Breaking the rules

What is your attitude to rules? Do you follow them completely? Do you bend them? Are they there to be broken?

I struggle with the whole concept of rules. On one hand we need laws to ensure people understand what is considered right and wrong. That there are punishments for committing murder, theft, rape etc. But the problem is people love to make rules and even laws for their own sake. Often these seem to be for the purpose of exercising power over others.  Laws relating to sex seem to be for this very purpose. I find it abhorrent that for so long it was illegal for people of the same sex to express their love for each other, have relationships and enjoy sex. Also that women couldn’t terminate unwanted pregnancies. For so many people in the world these things are still illegal and even here where they are not, stigma and taboo remain.

Do you have any self-imposed rules that you live your life by? Do you ever break these?

My personal rules relate to the things I feel are morally right. They relate to respecting others, to being kind and considerate. But also I try not to break some of the more obvious rules of society and laws of the land. I try to treat others as I would want to be treated. I try to stick to the speed limit and to do what I can to help my mum and others that need me. Sometimes though things don’t go so well. I can be intolerant of others, especially those who seem to want to waste time, people that are not prepared, and those who are down right rude. There are times when I can be short tempered and impatient and then I am inclined to forget the rules. 

Within your relationship, are there rules you abide by? Who sets these? Have you ever broken them and, if so, was it deliberate? What are the consequences of rule breaking in this context?

As a consensual slave in a M/s relationship there are rules. We have tried ones that were agreed and written down, but neither of us were very good at them. For me, us living apart meant that some of them were tricky to stick to all of the time and for him, informing them was too much trouble. 

So really our rules are about respect and remembering who has the last word. They are about honesty, about telling him everything and not bottling things up. For us, rules are about me allowing him to take control and being happy when he does. The main rule is that his decision is final. Probably for us that is enough.

My roots

Until they are older, and have children of their own, many people don’t think about their origins, their roots. As young children, my brothers and I enjoyed listening to our grandparents recounting stories of how they had met, their courtship and marriage. Soon after they married the second world war broke out, grandad went off to war. My nan and my mum who was only weeks old lives with family, but everyone muddled through. He was in France, North Africa and Sicily and she along with my mum lived in close proximity to their wider family in England. Tales of my grandad leaving a cuckoo clock on Dunkirk beach, of family members being ‘bombed out’ sounded rather amazing, exciting.

40 years ago, people were careful to recount only the less unpleasant stories of war. No one talked of fear or pain, of loss and poverty. The spirit of togetherness and making do came through, and the stories were embellished so that as children we found them exciting. The reality of course was different. 

The same grandparents had their roots in mining communities of the north east of England. They were in fact related to each other, cousins of a different generation. He was 9 years older, and went to India in the early 30s to escape the dangerous work of the pits. She was one of 9 children, whose father died when she was 5. My great grandfather’s death was caused by an accident in the slag heaps associated with the mines. A few years later, the family travelled south in search of a better life and to be closer to grown children already there. They had work in factories or in domestic service, in reality we would consider them children now, as the school leaving age was 14 at the time. By 1937 grandad had left the army (briefly it turned out) and was lodging next door to my nan and by August 1939 they were married with a child.

Grandad as a young man

I know this in some detail because my nan wrote it all down in what she called ‘her book’. It details her early childhood, the death of her father and moving south. Gives an insight to times spent with her brothers, the music of the times and to what it was like to be a child in the 1920’s and 30’s. It also tells me about the loneliness of being a mother whose husband was absent for the best part of 7 years. Of how people had to club together to afford decent food and the way in which death and destruction was just around the corner.

I feel privileged to have this memoir in my possession, along with the stories told to us and the family photos we can piece more of their lives together. Maybe it is time to put a little some of it online so their story can be preserved for future generations.

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