Power Of A Name

Ever have someone ask you something and the first thing that comes to mind is…”that’s an epically bad idea?” That’s what happened to me this week, and it was all around names.

Who knew I could have such a visceral reaction to something so simple?

But it makes sense, right? I mean, names help to define who we are expected to be by the world as well as who we feel we can become, right?

And as writers, haven’t there been characters you’ve agonized over, trying to find just the right name to suit their appearance and their temperament?

So what name set me in such a tailspin it shoved me back onto my blog (which I’ve missed, by the way, and I’ll go into where I’ve been another day)? The name Judas. One of my sweet co-workers asked me what I thought of that name for a little boy.

I admit it. I was pretty horrified.

Me: Why would you do that to a child?

Her: What do you mean?

Me: Do you have any idea of the connotations behind that name?

(She gave me that confused head tilt thingie that all dogs have down pat when they hear strange noises)

Her: Huh?

Me: Dude, Judas betrayed Jesus and got him killed! For 30 pieces of silver.

Male Co-worker chimes in: I think it’s a cool name.

Her: (looks over at me) She’s right, though.

Guy: But who was Jesus back then? A nobody. Why should he have cared? It was for money.

Me: (gasping in shock) Uh…even if you think back then Jesus was a nobody (and I definitely had no plans of getting into a deep theological discussion with two kinds I suspected weren’t very versed in that subject or history), he was supposed to be one of his best friends. They were together non-stop for 3 years! And he betrayed that friendship for 30 pieces of silver.

Her: That’s true. They were best friends.

Me: And, he felt so shitty afterwards that he committed suicide. Why would you want to put all that on a kid? Don’t you know that even to this day, when someone calls someone Judas they’re calling the person a traitor? And that happened a long time ago.

I didn’t even go into how much more time had passed compared to Benedict Arnold’s and how the negative connotations never disappeared.

As I thought back on that chat I got to thinking about all the effed up names out there. And I’m not just talking some of the sillier ones celebs come up with like Apple, etc. I mean, a good friend of mine in healthcare was telling me that she’d seen several people come in and write this ‘La-a’ one admission paperwork for their little ones. Unsure how to pronounce, she asked and was told (with a look telling her they thought she was stupid) “It’s La-dash-a!”

Am I the only one not cool enough to know that the proper words for punctuation marks are now to be part of the name?

And what names do you feel give bad juju anyone with the misfortune of having it? Are there certain names you feel predestine people for questionable career choices? And are there ones you absolutely love? How did you get your name? I’d love to hear from you!

@NBlackthorne on The Victorian Era and Sex Disorders

After writing my masturbation post a week or so ago, my awesome pal and fellow author, Natasha Blackthorne, reached out to me to let me know how much she enjoyed the post & that her upcoming new release had strong ties to the miseducation surrounding masturbation. I was THRILLED! Of course, considering I absolutely adore her historical erotic romances, I invited her to come over and play in my sandbox for a while. So, without any further ado, here’s the lovely and talented Natasha Blackthorne!

  
First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Kitt, for inviting me to her blog to discuss some of the history that underlies my upcoming release, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne. Kitt has one of the most interesting and engaging blogs on sexual positivity and I am always honored to be a guest here. 

The Regency period is fascinating to me for many reasons. For me, it’s the psychological pressures and the resulting changes that took their society from the relative sensual indulgence of the Georgian era to the more, at least outwardly, restrictive and repressive Victorian era. To explain where the darker aspects of my story came from, I’ll give a little historical background information. 

The History

During the late Georgian Era, the emergence of the industrial age and the continued expansion of enclosure (the consolidation of formerly small and plentiful landholdings and farms into a smaller number of large estates owned by an elite group) the pressure on resources and jobs reached maximal levels.  

By 1789, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, wrote an essay on “the Principle of Population”, painting pictures of humanity overcome by a population boom that drained all resource and led to mass starvation and suffering. He believed this population explosion would be fueled by out of control carnal lusts and proposed universal self-control and chastity as a preventative measure. 

The upper class wanted to conform to behaviors and self-control that would separate them from the increasing encroachment of upwardly mobile middle and lower classes. If mere birthright no longer guaranteed that a person was “worthy” of being privileged, then they would prove that they were morally superior and worthy by their behavior. 

