Sometimes you fuck up.

I’ve been doing something for a while now (and, knowing me, will likely do it again, and probably again, before I actually get the hang of Not Doing It) that hasn’t been working, and my Ghost and I had a Talk about it last night.

It’s something that, one way or another, I routinely mess up on: whether by making myself small when I should be aiming for huge, or by scaling back my expectations/demands rather than pushing for more, I do this frequently. My instincts/habits/life experiences/something tell me that, when things aren’t going quite the way I want them to, I should stop wanting those things.
Which, yes, when I put it like that, is patently stupid.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t do it.

I have been keeping things to myself – likes and dislikes, hopes and wants – because I don’t want to be a burden. Or because I don’t want my opinion about X to result in my Ghost choosing an action that will (a) not actually affect my life all that hugely, but (b) affect HER life and, more to the point, her wellbeing in a big (and also probably negative) way.
But the result has been that my Ghost has been walking on eggshells. Because she knows I’ve been keeping stuff from her, and it makes her wonder (and worry) what else I might not be telling her.

I don’t want to make my servant/girlfriend hyper-vigilant.
That’s horrible.

So I need to change how I’m doing things.

My stumbling blocks:

Cultural and familial conditioning: It’s really hard to go against a life-time of training that’s told me in no uncertain terms that making your every whim known and, furthermore, expecting those whims to be catered to (and on the double, no less) is… rude, presumptuous, self-important, and basically means you’re a lousy human being.
My Ghost has been serving me for more than two years at this point. I collared her just a little over a year ago. That’s a lot of time to cultivate my entitlement. At the same time, it’s up against about 30 years of being taught to squash it, so maybe it’s not surprising that this is taking a little while.
Wanting to take good care of my Person: My girl works a physically demanding and, frequently, frustrating job. That she does this gives me the luxury of spending my days writing, crafting, doing Q/T outreach, coordinating a poetry show, and otherwise filling my time with art and community[1]. But it also means that she comes home late in the evening, feeling tired and sore, and needing to decompress. Much to my chagrin, my decision to give her ample time and space in which to decompress has actually resulted in her feeling like I “never take [my] horse out of the barn”.
That’s not what I was aiming for!

My Ghost asked me two questions last night:
“What do you think I need?”
“What do you want?”

She’s been feeling a bit like she’s serving a computer-program of late because most of what I ask of her is day-to-day chores (that show up in her automated calendar), and she’s been wanting to know what the longer-term goals and plans are (or, hint, if there are any).

The truth is, while I have longer-term goals, I’m totally fumbling and stumbling and flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to figuring out how to achieve them.
I don’t actually like it that the majority of the service I require from my Ghost is financial.
I would rather be at a point where I’m reliably generating mortgage-paying amounts of money through the above-mentioned channels of art and community, which would let me redirect my Ghost’s energies to, say, getting her various businesses off the ground so that should could work part-time doing custom furniture and part-time doing custom footwear and part-time doing various projects for me, and so on (which would cut down on her commute, let her be (relatively) gentle with her body, and give her a huge shot of extra job satisfaction… all of which would be a massive boost when it comes to her wellbeing. Plus we could probably have lunches together on the regular, which would be nice).

I am not at that point yet. I am, in fact, about $1200/month – bare minimum – plus a down-payment away from that point. But that’s where I’m aiming. That’s what I want and what I think she needs.

As it stands, though, while I’m working towards my goals, I do need to make sure that I take my horse out for a spin every now and then.

Ways I can do this:

Make Statements Rather Than Requests: “Clear your calendar! We’re going to the beach for a picnic. I need you to buy a baguette and some goat cheese. Also, we’re bringing the hulahoops, so you’ll need to get batteries for the portable CD player. Onwards!”
Instead of “What are you doing on Saturday? Nothing? Great! Do you want to go to the beach for a picnic? Great! What shall we bring… maybe a baguette and goat cheese? Do you want to bring the hulahoops? Do we have batteries for the portable CD player?”
You get the gist… I do the second one a LOT, but need to aim more towards the first. It’s a fairly simple (in theory) language modification that makes you sound more in charge and more confident in your decisions and desires. Which can help you actually become more confident in your decisions and desires. This is hard for me because… well, because a lot of things, most of which lead back to a degree of perfectionism that tells me I’m not allowed to make mistakes (like double booking someone because I didn’t check what their calendar said, or putting someone in a bad spot because I’ve effectively just told them to cancel plans with another partner).

Delegate Significant Tasks: “Make us an amazing dinner on Friday, using local, seasonal ingredients, ideally with mushrooms as a significant ingredient”
Rather than, say, “Pick up mushrooms on your way home, I’m making us an amazing dinner with local, seasonal ingredients, and I’m out of creminis”.
This is a hard one for, I have to admit, because it actually means letting go of control. I typically want to choose the food, and choose how it’s cooked, and choose when the meal is served (roughly), and similar. And just saying “You’re doing Fabulous Friday Dinner this week, honey, make it a good one!” seems like… oh, gods, what if she makes something and it’s not what I’m in the mood for? Then what do I do??? At the same time, I do enjoy it when my Ghost cooks for me, while I sip wine on the couch and read or knit or similar, so…

Be Unreasonable: As in “I need you to pick up my poet at the airport. Her flight got in two hours late, and I need to get to the show! Her name is {name} and she looks like her photo on the poster.”
I can imagine doing this.
I can’t (happily) imagine doing this outside of an “emergency situation”.
I’m not sure how (or even if) I should be aiming for a willingness to drop large, inconvenient, and time-sensitive tasks on my servant. One the one hand, there’s a very good chance that she would love it if I did that. On the other hand, it seems like a careless and inconsiderate thing to do… and I’m not sure I’m okay with that.


Anyway. So that’s what I’m looking at.

Ms Syren.

[1] And sometimes even getting paid for it! 😀