topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this is the final part of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Note that single-spaced, this series of entries comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. Please note:I state defining principles of a lot of what we do here, ergo comments are not only welcome, but requested. They are screened by default, if it's okay to unscreen please tell me. This notice will appear on each entry.

In the previous four entries, I covered, as straightforwardly and as honestly as I could, my belief systems, how I see people, and my justifications behind it. It may make me seem unfair, or self-centered, but I'm being open here: I forge the types of relationships I forge. Throughout it all, every time I've found myself posting something that I didn't see as accurate, I stopped, backspaced, and went over it. Any time I found myself saying something that I couldn't believe I'd said, but then I found to be true, I forced myself to leave it in. Sure, copy editing, spelling corrections, and restructuring happened, but I couldn't let what I felt escape the entry.

Part 5: Explorations in Radical Honesty

The Monkey and I recently watched an awesome Fox show starring Tim Roth called "Lie to Me". The show is about a team of "deception experts" who are able to tell when people are lying by facial micro-expressions made for less than 1/5 of a second. It's based on a real person, Paul Ekman, who pre-reviews every episode.

In this show, there is a supporting character named Eli Loker who adheres to something called Radical Honesty. The link there is to a wikipedia entry, and a copyrighted series of books and self-help lectures, but it's a very, very simple concept.

Say what you're feeling. Say what's on your mind. I've always tried to do this on some level with the Monkey, but now, I'm pushing it one step further, even removing the last of the filter. It also implies things like "don't ask questions you don't want an honest answer to". I suppose the classic "does this dress make me look fat?" would be an example. Supposedly, if the show is to be believed, the average person lies three times in ten minutes of conversation. About past experiences, about knowing things they don't, about seeming more right than they are. About the time, number, and frequency of sexual encounters. About inane things. About important things. And it comes to the point that you start to get not only used to it, but believing it. It's a filter that takes things from the speech center of your brain, and embellishes, polishes, omits, and distorts. It's a bullshit filter.

I've often said that the relationship I've had with the monkey has been one of the most honest and open ones I've ever had, but there's still been things I've been less than true about: a friend I had let be dominant over me, previous experiences in life, things as minor as a food allergy I've claimed to have ever since I've known her.

As I worked to shut down the filter, over the first few days I felt like I was drunk. I babbled incessantly. In fact, I gestured as I normally do when drunk. This is actually not surprising, as being drunk shuts off the same filter, so my brain was in a similar mode. I said every thought that popped into my head, no matter how inane (and given enough caffeine, there are quite a few of those). I've mentioned numerous things to the monkey, and with at least a few other people, in both emails and IM conversations, I've simply gotten things off my chest, cleared the air, said things I hadn't said previously or been saying to try to be nice, to be tactful. For some people, in IM, as soon as I saw their names something came into my mind, I realized it was true, and typed it: some radical things about ways I had damaged relationships, people I had wronged, opportunities I had missed. Every time I think about other things in the past that I might have said that are even the most bit misleading, I blurt them out. I correct myself constantly now, until I'm sure meaning is straight. Conversations are just a little stressful with the monkey. If I'm upset, I've been saying it lately instead of keeping calm. This may pass, it may not.

Being this honest doesn't mean the complete lack of tact, and it doesn't mean the complete loss of at least a little sugar-coating. If someone's wearing something that makes them look bad, there are a couple ways to say it as opposed to first-instinct. "That's not attractive on you" gives the same message as "God that makes you look ugly". I suppose the most important thing may be to respect people's limits: if they tell you outright that they don't like this, then I suppose like everything else, there needs to be the capability of safe space.

I would love to have this concept with everyone who wears a collar, and I would love to have it be bidirectional, but like so much else, that part wouldn't be mandatory: some people could only take it on after a long time, and some people never could. Some of the guidelines I've mentioned previously start to approach this, though.

I already push subs to this: to tell me what's wrong when I ask, to tell me what their needs are, to tell me when they're not okay instead of shelling. I especially insist on "safewording", and giving me status updates when you've got heavy stuff going on, either inflicted by me, or by life in general. I think on this one, I'm going to lead by example. Some of you reading this may have already seen this if you've been speaking to me.

