Friday, June 24, 2011

OMG!!..Todler Brow Waxing??!!

I had to share this. The other day we were experiencing some storms and possible tornadoes. I turned on the  news station at work that streams the warnings for our area and left it on while i sat doing some filing. One of the articles being shown was on those toddler fashion competitions so, of course, i had to watch. I was so shocked and disgusted i had to write this and make my case.

It seems toddler beauty pageants have stooped to an all time low. Not only was the three year old being interviewed dressed in ACTUAL daisy dukes and cut off belly shirt, but she was forced to endure BROW WAXING. Even I don't do that! A three year old?? Seriously??!! To top it off, she was learning dances for the competition that included hip thrusts and dubious poses that verged on child pornography in my mind.

And it doesn't take a genius to know what the message to this child is. You have to be waxed and half naked to be beautiful. Then stick her in a competition that pits her looks against other three year old. What do you think this baby is going to grow up believing? That the look counts. And you have to be the prettiest and sexiest to be a winner. Inner beauty or intelligence does not count. They were even spraying this child with skin tanner.

As adult women we are already inundated with this message. Magazines, commercials, name it. We are told daily we need to have the best hair, the best smile, the best skin and BE the best. Why? So we can get the most attention. Back to the vanilla basic: If you are not the best at all of this, you are replaceable and will lose the competition. In vanilla pudding world everything is about competition. Especially in relationships. Hence the emphasis on sex appeal. And since vanilla land only allows one partner/spouse we are constantly in competition with anyone who gets too close. Jealousy is trained into us. But lately it has reached epoch proportions.

At three years old i was out in the yard playing with my brother. At three years old, the only makeup i wore was at Halloween. Now they smear lipstick and eyeshadow on and spend hours rehearsing naughty poses. They pick out risque outfits and sashay down runways. One other girl in the article was actually being taught by her mother to pray to God for the right outfit. Nice message. If i lose the competition its Gods fault. And how do you think these three year olds are going to feel when they lose the competition? Yup, just like the rest of us. Losers. Not pretty enough or good enough. I am sorry but i think three is a little young to be forced into having a body complex. Definitely too young to start believing they can be replaced if they don't look sexy enough.

And then we wonder why so many teens and young adults these days are suffering eating disorders and bouts of severe depression. Suddenly teen suicide makes a whole lot of sense. After all, we already taught them they were not worth anything if they were not pretty enough to be prom queen. I am old enough to understand when i see a hair dye commercial that they are selling me an idea. And i don't have to buy into it. But when we talk about kids, they take all they learn in the earliest days from mom and dad. By the time they hit ten they will fully believe they can never stop being in competition with everyone else to be the prettiest. They will always fear being replaced and losing.

For those of us in the lifestyle, this is a direct link to why so many have problems with jealousy in a collar. It is not our place as submissives to question where the Dominant goes or who They speak to. That is Their decision. But because of training like this, more and more younger submissives are having worse jealousy issues. They are worried about being replaced. They are constantly in competition even online. And being a submissive is not about US. Its not about being the prettiest, not about having the right dress, or even how well waxed our brows are. It is about our devotion to our Dominant. It is about serving the Dominant. When we come into a collar feeling competitive with other submissives or people for the Dominants attention, we have already lost our true focus and thus lost our submission.

The worst thing these poor kids are going to grow up with is very low self esteem each time they lose a competition. This eventually will lead to the belief that even if the relationship is bad or abusive they have to live with it. After all, they arnt worth anything else.

I beg any parent that reads this not to do this to your child. Let your baby be a baby, not a mini adult with grown up emotional issues. Teach your daughters that being "the best" means being the best PERSON they can be. Show them the values of sharing, giving, loving. Let them know every day that they are special just for being them. That they are not replaceable because of their hair. Give them a sense of self worth and confidence so that when they go into a relationship later (ANY relationship) they make good choices. And if they happen to make a mistake, they have the confidence to let go of it and try again. Let them base their life on core values like honor and respect. Not jealousy and self loathing. Instead of competing with the girl next door, let her go out and play. Let her make a friend she may know the rest of her life because she had a chance to know the other girl. She was able to see this other child as just another child...a person. Not her replacement.

