Thursday, January 19, 2006
fantasies and pursuits

Dear angel,

It's been quite a journey. We're past the eighteen month point now, and I can feel us getting closer and closer. Every day, I'm thankful that you're in my life. And every day I'm away from you, I either fantasize about things we haven't done yet, or I remember things we have done.

Sometimes, I fantasize about binding you, naked, spread out on the bed. I'd blindfold you and tease you to extremes of excitement. I'd touch you everywhere, sometimes with a caress, sometimes with a slap, sometimes with an insistent rub. In due course, I'd make you cum and watch you as you writhe in pleasure and arch your back to meet my touch.

Other times, I fantasize about wrestling you down onto the bed, and tying your hands together, behind your back, before stripping the clothing off you. I'd pull your panties down around your knees, and hold you over my lap while I spank you, again and again, till you cry. Then I'd take you from behind, and fuck you hard till I came inside you.

Sometimes, it's more subtle. I fantasize about ordering you to take your panties off while I'm driving us out to suburbia for dinner. It's dark out, and we have a half hour drive, and I want some entertainment. I order you to play with yourself while I drive, and your cries and whimpers push me to more and more excitement as we get closer to our destination. And just as you're about to cum - we arrive, and I tell you to stop.

Or, I think about making you wear that lovely little vibrator harness that I bought you at Christmas time. You know the one I mean - the one that holds a bullet vibrator against your clit so that my hands are free to do other things? I think about making you wear that, and having you sit, naked and collared, beside me on the couch while we watch a movie. From time to time, I'll increase or decrease the vibration. Sometimes, I'll stop it altogether. But it makes the movie harder to pay attention to, doesn't it, angel?

More than eighteen months, angel, and every day, I want you more. Every day, I want to spend more and more time with you. Every day, I want to push your limits, and see how far you're willing to go to either get or give pleasure. It's a journey of discovery, angel, and I'm still chasing you towards the horizon.

Neko

posted at 09:01 AM :: permalink :: Comments (3)
filed under musings

Sunday, September 18, 2005
frustration and health

I wish I could help more.

It's been two weeks now that your back has been getting progressively worse, and I have to sit here, unable to help, unable to do more than say nice things, and encourage you.

Do you know how much that rankles me, angel? Do you know how frustrated that makes me feel at times?

Day after day, talking to you on the phone and hearing the catch in your voice when you move wrong. Or sitting beside you, watching you wince when you move just a little bit too much. Or waking up, and finding that you've had to sleep on the couch because your back has siezed up during the night.

It's not you I'm frustrated with, angel. It's me. It's the feeling of helplessness that I have when I see you in pain, and I'm unable to help. It's the impotence that washes over me as I see you hobbling and scared and angry, and knowing that nothing I do can help.

It's silly of me, I know. I'm *not* in charge of the world, after all. (If I was, ... but then that's another letter, isn't it?) There's not much I can do to help right now. You're doing all the right things - avoiding lifting anything, icing your back, and taking it easy. You're getting the right kind of treatment from a professional. But I still want to help, angel.

I find myself wanting to come over there and wrap you in my arms, and tell you everything is going to be all right. I want to press the "easy" button, like in the Staples commercials, and have your back pop back into perfect condition. But life's never that easy, is it? I'm going to have to patiently wait here, watching you as you go through your recovery, and encourage you every chance I get.

It's not easy, angel. After all, I *am* a control oriented personality. If something's wrong, I have a compulsion to try to fix it. I know this, and I'm trying not to let it get to me. But when you hurt, I hurt. And when I can't do anything about the source of the pain, it gets difficult to know what I can do.

So, I find myself giving you more room when we sit together. I find myself gingerly holding you, instead of wrapping myself around you. I find myself more tentative with you than when we were first dating. It's not you, angel. It's me. I worry about hurting you when I mean to give you pleasure. I worry about touching you wrong, and putting your recovery back weeks.

I know it's silly - I know you're not really that fragile. I know you're getting better, and that my touch makes you feel better. My head knows, anyways. My heart is all over the place.

