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Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Ashley

The lovin is a mess, what hap­pened to all of the feel­ing?
I thought it was for real; babies, rings and fools kneel­ing
And words of pledg­ing trust and life­times stretch­ing for­ev­er
So what went wrong? It was a lie, it crum­bled apart
Ghost fig­ures of past, present, future haunt­ing the heart

—Belle & Sebastian, Another Sunny Day

Our rela­tion­ship has always rep­re­sent­ed the inno­cence of my youth.

The Friday nights, play­ing with can­dle wax in the dark, learn­ing how our bod­ies worked. Or the rush of wor­ry and excite­ment about par­ents walk­ing in the door. Olfactory sense has come to mean a great deal in my rela­tion­ships. From those nights we made love with Beth’s voice com­ing through your tin­ny speak­ers, I get turned on when I lis­ten to Portishead.

I kept the bot­tle of Gap Earth you used, some­thing dear to me since it was dis­con­tin­ued. Every time I smell the noz­zle, it brings me back to the time we were togeth­er.

Out of all my oth­er girl­friends, I thought you would be the one to end up in a D/s rela­tion­ship. I nev­er real­ized it until my own intro­duc­tion to the lifestyle, but the things you did were the most nat­u­ral­ly sub­mis­sive. The way you want­ed to be tied up with our belts, the enjoy­ment you got from pain, your desire for me to be in con­trol, the way you would take my hands is yours so you could kiss my knuck­les. To this day, I won­der if you still like these things.

I’ve always tried to fig­ure out why I’m nev­er sat­is­fied in my rela­tion­ships. It’s usu­al­ly not the fault of the peo­ple I date. Sometimes I blame my par­ents for their failed mar­riage, and how this has made me feel that’s it’s nec­es­sary to find the per­fect per­son so I don’t end up like them. Sometimes I think it’s because you were the first, and you came to define what was “right” or not.

Why then, did I break up with you?

I wish I could explain. I thought things would last, because you nev­er hurt me in any way. In fact, you did noth­ing wrong. Maybe we were just too young. They say you should­n’t mar­ry the per­son you can live with, you should mar­ry the per­son you can’t live with­out.

And I knew that I could live with­out you.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen

Oh, The Humanity

Although not in any nar­ra­tive Herbert Morrison sense.

I had a dif­fer­ent entry half-writ­ten, but the dark­ness was debil­i­tat­ing. All I want­ed was a sec­ond sun; it felt like a case of SAD because the night was mak­ing me both anx­ious and uneasy. It’s noth­ing close to a pan­ic attack, but it was bad enough that I felt com­pelled to called Pat to help talk me out of it. He’s one of the only peo­ple I can count on 24/7, and just talk­ing to him for an hour helps me fig­ure out more about the world than three months of writ­ing here. I know my eye­s’ll feel like lead weights tomor­row for stay­ing up this late, but I need to get this entry down before I lose it. Hopefully, know­ing that it’s Friday will be enough to keep me alive through the day.

Self-improve­ment has dri­ven me for most of my life, a nev­er-end­ing goal that’s guid­ed me through my actions and beliefs. This is usu­al­ly based on com­par­i­son, since improve­ment is always rel­a­tive. Those who can accom­plish what I have dif­fi­cul­ty doing always have my respect, and give me some­thing to work towards.

Before I com­plain about get­ting six hours of sleep the pre­vi­ous night, I think of Navy SEALs who get four hours total dur­ing Hell Week, a five day under­wa­ter train­ing exer­cise dur­ing the first phase of the BUD/S. That’s when I real­ize that I should be able to sur­vive an extra hour of work with­out much dif­fi­cul­ty. When I feel like throw­ing my hands in the air after work­ing on an ad for four hours, blind­ed by the depth with which I’ve star­ing at the mate­r­i­al, I think of my boss who can work through count­less inter­rup­tions and dis­trac­tions. That’s when I real­ize that I should keep at my work, because per­se­ver­ance will almost always yield results.

If I can sur­vive it, any­thing can make me stronger.