Once I've explored it on that scope, I may employ it with my greater circle of friends and acquaintances in general. I'd honestly love to be able to employ this in my work life as well; but there are walls. Mentioning your love life at work (especially when you're into BDSM and are poly and at least a little bit bi) is a little bit weird, and just a little bit dangerous, but I can at least shut off the bullshit.

I freely admit that I can't do it with strangers. Not yet, anyway.

Conclusion

I'd like to thank anyone who's read all the way through to this point. It's been an interesting writing experience, and it's been useful both to hone my writing style, as well as to get a lot of things out of my head and into text, both about the past, and about the future: where I've been, where I'd like to go. How I've lived, how I'd like to live. While I have been told by some that I write using a very knowing/knowledgable tone, the truth is, just like everyone else on the planet, I'm still learning and still figuring it out. People are complex, and when you have multiple people, in multiple co-mingled relationships together, that require the degrees of trust these do, it can be difficult, and there can be numerous unseen variables. I don't propose to be an expert. I'm a programmer, a techie, a appreciator of hard science: I analyze things, and I come up with logical conclusions and relationships. People aren't always logical, and they don't always adhere to rules.

I need to be honest with myself as well: perhaps, in all this, I'm just trying to come up with some method to bribe/nudge/push people into fitting into my definitions, or rule them out. I can't honestly know, and time will tell.

For those of you who haven't been regular readers, please know that comments are screened, and that I love/crave feedback. I tend to reply to screened comments, which requires me to de-screen them momentarily (obviously if you have the option to email comments turned off, you miss out). Once this entry has had time to "set" for a while, I'll likely add them to this journal's memories listing.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note: this is the fourth part of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here (although it has since exceeded the max length on LJ so only contains the unposted portions). Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

Welcome again. In our first entry, we focused on introducing the people in my "circle", those that I've chosen to keep close to me, to share my style of thinking and my rather uniqe kink-biased-but-not-required viewpoints. In the second entry, I described how I generally tend to measure people, generally judging them on their merits and achievements, and on my perceptions as a person, and what I perceive of a person when I decide to offer them a deeper, more intimate level of trust. In yesterday's post, I detailed some mistakes, misconceptions, and problems that had come up with one friend.

In this entry, I would simply like to focus on the criteria I think that should be determined clearly, as a common denominator. This entry is going to be a little different, a list of lists, so to speak, but that's the format it takes best to.

Put another way, this is like saying: I know the people in part 1, I've come to see them a certain way based on criteria in part 2, and while I'm offering assistance in various ways it doesn't mean I see them as terrible or weak people. Because of some things that happened in part 3, I'd like the people in part 1 to read, understand, and comment on the stuff in part 4, here. This is where it all starts to come together. As always, comments are appreciated.

Part 4: What a collar means to me

What submission means to me is simple: ultimate trust. "I submit to you" == "I put my life in your hands". What that requires, and means, is a bit more complicated. Some of these may sound a bit Asimovian.

What I want for all my friends, collars or no:

  • I want them to be happy. Doesn't mean I want to help make them so, but I don't like seeing anyone unhappy, and if I see a person unhappy for an extended period, I might not want to see them so much.
  • I don't like hearing my friends use words like "stupid", "ugly" or "fat" to describe themselves.
  • Along the same lines, I often take offense at the words "just" and "only". As in "I am just a..."

What I will do if you are given my collar:

  • It means that I pledge to help you in any way I can, if it is within my means to do so and if it does not endanger me or others in my charge.
  • It means that I will try as hard as I can to be honest with you, and to tell you what I believe to be true. This hasn't in the past meant outright full-disclosure, but that may change soon.
  • It means that I genuinely care about things that are going on in your life, and that affect you: your career, your love life, your emotions, your rage.
  • It means that I will try and meet your needs. They may not always be what you ask for. If I feel you need to talk and are shelling, that means I may try to draw things out. If it means you're drunk and need to not drink any more, it means I'll see you safely to bed and give you a warm blanket.
  • It means that I will listen to you. If you say you can't handle a particular method, means, or approach of working with you: I may explain myself, but I won't force it on you.
  • It means that unless you ask, I may discuss your problems with other people in the circle, to be sure my advice and approach are fair and well-grounded and are in your best interest.
  • It means, outright, that you will not intentionally hurt or damage yourself, and that I will not be tolerant of you hurting yourself.
  • I will ask you about your long term goals, where you want to be in life, where you see yourself going. It means I'll ask how realistic you feel those directions are, and how I can help.
  • I will work with you to set longer and shorter-term goals for yourself, and I'll keep tabs on you as often as we agree is comfortable.