I miss touching you, angel. I miss holding you, and making you feel wonderful. I miss lying with you, afterwards, holding each other, and touching each other. I miss listening to your breathing returning to normal, and watching as the twitches and spasms slow and fade. I miss walking with you, hand in hand. I miss you draping yourself all over me, and arousing you with my touch. I miss putting you over my knee, and hearing you shriek with outrage, and wriggle with pleasure at your helplessness.

But I am a patient man. I know you will be like that again, angel. I know you miss it as much as I do. And I know that you are as frustrated as I am by the current situation.

I love you, angel, and I look forward to you getting back to health soon. Take care of yourself, and don't worry about me. I'll be there to help you get better, and I'll be there when you're ready.

Neko

posted at 06:08 PM :: permalink :: Comments (1)
filed under musings

Thursday, September 15, 2005
love and whys

There's a poem that starts "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..." The longer we are together, the more that poem makes sense to me. Because there are so many ways that I love you, and so many things that you do that make me love you. I'm a very lucky man.

You have the cutest blush. When I whisper in your ear that I want to spank you, and we're lined up to pay for something in a store, you have the cutest way of blushing and squirming at the same time.

You love my kids already. You care about them, and you want to help me be a better dad to them, even though it means dealing with "she who must be paid".

I love watching you plan things out - you are so meticulous, and so detail obsessed. And as I watch you, I try to be ready to handle things if they don't follow your plan. Your strength is planning, mine is improvising, and I love the way we complement each other's strengths.

I love the way you refuse to admit that you love being teased. I watch your reaction when I tease you, and I can see the wanton wench just below the surface. She shows more and more of herself as you get excited, and as I take control of you, and I love that you realize and accept this part of yourself.

I love that you don't expect me to be perfect. There are things that I do (and many that I don't) that I *know* have to irritate you - but you love me nonetheless. I love that you haven't put me on a pedestal so far. (They're narrow and uncomfortable to stand on)

I love that you ask me questions. Questions about politics. Questions about history. Opinions, facts, and observations. Endless conversation, wandering from topic to topic.

And you dimple when I ask YOU about something. I know that you have opions and expertise that are different than mine, and I love that I can ask *you* about things, and get a reasoned, intelligent response. (Frequently, a different opinion, too, which leads to more conversation.)

I love the way you worry about me. You understand, I think I'm taking care of myself reasonably well. I'm not perfect, and I have blind spots. But the fact that you worry, and that you want to take care of me is adorable.

I love the way you take so long to wake up in the mornings. The contrast between my waking and yours makes me laugh. I wake up and I'm ready to go, ready to get dressed, get reading, and go. You take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half to wake up. And during that time, you're dopey, cuddly and confused.

I love the way that you act the brat, hoping for me to put you in your place. And when I finally do put you in your place, you snuggle up to me, happy that things are still working right between us.

I love your obedience, but I love that you are just disobedient enough to be a challenge in a scene. Watching you transform from recalcitrant brat into wanton slut never fails to excite me.

I love the way you get embarassed at the things I say to you while you're excited - and the way that it makes you even MORE excited when I point it out to you.

So, angel, even when things are difficult, I love you. Count on it.

Neko

posted at 07:30 AM :: permalink :: Comments (5)
filed under musings

Friday, September 02, 2005
responsibility and leaders

It's not always easy to let other people take responsibility. I don't know if it's a part of what makes me dominant, or if it's a reflection of the way I am, expressing itself in my vanilla life. From time to time, I find myself occassionally taking responsibility for things that are not mine to take.

Case in point - recently, I found myself in the unenviable position of being the only full time IT staffer for my entire office for a week. It was a bumpy ride - we had two disasters that week, one on the Monday, and one on the Friday. In between, it seemed like I'd spoken to everyone in the remote offices that could have problems. By the end of the week, I was stressed, but at the same time, exhilirated.

You see - I was in charge. There was no one else to rely upon, so I had to make decisions. When there was more than one person to deal with, I was the one that had to prioritize. As the week went on, I was more and more comfortable being in charge. So when a project that my boss had been in charge of, before he went on vacation, started to run into problems, I found myself taking charge again.

The problem started when I started to take the project goals personally. I'd gotten myself so wrapped up in what was going on, in what other people needed to get done, that I lost my perspective. You see, that seems to be a periodic failing of mine. I see ways of doing things, and see that I'm the only person available at the time to do it, so I take personal responsibility for the success or failure of a task. And when I see that the task isn't getting done to what I consider to be an acceptable level, I start to try harder. When the task is as formidable, or as screwed up as this one was when I took charge, it's like trying to push water uphill.

