During normal, every day life it is easy to lose sight of what is really important. To imagine the small irritations of decision making, the routine of work and household activities are everything. It is easy to lose sight of your core, what makes you tick. The things that brought you together. Sometimes it takes a complete change in those routines to help you focus on what is really important.
Two of this week’s meme prompts lend themselves well to this topic – The Wicked Wednesday prompt is Core and Erotic Journal Challenge one is Retreat. The past few weeks for us have been in the form of a retreat. We left home on 8th July and only returned on 24th August. During that time we have travelled the length of France, from Calais in the north to a small seaside village in Aude in the south. Along the way we visited several towns, taking time to enjoy the culture and explore the countryside. After a couple of weeks chilling out we moved onto a boat and spent a week travelling at almost walking pace. After a long weekend celebrating my mum’s 80th birthday in England we returned to France. A week later we began the return journey through northern Spain before returning home.
During much of that time our engagement with others was limited. For days on end we heard no English voices. We had no need to be anywhere dictated by anyone else. We took time to be together and to explore our relationship in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
As regular readers will know the past year has been something of a rollercoaster and whirlwind combined. Last year I moved in with Master in July. Having packed up a three bedroom house and leaving little behind I brought a lot with me. In August I finished work. We had plans to spend the autumn and winter sorting the house so that my stuff fitted along with Master’s. But our lives were thrown into turmoil in September when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was not until February that the treatment was finished and we were able to get into any kind of proper routine.
Our relationship is strong, but we struggled to sort our what our roles and responsibilities to each other were. To understand what we wanted from our M/s, our sex lives and how much we wanted the outside world to inform and define us.
It was the knowledge that I’ve been paying the (not insignificant) bills on a property in France I have barely had time to visit that spurred us. Plus neither of us are working (permanently) and caring responsibilities (for me) are limited right now. No one we spoke to seemed to think it would be a problem if we disappeared off for 6 weeks or so.
Plans were made, ferries, hotels and flights were booked and with a very full car we left for France.
Just putting the channel between us and our real lives was enough. We had suitcases of clothes, but packed a smaller bag for a few days at a time. An electric cool box meant we could picnic rather than eat in restaurants during the day. Stops were planned just 150-200km apart so we had time to see the sights, but also downtime. We didn’t always take breakfast. This meant that we could spend longer in bed, not necessarily sleeping.
Getting back to the core of who I am
This trip gave me the chance to get to the core of me as a person, my raison d’être if you will. Also for considering who and what we are. For Master it was about exploring my submission and reclaiming it in a way he hasn’t been able to for some time. We spent a lot of time talking about what my submission and his Dominance mean to us. Exploring our roles, sexually and literally.
The cancer diagnosis, mastectomy and treatment affected us more than we realised at the time. This time away gave us the chance to look back and articulate some of those issues. To get to the core of what breast cancer meant for me, a woman and him my partner. I articulated what he knew, that I struggle with my remaining breast. Worry about my lack of cleavage etc. The tablets I now take to dampen down my hormone levels seem to have affected my ability fo orgasm easily. All of these impact up on Master and the way he manages our sex life.
But also we were able to distance ourselves from the world. Not only family but the messed up politics, social media circus and yes my blog. Having said that, when my data package was used up while we had no wifi on the boat, I bought more. Plus, Master dropped his phone in the canal and was without for a few days. That made him positively on edge. So we have a way to go before we are ready to disappear completely even for a few days.
So, we are back. Recharged and ready to face existing and new challenges. Hopefully happier human beings and closer to each other than ever we were.
The photo below was taken from one of our hotel rooms and gives a flavour of our time in retreat.
I love how you have reconnected and I love that you had a wonderful holiday. Great to see you back to writing!
I love this Julie, and it perhaps shows what a big softy I am that I got a little tearful reading it. I have always loved the genuine and honest nature of your blog and the explorations of your dynamic, when you shared your experiences with cancer on the blog it hit home as someone who has supported someone through a serious illness (though I appreciate it is a far different journey when you are the person with the diagnosis), so to see you both were able to take this time out is wonderful and I hope it had many positive effects x
Thanks and I know you do understand. It isn’t easy from the other side either, I know that from my dad. Thank you for your lovely, kind words xxx
It sounds like a really valuable time of retreat and reflection. Though I didn’t require the full mastectomy with my cancer, I can certainly relate to the effect of treatment and how the whole experience doesn’t fully hit you until the last chemo/rads appointments have been and gone. And the effect of the tablets; I ditched the Tamoxifen as soon as I could for the same reasons!
My thoughts are with you at this time of getting to grips with your “new normal”, and am pleased that your very much deserved holiday helped. ?
You were extremely brave the way you dealt with everything last year. Sometimes we almost need to go into autopilot to get through extreme difficulty and it is not until later that you can see/feel the actual impact the situation had on you. But you seem to have a great communication line between you and it is so good to have your blog posts to read again 😉 x
This was a really wonderful read. It’s so intimate and informative to see someone’s process of reconnecting with themselves; what it takes, and how it can be possible despite the circumstances surrounding them. Thanks for sharing.
It sounds like it was an amazing trip…and I am so jealous. What an opportunity to reset like that and just be together.