What a collar does not (necessarily) mean, unless we discuss and arrive at these together:

  • It does not necessarily mean I have the right to simply use you as I see fit.
  • Doesn't necessarily mean I have the right to take you away from other aspects in your life: family, friends, religion.
  • Nor does it necessarily mean I expect you to be romantic, or sexual, or BDSM-involved with me. I have at least one person on the list above who I don't think I've so much as hugged.
  • It doesn't mean I have the right to discipline you like you may have read about the monkey having in this journal.
  • It does not mean I can make you do anything you do not want to do.

What I expect you to do if you wear a collar:

  • I expect you to be honest with me. I don't want full-disclosure or radical honesty (see the next section) from everyone, but I at the very least expect not to be lied to. If there's something you don't want to tell me, then say that: I'll respect it far more than a lie.
  • I expect you to tell me about any problems you may be having. Much like my friend in the previous section, I'm fine with "I'm having problem X, but I've got it under control".
  • I expect that if I'm offering advice, that you listen to it. Feel free to rebut it, but listen to it all the way through. I'm verbose if you give me a chance, I give details behind my logic, and will explain things to the nth degree. Once I'm done, feel free to tell me you don't think it works for you, optionally tell me why. But please listen. If I feel after offering it repeatedly that it's not the right kind of advice for you, I can work to change what I offer. If I am simply cut off before having that conversation, I cannot.
  • I expect that if I'm making you uncomfortable, you tell me. If a situation I've put you in is making you uncomfortable, tell me. You can use the standard BDSM "yellow" or "red", or you can casually take me aside, or you can simply say "you're hitting a comfort limit here".
  • I expect along the same line as above that if I'm asking a line of questions that are awkward, seem to personal, or that you outright feel are none of my business, you will tell me. In a perfect world, no subjects are taboo, but that can be a level of trust that can take years or longer to build, and I feel it would be unfair (except in life-threatening situations) to require that level of disclosure outright.
  • Finally, if I am in a sexual relationship with you (and this is not at all a requirement, note the "if"), it is imperative that you let me know of any risks you may be putting me, and the other people I relate with, at by sharing that level of intimacy with you. If you have a new partner who doesn't believe in being tested or who you are unsure of, it's my right to know that if you're going to continue that with me. Note of course that if you're in such a relationship, you're putting yourself at risk at well, but in this case, I need to protect the others by insisting on this.

Everything else is negotiable. Absolutely everything. Note that I mention clauses above that apply IF we are intimate, but there's no real protocols or standards defined. Just some very light, base expectations. On the actual protocol level, and slightly more infuencing of day-to-day behavior:

What I would LIKE to expect of you if you wear a collar:

