Things are feeling normal inside again...
I realize I have more healing to do from the distant past.
When I was in college I met an incredibly smart, funny, talented, strong, and pretty woman that endeared me to her more the more we spent time together. I will call her C2. This was about a year and a half before K. As of this time I hadn't honestly pursued anyone in a very long time. I was pretty well convinced that I was not a right fit for anyone near my age group. I would get hit on by 40+ year old women or young effeminate gay men.
I did not dress particularly well, but I had developed a style that was uniquely my own. I had facial piercings that tended to intimidate a bit after I moved from the coast back to the Midwest. I went out of my way to be non-threatening in order to balance things out a bit.
As of this time I did not actively pursue romantic relationships. I would be friendly and ended up friends with quite a few women. I buried any sexual desires in favor of seeking friendship and companionship. I did not wish to appear creepy so I made sure that my compliments were non-sexual in nature. E.g. "Your personality is so vibrant, you light up the room with your energy and make everyone around you feel good."
Those were my true feelings. I went to great lengths to de-sexualize myself. In that age group compliments of that nature made that happen naturally. "Nice shoes, wanna fuck?" was more effective as a pickup line.
C2 wasn't a textbook beauty. She was a tomboy with wide hips and small breasts. She had bad teeth. She had man hands. She had an amazing sense of humor that appreciated my quick-hitting dry wit and enjoyment of randomness. She enjoyed the music and films I shared with her. She enjoyed my poetry. She was awesome. She was unique. She was beautiful.
Over the course of our friendship she became someone that I grew to trust and opened up my deeper self to. During a period while she was between bad relationships I received a very large compliment from her: "Being with you would be guaranteed happiness."
When I heard those words my heart that lay dormant for years sprang to life.
"What about being with me?"
She paused and thought.
"Let me think about it."
I spent a week or so, agonizing. Time was not on my side. After about a week we met for dinner and she barely ate or spoke. She wouldn't look me in the eye. After a while I pried. The answer was no. I asked if it was because I was too fat (I was carrying a little bit extra at the time) and she said no. I asked if it was because I was too short (she was an inch taller than me) and she said no. I asked her if she would tell me why.
"It's your face."
Something I had no control over and couldn't change. I didn't cry. Later that night I buried my heart. I had more work to do.
This was an echo of how I had felt for the majority of my life. No one would love me... I was too undesirable from a physical standpoint. This idea had been firmly implanted in me by age 17. This was what led me to down the path of submission.
When K told me that she believed I was a natural submissive... that self... had been cultivated over many painful years of fear and failure. For years I had been the sounding board, the shoulder to cry on, the "safe" guy. I heard everything that a man could do to hurt a woman. I heard about all of the insecurities women faced. I learned the core of their self-esteem and what happens in its absence. I understood their fears and their needs. It's hard for me to look back on this and feel good about myself, but I know I was a mess inside and later used this information to try to overcome my inadequacies.
The first thing I learned was to be attentive. Make them my focal point. Listen to them and process it, what it meant emotionally, what it said about their confidence. Do not judge. Make them feel good. So many times men take things for granted, e.g. "she must know she is pretty so I don't have to say it." Everyone likes to hear things that are good about them, especially if it is something she is making an effort towards. Let her know that you notice, that her efforts are making an impact. Make her feel special, like she is the only one in the world that matters. Chivalry, manners, and being considerate go a long way. Protect her, act as her shield from harm when she needs you. Guard and cherish her without smothering: it is about her feelings and not your own insecurity. You don't always have to agree with her but that doesn't mean her feelings aren't valid.
This was the type of man I sought to become... to actualize this as my self. Little did I know that this would separate me from the rest of the world. In this process I became submissive.
A funny thing happened along the way. I realized that what I knew women needed, they did not actually want. I had become even more unattractive. I had no more insecure male ego to flaunt, no false bravado and loud bark showing my teeth to the world around me. I was not a "take charge" guy because I cared too much about the tenderness and fragile nature of the heart. It was not enough.
By prying into my life with questions about why I had no girlfriend, my family got wind about the person that I had become from 17-22 and I was frequently requested to talk about love with divorcees and widows from age 40-70. I have to say this was a bit awkward. Being put alone in our living room with a 45 year old woman when I was 22 and asked to talk about relationships. These talks restored a bit of confidence in me... in that the obvious swoons and scents showed me that I did have a demographic that found me attractive, it was just not my demographic. At that time I was still clinging to hope that I would find someone within 10 years of my age.
To this day I cannot tell if K chose me because she saw me as a potential submissive or if it was confronting her own mortality that had shifted her relationship priorities while still in her 20's. Or maybe it was both?
What I do know about my philosophies then and now... they are still very much the same. Even as I ignored the sexual impact that M had on my life, I was submissive long before I was a submissive.