Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Exhausted Longing

It's late. I'm tired. Hate one day flight trips - in and out. Traveling for work used to be fun. Now just tedious.

It's late. I'm tired. He's not home. His regular Wednesday night commitment. I usually enjoy my Wednesday nights alone. But not tonight. Didn't get home from airport until after 8:00. It's late. I'm tired.

When he comes home I will want. And hope he wants too. Eyes drooping, bed beckoning, pillows calling. Can I stay awake long enough to enjoy what I want if I get it? Will he want nothing, or want more than I can give in my current state? Who knows? I don't.

It's late. I'm tired.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Sound of Hell Breaking Loose

Here is the deal. At a youngish age you marry a man-boy you love. At least you think you love him. You know you feel different emotions towards him than you’ve ever felt for another boy. There was never the overwhelming sensation of an initial crush. In fact what grew between you grew slowly, methodically, at least on your side. But once it reached that point of recognition you knew this was unique. And to your young mind, unique feelings about a boy must equal love.

You feel terribly lucky because he also proves to be a good friend. You feel even luckier because he seems totally enthralled by you; even by the parts of you other boys quickly became disillusioned of. And there were lots of those parts, although most of them centered on your sharp tongue, your impatience over the general immaturity of boys and your quick disdain of any weakness you perceive in others. But he doesn’t see the negative parts, or if he does, they don’t bother him.

You continue to grow up alongside this man-boy. You start careers, buy a house, raise a family. Through the years the romance fades but never completely deserts you. Magazines tell you that you have sex far more frequently than most couples your age and married as long as you have been married. You consider this a good sign, but you absently wonder how long you have to be married before the nomenclature changes from ‘making love’ to ‘having sex’. Since you appear to be ahead in the game, you don’t worry too much. And the sex, well, if it isn’t heart-stopping and thrilling, it isn’t unpleasant either and you still enjoy the closeness and the intimacy the act requires.

There are times when you feel a frisson of desire for another man. Sometimes that frisson is quite strong. So strong you at least unconsciously consider whether you should sidestep your partner, whether temporarily or permanently and explore your options. But you are not that kind of person. To protect yourself you take steps to assure that you probably could not act on those feelings even if you wanted to, because they would not be reciprocated. You let yourself go. Just a little. Enough to declare to the world that you are not in play, but not enough to cause concern in the man-boy. You suspect he suffers similar experiences, but instinctively trust he is no more likely to act on those desires than you are.

You and your man-boy, now far more man than boy, become comfortable, complacent, and totally absorbed in the daily rigmarole of life. None of which are bad things to be are they? You don’t talk a great deal, but on occasion you and he find yourselves engrossed in an extensive and wide ranging conversation about issues that are important to you both. And those occasions feed your soul. Remind you that you made the right choice. Remind you why you married this man.

One subject you rarely discuss is sex. You have it. Exactly as you have been having it for the last several years. But you don’t talk about it. You don’t discuss your evolving fantasy lives. You don’t discuss what type of pornography or erotica the other finds interesting. You don’t discuss burgeoning desires, risks you are willing to take or activities currently outside your comfort zone that you think you would like to move inside.

Then something quite strange and wonderful occurs. You get old. Well, not old exactly, but definitely middle aged (as long as we are not talking about precisely the middle of your ultimate age - you don’t plan on living to be 102.) Weird things start happening to your body. As weird as what happened to your body at the beginning of your sexual journey. And those weird things affect your mind. How you think and how you feel about sex.

Your kids are grown. Your body is back under your control. At least it stops going wacky every few months as it decides whether to go through the process one more time and push an egg out the door, even though it has been years since those eggs had an open path to their ultimate destination. Your body settles into a new phase that doesn’t require near as much thinking, planning or scheduling. Now your mind has time to ponder. And time to listen to your body. It does.

You determine that the status quo can not continue. You give this a great deal of thought. Should you change partners for the rest of the dance? Should you give up entirely on your unrequited passions? Should you be demanding, take control, insist that what happens beneath the sheets must change? This last option is easy to dismiss since it is the opposite of what you are seeking beneath those sheets.

While you are busy trying to figure this out you are also sending out signals. The signals aren’t explicit but they are picked up by the man’s radar. Then you realize that your radar is picking up new signals from his direction as well.

Suddenly you both realize your signals are on the same bandwidth. After many, many years of meandering down paths that sometimes run parallel and sometimes are wildly divergent, your paths suddenly collide. The desires roiling suddenly bubble to the top then spill over. And you and this man you married such a very long time ago suddenly realize that your most intimate thoughts and dreams mirror and compliment his. It dawns on both of you that something, some infinitesimal and unconscious yin spoke to the other’s yang all those years ago, then lay buried right under the surface until the time was right to reveal yourself to each other.

And then all hell breaks loose.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

When the *Surreal* JUST ((Keeps)) Getting "Realer" ??!!!

(Note-title edited by Sarah Palin)

I feel like I should have something insightful and witty to say about the train wreck that is Governor Sanford and the latest, bizarrely disastrous adventure in the life of Sarah Palin. There are no words to adequately express what fruitcakes both of them are.

