Reading the comments to my previous post helped me clarify my thoughts about this femme fantasy. So I thought I’d do it “out loud” here, too.
I don’t think the fantasy I described of being perfectly domestic, perfectly sexy, perfectly exactly for my lover is the only way I conceive of myself as a femme. I certainly have my own goals and ambitions and social life and tastes and enjoyments, and I certainly want to keep nurturing those and developing myself as a person. (As greg said in the comments, I absolutely need those days of knotting the hair back, donning the cracked boots and jumping in the jeep. Well, I don’t have long hair or a jeep, but that’s the general idea!) Writing here is one of the ways I do that; doing the rape counseling work is another; keeping in touch with my friends, applying for graduate school, playing piano, doing yoga… all of that is stuff I do to continually round myself out and build myself up. And it’s absolutely necessary for me to keep doing that, always. Always.
But the fantasy is there, and I want to explore it. Until now, I’ve been angrily pushing it away, thinking “no! that’s co-dependency! get out!” For example: I feel like baking. What do I bake? Into my head pops the thought: “mi’lady’s favorite is strawberry rhubarb pie…” and I get all warm and tingly and excited at the thought of surprising her with a warm homemade pie when I see her in the evening. But before I get too excited, I cut myself off. “Why do you always want to do what she likes? You don’t even like pie! Bake something you like!” And so I’ll probably end up compromising, I’ll bake something I know she’ll like but that I like too, and I make sure to bake it not with her specifically in mind. So when I see her, it’s “look! I baked cookies today! Have one, they’re yummy!” rather than “look! I baked your favorite pie today, just for you!”
It sounds so selfish. But I guess I’ve thought it to be necessary, as a way of coaching myself to pay attention to my own wants and needs, rather than always catering to other people’s. I think it has a lot to do with vulnerability for me, too. I get angry with myself for giving too much of myself away to someone else. I get afraid that the more I give away, the more I’m allowing her to hurt me. I’m giving her power. And maybe I’ve thought of it too as a zero-sum game — that if I give her the power to hurt me, I’m somehow lessening my own power to heal from hurt.
So, to continue with the previous example, when I bake mi’lady’s favorite pie, just because I know she likes it, I’m making myself vulnerable to her by doing something for her. It’s saying, “you matter so much to me that I’m going to bake you your favorite pie, just because.” And what if it’s not reciprocated? What if she doesn’t like it? Or doesn’t really notice? Or just says, “oh thanks baby, that’s so sweet” absent-mindedly. Clearly if I spend my afternoon baking her favorite kind of pie, then my afternoon was about her. But what if her afternoon wasn’t even remotely about me? What if I think about her more often than she thinks about me? What if what if what if. So stopping myself from baking that pie is a way of holding back, keeping things level.
And that’s what it is, it’s holding back. Because really? I want to bake that pie. I guess I have to throw those what-ifs to the wind. Because she does matter to me that much. And I want her to know it. I want her to feel it. That’s not co-dependent. That’s so far from c0-dependent. What it is is trust.
Love is not a zero-sum game. I need to practice believing that in how I go about loving. There’s plenty to go around. There’s enough for us both. And the main thing I am now slowly coming to realize is, if I do something for her, I’m not necessarily losing myself, or giving myself away. I could be, for sure, depending on the context. But I could also actually just be reaffirming myself. So the next step I guess? Working all of this into my relationship with mi’lady in a way that feels right. Stay tuned, this could be a wild ride.