In loving memory of Elizabeth Rofanui, 1977-2016
In loving memory of Elizabeth Rofanui, 1977-2016
There are many different words for “Love” in the Greek language. Eros, Agape, Philia and other Greek words hold nuances and shades of meaning, attempting to capture this most enigmatic of emotions.
We talk about Love a lot. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that Love is responsible for the vast majority of words ever written by the human race, in the form of poems, plays, scripts, letters, stories, social media, emails, blogs, chats, song lyrics and more.
Love is proved in deeds. Not words.
Yes, there are many words about Love. But no matter how eloquent those words may be, no matter how inspiring, tender, uplifting, intimate or cherished, one truth remains:
Love is NOT a word.
If you want to know Love, don’t look to what someone says. Look to what they do. Anyone can say, “I love you,” but the only way you will know whether or not it’s true is by their actions. Love is proved in deeds. Not words.
Love is helping someone move, packing and carrying heavy stuff.
Love is emptying your checking account and maxing out your credit card to help a friend in an emergency.
Love is giving someone a ride when they don’t have a car.
Love is fixing comfort food when you know your partner is weary in body and spirit.
Love is standing with a friend as they try to change their life, supporting them and not letting them fall. Even if that means you have to nag them to make sure.
Love is standing with them even if they do fall… and loving them anyway.
Love is speaking hard truth to someone who needs to hear it.
Love can be as simple as a smile and an affectionate touch when someone needs it.
Love is honoring what’s important to your friend even if it’s not important to you.
There are many other examples but I think you have the idea.
Love is not a word. Love is an action.
I am blessed. I have a lot of love in my life. To those who love me… thank you. I will do my best to show you that I love you, too.
Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. –1 John 3:18
I have a dear friend who simply does not understand my affinity for BDSM. Despite countless in-depth conversations, in which I do my level best to explain it to him, he persists in his belief that submission is demeaning and that everyone really prefers freedom.
Believing himself to be an open-minded person, he has constructed an illusion in which he does support submission. He does this by re-defining, in his own mind at least, what submission is; or by inventing a complicated argument that submission is in fact dominance. By clinging to this dubious construct, he can appear to agree with me, while never actually changing his beliefs.
He doesn’t get it. He probably never will. And I must live with that.
The illusion works for him within the limits of a conversation about abstract thought, when his ideas are not put to the test. But inevitably, something concrete will happen that forces the abstraction to materialize into action. Then, his actions do not bear out his conciliatory words. The curtain is pulled aside, and his true beliefs are revealed. And the truth is that he just doesn’t get it. He probably never will. And I must live with that.
It pains me to be at odds with my dear friend over this important aspect of my life. I would love to share my joy with him, but I can’t, because he doesn’t believe in it. While painful, conflict in a relationship is not at all unusual. I think we all find ourselves, at some point, having a major difference of opinion within the context of a close relationship. When it happens, must we choose between winning the argument and preserving the relationship? Is it possible to prove your point without hurting the other person? Is it necessary to capitulate, to keep the friendship intact? Or must we avoid conflict at all costs, agreeing not to mention certain issues, or pretending that the conflict does not exist?
We are genetically more invested in winning arguments than in thinking clearly.
These questions become even more complicated when we consider the fact that humans are inherently irrational – even the ones who most adamantly claim to be rational. Scientists have demonstrated that we are genetically more invested in winning arguments than in thinking clearly. It has been proven countless times that facts usually do not change our minds. We – all of us – experience something called “confirmation bias,” a trait that is hard-wired into our genes. It means that we all tend to embrace information that supports our current beliefs and reject information that contradicts them.
Furthermore, we also have a trait called “cognitive immunization” which means that the stronger our beliefs, the less likely it is that facts will sway us… no matter how true the facts are. The person you are arguing with probably will not be swayed by logic, reason or facts that contradict his or her beliefs. In fact, it is more likely that he or she will just become more entrenched.
Given that this is true, when two people have conflicting beliefs, it seems to me that arguing is pointless.
Given the choice between proving my point, and preserving the health of a relationship, I choose the relationship. Every time.
Given the choice between proving my point, and preserving the relationship, I choose the relationship. Every time.
So, I must let go of my disappointment that my dear friend does not share my understanding of submission. My dear friend is very important to me, and I want him in my life. I find great joy in submission, but I do not wish to wreck a friendship by insisting on winning an argument.
I also suspect that if I chose to associate only with friends who agree with my beliefs about submission, that would be a form of confirmation bias. My friends have many shades of beliefs and opinions about submission and BDSM. It is quite a varied tapestry. Total unanimity on this or any point probably cannot be achieved. And a circle of friends who all think alike could be a little boring.
So, I will accept the presence of the conflict and learn to co-exist with that tension. I will stop trying to convince anyone of the truth of my beliefs. Living with conflict is not comfortable. But there are many, many other things about those relationships that make them totally worth the effort.
A long time ago, in a sim far, far away,
Walter took Camryn as his submissive.
Nine years have passed since that day.
The Force is strong with this couple!
Master, may the Love be with you, always!
Happy 9th Anniversary, Master! Thank you for 9 fabulous years!
