Thursday, December 25, 2008

Myths and Fairytales

Holidays are a time of traditions and ritual, I have always held fast to that notion. When the boys were young and I was the primary (sometimes only) parent in their life, I tried very hard to give them a sense of family and belonging. I could not make up for an absent parent, but I could offer them security. Now they are adults and I play a lesser role in their lives. As they have gained independence, so have I. At times I have felt pangs of guilt due to not keeping up all the traditions and rituals. I have also realized that they need to develop their own sense of tradition.

Knowing my past and my family history (even prior to my existence) has given me a sense of connectedness and belonging. As a child, I loved stories about my parents, grandparents and ancestors. I wanted to know the whole story, where we came from and who we were. Often those stories contained gaps, either things not remembered or things not told. And even more of those stories were a bit fictionalized, my father glossed over and trivialized the painful and difficult times. My mother didn't want to recount the struggles (or maybe didn't want to remember them). That left my imagination to fill in the gaps, to create my own version of what might have been.

I have always read, a lot. I have also had a love of movies. Certain books and movies stirred and fueled my imagination. When my mother talked of being poor and living during the Depression, I filled in the details from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I didn't confuse fiction with reality, but it gave me a sense of how things were. When my father talked of growing up in Minnesota on a farm, it brought to mind Walnut Grove of the Little House series. To a greater degree, I yearned for more exotic. I wondered about our European roots, what life had been like in the Old Country. That was where accuracy came to matter less. It was the tradition that I craved. When I first saw Fiddler on the Roof, I wondered if there were any Russian Jews in our ancestry. (No there were not, but that didn't stop me from thinking.) I wondered what it would have been like to have lived with that sense of ritual. No matter that we weren't Jewish, or that the story was fictionalized and turned into a musical, I was sure that somewhere in history we shared a similarity.

Of course, when I saw Gone With the Wind, I wanted our history to be peppered with plantations and southern belles. Though, I think that I really just wanted to have Rhett Butler carry me up the stairs to the bedroom. I had a need to be dominated, even then. I identified much more with feisty Scarlett, than gracious Melanie.

Sometimes, we can be mired in our history and our tradition. Sometimes, we forget why we do the things we do. As Tevya says; "Because of our traditons, we've kept our balance for many, many years. We have traditions for everything. How to sleep. How to eat. How to work. How to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradtion get started? I'll tell you. I don't know. But it's a tradtition, and because of our traditions, everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do."

Over the years, I have gone from blindly following traditions and beliefs, to questioning it all. That hasn't always led me to abandon my traditions and beliefs, sometimes it has confirmed to me the reasons for it all. Other times, it has showed me the error of things, the perpetuation of the baseless myths. I have evolved, as have my children (hopefully), by defining and refining what I believe and what I do. There are things I have let go of and there are things I have embraced.

Before you all ask, where is the kink and the sex in this? Bear with me, I am getting there. All of those rituals and beliefs have given me a sense of belonging, it became my identity. It kept me balanced. Much like what my submission does now. That submission, our relationship, has not taken the place of those rituals and beliefs, but it has enhanced them. My submission to J gives me a sense of identity. It is a part of me, just as important as all of those other parts of me. From it, I derive a feeling of belonging, a sense of security. We have developed our own ritual, we have achieved our own balance. My role, my service to Him keeps me grounded, it's what I do. My relationship to J, has also helped me see my relationship in the Universe.

Okay, so there really isn't any kink and sex in this one. Just some rambling thoughts pulled from my mind that is clouded by holiday excess. If you've read this far, Bless you! I warn you though, the rest is really off on a tangent. I think I have been away from school for way too long. I need to win the lottery, or rob a bank, and get my ass back in a classroom. At this point, that is the only way I will do it, because, since I have been paying my son's tuition, there is nothing left over for mine. So indulge me and either quit reading now, or accept the fact that my sex blog post has turned into a really bad, school paper. But this is the route that my thoughts took me. You know that you can't get a direct, non-stop flight anywhere anymore. Think of this as your lay-over in Chicago (and know that you might be snowed in).

I doubt that many of you are familiar with Urie Bronfenbrenner's model of child development and human ecology. Forgive me as I digress, but this is how I have visualized this in my mind.

He sees each individual as a series of ever widening, concentric circles. In the center is the individual's biological nature, our DNA, genetics, our race, our nationality, and so on. The next circle is our immediate environment, our immediate family, our home, possessions, friends, peers. Surrounding that is our social and economic context, school, work, community, economic circumstance. The outer circle is the cultural context, including cultural and societal influences. These spheres of influence interact from both directions, all of the circles influencing the individual and the individual influencing the surrounding spheres. Bronfenbrenner later renamed the circles with the terms: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem, as he expanded his theory to human ecology, including adults as well as children.

The circles closest to the individual have the most influence. J has as much influence in my immediate environment as anything else around me. He has influenced my development of late, I have also, in some ways, influenced Him. That is where my relationship to the Universe comes into play. My influence ripples outward to everything around me, just as it all imposes influence upon me. My relationship with J has changed me, it has changed my outward influence and my my reaction to outward influences. We are but a small speck in the big picture, but together our significance increases. What we are and what we do has increased my significance and my value.


Greenwoman said...

*smiles* Your music makes me smile and I like how you've talked about bringing structure into your life in a positive way.

((hugs)) I'm so happy for you being so happy Alice. Its heart warming. Truly.

Paul said...

Alice, thank you an interesting post.
Traditions are the glue that stabilises society.
Fiddler on the Roof is a favourite of mine, being Jewish, though long ago I turned away from the faith of my mothers.
Every relationship has it's traditions, D/s more than most.
Though my relationship with The Source may appear to be somewhat casual, it to has it's rituels which are a different form of tradition.
Thank you Alice.
Warm hugs,

Alice said...

Thank you. I hope you have many more smiles on the horizon.

I really almost deleted the whole post. I wasn't sure if my ramblings would make sense to anyone else.

My faith has changed and evolved dramatically over the years. I have become very open to different philosophies and those new ideas have helped me become more connected and expand my experiences. I have discovered value and wisdom in things that would have been at odds with my traditional beliefs.

My relationship with J has been the result (as well as the catalyst) of being more open and accepting.