Him and Himself

He often refers to himself in the third person, talking as if to someone else “Why did you do that?”, “That was totally unacceptable.” or “Good man, welldone!”. This often raised an eyebrow or a more direct quizzicle response from those around him.

He could never understand why it’s strange to consider himself or his actions different to anyone else, why should the standards required by others be any different than for himself? Why could these thoughts not be expressed in the same way?

Reflecting on this perspective, flashes from his childhood appear, times of fun, joy, sadness and misbehaviour. These are almost always remembered like that of an out of body experience. The memories are not just of the feelings of emotion at the time or the expressions on the faces of those around him, but also of him as another person in the scene there in front of him.  

Many years later transcribing these musings into words, there are still questions as to how and when he is himself and not himself. Is it the observations of either of his Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, is he a little wierd or both. 

Even with hearing his words, experiencing his feelings and seeing his face, he still can’t truly tell. You the reader can you tell? What are your thoughts?

”Wicked

Apartheid – Lessons Learned

Disclosure: I am a white male and I recognise that I’ve been of a privileged class during different times of massive change the world has experienced over my lifetime. This post holds my own observations, experiences and musings. It’s my perspective.

I take continuous regulatory and management training in my professional capacity. A big topic recently has been that of inclusion and diversity. A standout realisation to me has been around the focus on and the treatment of minorities and the marginalised. Their needs and feelings matter most. If you are not defined by one of these groups, then you do not have the right to express your opinion in a way which is deemed oppressive or offensive by these groups.

Agree or not, this is the way it is. I don’t believe that much has changed throughout the ages. There have always been groups of people brought up in a bubble of privilege, they become aware of the existence of an oppressed community and over time, through a process, concede or give this community a voice, acceptance and legitimacy. After this is done, the privileged then realise that true change not only requires freedoms and opportunities given to the previously disadvantaged, but it requires a change within themselves. Herein lies the difficulty.

I grew up during the height of Apartheid South Africa. I had access to the best the state could offer me, the best education and hospitals in the world for example. Across the other side of town, another person the same age as me, born in the same country as me, did not have the same legal rights and opportunities that I had. Worst of all, they were considered less of a human and it was believed that they would squander the same rights bestowed upon me. It was said that it was in their best interests to be subservient to me. If they fought against this, they were being ungrateful and were required to be brought into line.

Fortunately the propaganda fed to me was exposed as the evil that it was, I was able to imagine myself in the shoes of that other person and how I would have fought under their circumstances. I discovered empathy for my fellow human and in 1990, my first time being allowed to vote,  I voted to give equal freedom to all South Africans. Four years later in 1994, every South African had the right to vote for their own political representative, regardless of ethnicity, political beliefs, religion and colour. 

In that moment the balance of power changed, there was an anticipation of civil war, following the pattern experienced in other ex-colonial African states. The previously persecuted, now with a voice and empowered could take their revenge. They could use their new position to exact their revenge, to persecute those that represented the oppression and abuse on them and the generations preceding them.

What prevented this in South Africa? It’s a subject of much study and opinion and perhaps a story not yet concluded. In my view, it was through the inspired leadership of forgiveness, inclusion and unity. The prisoner, extending a hand of forgiveness and friendship to their captor. This was accompanied by a national programme of reconciliation, The Truth and Reconciliation Commision. Here victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations could share their experiences, sometimes in public hearings and where perpetrators could request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. It provided a release for the hurt and the wrongdoing of the past to be recognised, acknowledged and most importantly dealt with and left in the past.

Unfortunately there are always those who fight to the bitter end, either resistant to change, looking for revenge or those with their own agenda.  It plays to the narrative of these to keep the fears, deep seated fear, hurt and pain of the past alive.

During a time of fundamental shift in society, there are those that gain a voice and those with a fear of losing theirs. It’s very hard for all to understand the actual trial and persecutions of the past versus the fear of perceived loss and recrimination in the future. These shifts and fears I see repeated over and over in many different contexts across history. The society and the time in which I live has shifted to accept that people can determine for themselves who and what they are and how they are to be addressed. Like any newly acquired voice, it does not come without its fears, challenges, polarisation of opinions.

I was asked recently if I thought I was racist? After some reflection, I admitted that yes I was. I could immediately recall times in my post Apartheid life where I found myself making racially biased decisions. Along with my answer to my daughter I said, “I hope that I catch myself when this happens and that I set out to treat every person in the same way I hope to be treated”. I am no saint, I have made poor choices in the past and there is all the probability that I will make more in the future. What I hope is that those around me will help me to consistently make better choices. What is not in the spirit of real long term change, are those with an agenda that continue to persecute from their righteous pillars of newly acquired privilege.