My final Sub-Stance: Its not OK to dress a baby up like a porn star and stick them in a competition with other babies. Its not OK to live vicariously through your three year old to win beauty pageants. Let them be themselves. Be kids. Let them grow up being confidant in who they are. And if that little girl grows to a teen who WANTS to join a beauty pageant, then support her personal choice. Just as long as she is always aware she does not have to win at being Miss America to be accepted as a person. And the friendships she makes can last a lifetime if they are based on truly caring for the other person, not their dress.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lil Miss Sunshine and The Art of Happiness

Ever sit on a bus next to a happy couple that are smooching and playing footsie and think "Oh god get a ROOM! I'm gonna lose my lunch!" ? Or what about that girl on the street? You know, the one with the spring in her step. She has her head held up, a smile on her face, and meets your eye with a cheery "Good Morning!" And you want to yell "Its 8 am! Drop dead Lil Miss Sunshine!"...Of course. We all have felt these things at one time or another.

So what is it about these two different circumstances that drive other people nuts? The one thing they both have in common; the people are happy. They are happy in love or just plain happy. And to someone who is NOT happy, this is irritating. Lets face it. Its true. Misery loves company. When our world is miserable we tend to get sudden bursts of jealousy. How many times have you seen someone and wished you were them or wished you had something they did? At the very least we want them to trip on pavement or something so they feel a little pain. After all, it isn't fair that they get to be so happy and we get all the grief! But you should be relieved to know that you are a perfectly normal human being for having these feelings. When times are tough its perfectly natural to feel a twinge when someone else gets to walk on easy street. For a lot of folks, this emotion is short lived however. After a good belt of coffee and a pat on the back from the boss, we regain our own stride too. And Lil Miss Sunshine doesn't seem so bad after all.

What gets to be a problem, however, are the folks who never get that stride back. They live under a dark cloud constantly. These are the folks who will always find something negative to say no matter what. They see the happy couple on the bus and will actually say out loud "its all great till he cheats. Worthless men!" or "Yea she snuggles up so she can get hold of your wallet buddy!" They can find negativity in a picture of a cute puppy. "Cute till it sheds on the sofa and pees on the rug!" So dark is the cloud over these peoples lives that they refuse to see a ray of sunshine in anything and often make it a point to share the rain. They go out of their way to cut down anyone who shows any sign of joy.

On line, these are the people that will show up to a site and complain about anything they see. If there is a discussion going on, they will find something about the topic to complain about. If the conversation is positive they will find something negative to say about the person running the site or discussion. Even this blog is open to the attacks of the terminally miserable.
Nothing i have said to this very point in any way attacks or forces opinion on anyone. But i can almost guarantee there will be someone who will read it and find something to complain about. For that person; i am not saying ever that if you have an opinion you are not entitled to it. I am not ever going to say that if you feel unhappy, you are not entitled to feel that way either. What i am saying is that those who are happy...are entitled to be happy too, even if it makes you jealous.
And please do not confuse negative remarks with "trying to protect some innocent person". If the couple on the bus are strangers, you are not "offering good advice". You are being intrusive and down right nasty judging people you don't even know.
I can hear the howling now. "Arnt YOU being judgemental in writing this??" I have not pointed a finger or said a single name. I have judged no one. I have opened a discussion about negative behavior. And if that sends someone into a tailspin, then perhaps that person needs to take a long look in the mirror. Of course, having said that, i also know these words are not going to mean a thing to that person. Nothing i or anyone else says is ever going to make a difference to the miserable until they want it to.

Here is where the "art" part of this blog comes in. America's great forefathers wrote a document that formed a nation. In that document they wrote "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". You see, life and liberty are already rights we are born with (until someone does something to lose that right of course). But happiness is another animal entirely. Our forefathers already knew THAT animal has to be hunted down and taken on ones own.
Things were different in that time too. There was no such thing as "instant gratification". If you wanted light you spent hours making candles. If you wanted bread and roasted veggies, you baked the bread by hand and grew the damn veggies then cut them THEN roasted them (about four months in the making from start to finish). Now-a-days we flick a switch and there is light. We pop a box in the nuker and have dinner in two minutes. Heck, go online or make a call and have it cooked, wrapped and delivered! Unfortunately we have come to just believe that instant gratification applies to all of life. We expect someone or something else doing the work and handing us what we want.

And that has carried into our emotional behaviors as well. How often have you heard the term "find someone to make me happy"? Really? Is it someone else's responsibility to "make you happy"? Is it even possible for someone else to "make" you feel anything?
The fact is, you could have your dream date walk off the movie screen with a billion dollars in their pocket and whisk you away. But if you are miserable and have not faced WHY you are miserable, well a year later you will STILL be miserable. No one can make an unhappy person happy. Only the person who is unhappy can decide to change that.
Your dream date may bring MORE happiness, but not can not "fix" you emotionally. You still have to figure out what is causing the pain and CHOOSE to deal with it. If a person is lonely and chooses not to take a chance on a date because they were hurt in the past, they will stay lonely. If they are unhappy in a marriage but refuse to get couples counselling or even a divorce...yup..they stay miserable.
It is interesting to note, too, that these are the same people who come up with every excuse imaginable to NOT do something to improve their life. They don't want to do the work. They want someone else to solve their problem for them.
The broke and jobless person who sits at home and plays the "lottery retirement plan" is waiting for money they have not earned to be handed to them rather than get a job. And before someone complains...yes i know there are those who may have physical or mental limitation. This is (i believe obviously) about the people who CAN but choose not to.

