Being apart

I arrived home last night, after a week away with my mum. There was so much I missed about being apart from Master. This felt worse because being away with mum made me recognise the changes I have made and why I would never go back.

For so many years I was forced to take the lead in decision making.

My husband struggled to make the most simple decisions. His libra birth sign (the scales) may be relavent, but whatever the reason it was most irritating.

We also led our lives within the constraints of family. My mother especially was dominant and my dad liked us to go along with her wishes. This caused conflict in our own relationship as well as mine with them. But more often than not we did as they wanted.

The last 10 years has seen a lot of change. My husband and I separated, my son and his cousins grew up and moved away, my dad got cancer and died. But more profound from my point of view, I discovered my submission and found myself a new partner who happens to be my Master. I still make decisions but not all decisions and I don’t feel I need to please anyone outside of our relationship.

My mum is a difficult woman to like. She has a sharp tongue, one embittered by perceived wrongs. None of her children do quite enough and decisions we made together are viewed with contempt. She says she is grateful for the things I do, but I know she talks about me to others.

In this context I left the safe environment of my home and took my mum away to Cyprus for a week.

The hotel, weather and food were all good. But always there is an undercurrent of displeasure. She complained about many things and when I made suggestions about how to make things better she would sit with a pained expression. Decisions were for me to make, but when I did they weren’t right either.

Then there was the fact we shared a room. I’ve come home sleep deprived because of the amount she moves around. Plus the sounds she makes in her sleep. I’ve tried to be calm and cheerful. But I have missed Master a lot. Not just because I’d rather sleep with him than my mum. Or because I like that I don’t have to decide on restaurants, or wine. His presence is calming but unfortunately it wouldn’t be if he had been with me. They don’t really get on. My mum never liked any of her children’s partners, though this is denied. So her not liking Master was no real surprise.

I also missed the fun things Master and I tend to do together, the places we go and things we see. That isn’t so much fun alone. My mum is happy to travel for 5 hours on a plane and do nothing when she gets there. On the positive side, I’ve caught up on sleep and rest on a sun bed, read an entire book and enjoyed the pool and sea.

But sadly every minute with my mum reminds me of my life before and to be frank I don’t want it back. She is elderly now, just turned 80. I am doing my best to make her life pleasant and help her do things she wants. But I won’t compromise my own happiness any more. I am glad to be back.

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Return to CMnf

I was anxious, almost as scared as the first time. Would people stare at my scar, my lack to a right breast? Would I be able to walk with confidence from the locker room, through the bar and into the play area?
The answer is yes. I did feel self conscious as I removed my clothes, particularly bra. But if others in the locker room noticed anything they didn’t show it. Joining Master at the seats in the open play area he smiled appreciatively. He helped me put on the body chain we had brought with us for the occasion and I sank gratefully onto the sofa and took a sip of prosecco. It was cool and refreshing; I let the bubbles evaporate on my tongue.

The printed agenda for the afternoon informed us that temporary tattoos were available, and since I don’t yet have anything permanent, I went off in search of one. I was pleasantly surprised to find that these were being applied by the team member who has also had a mastectomy.
Months ago, she wrote on Fetlife about attending her first post mastectomy CMnf. I had reached out to her, making contact even though I knew I wouldn’t be attending that one. We had exchanged words of encouragement, so it was good to have this opportunity to speak. She applied my chosen tattoo just above my scar as requested. As we chatted briefly about our shared experience, I knew coming today had been the right thing to do.

Playtime

We sat on our own for a while and watched as people arrived and the new ones were shown round. There were a few familiar faces, but sadly no one we actually knew. However we were soon joined by a threesome. Two ladies, obviously partners and their clothed Dom. We exchanged pleasantries and then decided to get out playtime in early. Very few people had begun to play yet, so most of the equipment was free, meaning we had maximum choice.
We haven’t played much recently, partly because we didn’t take any toys on holiday (the car was too packed with other stuff for one thing). But it was good to be bent over a bench again, wearing the blindfold Master so thoughtfully gave me. While he sorted out his implements of torture I relaxed into my role and let the sounds of music wash over me. Classical tracks that were easy to escape into, starting with some Bach (so I was told).

Gentle, leather strokes on my back and bottom were followed by the familiar sting of the flogger. Next something altogether firmer and sharper, something bristly then down right painful. I protested and for my trouble was rewarded with clamps being applied to my labia! Apparently, complaining about this was being bratty, but anyway once they were in place they were less panful than another source of arousal.
More impact followed, some more painful than others. But even though I moaned and said no, the idea of asking for him to stop never crossed my mind. I settled into the pain and pleasure, allowed the music and even people’s voices to fill my subconscious. This was truly our best play session in a long time. I felt relaxed and at home. I wasn’t tired or stressed and for once I just let it happen.

