Time to finally lose the Christmas look and get back to basics.
But the formal Catholic feast is just one of the epiphanies around here, because I had a DD epiphany.... again. This time it came about in the most unlikely of situations. Rather than during a debate with Dan and his crowd or even a heart-to-heart with Rosa, this time it took place in a rather unexpected conversation with my monster, Ana before she went back to Dental School. We were discussing the year-end punishment tradition, and despite my hesitation towards continuing it as usual, Ana told me that she would like to participate again and I found it very hard to deny her wish. (But that was not the epiphany).
That came about as we were seriously discussing the various issues that Ana felt she would be addressing this year. Most were pretty straightforward and I had little argument against them, but recently Ana, Rosa, and I had a very strained exchange….it really wasn’t a true argument per se…..but it left all three of us with different degrees of sadness and confusion. When Ana brought this up I was a bit surprised since she was not entirely without fault. However, she said that of ALL the things that happened over this past year, for her this one was by far the most hurtful to her and the one she feels most desirous to address.
Now, usually a situation like this would go south very quickly, but the mood between us was so warm and sincere I found myself more inclined to listen to what she had to say rather than argue. And while I did state that I found this issue to be one of unequally shared fault, and therefore potentially something that I could resent being punished for, she said that she fully admits her own faults in the exchange. However, she also felt genuinely and profoundly hurt, and so, with a bit of back-and-forth, we kind of came to a very clear realization:
1: All three people involved had contributed to the hurt that resulted.
2: Neither Rosa nor Ana have any need or desire to be physically punished for the mistakes they freely admit they may make, nor do I have any desire to see them punished, yet all three of us recognize that such accountability and consequence are beneficial to me in the long run.
3: The “year end” punishment is all about each participant resolving issues with ME they felt were genuinely hurtful or improper, with the goal that the punishment they then decree wipes their bad feelings away. ….not the other way around. My feelings can also be addressed and validated, but with discussion, admission, and reconciliation.
So, to Ana’s point, she and I DID have our discussion and she did admit her involvement and possible flaws in how she handled certain aspects, and she did regret how she made me feel, and we DID reconcile with each other. But in asking her to participate in the year end punishment, she feels I am empowering her to now have her turn via a different route. In her case, she feels like we have also had our discussion, my admission of my fault, and even a reconciliation…..but in this case, there’s one more condition to be met: punishment. I asked her bluntly if me getting spanked at her behest would actually make her feel better about her hurt feelings and she said ‘yes’. (She actually replied with a look and tone like I had asked her the most obvious question in the world…...which made me laugh.)
A shot of the slip Ana left before heading out on the third. The substantial number pretty clearly (again) proves that her desire to continue the "year end" tradition was based in a solid determination to address some things. (And yes, Rosa has seen the slip.....which was left on our dresser.)
And then the strangest thing happened as a result. I saw her point. And then I began to inwardly apply that same realization to other things that have popped up in the past, like the punishment Nickki wants to give me for something that bothered her, and the punishments Rosa had wanted to give for things that bothered her.....things I struggled with but were very genuine and profound to the people to whom I offered the ability to exact retribution. All three women were looking at this in very simple terms: while the issues could well be as complex as I might want to see them, for them the issue simply came down to them feeling hurt as a result of something I did and me giving them the power to address these feelings with punishment. It made sense and even seemed…….logical. And whereas I have recently been wrestling with ‘fairness and resentment’ I am thinking that maybe all I really need is the acknowledgement that Ana gave me, for me to be able to then say “OK, as long as you’re not saying I’m completely at fault, I suppose given my nature and desire to be held accountable, that it does follow that you should be able to address your portion of hurt differently than I can.” It doesn’t make it a miscarriage of justice, just an inequality in consequence, but that inequality is something I have always embraced and know is right for me.
Ana's talk was like a shocking revelation to my naive "inner child".
I was surprised at how much of my current DD angst dissipated as I thought about this. And the timing could not have been better, because a mere day later Rosa and I had a very productive heart-to-heart over the current sad state of our DD arrangement and what to do about it going forward. Now, clearer in my head over some of my past stumbling blocks, I found it easier to 'hear' what Rosa was saying and concede her points.
So, it looks like, at Rosa's prompting, 2020 will be a 'back to basics' year for us and one where trust, obedience, and consistency are mutual pledge-points. She has said that she will expect certain key behaviors from me and that if I adhere to her guidelines, I will find myself on the happy receiving end of her rewards, but that if I don't, she will no longer hesitate to address the things that bother her with punishment.
Only time will tell if it comes to pass as laid out and agreed to.