Eventually, (and quicker than I used to...) I realized that I wasn't responsible - not really. The project had been specified by marketing, with no margin for error, and with a very (!) short deadline. The team had been staffed by my boss, and the technologies used (including three new ones that we'd never used before in a production environment) hadn't been chosen by me. In short, I'd been handed a pig in a poke, and it was up to me to make the best of it. We got the project to where it was working reasonably well, after putting in ridiculous hours for a week or so.

And then - my boss was back. He was back and immediately took charge of the team. And I found myself on the outside again. I hated the feeling of no longer being in charge. I found myself to be off balance, and disoriented for a while. Fortunately, I didn't have much of a role in the remaining portion of the project. I did my part, but I was astounded at my lack of motivation. It was like I'd run full out to get to the finish line, and then found myself in mid air, still pumping my legs.

I found myself turning around and watching him as he led the team. I still felt protective towards "my" people, and I had to remind myself that they weren't my responsibility. I shouldn't feel resentful that someone else was taking over from me, because I never should have been put in that role in the first place. (My role is in IT, but does not include responsibility for managing project teams. I'm supposed to take care of the servers and ensure that the users' computers are working properly.)

Once again, I found myself reminded of the differences between a boss and a leader.

A leader leads his team, and protects them from constant interference from their customers, and from constant scope creep. A boss accepts assignments and passes them on to his subordinates.

The leader encourages his people, ensuring that they get as much done as they can, while tempering his demands with an eye on their tolerance for more stress. A boss constantly pushes his people to deliver more, with less, in less time. A boss praises his teams accomplishments, then immediately makes more demands.

A leader says "No" to customers on occassion, like when they inevitably ask for more than the team can deliver. A boss gets pushed into a corner, and makes promises without giving the team an honest opportunity to give input.

A leader takes an estimate from his people and lengthens it for unexpected delays and developments. A boss takes an estimate and shortens it, because the customer needs it faster, or because he thinks his team is taking it easy.

When things go wrong, a leader works with the team to fix it, if possible, or takes responsibility for the team's failure, if not. A boss takes credit for success, and assigns blame for failure.

A leader encourages his people to balance work, family and leisure, for a more satisfying and productive life. A boss demands more sacrifice from their people, to the greater glory (and profit) of the company.

Being a leader is different than being a boss. I think I'd rather be a leader.

Neko


posted at 07:55 AM :: permalink :: Comments (0)
filed under musings

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
interruptions and withdrawl

I'm suffering from withdrawl, I think, and it's my own damned fault. I don't get nearly enough time to do it, and the withdrawl symptoms aren't pretty to look at.

I get cranky for no apparent reason. I'm likely to fly off the handle at small irritations if I don't do it often enough. I find myself gritting my teeth, when I'm out in public and I see opportunities that I can't take. And lately, I've been fantasizing about what I would do if I had the time and concentration to indulge.

I used to do it almost every day. I used to be able to do it in under 20 minutes, from a cold start. But nowadays, it takes longer - sometimes much longer - if I can even get started. I tend to get lost in the middle, and often don't finish.

And the interruptions - God save me from interruptions. I'd started, the other day, and got interrupted by a phone call from work. Nothing ruins the mood like dealing with a cranky user, who's far from home, and can't figure out how to read the f@#$ing messages to connect to a wireless access point.

Another time, I started doing it in my office cubicle. Up till that point, it had been a quiet day, but as soon as I started, I got interruption after interruption. I eventually gave it up as a bad idea, and stopped - at which point the interruptions stopped as well.

And when I'm not being interrupted, my own sense of responsibility has been known to prevent me from even starting. I'll find myself contemplating it between tasks. During the boring parts of a long job, where you're waiting for something to download, or something else to install, I'll find myself doing a little bit of it, until I realize that if I continue, I'll most likely forget what I was doing. And since other people are relying on my efforts, that doesn't seem very fair to me.