Afterwards we returned to our sofa and I spent some time recovering, eating chocolate and drinking prosecco and water for hydration purposed. Our session, which our sofa neighbours had been watching with interest, broke the ice and led to much conversation. The afternoon then passed in a relaxed companionable way with our new found friends (there has been further contact through Fetlife and email), We will hopefully see them again in the future).

Another high point was when I was stopped on my way to the toilet by the club owner’s partner. She and her friend congratulated me on being there and being willing to show my body. She told me I looked great. I have to admit I felt it.
I know I wouldn’t take my top off on a beach right now. It wouldn’t feel right. But Taking my clothes off at CMnf felt good. It took courage, but that was rewarded many times over. The kink community can be truly wonderful, or so it felt last weekend.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Sun kissed skin

The past few days have been cooler and for the first time since the beginning of July I have worn trousers and a long sleeve shirt. While we had a few cool evenings on holiday even in France, there was still no need to cover up.

I love to feel the warm sun on my skin. Love that my arms and legs are now a golden tan colour. I have fair, freckly skin so am very careful. I apply lots of sun cream and moisturiser in the evening and try not to allow myself to burn. There are strap marks this year though as tops with thin straps were out and I had to wear a bra all the time. But next year I hope to be able to be braless much more and allow the sun to see a little more of my body.

We’ve had some great opportunities for photos where I show some flesh. Including those outdoors. I’ve just been reading Purple Sole’s post on planning such photoshoots, which is worth a read. Ours were a little more ad hoc meaning I didn’t completely strip off. But still we were able to make the most of near empty castles and remote countryside.

Not wearing so much also gives Master the chance to touch me, his property. There is something very sexy and arousing about being out in the open air. I know he loves to stroke my skin. Plus he loves to see my legs or back as we wander around. It really isn’t quite the same when you are out walking on a November afternoon, wrapped in wool.

Sadly the tan will fade and we will have to cover up and soon. The coats and boots will come out of the cupboard and the warm sun will be a memory. But the memories will remain. As will the evidence of a summer of sun. Our collection of photos.

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Getting back to the core of who I am

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.

The craziness

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.

The retreat

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.

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Retreat

There is usually one month (at least) each year when my blogging mojo runs out of steam. Usually this coincides with a planned holiday. It is not unusual while away to have poor wifi and long days out and about enjoying the sights of the area. Also, unless this was to become a travel blog, there is little to write about.

This year, since I am not working, I thought it would be different. Except that the first few months of the year were pretty frantic for blog posts. Ideas came in thick and fast and then there were the memes. February photofest, A-Z in April and then Every Damn Day in June. This year, the approach of my holiday coincided with my only working period so far this year. Yes, in June and July I had paid work. Indeed I spent about 5 days while in France writing a report and being paid. I only intended to take a short break from blogging, but in the end only posted 4 times in July.

But I think that in the long run this break will have done me good. It’s impossible to keep going as I was without either repeating myself or just blogging for its own sake. I know many people manage to keep the momentum going, but I really can’t. My level of creativity requires time spent resting and yes, a retreat.

My retreat

I am lucky to have a place where I can recharge my batteries. A place where life can exist at a slower pace. My retreat, in the South of France is a small apartment in a holiday resort, busy in the height of summer, dead in winter. A place where we have spent the past 3 Easters, the odd weekend in March, September and October, but few summer nights. This year I was determined to spend an extended time there.

I love to sit on the balcony on a July morning and feel the coolish air. The sun doesn’t fill it with heat and light until lunch time. This made it an ideal office space. We also enjoyed the 14th July fireworks from that same vantage point on the day we arrived. I can read there in the afternoon while sun bathing, eat dinner looking over the swimming pool and finally enjoy a late night drink before bed.

Of course we also go out, stroll around the port or lake. Walk down to the beach and stroll along the promenade. Explore the shops and the village market. Life there is different from at home in England.

After two weeks we left for our week on the boat so my niece and her family could enjoy our little retreat. I’m pleased that they had a wonderful time, making fabulous memories. My great nephew enjoyed his first ever holiday there and his mum re-lived holidays from her own childhood.

I know I am lucky to have a place like this to visit and enjoy. But I am grateful that at last I am able to spend time there. In my special place, my retreat. We return for one final week on Wednesday before starting the return journey back home and reality.

