Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thoughts about 'Le Weekend'

I listened to Hanif Hareishi speak on the radio recently. Immediately, I was itching to see the film he had written which has just been released here - 'Le Weekend'. Nick and Meg, a couple from London, around 60 years old I'd say, have decided to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in Paris.

We're given endless visual clues as to their relationship before they have exchanged words.  On the Eurostar it is clear they are very much a couple, able to predict what the other is thinking. There's closeness there, for sure, but there is also an unnerving frustration with one another. When Nick starts to feel around his body Meg assures him he has the Euros, in an exasperated 'I knew you would do that' sort of way. When Meg catches a glimpse of the hotel Nick has booked (she did say she wanted to return to the hotel they'd stayed at many years ago) her disappointment is clear.

When Nick is unable to secure a room that is not "beige" she simply hails a taxi, leaving Nick scampering after her before she sails off in the taxi without him. One immediately gets the feeling that Nick is trying to satisfy Meg, but it is no easy task.  One also gets the feeling that Nick's best years are (he's a Professor who has not published...) behind him. "Ohhh, Meg, don't do this," he calls out after her. The thing about their relationship is that it is always on the knife's edge. We just don't know, and they just don't know, which way it is going to go.

It's this understanding of 'opposites' in the writing that makes it so watchable as a movie I think. Love can turn to hate and back to love within seconds. Frustration is just a hair's breath away from enthusiasm. Their emotions, the atmosphere and the course of this weekend changes direction endlessly. One example that springs to mind is their choice of a restaurant for their first lunch.

It's abundantly clear that Nick will be happy with anything that makes Meg happy and as they go about their search,  a passing parade of restaurants, Meg announces what is wrong with them. "Too modern" On they walk. "Too empty" On they walk. "Too touristy." On they walk, and so on, until Meg announces that they have found the right one. I recall Hareishi stating in the interview that he wanted to explore various topics, like intimacy, but he wanted to make it light; for it to be funny. I saw many moments such as these very funny, more funny than the audience at large, but maybe that's because my husband and I have done similar things; searched for the perfect restaurant overseas in a similar way. Haven't all couples done similar things?

What is also interesting about the writing is what happens when a third character is introduced. Morgan is a media-star academic from the States who has looked up to Nick as something of a mentor. They meet on the street by chance at a moment when Nick and Meg are being very affectionate. Morgan (played by Jeff Goldblum) invites them to dinner the following evening to celebrate the publishing of his new book. Morgan has plenty of money, a beautiful apartment and a lovely new wife who is pregnant.

When Nick and Meg take their first glance of the chic living room filled with 'the beautiful people' (academics and publishers) I mistakenly think they are enthralled at the possibilities of what the evening might bestow. Every guest has a major achievement of one kind or another to his name. In fact, they are both profoundly uncomfortable and seek out independently the most private corners of the apartment they can find.

It's when Nick is befriend by Morgan's young adult son in his bedroom that we learn that all is not entirely perfect in Morgan's world. His former wife tried to kill herself when her husband left them and although Morgan buys his son airline tickets to visit he is uncomfortable when they are in the same room. When Nick discusses with Morgan how he felt about leaving his wife he glosses over.  "She adores me," he says of the new wife. "Doesn't everyone want to be adored?" And moments later, "but she will see through me eventually." Wow. Such insecurity and vulnerability on display. There's a superficiality on display as well that makes Meg and Nick's relationship, their durability, seem wholesome and right by comparison, in spite of all the cracks.

At the end there's some kind of vague coming together, if you will. It allows you to leave the cinema without a sense of doom. There's hope for a future together without so much angst and "fury", as Meg puts it. Yet, I can't quite reconcile the sexual side of things. A comment by Nick about Meg's vagina makes it clear she hasn't wanted to be touched in years and although there is the odd stray kiss and rub, their sexuality is frozen. Nick only wants and has only ever wanted one woman, his wife, but Meg seeks more - to do things she hasn't done, whether that is to take up tango dancing and leave her teaching job, to have the thrill of leaving the restaurant by the back without paying the bill, or whatever pleases her. In fact, she has gone slightly mad in this process, buying items and meals she can't afford and putting them "on the room". "Its my mantra," she says to the sales assistant in the clothing store at the hotel.

