May 17, 2006

Expounding on Whys and Wherefores

It's been fascinating to me to read Daddy's blog the last couple of days. Of course I am well acquainted with his own theories and beliefs about the lifestyle we have chosen because we talk about it all the time. But, what interested me especially was the comments and questions raised by other people who share some of the same interests.

Growing up, I worshipped my father. Honestly, in retrospect, I'm not entirely sure he deserved to be revered quite so much, but I do still have an enormous amount of respect for his intelligence and his patience and his calm demeanor. In fact, there are qualities that also drew me to my husband. However, there is one huge difference between my father and my husband and that is that my father was completely non-confrontational.

My mother was an extremely vocal and controlling parent. She micromanaged a lot of the behaviour of her kids and was very impatient and quick to anger. Discipline under my mother's hand was frightening and inconsistent and often unexpected. She often lashed out in anger both vocally and physically.

My father's response to this was to disappear quietly behind a newspaper and leave us to fight it out. As a child, I suppose, I adored him because he was the safe parent, predictable and calm and consistent. He never yelled and he never lost his temper. And yet, in his choice to keep a distance from the chaos, he also distanced himself from his children and in that way I never felt as close to him as I longed to be.

The need for a Daddy was strong in me, even as a child. I remember longing to be Daddied even back when I had my father - that is, not the sexual aspects of the type of submission I have with my husband, but I longed for a strong man to take care of me and make me safe.

As I grew older I became ashamed of this desire because it fit so poorly with everything I had been taught and believed about women's rights and equality and feminism and so forth. I hated the idea of being controlled by a man at the same time as I longed for it. I wrote off my own secret interests as something weird about me and didn't pursue them other than through imaginings.

By the time I left home (I was living between two homes, in Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington) I was determined never to get married but instead to travel the world and be completely self-sufficient forever.

And then I met Daddy. I had never met a man like him. He acted like a father almost immediately, even without my invitation to do so. I learned later that he behaves this way with everyone. That is, being a Daddy isn't a role for him. He is simply built that way; he is charismatic and strong. People seem to turn to him for his opinion or decisions instinctually, even people who don't know him well, and people who don't know him in the context of Daddyhood. He chided me about smoking almost as soon as I met him, and not in a way I found irritating the way so many complainers did irritate me back in those (blissful) smoky days. Instead, he spoke to me like I had no choice but to obey him, as though I was already his girl. "Throw those away, honey, they aren't good for you. Here, give them to me." I was shocked by his bossiness and I was even more shocked at my own reaction, which was almost instantaneous obedience. It didn't take long for me to realise that who he is fits perfectly with the little-girl side of me.

At the same time, the adult side of me really rebelled at his assuming treatment of me. I really agonized over whether I wanted to keep seeing him after starting to realise what I was getting into. It's incredibly frightening to give control of oneself to another person, even temporarily, even just as an experiment, which is what I believed it was back then.

Instead, it grew deeper and before long I had abandoned all plans of ever leaving Ireland to continue my travels, and moved into his home with him. It took no time for him to lay down the rules of the house when I moved in. Though I always felt like an equal partner in adult respects (for example, he has never controlled me through money or home ownership or anything like that), there were other things in place to make it clear that if we were going to cohabitate, I would have to obey some of his rules. The rules had mostly to do with respecting myself, especially in the beginning, and he set about to break the smoking habit forever and also to change my flighty ways of skipping meals and paying bills at the last possible second and keeping my clothing in a pile on the floor beside my bed to roll into upon waking. Basically, his rules were focused at making my life, and therefore ME, more stable. He forced me to learn some organizational skills and to take better care of myself.

It was a real battle of the wills at first, and it's kind of a wonder to me that he didn't eventually toss me back out into the street when I was stubborn and rebelled against him so frequently. Instead, he stayed firm but also stayed calm, which is a true feat of patience, and guided me where he wanted me to go, with kindness but also with a firmness and resolution that was amazing. I could have left at any time, being as unconnected as I was at that time, but instead, I found that the feeling of knowing there was someone at home waiting for me who would demand to know what I ate that day and whether I remembered to make a dentist appointment was unbelievably comforting.

I got punished a lot in those days. I mean a LOT! Some weeks I got spankings every day, sometimes even two or three times a day. I was so stubborn and I simply didn't believe that he was going to be able to stay attentive enough to catch everything I did wrong. I couldn't have been more wrong. He never forgot a thing. In fact, in those days he kept a written record of what was happening to ensure nothing was overlooked. He would write down the things I was expected to do, what the consequence would be if I didn't, what punishments I had already received, how many times I had broken this rule in the past, etc., etc., etc.. It was impossible to get away with anything!

It still is, truthfully, though the recordkeeping is no longer necessary since I try a lot harder to obey him now. He has an astonishingly long memory. (I was shocked when he told me I had forgotten my phone twelve times. How on EARTH could he know that without writing it down?!)

Nowadays, things here are pretty peaceful. Like he said, I have those times when the scary childhood insecurities and doubts creep in, but having his constant reassurance and approval keeps it under control most of the time.

Reliving old scenarios that remind me of childhood can be frightening because it reminds me of how things used to be, where I would be screamed at and sworn at and beaten. But, when I get into trouble with my Daddy things are different. He never raises his voice to me, he never curses, and his spankings are always controlled and safe even when they hurt a lot. It's like taking a sad story and putting a new happier ending on it. It doesn't fix what happened before but it makes it easier to live with. I love you Daddy.


Blogger sugarpunk said...

well anna... i am glad you took some time to elaborate on the same issues that were on your daddys blog...

it is very interesting... and i could study it for hours i suppose but the thing that struck me most about people that tend to veer towards this lifestyle tend to have missed some sort of guidance... and i do know that part very well...

May 18, 2006  
Blogger Ice_Princess said...

Have you ever read the book who stole feminism? I read this other book called what our mother's didn't tell us that was rather interesting.

May 18, 2006  
Blogger Ireland's daughter said...

Hi sugarpunk, I'm curious about it all too. I spent a LONG time reading other people's thoughts and ideas about this lifestyle long before I ever started recording my own. There's a lot to think about and so much to learn and so many different opinions on just about everything. I also spent a lot of time worrying about WHY I was the way I was, why I wanted the things I wanted. I've learned to understand that better, and I've also learned that some questions aren't ready to be answered yet. Maybe some never will. I'll probably always keep asking though, haha!

Hi again ice_princess. Thanks for the book recommendations. I've heard of What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us but not the other. And haven't read either one. I'm adding them to my growing list of wishes, thanks! (And seeking a new bookstore after my last experience. Grrr!)

May 19, 2006  

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