Saturday, September 10, 2016

In my Downtime

EDIT: added another streaming source

A few weeks ago I wrote a bit about my means of coping.  As I've felt my mood crash lately and pulled away from writing a bit I thought I would share a bit more in my process.

When the demons begin to surface it always starts small.  Little negative ticks that seem to make me feel like I'm slowly being pulled under.  This is usually accompanied by a breakdown in my normal quest of experiencing joy daily.

The past couple of weeks I have changed up my entire life schedule and been working a lot more.  In combination with T's recent schedule change I have basically lost 95% of my private time to think and to write. When I get home from work I'm exhausted mentally and that's the only time I have to myself.  After that I'm really dependent upon feeling numb or distracting myself.

Distraction is another way I seek joy but it really takes me out of my writing mindset.  My mind space shifts from feelings to whatever I have chosen to focus on and it removes me from the vulnerable state.  While I know this is part of my coping process, I still seek to have strong and meaningful feelings.

Where media steps in is that I shift into a state of experiencing feelings vicariously.  I seek out things that will affect me deeply and feel like my life is being enriched by exposing myself to it.  I do this with music, literature, movies, and TV series.  It is an endless process of seeking.  It is rare that something is good enough to where it can reach me on a deep level... less than 1%.  It does, however, make finding those rarities very special in both internal and external ways.  While the feelings manage to touch me deeply, my natural instinct is then to share it with the people that are close to me.

This past fall an anime series aired and I watched it on one of my streaming programs.  I have seen a lot of anime.  If you count series (and not movies) I have seen in their entirety over 500 shows and another 500 that I have watched but didn't care to finish.  When I watched this show over the winter I knew immediately that it was one of the strongest shows I had ever seen.  I was able to share it with a couple of friends then.  Last week I was able to convince T to watch it and while she was resistant at first it ended up drawing her in and we watched it in two sittings and it reminded me just how much I enjoy this show.  I know that anime is a bit of a niche genre but I wanted to share a bit about this show here (I will do my best to talk about it without spoilers).

The title of the show is "Erased."  The main character is a 29 year old failed manga artist that has shut down emotionally.  When he was in 5th grade, three children from his grade (two of whom were in his class) were abducted and murdered.  He saw the first child alone in a park ~30 minutes before they were abducted and thought about reaching out to them but chose to just walk on by.  In the aftermath of the murders, one of his good friends, an awkward but friendly young adult was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for the crimes even though he claimed to be innocent (in Japan most people confess after being convicted).  Over time he has put a block on his heart since he's constantly haunted by the regret of not reaching out to his classmate to save them and being unable to prevent his good friend from being convicted.

Through his regret he has developed a special power.  When something bad is about to happen around him he has a deja vu moment where he jumps back in time (usually 1-5 minutes).  Since he knows this means something bad will happen, he frantically assesses what is going on around him in order to prevent the unknown negative event that will occur if he doesn't act.  This doesn't always put him in a good situation.

After foiling a would-be crime, it sets into play a series of events that leads him to being framed for something terrible.  While fleeing from the police his power kicks in and he jumps back in time 19 years to his 5th grade self, a few days before the first kidnapping occurred.  He realizes that the present day events all stem back to those events and if he wishes to prevent that future from happening he has to change the terrible events of the past.

Erased is 12 episodes long.  If you fast-forward through the intro and skip the outro it pulls in at ~20 minutes per episode (~4 hours total) which is a quick little jaunt that can be easily taken down in a day or two.  The show puts you through the entire gambit of emotions... sweetness, despair, hope, pain, desperation, etc.  It is strong enough to where even people who are not anime fans but enjoy a good drama should be able to appreciate.  It is very rare for any media to touch me on a deep emotional level but this one definitely does.

It can be streamed for free with commercials at:

Crunchyroll has apps for tablet, Roku, Xbox, and Playstation.  They also have a free 2-week trial that will get rid of commercials.  Otherwise their standard rate for commercial-free is $7 a month or $60 a year.

