I always love when people tell me that communication is the key to relationships, especially when the advice comes from someone who is not in one and doesn’t have a good track record with them. While the advice is certainly true, the art of exchanging words and genuinely being heard and understood is not an easy one. No doubt I have my challenges in trying to master it myself.
We all like to think that we are stronger and wiser as a result of our past, and in many ways we are. We try things, we fall down, we make mistakes, learn, get back up and proceed again or take a different approach – it’s life. We figure out what didn’t work previously so we don’t let it repeat itself. We take something negative and turn it into a useful tool for the future. However, when it comes to communication and expressing yourself to someone, or being on the receiving end of it, the past can be a hindrance.
In life we have all kinds of experiences that make us draw conclusions and form ‘filters’ that we perceive things through. I will give you an example of this with something I deal with at work (I’m a flight attendant for those who do not know). It is said that one of the most challenging domestic routes a crewmember can work is New York to Miami. I don’t really know how to describe it except that it’s just a LOT. It’s always a very busy flight, very full, and there’s a lot of – passion shall we say. And it’s not necessarily always full of nasty people; I have often said that even when the flight is perfect and all the passengers are happy it STILL wears you out. It’s just a very aggressive ‘people experience’. Well, all of what I have described is now a filter that I perceive the NY-Miami flight through. It’s just subconsciously in place and other flight attendants have said the same thing so there is agreement. So now if I have a particularly demure, calm and pleasant customer on that flight – yet I have this filter in place, there’s going to be limitations to how we communicate. They may ask for something as kindly as possible, and I’m still going to be defensively thinking, “okay what’s the catch? What are they really trying to get out of me?” It’s not necessarily the truth, it just my perception that makes it seem like it is.
The same can be said with D/s relationships – or any relationship really. You have the experience of one person, and it may not go well or there may be negative things that occur in the connection. Consciously or unconsciously, that becomes part of your filter that you experience the next person through. And the next. And the next. And suddenly you’re not truly experiencing the person you’re with, you’re busy reconciling all the inner dialogues created by the previous connections. As are they! All parties involved are attempting to communicate with one another based on the past, and not being truly present to one another. We are trying so hard to avoid a previous experience that we are living in the future created solely from the past. AND WE ARE NOT IN THE MOMENT.
Here’s the really tough part. In order to be authentic and speak truthfully, we have to risk vulnerability, and that’s terrifying. As kinky Sirs and boys and slaves and pups we have what we believe to be a built-in means of protection in that we are ascribing to being archetypes. In other words, if we look like a menacing mean Sir nobody has to know that we’re really terrified and needy underneath. Nobody has to see any of my imperfections or flaws as long as my biceps look good. You may laugh, but I will tell you that at any given moment at MAL there is a gay man in his hotel room doing last minute pushups because he’s about to enter the lobby. It’s what we think we have to do to survive. But alas, that exterior only goes so far. Sooner or later if there is to be a connection and one based on trust, we have to lower that guard and risk being real. We have to expose all those things that we believe the other person won’t like about us, because somebody previously said they were a problem.
There is a young man in our life that if I may speak bluntly, Bart and I have lusted after for quite some time. Very recently, he has expressed that he is interested in serving us both as our boy. Personally I am WAY excited about exploring this, but in chatting with him I am also very aware of just how much our barriers and filters have gotten in the way of feeling an intense connection previously. From a personal standpoint, I always had this filter of not being good enough or sexy enough that this boy would even be interested. Previous flirtatious exchanges were met with a certain reservation, and I drew the conclusion that he was looking for something in a completely different ‘league’ that was not us. However, in chatting with him recently we have found out that just the opposite was true, and that what we perceived as hesitation or disinterest was actually his being overly protective of himself and trying not to appear ‘needy’. We said, “you don’t appear needy at all boy! In fact we’d rather see how you really feel!” He explained however that previous relationships had told him that the way he was coming across was unattractive, so he was trying hard to not be that way in talking with us. Thus we had an exchange that had been stilted for a long time because both of us were communicating from untrue belief systems. And because we’re TWO Sirs that would be taking him on, we also have to contend with Bart’s filters and the inner dialogues that he’s contending with.
Being a Sir or being a collared boy can be an invigorating and rewarding experience, but also very challenging. We create these enticing yet protective exteriors to get the attention of others, and then an opportunity for relatedness opens up and we have to risk being real in order to establish trust. For a finite evening of play or sex the exterior serves its purpose, but for genuine nurturing relationships where there is to be love and growth and protection, eventually that facade has to be dropped and the human side revealed. The side that is imperfect, scared, insecure, and quirky.
Essentially, it’s the side of us that truly is perfect!
I think my husband probably had the best communication approach when he proposed to me four years ago. He asked me to marry him via text.
“Text? Really?” I said.
He responded, “Yes. This way you can keep reading it over and over and know that it’s true!”
Okay. Gotta admit he’s good.
I might also add that later that day when I came home, he got down on bended knee to solidify the communication 🙂