Fear and Letting Go

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. –H. P. Lovecraft

I went on vacation a week ago with a good friend. We drove South and hit the beach, Orlando (Harry Potter world!), and some port cities on the return trip. It was great – I got a pedicure and a massage.  I read a few books, learned about some new music, and bought some fun souvenirs. I bonded with my friend a great deal. I got to swim and play in the ocean. I also got a much-needed break from life.

It was a bit of awkward timing, though, since I had just had a huge week. I briefed the most senior staff in our agency, and got pretty good feedback (gratifying). I also learned I’d be running my next project, managing a more senior person, and would not be getting a salary or position increase. I also had gone on a couple of dates with someone that went pretty well. A lot has been happening, essentially.

I realized on vacation that I’ve been buried by fear lately. I’ve never been one to outwardly succumb to fear. If I have been afraid, it’s manifested in low expectations and losing myself in activities.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. –Dale Carnegie

I’ve been afraid, though. Afraid of running this next project and having to navigate uncertain waters. Afraid of leading my team into the warzone, of managing someone older and more experienced than me (and arguably more qualified), of not doing something correctly. I’ve been afraid of being in a serious, long-term relationship. (And I hope I haven’t self-sacrificed past opportunities because of some hidden fear.) I’m afraid of power exchange as a concrete part of a relationship.

Fear doesn’t become me. I was reading the “Secrets to your twenties” book, and it just sort of reinforced that fear is good. Fear means I’m alive. Fear means I’m challenging myself. Fear is an opportunity – an opportunity to grow, be stronger, improve myself, and learn. Moreover, fear is natural – it’s the response to uncertainty.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, though:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

I’d resigned myself to doing just that. I got a few kicks in the ass and supportive comments, and they’re right. I know what I’m doing. I’m good at my job. I can handle challenges. It doesn’t matter that they don’t want to pay me appropriately, it’s still a good opportunity. In the dating world, D/s is flexible, and as long as the communication is there, it doesn’t have to mean losing myself. Long term relationships don’t have to mean losing my independence or my life. Really, if it’s a good fit, the person can blend into my life.

Today, I found out I will get the salary and position promotion when I start my next project. Turns out, the higher ups like me more than the lady who spoke to me first does. Basically, I’m now more motivated, which is good. I need to embrace the things that scare me. The dating thing may not work out for other reasons, or it will – who knows, but at least I’m not scared of it anymore.

A last quote I liked about fear:

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. –James Stephens

 

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All Clear

I FINALLY got caught up with my “awesomeness journal” entries. I was 5 behind, and there was so much associated stress. I didn’t feel like I could really process anything else until I did that. Now I just need to go through the crap in my room and clean it out as well as choose a google reader replacement, and all the little to-dos will disappear.

I’m out of country for work right now. Back in the warzone, basically. It’s been ok, overall. I’m getting more familiar with my supervisor, boss, and some coworkers. Work is going very well. I’ve led some meetings successfully, was told by my supervisor to apply for a promotion soon, we’re getting what we need out of our trip, and our final product is going to get major press which will look good for my career. I’m learning a lot, too, including how to play spades! Today was a rough one – 4:30am wake up call with the alarms to take shelter. I heard several explosions, apparently they were about 2 miles away. It wasn’t as scary as I expected it would be, namely because my coworkers were with me and I was in a “hardened” building. Machine gun guys were all around, which also helped me feel better. I did, however, go through 3 cups of coffee to make it through the workday, which is a VERY rare occurrence for me. I was oddly having a dream about an attack on government buildings when I awoke, so that was kind of creepy too.

One good thing about this trip is how much I’ve been in contact with folks back home. I feel like I’m getting fun emails from friends that really make me value the relationships I’ve developed. I’m lucky to have these people.

I’m missing a new roommate moving in, which is sort of comical as the other prior roommate tries to adjust. She’s introverted, and the new girl is young…apparently they both were sequestered all weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop upon my return.

I’ve read a ton of books while I’m here. I think I’m at 6? I need to blog/review a few good ones I read in Vegas. I also keep meaning to write about certain other topics, but we’ll see if I get there.

That’s all for now.

Surprises

I was a little surprised by some things this past weekend. I’m at a point where there are so many options that I’m a bit paralyzed. I guess more than anything, there’s just a variety of situations that I’m open to now.

