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Monday, January 6, 2020

More than one epiphany

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, and traditionally the day that some folks use as the signal to finally take down the Christmas decorations. I, however, had already packed away more than half of our stuff last Friday. Today I'm just finishing off the Dickens Village and cleaning up.

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.


22 comments:

  1. This can't be enforced, it's dated 2019.

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    1. I told her and suggested she visit herself to see the post itself and this comment about the date. I know she is in class after class, but she said she'd try to stop by.

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  2. Great epiphany, and it's pretty much where things have always been between me and Anne with respect to DD. There are times that she is as at fault as I am for something, but the difference is that I both want and need consequences of the corporal punishment variety, while she has absolutely no interest in being on the receiving end.

    And, in DD and other aspects of life, it's amazing what happens when you let go of expectations around fairness and resentment.’ I can't claim that I can really sustain getting rid of concepts like "fair," and "ought" and "must," but I do know life gets better the more I can pull off that separation between my preferences and my actual expectations.

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    1. And, btw, it is WAY too early to take down Christmas decorations. This is an ongoing battle in our household. Martin Luther King Day seems like a pretty good deadline to me.

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    2. Thanks for commenting. Yes, there was a certain freedom in seeing this argument......but I think it's also very revealing about my own nature that I was not willing or able to just accept it unconditionally. I made a rather conditional point that I needed to hear the free admission of fault from her end......which she gave. Without that I don't think I could have gotten past my "block". But like I have always said about "unfair punishments"....if they are clearly stated as intentionally unfair for a particular, valid reason.....whether showing 'muscle' or even just to have "Toppy fun"....I'm fine with whatever happens. I just need everything to be acknowledged and clear, and that's kind of what happened here. The difference is that this is the first time I've considered something this imbalanced as still 'fair' based on Ana's point. But with her small concession of admitted shared fault, it's all I needed.....BUT it WAS needed.

      MLK DAY? Hell, if it wasn't for straggling post-Christmas guests who like looking at the village, I'd be fine with the 26th as take-down-day......OK OK, maybe not. The 27th then.

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  3. punishment for funishment sake where the reasoning is silly is more fun than real punishment as i really dont like to think i have upset caused concern or failed.

    i can agree resentful where there was no blame on my part at all but where i did something even if the lady did too then bring on the consequence. along with love it is the foundation of such a relationship as this.

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    1. I go both ways on this, so I definitely see your first point. It certainly is easier when 'fun', but there is also deep connection and gratification to "real" as long as everyone's emotional states are respected. It's trickier and more volatile......especially depending on the issue and people involved, but when it works? It's pretty intense.

      And your second point is kind of where this is hovering now. Thanks for chiming in!

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  4. In our home DD is discussed two times a year. One at the beginning of the year the other in July. It reminds me why I accept her being the one in charge and doling out punishment. I too at times have resisted punishment but did give in (i should not be resisting) We also discuss her feeling when she does wrong. As I'm not allowed to spank her when she is feeling bad spanking me makes her feel better about what she had done wrong. Does the make sense? It does to us.
    archedone

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    1. We discuss a lot and not always on a schedule. Rosa is not big on formality. But for us the communication can sometimes be a problem although external influences on mood and state of mind are usually our biggest obstacles to smooth progress. (As a reader here you know we have had many successful periods along with our 'dry spells'.)

      I am willing to accept spankings for all sorts of reasons, possibly including the example you mention at the end, but it would require some discussion. As I wrote back to Dan above, it seems a lot of my acceptance is based more on a certain "clarity of mutual culpability" than absolutes. So I can see doing what you do. Presented a certain way, I might go along with something like that as well. Hell, I've done countless "proxy" punishments, and I've never resented any of those, even though I was clearly not the one at fault.

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  5. What a fine post/essay. I'm encouraged by the emotional development, and amazing communication, that somehow occurs in your family. Inspiring.

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    1. Thank you, Tomy. We try to communicate well, but don't always succeed. In fact, the events leading up to the discussion with Ana were caused almost entirely by the communication among Rosa, Ana, and myself with regard to a very highly-charged issue failing utterly. So we aren't paragons of communication....but we do try.

      As far as emotional development? We also try. And Ana is no kid anymore, though I like to tease her that she never really was......just a wise, age-old monster who decided to appear in my life in the body of a girl from Peru.

      But thank you for those compliments. You have a knack for saying things, not just to me but others, that can be very sustaining at times when a little encouragement can go a long way. You are a great mentor in your own right.

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    2. It's funny how some kids are just born old. I have one like that, too.

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    3. Dan: My father said it of me as well. I always thought it was funny because I never felt like I had my shit together back then, especially not to the degree that Ana does.

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    4. Me too. To the extent I ever did get my shit together, it definitely wasn't until after grad school.

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  6. Someone put 2019!

    You deserve 3 hard spanks for not correcting her!

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    1. I hope she sees this comment when and if she has a chance to drop by. Curious to see her reaction since when I told her of the error she mentioned that she does not consider herself bound by the constraints of traditional time-keeping. LOL

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    2. Hasn't even graduated and already has a snarky attitude? Not good at all!

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    3. LOL, she was like that when I met her and she was just a kid who barely spoke English!

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  7. Replies
    1. Shilo and Stitch will be "removing" Christmas while I'm away this weekend. They put up Christmas while I was sleeping in on a Saturday morning. (Dec 21)

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    2. Absolutely. It turned out to be a very mixed holiday but not as bad as it could have been. I even mustered a bit of spirit around the time it hit.

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