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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.