I’ve been away from blog-writing for a while due to a sudden health issue that faced my mother in Pennsylvania. With Amanda’s blessing, I went to visit Mom for much of this past week. For a day and a night, it looked to be cancer, but after a number of hospital tests, it turned out to be just a scare not a reality, thank God. Mom has another condition she needs to attend to, but it’s not cancer and not dire, very treatable with medication. We are relieved.
Despite all the freakish drama of this, it was good for me to have time again with Mom. It was almost a year ago that I came out to her about my relationship with Amanda and also my lifestyle in D/s. I blog-posted this and won’t go through that again now, but suffice it to say she surprised me with her openness and acceptance.
This time, after the worry part, we had time to talk normal, and eventually mom got around to asking a few questions about my lifestyle. She is ever curious. She was asking this time about “how I got this way.”
This kind of question has come up recently from other people too: In an email trail with Jeremy, my former university colleague who recently found my blog. And from our progressive-minded neighbors, John and Patricia, with whom I sat topless during my public weekend as they served tea and scones in their living room. There are variations: “How did you come to want this life?” and “What do you think has made you submissive?” No one is asking judgmentally, but out of curiosity, so it feels friendly to me, and much of it goes to the nature or nurture debate that swirls around so many things.
Coming from mother, the question of “how I got this way” is not artfully posed but also not accusing or shaming in how she asks it. I know, as it comes out the question is more about her — did she make me this way? Is that a problem or is it OK?
We talked, and I assured her. “I don’t want to be anything other than what I am, Mom.”
Mother is funny in that, for a Baptist woman, she is surprisingly open to alternative preferences and practices, such as her daughter lives them, and yet she is quite naive about what this all is. Her sense of me is that I’m “sometimes” a lesbian. Her notion of bisexuality, so I learned, is really heterosexuality that’s just a bit wavering and undecided. In her view, I’m sometimes a lesbian and lesbians tend to get into that “BDSM stuff.” Sigh.
We talk, and I make efforts to clarify these things, to say that my bisexuality is deeply committed not wavering, and that I am both fully attracted to women and fully attracted to men. But I’m pretty sure she doesn’t quite get this.
That’s OK. I am blessed that Mom is open and accepting and that we can talk about such things.
And that, for now, she is physically OK.
One more thing:
For mother, the foundational thing about people is their sexual orientation. Thankfully and surprisingly, she’s gotten to a place where she’s not judgmental about that, but sexual orientation is still, for her, the primary thing about a person. It matters to her, like it’s some sort of compass that gives her bearings about folks.
As I was talking with her, I realized that for me sexual orientation is one of the least important things about people. It is what it is. One hopes it is about attraction and smiles and love and erotic play and sexual pleasure and joy in being together — whatever the gender or orientation. One’s type of sexuality just doesn’t matter much.
Mother and I are so different.
Her question about how I got this way is then more about how I am a “sometimes lesbian” than about how I am a submissive. I’d hoped to be able to explain to her better what submissiveness was and wasn’t, how two women could live as domme and submissive, relationally without chains and shackles and “BDSM stuff.” You know, that “BDSM is not D/s discussion.” But we never quite got to that point in our conversations.
When I got home, Amanda tied me naked to the wet bar for the evening, with chains and shackles and all that “BDSM stuff.”
So what do I know?