Note: this is part three 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.
Welcome again. In the last two entries, I have focused on introducing some of the people I care about in my life right now, and then on describing how I see friends: how I size people up, and how I offer to take them under my wing when I feel they need help in life. I detailed that, for a number of reasons in the past, a number of people are no longer in my life, due either to changes in the way we see each other, or simply the fact that they do not align with the way I need to see the world, and do not contribute to the sense of stability and control I need to feel in my life. Often it's a harsh process when that happens, but I always wish the best for people this happens to: I feel if we are destabilizing each other, we are best out of each others' influence.
Part 3: Her
However, in one such circumstance, I made my decision, the person has waited a year, and has recently sent me an LJ message asking for my number. I decided that I wanted to get my thoughts in order before speaking to them, and that is part of the driving process in this entry.
I saw this person as a "sub", in many senses, and I also detected an interest in Kink. Perhaps this is part of the problem. I'd tied her up once or twice (note:fully clothed, but demonstrating technique), I'd taken a few impact toys to her (also fully clothed). I'd employed her to keep my house clean. We'd shared a few intimate moments in a hot tub and a shower after, where nothing happened, and I enjoyed the fact that nothing happened: the trust of being able to do that was more a mental high than anything sexual could have been. It really felt special to me. I tried light bondage with her once, cuffing her up, naked, to a ceiling-hook in my basement, but again, nothing was penetrated in any manner like that.
She had alienated at least a couple friends at that time. There were numerous circumstances where she would refuse to be around if other people were around. I told her I didn't care what friendships she kept, that I would be her friend regardless and that she was always welcome with me. Later, I told her I loved her, and meant it. Before I moved away from the area, I gave her a collar that had previously belonged to another friend, who I felt no longer needed it.
Months later, I had her over the house where I was staying (several hundred miles away), which was a D/S heavy house. The homeowner at the time had a propensity for being pushy and somewhat sexually aggressive and inappropriate, albeit in a gregarious way. I offered to have her wear the collar again, as a signal that she was under my care and not to be touched. She turned it down. I made no pressure about it. I am not implying that she was to be touched anyway, nor that it was something "none of this would have happened if...", but people in these circles tend to "get" that symbol, and respect it as I would.
She was going through a lot of odd personal issues when she came to visit (major family problems with a relative in the hospital), but a lot of inappropriate jokes (about rape and chloroform) were made, and it put her off. She wandered outside the house, alone, and got herself into what I perceive as a dangerous situation: She started wandering the streets, and random people started following her around in a car. She didn't seek me out for help, and didn't call me once she had gotten into trouble.
Note that while she was trying to be independent, this type of behavior serves to reinforce the "helpless" thing that makes me read "sub". Even a peer would say "I'm going out for a walk, I have my phone" instead of just disappearing. I would have seen her as more capable if once problems occurred, she'd have reached out and been disclosive, even in just so much as a "I'm in trouble but I think I can handle it, if I don't call back in 20 minutes call the cops" sort of phone call.
Hell, when I took her from home, I was the one she left with, was staying with. If she had wound up dead in a ditch, who would have been questioned by the police?
Either way, I wasn't aware of the problems that were occurring, or if I was, I wasn't being made aware enough. Despite being in a house of friends who had all seen each other naked, she slept with the door locked. She went home a day or two later without incident.
Her visit: the aftermath
Later on, on LiveJournal, she had some things to say about her experience: vague posts about men in general and about our cowardice as a gender. I did everything I could to correct the problem with Mr Rape-Jokes, and he apologized profusely, to her directly, but it was his problem to correct. I don't know if they've ever sorted it out. I don't really care.
At the same time, through comments and threads and my own conversation to her she told me that some of the things I felt we had shared, that I felt were special and trusting, were simply because she had been at a low point at the time, and this left me feeling hurt. She also had some comments about my relationship with the monkey, and whether or not she felt it was healthy. I in turn saw this as the worst type of hypocrisy: someone attempting to become a therapist, but who had led herself into so many other situations, someone who wanted to counsel families, but couldn't gain the strength to either rectify or leave her own alcoholic, codependent, abusive environment. I felt it was clear: she needed to be left to make her own mistakes.
