but I actually wanted to be there, visiting my friends. I actually wanted to be around people and was making it happen. Kay reminded me it took a lot of courage to face all these things and make them happen, not just sit at home and whinge that I was alone.... to overcome some of these fears. I kept focussing on the fact relationships take work. That I was in a strange place, in someones home, that no matter how well you might know someone online being in their home is different. That it took time to get comfortable with someone, so it wasn't all just because of how I am with people. That to make it good I had to try.... so I had to talk, push myself, not just go " can't do this, I am not good enough" but had to open myself up and learn to be with them, to find how I fitted.

One of the hard things was Ms SIlvie's partner had been laid off recently and there were HR issues with his old company so I know this was a stressful time for them. When you only know half the couple it's hard to get the vibe from them. How much are you putting them out. How much is general background stress. How much is because of the situations going at home. There were some times when I could feel the tension in the air, maybe I just imagine it, and so I had to remind myself over and over that this wasn't due to me being there. Not easy though... as my learned reaction is still to think I am the problem. More unlearning to do.

That was difficult at times. The couple thing. At other times it was really nice though, especially seeing how well they fitted together. I have fond memories of sitting in Tria listening to them enthuse about beer and food and thinking wow, these people fit so well together. It was lovely. Really beautiful.

There were so very many wonderful moments that just made me think "this is right" and I stopped worrying and being nervous and just enjoyed myself completely.

Sitting with the mutt helping shave off his fur.
Sitting back and watching MST3K and giggling like idiots. Absolutely wonderful company time with both of them.
Going to walk the dog with Ms Silvie and getting chance to actually talk alone and not hold back because she was just a dear friend and a fellow kinkster so the conversation could roam anywhere.
Going out to the pet store and just loving to listen to Ms Silvie espouse about fish fish and more fish with the passion and knowledge she has. Plus the ferrets were cute.
Driving around with them, just loving the beautiful countryside and the way the buildings blend into the landscape rather than stand out.
The ball game and giggling at the so cute and funny things between the innings. That was a nice time out for all of us. I did get a bit uptight because of the affectionate pats I got when MsSilvie's bf was getting them on the other side. That again is me. Taking too much onto myself as to what is going to cause tension and arguments (god I am so much like my mum). Wanting to keep the peace at all costs even if it means losing out myself. Again, I had to make a conscious decision... this was what she was comfortable in being like between us and so therefore it was not my issue if it caused any tension later. I liked her being affectionate with us. I wanted it. I loved it in fact, so I just had to assume she knew her bf wasn't going to have a problem with it. Again though... one of the things I need to work on, so I really can enjoy these moments without that awful tension creeping in first. Let other people make their own choices.
Going to Baltimore, being tourists and then just relaxing and bumming around the bookstore. Magical.
I really treasured the fact that when we got back from Baltimore Ms Silvie needed a nap and then I got to spend quality time with her bf, just chatting the two of us. That was so much fun. Sometimes it's easier getting to know someone one on one than it is when they are in a couple and trying to be a good host. I can't begin to say how much that evening means to me, it made me feel so much more comfortable and gave me a huge confidence boost. Plus, it was just fun.
I totally loved our little shop browsing trip into town, wandering around the little store with period things. Going out for lunch together and then sitting sipping and tasting beers for hours. That really was a magical time. Perfect. Just perfect.

With that background of anxiety I don't want it to sound like I didn't have a wonderful time. I did. I don't want to pretend to myself it was all roses though. There were things which I found a lot harder than they should be, and I want to work on myself to make them easier. To make it easier on myself so I can enjoy my life more. Things to learn. Things to unlearn. Things to treasure. Things to take confidence from. To stop automatically assuming I am not good enough... not smart enough... don't know enough.

It was a good time. I can just learn to make it a better time next time.

Thanks my friend, for inviting over this neurotic english wuss and putting up with his foibles. I loved it and have grown from it. Love ya.

