Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back In the Day

I have been thinking lately about relationships in general. Here in blogland, several blogs that I read have said that they have either dropped their D/s arrangement, or that the D/s element is no longer a part of their relationship at all. I am not sure why I wonder about things like that, but I find even the prospect of that happening incomprehensible.

I find myself thinking about relationships I've known in the past, from my own personal experience or through watching others. One of the most beautiful and remarkable examples of a D/s relationship was my grandparents' relationship. My grandmother was the most submissive woman I have ever met. Never did I ever hear my grandparents openly disagree, although of course there were always "that's just a man" types of jokes. As a matter of fact, I find myself having to restrain myself from making those types of jokes now!

My grandfather was not overtly Dominant, by any means. There was never any doubt who was in charge in the relationship. As a matter of fact, he was respectful of her and her role in their marriage, as far as I knew. He had some disturbing sexual proclivities, as I found to my detriment, but not once did they do or say anything inappropriate to each other in front of me.

My grandmother cooked, cleaned, raised the kids (and grandkids for the most part). She also worked when my grandfather was laid off from his job. He worked out of town and would drive 2 hours early Monday morning, rented an apartment with other men, and they drove home on Friday night. He had a heart attack in his mid 60's, a stroke a few years later, and lost first one leg, then the other to amputation before developing asbestosis and passing away from lung cancer years later. Through all of it, she nursed him and did the best she possibly could through more physical and emotional burdens than any of us may ever understand. There were several years when she dealt with him solely by herself since all 5 of her children lived several states away.

She had her moments when it was even more of a burden than she could possibly handle, of course. She was no saint, nor was he by any means. But he showed her a quiet appreciation for the things she did, and she would do what she was expected to do, but also that she enjoyed doing, for him and for almost everyone around her.

They did not call their relationship D/s by any means. I somehow doubt that she was spanked if she didn't speak in a specific tone of voice, or if she needed time to deal with an emotional argument or a disagreement that she found very emotional. There would have been no "rules" or "punishments" in place, but yes, by the time I realized what I was seeing, they had definite expectations of each other in place and they each tried to please the other.

That, to me, is the definition of D/s.

They would never have defined their relationship as D/s.

A male-Dominant, female submissive marriage is indeed D/s, is it not? You know, we so often get wrapped up with labels and roles and how things are "supposed" to be that we lose who we are in the process. Even if someone makes a choice to be submissive and doesn't feel that they are naturally submissive will likely develop submissive habits as time passes. Habits of defiance and covert rebellion can also develop without care and caution, as well.

I honestly believe that the reason we have had to define so strongly the roles in relationships such as ours, and explore reasons why we identify as we do, and all the analysis that comes with being powerful in jobs yet submissive in relationships stems from the feminist movement. So many of us feel so pressured to do it all, and to have certain expectations of the men in our lives, that we have lost sight of the fact that MANY women are submissive to men simply because they WANT to be. We love for a man to be in charge, to have both authority and responsibility. We enjoy making our man happy and pleasing him in big ways and small. And there are many men who love to feel powerful and responsible and in control. And you know... that is exactly what my grandparents had and the marriage they lived.

Without struggling for identity. Without resentment. Without pettiness or overanalysis. It just was what it was, because that is how THEY were.

And that is what I have finally found with Padrone. Padrone, I am forever grateful for the freedom you have given me to be myself, to learn to please and serve you and make you as happy as you make me. You are incredible, and I am incredibly lucky and blessed to be yours. I love you, my Padrone, more than life itself.

I am, indeed, your forever slave.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Lessons Learned ... And Taught

So I've been doing a little thinking lately. Just a little because I've been uber busy, as usual, but the thoughts have still been running around in my brain.

I'm so enjoying my job this year, even with all the little stresses and big stresses that are part of every job. These kids are absolutely wonderful - so loving and loyal and trusting that I have their best interests at heart even after only a few months of being my student. The problem children are becoming less of problems, whether it is because my own tolerance has raised or whether their behavior is actually, their behavior is definitely improving. They are getting in less trouble overall, by everyone they are around. I do think that I am less harsh with them in general, and I give physical reinforcement like a pat on the back or a "side hug" if they do well. Oh man, just the pride I see start to be revealed in their eyes, their demeanor, their work effort, is so rewarding. Now, I admit, the bad days can make me want to pinch their heads off, but hey, we can't have it all can we?

I enjoy my fellow teachers, but of course there is always one...there is an administrator that is extremely difficult to deal with and I am not fond of her ways at all.But there are a couple of other teachers with whom I have developed a good relationship, and to whom I can vent - mostly our Sped case manager who I call my angel. I promise I could not have made it this far without her!

I'll find out about whether or not I have passed and will graduate, next week. If not, I'll have to redo some work and will graduate in May. Either way I'll have my AA license when I start a new school year next August, which means a raise (yay!). I still have a half an assignment to finish and two quizzes to finish, and I'll do it tonight or tomorrow or both. Not motivated tonight though, I admit. Maybe I'll read for pleasure since I just got a bunch of books today!

