Saturday, April 27, 2013

Haunty Despite a Lovefest Day

The past couple of days have been quite happymaking. I’ve been feeling all loving and fulfilled at work in spite of (because of?) the immanent threat of layoffs. Last night, I spent the evening with friends watching fantastically-soundtracked burlesque. And today, I had the bestbest time with Sweetie—we slept in until 11, had strawberry waffles, read a stack of magazines, and had soft, gentle sexytimes that filled my heart all up. On TOP of all that, we went to the library and Whole Foods and then sat in the park reading our books and eating sushi, fresh bread, and fancy chocolates. The park was full of happy couples and birdsong and the sound of stringed instruments was wafting over from a nearby museum. The air smelled like lilacs and sun.

But when we got home from our date, we laid down for a nice spring snooze and for some reason, all that stuff from a few weeks ago came back. The Man still creeps out my mind sometimes, even though I’d gladly have the whole thing Eternal Sunshined out. The creepiness comes and it makes my sense of well-being seem unreal. I remembered the mean, condescending, self-capitalized things that his friends said to me, his smarmy lack of accountability, and my worry (which Sweetie disagrees with) that I may not be welcome in our regular dungeon anymore.

As I write this in my living room, they’re there setting up the furniture for my favorite monthly party and I miss it so much. I miss the feeling of waiting for someone else to get naked so that I wouldn’t be the first one. (I’m always the first one.) I love watching the crew work together to get the furniture up, claiming a bench, drinking wine out of a plastic cup, lending my Hello Kitty tape to anyone who needs it. I miss the feeling of connection to the other girls as we prepare for our respective (and collective) adventures. I miss watching my pals have a good time while we have our own.

Yet despite all of that warm feeling, I have an apprehension about all of it. I told Sweetie earlier today (I TRULY have to work on my pillow talk skills) that I worry that putting myself in ANY sexy situation might be putting myself in harm’s way, like somehow staying connected to the kink side of myself will put me on the road to more blame, more hurt, more exploitation. I know that that isn’t rational or true, that my sexed-up self is worthy and good and that I didn’t deserve what happened, but it’s hard to shake the urge to go all the way inside, to be deeply defensive, to close up rather than risk being seen again the way that he saw me, or failed to see me.

What sticks with me most about the situation with The Man is that to him, on some fundamental level, I wasn’t even there. One of the defenses he gave on the online thread was that it wasn’t scene invasion because he’d invited the other lady in. That scared me more than anything else, because he wasn’t just discounting my limits and everything we negotiated, he wasn’t seeing me as a factor AT ALL. When they stood around talking shit after I’d asked him to tell her to leave, it didn’t feel like he was ignoring me, it felt like I wasn’t a me at all.

I realize that I’ve just admitted to being haunted by an internet discussion thread, that getting up from a lovely snooze with my wife to write about a long-past jackass was a poor life choice, considering how lucky and blessed I am and how much there is to look forward to.

But here’s the thing—I’m still really hurt. I’m still hurt that he turned a nice (if ultimately mismatched) relationship into a cheap, meaningless, ugly scene for no reason except selfish carelessness. I’m hurt that he saw me as desperate and pathetic instead of seeing the good parts if me, a happy, pheromone-drunk girl who had a crush. I’m hurt that the venue owner lied to me about believing my story and that so many people were much more concerned about Fet Life’s terms of use than my own. I’m hurt that some random lady I never met wrote a tirade about what a whiny, spiteful baby she thought I was being. And I’m hurt that, though many strangers posted and wrote to lend their support and let me know I wasn’t alone, the people I’ve played next to for more than a year, who were exactly in the position to let people know I wasn’t some weird stereotype of a woman scorned, did not speak up. It hurts to think that anyone would believe that a grown-ass woman with a career and a family would put herself through all that just over a breakup. It hurts to know how deep misogyny runs.

Most of all, it hurts that I didn’t have to go through all that. I should have listened to my intuition. The man was fired from the zoo for yelling at the birds, for god’s sake. He was very thorough and out-in-the-open about ALL of the red flags, including the fact that his “Dos and Don’t list” asked for silence from his submissive. I ignored every red flag and every instinct I had that told me to just run.

I don’t know why I ignored everything that told me he wasn’t safe, except that I wanted to be flexible. I wanted to be open-minded. I wanted to show that I could compromise, and I ended up compromising everything. That’s how I ended up being not-there.

A lot has been written about the pleasure of submission being in the annihilation of the self, but I never want to feel that feeling of not being there again. It’s too much like death, and I am a really, really big fan of existing. On beautiful, perfect days like this, I still have to fight the annihilating influence of him, the fear that he was right to see me as nonexistent. There’s no easy way to convince myself that I’m actual, but every step toward pleasure and joy helps.

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