In some senses, the whole situation is an aberration. She has major flaws and so does he. Life isn't ideal for either of them but they are deeply bonded, not just by history and their children, but by some deep mechanism that no other man or woman can put asunder. No-one else has a real chance of breaking their union, now or ever, because they both have strong doses of empathy for one another, and they both have a sense of humor about life and about one another. You just know they won't part.

Personally, watching their relationship unfold on the screen left me a little depressed. I deplore with every bone in my body the thought of aging without a sense of sensuality and sexuality in my life. Meg's "fury" relates to that, in my opinion. She wants a sexual relationship. She's simply allowed  and Nick has also allowed things to get in their way. They argue over whether they should allow their adult son to return to the family home with the wife and baby when this should be their time.  If Nick really wants Meg, then why would he allow it, her mind seems to be asking. Is she also asking herself, I wonder, if he really wants me then why isn't he more forceful about it??

If you really think about this film (if you do see it) Nick doesn't enable a situation where Meg can follow his lead and Meg doesn't allow Nick the opportunity to lead. Meg chooses the restaurants, places to go, exploits they get up to and the sexual tension or lack thereof. She says she is nodding off to sleep when he suggests sex. She attempts a scene where he is on his knees and looking up her skirt, only to walk away and thus humiliating him. She buys all the goods and services they can't afford and he just goes along. Though, he does do the damage to the hotel wall. This is indeed his stunt and she voices no alarm about it.

It's only when she hurts him by mistake and draws blood that he tells her in a deep, no-nonsense voice to show him her breasts. She complies immediately. She looked to me like she liked that instruction and enjoyed the tinge of fear in the air when he was cross with her. But, they didn't explore this dynamic further; were too comfortable in their frustration with one another to do that.

Ultimately though the third party allows Nick and Meg to join forces again. When all seems lost and it seems we can't go any lower she remembers and shares something - a conversation on the phone with Nick recently when she was laughing and engaged and her friend thought it must be a lover, certainly not her husband. She saves the day this time just as he saves the day at other moments. In this way, the relationship is wonderfully balanced.

In a sense, the frustration is directed not so much at one another as at life. When did they grow old? When did they use up their youth? Why can't they have fun; laugh; be frivolous; ridiculous; irresponsible? As they have shared life's journey so too will they share old age; sometimes angry; sometimes frustrated; sometimes empathic; sometimes loving one another and sometimes hating one another. It will go on. There is no other alternative for their love. Wonderful writing and fabulous acting throughout the movie. If only such a film for grown ups were not such a rarity.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The place of writing in healing

Around about now, about five or so days after I have I written in this web journal, I'm ready to write something again. There's some thought that has been mulling about my head that eventually comes out in words on this page.

This isn't entirely welcome really. The part of me that is referred to as 'bimbo' - that entity that has no time or space for worrying thought - isn't the least concerned with expression through words (logical thought and the dictates of good English) and hence entries here aren't seen as positive for her.

'Bimbo' is not at all encouraged to worry. Worrying thoughts are really off limits. She'll be heard but that's it. Her worrying will be cut off at the pass. She's not to worry, she's told. She's to apply herself to bimbo thoughts. If she persists she's reminded that this is not acceptable. It's not her place to worry.

Once upon a time, I was troubled by this situation. It felt that the part of me that is not remotely bimbo, inclined to fuss and stress over other people's grief, for example, was not being validated. What I've come to see is that this strong tendency (who I am I kidding, it's a rule) to not allow me to stress out and to direct me to return to my bimbo roots, is a great blessing.

As I become more and more comfortable with embracing bimbo, the simple side of my nature that longs for someone else to take charge, to give direction and to insist that I stop worrying and being troubled by what happens to other people - their challenges, their grief, their troubled souls - I'm much more quickly able to release myself from having to feel the pain of the world as if it were my own. As this has happened, I'm sometimes lost for a topic on this web journal. It's not possible to sit and write logically about a topic when I'm perfectly happy just existing; just living; not requiring words.