Being content

Wednesday, when I landed from the USA, I left the airport and went on driving and went to see Kay. We had spoken on the phone about my being collared and she said she was happy for me as she knew it was something I needed, but I wanted to see her and make sure no bad thoughts festered about "its because I am not enough". I know how that feel's as I've done it enough myself and this time round I want to make everything work as well as it can and that means investing in my relationships. The best way of showing someone that things will work is by showing them, not talking to them. So I wanted to see her, even if it was an uncomfortable meeting and even if it was a bit awkward to start with. Hiding away from it and putting it off would not have helped at all.

So I went, a little nervously and the reality of it (as is often the case) was nothing like I had worried about. Its often so the things we say in our heads than the reality of facing them head on. I walked in and we just fitted naturally and I felt like I belonged their too. It was as simple as that.

We didn't talk about it much, we just chatted about the holiday, things that had happened for Kay and her kids and just carried on.

I feel so much less conflicted now. I can see now I was tearing myself in two, half living as if i was Scarlett's pet but not actually being it. In the process of that I was also holding back from Kay and not giving her all I could and wanted to. I was confused and I mixed up everyone else.

I said to Kay on Wednesday that she is my girlfriend, and she is. That's the first time I've been able to say that to her. I've always dithered, qualified it in less scary words like "my companion". Now though. Now I feel like I've stopped having to choose between people and can just get on with loving them as I do. I've stopped feeling like I have to try and make something fit everything and that if it wasn't there that I had to just go "thats not for me". Now, now I just see possibilities. Things I can cherish for what they are, not hurt for what they are not.

I feel content.

I have my Owner. I have my girlfriend. Hmmm, maybe I need a boyfriend next ;-).

They are family.

Holiday disclaimer

I used to love the end credits of Xena and Hercules, with the mock disclaimer which changed each episode. So, in memory of those fine fine educational problems (they taught me all I know about mythology...)

No glass jars or cinema displays or respitory tracts were harmed during the making of my holiday in America.

One condiment lid was slightly rattled in the process but we are assured that it will make a full recovery with appropriate therapy.

(yes, this is a set of very big injokes).

Happy memories of New York

Written on the plane (pt 3)

I think the highlight for me of New York, excluding the company of course, was standing in the street for four hours watching the gay pride parade with a million other people. I enjoyed our tourist trips, seeing places, looking after Scarlett, seeing the Lion King and having some lovely food but going to the parade was something really defining for me. Well, what I can remember of it as I was a bit spacey a lot of the time as someone was happily torturing me as we watched.

Five years ago if you hard told me I would be standing in New York, watching a gay pride parade whilst puddling against a friend I had met online and was with for the first time, standing in a thunderstorm getting soaked... I would have laughed at you. It shows how much I have relaxed, how much my attitudes have changed, how much more accepting I am and I think a nicer person.

However I still think my ass is better than most of those in the parade ;-). Even weirder, for a shy little me who hated his body so much back then - I could see myself strutting in heels and not much else, walking down that road one day too.

Running, hiding, stopping, collaring

Written on the plane (pt 2)

I have been very guilty of driving everyone completely nuts I am sure while I lied to myself about what I really wanted. Partly it was from a feeling that I couldn't go back in time, after so things had changed that I couldn't revisit safe, comfortable places. That I would be trying to relive the past from a time which had had their moment and had gone and that I shouldn't cling onto what was behind us. Partly I didn't think she would want me that way... that long distance things belonged to a time when it was all we could have and now it might have no attraction for her now that we both didn't have those limitations. That I knew if I was closer things would be different, but things from such a distance would just be a reminder to us both what we weren't local and so it would just hurt us both. Partly, I wanted her to have a friend and not complicate things after all that had happened, so she could feel loved and wanted but not pressured. Partly, largely, I was scared to admit to myself how I felt and face the intensity of it and have to live with it, have to face the implications of it. That I thought I was valiantly trying to be good and brave and not rub in either of our faces things which would just stir up things up and cause wistfulness of "if only if" and complications in our other relationships and just be friends.

