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A wide-open world

I’ve been struggling to write this post for a few weeks now.  Ever since I learned that I passed the bar exam in my state, I have been struggling with how to write about it. How to reconcile it to what I’ve believed about myself for so long and more than anything deciding what to do with myself now.

This picture jumped out at me as I was trying to find a way to describe how I felt about taking the bar exam again.  Taking the exam, while not the most important thing in the world, is a monumental and scary rite of passage.  I was being asked to cross a chasm separating two immense mountains.  The first is the mountain of my experience as a student.  I had faced failure, faced success and conquered it all.  The other mountain was the mountain of my profession.  Several have crossed this path before.  It shouldn’t be that hard…but the fall is so great if you’re unsuccessful that it’s daunting to even consider reaching that mountain.  And that path, a tiny bridge between two worlds so similar but so very different looks as if the moment you step upon it, you’ll plummet to your doom.

The first time I took the bar exam I was full of confusion, hatred for the path and resentment.  I fell and I fell hard.  I didn’t pass the first time.  I have used tons of excuses over the years to explain why I fell (“I was pregnant at the time”, “I was buying a house”), but the honest reason is I wasn’t sure I wanted to be on that mountain.  After I fell, after I gave birth, I climbed back up to that precipice to try once more.  But again, I lacked commitment and purpose (yes, even I lacked purpose).  I allowed myself to become distracted and in truth I did a lot to sabotage myself because the same month I was supposed to take the exam is the same month my husband and I became polyamorous.  Looking back on it, I can see why I fell, why I failed the bar that year.  But nevertheless I was in that chasm dividing these two mountains.

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The power of words and thought

Last night was rough. In fact, the past month has been rather difficult.  Isn’t that always the way the way December is?  Full of expectation and despite our best attempts disappointment creeps in.  However, when the new year fell upon us, I was full of hope and faith for the coming year.  Even though I’ve been doing my best to stay positive in my life despite a lack of money, business, and meaningful new connections in my life, I was hopeful.  But fighting a lifetime of guilt, negative thought and un-deservingness takes a toll on a girl.  Especially when she’s already laid up with a fever and gut-loathing cough.

So last night was a rough night.  Opting to skip sex for the night in favor of being able to breathe easily, I laid there as Warrior quietly and swiftly fell asleep. And that one negative thought came blasting through the silence of my room.

You’re not a good person, Bella. 

Of course it’s not true….is it? But i’ve believed it for so long, allowed it to influence so many of my relationships and allowed it to fashion a life of self-sacrifice that I hardly notice when it comes into my head.  It’s easy for it to come into my head.  And despite all the safety nets I’ve constructed and defense mechanisms to combat this message it just kept blaring through my head.

You don’t deserve these people in your life, Bella.

There it went again.  Compounding and adding to the ill-settled silence in my room.  Soft breathing from Warrior next to me.  2:37 a.m.  Despondency started settling in.  No matter how much I tried to imagine myself as deserving and loved I couldn’t see past the hypocricy I knew I was being accused of miles away.  I had been passive-aggressive.  And while I have my reasons for how I acted, I knew there was no going back.  But instead of standing to how I felt, standing to what I did and accepting the present as evidence of my strength, I started succumbing to fear.

I could go on and on about the things I tell myself in the middle of the silence.  I could go on and on about this history…not just where it came from but who it has impacted.  But the fact is, for all my attempts at positive thought lately, I still have to wrestle with this darkness in a meaningful but healing way.

After I ran out of the room and cried in our garage for an hour, I came back to Warrior’s loving arms.  He wrapped them tight around me and reminded me that I am beautiful.  I am loved.  I am intelligent. I am intuitive.  And despite what I think my actions over the past few weeks have shown my courage and my strength.  I had him repeat those to me over and over until I fell asleep crying on his chest.

I woke this morning from a detailed dream of a wedding and decided that 2012 is the year that I achieve balance in the different areas of my life: mind, body, soul and heart. These all need to be aligned.  And the only way I can really do that is to confront the voices of my past that keep me stuck in a never-ending trail of un-deservingness, deprivation and starvation.  I experience all of these things on an intimate level in each area of my life.  Whereas before I was willing to allow it to dictate my actions and keep my loved ones pushed away, today I am willing to face it, confront it, heal it and finally move forward into a realm where my thoughts and words are creative and not as destructive as they once had been.

This is the resolution this year…to feel healthy in my mind, in my heart, in my body and in my soul.

Protected: from 0 to fear in 8.6 seconds (Part I)

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Hiding in plain sight

When a friend showed me this article today, it was creepy how similar it was to my own experience starting out in the BDSM community.  I’ll excerpt a bit of it here for with my own commentary.

“I Never Called It Rape: Addressing Abuse in BDSM Communities” – by Kitty Stryker

When I start to think of the number of times I have been cajoled, pressured, or forced into sex that I did not want when I came into “the BDSM community”, I can’t actually count them. And I never came out about it before, not publicly, for a variety of reasons- I blamed myself for not negotiating enough, or clearly, or for not sticking to my guns, or I  didn’t want to be seen as being a drama queen or kicking up a fuss. Plus, the fact is, these things didn’t traumatize me, and I didn’t call it sexual assault or rape, because I felt ok afterwards. There was no trauma, no processing that I needed.
This was my experience too.  How horrible is it to be a new in this environment and have to just accept blame for actions that were never truly consensual and in any other context would have qualified as sexual assault?  But just like the vanilla world…we end up carrying that guilt and that burden because safewords weren’t honored, because scenes went too far, because my safety was not of the utmost concern to the dominant in the situation.  Somehow it’s my fault.  I wasn’t more clear when negotiating (stupid me, I thought “no paddles” meant no paddles would be used).  It’s my fault if I expose someone who treated me poorly because everyone else thinks he or she is an “expert” or Master of the craft. 
I had physical wounds.  But more importantly I had emotional and spiritual wounds caused by this type of disregard.  Submission by its very nature exposes a person’s vulnerability.  And the bad and dirty players exploited that vulnerability, betrayed my trust and worse blamed me for the results because I wasn’t “submissive enough”. 
This was traumatizing.  Make no mistake about it.  It would ruin my experience with the next dominant or top I met and make me leery of trusting myself much less ever trusting others.    As for the physical wounds, I had them.  But how do I identify the wounds I consented to and those I didn’t?  Unless it was a clear matter of “I didn’t consent to marks of any kind” how do you distinguish between a literal and unintentional “oops” and the more reckless “don’t give a fuck”? Read the rest of this entry

Protected: Taking the risk

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