But as I dis­cov­ered tonight, every­one has their weak­ness­es. Even Pat. He’s always seemed as sol­id as a rock, com­plete­ly unfal­ter­ing, but he admit­ted that there are also moments of weak­ness, how­ev­er brief. Times when he can’t get any work done because some­thing is both­er­ing him that he can’t let go. Times when he just does­n’t feel like going out or social­iz­ing. To find this out about Pat, was to dis­cov­er that the most cheer­ful, friend­ly, con­fi­dent, and men­tal­ly strong per­son I know has his off days. Even the hard­est work­ing, most pro­duc­tive per­son I know occa­sion­al­ly falls vic­tim to a case of the Mondays or the 9–5 grind. There must be some sem­blance of bal­ance, in how much to push one­self, and how much to accept.

To strive for per­fec­tion is fine, but to lose sleep over imper­fec­tion is fool­ish.

Being a dom­i­nant, respon­si­ble for anoth­er per­son, means that one should be sol­id as often as pos­si­ble, but even this extreme case should allow for some lee­way. This does­n’t mean that I won’t try as hard in my attempt at dom­i­nance, but know­ing this cer­tain­ly makes the approach, and even self-improve­ment in gen­er­al, much eas­i­er.

Some may say that it’s a fal­la­cy to com­pare one­self to oth­er peo­ple. After all, every­one has dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties and tol­er­ance lev­els, and it’s no fault to born bet­ter at some things than oth­ers.

But even then, every­body’s human.

Cornus Canadensis

Many things to say, but this is the most rel­e­vant right now. This also hap­pens to touch on almost every aspect of my life, and I find myself con­sid­er­ing things from a gigan­tic range of angles. Unfortunately, I can only briefly touch on each of them, in an effort to stave digres­sion.

The first and most impor­tant goal I’ve ever had was to gain a healthy amount of con­fi­dence by the time I was mid­dle-age. This was so that I could enjoy at least half of my life as a strong indi­vid­ual. I set this goal because I real­ized that I had an unhealthy amount of self-doubt, which con­tributed to a depress­ing life and lifestyle, as well as unre­al­ized poten­tial.

This meant fight­ing off the inse­cu­ri­ties that were bred into me, which amount­ed to most of my child­hood. It has­n’t been easy in the last cou­ple of years, but it’s worked. Every six months, I’d real­ize how much I grew. This time, I real­ize that I’m there.

I final­ly feel like I’m in con­trol of my life. I speak to peo­ple dif­fer­ent­ly. I think dif­fer­ent­ly. Instead of avoid­ing con­flict, I can meet it head on. For me, this was prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult thing to do ever imag­ine doing. I would plan my life around such an avoid­ance, from my friends to my rela­tion­ships. I had a con­flict pho­bia, an illog­i­cal fear of a spe­cif­ic sit­u­a­tion, but I fought against it and won. In psy­chol­o­gy, peo­ple over­come their pho­bias by remain­ing relaxed in the face of their fears (because one can­not men­tal­ly be relaxed and scared at the same time). I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do this, by plac­ing myself in uncom­fort­able sit­u­a­tions over the last four months, and approach­ing them cere­bral­ly at the same time.

I also have to say that a major con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the suc­cess has been going through the D/s lifestyle with Loo. Having a sub­mis­sive as expe­ri­enced as she was, plac­ing her trust in me, gave me a sig­nif­i­cant boost in con­fi­dence. She once point­ed out to me while watch­ing Secretary, that Edward Grey’s con­fes­sion to Lee Holloway about pre­vi­ous­ly being shy was a very accu­rate detail. In Loo’s expe­ri­ence, many put in a dom­i­nant posi­tion are able to break out of their shells, and I nev­er under­stood or believed her until now.

So now that I’m here, where do I go? I’ve accom­plished the biggest goal in my life, some­thing I’d planned on work­ing on for the next ten years, and it feels like I’ve lost a major part of my rea­son for liv­ing. I feel like an astro­naut who dreamed of land­ing on the moon as a child, only to accom­plish the goal and real­ize that he had nev­er dreamed of any­thing else.

I sup­pose I still have the rest of my life to decide.

It's A D/s Life: Life After Loo

I haven’t writ­ten about this sub­ject in a while now. I need­ed to take a break, to dis­tance myself in order to gain some per­spec­tive. Now that I’m here, I feel com­fort­able enough to talk about it again.

