Yesterday was spent geeking out about Power Exchange, and various aspects there-of, with a group of thirty or so like-minded individuals, at Queering Power, a fundraising event for Unholy Harvest.
The workshops I attended included:
Powerful Communication – in which the presented taught us about ORID-style communication and empathic listening (very handy no matter what the situation).
The Princess and the Puppy – which was about finding one’s way in a multi-leveled, more-than-two-people-involved power dynamic (extremely handy, particularly given my own situation).
Discernment in D/s: Pushing, Pausing, Pulling Back – which was about different kinds of actions one can take as a dominant (or not, but it was aimed at a dominant’s perspective) in a power exchange, and what those types of actions can look like.
M/s Mindfulness – which was about techniques one can use to open up and further deepen a D/s connection.
Some things I took away from the day:
“What does D/s do for me, what does it mean to me, and how/why is it important to me?”
This was a question posed to us by the facilitator of the Powerful Communication workshop. I had the rare (we live in different cities) opportunity to sit and chat – or take turns speaking and actively listening, as the case may be – with Andrea Zanin[1] about this subject, and it was absolutely lovely to both (a) be able to answer those questions in a context where my Property wasn’t part of the conversation[2], and (b) to hear/see the overlaps in our experiences, understandings, and desires as dominant, service-receptive women.
Much of what she told me, in answer to those questions, can be found on her blog (this link, in particular, but others as well) – she’s given this quite a bit of thought over the years, so I do recommend you check out what she has to say.
What I told her included (i) my inner dominant is a seven-year-old Princess who loves her dolly and wants to get her way; (ii) an anecdote about my high school grad dance wherein, upon looking at a picture she’d taken of me drinking (non-alcoholic) champagne in the back of a limo, my mother said I looked like I’d been “born to it”, and how I had agreed that, yes, I had been born to it, actual up-brining notwithstanding; and (iii) the feeling that This Is How It [a Relationship] Is Supposed To Go… even if I have no idea how to keep it going like this[3].
Things Get Way More Complicated When You Have More Than Two People
This isn’t actually news. Having been living in Poly Land for the past five years or so (has it really been that long?) I know from experience that adding more people means that Coasting is no-longer an option and there’s a whole lot more juggling going on.
It was really interesting to hear The Princess talking about her experiences as a very slave-identified person learning how (and understanding why) to pick up and carry the power that was being offered to her. This feeds back into the above-mentioned idea of “this is how it’s supposed to go, even if I’m not sure how to keep it going like this” quite well: I have a lot of self-doubt, tend not to be confident in my commands, and am more likely to back down than to push for What I Want if it looks like pushing is going to be an exercise in frustration or else might provoke some kind of fight or resentment or something on the part of the push-ee. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the possibility of someone both wanting to be commanded and held but, at the same time, balking at those commands and imposed boundaries. It helps to hear things from the perspective of someone who does both.
There are a number of people in our wee community who are “in the middle”, so to speak. It was good to hear from them, and I look forward continuing those conversations.
For my part, as someone who is on top of someone who’s on top of someone else, I brought up the way that, since Kitty isn’t mine, I try very hard not to horn in on Ghost’s dynamic by ordering Kitty around but that, because Ghost is also my beloved, I actually find it easier to be unquestionably demanding of Kitty than of my wife.
”Push, Pauseor Pull Back” can be a more conscious version of “Fight, Freeze, or Flight” but… it can be other things as well
As I’ve talked about before (mainly, I suspect, on Urban Meliad), my default action (if it can be called that) is “Pause”. In some cases, what this means is “try it and see” but, frequently, it tends to mean “frozen with indecision”… at least in my case.
My take-away from this particular workshop was: How do I push – that is, make decisions for, issue commands to, and impose limits upon – someone else consistently without becoming exhausted? That one will, I suspect, be the jumping off point for further ruminations on this blog, so… stay tuned?
The last workshop, M/s Mindfulness I actually missed, because I’d gone and made myself sick trying to do something extra during the opening guided meditation. I wound up hiding out in an empty spare room at the venue, instead. I’m glad that I did, too, as it gave me a chance to recover and find the energy to attend the post-event dinner and then have a visitor over to our house after the fact. But that was Queering Power, or my experience there-of. 🙂
It was lovely. I’m hoping that it becomes an annual event. 🙂
Ms Syren.
[1] I told her that, while I wasn’t quite having a “fangirl moment”, I did rather like her brain and it was nice to be able to get her perspective on things.
[2] Ghost asked me, later, why I had wanted that – was there something I didn’t want her to know, essentially. And I told her that, basically, I have Meta-Insecurity: I worry that my worries (about my own abilities) will worry her (about her place in my life). Strictly speaking, neither of us has anything to be afraid of, but it’s still nice to be able to talk about my experiences and only have to think about me while doing it.
[3] This actually relates to something I told Ghost, around the about the time I was deciding to collar her: My romance and my power dynamic are very bound up with each other, partly because they began very close together in time, but also because (I had realized, as I was trying to figure out what “to collar” meant to me) my idea of a Good (Vanilla) Relationship was, actually, an O/p relationship. That kind of dynamic is what I *want* in a romantic relationship, even if it isn’t one that I ever expected to get or was even able to put words around before meeting Ghost and becoming involved with her in all these various ways. I think that says something. 🙂