So, I dithered, I exasperated I am sure, pushing at her a little, teasing and then pulling back. Sending very mixed signals and quietly torturing myself while I pretended to myself that I could love her but not be hers. Feeling somewhere in a limbo where in my heart I had never let her go from the first time we were together. Where I acted like I was hers but I wasn't and I couldn't bring myself to ask to be hers again and I pretended to myself it didn't matter.

Then, I met her in person. I went thinking that maybe once reality set in I would have more perspective. Maybe I would be less consumed internally about her. Be able to settle down to having a beloved friend and say I love you without feeling that rush of emotion inside. I met her though and it proved to be totally real. It wasn't desperation or insecurity or clinging on or a fantasy. I just love her. In so many ways when we had to part before I couldn't really let go. I stepped back, yes, as she needed to for family reasons . I built up walls so that I could be the friend she needed to support her. I learnt to hold back somewhat. To push feelings down, but my feelings never really changed. I tried to do and be what everyone needed so she didn't feel badly about things that had happened as they were totally out of her control and I was so proud of how she handled it. That she stuck by our promises of putting our immediate families first. I was, and am, so very very proud of how we remade ourselves as friends, of the depth of our relationship and our adaptability and how we didnt pout or cling on but got on with being friends.

I hid those feelings from myself though in the hope it didn't hurt either of us as much and so I could carry on growing into myself as I knew she wanted and as I knew I needed to. I couldn't ever really give her up though, just kept it somewhere boxed up inside. We both said that part of me was always hers. That was my way of holding onto that bit I couldn't let go of. It would have been so wrong for both of us to try and go back to how we were, to be collared again back then. We needed to move forward, to grow our lives. I met Kay from ALT. Not replacing that which was lost but something new and something I couldn't have had before I had been with Scarlett. Something I didn't want to lose either but that I didn't know how I could fit all these pieces together, so living in quiet denial. I guess I hoped that if I kept my feelings for Scarlett in a little box marked "I love her but things changed" it would eventually become true and I would feel like just a friend as I should now.

Then I met her, and it didn't go away. I went goofy and hyper and shy and mushy and I didn't care and I didn't want it to stop. I didn't want to be different around her. It started to dawn on me that I couldn't stop loving her and make it all simple, not without running away and closing down on her and on sex and BDSM and all my feelings. She is inside me.

The final straw was meeting LadyA from ALT with her. I couldn't stop giggling and I didn't care. I couldnt run away and I couldnt stay pretending that I didn't have this inside. I was hurting myself and probably her and probably others by being inconsistent. I have always felt like hers but had been too scared to ask in case I hurt myself. In case she didn't want it. In case it couldn't work like this now so far apart. It would make me face my polyamorous nature head on and rather than flirt with it, to know it appealed in my head.. then I would have to live it and make it work in reality. Living in limbo though, acting like I was hers but not being brave enough to accept the consequences was so wrong of me though and just a bit tragic and overdramatic.

So I asked, could I have her collar. Quietly over coffee in a cafe. Looking at her hands as I couldn't look up in her face, not sure whether to say anything. Sitting there looking at her and bumping around in my seat and eventually blurting out and saying I understood if she said no but I had to ask or I would so regret it. I knew she might say no but I had to stop hiding how I felt or what I wanted.

She didn't though. She said yes. I barely heard her I was too busy trying to still prattle on and get all the words out before I stopped again.

It's not that I want more from her or for her to suddenly start acting like a "Mistress" towards me and for me to be more subby towards her. It's just that I am hers. Honest truth? I have no idea how or if this will change how we are together, if she will want to be firmer with me, more controlling or if things will just carry on as they always have been and we will let it out when I go visit her. She may push me. She may not. She may set rules and limits. She may not. It doesn't matter in the long run. What will be will be. This isn't about what we do, it's about what we are. Asking for her collar was simply admitting to her what was always there that I was hers and that I knew this and I accepted and wanted this and I placed myself in her hands and that was that, however things happened.