I simply adore the release of 'bimbo speeki'. With no need whatsoever to spell correctly, to capitalize, or even to be grammatical, I'm released from the real world and given permission to enter 'wonderland'. I'm given the key to the trapdoor. 'Fuck this world. I'm going to wonderland.' Yes, the bimbo laughed at that and related to that.

It's magical there. It's a world where pleasure is the number one priority. There's discipline, for sure. A bimbo is subject to following instructions and sometimes those instructions are very challenging. However, in the bimbo state of mind all instructions are perfectly fine. Challenges are welcome. New ways of thinking and opportunities to draw down walls that may have held the bimbo back are torn down.

It's  not easy to explain the process whereby the bimbo is encouraged to be free at the same time as she is kept under a close eye and made to do as she is told. It is something of a contradiction, I think. Yet, this is the way that it is. Constrained quite tight she has the freedom to fly high. She's given the magic feather and there she goes; marvelously invigorated by sticking to the plan laid out for her.

No words can convey what this means to me. To think that anyone is willing to devise for me a plan that brings me such a sense of liberation and ease; that anyone is willing to be patient enough with me to wait and wait for me to reach goals that allow that sense of liberation; that's the fairy dust right there; that's the key to wonderland.

Sometimes I say, because I simply must, 'Thank you. Thank you for this' and those words are met with some degree of discomfort, because the truth, apparently, is that it's not being done just for me.

That leads me to wonder. Does anyone do anything completely selflessly? A parent may think they are selfless but deep down all relationships we have say something about us; about our needs and wants; about what fulfills us; completes us; sustains and restores us.

That I don't write here as often as I once did is a good thing. I am resolving my mind's questions and doubts in a quieter way; much more conscious that to give my mind a rest is not to write more, but to write less; that to restore my mind to a peaceful state I can empty my mind; find refuge in the bimbo state; this moment; this status and position.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Emotional needs

I often use the word 'care' here. For example, I've often expressed the opinion that dominance is a form of 'care' in my mind. On a website called Marriage Builders Dr. Harley writes that, "As it turns out, care in marriage is doing what it takes to make each other happy".

It's well worth a few minutes to read what he has to say because it identifies the emotional needs of most people and notes that each person may put those needs in a different order. For instance, admiration may be more important to one person, higher on the list, than affection is to another. Or, 'family commitment' may be more important to one person, or higher on their list, than 'sexual fulfillment' is to another. Once those needs have been identified in each person, the other person needs to make for quality time to have those emotional needs of the partner met.

In a separate link on the site Dr. Harley has written out a 'Policy of Joint Agreement'. It boils down to this one golden rule:

'Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your partner.'

He explains the rule in this way. "In marriage, your interests and your spouses interests should be considered simultaneously. One of you should not suffer for the benefit of the other, even willingly, because when either of you suffer, one is gaining at the other's expense. If you both care about each other, you will not let the other suffer so that you can have what you want. When you are willing to let the other sacrifice for you, you are momentarily lapsing into a state of selfishness that must somehow be corrected before damage is done. The Policy of Joint Agreement provides that correction."

If this statement is considered in terms of a power exchange, more than one interpretation about a power exchange relationship can be made. Let's face it, the dominant may very well say that he wants something because...well, because he (or she) wants it. It's somewhat immaterial to him, in the moment perhaps (?), that he or she doesn't necessarily have a genuine enthusiastic agreement from the partner. Then again, if it is non-consensual consent that's been given, and that's what they both like and want, at least on some level, maybe the rule of 'enthusiastic agreement' doesn't apply.

That said, the dominant who wishes to maintain a relationship in good order really has no choice but to seek enthusiastic agreement for what he or she wants because a life lived with someone who either does not feel in enthusiastic agreement with the partner, or does not seek enthusiastic agreement of the partner, is in for unhappy times. It's undeniable that a happy union is made up of TWO (or more) happy people.