Maybe I'll get a chance to do it next week, when I'm on vacation. In between trips to amusement parks and fairs, I might get an hour or two to myself. If I can just figure out how to be left alone for a little while, I know I could get a good start on it. And then, once I've got it going, I know I could finish for the first time in a month or so.

God, has it been that long? Let's see. There was the week I was.... then came the week that we... and I've been too tired this week... Yeah - it's been over a month. God - it hasn't been that long since we started dating, angel. I've been neglecting you terribly, haven't I? I know, I know - you're more worried about me, and how much I've been working, but it hasn't been fair to you, either.

After all, I know how much you love reading these letters. I promise to try harder to find time to write them to you, angel.

(What did you think I was talking about, you naughty girl?)

Neko

posted at 08:28 AM :: permalink :: Comments (2)
filed under events

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
balance and afterwards

Dear angel,

Do you know that you glow after we end a scene? I can tell how much you've enjoyed yourself by how much you glow. Sometimes, afterwards, I like to sit back and watch you come down from the high of subspace. I like to watch as you fit the pieces back together, and come back to yourself. And as I watch, if I've done things right, and the scene's gone well, I feel a swell of pride and a burst of wonder.

Some of it is simply pride in my abilities - I've done a good job, and I enjoy seeing it's effects on you. I know, it doesn't sound very romantic, but I like to do things well. Some of it is pride in you - if you've done something new, or if you've done well at something that was difficult for you to do previously. I know you like to please me, and I know that you try hard, so when you succeed, I'm proud of you. But the rest of it is mixed with a sense of wonder and gratitude that I have you in my life to share these experiences with. And, in that afterglow, I want to hold you, and touch you, and feel you come back to yourself, and to me.

Every time we do a scene together, I try to push you past the edges of what you're aware of as your limits. I keep trying to find new things about you that I see but you're unaware of. I keep trying to give you the experiences you've told me that you are curious about, or that you fantasize about, or that scare you and fascinate you at the same time. Once I find the limits, I carry you past them, and into a new experience.

And, when I do it right, you melt in front of me, throwing yourself into the experience, and riding the waves of sensation. I can see it in your eyes. I can hear it in your cries of passion. As you get deeper and deeper into subspace, you begin losing your hesitation and ignoring your inhibitions. You begin to push past your own limits. Then I have to be ready to pull back, to keep you from going too far before you're ready.

It's a delicate balancing act, keeping you on that edge, between farther and too far. I know, from our talks and from my own observations, that you want to experience more, and I know some of the things you want to experience. But some of these things I know you're not ready for, so it's up to me to maintain the balance. I hold you back from some places that we both lean towards. Because I want you in my life for a long time, angel.

I want to keep having these experiences with you, and sit in the afterglow, holding you as you put yourself back together. I want to do that for a long time, angel.

Neko

posted at 08:45 AM :: permalink :: Comments (5)
filed under musings

Friday, June 17, 2005
flogs and effects

Dear angel,

Is there any more wonderful sight than that of you, tied naked to the bed, writhing in lust with the after effects of a good flogging? I'm SO glad we got that wonderful flogger.

You know, when I started on this journey of kink, I didn't think that I wanted to be someone that enjoyed flogging. I mean, that seemed so extreme, so perverted. But since we first tried it, it's become one of my favourite things to do. (Note - I said *one* of my favourites, brat.)

The sound of a good flogging is intoxicating. The hiss of the flogger moving through the air is sexy, and full of anticipation. The sharp snap as it lands on flesh is so satisfying. The sudden grunt from you as the pain washes over you, then the moan of pleasure that follows.

And the sights involved in a good flogging are just as wonderful. Seeing your skin get red as the flogging progresses. Watching your hips as they writhe, almost out of your control. Watching your face as the pain hits you, and seeing how much you enjoy the pleasure afterwards. Watching you pull on the ropes when I've tied you before flogging you. And especially, seeing you get all red and wet and swollen, as the flogging progresses.

Flogging isn't hard to do properly, but it does take practice. When you first start to use the flogger, it can be a bit intimidating. There are all these strands to keep track of, and the tendency is to worry about them tangling, or of them not going where you want them to. My advice to newbies is this - don't worry too much about where the strands are going to go. When you swing the flogger correctly, the motion aligns the strands for you.