A news article I read today — the topic of which is not germane — reminded me of an observation.
I have observed that people who have everything often find it impossible to be content with what they have.
Conversely, it seems that those who have little are much more likely to feel and express gratitude for whatever they do receive.
An old proverb says, “The sated appetite spurns honey, but to a ravenous appetite even the bitter is sweet.”
Right now, for example, I am grateful simply to be on the internet so that I can write this blog. We take connectivity for granted… until we don’t have it.
I am fortunate.
Bigotry is a commitment to ignorance. In the Information Age, ignorance is a choice.
Recently Walter was asked by the staff of HG Visionz, a small online magazine that covers various Opensim features, to submit an article about Littlefield Grid’s BDSM regions. At their request, Walter wrote a great article highlighting those regions on Littlefield Grid that cater to people who enjoy BDSM.
We were just informed that, even though the article was written at their request, the “staff” (which I think means one or two people) decided not to publish it because — get this — although the article was very general in nature, with no adult content, the acronym BDSM was deemed to be X-rated.
This was clearly a not-very-well-concealed pretext for displaying the prejudice of the “editor” against BDSM. Is there a fear that simply reading those four letters might make someone think about… omg… SEX?!? Well, then, I am sure that HG Visionz will also decline to publish any article that mentions lesbian, gay or transgender communities, since that acronym LGBTQ is clearly too dangerous to read.
Or, for that matter, they had better decline any article that mentions marriage, or romance, or dancing. Especially dancing. And rock music. You know, like it says in the movie Footloose, dancing leads to relaxed morality. We certainly can’t have any of that in Opensim!
Sarcasm aside, I continue to be astounded by the ignorance displayed about BDSM. Even more so, by the fervor with which some people willfully cling to that ignorance. That is what makes it rise to the level of bigotry. Bigotry is an emotional commitment to ignorance about groups of people. And in the information age, ignorance is a choice.
What’s even more astounding is the hypocrisy behind the public posturing. It is well known that “adult” activities are wildly popular throughout the virtual world. I’ll wager there are very few people who haven’t tried sex animations. And of those who have, I’m sure a hefty percentage also enjoyed at least a little bedroom bondage, if not more.
D/s relationships are founded upon love and respect.
First let me address the ignorance head-on. D/s, the foundation of BDSM and the central letters of the fearsome acronym, stands for Dominance and submission, which is a consensual agreement between a couple where one person surrenders control to the other. Within that extremely broad container, there are many different types of relationships; I’m not asserting that all are the same. But in my experience, any sexual content in most of those relationships is no more public than that of “vanilla” couples. In the eight and a half years we have been together, Walter and I have never had sex in public, only in our own home or on our own sims.
Also in my experience, D/s relationships are founded upon love and respect. I made a consensual choice. I chose to surrender control to Walter because it gives me pleasure to do that, and it gives him pleasure too. I wear a collar, which is not a symbol of slavery, but a symbol of love and commitment to the vows we made… not unlike a wedding ring.
But, you know, love and commitment… those are things that HG Visionz can’t mention in their magazine, because they seem to believe that love and commitment are not family-friendly.
Anyone with any knowledge at all of BDSM knows that the attitude of the HG Visionz “staff” is ignorant. It’s important to me to speak up about it, because perpetuating that kind of ignorance is a very, very dangerous habit.
They may believe that we should keep to ourselves and only whisper about our relationship behind closed doors. LGBTQ people have been told the same thing. Thankfully, they realized that keeping their loving relationships secret simply helped to feed the ignorance and bigotry, and the hate that grew from it. They stepped into the light, and showed the world that gay couples can be a shining example of love and commitment. They can have children and raise families that are just as wonderful (and just as flawed) as straight families. They are human, with all the promise and possibilities of any other humans. Had they remained in the shadows, the world at large might never have figured that out.
By relegating BDSM relationships to the shadows of “x-rated” content, HG Visionz Magazine is participating in the fostering of hate, by choosing to be committed to ignorance. That is bigotry.
And in the 21st century, it is a disappointment to find people still trying to justify it.
Yes. I am a strong, intelligent, secure, capable, boringly normal woman who is in a D/s relationship. Get over it, already.
Do not for a moment imagine that I have low self-esteem. I own who I am, I am humble about my challenges (we all have some), and I am proud of my gifts, abilities and accomplishments.
Do not imagine that I cannot recognize spite and petty jealousy when I see it.
Do not call me a doormat. I am independent and self-sufficient and there is only -one- person who gets to tell me what to do.
Do not call me weak. My way of life requires a reserve of inner strength you only wish you had.
Do not call me passive. I made a carefully considered decision, of my own free will, with clarity of mind, heart and conscience. Our life is a mutual, consensual choice.
Do not call me a bimbo. I have exquisite taste and I don’t wander around dressed like a hooker. My sex life is as private as yours, and probably no kinkier.
And p.s. It’s none of your business anyway.
I have been given the gift of submission, the freedom to surrender, the grace to trust, the privilege to love.
If that bothers you, I’m not the one with the problem.
Everyone should be so lucky as me.