Some people have a mindset that can ignore the good order of this rule. First, there is the type of person that gives in to the other, regardless of his or her own feelings. They make do. They try to let their own feelings go. They accommodate. They accept. They do their best under the difficult circumstances of not feeling in enthusiastic agreement.

The other type of person is inclined to want his or her way. They have difficulty focusing on the fact that they've bullied the other person, in small or large measure. They see their way as the best way and disinclined to negotiation or to ensuring that the other is giving their agreement enthusiastically (their unenthusiastic agreement being more than enough, for perhaps they'd have their own way without agreement at all) they simply assert their position and proceed with their own plan.

Of course, neither position is good. It's no better, really, to give in than it is to insist on one's way regardless of how the other feels. It ultimately breeds resentment. It ultimately leads to one partner feeling disconnected from the other; uncared for; unloved.

If you have a submissive nature, and if you see that certain things matter very deeply to the other, if you know that your lack of agreement will cause disharmony, pouting, angry and/or loud arguments, you're likely to put your own needs to one side. The big question is, can you do this forever? No loving partner should really ever ask this of a submissive soul. It's taking advantage, I think, of her unselfish nature; her desire for harmony even at her own cost; her strong penchant to want to give and to serve the other; to sacrifice.

This is where assertiveness skills come in. We need to express our feelings, our desires and needs in such a way that it is clear what matters to us. Even if we have given our consent to the other to decide, those decisions must be made with a full understanding of what makes us happy. A person who takes on full decision making for another human being must ask a lot of questions or assumptions about the other's emotional needs, and/or neglect of those emotional needs will come back to bite him. If the dominant should choose to go ahead and do what he wants, regardless of the cost to the submissive, regardless of how those emotional needs are in jeopardy, he runs a huge risk, because each person's emotional needs must be met to ensure the happiness of the union.

I like the above website. It's not at all designed for power exchange relationships but it has some very important things to say about how to remain a happily married (committed) couple. In the end, whatever the union, power exchange or not, people's emotional needs must be met. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The spiritual side of submission

It works for some people to have a 'scene'; to put down their day-to-day persona for a time and let their submissive or dominant side take over. When the scene is over, they can smile and even laugh about it and return to their usual mode of communicating and operating.

I've had conversations like this with people and I tend to listen and not say too much because I don't really relate or seek this myself. I recognize that this is what they want and I respect their position, but it's not what I want at all. Neither position is more right than the other or 'better', it's just that when people talk like this I get this sinking feeling, because it doesn't feel enough to me.

To be clear, I do enjoy a 'scene'. I have these with my husband. He 'captures' me, usually unawares, and I'm his, to do with as he pleases. Naturally enough, I enjoy these situations and I am enriched by them.

Afterwards, not all the time but often enough, we return to our usual mode of operating immediately. Sometimes, there are some lovely add on moments and feelings,  a state of mind that extends beyond the scene. They are deeply felt experiences for me because I feel most myself when that 'bimbo' (small, contained, controlled and happy to be so) state of mind takes over my psyche and I can feel myself.

More and more, my spiritual (even religious) side of my being is connecting with my very strong and real desire to be taken over. There is a ritual of mine that aids me daily and in those moments I feel a sense of reverence, much as I do in moments in a Church. I'm aware that Man institutes religious practices but it doesn't prevent me from feeling deep peace inside a church; a fascination with sacred rituals such as sprinkling holy water on a coffin. I'm deep inside myself in those moments; connecting with some spring of life inside me that really longs to be tapped into. It is a sense of wanting to be 'taken over', under another's care and control, much as we understand on some level, if we are at all religious or spiritual, that we have no real control over what will be.

It occurred to me this morning that I so very much want to learn; more than ever before, in fact. If I were free to do so I'd go and seek out those who can teach me about the secrets of life; the wonders of the mind and belief; be in their presence; tap into their minds; learn. I do this already in my own way; read, absorb, take in the lessons they have to teach via their written words.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life. I can't complain. Yet, how blessed it would have been if I had understood and accepted myself for who I am so much earlier. How blessed it would have been to have been partnered with a man who quietly and unreservedly led me to a life wherein 'bimbo' was present constantly; a living and expressed entity that was supported day by day. I am loved, of this I am sure. Yet, I must admit I often don't feel cared for because it is 'the girl' who seems wanted.