Funimation has apps for tablets, Xbox, and Playstation. They just launched a new app and I'm not sure if you need an account to use it.  It can stream through a tablet web-browser though.   I believe they just dropped their premium rate to $4 a month.

It is also available on Hulu (subscription required):

This is one of my ways of handling my downtime.  If anyone decides to check out Erased please let me know.  I would be curious of your thoughts on it. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Is submission a gift?

I am writing to try and break myself out of this rut...

A couple of weeks ago Misty was kind enough to share with me some ideas for blog topics when I had asked for ideas on a post.  I can't seem to come up with any other ideas that motivate me to write so here goes. 

One potential topic that was brought up is:  Is submission a gift?

When I first read this topic idea my initial reaction was, "holy shit this is a huge can of worms."  There are so many ways to approach this, so many points of view that come into play, and also the great gap between what I actually feel vs. how I would want others to see it.

If I look at this with my "truest voice," I do not view my submission as a gift.  A gift can be given lightly.  A gift can be presented to someone that doesn't wish to receive it.  A gift feels like an exchange between equals.  People often use the term charity to describe a gift from the affluent to the poor.  Can the inferior give a gift to a superior?

If I had to choose a term to describe my submission, I would say it as an offering.  She does not need it.  She chooses to lay claim to it.  Part of it involves what I give.  The other part involves what she takes.

She does not claim my submission as a rigid form.  She shapes it and molds its form.  She may take more from it than originally offered.  I see this as being far more interactive than the idea of a gift may imply. 

Offering submission is a choice performed out of our free will.  That choice carries with it the idea of willingly giving up that freedom. 

I think my view is heavily shaped in that I feel so grateful that she claims my offering.  I see that act as being far more important than presenting my offering in the first place.  The glorious feeling of being chosen... I can't imagine that my offering of submission could make her feel as wonderful as that. 

I am very aware that my own views on this are biased.  I could easily be mistaken and it is likely that a Domme may see submission as a gift.  I tend to skew my own views to always feel like the lucky one; it tends to keep me more focused when I feel like what I offer is less important than what she chooses to provide.

Current Reflections

I've been in a bit of a rut for a couple of weeks now and far removed from the mind-space that I usually write from.  I've been thinking about why this is and what about it has caused me to tumble.

It was my birthday recently and it really shifted my life around a bit.  I used to buy a lot of things.  Over the past few years I've limited my consumerism to very basic things... food, daily use items such as deodorant, shampoo, tooth paste, gasoline, etc.  Any time I have to start thinking about actually wanting something that is the first step in pulling me out of my more submissive self.  Basically, I think I've trained myself to want very little... then when I have to want something it derails everything.

I've also noticed that I tend to get really down around my birthday most years.  When looking back as to why... I think I'm finally starting to understand just why this tends to push me into a little bit of a depression.  It's closely linked to why the D/s side of my relationship with T didn't work out as well as with K or F. 

"Most years," my birthday leaves me feeling empty.  I enjoy the company and attention it brings... but it seems to mostly reinforce that most of the time I feel pretty much unappreciated.

I do not need constant affirmation of each and every thing that I do.  I do need to feel like... my existence... my body of work as a whole... the fact that I am there... is important and valued by someone.  At some point in our relationship those feelings went away. 

I know this is a bit selfish and probably undervalues the one day a year when I am told that I am special and appreciated.  It just hurts that it makes the other 364 days stand out so much in contrast.

It is also odd that as a submissive, I completely enjoy celebrating a birthday for my Mistress.  While each and every day I seek to make her feel like the world, it requires a significant amount of planning and effort to make her birthday a day that is more special and "worthy" of her.  I would usually spend weeks working out gifts, guests, meals, and special activities centered around a 3-4 days span around her birthday. 

I know in my role that I do not ever really feel worthy of anything like that... I guess I just miss feeling valued.