Distance? Well it goes both ways and I know its hard for her too, so we will find our way. My fears, insecurities, worries need to take a backseat now though. I have made my commitment and I love her.

This will affect my other relationships I am sure, but I think in the end they will all be better. A less self torturing pup is a happier one and has more to give. I will keep learning from her example to love all those in my life as I can for who they are.

I am really looking forward to seeing Kay now because she is Kay. I feel differently about her than I do about Scarlett but thats ok as she isn't Scarlett and they aren't replacements for each other, or someone to fill in the gap. I love both differently and thats why I want... why I need both of them.

I need my Owner. I need my companion. I need my friends and maybe I need other playmates too. Yes, its so different to how I was brought up and something I've known inside I've been attracted to and wanted for so long but emotionally it's hard to learn how to do. Wasn't sure I could do.

So a new chapter. Not a repeat of what we had before but a wholy new and different one. Now we've met in real life and both of us came together as very different people than we were before with a lot changed in our lives. It feels like a circle joined. We met. Our paths took turns away from each other for awhile whilst we remade our lives as individuals away from our ex's and now we've remet. Somewhere new and different and exciting and very very special. I guess I better start getting used to asking for things again and get more disciplined at journalling ;-).

Still, somethings never change. We didn't work out a contract as to what was involved last time either.... Guess half the excitement is in discovering it together ;-). I trust her because she loves me too. Oh and she likes me. Oh and I like her too. My Ma`am. My Owner.

Back from vacation

Written on the plane (pt 1)
I am sitting on the plane back to the UK writing (yes, with a pen and paper as my laptop has very little charge) after two most incredible weeks away. It feels like a blur to be honest and it's hard to hang onto any real individual details. I am sure they will come back to me with time.

I know though I am a very fortunate pup who somehow has managed to gain some spectacular friends. Two oh so very different holidays in one. The breathtaking hospitality and friendship of MsSilvie. A truly beautiful soul who opened her home and her life and made me welcome. A smart lady with a quick wit and a warm heart. She showed me some beautiful places and we had some wonderfully relaxing times and lovely chats when I was more than a little nervous of invading her home, displacing her dog and her boyfriend and of my impending first meeting with Scarlett.

A week with Scarlett and a feeling of coming home and being where I belonged. The hustle and bustle of New York being just a backdrop to the confirming of a treasured relationship. I will write more about both trips in time, but for now deepest heartfelt thanks to two very different but lovely women.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Family updates

OK, some days just leave you spinning with too much happening.

First, from yesterday, my boy wasn't too well so he stayed with my parents. It was easiest. He really wasn't in a good state to travel. He actually begged me to make sure there were no traffic jams on the way home, the poor thing. Thats so not like him, even with a little headache he will normally just curl up and sleep in the car. So we agreed he would stay the night since he wouldn't be at school and then my ex could come get him tonight. I really didn't like leaving him there with him not feeling well.

I phoned this morning to see how he was and found out from Mum that they had found out this morning that Nan had had a fall and she was on her way to hospital. A long story later, with my brother taking my mum down (and dropping my boy off on the way) and the outcome is she has a broken femur. They were going to pin it but then they realised that she has a blood condition so now they are going to put her in traction for a bit while they see how that goes, to stop the bones grinding.

This was not the day to be sitting around doing nothing and watching a vendor do installations! I wanted to be busy! But, on the plus side (from a work point of view) I did manage to fix a lot of things for the expensive vendor consultant we had paid to come in and do this...

On the plus plus side... the quicker he gets the install done, the quicker I can get back to real work.

The boy is back home, but still poorly, so not going to school. Nan is in hospital so at least, for a bit, she is getting the care she needs.

Feeling too old?

I have been reminded of the film Logan's Run recently. You know, where people get to a certain age and then are eliminated from society. Apparently this is now happening on social networking sites.