And what I have been thinking about is directly related to my job teaching impressionable young people who have disabilities. See, my kids have real issues in dealing with others because they have been teased and mocked for so long that they are automatically defensive no matter what is said or in what attitude it is meant. It took a lot to overcome their natural barriers, and of course there are some who still have a lot of walls up.

But so many of the things which I have learned by being Padrone's, I am using to teach my kids. It started even without my knowledge, actually. But these kids need to learn impulse control, focus, to think before they act or speak, to accept consequences, and yet to gain or maintain a level of pride and self confidence that they may have never felt before.

One of the hardest lessons for me as a person to learn...or even to understand (remember our language differences? I just didn't understand this idea the way Padrone worded it, and I was sooooooo upset in the beginning!)... is the idea that our feelings are not what others see, rather it is our behaviors that are seen and judged. I tell my kids "How you *feel* is not what gets you into trouble. How you *act* CAN get you into trouble." I've used negative situations, and immediately reiterated that thought, and they seem to be getting it. As I said, their behavior seems to be improving overall.

I also have used Padrone's lessons of patience, humor, and optimism in very real ways in my classroom. We laugh a lot in my class, and they laugh at me but not maliciously, and I laugh at them as well, but not maliciously. I'm trying to help them gain a real perspective about themselves and others, and to learn to choose their battles. They really are getting quite calm and accepting of themselves and each other, and it is so nice to see!

I do admit that my discipline ladder in my room is a bit different from Padrone's discipline with me, even earlier in our relationship. I have a warning system in place, allowing them to get out of their desks and write their names in a notebook (not on the board, the goal is not to embarrass, although it took a few months for me to realize it)...they think about what they did, and either get angrier or more upset, or they grin sheepishly and improve their behavior. But they get 3 chances before there are consequences, and of course me being me, I fuss a bit between the chances so they really have more than that. But I have been teaching them things that I have learned as a submissive woman.

The most recent, and the most relevant, was when one of my students was intent on provoking every other student in the classroom by being ugly. There were two who have come a LONG way in terms of their behavior, but who have a ruling of Emotional Disturbance which of course means that outbursts are not unexpected. They EACH controlled their behavior, as difficult as it was for them, and I was immensely proud of those guys! I took a few minutes to speak with each one individually and expressed to each of them the unique (to them) idea that when we allow another person to "make us mad", we've let them control our behavior. And this provocative student would pounce on that and keep the control by doing what he knows will evoke that negative response from these students. I stressed the idea that because they *didn't* react any more than letting him know they were upset by their facial expressions, that they maintained the control over themselves, and that is a very, very good feeling! One of my kids told me that he had never thought of it that way and he gave me a hug and said "Thank you for helping me!"

Yes, my heart melted.

These kids have had to grow up so fast, far more quickly than anyone could ever imagine. They are 10-11 years old and they just don't have that innocence, that joy, that should be the major part of childhood. They talk about relatives, especially male figures in their lives, getting out of prison or being in gangs. One kid goes to parties with his dad's family - the type of party where drugs, alcohol and sex are just part of the scenery. This kid knows more about gangs than I knew even existed. He told me yesterday about a teenager he knows who is pregnant, and this 11 year old boy said, "I don't think it's my baby." I mean, even if he was saying it for the shock value, the idea that an 11 year old would even THINK that is what is shocking to me. Yes, I'm naive and have an innocent view of the world, but it is simply SAD to me to know what these kids deal with on a daily basis. It breaks my heart.

On the other hand, I love to bring that joy to them. I'm silly and they laugh when I do things like put the flashing Rudolph nose on my face and act as if I have no idea what they're laughing at. They don't believe in Santa, but I bring Santa into their lives. I try to allow them to feel as if miracles can happen. I try to help them to believe in something within themselves, to just....understand just how special they are, and how much they have to offer even if their IQs aren't high or their learning disabilities create immense academic obstacles for them.

This post did not go where I planned, but I had so many emotions that I cannot express anywhere else, about my kids and my job. Padrone knows all of this, of course, but it's really good to put it all in one place and just...let it all out. It all started when I began to think about how much of Padrone's lessons I have been using in my classroom and with my students individually.

Padrone, I've told you just how much you have changed my life, changed me as a woman, through all the things you have taught me. But when I realized just how many of the things I've been teaching my students, I knew I was supposed to try to write here and let you know that your lessons, wherever you learned them yourself, are having an effect on more people than you probably ever realized they would. I see them, Padrone, I see the students using these things in a positive way - gradually, slowly, but yes surely - changing lives. We are both changing these students' lives, my Padrone, just as surely as if you were standing in the classroom with me. And words can never express the gratitude for the tools you equipped me with in order to enable me to successfully manage my classroom, and more importantly, reach my students. Thank you, my Padrone, and I hope you can understand just how much of an effect you are having on these kids, and on ever kid I teach for the rest of my career. You are indeed a wise and wonderful man, so worthy of my abject adoration. I am yours.