Of course, uncertainty regarding overpopulation and shifting socioeconomic status was only one of the many anxieties swirling in the general psychological undercurrent. The Regency generation had already grown up under a cloud of anxiety due to the uncertainty caused by the Napoleonic Wars. It was a generation plagued by so-called fragile nerves and anxiety disorders. In response, doctors, both the well-intentioned and the unscrupulous, stood ready to prescribe the cures. 

This undercurrent of anxiety over health, both physical and mental, led to a push for more control over the human sensual animal. Unfortunately, the ladies bore the larger brunt of the pressure because men continued to have their sexual outlets in secret and away from normal, socially sanctioned family life. The human body became seen as a closed system of sexual energy, orgasm began to be referred to as a draining; a sort of “spending” instead of as a healthy release. Emotional disorders diagnosed in girls and women were tied to “inappropriate” sexual expression and desires. Female masturbation became a primary focus/target.

We associate the idea that “misuse” of sexual energy leading to mental debility most strongly with the Victorian Era, but the roots for these attitudes began earlier. Famous physicians with interests along these lines were men like Dr. Thomas Beddoes. He believed that sexual reading materials could lead to gluttonous desires and ruin young people’s nerves. 

Dr. Samuel Solomon, who published A Guide to Health in 1795, blamed frigidity, nervous disorders, general physical debility and infertility on early masturbation in females and called it the “foul pollution” among other names. He presented his “cordial balm” as a cure all for such excesses and likely sold a great deal of it to lonely, awkward young people who lived hard lives with little solace except a solitary one. These are just a couple of examples of the types of thinking that were beginning to circulate in the late Georgian period. 

The Delicate Matter….

In my story, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne, Catriona is a young widow who has already gone through some experiences that have prevented her from expressing her true self. She’s trapped in a role that she has long outgrown and shamed for some very intimate sexual behaviors that were no one else’s business. But those around her want to control her, to prevent her from achieving her adult independence. And her sexuality is one area where they have invaded her privacy in an attempt to suppress her. 

Under pressure, she becomes distraught. Desperate. Others see her deep depression, not as a cry for help, but as a sign that she needs to be fixed so that she can return to her former, girlish role.  

Her late husband’s mother contacts a well-respected physician, Dr. Meeker, who is said to have an excellent track record with “handling” out of control and deeply disturbed ladies. This doctor believes that female sexual energy is a potentially destructive force on a woman’s mental and physical health.  

His prescription is to attempt to control and redirect Catriona’s exceptionally self-indulgent sensuality and to tame her sexual desires. His dark eyes and coolly intelligent, charismatic manner, fascinates Catriona at first, while his sympathetic understanding overwhelms her. He promises what she needs most. 

She is quickly trapped in a relationship of manipulation and abuse of trust. She becomes the subject of the most invasive and abusive experiments at his hands, with emotionally destructive consequences. She’s driven the ends of her ability to cope and, at the start of the story, she is battling in the only way she knows to overcome the manipulation and brainwashing to which she has been subjected. She’s fighting for her sanity. 

The hero, James Blayne, is her late husband’s cousin and the new Baron Blayne. A former naval officer and hero of the Napoleonic Wars, he’s a highly self-controlled gentleman, determined to protect her against any further abuse. He’s disconcerted by her alluring, sensual nature even while he experiences an overwhelming temptation to follow her lead and indulge in both sexuality and other sensual pleasures. His life has been one of duty, honor and obligation. Now his interactions with Catriona makes him question, for the first time, what is really important in life. 

When Catriona reached out to him, she did it out of self-preservation, a desperate chance to escape. But will she end up saving him as well? 

Wow, Natasha, it sounds like you’ve really outdone yourself this time & I can’t wait till your new release! What do you guys think? Is it any wonder I’m so thrilled to be one of the many authors participating in your Online Release Party on Facebook? All are welcome to join the party and WIN FREE STUFF, by the way. Just click the link to join. 

