Balancing Act

Something I’ve observed as I’ve gotten older is how many of us are possessed of contradictory desires and eccentricities, and how few of us embrace, much less live out those varied facets of self. Perhaps we’ve deemed some parts unacceptable, or are just unable to reconcile one piece to the whole. Whatever reason may be keeping us from accepting and exploring these parts of ourselves, I believe we suffer as a consequence of the exclusion.

Anyone of us is a melting pot of contradictions, but on the whole, the degree of conflict between such opposites is minor; we naturally default to one or the other as a matter of preference.

For example, even though I’m an introvert, I still love to make and have friends. This requires a degree of extraversion, so most of the time, I default to my preference for solitude over socialization.

Perhaps my experience of internal conflicts is also shaped by being a woman. Society makes so many contrary demands of us. We should be the chaste, modest women of faith; the faceless, nurturing caregivers, the wives, widows, and mothers; the hot and wanton whores. (Guys, if you think that most women suffer from some type of personality disorder, this is why!)  And, let’s face it, only a woman empowered by wealth and education could dare to live as all these things.

But I digress.

As I’ve aged, I’ve uncovered facets of myself I never knew existed. Many years ago, when I first learned about BDSM, and about D/s (Dominance and submission), I discovered the part of me that enjoyed using control, the part that enjoyed inflicting structure, discipline, and pain. I came to know my own Dominance, and through exploring the path that it offered, I discovered a submissive and masochistic part, as well.

This is not to say that Dominance or sadism have come quickly to me. They haven’t. If anything, it has only been through accepting my own need to give over control, my need to receive pain, that I feel I am beginning to integrate my Dominant side more thoroughly. As I experience my own ability to trust through submission, I gain confidence in my ability to use another person’s trust wisely; to inflict pain but not harm, to push without bullying, to take risks so we both/all may learn. (And I am so remarkably blessed that I have two men in my life who allow me to live out these divergent parts of myself). I continue to grow in both dimensions, and it benefits most everything I do.

And this is why I make the point that ignoring facets of our being is detrimental. If I did not embrace my submissive nature, my Dominance would suffer for it. My relationships would hurt, and I would feel incomplete. By trusting who I think I am, by leaning into the contradiction instead of denying it, I am FREE. And this, folks, is where life really begins…

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