Shadow's Essays

"Words are loaded pistols."Jean Paul Sartre ~ "The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." Anais Nin

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Location: San Jose, Ca, United States

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leaps of Faith

#57. Leaps of Faith, and Trusting in the Universe .
Essays on a life of P.E.
June 22, 2010 by shadow

Last night i went to a discussion group, and the topic, within M/s and D/s relationships, was

"Trust sometimes involves a leap of faith, and in this life style we frequently trust our counterparts
(and our colleagues) (and also ourselves?) to an extent that risks much.
Emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and more.
What are these leaps of faith that we must make? Are the small ones any less big than the big ones?
How do we do it? What happens wen we don't do it? Why don't we do it, sometimes?
How can we become better at doing it?
And what in the heck compels us to continue doing it?"

i loved running into this because of the recent turn of events in my life.
i have, to some extent or another, never risked so much that there was 'no where to go' if things failed.
i have never put my last dollar into a venture, never gone anywhere with a total stranger without someone knowing, never pushed my life to the breaking point without having a sure knowledge that there was someone, somewhere, that could bail me out.
i had my parents up until long past my son's birth 17 years ago.
i planned things so that, while we might be 'flying by the seat of our pants' day to day cash flow wise, there was a steady build up of reserves and something to fall back on when things got rough.

In my emotional life, i did that as well. Early on, i learned the valuable lesson about how lovers part.
Don't yell.
It doesn't matter if you think he's a bastard- yelling that at him won't change it.
It doesn't matter if you HAVE to scream at her about your undying need for her- she won't stay.
Begging and whining and pleading and crying don't make people stay- if they cared enough for that to sway them, they wouldn't be leaving in the first place.
Like death, using the 5 stages as weapons at a partner are, in the end, not going to slow the grim reaper OR that lover as they walk out the door. Denial only makes them shake their head and wonder why they cannot get through to you. Anger makes them want to flee sooner. Bargaining- be it promises of 'being better' or offering to change things- should have been done LONG before the official relationship pink slip arrives under your bedroom door.

Using that as a basis of logic, i have tried to never have any 'famous final scenes" when parting, although i did once have someone return to pick things up WITH the person that had taken my place in their affections. i DID throw things assist him in moving out in that instance. It was stupid on their part to not think what they were doing, and a nice release of energy on my part as their belongings went over the fence.

Knowing this, people can also surmise that i do NOT enter into love lightly.
i look, i plan, i watch. Yes, every man or woman i have ever fallen in love with i KNEW were going to be important to me the first time i laid eyes on them, and in at least 2 cases i KNEW i had already begun to fall in love with them in that instant.
i knew, i was smitten, i was a goner, i was hooked.
That did not mean, however, that i did not 'hedge my bets' and 'cover my ass'.
In vanilla life, i might well be sitting home waiting for a phone call- but i would never let them know it, and i always played the casual, cool siren. Grace Kelly had nothin' on me. If they were boys, i would become their friend long before i let them know just how much i cared about them, and make sure that i was not barking up the wrong tree. i might date them and love them and call them my boyfriend, but i never got possessive. i not only did not want to be THAT clingy little bitch, but there was also a deep part of me that, being poly, might not have understood the feelings at the time, but sure gravitated to the idea that "so long as i am being loved and cared for, there is no reason they cannot also enjoy the company of others.... and so can i!".
There was *one* boy in high school that decided - just before Sr. Prom- to dump me in favor of the other person he was also seeing. She had given him sad stories of herself that were all fabrications, but i knew better than to try to overturn true love.
i never confronted him about that. i did, however, gather 4 friends in a van and drive to her home very early that June morning on the heels of a 3 day heat wave, armed with red wine and eggs, and turned her car into a traveling Jackson Pollock. By the time she went outside the wine had eaten off what paint was not sealed under the now cooked eggs. The 5 of us had breakfast at the International House of justice and revenge. With syrup.