And if you’d like to learn more about Natasha, here’s where you can find her:

Blog: http://natashablackthorneblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Natasha-Blackthorne/217388964952800?ref=br_rs

Twitter: @Nblackthorne

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4878430.Natasha_Blackthorne

Google+: https://plus.google.com/109806914738068189660

O is for Oral Sex and Orgasms

Doing it wrongThis is going to come as a shock to a few of you, but….. I’m not perfect.

I know. I know. Take a breath. It’s okay. I promise. You’re going to need it because I’m about to really blow your mind.

Not only am I not perfect, but I was also not always all that great certain aspects of sex. In fact, although I was amazing at receiving oral sex (talk about orgasms galore), I was not so great at giving it.

I had a gag reflex. I could work my fist around the base, knew how to twist with each stroke to enhance sensation, but when my head bobbed down…. Well, let’s just say that yacky, gaggy sounds aren’t really all that sexy, and it didn’t take much to hit that trigger.

Oddly enough, it was a lesson learned from years of dental and orthodontic works that helped me overcome.

What did I learn? If you don’t want to gag, breath in and out through your nose. It sounds so simple it couldn’t possibly work, right? But it does. Trust me. Try it.

The other thing? Well, to be fair, I knew I had this in me. I just didn’t realize how it would impact my cock sucking skills. I’ve got an exhibitionist streak a mile wide. For me it translated into the ability to give some pretty great road head minus the gag reflex because my sense of excitement overruled my usual issues.

Other things that I discovered that helped? There are actually gels, pills, and sprays that can be used to help numb the back of your throat/gag spots. The down side is that if you apply too much, it can also numb the dick you’re trying to pleasure… Which kinda defeats the purpose, right?

Finally, I had a fear of swallowing. I was afraid it would taste gross, maybe make me puke, or spew out so fast I’d choke on it. I was completely unwilling to try at first. But like I said, the possibility of being watched or caught? Brings out my inner wild child/Goddess. Not to mention the helplessness of the man, especially during the time of his release. He can’t think, he loses track of his surroundings, and becomes unable to think. He can only feel….

And that loss of control, along with my part in it?

Huge turn on, of course!

It was one such situation that allowed me to swallow the first time. I was enjoying my power, his helplessness….and feeding off his fear/excitement at the possibility of being caught. I pushed him past that limit and swallowed every drop. And discovered it didn’t taste at all like I feared. (I also later uncovered that different people and foods can change that flavor as well.)

Once I overcame that fear I became quite the skilled mouth. Which turned out to be a very good thing since many of my friends will randomly come up to me and ask me for sex advice. A lot. About a lot of subjects. Guess it’s a good thing I’m open to talking all things sex, huh?

I know I’m probably not the only one who’s ever run into sexual challenges… Please feel free to share some of yours. You never know who else may be going through the same thing…or who may be able to help you overcome.

And now I leave you with a clip on oral from one of my all time favorite shows, Queer as Folk.

Celebrating Originality this Holiday Season

I’m such an Ella Fitzgerald fan that I couldn’t let this holiday go without sharing her magnificent, fun self.

Rudolph’s story has always had a soft spot in my heart because he was different, picked on, and laughed at….but his beautiful originality was what wound up saving Christmas. Just goes to show that being unique is a gift, not a curse. We need to better learn to embrace it.

A Perilous Risk With @NatashaBlackthorne is One Worth Taking!

 

PerilousRiskTeaserNblackthorne

Let’s be real….. When an excerpt starts like this, someone like me is very interested! My uber fabulous pal, Natasha Blackthorne, has a passion and knack for historicals with a twist of kink. But you know what blew me away? She asked ME to help host part of her launch party this weekend! My time slot is today at 9 pm EST, and I’d love for you guys to stop by and show us some support! This will be my first time doing hostess duties, so I really appreciate it.

In the meantime, here’s a little bit about this fabulous new release.