So what about the pain and grief we may face and CANT change? Losing a loved one is something we have no power to control. And believe me, i know how dark that hole is. It is deep, vast, and seems endless. But it is actually only as deep and endless as you want it to be. Yes in some cases a person may need professional help to work their way out. But if they choose not to seek that help, then have made the choice to stay in the hole.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that it will be easy (which is why some prefer to stay in the hole) or that once you have risen above the problem or pain that it will go away. I still cry sometimes for people i lost years ago. That pain will never just "go away". Ever. But i made the conscious decision that i would not give away my life to it. I would learn to let myself feel joy too. The ones i lost...would be heartbroken if i let their deaths end the joy in my life.
How did i learn to do this? By not being angry at Lil Miss Sunshine. It took a lot of work at first. It felt fake at first too. But i would meet her eye and smile and wish her a good morning too. I would try to find something about her that i liked. Her smile was bright or her hair was pretty...anything to STOP feeling that jealous anger for her being happy. I also had to look at the people i lost and realize..that if ALL i thought about was that i lost them, then their entire lives and all the love they gave me were wasted. I was not giving them any credit or thanks for the happy times. Instead i was wallowing in my self pity because i could not touch them or see them. I learned its OK to miss them and cry from time to time. But not OK to be mad at the world, fate, God, or little green men from mars. That was never going to help me or anyone in my life that still needed me to be me.

And how does this all tie into D/s?? Too often i see the jaded and angry put down people around them for being happy. Too often i hear backhanded comments about Master, sis and myself. Yes W/we really ARE that happy. And yes, W/we all deserve that joy too. Too many people either tell U/us outright they are jealous or spend hours trying to ruin the things W/we work for.
Its not just U/us either. These terminally miserable people will light into anyone who dares to smile or share a happy moment. If they spent even a tenth of the time wasted on their anger, into facing their problems and making the effort to find their own happiness...But of course that would mean actually having to try.
I'm sorry if Suzie the Miserable Subbie or Don the Miserable Dom had a bad relationship, marriage, childhood, job, life etc. I really am. But i cant change that or fix it. Only YOU can make that decision.

A Dominant cant solve your problems. They can offer advice and even give you the direction. YOU still have to do the work. No submissive can "make" a Dominant happy by kneeling. Eventually the things they cant fix are going to rise up again. And no Dom or sub you meet is going to change that either. No relationship will work if you are not willing to do the work, face fears, and LET yourself be happy.

My final Sub-Stance: You are the captain of your own ship. If you want to set sail to that oasis of happiness and joy then you have to hoist the sails and set the course. If the sails need mending then you have to do the work to mend them. Spitting into the wind because you have no sail is only going to get you dirty. Happy Sailing!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paradigm [Para dime] – a pattern or model for how we see things.

In laymen’s terms that is the best way to explain the meaning of paradigm. There are more intellectual and scientific definitions which include jargon, but the meaning gets lost in translation for the context of this article.

Why am I mentioning paradigms? Because I believe the paradigms we operate with determine the stability and health of relationship and interaction. One of the biggest mistakes in life is treating a child as if they are not good enough, as if there is something lacking or something wrong with them. We send the messages both ‘loud and clear’ and ‘subtly’ even without words. That child very often grows up to have self esteem issues, motivation issues, discipline issues and a multitude of other complexities to untangle.

Unfortunately as adults we often approach other relationships with the same sort of paradigm – as if there is something that needs to be fixed or saved in the other person. Lots of women like the ‘bad boy’ type, and lots of men like the ‘lost girl’ type. It is because those situations validate our self worth; if we can be a positive influence and bring out their best and redeem what is wrong with our partner, it’s nearly the nirvana of being the ultimate in serving as a submissive or guiding as a dominant.