I remember that her sentiments about the most important relationship in my life made me very angry at the time, and this was at a time when other people were blatantly saying unfounded things about my relationship with the monkey.
Regular readers of this journal and would-be friends would do well to understand this if nothing else: You don't have to know every detail of my relationship with the Monkey. You are more than entitled to your opinion about it. But if the end result is that someone who thinks that the most fulfilling relationship I've ever had: an honest relationship between two consenting adults, is unhealthy, then the last thing I need is doubt where I've found an abundance of clarity. The values discussed here are both personal credo, and religion to me. I believed that then. I believe it now. I'm more than willing to keep my kink out of your face, but I don't want a friendship with someone who is disgusted with what I have.
I felt like I couldn't help but see her as a submissive: consistently putting herself in vulnerable places. Despite her assertion that she wasn't, I knew how I perceived her, and I couldn't change it. I felt as though I had taken advantage of her, that I had somehow let her down, that despite everything we had done being consensual, that I had taken advantage of her. And I didn't want to keep seeing her that way if she didn't want to be.
That combined with everything else, caused me to simply say "okay, have a nice life then", to have a friend make arrangements to get the collar from her. Sadly, the friend claimed that I do this with a lot of people in an on-again-off-again manner. In reality, the friend was an ex I had been guilty of that on-again-off-again behavior with, and that was probably why it was "everyone".
She gave up the collar. I have no idea where it is now, hopefully destroyed or buried, but I don't really care. She left me a nasty voicemail saying if I tried to come back again she would "laugh in my face."
...I still love her. Damn.I wrote that, and can't delete it now. Radical Honesty in action. I wish I could turn the feelings I have off, but it's not in my nature. The monkey told me months ago that she (the friend) had told the monkey that she was going to reach out to me.
It took strength (and months) for her to even get up the courage to send me the message she did. It may take months before she calls. In the meantime, she may or may not read this, but at the very least, I'm sorting out my own feelings, trying to be as honest with myself as I know how. (And as you'll see in part 5, I'm learning a lot about how to be honest with myself).
I suppose what I want from her is understanding. Understanding of my relationship with the monkey, and understanding of what I want for her.
I don't know who she's become in the past year. She may no longer fit the mental image of "sub" that I had classed her in. She may have moved away from the abusive family situation she was in, she may have corrected the relationships with her other friends. She may be in a better space job-wise. She alone can determine how I will see her, and how she wants to be seen.
One thing is for certain: while I've gotten quite good at ignoring the cries of "let me back in" that inevitably happen when I "close the door" like this, I've responded to her where I haven't to others. I've put the hours and hours into writing this entry that I have, and I am now waiting on her. The fact thatat I've given her even this limited power over me annoys me, but there may be a benefit. I'm trying very hard to see this time as an investment. I've sent her my numbers, and she can call when she needs to, or she'll be forgotten again. I'm not going to poke or prod.
What is certain, however, to me, is that there were crossed expectations. Despite my best attempts to explain what I felt, what I meant, what I wanted to be and do for her, and what I expected in return from her, we didn't meet up on it. We weren't honest with each other. We weren't able to put everything else aside as one should be able to do with someone you trust at this level: and I'll learn from that. I'll draw everything out now, give it all to people in writing, point them here at these entries. Hand them a simple list of "This is what to expect, This is what it means, This is what it DOESN'T: shatter any previous misconceptions someone may have just because it involves a symbol associated with kink and slavery, and cause them to realize that just because I'm in one such relationship, does not mean all must be.
The stress and the upset that's come from this can be prevented in the future.
In the next section, I detail what it means to me when I give out a collar, in the context of simple bullet lists, and go into what she could have expected, and what standards I expect the Monkey and I, both individually and as a unit, to carry forward with anyone else to receive such a thing.