This is part two of a three part series about the three major endings in my life this year. It happened in the middle of March, before my mom passed (Part 1). There’s no order of importance to this series, just the order that the posts came out in and felt right to post. It’s taken me nine months to be able to post this. It started with a very raw first draft back at the end of March. I’ve tweaked, edited, and updated it a few times since then as I processed and healed more.
The Origin of “Sometimes Endings Happen”
It’s pretty simple, really. I don’t have a sometimes Daddy anymore. Quite literally, sometimes endings happen. And given that shortly after this ending happened, my mom died and my marriage ended, it seemed like a theme of sorts.
So for now, possibly forever, but most immediately for now, the Daddy/girl dynamic exploration has ended. And while I don’t want to nail the door shut for future possibilities with it, I’m not sure how likely it is, and it’s not a dynamic I can explore again for the foreseeable future for a variety of reasons.
During a global pandemic, this ending hit me harder than it might’ve otherwise. But who knows? Maybe it would’ve hit me as hard any other time. What I do know is that D/g dynamics were way more fucking intense than I imagined they’d be going in. (And I imagined some pretty intense things!) My now former sometimes Daddy did caution me about that and I had an inkling, but fuck, that was one of the deepest dives I’ve ever taken in over twenty years in kink. I don’t know what a full time one feels like, but I now know that even the sometimes dynamic we were exploring was an incredibly challenging, awe-inspiring, and vulnerable place to play for me. As such, it pulled up feelings I didn’t expect to have.
I felt like I’d imprinted, gosling style, on my sometimes Daddy. Feelings of safety mixed with a completely unexpected sexual awakening. Feelings of plumbing the highly sensitive depths of my hard drive (as my therapist calls it, referencing the early developmental programming from childhood) which I did expect, but also both pulling up some really difficult shit from my childhood and rewriting/healing some of it with “corrective experiences” (another therapist term). Feelings of wanting to turn to him for help navigating the shitstorm life had thrown at me over the past year and a half:
- Nine people dying (throughout 2019) including a partner.
- Two car accidents.
- Being assaulted.
- Living in a friend’s attic for six months.
- My mom literally on her deathbed and then not being allowed to see her because of Covid.
- And, y’know, Covid itself. (I understand the visitor ban. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t upsetting.)
I just…it was a fucking lot I didn’t know what it was like to be cared about/for and comforted in that specific gentle but firm way. It helped so much. See, I’ve been told I’m so strong, but I haven’t felt very strong most of the time this or last year. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like I’ve collapsed from within and my heart can’t take much more. I’m fucking exhausted and hurt so badly and want some relief.
Like last year. Yes, a lot happened, but there were also brief, bright reprieves from the fucked up, rough shit and those gave me hope and helped me to keep going. There were glorious and surprising scenes. Sex. Pleasure. Growth. Adventures. Joy. There was catharsis and corrective experience. There were road trips and great conversations. There was love and laughter. There was, at the core, an incredibly basic relief in connecting with someone in a profound way that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I was beyond words grateful that we didn’t try to force it into a relationship escalator or romantic box and just let it be what it was as we explored it.
Also… dear insert dieties here, being SEEN. That the vulnerable, yearning girl in me found a person who she felt safe to explore some delicate spaces with, who wanted to see her, play with her, protect her was one of the most profound, powerful takeaways of 2019 for me. And it’s not that I pinned my self esteem on one person or dynamic, and I give him lots of credit for carefully reinforcing that it wasn’t him that made me a good girl… it’s what I already was. But it…meant a lot to me to be actively shown that my needs are important. That my body deserved to feel good. That I deserved and could ask for hot, sexy things like the best birthday scene I’ve ever had.
And fuck, it felt SO good to feel good in sooooo many ways. To be introduced to things I didn’t even know I needed or wanted, and wasn’t even sure I was interested in…until one day, this switch flipped and the “Daddy” light came on and suddenly I found myself actually wanting it. Hard-fucking-core. As corny as it sounds, for someone who prided themselves on being pretty sexually open, I felt sexual desire of all kinds, not just for him, blooming in me like a time lapse flower budding. I felt imbued with the knowledge that it was okay to…want so many things and I started reconnecting with my body as a sexual, not just sensual, body. The identity of “gray ace” felt like it was molting off me. It was weird and scary and…exhilarating.