First off, I’m thrown by my interest in topping. I still have no interest in being the dominant partner in a D/s relationship, but I do enjoy messing with someone. I like pleasing people, I like swatting things, and I like having fun – if someone has fun and gets off on being swatted, then why not top? I shouldn’t be surprised, since I used to hit my friends with branches/newspapers jokingly all the time when I was younger, but I am. Mainly, I don’t get off on having control, but I do get off on my partner getting off. It’s a tricky combo.

On the exact opposite side, I really do want to pursue a D/s relationship. I’ve played more with some people who exude power, and it not only turns me on but makes me feel safe and happy. I like pleasing people, and being given opportunities to serve or please my partner. I like being forced to stay within certain boundaries. I’m rarely faced with true authority. I’m not manipulative, per se, but I’m persuasive and analytical, and even at work where I should be the subordinate, I usually get my way. Since I’m single and only responsible for myself, I have autonomy over my life and my decisions. I’m heavily influenced by friends and family, but at the end of the day, no one has authority over me outside of the law. I do things well, but it is so relaxing and amazing to be able to trust someone else to get shit done. It’s great to have someone else’s opinion to defer to. No matter how good I am at being in control and leading, I will always find more satisfaction in yielding that control to someone else, so long as that other person is qualified. It’s really just a matter of finding someone I respect and trust is that qualified person.

With that, I didn’t realize fear would turn me on so much. I tend to stay in my head quite a bit. I’m open with my reactions, but not with my emotions (at least not outside of this blog). If someone can get in my head and make me afraid, and is confident enough to fuck with me, well, that’s incredibly hot. Fear is an expression of vulnerability, and while I do everything possible to minimize vulnerability in my vanilla life, I really enjoy it in my romantic and sexual relationships. I’m craving that vulnerability now. I want someone to command me and get in my head.

Lastly, I’m slightly less put off by sexual play with women. I’m still not really comfortable with certain sexual things, but I do find some females and queer folk attractive. Who knows where that will go.

#DO:WF

Wow, what a crazy weekend, and holy shit how things have changed in a year.  I’m probably going to post a few separate things to process everything going through my head, but for now, I’m going to go with a daily recap. First off, for more information on Dark Odyssey and associated events, click here or visit this group on fetlife.

Friday

I started the weekend right by taking off Friday from work. I’m very glad I did, as it gave me time to get ready, pack, go to target, and check-in/register early during the day. I was originally planning on rooming with three friends, but then last minute ended up adding a fifth person to our room. We also had two others use our room to store bags and change. It got a bit crowded, but worked out all right. I’m glad I stayed in the host hotel again, as it makes everything a little more relaxing and the whole experience sort of becomes a mini-vacation.

I went to one class on Friday, “Electricity 101 with Mister Sean.” Recurring theme of the weekend – stun guns and cattle prods scare the shit out of me. It’s the noise combined with the literal shock of it. I logically know it won’t be all that painful, but I can’t help the innate fear. (Similar to needles and knives – no matter how much I enjoy it, I’m still scared). I tried a new toy in class, a folsom tens unit. It’s a lot stronger than other toys. I’m not a fan of the jumpy muscle feeling, but I admit that with electrodes from this unit on the inner thighs it’d probably make a great orgasm.

I did a lot of socializing on Friday, from dinner at B.Smiths (fabulous!) with friends, to the burlesque review, to late night chattering. I also perused the vending, but held off on buying things to ponder it. I had one scene Friday night involving rope and some sadism, a few of my favorite things. My nipples were tormented for a good portion of our lengthy scene, and they are still bruised…I got out of the shower on Sunday and one was bleeding. I’m always a little disturbed by how fragile my nipple are. I guess I should be thankful that they’re that sensitive?

Saturday

Saturday morning started early with some coffee and Lady Aisha’s class on alternative beatings. I really enjoyed this class because it emphasized some basic themes of negotiation and how/where to hit. I had volunteered to be a demo bottom, although there really wasn’t much need for it. Some of my friends used a few of the implements on my ass, and I gave a few whacks to a friend with a paddle. I then went to the “Better Blowjobs” class. I learned a bit about human anatomy, but I was a tad disappointed that there wasn’t a demo. I also learned that petroleum/lip gloss melts condoms. After lunch, I went to a discussion circle about topping. It’s interesting to think about topping and learn about that perspective since I normally bottom. I have a list of insights that I’m going to ponder at some point.