The flogger is a versatile toy to play with. With practice, you can deliver stinging sharp strokes, or solid, "thuddy" strokes. I know, angel - you like the "thuddy" strokes.

Floggers can be purchased that are made of all kinds of different materials. There are floggers made of ordinary leather, like this one. The stiffer leather makes for a very stingy experience. Then there are ones made of rubber, like this one. The narrow strands make this one sting when it's swung hard. This can be a very good thing, if that's what your partner likes. Personally, I like this one. Elk and deer hide make for very soft leather, and the strands are wide, so they deliver the impact to a wider area. Plus, the damned things just look wicked and decadent - which is always a good thing.

A properly made flogger will balance out the weight of the strands with the weight of the handle. Holding the flogger just behind the head of the handle, I can feel the rest of the handle balance it evenly. This gives me excellent control of where the business end goes. (Well, at least, with a little practice I was able to get control)

The trick to controlling the flogger seems to be to balance out the stinging strokes and the "thuddy" strokes. To deliver a thuddy stroke, I swing the flogger and aim to make an impact about 12" from the end of the strands. This spreads out the impact over a greater length of the strands. I swing it by flexing my wrist, while holding the handle firmly. By grasping the handle a couple of inches below the point where the strands connect to it, I can get a surprising amount of energy into the swing by doing it just right.

To deliver a stinging stroke, I swing the flogger like the tails were actually a rigid, instead of flexible. I aim so that the spot about 6" from the end of the strands hits the target, which is frequently your lovely ass. If the target is curved, then the tips of the flogger will wrap around, and deliver a stinging slap. When we first got the flogger, I remember watching your face as I practiced this on the bed a little. (I'd imagine that it would be fun to tie you so that you were watching, and then start practicing on the bed. But then, I've been told that I'm evil.)

The nicest thing about floggers is that by spreading the impact over a larger area, they let you use much more force when swinging it than you could get away with using a whip, or a riding crop. I can swing away vigorously with a flogger, and you get a nice, warm, tingly bum out of it. If I used any significant fraction of the same force with a riding crop, you'd get bruises. And if I use an even smaller fraction with "The Dreaded Paddle", you're in tears and unable to sit down. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it depends on the demands of the scene.

The flogger also lets you vary the effect, depending on the area struck. For example, standing at your feet, and striking your ass with the end of the flogger has one effect. Standing at your head, and delivering a blow to the same spot has a different effect. With practice, I've been able to get the tips of the flogger to strike across your ass and back, as well as wrapping around your ass, and striking your thighs and pussy. Striking you across your back and arms as you move further into subspace has a different effect. And striking your breasts with the flogger seems to be exciting as well - your face shows a mixture of excitement, anticipation and worry, as you watch the blow land.

Yes, the flogger is a wonderful addition to our toy box, angel, and I'm very glad that we added it. Now, I have to return to the rest of my day, but at least I'll have lovely things to think about while I deal with annoying people all day.

Neko

posted at 12:17 AM :: permalink :: Comments (0)
filed under observations

Thursday, May 26, 2005
moving and missing

My darling angel,

Moving sucks. There's no two ways about it, moving sucks. Finding a new place sucks, packing up the old place sucks, unpacking the new place sucks. But it's finally over. I'm in my new place. There's some more pruning/unpacking to do, my schedule is starting to slow down, and my thoughts turn to you. More specifically, to the things I miss doing to/with you.

I miss

I've missed you, angel. I'm glad that I'm not going to be quite as busy now. Here's hoping we can make up for lost time.

Neko

posted at 07:46 AM :: permalink :: Comments (2)
filed under events

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
gags and noises

Dearest angel,

Although I love the dulcet sound of your voice, there are times when our play is enhanced by the introduction of a gag. In fact, I'm rather fond of both gags, and the effect that being gagged has on you.

Gagging a woman during sex is another form of dominance. It takes away her ability to direct, to instruct or request, and leaves her helpless and powerless to even influence what's happening to her. Every time I gag you, it seems to push you into a different level of submission. You get very eager to please, and very embarassed and excited by the noises you seem to make while gagged.