I then took those experiences and feelings and built on them. I went back out into the world, feeling more centered, calmer, happier. I had scenes with other people, sex with other people. And every few weeks or months, my sometimes Daddy and I would get together for a night or a weekend and explore that space again, in different ways. Most of the time, it was never planned. We generally had a knack for reading each other’s energies and it felt like it naturally came up a bunch last year. I struggled with it, sometimes. Asking. Believing. Trusting. And my sometimes Daddy tried to help with that when he could, and wound up showing up for me during that time in ways few in my life have. It became a balm to the aforementioned shitshow of 2019. Not one that I used to avoid anything, but one that just… was soothing during the pockets of time we made and found. It made it easier to not avoid all the shit that was going, to face it all head on because I was actively learning to trust myself, to ask for things I needed and wanted, to feel rooted, aroused.
Going into 2020 I thought, “this year has GOT to be better, right?” I had hope, for both of our lives. Because my sometimes Daddy also had his own complicated life and pain to deal with and the strain of that began to affect the dynamic, which became difficult in many ways.
I know this will be a huge spoiler alert, y’all…
2020 was not better for either of us. (Or, y’know, the world…)
I signed my mom into Comfort Care in January, which basically meant that I had to begin preparing for her to pass away in six-ish months. Because “preparing” for your mother to die is totally something that you can just…add to a to-do list.
And then Covid hit. I can’t speak about my former sometimes Daddy’s personal life because that’s not mine, nor are his difficulties with continuing to explore this dynamic, but in short, he was not able to.
Consent matters. Choice matters. Being able to talk about limitations and have them respected matters. From both sides of whatever slash you’re playing with. And in mid-March, a few days before state wide quarantine and my furlough from work, we finally were able to talk about those things and end it.
We had a conversation where we were vulnerable and talked about some of the pain each of us were feeling regarding the dynamic and other life things that affected it and it affected. It was a lot to hear. It was a lot to say. We held space for each other though it wasn’t easy. While I have more I’d want to talk about, should we ever explore that space again, I’m very thankful that we were able to have the conversation we did and that we are still close friends and play partners, but most importantly, that we are still chosen family.
And also… it hurt on a level that I didn’t expect. Because while I could feel the ending coming towards the end of year because of the aforementioned strain, it still blindsided me when it actually arrived. I cried through most of that weekend after we talked. Work was a blur. I honestly didn’t think I could handle more pain (which is hysterical in hindsight, given how this year has progressed).
Less than a week later, I was on furlough indefinitely from work and, at the time, discovered quite abruptly that I lived in the county with the second highest number of COVID cases in the state. This coupled with a few other factors meant I had trouble feeling safe… anywhere. I wound up in a severe depressive agoraphobic state that most people had no idea about because I didn’t even know how to talk about the abject terror and grief I felt. Some of the only bright moments that saved me were forcing myself do uke livestreams, being part of a creative coven, and the very few people who knew how much I was struggling and did what they could to support me remotely about this grief and depression, including an amazing therapist.
And though the grief of this particular loss has softened some and I’ve processed and come to terms with a good portion of it, there are times it still hurts and feels like really complicated grief, especially when it resurfaces in different ways at unexpected times. Then there’s the processing that didn’t happen because of life, and dealing with a whole host of childhood baggage that got dragged out of the basement in my brain.
I thought I could just turn it all off, because that’s some of that hard drive programming that I learned early on. Just push “stop”. Everything’s fine. And I tried. But it’s not as easy as it used to be, especially when part of the whole point of the dynamic taught me to feel… to feel my feelings, to feel my body, to admit to desire and dirty, exciting fantasies. So I can’t just turn it off. And it doesn’t just go away. I don’t fully know what to do with the parts that don’t go away, but I’m learning. If anyone reading this has had a D/g dynamic experience that ended and has ways to cope with that or has resources, and wants to share, I’m here for it.
Remembering the Lessons is Hard As Fuck, But Important
Ironically, one thing that’s helped most, though, is actually trying to remember the lessons he taught me. Like how my desires are not bad. And I’m not either. Because not gonna lie…I’ve been fighting some seriously bad self talk there…
My personal demons can scheme with professional care
Oh, god, they’re after me
If I could shut them up just for a second
I could stop this catastrophe
One of my favorite songs by The Dresden Dolls puts it quite well. My personal demons kept screaming at me that this wasn’t real or important because it wasn’t a capital R Relationship…it wasn’t full time, nor romantic, there was no collar involved so I’m stupid, wrong, and bad for being so upset and sad, and selfish for aching for that connection and missing it. That there’s something wrong or lacking in me. That I was and am too much or not enough. Or both. That there’s a pandemic and this isn’t that important. In the grand scheme of over twenty years in kink, it was just a sometimes dynamic for a little over a year. It doesn’t matter, right?