From that day forward however, i realized that even that was hollow- it did nothing to sooth the pain inside, and i never wanted ANYONE to see that pain again. To admit to letting someone INSIDE so far that they could hurt me that badly was to admit being stupid, being unable to control my life, being vulnerable and being at someone's mercy. THEY controlled how my life would be. What would i do if i TOLD someone how much i cared, and it scared them off? What would happen if i SHARED that kind of commitment with someone who changed their mind? i would be alone, bereft, and unable to trust them.
In a way, however, i had already lost trust. Probably even before puberty had fully formed, i had lost the ability to trust ANYONE with the really scary things in my heart. With my needs. With the horrors i felt at the idea of being abandoned, being abused, being left behind.
Another thing i learned in college was the psychology of relationships almost invariably involves one person being 'more committed' than the other. One side has more power than the other, one side is more emotionally vested.
even as i dated trying to find an M/s relationship without knowing what that was, i was equally committed to being "Miss Independent" and taking care of myself included NEVER being farther in that the other party. My poly lifestyle (i dated 3 different men on and off interchangeably back then- all of them knew of the others, and all but 1 had been introduced to all the others) not withstanding, i kept that small part of myself where the PAIN could be caused tightly under lock and key.
So i learned to never,ever, fall more in love with someone than they were with me. That led to several inappropriate relationships and lots of interesting strange dates, but felt more like 'marking time' than seriously searching for my life to begin.
Then i met and began to love my spouse. Still insecure, still uncertain, i enjoyed being the responsible one, the more in charge one. My need for independence and to show the world as well as my relatives that i was capable of taking care of myself led me to find someone that i would always be able to dominate. A lovely situation if a girl wants to be in control, or a perfect example of what Gloria Steinham said "Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry. "

i stayed, and i grew and i learned, and i took some chances, but only one true leap- that of planning to become pregnant and have a child. No one can predict that, nor can anyone guarantee any part of the process no matter how small, how minor. Your whole world is up for grabs then, and nothing will ever be the same no matter how confident and sure you are.

i never regretted that particular leap, but i did learn quite a bit about my life partner along the way.
He was unable to make that kind of leap of faith. He could not just trust *anything* or anyone.

Meanwhile, the inner core of the slave in me was squirming to get out, and becoming less happy with each day.i rented a movie and stumbled upon the sexuality i craved, bought books and found the desires i needed, got a computer and found out what the real vocabulary of it all was, what was possible, and that i lived in Kink Central. And unlike the Ghostbusters, ANYONE could go out and capture some of that good stuff. But i still did not have *faith* in that larger than life sense.

i had to learn about trusting people to physically be careful, to not damage me while creating sensations that make people wince.
i had to find trusting places where i could give information and not have it come back to haunt me.
i had my personal trust of my confidential information violated, and learned the old phrase "fool me once, shame on you- fool me again, shame on me". She/ they will never fool me again. Once was enough.
Physically, i had a few close calls. i made choices based on being 'good' rather than 'smart'. i learned how to protect myself and be a fair and equal partner in BDSM play. i deepened my beliefs in being independent enough to take care of me. i learned to NOT make leaps of faith when it comes to play, to my personal well being, to non-romantic situations.
i will NEVER advocate anyone new and seeking their joy to just jump into things, and will forever encourage newbies to hold back, to provide safety nets and safe calls and back up plans, to learn and take their time.

Yet in 2003, as i was grilling a new gentleman over the phone (can you say 20 questions would never have been enough?) and learning to trust him and believe in him, i was accidentally giving in to faith, into believing in things unspoken, and into trusting that he would take care of things.
4.5 years later, that rug too was pulled out- and the devastation was nuclear. i had let him teach me to trust, and allowed him inside all the sacred spaces. His leaving was the horror i waited my whole life to avoid, the one most terrible of all the terribles. Like losing a parent or a child, losing an Owner - and the collar that i felt would be forever- wiped out a core part of my ability to function, and took away the security of 'having faith'.

i abandoned a lot of things, and spent time trying to remember to breath some days. i swore i would never, ever, ever let anyone do that again. i had to discard my heart because it was too broken to repair- and wasn't THAT the whole point of my M/s life choices- to be safe enough to offer that fragile orb and have it carried safely without fear of damage?
i grew a new one, slowly, and spent months agonizing over HOW i would re-enter this life.
i put out an advertisement, and i 'interviewed' for months, even as i dated that core of soft hearts that protected me, even as i leaned on my leather family to keep me unbruised while i tried to learn to do this again. i knew i was too young to just walk away, and that the Universe still had some surprises for me.

i took a little leap when i announced i was ready to being dating again. It was a social leap- risking only my pride a bit. After all, i might never find anyone to share myself with- let alone a dominant partner with the potential to actually LIVE with.
i took a bigger leap of faith one night on facebook when i wrote to a photo that seemed eerily like an old love of mine. Nothing more risked than a social gaff, worst case scenario that he remembered me with less than joy. At most to lose, the memory of something special and the hope that i might find that again some day.