I watched a chick flick with friends (napping…we suck at it), had some dinner, than went to the drag queen a capella show (which was AWESOME). I also bought a leather strap and acrylic paddle from vending (leather by Danny, website here), which I’m super pumped about.  Saturday was a bit stressful because a bunch of friends bought day passes, and I felt pulled in a bunch of directions. I started the play part of the evening by getting beat up on by someone new, a friend of a friend who is newer to the scene. He used his cane and my two new toys, and it was really fun. I love the acrylic paddle because it can deliver thud and sting, and it’s easy for people to be a bit heavy-handed with it. Plus it’s pretty! All that aside, this was a second play instance where the person hurting me had a shit-eating grin, and that just makes me all happy inside. I love being hurt by people who are clearly having fun doing it.

After that, I had a very intense scene with someone else I’d never played with before. I probably needed more build up during that scene, but I think that was the highest number of times I’ve had to yellow before. I was tearing up/on the verge of sobbing, and I hadn’t expected that. Recurring theme of the weekend 2 – beating my calves is going to be a soft limit from now on, as are single-tails.

I socialized a bit more and came down from that scene, then I decided to go see what some friends were up to. I gathered my courage and went to a “sexy funtime party.” Last year, I went to this party and was a bit freaked out and awkward the whole time.  A lot has changed since then. Context here, is that normally I’m pretty sexually reserved. I don’t usually do a lot of sexual play outside of lengthy friendship/relationships. That said, I was really amped up this weekend, and honestly, I wanted to get down and dirty. There was some internal debate about whether or not people would judge me if I got slutty, but by Saturday night I’d gotten to the “fuck you if you judge me” stage and figured why the hell not. (To clarify, when I talk about slutty for me, it’s anything more than making out with someone when I don’t know them very, very well.) I went to the party, drank a bit, flirted, got beat on by a good friend, and did some sexy things with a few other friends. I’m not usually one for public sexual activity either, so I was a little embarrassed that a few people I didn’t know too well saw me doing some things…but all the same, lots of fun :).

Sunday

Since I was up until 5am at that party, Sunday morning was not my friend. I did drag my ass out of bed to go to an 11:30 rope class. I’m glad I did, too, because I learned a few new ties that I can use and enjoy. I also got super rope spaced out from a simple elbow bondage tie…what can I say, I really like restrictive rope bondage. After lunch, I crashed and ended up passing out for several hours. I was disappointed in myself for missing a few classes, but I also needed to get sleep or I knew I wouldn’t make it through the night. There was dinner, then the gender blender show.

My first scene Sunday was a casual thing to test out my switchy side. I’d had one scene where I cotopped a guy, but it was mainly sensual teasing with a wartenburg wheel, and it was different because my partner in crime was his longtime partner. This time, a really good friend and I beat up on another friend. We were all cracking up hysterically the entire time, which was really entertaining. I need to learn a bit more about where to not hit, but I quite enjoyed getting a bit sadistic. (Third recurring theme: I’m a bit of a sadist.)

I then went to get hurt by a female top I know. It was really intense, and involved lots of screaming on my end. I was shaking for at least 30 minutes afterwards, but really enjoyed it. I followed that up with socializing, then violet wand play with a couple I know from Rapture. I really enjoy the violet wand – the shocks surprise me, which makes me giggle, and the pain is all sensual for me. I really want to try out some conductive rope at some point.

Weekend Thoughts

I need to have a little less stress next time. That means 1) less people in the room, or only people I know uber well, 2) more sleep, or scheduled naptime 3) more liquids! and 4) firmer “no”s and less vague commitments.

I’m switchy. I don’t have any desire to be “Dominant” and be on the top-side of power exchange in a D/s context, but I like teasing and hurting people that enjoy it, and I don’t mind occasionally having people at my mercy. So, ideally, I’d be in a relationship with a guy where I was primarily his sub, but then maybe occasionally I could have my way with him or  together/separately we could top another mutual friend. I don’t know, but the evolution continues.

Pain to my calves hurts like a motherfucker and is a new soft limit. Single tails are a new soft limit because they cause instant tears. Fear gets me going – someone scared the hell out of me with a stun gun, but the look in his eyes and the vulnerability turned me on something fierce.

More sexy fun things!

4/30

After a great weekend, my emo attitude from last week is almost entirely gone. Amazing what friends, dancing, and pain can do for a girl!

First off, I bought some lingerie a little over a week ago. Some of it was too big (perils of buying online and being curvy), but the stockings and garter set fit perfectly. This weekend was my first chance to wear them, and it was great. Somehow wearing thigh-high stockings with garters makes me feel incredibly alluring and sexy. It’s also a great reminder of femininity.