The problem with this is that we view our partner as fundamentally flawed, or like a ‘project’. Most likely, being humans, even when the things we perceive as ‘needing to be fixed’ are successfully improved, there will always be other flaws. It leads to a sense of never being satisfied and never being good enough. Additionally we are sending the message “You are lacking, broken, unacceptable”. This creates so many subconscious conflicts that it can actually impede intimacy, trust, and growth. Approaching relationships this way undermines our own value, if we measure our worth with the successful ‘handling’ of another. This paradigm destroys the fabric of the Power Exchange, in my opinion. It damages relationship of any kind.

I am very happy to be part of a smaller community in which the core members strive to interact with open minds, lovingness, and tolerance. Even better, I have recently become part of a House in which we see each other perfect just as we are, we love and accept each other unconditionally. Yes, we do freely admit we are human with all our foibles and follies. That is what makes my community and my family so very special. This is what gives me true freedom, the freedom to be me, to be proud, to love proudly, to grow and serve with pride. We live fully and are able to be our true selves with love, fun, and awareness.

I’m not talking about burying our head in the sand of denial, or enabling the shortcomings that come with every single human being. I am certainly not saying to ignore what we call red flags. What I mean is looking at life and people with the emphasis on what is right, what is positive, what is good and strong in our friends and family. Interacting from this approach always builds up and never tears down. I do have to say: even when my family and friends have one of ‘those’ talks where we shine the light on an apparent weakness, it is always done from a positive and supportive loving stance.

So, having said all this, let’s talk about seeing things clearly. I tend to always overlook shortcomings and give people the benefit of the doubt. I love forgiveness and grace; they are two of my most cherished values. This has led to difficult times along my journey, with lessons learned. It is very hard (for me) to balance out being gracious and tolerant with having good boundaries. It simply mystifies me. Sometimes I think I have it down, that I have wisdom and experience to recognize red flags and where I need to set boundaries with different people. Then the person comes along who, when I give grace and tolerance, wreaks chaos and conflict. Part of the confusion for me is as simple as watching what they do and not what they say.

It is so easy to listen and get caught up in ideals and intentions, and not look at what is happening right here and right now. I tend to over analyze in an effort to understand and soon I am the proverbial ping pong ball bouncing between head, heart, and gut, and feeling such a lack of clarity that I can’t even assess safety realistically, and I end up compromising what I value. I firmly believe that I have to take responsibility for my part, always. I own my part, acknowledge where I have gone wrong, and my act of amends is that my shortcomings are corrected, I hold onto what is true and real and WALK MY TALK. See what I did there? I grew. I didn’t need to be fixed or told how wrong I was. I knew it, from the ping pong pouncing through my existential internal landscape. An important element here, in keeping with the theme of this article, is how I perceive the roles and actions and interaction between myself and others.

While it is essential to emphasize strength, value, and goodness in one another, it is imperative that we can look objectively and lovingly at those things which do not build us up individually or together. We must look at the things which tear us down and break our heart, mind, and spirit. We have to be able to accept each other in all our glory, flaws and all, at the same time while saying, “This is a situation in which I will not participate.” One of my closest friends has always quipped something that I believe fundamental to having healthy relationship “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” This allows me to accept a person as they are and at the same time have a boundary where I am safe, where I will not compromise what I value, namely me.

I have been doing a lot of sorting out lately, growing through life experiences, and recently came across a golden nugget of wisdom which I will add to my repertoire of principles: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time" ~Maya Angelou

My final sub stance: How we shift our paradigms will determine our happiness and health in relation to ourselves and other people. Ask: “What message am I sending?”; “Is this what I really want to say?”; “Does this build up or tear down?”; “Is the result happiness?”; ”Is this aligned with my role as a Dominant/submissive?”

Monday, June 6, 2011

ROFL..And Other Important Submissive Tasks

Whether it is being involved in a tickle fight in RL or a raspberry challenge :P online, being able to laugh and have fun with a Dominant is not just important, it is vital to the survival of the relationship. Believe it or not these games of tease and laughter are an important way for U/us to communicate as well as relax from intense times.

So much time in D/s is serous. From making sure we as submissives are following rules, to making sure we are representing our Dominant respectfully in public, we are constantly trying to behave. But we are human too. We have a need to laugh and play. The person we would love most to do this with (of course) is our Dominant. Why? Because when we can laugh and play, we are truly ourselves. We have a chance to show a side of silliness and complete ME-ness that can not always find a way out when we are being well behaved. More importantly, when the Dominant can let THEIR hair down, have fun and be silly..we get the honor of seeing the human side of Them. And the sharing of laughter helps to strengthen the bond between people.