  • As of now, four of the people above have made up HTML forms that they are required to submit to me, daily, with it being a requirement for a fourth person by next Wednesday. These forms detail how they've served me, and served themselves; how they've made progress on issues they're tackling, and what they're working with. In all cases, I asked them to come up with the entries on the forms, as it's an important factor to me what they feel is important. (That may be cheating, mentioning that). I'd like everyone to be submitting daily or at most weekly reports to me. It takes only a minute, and it's a good self-checking exercise.
  • It's completely optional, but I give collars to be worn. I tend to discuss it with people beforehand, what they'd like or not. Some people keep them close, some wear them around wrists or ankles. Sometimes there's a symbolic representation, like a body piercing (but not a tattoo). While I'm normally scientific, I'm slightly pagan in the concept that I believe you can draw strength from me by wearing an object linked to me, and I see myself as a strong person. I'd like it if they are worn at least:
    • in my presence when I'm at home.
    • optionally in my presence in public.
    • optionally when you're on your own, either at home or out.
    • I also like knowing that you're wearing it when addressing me from a distance, either online talk, or when filling out your daily report.
    • When you need to be reminded of your place, or you need (as above) to draw strength.
    • If my relationship with you is sexual, then perhaps while masturbating, or even while having sex with others.
    • Alternatively, some other ritual, like holding it for a minute, warming it with your hands, kissing it, polishing it, saying my name while holding it. In short: I want it to be a significant object that you show respect to in a certain way. You can even opt not to tell me what that way is.
  • In deference to the above, if you're an actual slave-type collared person, then I will probably dictate that you wear the thing all the time, and will make sure to buy you something shower-able, comfortable, and lock it on all the time. But even then, it's a negotiable thing. The monkey has worn his almost a year. It's titanium. And apparently only sets off airport metal detectors if we're at threat level orange or greater.
  • For submissives and people with a sexual relationship, I tend to like body shaving. Whether or not you do this if you are only trying out that kind of play is up for discussion.
  • I expect you to be at least comfortable with the concepts of bondage. That is to say, comfortable with the monkey wearing his collar and cuffs out in public.
  • I'd like you to be open-minded. Trying new foods, trying new experiences. Yes, some of this may involve trust exercises. It may mean wearing a blindfold to try new foods, for example, which some people would consider kinky, but which I would just say is defeating a visual bias (and puts more focus on taste and texture). It may mean, if you've done something wrong, even if you're not into BDSM, trying a punishment I'd use with a submissive; which can be writing assignments (either self-exploratory, or repetitious), being made to stand in a corner, or even outright physical punishment (which we would discuss beforehand, and which would not under any circumstance be compulsory). It's not required, but I'd like you to be able to say you tried it.
  • I'd like you to be drug free. If you do things recreationally, we can discuss that. (And with at least one of the people above, I am now somewhat in control of that). I would like to know that decisions you and I will make together are done without any external influences. This generally includes being a non-smoker as well (see above statement about hurting yourself). It also means telling me when you've done what if anything.
  • I'd like to be able to influence your learning process. This may mean being given books to read, and it may mean doing book reports after. It may mean learning skills common to mine, so we have a shared base of understanding. I'd like all my subs to learn at least HTML, as well as one programming language, for example.
  • I'd like you to have a standard way of addressing me. "Sir", "Sensei", "[my name]-sama", or even another name that doesn't imply anything like that: just something that shows you are to see me in a different light than how others see me, and that you call me by a name you call no other by.
  • While this normally implies to people in the sexual/submissive frame of mind, I have a certain attachment with hair: while it grows back quickly, I took both the Monkey's, and another slavegirls's early in their relationships. I contemplate that I'd like to require a certain commonality to hairstyles: at the moment, I simply feel buzzing down an inch or two of hair at the nape of the neck, even when a collar is first given, would be a nice thing, something that everyone who had a collar would have in common (it's also something I like the feel of under my fingers, and as the neck, especially the back, is a good control point, it's a nice place to have one's hand anyway). But again, this is in no way compulsory; simply a nice thought.

It's a long list. And before giving such a wearable to anyone, now that the list is out and formalized, I want to be able to have people go over it, to agree to a common set of terms and protocols and expectations; to decide on anything they can't handle (or may not be able to handle initially but want to be led toward; or things listed here that they want). I don't want to draw this out like a credit card contract, or a cell phone agreement: to be weaponized and to give me a number of ways in which you can breach the rules later, but simply because I'd like my relationship with you (and yours with me) to be one where you know what to expect. That doesn't mean it will be boring, nor does it mean it will be draconian, or like a bad porno. I enjoy my life, and I want to enjoy it with other people. I just want to have a set of expectations about the people I am closest to.

In our final entry, I will detail one other interesting aspect of myself I'm trying to explore: a way to completely clear the air. If you have been reading the meta-post on this, most of the final entry needs to be fleshed out a bit more, based on recent experiences.

topthemonkey: (Default)

Note, this is part two of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here. Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

The doors I've closed.

In yesterday's entry, I covered the diverse group of people who have given me their time and attention, and who have chosen to do me the honor of calling me "sir". Sometimes, I decide I want to commit to people even greater, and want that relationship to be symbolic. I guess that brings me to what "submission" and collars in general mean to me, and what a dominant and a submissive are.

When I first met the monkey, I mentioned that I had given collars to a lot of people I knew, and the monkey was rather taken aback at this. I tried earnestly to explain that it didn't mean the same things to me that it meant to her, and she asked me not to buy any more gear for anyone unless I discussed it with her. With the exception of a few books for someone, I haven't. Strictly speaking, I don't count books as gear, but I'm being fully-disclosive here. Radical honesty and all that.