In general, going to this month’s Rapture event really amped up my mood. I was able to try a bunch of things for the first time, I met some new people, and I got to hang out with some really good friends. Since I live across the city, I don’t see these folks as much as I’d like. I forgot how much I enjoy their company. I really appreciate being able to be myself without any judgement. One benefit of moving this month will be being closer to these folks, enabling us to hang out more.

Now, for the things I tried. I actually tied someone else up all by myself! I did a chest harness and hogtied my friend, and then her boyfriend stepped in and did knife play on her. I was able to get it all to stay and she couldn’t get out, which was awesome. It was kind of strange because when I finished I realized there were a bunch of people watching me. I didn’t ever think I’d enjoy being the one doing the tying, but I did. I think it was primarily because I could joke with my friend, and try out the things I wish I could have done to me.

That experience is one more step along my journey of admitting my internal switchy-ness. I was thinking about this on my commute this morning, and how I enjoy teasing people and messing with them a bit. I like turning the tables every now and then (or trying to). For rope, I just love everything about it, and it’s fun.

Another new thing for me was experimenting a bit deeper with breath play. It still frightens me, and the only reason I was willing to go there was because this person is truly an expert. Breath play doesn’t have to involve smothering or being choked out, but can include general moderation of the way in which you breath. Really, it was mainly a mindfuck – he wasn’t cutting off my air, but his hand around my throat made me think he was so I would stop breathing. It intensified the other sensations we were experimenting with, and I surprised myself by enjoying it.

I also worked up the nerve to try needle play. This one was a biggie for me. It was kind of funny, I was watching my friend do a pretty intense needle play scene from a distance, and someone caught my expressions. (I have a horrible poker face.) Apparently, I looked confused and somewhat upset by the scene. I admitted that needles squick me out – something about going in and out of the skin just freaks me out. Logically, I knew it probably didn’t hurt that badly, but still. Despite my fear and uncertainty, I really like to try things before I judge them, and this person offered to let me try it. Crazy enough, I actually enjoyed it. On my arm, I didn’t even really feel the needle at all. Same on my thigh. On my back, however, it hurt quite a bit more. I don’t know what it is, but that type of pain immediately sent me on an endorphin high, and I came pretty close to getting off on it (and there were just 3 needles). I should’ve suspected I’d like it, given my propensity for playing with thumbtacks. It’s not something I can do to myself because of the squicky factor, but I enjoyed doing it with someone else.

I was comparing needles to cutting in my mind, and trying to figure out how I feel about it. I’ve written before on the cutting scene I did and how it really messed with my mind. It’s basically too edgy for me. Needles, though, while still being edgier (and considered more extreme by many BDSM players), are far less dangerous. As long as you avoid veins, your many layers of skin can pretty much handle being pricked without much danger. If you use small needles, than there’s not a lot of blood, few (if any) lasting marks, and yet you can still get endorphins and pain/release. Anyhow, I definitely surprised the hell out of myself for enjoying it.

Lastly, I also did some rough body play for the first time. This has actually left some marks, which rarely happens, so that’s kind of interesting. I had a lot of fun with it, particularly because it involves a lot more physical contact, intimacy, and reinforces the physical overpowerment that I enjoy.

Overall, the evening revisited my exploration of pain quite a bit. It was a lot of fun, and generally helped me release some of my frustration from school and life. I’m still not comfortable with masochism, especially as I can enjoy and tolerate relatively heavy amounts of pain, but I’m trying to just roll with it. I rationalize things because I enjoy them, they’re consensual, and they don’t cause lasting harm. Despite that, my discomfort comes from the associations with self-harm and that it really doesn’t scream “I’m a healthy, sane person” when you enjoy someone beating up on you or jabbing you with needles. In many ways I love being unique, but I’m not fully comfortable being downright edgy either.  Since I went a few months without any type of intense/edgy pain, I know it isn’t necessarily a need I have, but it is something I can enjoy quite a bit. That makes me feel a bit better about it, but I’m still not sure the role my masochism will (or should) have in future relationships.

2/20 – Post DOWF

It has been a crazy weekend. I’m going to try to process some of it, but I know it’ll only be the tip of the iceberg as I’m  incredibly tired.

One of the things that’s staying with me the most right now is the whole masochist thing. Basically, I’m *still* not comfortable with my own masochism. I’d have thought that by this time, I’d finally be over it. I war with accepting and reveling in my enjoyment of pain, and being ashamed and disturbed by it. It’s funny, because at an event like DOWF, with people getting beat up on and everyone so open-minded, I’d have thought I’d feel less bothered by my own kinky desires. One of these days I’m going to work it out in my mind so that I’m not embarrassed or upset by liking pain.

