Roll on the Weekend

I’m working in a quieter library this week, so while there are fewer people around it does still make for a reasonably steady rate of use, even with people starting to twitch about potential illness. I’ve had two people this week mention they’re stocking up on books to read if they have to isolate themselves, and our numbers for events are down. So far though the very British shrug is being deployed.

That said, I am looking forward to having the weekend off, especially as I’m going to go see myr s for a couple of days. Getting away and letting the sea air clear the lungs a bit is definitely in order – and it’s also the second anniversary of my collaring them so there are some small presents to exchange which is always fun.

At least I’m generally aware of what my body’s usual range of complaints is so I’m not panicking when my fluctuating sugar levels give me sweats, or my sinuses complain when I shift stock and boxes around, disturbing dust in the process. Here’s to as calm a weekend as possible.

Wednesday

What do you mean it’s only Wednesday? An awful lot seems to have somehow got crammed in already and yet we’re still not yet quite done with Hump Day?

Today we had flakily working systems and people on both sides of the desk being grumpy – which I suppose is still better than yesterday’s experience of nothing working at all.

Closer to home we had the car in the garage for a service that lasted three days and I’m pretty sure must have involved the sacrifice of a junior engineer from all the mess left over.

It’s going to be one of those weeks, isn’t it? And yet there’s been some good stuff. It hasn’t been universally horrible. I got featured again today by Over40Cosplay on Instagram and Facebook, and I took a photo on the way home that I quite like:

Evening All

I’ve also had a quiet evening of watching Mock The Week from four years ago and enjoying the relative innocence of those times, so I suppose that’s been a good remedy for a week where everything has just felt far more complicated than it has otherwise needed to be.

In other news I’ve pretty much got everything sorted for Valentine’s Day. It’s generally an expensive, or at least complex, set of weeks these days as we navigate VDay, then my birthday, then my anniversary with Lady M, and then my collaring anniversary with myr s. Schedules being what they are I won’t get to catch up with myr s this month, but I do get to cherish Lady M. Next month will just be a complex dance of us all taking weekends in turn and arranging general catch-ups where we can.

At least we’ve finally got round to setting up a shared Google Calendar and now we just have to get into the habit of using and consulting it. These are skills and practices that I had not considered before polyamory. It’s just as well I manage timetables and rotas on a daily basis..!

There’s An App For That

Every now and then I like to have a wander through the app store on my Android and see some of the oddly specific programs that people have produced. Sometimes I even try them out. There’s a rare few that find an instant niche and stay, I on my phone for any length of time – and these tend to be either writing tools or means of organising my time. Like many of us I lend weight to recommendations from people I know as well – after all, if someone has enjoyed or found useful an app enough to tell me that they think I’ll have a specific use for it then it would be rude and unappreciative of their time and thought not to at least spend a few moments to consider it.

Also like most of us, I tend to see my phone as quite a personal object – it after all not only spends a lot of time on my person and in use, but stores personal information and access to things that I enjoy or find of use. I see this every day in people who come into the library wanting to print off an email but being stymied when pressed to log into their mail service through a browser rather than through the app on their phone where they entered a password once a year or two ago and have never thought about it since. (We won’t even get into the people who don’t know how to use a mouse and keyboard because they’re so used to touchscreen technology.)

And so finding a useful app that crosses both into the personal and the useful is a great delight – expecially where it is useful to the dynamic between myself and lady s. We live a small distance apart, so anything that helps maintain contact without straying into slightly stalkery territory is a bonus – especially where it comes to the negotiated power transfers that come as part and parcel of a BDSM relationship. An online usergroup of which we are both part was discussing various online apps that could help with monitoring tasks, rewards, and punishments agreed between the participants of a dynamic and there was one that sprang to the fore for the flexibility that it offered – so we’ve been giving it a try.

We both downloaded the app and connected our profiles, and have agreed a number of tasks for lady s to undertake at various intervals during a week – whether several times a day, every day, or several times a day – and a points value towards rewards list for the successful completion of those tasks. There are also punishments defined and agreed for the failure to complete the tasks – and these range from points deductions, through restrictions on certain activities, through to other forfeits.

Activities on the task list include things such as eating a certain number of sit down meals a day, achieving a certain level of step counts, and certain household or personal tasks. Rewards include massages, the purchase of certain gifts, or activities to enjoy together.