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Blurb
Heartbroken and disillusioned, Rebecca Howland is done with all men. Especially noblemen. Past a certain age, she knows her previous life of carnal indulgence and grand adventure is over. Or so she thinks. Back at home, whilst working in her family’s shop, a moment of compassion entangles her in an old battle between two powerful, bitter enemies. A commoner, Rebecca finds herself falsely accused of a heinous act by a vicious member of the aristocracy. In grave peril, she turns to the one man she thinks can help her.
Stephen Drake, now inexplicably Baron Drake, has always desired Rebecca. When she turns to him, he vows to protect her at all costs, especially from the dangerous life he lives. The stakes are high and time is running out for her … and for him as well. Stephen finds himself driven to ruthless actions that threaten to kill the fragile bond between them.
Years ago, Rebecca forbade herself to love Stephen Drake. Now he’s back, no longer the young man she remembers but a dark and dangerous stranger. When he demands a fortnight of her complete submission in return for his protection, his sexual dominance ignites carnal passion that makes her feel alive like never before. But … dare she trust a man with too many secrets?

©Copyright Natasha Blackthorne 2014

For Adults 18 years of age or older only. 

Excerpt from

Perilous Risk

Regency Risks, Book Three

By Natasha Blackthorne

 

She opened her mouth to deny him.

He brought his mouth down on hers, cutting off her protest. He thrust into her mouth, the taste of his hot, wet tongue more fiery than the best whisky. She shook, not with fear but with anticipation for the next stroke of his tongue against hers.

It came and delicious shudders quaked through her. Another stroke and another. Ruthlessly, he gripped her head and angled it, thrusting deeper. Taking her breath. Sucking her very soul and taking everything.

She didn’t care.

Every inch of his long, lean body pressed hers. She could feel the whipcord strength of his powerful muscles. Could feel his trembling as though he were holding back his ardour. His erection throbbed against her stomach, huge and hard. Heated.

A feeling of letting go, as though a tremendous weight had suddenly lifted from her. As though she’d been waiting forever for this moment. Tenderness burst within her. Her limbs went weak. Her fists unfurled and she grasped his shoulders, learning his feel, breathing in his scent, glorying in his taste, his strength, his forcefulness.

Stephen.

Her Stephen.

If she could, she would simply melt into him. She clung desperately to his hard body, surrendering herself wholly.

He tore his mouth from hers.

She cried out in protest.

He swept her up into his arms then lowered her. Her backside touched the table and the rickety wooden frame groaned and creaked.

He swooped down on her then gripped her chin in his large hand, gently yet firmly holding her in place. His eyes bore into hers, predatory, determined. “Now, tell me that you don’t know me.”

Buy Links

Isn’t she fun? So, on top of doing a blog party and a blog tour, she’s also got a giveaway going on… Busy woman, isn’t she?

Go ahead. Click it! It’s a Giveaway. (Pssst! It’s an Amazon Gift Card!) Entry-Form

Anyway, I hope you check out her book, sign up for her giveaway, and/or show some love at her FB party! There are a lot of fun, fabulous giveaways going on at her event.

Lessons in Life and Love from Once Upon a Time

I wasn’t the girl who was hooked on Once Upon a Time from the beginning. I’d recorded it with the intent to watch, but somehow, I never did. Until the end of this last season. What I found was brilliant script writing, fairy tale characters I remembered, but spun to be virtually unrecognizable in the coolest way possible….and some awesome lessons in living and loving well if you paid attention.

If you know anything about fairy tales, you know that there are certain inalienable truths.

According to Shakespeare, “The path of true love never did run smooth.” The folks in Storybrooke, Maine would agree with that. In fact, they don’t even know it, but they’ve been trapped by a curse placed upon them by the evil queen to gain her revenge on Snow White, a local school teacher. Yes, when she activated the curse, she moved her world of magic into our world, a place where magic didn’t exist. In this world, no one remembered who they were or got happy endings…well, not until the “savior” arrived and the curse was broken.

Lesson: True love takes a lot of work, faith (both in yourselves and each other), and sacrifice. Problems and challenges don’t just disappear because you’ve found your true love. In fact, there will be times when you will lose sight of what’s important. In those times, the other part of you will rise up to the challenge–to believe and fight enough for you both.

Charming said it best. “I will always find you.”

Then there are the villains, Regina, the Evil Queen, and Rumplestiltskin…and even, to an extent, Regina’s mother, Cora. They’ve made some terrible, hateful decisions in the name of anger and revenge. But they are capable of love…and when they embrace that rarely used part of their souls, amazing things happen.