Friends, and implied hierarchy

The monkey often feels I tend way too often to see things as black and white: you are either sick or well, sane or crazy, useful or not. I recently stated in a conversation with the monkey that I tend to see all people as either Dominants, Submissives, or Peers. While the monkey took some offense at that at the time, I feel I can turn that around a bit now and put it in a rational sense.

In everyone's life, there are people who have control over you, and there are people you do not. There may also be people you have control over.

For example, a cop pulling you over: face it, he has control over you as long as you're there. I'm not interested in debating this: anyone wise will just give him the respect he needs, and get him out of your life. Your boss at work, sure, there may be job negotiations, but either you answer to them, or you quit, get fired, transfer or are promoted. You may have a friendly relationship with him, but he can still pull rank. In the company org-chart he's either above, below, or parallel to you.

Your friends are peers, usually. You may have friends that you always answer to, that you will always do what they say; and you may have friends who are the same way for you, who will always do whatever it is you do, who are people pleasers. If you call that a "perfect peer", you may need to think over it a second time, but there are likely people for which there's an even exchange, you give them advice, they give you advice. You take turns picking up the lunch tab. You offer mutual input to common problems and discuss things logically. Neither of you is a natural leader over the other, neither of you depends heavily on the other, and the relationship of X to Y, is the same as Y to X.

The line of friendship is a blurry one. You may find that you may have friends who you are both stronger and weaker than, in various subjects, but in almost all societies, a pecking order and a sense of hierarchy tends to emerge. The same is true for those above you; let's say you have an eight-years-older brother or the like. You listen to what he has to say, you give him at least some degree of respect, and he may in fact have pounded you a few times when you're kids. Later in life, he's the godfather of your kids and giving the speech at your weddings, the one who tells you what to expect because he's been there before. While he's not your boss, he's above you in some senses, and you both accept it.

In the third category, not everyone has underlings. Not everyone is capable of handling it. If you're a parent, your children answer to you, at least in theory. If, as above, you have younger siblings that you take care of, you have this. If you babysit, if you're a team captain or a scout leader or a club president, you lead, and to whatever degree, no matter how democratic the process, they follow. Note carefully that there's nothing wrong with being a "sub". Some of the strongest, and most capable, wonderful people I know are subs. When I was 21, I had a friend aged 15 who was my shadow: we went everywhere together, just hung out, I picked her up to run errands with me, we watched anime, I invariably fed her, and it was known by parents and friends that if she was with me, she was safe. There was nothing sexual, nothing romantic. She was just someone who was always at my side. There was also no power struggle, either: the roles made sense. We've drifted, but she's still in my life, in an outsider-sort-of sense. She's become a peer in almost every sense of the word. She's graduated. I've told her, on many occasions, how proud I am of what she's done for herself and what she's made.

I simply have started to see all relationships like this. You're a peer, you're above me, a peer or below me. Most of you are peers. Two other possibilities: I don't know you well enough or I just don't want to know you. (as an aside: if you want to know which you are: ask me and I'll tell you, it's not supposed to be a secret). You can have different roles where these apply (i.e. with coworkers who are also friends), but in a singular context, I feel I'm better off knowing the score. In determining this, I tend to rate people on a few qualities:

  • General Intelligence. Are you conversible, alert, well-spoken? Are the lights on and are people home?
  • Specific Intelligence. If you have knowledge of a subject, and I see that your knowledge of it is well-rounded and extensive.
  • Abilities. Can you do something I cannot? Something that shows either inate talent or years of effort? Something that shows a passion in learning?
  • Appearance. I tend to ignore weight, and I tend to ignore style of dress. I don't believe clothes make the person -- just look at Paris Hilton or Rod Blagojevich. I do look at cleanliness, grooming, and scent.
  • Strength of character and self-esteem. Is it there, or is it not? Are you taking care of yourself?
  • Outright demeanor: Are they a good, caring, compassionate, loyal person?

(As a humorous aside: I just looked over the above list and realized it conformed with another standard rating system. This wasn't intentional, but for those who understand the following [WIS, INT, STR/DEX, CHA, CON, ALI], it kind of makes sense.)