And just like that, all the old tapes start playing, at deafening levels. The hard drive knows how to put those tapes on infinite loop. Your feelings don’t matter, don’t talk about it, it wasn’t that big a deal, just get over it, suck it up. You were just playing…
But then it’s like, jesus fuck. STOP. It was real for what it was. It was really fucking important to me. That’s okay and that matters. It was incredibly intense and changed parts of me for the better. And feeling safe now is also hella important and a very specific, special connection that gave me that ended and I’m not bad for grieving that loss. I am not bad for wanting that dynamic to begin with. For wanting the care, guidance, protection, sexual awakening, and connection of a magical Daddy, nor for mourning its loss.
Because he also taught me that desire being okay to feel doesn’t guarantee that I, nor anyone, gets what we desire. It means that it’s okay to want it, but “no” has to be okay, too. It must be respected and abided by. I once wrote that it makes the “yes,” if/when it comes up, all the more powerful.
Be that as it may…it still hurts.
Which is yet another lesson he helped me with. How to feel all the things. The complicated things, the really good things, the incredibly sexy things, the super scary things, the terribly sad things.
To be brave.
Making It Count
So I have to believe that it’s okay to have these feelings because…it’s how they were how I felt. And feelings are separate from actions. I am infinitely grateful that we had intentionally built a strong foundation in friendship and as play partners prior to this exploration, and that we both chose to and actively were there for each other as friends after we ended the dynamic. I’m trying very hard to acknowledge and be gentle with this very niche, mostly invisible grief. It’s not a perfect process, by any stretch, but I will keep learning and trying to be the best me I can be. And so I’ve taken my time to work through this, with writing and therapy and continuing to learn how to process so many different kinds of complex grief. As Page Turner recently wrote, “you can’t make grief go away. All you can do is make it count.”
So. I’m trying to make it count. It seems like no small coincidence that this is the year I’m grappling with a whole bunch of PTSD issues and episodes, that stem from my childhood with my biological father, which, as my sister lovingly pointed out a few months ago in the middle of one of the worst PTSD episodes I’ve had in years, that I haven’t really dealt with the depth and breadth of the cause of my PTSD.
By extension, it also seems like no small coincidence that this is the year I finally started going to Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) meetings because I found one that was LGBT friendly and beginner welcoming. ACA is helping me consciously learn to self-parent like I started doing at the end of last year and confront my demons methodically and within a framework that makes sense to me. The group I’ve started attending has been so welcoming and also helped me get over some horrid experiences I had with Alateen a few decades ago.
In conjunction with all this, my therapist and I are starting to do some deeper trauma work regarding the PTSD and hard drive issues.
This is also the year I fully realized I needed to live by myself and not be married anymore and that I’m way more queer than even I thought for the last twenty odd years. I moved out on my own, and have started trying to figure out what to do with the space in my new place, as it is now mine for at least the next year. Not transitional or someone else’s anymore, though that was sometimes its own special paradoxical thorn in this whole process.
I’ve started walking nearly every day. I’ve walked over 130 miles since the middle of October. I’m writing and playing music again, more this year than I have since I first got my uke. If I finish the song I’m working on now, that’ll be FOUR songs I’ve written this year.
My now former sometimes Daddy once told me that he was really proud of me for all the amazing work I’d done in 2019 after reading this post. Another time, he told me that he wanted me to believe in myself as much as I believed in him and others. I’m working on it. I think that’s likely one of the best ways to make the grief count. All of it. With my mom, with no longer having a sometimes Daddy, with my impending divorce (foreshadowing to part 3 of this series). To believe in myself and know that I will be okay, even in the midst of the worst year and pain in my life.
To be fair, I knew almost from the beginning that the dynamic wasn’t one that would be forever. I had a “download” moment of clarity at camp in September 2018, a month or so after we started exploring the Daddy/girl space. As I stood by the pool at Ramblewood, it settled on me that this wasn’t going to be a long term thing. That little girls are supposed to grow up. That this dynamic was meant to help me do that. I’m incredibly grateful for the time we did have, even as I sometimes wish we’d had more time. I especially wish that a scene or two that had been in the works had happened. And who knows? Maybe it’ll be something we revisit or I could find with someone else. Whether I do with him or anyone else or not, though, it’s okay. And just like that, once I finally felt it, more song lyrics come to mind:
And you said, “See
It’s just like anti-matter
It’s Dumbo’s magic feather
You don’t need me here to cut you
You don’t need me here to cut you
You don’t need me here to cut you
You don’t need me here to cut you free”
-“Machete” by AFP