Yet, bimbo leads. Bimbo insists on leading. Bimbo demands, every single day and there is nothing I can do about it.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


At first, my inexhaustible interest in issues of submission was solely about arousal. My mind processed it all as desirable, erotic and pleasurable. Certainly, these feelings remain intact. However, I can feel something shifting within me; transforming the way I live my life; the way I live my internal life too.

Spirituality is a big part of my submissive response. There's a broader thrust to this for me than sexuality or even being true to my (submissive) nature. I was looking for peace in whatever guise that took. What I came to understand was that I need to let go of the I'. It was the 'I' that had a hold of me, locking me into a cycle of emotions that were often uncomfortable. It was the 'I' that made me feel that my thoughts were okay; that they were a part of 'me'.

Bit by bit, via my own readings and efforts such as meditation I was opening up to the notions expressed by people such as Eckhart Tolle. I was not the voice I was hearing inside my head - the voice making up stories, offering interpretations; expressing displeasure; the voice that seemed to gyrate from positive to negative emotional response within seconds at times. 'I' was the awareness of the voice. It's that simple. I became aware. In becoming aware of who I really am, I settled in every way.

This awareness opened doors for me. I came to see what was happening concerning my submissive desires. I very much wanted to obey. I very much wanted to please. I very much wanted to feel a close connection and that connection comes when I have this consistent awareness of my 'awareness'. I am the listener of the 'stories'. It is someone or something else writing them. I merely listen.

I think I can trace interest in spirituality to my early days. My grandmother was Catholic and would tell me of the rosary and other religious ideas. I loved being in churches from an early age and I appreciated rituals. I continue to be drawn to sacred places and rituals. Obedience to a higher authority, moral codes - these notions seem natural to me.

Obedience in a power exchange way didn't make complete sense to me nor was a natural fit all of the time until I let go of this idea of self I had - that my thoughts were me. It created space to settle into the concept of a power exchange with a great degree of comfort. I've a place, a status, a position within the exchange - with both members doing what they do best, supporting one another with their strengths; their natural predispositions. The exchange provides peace. That's why I could never let it go. That's why it's like a drug; something I simply cannot give up. To submit = my peace.

There's a quite natural connection between submission to a partner and the submission of a woman or man to God, I think. I've been reading of women who become nuns and how they live their lives these days and there is that same head 'space' - that same ability to notice; to stop and pause; to be in this one moment right now.

Of course, many women will be submissive to a dominant and not have a clue what I am talking about. Dominants will take charge of a submissive without the vaguest sense of their role in bringing a sense of peace to the submissive. That's okay. We don't all seek the same things. I sought peace. Lucky me to have been guided back to me; that place where peace dwells; eternally fortunate indeed; heaven sent.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Whilst most people who read this web journal are absorbed in the Super Bowl, and I hope it is a fun game to watch, over here we are beginning the new school year. It's the last year that I'll be directly involved in education, since my last child is beginning his last year of high school.

At the school he attends, they set summer holiday work. The VCE (the final year of school) goes by with such a whooosh, and assessment begins so early, that teachers feel compelled to set work to get the students ready from day 1 to begin to discuss very complex topics. This year, in English, the theme is 'encountering conflict' and that led him to read books such as Megan Stack's 'Every Man in the Village is a Liar' wherein the reporter describes what she saw in the Middle East, particularly through 'the war on terrorism' era.

I think it is quite a confronting topic and, in any case, my son likes to discuss novels and books with me verbally, to toss around ideas, before he goes off to write his persuasive essays, or whatever the task. So, we discussed conflict in its various forms, between and within people and how conflict is a bit like a pebble thrown in a stream. One suicide bomber tends to lead to the next and in no time hundreds or even thousands of people are infected with the repercussions of hateful conflict. Conflict has grown like a cancer to infect a whole nation(s).