The following was given as one explanation as to why one particular site had deleted a “huge number of accounts” recently. “You are over 36 years old”.

“We understand that only a minority of older users are sex offenders, but you must understand that we cannot tell which”, it says in it's explanation of the deletion.

I am not quite sure which I find more worrying. That I may find myself terminated first from the internet (and then the way this government is going, from life) or that a switch went off in my head last December and apparently I may become a sex offender at any minute.

I will be eyeing up suspiciously from now on all those with profiles listing they are in their 40's...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Humbling thoughts

I was thinking about a friend this week, one I had been lucky enough to be in a situation to help out. I made the comment, idly, that this sort of thing wasn't a big deal to me because I knew (that if it was me in the position) they would help me out. It doesn't matter what the situation is, I know they would help.

On the way to the train yesterday morning it suddenly struck me that this was a pretty amazing thing and wasn't just an idle "oh don't worry about it". I started thinking about some of the friends I have made over the last few years, and how different that was to before.

When my wife and I seperated the only place I could go was to my parents. There was no one else around that I knew that would take me in in that sudden disaster scenario. I was basically so isolated that I was lucky I even had them.

Now. Now though. If I needed help. If I needed somewhere to stay, someone to look after me, somewhere to hide then.... I can just start listing people that would offer me a couch for a day, a week, as long as I needed. It might be difficult. It might not be very practical, but I know they wouldn't think twice. Some of the oldest friends from online Alexis, SR, Kath, , Christine, Denise, Karen, Cat. Those just roll off the tongue instantly and I know all would do whatever they could. Then newer friends. Kay, Tracy, Grey, Carrie. More I haven't listed. That's kinda a wow thing to go from nothing to all those people that would put themselves out for me. So, yes, I need to work on having people around me that would support me who aren't half way round the world.... since the nearest of those is 100 miles. But ummm, that's quite an incredible change in a few years, isn it?

I feel kinda humble.

Family affairs

Down at my parents again. My brother (who lives in Arizona) is over for 6 weeks with my niece and my boy absolutely totally adores them. They arrived on Tuesday and my boy was so over-excited when I asked him if he wanted to come down that I knew it was the right choice.

Currently they are sitting playing cards quietly, but I know it won't last! They have done that excited to see each other thing so I am sure there will be ahem differences coming up soon as they are both only children and quite bossy. My boy just hasn't quite realised yet that being bossy most of the time is even better when you let a few selective women be bossy to you...

It's nice, hearing him play in the background. I really do miss him in the week or when I don't have him, but it's nice hearing him play around the house, having fun with someone else and not feeling like he has to spend time at weekends just with me. It's nice him feeling like "oh I have to go see dad" but feeling like it's just part of his week. I like that a lot. I don't think we've done too badly at all.

I am glad we came down, not just for my boy. Mum was so tense when we arrived. My Nan isn't too well, she is having trouble walking and she has been phoning Mum a lot. She says she has a numb leg and pains but we know she has got herself in a bit of a panic too because someone in one of the bungalows behind hers died at the beginning of the week. Mum is stressed though because she feels trapped in the middle. My uncle has just gone over there (after his finishde his night shift) but until then this morning my Nan phoned my aunt to see if she would pop over, just to give her some company for a bit. Nan now thinks this is all in punishment for agreeing to handing over her finances to my family. First the pain. Then my aunt says she couldnt pop in last night to check up on her as she was "working. Then this morning that they had gone to a party and she had been drinking so couldn't drive... and she has also told her in the week "I can't afford to pop in much now because petrol is too expensive". Poor Nan, so trapped and not understanding whats going on and feeling punished. Poor Mum, feeling trapped and caught in between when things had been sorting themselves out. Hopefully, having both kids aroud here will mean she will get out the house and not sit around waiting for the phone to ring and not being able to relax at all.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Not backward at being forward...

A friend of mine uttered today what has to be the most confident statement of someone about their sexual attractiveness, ever!

"I'd do me.... Oh, in fact, I do!"