As each day goes by, lady s ticks off certain tasks as she completes them, or leaves them if she chooses not to undertake them, and the app notifies me and counts/deducts points or assign pre-agreed forfeits that we can catch up on when we next meet – and for our dynamic it works. It appeals to the need for imposed structure and routine that lady s has without my needing to chase her for updates. The tasks have come from both of us, drawing on rewards and forfeits that we have both agreed – and at the same time, if life gets in the way, it is a matter of a few clicks to reset counters or remove forfeits if felt appropriate.

There are parallels with the reward schemes some parents set up with their children to encourage them to undertake chores in the household, or complete their homework from school – which I think makes the app more intuitive to set up and use as it is full of concepts that many of us have encountered elsewhere – so in many ways it does stand as a somewhat unexpected and yet inevitable illustration of the marketing phrase “there’s an app for that”.

Oh, it’s called Obedience – appropriately enough

Ruminations

I was in therapy last week, talking about various events in a busy couple of weeks, and how I’m keeping on top of some things, and how other things are knocking at me, and otherwise having a mental and emotional check-up.

As anyone who’s worked their way through counselling can tell you, it’s hard work that spares no blushes when everything clicks – and your relationship with your therapist can be as intimate when it comes to knowing each other as a long term partner. They learn what makes you tick, your tells, your buttons, and at their best when to back off and let you do the heavy digging.

That’s certainly the relationship I have with my counsellor – leading to more than one conversation where we’ve talked about her being as much my partner as either Lady M or lady s when it comes to our therapeutic relationship.

One of the things we explored was my sexuality, and in no small part how the attack so long ago has impacted on how I’ve expressed it over the years. The conversation veered between romantic and platonic connections past and present, and while contemplating it, I said the following (slightly paraphrased):

“For years I’ve not been comfortable showing or talking about myself, let alone exploring what it means to be me. Fear has been with me literally for decades, mixed up in the memories of the assault, but it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve been able to start to reconcile things in my head.

Over the last couple of years I’ve met and got to know such a wide range of people at kink events and general social occasions that it’s helped me to start to separate the pain and violence of the attack from the sexual aspect and honestly come to be more comfortable in who I am and how my attractions manifest.

It’s my partners, metamours, and friends that have surrounded me with love and accepted me as I start to let go. I’m still having hard times, by more and more I’m just getting irritated and angry about them than being overwhelmed.”

Now, we talked about a lot else and the above is mildly edited for brevity, swearing, and other material that I’m either not going to talk about or that is irrelevant right now.

When I finally stopped talking, my counsellor gave me a picture to consider and think on, based on what is been saying – telling me that it matched the mental image she had of me while I talked.

The picture, if you hadn’t guessed, is the lion in the picture in this blog entry. It has a lot of resonance for me – and for my partners for various aspects they have experienced of me.

There’s all sorts of symbolism of fierceness, nobility, pride (and indeed Pride), polyamory (multiple lionesses tolerating me), and protectiveness. There’s a lot more to unpack, and I’ll probably have a whole string of blogs as I pick over the various meanings, projections, and inferences that I bring to it.

So that’s what I’m quietly ruminating over at the moment

Capitalisation matters

The sharper-eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve started referring to lady s in lowercase as opposed to the Capitalisation that I use for everyone else if I talk about them: Lady M, for example. This is not a slur, or a mistake – in fact it was discussed and agreed explicitly with lady s before I started doing it.

In D/s, the use of capitals is important for denoting negotiated power levels between partners. As I explained to someone recently when they were asking questions about “doms and subs”, you should always capitalise the reference to the person who has been given the control, and put in lower case the person who has surrendered it.

In writing about them this way, it then makes the dynamic roles obvious at a glance. Whether it is Dom/sub, Master/slave, Lord/lady, (or any other set of terms agreed between partners) you can be sure to avoid embarrassment or irritation.

These are terms and roles that are held very close to people’s hearts. Purely as a matter of not being an arse to people it’s best to acknowledge and respect that dynamic as best as possible in the same way that you might respect the terms husband and wife – and therefore the bond between them. To people in what’s called the Lifestyle, this dynamic is often treated as an analogue to marriage.

So as her Dom, lady s has said that this feels a better fit to the dynamic that we have. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this makes her weak however. As anyone who has met her will testify, she’s a vivacious, strong minded, independent and passionate woman – and her offering that strength to me is a constant source of amazement.

So now you know why I have my loves: Lady M and lady s, and why I refer to them as such. They are both strong and wonderful people who make my life immeasurably better.