Reflections on Character

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. 

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10 thoughts on “Reflections on Character

  1. sofia says:

    i could listen to you talk about your relationship with Sir Raven all day. It makes me smile to hear how you are with each other, and i don’t comment all the time ’cause how often do you really want to hear me say how happy i am for you?

    But i had some thoughts on this one. You know, secrecy is the hallmark of abusive families. When working with abused kids, we say, “We don’t have secrets ~ we have surprises,” to help them distinguish between a surprise birthday party, which you don’t tell anyone about ahead of time, and Uncle Joe giving you $5 to sit on his lap and not tell anyone ever, right?

    In the same way, it’s helpful to distinguish between privacy and secrecy. That’s a finer line to draw, right? But the people who i would want to follow would want me to be “loyal” to my principals rather than to a person. Just like therapists sometimes have to violate confidentiality to do the right thing, sometimes doing what’s right trumps everything else.

    Hope this didn’t turn into a lecture. i’m glad you’re thinking and writing about these things.

    sofia

  2. jadescastle says:

    sofia,
    i never get tired of hearing you are happy for us, as i know its genuine, and i can feel the mental hugs from here. 🙂

    You make a valid point about being loyal to my principles. i think i embraced those things so young that it becomes complicated to think about it. i understand what you mean though, because i have done things out of loyalty that other ppl would not agree with or understand. i don’t care what most ppl would have felt was a moral absolute in those situations, MY moral absolute was to be loyal.

    It becomes more messy when i ask myself, “is it disloyal to refuse to speak to former family?” i was taught it is disloyal. The only thing i know for sure is that it is neccessary at times (such as my bio family and that will literally never change).

    i did not understand, until recently, how my loyal and hard work had been exploited and manipulated. i don’t think in those ways so it doesn’t make sense to me. But…yeah…i’m seeing it.

    There is a concept for privacy here but not secrets and lies. There isn’t a reason to keep secrets and lie when you can say that you don’t want to discuss something.

    i always appreciate your point of view. Sometimes i think i sound like i’m out in left field or should have known these things as a child. 😛

    Hugs to you,
    jade

    • sofia says:

      Well, and that was the risk of me saying anything, that i would leave you feeling “like i’m out in left field or should have known these things as a child.” It seems to me that your mother was careful to teach you values that protected her, but that left you vulnerable to being mistreated. That’s about her, not you. You can’t know what you don’t know.

      hugs,

      sofia

      P.S. You will be sorry when every post you write is greeted with, “O, this makes me so happy!” “O, i had to smile when i read this,” or some other equally unimaginative comment. You will have no one to blame but yourself. 🙂

      • jadescastle says:

        sofia,

        (big hugs) You don’t ever make me feel “out in left field”…i do that ot myself. Mostly because i think about things that most ppl do not talk about really…so i wonder if i’m making sense at all. 🙂

        You made me laugh!
        jade

      • jadescastle says:

        sofia,
        You never make me feel out in left field. Never. i do that to myself a little bit.

        You do make me laugh out loud.

        Hugs to you, many,
        jade

  3. It’s funny, one of the pieces of advice I give to newish leaders often is, don’t side with people, side with who is right. In some ways, that might seem disloyal, I suppose. If my best friend is behaving poorly, doing things I think are wrong, then “siding” against her would be disloyal, in some ways.

    But I think my first loyalty is to what is right, and I think/hope the people about whom I care would share that with me, in the end. They must not see it the same way, or they’d not do it, but they MUST agree, right, or we wouldn’t be friends.

    The thing I can’t stand to be called is lazy, because my mother called me lazy all the time. If you call me lazy, I will then feel compelled to do three times the things I was already doing because, by God, I am NOT lazy.

    Isn’t it funny how we get wired as kids?

  4. jadescastle says:

    People have an amazing talent to lie to themselves and not see their behaviors honestly. i may be too analytical but i’d rather be that than not see my self or my life clearly, with honesty.

    i agree that it is a friends obligation to mirror back ourselves in a way that is honest. i happen to think its best to tell them sensitive things in private. If Sir Raven is not totally correct, i will tell her that when we are alone. It’s not for public consumption, you know?

    Yeah. i hear you on the lazy thing. 🙂 i’m right there with you on the response to it. lol.

  5. morgianacontentlycaptured says:

    This is really really beautiful – and you say I am an accomplished slave. Maybe I am in a rut. Maybe I just needed to reconnect with you … but lately dear sweet jade – I am learning quite allot from you … blessed be darling.

  6. morgianacontentlycaptured says:

    Thank you. Consider yourself cyber embraced.

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