But before I go on, a lit­tle expla­na­tion of my poten­tial bias is need­ed. I’ve always been one to believe that a sin­gle bad expe­ri­ence should­n’t turn some­one away from any­thing for­ev­er. I try to keep this belief in my head when I catch myself asso­ci­at­ing the D/s lifestyle with pain (ha! get it?) and frus­tra­tion. The only hands-on expe­ri­ence I have being a dom­i­nant was with a per­son who would repeat­ed­ly hurt me and bring me down.

However, I don’t believe that this was a con­scious char­ac­ter­is­tic. It was a per­son­al­i­ty that was wide­ly hyp­o­crit­i­cal, mean, and extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to deal with, but all of this fit the “type” of sub­mis­sive that she was. I saw her as a tremen­dous, effu­sive force that, when wield­ed cor­rect­ly, could be used to great advan­tage. The only prob­lem is there are only few with enough strength and patience to tame and guide such a force, although some­one who could accom­plish such a task would form an unbreak­able bond between mas­ter and slave. I knew that I would even­tu­al­ly have the strength, but I cer­tain­ly did not have the patience to be deal­ing with what con­stant­ly felt like a per­son work­ing against me.

So it’s with this cau­tion­ary step that I pro­ceed to explore the D/s branch of the BDSM umbrel­la. My sub was depen­dent on the lifestyle; she required it in her rela­tion­ships, and her only means of relax­ation was being a bot­tom at a par­ty. I knew the risks of get­ting involved. One of my biggest fears was that I would grow depen­dent on the lifestyle as well. After all, what greater ela­tion is there than to feel as if one owns anoth­er mind, anoth­er soul, anoth­er per­son.

As of yet, I don’t feel some tremen­dous urge to go out and find a sub to abuse. I’m not expe­ri­enced enough as a dom­i­nant to do that. I know, how­ev­er, that D/s is some­thing I’d want to explore in future rela­tion­ships. I con­sid­er it a basis of open­ness, trust, and accep­tance. Exploring the lifestyle (as a female sub espe­cial­ly) would lay the ground­work for a lot of oth­er things.

Many of which I have yet to dis­cov­er for myself.

It's a D/s life: Stepping Outside The Circle

When I made the deci­sion to jour­ney into this lifestyle, I knew that it was­n’t going to be easy, although I sus­pect­ed that it would be eas­i­er for me than for oth­er novice dom­i­nants, just from the fact that I have a very clear of idea of what I want in life and know myself well (or believe it at least).

The hard­est thing has been step­ping out­side of my com­fort zone, or what Warren describes as, “the psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­ri­ers to under­tak­ing such a polit­i­cal­ly incor­rect activ­i­ty.” It’s iron­ic; he warns, “…keep in mind that by admit­ting her desires, [the sub­mis­sive] could be seen to be reject­ing gains that women have slow­ly and painful­ly made over the last 20, 50, 100 years”, some­thing I under­stand com­plete­ly, but it’s not Loo who’s wor­ried about reject­ing these gains.

It’s me.

After all, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been pro­grammed by soci­ety to a cer­tain degree. No vio­lence against women, females are to be treat­ed as equals, et cetera. And along with this are my own pro­grammed morals and beliefs. Expect noth­ing from any­one. Punishment does more harm than good. The list goes on in var­ied and incon­sis­tent ways. What makes it all hard­er is the fact that break­ing out of the bub­ble must be done out of self-inter­est. As much as I’d like to keep remind­ing myself that this is not only what Louise wants, but needs in a rela­tion­ship, I have to for­go the rein­forc­ing of any such idea. To acknowl­edge it is to ruin the dynam­ic between Dom and sub.

Interestingly enough, the only way I’ve been able to get past these per­son­al bound­aries has been to not intel­lec­tu­al­ize them, to act with­out think­ing. To expect a woman to ask for per­mis­sion to leave my side, or come to bed. To have her sit at my feet instead of next to me. To hit her until the point of tears, but not stop. To know that her body is mine, and not her own.

To live this life for me, and not the both of us.