Lesson: With the power of love, no one is irredeemable. Flaws are there, and seen, but true love is acceptance, warts and all. Love means letting go of hate and anger, sometimes sacrificing yourself, to put someone else’s happiness and well being above your own.

Sometimes people will lose their way, forget who they are. In Storybrooke, this has happened quite literally. Charming lost his memory, for a while the entire town had no memory of their life in The Enchanted Forest, and Belle literally lost all her memories of Rumplestiltskin and their love. Sometimes losing their way can also be metaphoric. Snow lost sight of who she was in her quest for revenge, Pinnochio forgot his path and his responsibilities, even Red (yes, that’s Little Red Riding Hood) lost sight of the true meaning of family and acceptance when she met her mother.

Lesson: Those who love you will remember who you are and hold on to you. They won’t let you stay lost for long. They’ll remind you of just how important you truly are.

In life, we’re all bound to make mistakes. They don’t have to define us. In Once Upon A Time, Emma had given Henry up for adoption, thinking she had nothing better to offer him. He found her, and she fell in love. He was adopted by Regina, the Evil Queen, who had cast a curse of vengeance against Snow and Charming, Emma’s parents.

Lesson: Everyone has an opportunity to redeem themselves if they’re brave enough to take the chance. Love means owning your mistakes and moving forward. They don’t have to define who you are.

And finally, the most important lesson of all– “True Love is the most powerful magic of all.”

Yes, I’ve definitely got a soft spot for fairy tales. Always have. I love the way these ones are being told and blended into this beautiful tapestry. Are you a Once Upon A Time fan? Are there any lessons from the show that you’d like to impart? Is there another show that’s gotten you hooked? What life/love lessons did you catch?

 

Loving and the Holidays

There’s something pretty amazing to me about a capella. To be able to blend voices well, to make voices sound like instruments while maintaining the purity of clean, pared down lyrics always blows my mind. It takes amazing control, great listening skills and a lot of teamwork. No enhancements. Just voices. Wow.

Straight, No Chaser is probably one of the best in this genre. I absolutely love their arrangement of this Colbie Caillat holiday song.

Nothing like celebrating love and romance during the holidays and every day. Have you told the folks you love them today? Why not take them by surprise… Walk up to your lover with no warning and plant a hot, wet kiss on their lips for no other reason than they add joy to your life. See where it leads… Hopefully to shared body heat. 😉

That’s Not My Kink

We’ve all heard the saying “different strokes for different folks.” All a person has to do is look around to see the factual reality of that saying. So why does it seem like such a difficult thing to accept and acknowledge when referencing sex? Some of you may be ready to reject the notion out of hand, but hold on for a second while I state my case.

Over the years I’ve come across some pretty interesting sexual kinks/preferences. Many of them are fairly common. Some like to get their hair pulled or their bottoms spanked or both. Some like to be the spanker/hair puller. Some of us have exhibitionist streaks. As the girl who confessed to road head and more, obviously I fall into this category, though there are those who prefer the tamer “accidental” peep shows. Our counterparts are the people who get intensely excited by watching…or voyeurs. Of course there’s also bondage (those who like to tie up, and who like being tied up). I was 18 the first time I restrained someone in a sexual way.

Yes, a lot of the above also incorporates the power exchange that happens when the person’s desire it to yield submission to another person who is into taking control. Sometimes standing alone (no power exchange) or also falling into this world (when power exchanges are incorporated) are the folks who enjoy more than one partner at the same time.

Also surprisingly popular are foot fetishes. For some that means admiring and worshipping pretty toes. For others, it goes deeper. Some love the earthy smells of sweaty feet. Others wish to give foot massages or bathe those dirty feet with their tongues. Others simply want to paint those toenails or have those dainty feet walk all over their bodies (sometimes in high heels).

Some people have more exotic tastes.

I remember talking to one young lady who was fixated on having sex in church sanctuary. Not gonna lie, I’ve done it in the parking lot, but I draw the line at actually entering a “house of God” for copulation purposes. Of course, it would stand to reason that my personal beliefs probably play a part in my discomfort. It may have worked for her, but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, but that was okay. That was her thing, not mine.