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Surviving

For the first time in months I have paid work. This involves time spent in my office at home running a project. But also time spent some miles away, meeting with new people, asking questions and seeking answers. I only have a few weeks to get this element of the project done because we leave for France in just under 2 weeks. The work is not onerous and I am enjoying it. But I am tired and to be honest I am just surviving.

I guess months spent at home sitting about and then more recently getting myself more active haven’t quite prepared me. Writing frequent blog posts hasn’t helped my brain keep quite active enough, it seems. A few hours on Tuesday spent speaking on the phone and then a meeting in person left me with a headache. I am approaching the end of my working week, I am pretty shattered.

Am I really the same person who held down a pretty busy and responsible job a year ago? Did I really dash from meeting to meeting and then go out afterwards for the evening?

I know this is what I want to do, to work. I am doing something that I know and in a field where I am still respected. But it just shows how out of practice mind and body gets when you take a break.

Strangely I haven’t had the head space for blogging this week and was going to miss this Wicked Wednesday. But on checking the prompt I knew I would write. I’m surviving this first busy week and will also manage next week which will be a little more hectic. After that though there will be down time. There will also be the need to write up the project and of course there is money. I get paid for my first couple of days tomorrow.

Hopefully normal service will return to the blog in the next day of so and by next Wicked Wednesday I won’t just be hanging on in there.

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A guy I knew

While I have alluded to his presence in my life some years ago, I have never actually written about Kevin on my blog. When we met for the first time he was the first person I had met through the internet. He lived about an hour away and was around 10 years older than me. I had never travelled to meet a man before and wasn’t even sure why I was meeting this one. He turned out to be kind, gentle and a good listener.

Kevin was originally from the North of the country, a former teacher turned local politician. He was a committed socialist, our values were similar, though several degrees to the left of mine. Kevin was married, he said his wife was busy doing her own thing and that she had also strayed. He was looking for a bit of fun. I wasn’t sure what I was seeking, but for a while Kevin filled the gaps in my life.

Over the course of a couple of summers we met every few weeks, for lunch and then a kiss and a cuddle. This often took place in a field or wooded area in the countryside. He fancied me like mad and touched me a lot. He gave amazing orgasms both with his hands and tongue. I hadn’t experienced the like before. Recently diagnosed diabetes has rendered him impotent, so much so that he was unable to get and erection. So he made every encounter about me.

Gradually we drifted apart. He definitely had other women, given he accidentally sent me the wrong text more than once. Plus he worked / volunteered crazy hours as a local politician, especially during elections. Then I met S and I told Kevin that I thought it best we didn’t meet any more. He was gracious and we continued to text each other on birthdays and Christmas. But I didn’t see Kevin after summer 2012.

A year or so ago, a message appeared on facebook saying he had been diagnosed with cancer and was about to start treatment. He was a long term smoker, perhaps I wasn’t massively surprised by the news. I texted to send good wishes and then when I received my own diagnosis I texted again and we exchanged a few words of encouragement to each other. I never heard from him again.

This week I decided to drop him a line to check how he was. I didn’t receive a reply. Today I googled him and discovered he died at the beginning of May. He was well known in his home town and so I found details of the death, funeral and a memorial service in his honour. A public occasion attended by 500 people. clearly a testimony to the man he was.

Kevin was a guy I knew for a while. He was kind and funny, passionate and loving. I don’t know if his wife knew of the other women in his life, my husband at the time certainly didn’t know. I am proud to have known him and sad that this is the only place I can say goodbye to him.

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Being grateful for my mistakes

I’ve made quite a few mistakes in my life, it would be difficult not to by my age. But I’m a little hard pressed to think of any that I really regret or that I’m not a little grateful for.

I was married at 21

I think that was probably a mistake. He was my first serious boyfriend and we did what everyone thought we should. My parents frowned on us living together first, and weren’t best pleased that we lived in our first house before the wedding. I remember telling a friend soon after the wedding that I had been in love with the wedding itself. That was probably a clear indicator.

I am thankful for being married to him though, because I have my son. He is now happily married himself and is his own person. He has some of his dads more cautious traits, which hopefully won’t hold him back. But I think he has the intelligence to work things out for himself.

I stayed in the marriage after being cheated on

That too was a mistake. I should have got out before I did and certainly after I found out what a lier he was. Indeed my ex often struggled to know what the truth was. Years later when he no longer needed to tell lies he still did so. It was bizarre.