For me, I must be honest about the prejudices I’ve grown up with. Like an addict, if I can’t recognise and admit to the struggles I have, how can I overcome them. There are always going to be things that I will never relate to or even understand. Echoing words from a tweet I read recently, a little empathy cost’s nothing and I don’t need to understand someone, what the reason for their needs and desires are to accommodate them in the way they prefer and to treat them with respect.

I conclude that for me, on balance, the needs of minorities and of the marginalised trump the fears of the privileged. So when there is a change in the balance of privilege, those with newly acquired privilege and a voice now hold the mantle of responsibility for tolerance and inclusion.  To follow in the example of Nelson Mandela. 

Service

I have been reading a number of posts recently regarding service. I find it a rather interesting topic as the contextual meanings, desire and appreciation of service can differ wildly.

Coincidently I have been working on a work related project where the definition of service and client experience is being studied with a view to anticipate and prepare to exceed customer expectations.

From my perspective, there are three general contexts in which I give and receive service; goods and services, vanilla relationships and in D/s.

Although there are parallels across these, my thoughts are drawn to a topic I pick up on in the posts I read which is relating to anticipated service, performing an act of service that is not explicitly asked for.

In my vanilla relationships I could never quite be comfortable as sexual service as a reward for something nice I had done. In this context for me this is not service, it was a reward or payment in kind. Sexual service offered motivated by desire was something that I FAR rather would appreciate,  this I  consider more service like. In this context where my partner would anticipate something I desired and then offer me a service to meet this need, would be very well received.

Now service in terms of D/s, here again I feel different. Tasks performed by a sub in the context of service, if I were to give a simplistic opinion, would need to be something explicitly agreed and or requested. I would not like to receive as a surprise service, something I was not expecting. I would be open to discuss scenarios that come up, the terms and conditions of these. They would then be added to our agreement, then when offered, these would be in a manner agreed and not unexpected.

I have never been in a 24×7 D/s relationship, but could see that I could find a challenge switching context between strict D/s and not and especially in the context of service. 

It’s been fascinating reading how a supposedly well understood word like service has so many interpretations and expectations.

tellmeabout

I need the sun

I had a moment to linger in bed, the sun warming my skin. Growing up in the sunshine you seem to take for granted its healing powers.

Reflecting over my life as a child, when I was bored or needing time on my own, I would naturally gravitate outside. As I got older, opportunities for escaping to the refuge of the sun got less and co-incidentally occurrences of anxiety increased. Is there a correlation, it is none, is it everything to do with exposure to the sun?

My rational mind tells me that as I grew up and acquired more independence, so along the way I acquired responsibility, the opportunity cost of this independence. Perhaps a reason behind my anxiety?

I can’t help but observe that the levels of teenage mental health difficulties are increasing with each generation after mine. I also note that with each generation the draw to more time in the sunshine is diluted.

It is generally accepted that direct exposure to sunlight increases production of vitamin D which aids in regulating a person’s mood and wards off depression. For me this effect of exposure to sunshine is very acute.

Every day should begin with meditation and the light of the sun.

We will bloom, we will be the new normal

Normality discarded like last seasons flower pots

Nothing about us has been normal

Now starved of nourishment and light

that which has was incubating need not perish

We will grow, we will bloom,

we will be the new normal.

What is your fetish, full fleece or a smooth chest?

People have been getting up to all manner of DIY personal grooming during this lockdown period. I have survived a haircut and supplies of hair dye seem to be in similar standing to that of flour and toilet paper.

As a distraction, I have been toying with the idea of shaving all my body hair. I am comfortable in my fleece as you can see from the various pictures posted on my blog, but its always a thought in the back of my mind.

Recently I found myself browsing through the infinite list of kinks on a website, there is definitely something for everyone and then some. That prompted me to ponder on what your thoughts are on the following question, “What is your fetish, full fleece or smooth chest?” Or even perhaps neither.

Chained by dreams.

[Frustration and venting piece, trapped in the COVID-19 lockdown with people dear to me I can’t reach, I can’t hold, I say “I’ve got you”]

Tattooed by a label chosen, almost as a curse, “Strong Protector”. The eldest son, brought up to serve others and to value duty above all else.

Yearning for the taste of independence, the fruits of selfish indulgence. So succulent and so tempting, I tasted. Like scales falling from my eyes I saw the world anew, my own dreams, my own desires.

Riding wave after wave with each new dream, some exhilarating, some orgasmic and some crashed and burned. Each experience, leaving a new shackle of consequence.

Here I am, now chained, by choice and circumstance. I’d gladly sacrifice my dreams to protect those dear, to serve those in need of a strong protector.

F4Thought