Sir Raven and i both pride ourselves on two qualities: our loyalty and our strong work ethic/dedication. Neither of us can simply “let it go” if these character traits are called into question.
We will respond immediately.
i do it by attempting to prove myself via redoubling my efforts to demonstrate my loyalty, dedication, and strong work ethics. In a situation where loyalty is a commonplace discussion, i feel primed to continuously prove myself, continuously strip search myself and scrutinize every decision i make.
It has been used against me.
i need to figure out how to deal with that in the future because i struggle mightily with showing loyalty, even once i recognize that i need to cut all ties.
Loyalty is about me, not about the situation.
If i sense that my behavior could possibly be interepreted as disloyal or not dedicated, it causes me much upset. The urge to always prove myself as loyal, dedicated, and hard working is right up there with my urge to breathe. Quite possibly, it is stronger than my urge to breathe.
Sir Raven understands this and can see with clarity how these things benefit her but also how it is a place that i can get stuck, when people are actively using these things against me. i feel like i am powerless to do anything but prove myself, far past the point of physical or emotional exhaustion. i need to learn a better way to deal with those types of situations and i have no idea where to start.
One thing i observed very closely when i was getting to know Sir Raven was her sense of loyalty, her work ethics, and her dedication. All of those things show up strongly in the work she does, the friendships she has, the people she has gone out of her way for, and the organizations she has supported.
i’m learning through Sir Raven that sometimes, despite your level of loyalty and commitment to dedication, you cannot always keep putting yourself out. i have watched her struggle with herself sometimes. i have watched her set limits and step back when her fine qualities were being taken advantage of.
It’s been quite an education.
We joke around here about almost everything. It’s commonplace for her to tease, “What kind of a slave are you?” Or for us to joke, “A good Master would _________ (buy me chocolate, be able to read my mind).”
The one thing that is off limits is to joke about our work ethics or loyalty. Once, just teasingly, Sir Raven called me lazy. My eyes filled up with tears and i imagine i had a look on my face like i had been kicked in my stomach because she immediately embraced me and asked how i could ever think that she really thought of me as lazy. She launched into a laundry list of what i do in a common day and surprised me that she could recite all of it, even though i make a special effort when she is home to not be running all kinds of errands or scrubbing everything. She prefers that i am calm and am not cleaning under her feet all day. 🙂
Part of my feelings on loyalty are due to being Italian. In my experience, there is nothing more important than loyalty, and it is a very frequent topic of conversation. It is pointedly tested. Family loyalty trumps everything else, to the point that doing anything else would not occur to you.
When my brother damn near killed all of us and we knew it was not an accident, when the police and paramedics showed up on the scene, my mother and i never said a word to anyone. We all knew that would never happen. It wouldn’t occur to us. It would be disloyal.
Secrecy was always a part of family loyalty.
That is a part of loyalty that i struggle with. There were a lot of things that i did not discuss with Sir Raven about the Leather family, things i felt i had to let her see on her own. i said things to encourage her to pay attention to what her intuition told her but that was out of a growing feeling loyal to her as well, rather than thinking she didn’t know to do this. Sir Raven and i were not at a point that she had become my family (yet) and she understands, agrees with, and respects my former silence on many topics.
i don’t know how to answer the question of how you express loyalty to a former family.
All i know for sure is i believe you should keep family secrets from outsiders. But even that has its limits because when it comes to my mental health, it has become far more important to me to share in a safe (for them) way than to keep secrets.
My mother always said, “You are only as sick as your secrets,” which is interesting, given how much our family prized secrecy to preserve loyalty. We lied to child investigation services, lied to police, lied to teachers, lied to therapists, lied to doctors. Before each interview, we were reminded of family loyalty, and were told this was an opportunity to prove that we were loyal.
Loyalty shouldn’t be about secrets and lies. As an adult, i have to decide where to negotiate those lines. Would i lie to protect a person i’m loyal to? Yes, without question. Should there be a pattern of lies and secrets? No.
In my family of Sir Raven and her close friends (who have adopted me a little), we can tell the truth about ourselves and each other. It is seen as loyal to be honest inside the circle because we have seen what happens when people “drink their own Kool-aid.”
Sir Raven and i laugh about how i will blog about what a genuine fuck up i am. i will put right out there that i had laundry backed up to the tune of six loads. Yeah, yeah, i was sick blah blah blah. The point is, we laughed about this just yesterday. When i pointed out only a bad slave would let this happen, we both laughed as she agreed with me. We are willing to put our faults out there because we are real people and all people are failible. Even the great Sir Raven. 🙂
i’m trying to mentally tease aparty loyalty and secrecy as concepts and i have a long way to go to figure it out. There has to be a middle ground between keeping every fault a secret and putting it all on blast. Just the idea that there can be a middle ground is a new concept for me. i’ve always put truths about myself out there and that helps a great deal because i never felt diminished as a person for doing it.
i need to figure out, with Sir Raven’s help, how much loyalty a former family deserves. Somehow, lots of things have ended up in the loyalty category, such as never ignoring them. i’m going to have to work on these ideas and i need help to learn where to draw the line.
It is very telling that Sir Raven and i have never had to discuss loyalty, hard work, or dedication in terms of our relationship. The simple truth is that you know it when you see the same impressive strength in another person. We understand these truths about each other in a self-evident manner, so easily that there is no need to ask what the other would do in certain situations. We know.
This has made me consider that the endless discussions around these topics had much to do with controlling and manipulating me. It’s easy to see where i’d be manipulated on an unconscious level. Only the comparison of being here has led me to examine these things, turning them around in my mind, paying attention to the differences.
Knowing Sir Raven’s feelings, loyalty and protectiveness run together in her. Because of this, i know that some situations we have dealt with from outsiders has caused her angst. There is a part of her that really wants to just deal with people in such a way that they never become an issue again. But she balances that with an ethical code, and a strong desire to not be seen as isolating me.
i wonder what it feels like to have a trump card that big and powerful and not use it.
i admire so many things in her that i would write a million pages about it. Especially, i admire her patience, her willingness to get vengence later, to see a whole series of chess moves at the same time. i lack that quality entirely. i have a child-like inabilty to clearly see the motives of people around me often.
There are times, if i was in her positions, i would not give a flying fuck what it looked like to anyone. i’m the type of person that i’d shoot first, and ask questions later, if my protective instincts were challenged. i know she has that inside of her, and tempers it with the patience of an older man. Maybe, in about twenty more years, i’ll have developed that level of understanding. Maybe. We’ll see.
It is an amazing gift to never worry about what kind of woman i will become, in time, with her. We are like stones, rubbing against each others rough spots, smoothing each other out, making each other shine.
Sir Raven told me once that i make her a better Master and a better man.
Certainly, she makes me a better woman, and hopefully, a better slave…though that is for her alone to consider.
We will just keep learning, and making each other shine. i know because with our combined loyalty, hard work, and dedication, anything is possible.