My father, rampant alcoholic that he is, claims he has two overall categories for determining if a person is worthwhile. "Would I buy this guy a drink?" and, more importantly, he says: "Would this guy buy me a drink".

The reality is that we ALL size people up using our own criteria, even if we don't want to admit we're doing it. I'm just trying to be forthright in my hows and whys, trying to hard-categorize.

More than Friends

I have known a number of people, who I see having trouble in a number of ways, or who are going through (or who are about to go through) a particularly difficult time in their lives. Very often, I will take a friend aside and ask, in earnest, if they want my advice and help in a situation. It requires an emotional investment on my end, but it also means that I can change someone's world for the better. I'm sure some of you know people like this, people who consistently show inability to self-manage. People who stir drama in situations, people who have a number of conflicts with people, many of them self-started. Sometimes they're a genuinely good person, but odds are against them: they're out of shape financially, terribly in debt with no hope of recovery, or in at least a few cases, too young to be able to manage their own life. If I see enough redeeming quality above, enough potential to care and be a good person, and If I care enough about a person, then I make myself available, and move to work with them. I move to be a person who is above the bullshit, and who won't get trapped in the situation of "all my friends are turning against me."

Yes, I have a hero complex. I fully admit it. And yes, to my BDSM-addled brain, stating "I'll be there for you" means giving a person a collar, and explaining to them and everyone else that it's not about sex, or kink, or fucking; and explaining to everyone else that it doesn't make any of the other people I care about any less special. it's about being the person to both take care of, and be in charge of another when necessary. Like a pet, the person you open the door for on a cold night. The "family" you met in the list above? These are the people I would do this for. These are the people I would choose to walk beside me.

Recent Edit. One reader of this chapter told me it sounds like codependence. I bring up my relationship with the monkey here. My definition of "codependence" is "two people who cross-enable each other's unhealthy behaviors". To take a chapter from the animal and plant world, the monkey and I are "symbiotic". Or we are "interdependent". We both get wonderful discussions, great sex with things we both enjoy, affection, mental stimulation from each other. She gets health insurance, a roof over her head, all the soy-based food product he can eat. I get meals made for me, laundry done, the house kept, and the comfort of knowing that she's growing as a person under my care, and helping me to do the same, helping me to become a better master.

Section four of this series will focus on that, and will focus on what I want to offer people who I give this level of attention and involvement to.

Why I'm need to be in charge to be closer.

In my work life, I feel it is a journey of discovery: I work in a place where I am good at what I do, but where the development of skills is a solitary path. I do what I do because I am good at it and because it enriches me. I choose the path that career takes. Ultimately, I am in charge of my own destiny there. There are other people to ask for help, and of course I report to people, but I am able, in this job, to be who I am at home.

I need to be able to see the monkey as under me, in every way. She may be more well read on some topics, and I in others. She may have a degree I do not. We talk like normal people, we debate and discuss things -- but the lines on the org chart are clear: she calls me sir consistently, and I call her Boy. I need to be able to apply this paradigm evenly to other parts in my life. If I learn to be a better speller to write work emails, I will apply the same to personal writing. If I try to be more well-spoken at work, I will continue to use the same voice when with friends. When defining a new behavior, applying the same logical arrangement unilaterally helps to strengthen the system in all cases. I need to be the dominant in situations involving these people I need to be in control, and able to solve problems.

No longer friends

In the above "job" situation, the "quit or be fired" is what I call a "radical relationship change". Not all relationships can take such a change. Some people break up and remain friends. Others break up and want nothing to do with each other. In some cases, there is an off-again-on-again, but I've found in that case, the relationship isn't changing at all: the status quo is just an oscillating state that has probably been there the whole time.

In several situations, especially in the past, I have had such a drastic change. With my family, with former roommates, with friends. Still with other people, I can think of several examples of people I've cared for as above, people who were always at my side, who I'm proud to see have grown into peers.

However, the opposite is also true: if I find that you and I conclict constantly, or if I see you unwilling or unable to accept help (and I'll offer). If I continually feel then I can't trust a friend, then I need to make the opposite decision. As I explained to a recent commenter, if you are floating in the sea, and I have a boat, I will offer to pull you in, or I'll move on. I can't stand there and watch you drown, it detracts from the need to get everyone else where we're going.