One woman, a female dominant, I’d become friendly with once shared with me how she had somehow become entranced checking posteriors; putting on surgical gloves and “cleaning them up.” Oddly enough, she was a nurse and thus qualified to go rooting around back there. I admit, the image wasn’t something I cared to keep in my mind. Again, like before, it wasn’t for me, but that was fine.

Many of us have heard of golden showers. Some have even assumed that this couldn’t possibly be a “real” thing. I mean, who would get into the various areas that this sort of play delves into? But it’s real. In fact, it’s as real as cross-dressing or people who enjoy wearing diapers and treated like babies. Heck, even CSI featured a fetish where everyone dressed up like a stuffed animal.

So if there are so many parts of sex that are less than vanilla, why is it that people seem to struggle with acceptance? Is it really so hard to simply say “It’s not my kink” and let it go? No judgment, no disdain. Just a simple acknowledgement that what works for one person may not work for the next and leave it at that.

For that matter, why do people struggle so hard to deny the things that excite them rather than acknowledge the truth and create a fulfilling sex lives for themselves in their relationships? Why do they hide their interests, deny what draws them and pretend it doesn’t exist? Why do their desires become a shameful secret rather than something they communicate with their partner(s)?

My dear friend, Professor Taboo, recently asked me in the comments portion of his Expectations post a question that I’ve been thinking a lot about. “Whether we get or not what we seek from others, is it reasonable to EXPECT the type of open, authentic, proactive communication…and as you pointed out, expecting that level communication whether there were sexual experiences or not? Is the real issue sexual experiences!?”

I thought it was a great question, and the only thing I could come up with for both the way we react to people whose desires deviate from ours as well as from the passions we refuse to acknowledge within ourselves is that we allow fear in.

When faced with others whose desires/kinks vary from our own, it’s easy to point a finger and criticize. “That’s disgusting” “That’s unnatural” or “That’s so wrong” are judgment phrases that often escape the lips of those who can’t or don’t share the same interests. Why? Unless it’s illegal or partners are unwilling, WHY should we care or judge? Why is simply acknowledging that it’s not your thing and moving on so difficult to do?

And if something does intrigue us? I suspect it’s fear that causes us to deny our true natures/desires. What if someone finds out? What if they judge me (often the way I’m judging everyone else)? What if I truly am weird or sick for wanting something besides missionary sex?

It occurred to me as I considered this issue… This is a lot like our tastes in partners. Everyone has different “types”. In fact, half-Asian me has never been attracted to Asian men…and am very picky when it comes to black men that I find sexy. Heck, I laugh all the time at how specific my parents’ types are. My mom likes her men blond with blue eyes. My dad? He likes them Filipina. How do I know that? Because those traits are traits that followed them both into their second marriages.

My mom would tell you that she always knew I’d marry a “latin based” type. Why? Because she said I’d always been attracted to Hispanics, Italians and Greeks; not that I didn’t date my fair share of WASPs, but the majority of the guys who caught my eye were either dark hair and eyes or dark hair and blue eyes. Heck, some would call the attraction to people in uniforms or dangerous jobs or with tattoos a type, too.

Variety is the spice of life. There are a ton of different flavors out there… in ice cream, drinks, cultures, appearances, sexual preferences. No one type is better than the other. There is no right or wrong (well, unless we’re talking illegal). There’s simply what works for you.

Am I making sense? Am I crazy? What’s the most unusual kink you’ve heard of or seen? Do you have a “type” of person you’re attracted to? I’d love to know what you’re thinking…

I’ll close this with a bit of humor….and share what happens when a fantasy goes a bit “off”.

A Simple Sorry Will Do

“I’m Sorry”

The words aren’t exactly difficult to pronounce. They’re not complicated. In fact, next to “I love you” it’s probably the most important sentence in the English language. So what makes it so difficult for some people to say?

Through the years I’ve come to recognize several different avoidance tactics… Maybe you’ll recognize them too.

