Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Julius Caesar and The Dark Lord

The reason why Shakespeare has endured through the generations is that he was a master at understanding the many faces of people; the public face and the private face. He shows us Julius Caesar, for example, as a great Emperor; brave and strong. Caesar is acutely aware of his public image and even amongst friends he doesn't let his guard down. In Act 2, Scene 2 we see a different side to Caesar; a man afraid of the thunder and lightening. He is a mortal with fears.

When Calpurnia, his wife, arrives on the scene she does not speak full of deference for him. She doesn't refer to him as 'My Lord' but rather banters back and forth with him 'as a wife'. She has an opinion (that he should not go to the Senate that day) and she doesn't pussy foot around about sharing it with him. He is prepared to acquiesce to her until Decius convinces him that Calpurnia interpreted her dream incorrectly and then off Caesar goes to his death.

I was thinking about this scene this morning when it occurred to me that the sort of sex we have in a power exchange sort of way is perhaps more formal or more 'the public face' than the private face. We're more likely to say "Yes, Sir" than "Yes, husband". We're more likely to recognize that one person has the authority over the other than the sort of sexual encounter we might have where we are two people making love to one another; equals.

As Shakespeare knew hundreds of years ago, we have more than one face. We all need to show our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, our fears and worries to the other. If the public world demands that we show no weakness, for fear of being vanquished, then at home with our beloved, we need to show him or her other aspects of our personality. This is what it is to be human and no agreed dynamic between two people can work satisfactorily if we aren't prepared to sometimes change roles: for the leader to show vulnerability or for the follower to come up with the strength to see them both through on a rough day. This is life.

Yet, I confess, I am who I am and I consistently seek opportunities to feel 'the gain' that comes from the power exchange dynamic. I don't look to lead overall. Like Calpurnia, if I feel strongly enough, I'll make my claim as to the fitness of things, but I don't want control and feel restless with control. I want to be led and never more than in the process of making love. For whatever reason I want to feel the poor Maiden at the mercy of the tyrannical Dark Lord.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Writing to learn what we have to say

My grandmother on my mother's side had eight children. She lost two of them - one to a road accident and the other to cancer. I have a strong memory of hearing her say that her dream would be to live in a lighthouse. I imagined she meant that people weren't likely to travel to the lighthouse and climb all those stairs and thus she'd be able to spend some time on her own.

I had a very strong relationship with her. She tried to teach me about Catholicism. She'd put my hair in rags to create a head of curls. When I stayed with her in the city where she ran a business she'd take me to the best department store and tell the woman in charge of the handkerchief counter that her grand daughter required a dozen new handkerchiefs. I'm not sure if she meant to but she trained me to have a discerning eye for quality items.  Most of all, she was available to talk to me and to a  child that is worth gold.

I've been required to write a short story and I chose to write about my parents before they got married. Interestingly, I included my grandfather into the story but there is no mention of my grandmother. Well, she was not integral to the story plot, you see. It was not an easy story to write but ultimately the theme of the story took shape. I explore the notion that those who have had some sort of a similar experience in earlier life may be well suited to harmonious matrimony.

As well, I wanted to say something about education in that era. I wanted to demonstrate how there were (are?) so many other ways to have a happy and successful life than to be educated and to have a professional life. I wanted particularly to say something about doing things well - that no matter what a person does, the important thing is to do it well and to the best of one's ability. I didn't know that was what I wanted to say until the story finally took shape. This is the writing process sometimes. We write to find out what we want and need to write.

To return to where I began in this writing moment of mine, I desperately need time alone, just like my grandmother. As I sit here on Monday morning at the end of the dining table the dull and dreary weekend has been overtaken by life-giving sunshine streaming down onto the papers beside me, casting shadows on the keys over which I spread my fingers.

My troubled mind is settling. I'm not exactly 'at peace' but I feel calm. I ask myself what set me off. What rattled me so?  My needs are not dissipating with age. My lust remains strong. My desire for connection is as strong as it has ever been. I yearn for physicality. I use my plugs because I must. They provide me a strong and immediate source of comfort. My body and mind were designed for use. I was meant to be submissive to a loving dominant. I desire guidance and support. I long for someone to maintain my sense of stability with his assurances that all is under control regardless of which way the winds blow. I look to rise up. I want to percolate up in a bubble of pleasure and joy - delighted to be alive on this day with this man.

In my marriage vows I said "for better, for worse". This is what we as people do. We marry with hope in our hearts that we will go on loving and being loved until the last day. My determination to honor my vows are currently at odds with my spirit's need to rise up and to seek succor; serenity. It is all boiling down, it seems to me, to my husband's ability to join me in seeking the sun. I cannot remain in some Scottish lair; the bog. I wither there. My spirit is trapped there. I must rise up and smell the roses. He is welcome to come with me but he must know, categorically so, that it is simply not possible for me to sit in the mud any more. If necessary, I will save myself.