As it happened, we had drinks with a gentleman yesterday who works mostly in Asia, India and the Middle East and he confirmed two of our ideas - that those countries tormented with civil war were the most persistently ravaged and that, in the main, these countries were about 50 years behind us. They would, eventually, live lives something vaguely like ours. Road safety, as one example, was virtually non-existent right now in their thinking, but it was just beginning to enter their consciousness.

My son and I needed to throw around ideas about conflict and how that impacted on our principles and morals; our values. When Fowler, an English reporter in Vietnam (in 'The Quiet American') comes across a river of dead bodies that reminded him of an Irish stew with too much meat (that's a simile you don't easily forget) he, like all the soldiers with him, looked and then immediately looked away. This was one of the many examples in the readings where people had been going about their lives  and were so randomly and instantly snuffed out. In the Vietnamese jungle every man there was reminded of their mortality; that this minute could, possibly, be their last and confronted by that knowledge, they turned away. I referred to it as the senses being overwhelmed. There is only so much a human mind can take in at any given moment, I think.

Since it is the first day of school this morning I was doing tasks that I always do on this day - tidying up the house and basking in the pleasure of time all alone to myself. I had my feet up on the desk and a coffee cup in my hand. I'd heard a short time before on the radio that I keep in the laundry of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and lamented the loss of such a great talent. He was clearly a vulnerable soul and I guess life got too much. It's terribly sad news.

I am not inclined to read the newspaper daily even though it is delivered to our door, but this morning being a relaxed one I read it and was horrified to read of senseless conflict and violence - a nineteen year old boy stabbed by a group of boys known to him as he walked down the street in the north of this city, who is now in hospital fighting for his life and not expected to fully recover.

I was beginning to wonder if reading the newspaper was the best thing when I heard a noise on the lap top beside me registering the arrival of some emails. There was an email from the Headmaster to all parents and I noted the first words. "This morning in assembly I broke the saddest of news to the boys." I felt goosebumps over my entire body and rushed to open it. A Year 11 boy, with his whole life ahead of him had taken his life last night.

Of course, I thought of his devastated family. It's not the first time this has happened and I've seen people's lives destroyed in this way; whole families. I also thought of my son sitting in that esteemed hall, filled with excitement of the year ahead listening to that announcement and having to face the fact that none of us are insulated from conflict and violence. Alongside his quirky, delightfully humorous but earnest and 'strong desire to succeed' personality he must wear the knowledge that some of his coherts are in extraordinary pain.

Over the summer I've noticed he has been receiving and sending long text messages and I asked if they were mostly from his girl. It was then that he explained to me that a boy he met at a drama group of old texted him for a kind ear when life got too much; when he didn't know what to do next. My son had been doing his best to advise him and keep him whole through this turbulent time of his life. He's the 'somebody' that cared and he had to respond, he told me.

I've come to the conclusion that we don't really have a choice but to acknowledge life as it presents itself and to accept that we are surrounded by conflict. It isn't going to go away. It is out there. It will touch all our lives in some way.

I think this 'fact' is what makes it so important to also embrace life - to celebrate it every chance we get. Power exchange as I know it allows time to let go of the thinking (troubled) brain and give the mind a rest from this onslaught of continuous news concerning conflict and violence. Ours minds must rest. Our hearts need to focus on goodness, peace and love because there is much of that in this world as well. It is everywhere.

However, someone close to me, a young man training to be a policeman, told me recently that the vast majority of call outs for police here relate to domestic violence.  That's frightening. So many people are in so much conflict that they need to call a third party to ensure safety. You don't necessarily need to leave your house to encounter conflict and violence.

Kindness. Empathy. Love. Acceptance. Are they teaching this in all schools just as they do maths and science? They should. I hope one day that meditation sessions will be part of every child's school day much like the first Buddhist School in this State that I read about recently. They easily incorporate a group meditation into every morning as their ritual.  I am not so naive as to suggest violent conflict will cease but meditative practices surely will not hurt.