The first, and probably most popular, avoidance tactic is the guilt purchase in lieu of an apology. This is my mother’s go to technique. An example? How’s this…

Back when I was in high school my mom accused me of going on birth control without her permission. She was furious. She wanted to know where I’d managed to go to get on the pill and didn’t believe me when I told her I wasn’t. She swore up and down that I was having sex and swore that if I got pregnant, she’d disown me (yeah, that part I know she was exaggerating about…she’d never do that to me). It didn’t matter how many times I tried to defend my innocence. She was sure I was lying. Well, until my sister came into the room, grabbed the packet of pills she was waving around in my face and told her that they were her cleaning enzymes for her contacts.

You know teenagers…we feel things intensely. To say I was furious and wounded would be a mild understatement…especially when my sister vindicated me. I wanted an apology! So, I did what any loudmouth teenage daughter would do. I gave her the silent treatment. Hey, I’m not stupid. I knew she’d realize quickly that I was mad and hurt.

That evening, while I lay on my bed reading a book, she popped her head into my bedroom.

Mom: (Tosses cool black leather and silver metal barrette on the bed next to me) Hey Kitt. I went shopping today and bought this for you.
Me: (Head comes up from my book to look at her. Glares at her because I realized she didn’t apologize and feeling as though she’s trying to buy me off…because she is. Looks back down at the book. Not a word said.)
Mom: (Pretending nothing’s wrong) Do you like it?
Me: (Looks back at her, one eyebrow raised & shake my head as I look away again)

She finally walked away. I was determined not to accept the blackmail or her non-apology. After several hours of silence, she finally broke. She flounced into my room (yes, moms can flounce, too) and said. “Fine, I’m sorry. Okay?”

I looked up and smiled and said “Thank you.”

I won’t lie…I grabbed that hair clip and kept it after she gave her apology. No sense in letting it go to waste… And to be fair, I know my situation is not the norm…many people will just continue on with their business and never say the words.

The second avoidance tactic is the “Sounds like an apology non-apology”.

There was a guy I used to manage with. He was so proud of his “faux-pology” skills. He used to use it on customers a lot. An example?

A customer was frustrated with her treatment by one of his employees. She felt the employee misled her on her plan and how returns worked.

Him: I’m sorry you didn’t listen to your rep about the return policy.

or

Him: I’m sorry you didn’t think to read the fine print.

or

Him: I’m sorry you waited until two weeks later to tell me about how your rep treated you, now that you’re outside your return policy and my hands are tied.

As you can see…none of these things were real apologies. Nothing to validate their feelings.

All I could think was…would it have been so hard to tell the customer “I can only imagine how frustrated you’re feeling right now. I’m sorry you were made to feel unimportant. We value your business. Why don’t we take a look at this together and see what options and alternatives we can come up with”?

Somehow I doubt his customers were pleased with their service….or stayed very long.

The third avoidance tactic is where you tell someone that you love them, but never that you’re sorry. This is used most often on family. It’s very similar to #1, except that instead of blackmail with something of monetary value, you resort to twisting up emotions.

For example, you embarrass your significant other…maybe you lose your temper and yell at him/her in front of other people. Your partner is hurt and walks away. After you cool down you realize you might have overreacted. Instead of an apology, you seek him/her out and tell them “I love you”.

Courtesy of sweetstuffcalledlove.tumblr.com

Courtesy of sweetstuffcalledlove.tumblr.com

Two words. Two simple words… So why are they so hard for some people to say? How can accepting responsibility for injured feelings or poorly chosen words be so hard for some people? The funny thing is, many of these folks are sorry. They feel remorse for their careless/thoughtless actions…but they just can’t say it! Granted, there are those who refuse to apologize simply because they’re narcissistic enough to believe they’re never wrong…but usually that kind of arrogance spills over into every other aspect of their personality, making it a trait that’s fairly easy to recognize.

One thing I’ve learned…with love, there’s no room for foolish pride. Someone who loves you won’t take an admission of wrongdoing as an opportunity to browbeat you and hold it over your head. They recognize your willingness to humble yourself in front of them as a gift…and it strengthens your love and makes it easier to let go of hurts and move forward together.

When it’s left unsaid, resentments fester. Doubt creeps in. Feelings of inadequacy and lack of appreciation become so strong. All the good becomes overpowered by memories of every hurt and each slight. Yes, withholding the “I’m sorries” in my opinion, are just as dangerous as never saying “I love you”.