In other news, I felt more switchy this weekend than I ever have before. I don’t know if it’s a side-effect of my evolving confidence and growth, or something else. I just have started to realize how hot it could be to turn the tables and potentially bind my partner and tease him, bring him off, etc. It’s a different type of sexy, but hot all the same. I don’t think I could ever really do much in the way of pain though. At some point, maybe I’ll try tying someone up.  It’s interesting to think about how over the past year and half I’ve gone from relatively intensely submissive to bottom to bottom/kinkster/possibly switchy. I guess I’ll blame it on increased knowledge, confidence, and open-mindedness. Things to ponder.

Another byproduct of the weekend is an increased awareness of my own awkwardness in regards to flirting and asking for play. It’s amusing, because my vanilla friends insist I’m not anywhere near as awkward as I think I am. I think my sense of awkwardness in the vanilla world stems from actual awkwardness in the kinky world, which stems from the prudish midwestern girl being thrust into the world of orgies and BDSM. Not surprising, but definitely frustrating. I went to a class on flirting, and the main idea is not to be too focused on rejection, because harping on that is actually kind of selfish in nature. I know logically I should just suck it up and ask, because if you don’t go after what you want you won’t get it, but it is still stupidly difficult. Friday night, I didn’t play at all because I was too intimidated by everyone and everything to go for it. The rest of the weekend went well, but I need to work on it. Shyness won more than I would have liked.

Now, I have to face reality. I’ve an interview tomorrow, my goodbye lunch for my internship (sad), and a whole bunch of work to do. I meant to summarize hearings and whatnot today, but that didn’t happen. I’m too tired. I will have to try to do it as fast as possible tomorrow in between things, and where that fails, stay late. I might go to a BR class on rope to help ease back into vanilla life, but that means Thursday is all homework. That, and errands aren’t happening today…a lot to deal with. Bonus – meeting cool people that live local that I can now hang out with more in the future :).

In a collection of randoms…

  • I really love watching the explosion on fetlife post-event, when everyone updates fetishes and adds friends, posts on groups and uploads photos. It’s fun and a nice come-down from the excitement (and a horrible procrastination facilitator).
  • I had some of the best people watching I’ve ever seen this weekend :).
  • The gender blender show made me a) want to dance and do a burlesque (next year!), and b) was worth the price of the tickets for the whole weekend because of how awesome it was.
  • Best sex toy ever (that I now own) – http://www.minnalife.com/?gclid=COfmm5zpra4CFacQNAodxkzmQw. It’s pressure controlled! Check it out.
  • My pain tolerance is directly dependent on my awareness of my surroundings. At big events, I can’t handle nearly as much since I get so distracted by all the people and noise around me. Lesson learned.

Ice Ice Baby

My apartment is frigid. We have no heat currently, my room has two huge windows, and my room is very large. Combined, it’s ice cold. I’m wearing sweatshirts and every blanket I have, and I’m still cold.

I’m also craving pain like an addict. I’m longing for a good, intense flogging/paddling/whipping. While I adore nipple pain and torment, it’s an entirely different type of endorphin and feeling. It’s been a long time since my limits have been pushed with implements.

It’s getting to the point when I’ve got things planned several weeks out…time is seriously flying. Craziness! I only have two more classes of budget policy, which is pretty amazing. Then we switch to global health.

I keep going back and forth between being afraid of and nervous about a long term D/s relationship versus excited (as opposed to purely a bedroom thing or simple bottoming). Power exchange has huge appeal to me, and on many levels I think it would be very liberating. On the other hand, when I’m as busy as I am now I could see myself getting easily frustrated by rules and priorities and just generally getting pissed off by an expectation that I would submit. At the same time, when I’m most likely to feel like that, I’m most likely to need a good pain session…so maybe it’d all work out?

I’m almost afraid to try. You spend all this time thinking you want something, but really, who knows without trying it? What happens if I try it and it doesn’t work for me at all? I almost feel traitorous entering into a relationship when I’m uncertain about the nature of it. I guess I’m still trying to figure out what balance of D/s and vanilla I need to maximize happiness for all involved. I’m comforted by my young age – I know I at least have time to figure it out. I’m really in no hurry at all.

In other randoms…I bought a new raincoat and super cute heeled boots this weekend, I got paid (even though 1/4 was taken for taxes 😦 ), I got to spend time with a variety of good friends over the last few days, and I’m still doing well at work. I also finally got to catch up with my friend whose mom died, which was a relief. I’m glad she’s making it through ok.