Gags, however, do nothing to lower the volume of noise that comes out of a partner. In the movies, a wisp of cloth over a woman's mouth makes her silent, and unable to be heard when she's trapped in the bottom of a closet. Yeah, right! When you're gagged, angel, you make an astonishing amount of noise - you're almost louder than when you're ungagged. And no, I'm far from complaining. I like that fact. What you are not, however, is coherent. Instead of words, or screams, you make muffled, distorted noises.

The noises are one of my favourite things about gagging. When I start teasing you, and talking to you, and asking you questions, your attempts to reply to me while your mouth is filled with a gag can be easily misinterpreted. Okay - they can be deliberately misinterpreted. And that leads to a number of fun games that I can play with you while you're helpless. Games like "Did you mean that you WANT me to fuck you like this?" or "Do you really want me to clip your nipples?" Watching your reaction when I say these things is amazing. Your eyes grow big and round, your actions become more frantic, and you try so hard to try to make yourself understood.

And as you get more and more excited, you tend to make less and less coherent noises. Combined with the gag, the effect is wonderful. I control you, your body, your body's reactions, and your voice. I can run my hands over your body, pinching here, caressing there, and elicit a variety of noises and reactions from you.

The Cloth Gag

The cloth gag is an old standard. You take a scarf, or a towel, or something, and tie it across her mouth, so that it's forced inside. You then tie it tightly, so that it can't be removed without hands. This can be harder than it looks. The tongue is a very strong, and very capable muscle, and it's surprising how much force can be exerted against a cloth gag.

These gags are a useful, handy gag to use for an impromptu play session. If you use the right material, you get a wonderful visual, but they don't do nearly enough in terms of making you incoherent. It's a good first step if you're trying to get a partner used to the idea of being gagged.

The Ball Gag

If you look at BDSM pornography for any length of time, you'll come across images of women with ball gags in their mouths. The ball gag varies in size and style, ranging from 1" in diameter to over 2". As you know, I own a couple of different ballgags, one that is a mere 1 1/4" in diameter, and another that is almost 2".

I prefer smaller ballgags to the larger ones. Depending on the partner, I'm more likely to use a 1 1/2" to 1 1/4" ball. They fit inside the mouth easily, they interfere with the ability to talk, and they can't be moved aside by the tongue.

But the larger ones are wonderful to taunt with, and I have to admit that the thought of you with a 2" ball gag stuffed into your mouth, and tightly buckled behind your head is intriguing. You would be completely unable to talk, because the ball would pin your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. However, it would also likely cause you tremendous pain in your jaws, and that's not a good kind of pain, is it, angel?

Ball gags also tend to cause the wearer to drool. This can be wonderfully humiliating. When I have you helpless, and gagged, I enjoy making you moan and mumble. And as you do so, you tend to drool, which embarasses you to no end. And as you get embarassed, you get more excited. It's a fun dynamic to take part in, and I love the results it gets.

The Ring Gag

The ring gag is generally a small, metal ring, covered in some softer material, sometimes rubber, sometimes latex, and sometimes leather. It is inserted into the wearer's mouth, and wedged between the teeth, before it is fastened behind her head.

We haven't used one of these yet, but I am tempted to get one for play. The idea of fucking your mouth while you have no control over it tends to get me hard. I love the idea of sliding my cock into that ring, and feeling your tongue around it, while I still having control over your mouth.

There are other kinds of gags, like whiffle gags, medical appliances, and dildo gags, but these three are the ones that I tend to think about the most. But who knows - maybe I'll surprise you one day, angel.

Neko

posted at 07:58 AM :: permalink :: Comments (5)
filed under toys

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
hammers and screws

Dear angel,

Don't let the title of this letter worry you - I'm not going to start using either of the items mentioned on you. (Not my kink, not your kink, and that's fine with me...) But, the other day I was struck by the power dynamics in my workplace, and it got me thinking about why I notice them at all. I think it comes down to "If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Early in my career, I found myself in a very political work environment. In fact, I found myself in the middle of a political catfight between two women supervisors. Both wanted me to work for them, and neither one would step back from the conflict. I kept my head down, and basically let them fight it out to see which one I would report to. I had my preferences, but I was (naively at that time) more concerned with getting a paycheque regularly than I was worried about which one of them I'd be working for.