Infidelity among male politicians is becoming so commonplace it is farcical. It no longer elicits a reaction from me. But, how the governor of a state thinks he can leave his post for 5 days without anyone knowing where he is defies reality. And then believe that after being so blindingly irresponsible, he should keep his job. Even though it sounds like the man is truly in love and his heart is breaking I can rustle up no sympathy. All I can think to say are words Denis Leary sates so eloquently - "Shut the fuck up!" Get that man off of my TV.

And then there is Sarah Palin. She opens her mouth and idiocy tumbles out. If it wasn't so painful to watch her try and form a cohesive thought it would be funny.

When I am a governor and decide I am bored with the job after two years I might decide to quit so I can make a bunch of money and to stave off the scandal that keeps encroaching on my dysfunctional life. I might decide not to worry about how much money other people and the state spent to get me elected governor, not to mention the thousands of hours willing volunteers spent knocking on doors and calling people encouraging them to vote for me. I might not care that I am leaving a government in the lurch while deeply involved in a disastrous financial crisis and I might not worry that I am leaving my mess for others to clean up. I might not stop to think about the fact that a large majority of US voters felt I lacked sufficient experience to be elected Vice President, and that another 7 months as an absentee governor probably didn't garner me much more experience. I might not even worry about that I will forever be labeled as a quitter, or as my husband would describe me, as a chicken-shit.

But, I would never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams think to begin what could be considered the most important speech in my political life to date, a turning point in my career, with this ringing introduction:
"Hi Alaska"

If you haven't read the text of her announcement, you must. It defies explanation or logic. Then, just for kicks go to Facebook and read her July 4th message. However, unless you want to loose your dinner, be plagued with nightmares or start babbling incoherently, I urge you not to read the replies to her Facebook post. They made my eyes bleed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Illusion of Control

have spent most of my life clinging rabidly to my supposed self-control. I've lived the ebb and flow of needing to feel in charge of every aspect of every event, person or location that invades my personal space to facing an overwhelming desire to give all control away. It is the conundrum I face a thousand times a day.

For years, my ego convinced me that my struggle was unique. Surely no other woman felt the constant conflict between mastering her own destiny and resigning herself to fate. Even with my closest friends, control isn't a topic that comes up in our conversations. We talk about important issues and trivial issues. We don’t talk about how much or how little control we exert over ourselves, our bodies, our domains. Regardless of how infrequently it is discussed, it is ever present.

Exercising self control is a universal struggle for women. It is not limited to women in developed countries where women have at least on paper, if not in fact, equal rights with men. While what I feel the desperate need to control in my own small plot of life is dramatically different than what a woman in Somalia fights to control, the fight is still there. It is the stakes that differ.

Interestingly, the realization that I am not struggling alone came through reading erotica. Primarily women-written erotica. Control is such a common theme in erotica it often becomes trivialized. The plots evolve around the continual barter for control of the central character’s emotions, her body, her life. Once I became attuned to the theme, I began to see it in everything I read -- contemporary fiction, historical mysteries, epic novels. If it was written by a woman with a woman protagonist, regardless of the plot or the genre, the issue of control is always there, right under the surface.

I don't believe this is such a defining issue for men. Perhaps they struggle more consistently with the issue of power. Closely related to control, but distinctly different in so many ways.

Some men probably struggle with self-control issues all the time and all men probably struggle with the issue at some point in their life. For men though, I don't believe self-control is a constant irritant, the splinter embedded in the palm of your hand you feel compelled to continually dig, never removing and always pushing deeper.

My one year of high school sociology obviously makes me totally qualified to spout out sociological theory so here goes: I assume that this distinction stems from the fact that since the dawn of humankind, men have had almost all of the control and women very little of it. While some women are fortunate to live in societies that grant them some level of control over themselves, most of the women on earth still exist in world where any control they have is limited, transitory, hard won and quickly lost.

And for the women who now hold some control over their own destiny, there is always that nagging thought in the back of our heads warning us that our hard won control can always be snatched back from us, with very little effort.

Back from the universal to the personal - my need for control is often the overwhelming fuel that feeds my fire. It can be exhausting. There are so many times I long to hand it over to someone else. Long to ask someone else to just take care of things (me) for awhile, so I can catch my breath.

That person in my life has always been a man. My father, my boyfriend, my spouse, a coworker. And there's the rub. That nagging fear that if I give in, give over control to the man in my life, the world could shift backwards and I would never regain what I have loaned. I realize the injustice in this thought. The men I speak of are enlightened and fair. They would never intentionally take permanent control over me, would be insulted if I even suggested this was a concern.

This brings me back to women’s erotica. A genre with an historically limited audience. While men could pick up Playboy, Hustler, et al at the nearest convenience store and gain fairly easy access to pornographic films, a woman did not have easy access to erotica.

As in so many other situations, the internet is the great equalizer. Erotica written for the female audience flourishes online. I know this because I find myself continually ferreting it out.

So much of that erotica focuses on dominant/submissive relationships with women generally, but not always, in the submissive role. Often times she struggles against this role and only reluctantly gives in. And I wonder how close to the bone these stories cut. Wonder if a self confident, successful in their own right woman, can truly give up the control she fought so hard to obtain. Cede it over to a man who will likely never be willing to give it back. If she understands that by this single act she may be considered less than she was by everyone, except perhaps, the person who accepted her gift. Is that enough? I don’t believe it ever could be for me. But maybe ...