Before you ask… Yes, I’m well aware that there are also those people who overuse I’m sorry, but never mean it. But those people…their actions speak so loudly that they make it easy to walk away. The other ones, though…they devastate. You want to fight for your relationship. You try to fight. But after a while the battle feels one sided and you wonder if you’re the only one bothering. You begin to wonder WHY you try.

The words may be scary to say…especially if you’re the person who’s always held it back. But if you put yourself on that limb. Say the word. The rewards are so much bigger your fears. You’d be amazed at the difference it can make. Try it! I promise it won’t kill you.

What are your experiences with “I’m Sorry”? Which of these non-apologies do you see most frequently? Have you seen other avoidance techniques that we should be on the lookout for? Have you been the victim of this kind of hurt? How did it impact you?

In the meantime…I thought I’d share a little Elton John….

The Difference Between Alphas and Alpha-holes

alpha-male

The outcry seems to be everywhere I look these days. Take a look at Facebook or Twitter. There are a ton of posts with ripped abs and chiseled bodies or links to hot, sexy books. I, for one, enjoy them immensely….but….

Pictures of hot, sexy, sweaty mean in uniform or tattoos or cowboy hats and boot have very little to do with what being an “Alpha” really means. First, despite all those pictures, the “alpha” is not quite as common as we’d like to think…and ladies, there’s a chance it’s partially thanks to our mixed messages. But there’s more to it than that.

I suspect that both men and women are a bit confused about what it means to be “alpha”. Don’t believe me? Google the word alpha male and see what comes up. I even saw a book that talked about “catching and training an alpha male”. That one kind of pissed me off. Of course me and my big mouth are going to sound off because I can’t stress this point enough…. Ladies, if you go into a relationship for the express purpose of changing aka “training” a man, don’t bother. He’s not the right guy!!!! He deserves better and so do you.

But back to my point. It was actually one of you who brought this topic up in the comments of one of my prior posts. When “alpha” is mentioned, it seems to go hand in hand with words like testosterone, domineering, power, bossy and a zillion other descriptions. Some of these can be double edged swords, but many of them are not complimentary at all.

I get it, of course. When we fantasize, we don’t picture someone with a “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse voice” saying things like “suck my cock”. We want a strong, gruff voice. We don’t picture some soft handed metrosexual type as the one to pull our hair and spank our bottoms while driving into us doggie style. We picture Beastmaster or Thor! When we fantasize of being ordered to do a strip tease, we’d rather picture a sexy, elegantly suited man, like the voice in “True Lies” or someone physically powerful…not some weasel with no backbone.

The problem is, somewhere along the way everything’s gotten a little muddy. Beware the “alpha” who needs to scream his alpha-hood from the mountaintops so to speak. If their way of showing domination includes putting you down, disrespect, bullying and even violent aggression…run. Run far, run fast. That’s not an Alpha. That’s a guy on a power trip with an ego problem.

Real alphas feel no need to prove how “alpha” they are. It’s just another facet of their personality. Their sense of control is innate and begins with themselves. What they realize that the alpha-holes don’t is that behaving like an ass-hat has absolutely nothing to do with how manly they are. In fact, the alphas I know tend to be very courteous, intelligent, observant and kind.

In the bedroom, their pleasure comes with their ability to give you your fantasies (which often includes you giving up your control…a sign of trust in them). Before you play bedroom games that involve any sort of bondage or sensory deprivation (blindfolds, and more) make sure you know and trust your partner. These situations are the kind alpha-holes look forward to because you’re in no position to fight back or defend yourself. Trust your internal warning bells. If anything inside you hesitates, listen. It means you don’t trust the person you’re with enough to put yourself in their hands. If he’s a true alpha, he’ll understand and appreciate that you’re not quite ready to take that step and it will be a target you can work toward…together. If he makes you feel bad, you made the right call.

Outside the bedroom, their interest is in giving you what you need and accepting you as you are. The “strong” behavior we love so much is underlying in everything they do, but comes roaring to life when they witness things like cruelty, injustice or danger. Well, maybe it comes out when playing or watching sports, too….but I’m just as guilty as them, so I cast no stones.

 

So tell me…am I wrong? Out of line? What would you add about alphas v. alpha-holes that I might have missed? Share, share!