In the end, I ended up not working for either of them, and working for a completely different supervisor - one that I had respect for. I thought it was funny at the time - I didn't pick either side, and they both ended up with less than they wanted. One was fired, and the other hired the woman who's position I ended up taking. In the end, I wound up with almost exactly what I wanted, apparently by accident. I said to my friends at that time that I hated office politics, and that I didn't understand it at all.

These days, I've become more ... attuned to the every day power struggles that go on around me. For example, I'm more aware of the power dynamic between myself and my co-workers. They want me to do something, usually for them, and usually right now. When they approach me, they tend to have one of two approaches: as supplicant, or as demander.

The supplicant approaches me politely, and asks for help. They treat me with deference, assuming that in my role as IT Support guru and general all round technical wizard, I'm busy doing something arcane, no doubt much more important than their measly tasks, and that their audacity in interrupting me draw them some harsh reaction. The demanders interrupt whatever I'm doing, and demand that I immediately fix whatever they've managed to break, or do something that they can't figure out for themselves. There are variations on these approaches, but most people fall into one or the other.

The funny thing is this: both demanders and supplicants are working from a false set of assumptions, and trying to force the power exchange to work in a way that isn't appropriate to the situation.

The demanders are frequently working under the assumption that what they are doing is more important to the company than anything that I could be doing. Or they work for someone, and assume that their boss's status somehow flows to them. These people tend to take pains to point out how important they are, or how unimportant I am. In most cases, these people seem to believe that they have some power over me, and therefore, I have to jump to do their bidding immediately. (Yeah, right!)

In contrast, the supplicants tend to be those that feel that they don't have any leverage over me, and therefore, they throw themselves at my mercy. They may be developers, asking me to reboot a server that they don't have access to. Or they might be someone in QA that wants a particular data set retrieved from backup. They tend to believe that they need to show me how much I'm needed, and valued, in order to get what they want from me.

Or, that's the way I find myself interpreting it, anyways. And that sometimes worries me. It's a dangerous thing to let one part of your world (i.e. D/S) colour your entire outlook on life. It's completely possible that the behaviours I'm seeing are the result of annoying personal habits, lack of empathy and outright foolishness. But I find myself automatically assuming that the power dynamic is there. To be certain, it usually is there, if I think about the interactions and events of the incidents, but sometimes it's just someone's personality coming through. It only looks like a power dynamic.

Recently, I made a conscious effort to alter my automatic reactions to people's power plays when they approached me. The reactions I got were amusing. The demanders were more than a little confused when I finished recording a thought in my notes before responding to them. The supplicants were shocked when I offered to teach them how to do something that they were SURE I'd want to hold on to doing. The ones that thought that they inherited their boss's status were shocked that I wouldn't jump to do their bidding, or confused when I offered to teach them how to do something that they were used to having me do.

In many of these cases, I had changed something in our interaction. I'd given away some of what they thought was my power, or I'd taken some of their assumed power. It's too early to tell, but some of what I'd done has paid off already. Some people are more willing to try to do some more things on their own, because they know that I'm going to sympathize with them if they mess it up (and probably will be able to fix it if they break it further). It's like I handed them a box of screws, when all they'd been trained to use was a hammer. Some of them are still trying to hammer the screws into the wood, but others are starting to look around for a screwdriver, and asking how to use it.

Being aware of the power dynamic between a Dom and a Sub has made me more aware of the same dynamic between myself and other people in my day to day life. Knowing what it feels like to take control in a relationship makes me more aware of when someone else tries to take control from me in a vanilla situation. It's not exactly the same thing - but there are enough similarities that I can get a handle on what's going on. I see how good leaders use power without taking outright control. I see how bad leaders take power without accepting responsibilities. I watch people use the little power they have in their positions to make themselves feel more important, or better about themselves. I watch as people who don't understand the relationships between power and responsibility blame everyone else for their failings, even though the same damned thing keeps happening to them, over and over again.

And when we play, I learn a little bit every time I take control. I learn a little bit, every time I let myself use that power that you give me over you. I learn when to take control, and when to give control. And I use what I've learned to make my little corner of the world a little smoother, a little less confrontational, and a little easier to understand.

Or maybe I'm still trying to hammer the screws into the wood.

Neko

posted at 11:10 PM :: permalink :: Comments (4)
filed under observations

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