But my life has been better for the fact that we did carry on together. More of our life was happy than not and I am grateful for those happy memories. In fact the bad times fade from memory now I have distance between us. Over the past year our relationship has improved and I don’t dislike him as I once did. I’m grateful he is someone else’s problem, but happy to be his kind of friend.

I’ve stayed in jobs too long

I probably could have progressed my career and climbed higher up the ladder. But actually I am grateful for the stability I have had in my life along with the work life balance. I was able to take my son to school, take time off for concerts and plays and be there when he needed me. Promotion might have given us more material things, but we were always reasonably comfortable. Plus I have never had to work all hours because it is expected of me (not since I left clinical practice anyway).

Sometimes I’ve put my trust in the wrong people

We probably all have. Like many people, I have told people deep and personal things only for them to ghost me. I have also had confidences broken. But from where I sit now, I have few regrets. Friends come and go in life and that has to be accepted. I am sad that some people have listened to the word of others over mine, but that is something we cannot control. Life is one long learning curve and I no longer bear a grudge.

I met Master at the right time

Master and I have spoken a lot about the what ifs. What if we had met sooner, perhaps had a child together. But the question is always whether we would have found each other and even then if we would have been attracted.

We are right together for this time in our life and I am grateful for that. There is no mistake in accepting that this is the life we have and I am grateful for mine.

#F4TFriday

F4TF – Room 101

Room 101

I have to admit that I haven’t read 1984 by George Orwell. But I do know that room 101 is the place where your greatest fear resides. I have though watched the TV programme of the same name and on that people banish things they really hate or fear.

My general fears

As I’ve got older I fear fewer every day things. There is nothing like going through experiences to make you face your fears – having a baby, losing a parent, getting cancer. Done those, got the T-shirt. Of course they were never things that filled my waking hours until I knew they were going to happen. But still they were fears all the same.

After my son was born and began to grow I had a fear that something would happen to him and I would be left childless again. This fear hasn’t really gone away, but now he is an adult I worry less. I fear me or Master developing a life limiting condition, particularly something neurological. Certainly, I fear cancer less than M.S or motor neurone disease from which my brother in law recently died. I worry too about dementia, especially that period of time when you have insight into what is happening. My nursing knowledge certainly doesn’t help allay my fears.

Sexual fears

I’m not even sure I have many real sexual fears any more. We have done so many things. I feared public play and taking my clothes off in public, but I’ve done both now.

I’m not overly keen on dildos being inserted inside my vagina, that’s because I had a weird experience with one a few years ago – I think it was the material the dildo was made of. I do have a fear of fisting, partly because I have a weird shaped vagina and don’t like it being overly stretched. Both things are likely connected.

Room 101

I don’t have anything specific to put into room 101 right now. There was a time when it would have been my ex, but relations with him have improved this past year. Plus he doesn’t keep bothering me like he used to.

I guess for me the thing I hate the most is people who judge others because they don’t act the way they want them to. Or because they believe there is only one way of doing things and we should all follow. Many politicians fit this category along with people in the D/s community who decide who fits and who doesn’t. People who judge on the basis of colour, sexuality, gender etc. Without all of those people the world would be a happier, safer and more enjoyable place.

#F4TFriday

Laughter and joy

There were times in my life when laughter didn’t come easily. I spent more time alone than I would care to and socialised less that I’d like. Times when words were spoken in resignation and anger than joy. Those days are thankfully past. Even if Master and I are having an off day, if we bicker or exchange hurtful words, I am secure in my relationship. I am happy and am able to laugh.

We find so much amuses us every day. Whether it’s something we have done, or forgotten to do. Or else an observation of something that amuses us. We laugh a lot, and if we have others to laugh with, then all the better. 

At the weekend we had the pleasure of spending time with @RebelsNotes and @MasterT. We met for drinks and followed up with dinner. It gave us the opportunity to get to know each other much better than is possible at an event like Eroticon. There was no shortage of happy conversation and much laughter.

The opportunity to make new friends is a rare thing for us. We do many things together as a couple, but often just the two of us. When we are in a group, say at a munch or event then discussion is often generalised and impersonal. But this was different, I was able to relax and get to know them and I hope the same was true for them. A particular moment of laughter came when I realised that I didn’t know which French port I had arrived in Europe to. A little embarrassing, but funny all the same. The fact that I was willing to laugh at myself with them was a sign I was relaxed in their company.

The four of us enjoyed a Japanese meal together and were able to try the different dishes together and to share. It was a most enjoyable and happy experience and a real highlight of our trip. I hope very much we can do it again sometime.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked