In the Aftermath

GooglePlus is closed.

I finished my tweets, joining in with the voices watching G+ close for the final time. I knew that sense of community stayed together right till the very end. I had to go outside and just sit with myself for a bit. Everything had changed months ago but today was like being at the funeral, watching the casket being lowered into the ground and sharing that grief communally. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one grieving. Yet, outside it’s a bright blue sky. The rest of life moves on but this moment, I can feel–it will define my future for years to come.

This isn’t my first Google closing. I was one the beta testers/contributors to GoogleBuzz. That closing was kinda meh. But then I got in on G+ in beta. One of the first to have a personalized address, brand account, business page, I was all in-a superfan of Google products. At first G+ was meh. I didn’t understand the purpose. I didn’t get the whole circle idea. It wasn’t a blog, or a forum and it didn’t act like a bulletin board. It was something different, I just didn’t know how to make use of its features. So I treated it like Twitter before Twitter came along. I used to advertise and grow my brand off Google and I found that frustrating. I wasn’t getting the engagement I wanted. Facebook was far more rewarding for engagement in those early days. I could see the use of a smaller business having a GooglePlus Business Page. It was tailor-made for that kind of engagement but there was nothing to drive that engagement. It felt, incomplete.

So I pushed my blog posts to G+ and called it a day for a long time. I used the business page as a central website for my businesses. And that was that. I ignored it for years. I assumed that it didn’t have the engagement I was looking for. I assumed it was a good idea that flopped. I assumed that all social media was supposed to cater to driving engagement and business. I assumed that ad revenue and traffic was all I needed to worry about. I was wrong.

GooglePlus was not a well-developed idea for driving business advertisement and engagement. It was instead an unusual design that was community oriented that encouraged engagement as was as disengagement. It was human-centric at its baseline core. GooglePlus was for all of us, to use or not as we choose. And those that choose, found a home unlike all the other social media platforms out there.

Five years ago I came back to GooglePlus and I dove in. I engaged. I contributed. I participated. I shared. I created. I was all in. I didn’t and still don’t care a wit about Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or SnapChat or any of the new ones like MeWe. Losing GooglePlus has broken my heart. I didn’t really think that was possible but now I know it is.

GooglePlus was the framework in which I connected with and found friends all around the Globe through shared interests. And that is the secret to GooglePlus and why us, the die-hard G+ loyal fans were there to the end. It’s why we tried to save it. It wasn’t the framework, not really, but the connections and the ability to make those connections easily that we were trying to save.

Somehow the designers of G+ hit upon the magic formula of community. By allowing the users to create groups and communities while having profile walls and a very nuanced privacy level the circles allowed the seeds of community to flourish. It wasn’t overnight. It was a slow proofing, like bread rising before it goes in the oven.

And yet there is nothing to replace it. I’ve wondered since the announcement that it was closing, just how much data is going to be lost. There is no Library of Alexandra for the Internet. I think such a task may be impossible. I wonder if G+ was becoming such. Today, an untold number of accounts of deceased users are gone, their works, words, thoughts, are all gone. I know of several dozen and I don’t know what to make of the implications of saving them all. I think I could accept a data wipe far easier than to lose the framework where I’ve lost all my connections with friends all around the world.

I do know today marks a new era on the Internet. I know very few realize it and it will take years for the effects to show. Things have changed. I don’t like social media as I had in the past. I don’t trust giant companies for even the most basic of things. I feel lost on the webs. My data is being sold all over the place and I’m making somebody a profit, we all are, and none of us is benefiting from it beyond free access to this and that. I feel the weight of the machine pressing down onto me, turning me into another cog instead of an individual who has dreams, hobbies, interests, and has this growing need to make connections with like-minded individuals. Today, the world feels smaller. Just a few months ago, I had the world at my fingertips. I could connect with someone all across the globe and often did. Today is the day I say goodbye to that era.

Today, I say goodbye to the dream that the Internet would connect humanity together. We did it. For a little while. GooglePlus was the WhitePages of this time, this era. And now it’s gone.

To my fellow GooglePlus’ers:

Fare thee well.
Though the sun sets,
morning will dawn again.
Hold on. Hold to lessons learned.
We are all One.
We are Humanity.
This Blue Planet is our Home.
Remember, We are One.
This is Our Community!

Found Wisdom

Found this story in an unusual place and it was credited to Facebook. It is too good to keep to myself. With current events and the news cycle reacting instead of investigating and then reporting, we need to be mindful of that which divides us as members of the human race. We need to calm our minds and thoughts before acting. Often, reacting is the wrong action to take. Stop. Breathe. Wait.

~ Are you a witch? ~

One of my friends told me about a powerful lesson in her daughter’s high school class this winter. They’re learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and their teacher told them they were going to play a game.

“I’m going to come around and whisper to each of you whether you’re a witch or a normal person. Your goal is to build the largest group possible that does NOT have a witch in it. At the end, any group found to include a witch gets a failing grade.”

The teens dove into grilling each other. One fairly large group formed, but most of the students broke into small, exclusive groups, turning away anyone they thought gave off even a hint of guilt.

“Okay,” the teacher said. “You’ve got your groups. Time to find out which ones fail. All witches, please raise your hands.”

No one raised a hand.

The kids were confused and told him he’d messed up the game.

“Did I? Was anyone in Salem an actual witch? Or did everyone just believe what they’d been told?”

And that is how you teach kids how easy it is to divide a community.

Keep being welcoming, beautiful people. Shunning, scapegoating and dividing destroy far more than they protect. We’re all in this together.

Getting out of bed isn’t so bad.

It’s been a good day. The morning is a bit odd. There exists a twinge of compulsion from Isa but I push it back. I’m forcing her to break protocol and in essence disobey. I refuse to allow her to submit again. It must go though me to her or not at all. As I am the highest authority in the system anything less is counterfeit and will be removed. I had to express that. It tastes bitter on my tongue still even though it’s been a good day. Better than good, actually.

The daily routines are holding well. Adding limitations was the trick. She would work until hospital standards were met. Her body would collapse long before that was achieved. In many ways she has no concept of when enough is enough or when to stop. I exist as her limiter, then rules, then what is physically capable. sigh I feel her behind my eyeballs at times. She’s given me a bit of a heart by sharing with her. It hurts now to be the bad guy even when it is necessary.

Our husband brought us home a bike. It’s nice. I haven’t ridden in over 20 years and I still got on all shaky. Now we are a biking household! Four bikes, four folks and plenty of time in the sun. This feels good. More inner-connection, more shared activities. And Saturday, I’ll fire up my Minecraft server and we’ll all play together. I may even stream that. Maybe. I’m undecided.

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I rarely talk about my relationships here. My boy Aries, oh he demands a lot of me! Long distance relationship though but we’ve known each other for a long long time. I provide for him what his wife does not, acceptance without judgment and control. (Now, you in the background who just choked on your drink, I see you.) He had chased me down for decades to be my slave. I had refused him so many times. How can I, do him any justice as a Mistress? How is he able to accept me switching out? How do I do this ethically? I still have a ton of questions. After I decided I would accept him, I called his wife and had a long chat and her blessings. There will always be limitations on this relationship because I am not a dick and have no intentions of destroying what he has.

And I have a ton to learn. I picked up Vile’s “The Breaking of Sabrina” ages ago. Fun read but more like a primer of everything not to do. I grabbed Malkinius’s “I Can Do This” and read it in a single night. That one left me with a lot of chewing thoughts. I found OWNING AND TRAINING A MALE SLAVE By Ingrid Bellemare and have been giving that look over. It really clashes with everything I believe about consensual enslavement. Oddly I don’t have a problem reading works set for Male dominance with female submissive and I think that’s because my boy is a bit gender-queer, kinda like me. I’m not finding much of value in Femdom and that’s perhaps I am revolted by the philosophy that our boys are worthless worms who are inferior to their Mistresses. I have learned to respect the strength of will it takes to be a slave.

Aries’ depth of patience and trust is incredible. It was him whom convinced me that we could do this. So he is mine and I do not take it lightly. So much more to learn and unlearn. I am learning to include him in my life on a daily basis. We are teaching each other. He needs the contact and I need him to be pleasing when he does as well as me being receptive to him in my life even at that level. He needs that touch of control more when his life is spinning out of control. I’ve seen how it calms him. And I still chuckle and shake my head at how all this has turned out. Aries was Isa’s first natural Dominant. He awoke in her the calling of her submission. And now I own him and he kneels for me. And who woke my inclination towards dominance: kindergarten and then in third grade a freckled red-headed little boy.

Life is indeed strange. I’ll be around more often. I may keep Isa devoted to poetry for a measure of time. We’ll see. wink

I need a decision tree.

How do you decide on which narrative is correct?

This has bothered me for sometime. At this point I refuse to assign blame and fault  in discussing the failed relationship with Dreamwalker. I am saying there were deep problems and perhaps they represent incompatibility overall. However, I am refusing to assign the narrative of ‘abusive Master’.

There is a couple of reasons for this. Being DID I am now far more aware how a single event can be interpreted thought a variety of lens and viewpoints that still do not detracted from the bare facts of the event. If anything, the lens add on nuisances of meaning that may not belong or may not be appropriate. It is this problem we as a system is wrestling with. How do we determine which meaning is appropriate?

When it comes to Dreamwalker, I am undecided when it comes to applying any label. Let me explain why before I am dismissed as being too Stockholm syndromed.

There was growth. That bothers me because growth occurs under specific circumstances, one of which does not include abuse. I keep getting the image in my mind of the emotions and plant growth experiment. The short of it is, the plants focused on negatively were stunted and sick and those plants focused on positively, flourished. This is an extremely simplistic viewpoint but I have to wonder where that applies to us as a system. Abuse would have stunted us. But we grew, so can I postulate that there was love?

I have to consider that due to our background of abuse and the regular testing (last six months) that I do tracking specifically my attachment style, (avoidant and detached: test here) that someone showing us love could be interpreted extremely negatively.

I know Isabella used one particular event that I can say was perhaps a case of misjudgment on his part. I could even extend that it might be an understandable misjudgment.  I know setting the narrative can set up confirmation bias. I know feelings isn’t facts. I know feelings change. I know how drastically different the same event can be interpreted as I battle with this daily with my headmates.

My biggest challenge is twofold. How do I honor the growth that I’ve gained from here? How do I determine which narrative is the truth?

Emotional Detonation

I didn’t realize she had been riding on my shoulder, listening to the music the same as I, until she screamed in pain, revolting against my efforts to calm her down. She tried to solve the pain like a puzzle, surely he didn’t mean it the way it was taken. Surely this was a misunderstanding. None of this stopped the screaming pain flying out of her. All the walls I built up to contain her kept collapsing. How the hell did she get out?

She can hear His words even if it is I who reads them. I didn’t realize she was right there under the surface, waiting. But it took both of us off guard that our husband somehow was responded to as if, well as if he was Dreamwalker, an ultimate authority.

I’m still working it out. We had gotten headphones for Christmas and we were listening to music another headmate pulled up. I think most of us were just enjoying the peace that comes from listening and being able to listen when everyone is home. But these headphones are really good. I don’t hear the rest of the world around me and we were zoned out. Our husband came in talking to us and after pulling the headphones said..”blah blah blah…had left to go to the store and you’ve had your head stuck in the headphones. blah blah blah”.

It’s just innocent banter. Nothing mean meant by it but that’s not how it was taken. I know now that our reactions are more about us than the other person, most of the time. She responded as if she had been admonished for enjoying something, as if she should have known better than to sit around enjoying something as simple as music, as if he was the authority she should look towards to determine how she should act. In short she respond similarly to Dreamwalker, which sadly is how she had often responded to her parents and particularity her father mostly when I wasn’t out front fighting these battles.

I took her outside to calm down. Didn’t work. I took her to lay down for a quick nap. Didn’t work. She wasn’t having anything to do with being placated. She couldn’t speak. I wouldn’t let her. All she would have done was screech. So she cleaned and got frustrated cleaning as if to scrub away her sins. She wouldn’t go back into the box and I couldn’t leave her be. It took forever to convince her she just might be wrong and that she needed to talk to him, to explain. She’d already screamed twice “Leave me alone!” and shut down from talking to our husband.

I felt like a mother hand holding a child that’s handling a ball of hot pain. I’m left wondering how old she is to be so incapable of handling hurt feelings. Why striking out is instinctual and why does it come with such expectations of retaliation? Our husband had no idea what was going on. She masked all the pain as long as she didn’t speak. But to open her lips, it was like the flood waters rushing out.

I know there are a couple different kids inside. I know who this one is but this isn’t the same one I’m used to dealing with. This was a younger version, a much younger version, a far more rebellious version full of pain. I’ve got clues now, clues on how to go about working on things to help us cope better. I’ve an a area of investigation. I need to find a way to unhook her reliance on an outside authority. But how do I do that to a child? I know how dangerous this behavior is to our relationships with others. It almost destroyed our marriage before and it did fully destroy our relationship with Dreamwalker.

I know suppressing her isn’t good in the long term. She’ll learn ways to get around me like she did today. I understand now why she has a hard time letting go of Him. She’s not seeing though adult eyes on this. Just a child’s view with all the expectations and feelings and now dealing with abandonment that still screams ‘you promised.’

No wonder we’ve been sleeping with the stuffed doggie lately.

I did get her to talk to our husband. And she explained as best she could. She at least did turn to him, in a measured way. I could feel she didn’t fully trust him and couldn’t fully accept that everything was really okay. She didn’t like being forced to talk and told him. But she did calm down and to calm down enough to go back inside even though she radiated her sadness for quite a bit.

All in all, I think today was a success. I have enough past history to show me how this would have blow up in my face. This time I could see what was going on. This time, I’m rather thankful of my loose connection to emotions as I wasn’t swapped down in them. Hell, I’m even thankful on working to let go of my tight grip on anger as my go to emotion. I’m thankful the lessons I’ve been learning have proven worth it.

Still so much more to do. I know we can. We can do this. All of us, we can do this, together.

A True Story

Every morning she opens her computer and searches for his profile just to soak in what words he may have penned. Every morning she checks. Every morning she cries. Four years and the feelings haven’t changed. Four years and she’s still wrapped up in torment. Four years and she still feels as lost, lost to time’s ravages, lost to a broken heart, lost to having loved and lost.

Reading other’s poetry is hard to do. One poet has caught her attention and his words are salt on her open wounds. She feels the green rise behind her eyes and screams. Why oh Why is she so insistent in having what she wants? Oh, the Sun shines his light on all, freely and yet her heart beats and screams held in a cage that only one person has the key. Why does her heart only shine for one instead of all?

A beautiful poem she read and it broke something inside of her. She wanted those words for herself and sitting there with tears she blessed those who those words were for, knowing they were never meant for her. It was right there, what she wanted for herself but it was missing one so very important thing, those words were meant for another. She’d never felt the green gaze behind her eyes so keenly before. She recognized this for what it truly was, a lack inside of her.

To be loved all truly want deep down inside. She wanted to know it, to feel it, to have that connection and it was that which glared in neon as missing. She searched her memory and could only come up with one time that she felt that deep connection to another person. But she had pushed and pushed him away and ran. Instincts told her feeling that deeply was dangerous. Experience taught her later that it was already too late.

The connection had been forged and the more she ran the deeper it went. These were the consequences, to be torn open, her heart beating empty and alone. She could see and feel other’s love, could taste it metaphorically now.

Her personal God had banished her to the wastelands, in silence. Like a petulant child she kicked and screamed vile words, anything to get a reaction but was met with nothingness. Just to hear his words over her soul, she opened Pandora’s box, a special folder that contained all of his words, all of her thoughts, everything that was him without being Him. Consumed in pain, she read.

It had been years but it still felt like yesterday. There was no goodbye. In it’s place stood “Fuck off.” At what point does one say all is broken and walk away? What of the ground work of their relationship? The more she tried to be obedient, the more it tied her into knots. Facing the fact she had been abandoned tore at her mind. She rolled the options she saw around in her mind, tossing them off one by one. She was truly stuck, good and well fucked. She could well admit when she makes mistakes but in this perhaps not? Oh, what a load of hubris and yet what if she was right and yet wrong all at the same time? She made a good choice and fucked it all up.

She was alive under his hands and his words. A burning flame of passion and desire. It is so hard to go back to a life without that. She’d tasted ambrosia of the Gods, how was she to live a mortal life after that? You have no choice kept ringing around her mind but He’d taught her otherwise. There was always a choice even when it felt like there was nothing. She didn’t want to taste ambrosia one more time. She wanted to swim in it! She wanted it everyday, any day.

Closing Pandora’s Box left her unsettled. As she gazed out the window she wondered what this choice would cost. There was no way of knowing. If she continued to hold on to Him, she’d shrivel and die of sadness. Wiping away tears she murmured “I will always love Him” and nodded once to herself. Pity the mortals who’s loved the Gods. There is no going back to a mortal life after that. Most fall, few rise. Now was the time to find out which she was. Now.