Sometimes however, no matter how we plan for things to be a certain way, no matter how we assume our day will go, things happen. Sunspots occur. Owls come sit on your roof, the calendar becomes Friday the 13th, your period arrives early or your car explodes. What you prepared for suddenly is NOT what is happening right in front of you.

i went for coffee, to flirt a bit, to reminisce, to see how the years and the miles had worn on perfect moment in my life. i thought it would be light, chatty, and i would be asked some questions and then patted on the head and sent off down the road. i went prepared to share some laughs and touch my innocence for just a little while before i came back to my reality.

He came as well to chat, to laugh, to get some information and flirt just a bit and then go back to the carefully planned life he had put in motion. He had no intention of offering even a smidgen of vulnerability. He never planned on having the whole world *tilt* on a new axis. Yet somehow, every word out of my mouth seemed to change his planned direction and every new word out of his mouth changed the color of the sun and within just a few hours, we had each offered the other a new choice.

A precipice was before us.
Each time we spoke, we agreed- this was what we wanted, and what we would commit to. And i had to make that internal choice. Would i, for once in my life, just trust without proofs up front? They had not helped me in the past- but then again, i had also only had just the *one* crash and burn- there are people out there who's lives are emotional crash test dummies as they practice the art of rushing in.

So, i had to spend some time thinking about this chance- this one perfect golden moment.
i had already survived the worst thing that can happen to a slave, and the worst fear of anyone who wanted to protect their privacy.
i was still breathing.
WHAT was i afraid of? Pain? Been there- she is now an old friend.
Loss of self? No sweat- i can never lose this amazing personality, it's subjugation is temporary, and the core being is stronger than steel.
Lose my family? i had already planned divorce- and my son is almost grown. i would never risk HIS happiness, but i no longer have to worry about needing to be here, raise him, nor what he thinks of mom on her own- he's supportive.
Lose money? hell- that train left with the first wave of bank foreclosures.
Risking looking like a fool, and finding out somewhere down the road that i had been duped and left behind at the end was just about the only thing i feared- but it was also the biggest of them all in many ways.

Then one day i was watching "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. Writer Philip Dunne had caught the entire conundrum in a nutshell.

"Real happiness is worth almost any risk".

Real Happiness. *REAL* happiness, not the temporary kind, not the facade without the meat, not the happy face but the closed off heart- not the woman waiting for something *someday* instead of today. Not the fantasy of accepting blindly for a moments peace, nor the happy that comes when one has 'settled' out of fear, out of boredom, because we grow tired.

i looked into my soul and asked myself what would happen to me if i did NOT take this leap.
The slowly curdling frightened soul that stared back at me disgusted me to the core. If i 'looked the gift horse in the mouth', if i ran away from this amazing wonderful man, if i did not take the leap, i knew i was lost forever.
No one would ever be a more perfect fit to me than this man, and our reunion was no accident.
11 days later, i wrote this prose.


"Don't Jump!" they yelled
up through the sky
as she stood on the precipice above
"Don't do it!" they called from the safety of the pavement
frantically watching
the lonely figure on the edge
looking down
"Stop and think!" the crowd mewled,
begging notes of anxiety
their words laced in surety
eyes shielded from the brightness and the sun
their own fears uppermost
in their admonishments
"NOOOOO!" they cried in unison
watching her lean forward
head into the wind
looking up.

As she stepped off to find the sky
They did not see the beginnings of her wings.

Dec. 18th, 2009
In His care, His pet, shadow

We never leap alone- and if we share that fear of heights with the loved one, we cannot fall- we can only fly.
This time, i am not 'building trust'.
i just have incredible faith.

Copyright shadow, May 15, 2006All rights reserved. Please write for permission to repost. All reposts must be complete with copyright and contact info.