And yet i still see some "Dominants" who come dangerously close to criticizing Master for those moments when sis and i are being "bratty". In fact, at the Castle, W/we have had to change the name of O/our discussion group,"Brat Pack", because sis was constantly having to defend it. Why? Why is it so bad for submissives to be truly happy and show it? The complaint seemed to be that it had "negative connotation and promoted bad behavior". The name of a group does not promote bad behavior. A submissive with no manners does. And if being happy and free as a submissive is a "negative" thing, i would never have become a submissive in the first place.

For one thing, it is not any ones place to criticize how a Dominant interacts with Their submissive unless it is outright and obviously abusive. Certainly speak up if a submissive is reduced to tears in the open. That submissive is not only not happy, but definitely not getting the true reward and joy of the lifestyle. They are being abused. But if a Dominant and submissive are having a fun exchange it is no ones place to criticize. T/they are celebrating T/their relationship. If this causes someone to be jealous then perhaps they need to work on their own relationships.

Secondly, any submissive who holds their Dominant in high regard and care would not be outright inappropriate. Master allows sis and i to have a degree of brattiness. In fact encourages it. Only when we are happy, relaxed and laughing is He certain all is well. He often tells His classes "when a submissive is quiet and subdued THAT is when I worry". But even when being "bratty" sis and i know where the lines are. W/we do not disrespect Him nor break His rules. And not one person who has met O/our family can say that sis and i have anything but love and adoration for Master. This is not by accident. W/we didn't just say one day "hey cool lets be a happy family". It had to be worked on step by step. Part of those steps was in laughter and play. Not sex play, just plain 'ol goofing around. Ever have someone make you laugh so hard that soda comes out your nose? THAT kind of fun. The three of U/us have found that when together W/we very easily share these moments and its these moments that have cemented U/us as family.

They also cement the bond in times of trouble too. Because W/we are so comfortable and able to just laugh together in good times, that bond holds up when there is trouble. There is something in sharing that happiness that brings the bond to E/eachother even closer. So when sis is having a bad day, i feel it. I know it when she speaks and it bothers me. I got to really love her infectious laugh so when its not there, i want to be there for her till the problem is solved and i have her laugh back. And of course the same goes for our bond with Master. W/we are both very keenly aware when Master is stressed and having a bad day. We may not say anything (after all it is Master's decision if He chooses to share what troubles Him), but we do notice and try very hard to find a way to get Him laughing. It calms Him and eases stress. And as every sub knows, a happy Dominant makes a happy sub!

Sharing jokes and teasing etc, also has another affect. It gives everyone a chance to let go and show sides of themselves they might otherwise not. When W/we allow ourselves to put aside "proper behvior" and be US as people, we tend to let down those protective bariers. When W/we laugh and joke together, and that side of us is accepted by eachother, we lose the need to feel so self protective/defensive. A submissive can show happiness and a Dominant can also show a relaxed sense of humor.

When prim and proper sis told a dirty joke, she showed a side of herself she never had. When Master laughed at it and shared one of His own, her need to be guarded in behavior was let go. She took the next step in truly being HERSELF because she realized she was just as loved and accepted (even more so) by Master. Now that she knows ALL of her is accepted, she behaves properly but without the effort of being worried all the time. Respect and love of Master because she knows SHE is loved and respected as a whole person makes being well behaved natural, not forced.

Keep in mind this does not mean she runs around now telling dirty jokes and being vulgar. That is not part of who she is. But she let go of the fear that if she let her humor show, she would be rejected or told she was not being proper. She learned Master had a sense of humor and did not require 100 percent perfection 100 percent of the time. And when it comes to my relationship with Master, part of why i fell so for Him was His sense of humor and ability to make me laugh. His own smile and laugh are now more precious to me then all the gold in the world. So when i see sis get that laugh going in Him, i cant express how happy that makes me.

The same goes for her relationship with me. Once she realized we could get each other to crack up, it became an important part of us as sisters. Now i cant go a day without my "sissy fix" even if it is during hard times. Just hearing her voice has an automatic affect on me and makes me smile. By sharing these sides of ourselves, we broke down the protective barrier between us and truly became sisters. We can just as easily share our fears and frustrations, troubles and secrets as we can a good hard guffaw.

My final Sub-Stance; the saying "the family that plays together, stays together" is not just cute mumbo jumbo. It is an absolute fact. It exceeds the boundaries of social and D/s and allows us to be what we are inside. Human. Once we have found comfort in being ourselves with each other, the ability to form natural family connection, as well as a much deeper connection to our Dominant is so much easier. So go ahead! Laugh it up! Enjoy the good times because they will carry you through the bad ones. And if anyone asks me why i like being a brat; because Master loves His brats!