Several times in the past, I have seen people one way, and because the terms I'm laying out here were not clear, they did not want to be seen that way. In an edit, the monkey asked: Couldn't the terms have been clear and they just didn't want to be seen in that way?, referring most likely to one specific person, (who has her own section, in the next entry). The answer is honestly, no. I will see you as I see you. I'm not going to lie to myself to convince myself that you're a strong and capable person when I honestly believe you haven't achieved that level: it does neither of us a service. If you don't like the way I treat you, because of how I see you, then you alone have the power to change that. It's not set in stone, and it's hard to change a first impression, but you have the power. The criteria above will determine that.

If I do not see you as a capable person, talking to me will not change that: your actions will. If I see you caught in abusive relationships, if I see you doing things that serve only yourself, if I see you dishonoring your friends, the way I see you is the least of your problems. If you do not like the way I treat you because of the place I've put you (which in most cases will still be fair and civil, but terse and maybe at arm's length), then I can tell you how to change it, if my opinion matters enough to you that you're willing to change. Choosing not to associate with me is always an option. I'll still give you a ride home when you need it and give you the time of day, just don't expect me to be interested in your life, or care because your abusive boyfriend knocked out another tooth, or willing to listen to your problems.

Even then, very often, this has meant simply letting go and ending communications: closing a person out, deleting them from friend lists, and realizing I'm better off not trying: realizing in some cases "we continue to not see eye to eye, we keep oscillating, we continue to hit misunderstandings and false accusations, and I need and deserve solidity, (and so do you!), please stop trying". In other cases, it's meant that I put effort into maintaining a relationship, and I felt the relationship was strained, or an interruption in the life of another. Or simply that I asked a person to try out BDSM, as I had always seen them as subordinate to me and simply wanted to formalize it, and they rejected it: I know that if I hadn't closed the door, that I would have gone on continuing to try to see them that way, which in turn would have made things worse. In still others, it has meant a person who had dominion over me was not worthy of my respect. In a select few cases, it's because I felt I had hurt the person, and didn't want to risk further damage or was "resigning in shame" as you see happen so often in the government. In some cases, it's because the other person did the same and decided they didn't want to maintain a friendship with me, which I feel it would be hypocritical not to respect.

At some point, I may make these all into a list of "failure modes", and then cross-reference it over the doors I've closed. This is not the place for that.

In most cases, I've felt content to leave that door closed, even when people have come back to me months later. There was a significant enough amount of emotional spendage involved in the decision to close the door, as well as the events leading up to it. The asking to reopen causes more, and actual reopening would cause far more, and the potential of a repeat. Most of the time, I don't even answer anymore.

I should mention of course that it terrifies the monkey whenever I end a friendship. The monkey asks me, whenever this happens, what will happen when I no longer decide a relationship with him is worthwhile. I see this as a highly unlikely occurrence: the monkey and I try very hard, despite all the difficulties to be honest and open with each other. When I'm disappointed, it's clear. When I'm proud, it's clear. And when improvements need to be made, it's stated, and they're made. He has continued to grow as a person in the time I've known him, and while the possibility exists that at some point in the distant future he may decide the role we've forged for him together is no longer his chosen path (or I may decide the same for myself). All I can say is that if it comes to that, we'll handle it together with love, as we have all things up to this point.

That's all I have here. In the next entry, I hope to speak of one particular door I've closed in the past. While I normally tend to make my reasons and logic clear to the monkey, we've disagreed on some of them. The monkey is not going to change my perception of the situation, nor change my mind, but I'd rather present my own viewpoints and let people try to understand what I feel. My desire is not to convince anyone, merely to lay my cards on the table and be radically honest (which I'll touch on in part five).

topthemonkey: (Default)

Hello there

This was to be my posting location for my credo, in a single easy-to-print and read entry. However, as I've edited it, and expanded it based on feedback, comments, and further experiments in soul-searching and radical honesty, livejournal has responded with "error: post too long". Screw you, LiveJournal. Their solution "Hey, try taking out some tags" does not amuse me.

Thus, this location will serve as simply a collection of links to the existing parts. However, if you wish to comment on the credo in its entirety, please feel free to do so here as well.

Profile

topthemonkey: (Default)
topthemonkey

October 2012

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
1415 16171819 20
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 04:58 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios