~ St. Phillip Neri
The life of a traditional wife is certainly not a boring one! I think, too, that one must possess a unique sense of humour in order to endure being counter-revolutionary in today's day-in-age. ;-)
Perhaps it will seem strange that a post, written during the solemn season of Lent, should be lighthearted. Nevertheless, that is my aim. This post is being written under the direction of Holy Obedience to God through my Husband's will, as I have been quite at a loss lately over what to write next! Aside from this, however, there is a lot to be said for merry thoughts. Gladness lightens the heart and moves it to give thanks to God. So, it is with a happy heart that I recount some of the more "interesting" aspects of my life.
I have found that I have become more sensitive to lifestyle-related "inside jokes." Have you ever noticed how often the letter combinations of "DD," "D/s," and "BDSM" show up in day-to-day life? I must admit that I get a kick out of DD-related acronyms, initials, vanity plates, businesses, and oddly named cities, etc. A trip through an antique market is often rewarded with old-fashioned rulers, hairbrush sets, straps, and so forth. Even craft stores carry fun "traditional treasures:" birch bundles and lengths of cording with which to bind and restrain. Equestrian shops make me drool.
My Husband and I are also something of coffee addicts. This would come as no great surprise to anyone who knows us well. The irony is that our favourite coffee chain just happens to have the initials "D.D." We have great fun with this! After finding the chain in our recent trip abroad, I could not help but take a photo and post it for family and friends to see. Below it, the caption: "It's good to know that DD enjoys a prominent place here in the Middle East!" ;-)
At home, the mirth continues! One of the major selling points of our flat was that it came complete with "built in" whipping posts. I am not kidding. My Husband and I currently live in a converted textile mill that, upon redesign, kept much of its original infrastructure. In the old black and white photographs of what the mill used to look like in a bygone era, one can see the myriad of support beams that rise from floor to ceiling. Several hundred years later, some of those lovely posts now enjoy a prominent place in our home. There are three total in our flat-- one in the family room, one in the kitchen, and one in the utility room. My Husband and I have made very good use of these charming "old world" fixtures. ;-)
In a CDD family, why not have a pet that is just as "special" as the Head of Household and his wife? We are indeed blessed. It turns out that our cat has quite the unique personality! A few days after his adoption, I dubbed Pepper my "submissive" pet. It amused me that he would rub his little orange head lovingly on my feet, follow me at my heels around the house, and even sleep at my feet during the night.
Pepper is also intrigued with discipline. When I write lines, he will jump up next to me and look on with grave interest. Once, I caught him sitting in my seat, reaching for the pen lying on my notebook page. I jokingly told him that he was more than welcome to finish on my behalf. I guess he was not so interested, after all. His response was a rather indignant meow!
What is more, our little pet seems to have a penchant for observing discipline sessions. Truly, a curious cat! Pepper has the oddest knack for sensing when I am about to be punished. He will saunter into the bedroom and jump up on the windowsill in order to have an up-close-and-personal view as my Husband spanks, belts, lashes, or flogs his errant wife. With every stroke, our cat lets out a high-pitched cry that closely mirrors my own agony. It's all my Husband and I can do to keep from laughing! What a strange, lovable cat!
My Husband and I have never shared with our family members the specifics of our traditional marriage. Yet, I often wonder how much they know-- or can guess!
Christmastide was spent this year with my side of the family. This always proves to be an interesting challenge! On Christmas day itself, my parents hosted the family get-together. At some point, I made the mistake of criticiseing myself. A word to the wise: do not call yourself a "cow" in your Husband's presence. When given a quiet warning, do not roll your eyes. Whatever you do, do not look at him squarely in the eyes and say "Moo!" Otherwise you, too, may end up in position in which I soon found myself-- dragged upstairs to my old bedroom and leaning bare-bottomed over the edge of the bed!
My Husband began to attack my behind, the backs of my thighs, and my calves with his vicious leather belt. The door was locked, but that was of little consequence or consolation. One could hear a pin drop in the house I grew up in. The only saving grace was that conversation carried on, rather loudly, downstairs. However, my mother just "happened" to choose this precise moment in time to come upstairs and rummage through her closet. My old bedroom and my parents' bedroom share a wall via that closet. It is quite likely that she overheard every smack of that severe strapping. How humiliating!
At another point during the visit, I was made to write out a very long prayer several times over by hand. There was really no help for privacy in completing the task. I did not even try to hide it. This was, however, quite the experience having to explain (without actually explaining) what I was doing to my nosy mother. "What is this? Is it homework?" Yes, in a way, I suppose it was. It was grace-filled "homework" that kept me from strangling her alive!
My Husband's side of the family is likewise in the dark. Yet sometimes it is not for a lack of trying!
During our summer holiday to Lebanon two years ago, my Husband bought a thin rattan cane. We had gone with a few of his cousins to Zahle, the most Christian city in the Middle East, for the evening. Street vendors were selling everything under the sun-- everything from candy confections to backgammon boards, narghile (water pipe) sets and bootleg DVDs that had not yet been released in the West. There were also the typical, cheap souvenirs. One booth in particular happened to catch my Husband's eye. He walked over and selected a single cane from a bucket of others. One of his male cousins saw this and joked in faltering English, "These used to be used in the schools a long time ago. You know?" Oh, indeed! My Husband smiled and asked the price.
Much to my chagrin, my Husband proudly hung up that cane in our bedroom for the rest of the trip. It was in plain sight to any who entered the room-- something his aunt and little old grandmother did from time to time! Somehow, at the end of our visit, that cane survived the trip home in one piece. It was further amusing to find printed notices in our luggage stating that our bags had been "randomly selected" for a special security check. I would have paid to be a fly on the wall when the airport officials happened to open and go through our belongings! ;-)
The last story I wish to share happened more recently. My Husband and I revisited the Middle East several weeks ago for the final stage of a job interview. While we were there, we were blessed to do a little sight-seeing. One of the places we toured was a large shopping centre. It was a fun excursion! Before we left, though, I happened to spot the women's washrooms. This area was segregated behind what seemed to me to be a thick hockey-like wall barrier. The first door I opened-- apparently I had misread the sign-- led to the women's prayer room. As that was not intended to be my destination, I turned around and spotted the "special needs" washroom. It was unoccupied. I took this as a gift from Providence!
Riddle me this: why do typical lavatory stalls-- which are no larger than the average telephone booth-- insist on having doors that swing inward? I have never understood this phenomenon. It is a bane to the existence of us more germaphobic personages!
In any case, I locked the washroom door and went about my business. A minute or two later, I returned to the door handle in order to flick the lock and go on my way. The lock turned. The door, however, would not budge! My brows furrowed. I tried again. No luck. Again, I moved the lock back and forth. I tried different combinations. The door remained as stone. This is when I really looked around. The room was of medium size,. There were no windows. The doors and walls were solid and thick and made of material reminiscent of solitary confinement prison scenes. I began to panic!
I knocked on the door. It was to no avail. I swung the door handle down as hard as I could and slammed myself against the door, hoping against hope that it would spring forward and I would be released. I began to yell. It suddenly dawned on me that I did not know the Arabic world for "help!" Instead, I began to yell in English. Still, no one came to my rescue. It seemed that I would end up dying in a public washroom in a foreign country located half-way around the world! I was not sure, at that exact moment, whether God had an ironic sense of humour or if this was merely divine justice for trying to circumvent OCD.
Just as I was beginning to give in to hyperventilation, I heard my Husband's distant voice say, "I think someone is locked in there." Oh, I could have kissed him! Nevertheless, it took still several more minutes before a worker unlocked my door from the other side.
A rather half-crazed Traditional Wife emerged! Tears were streaming shamelessly down my face and my make-up was in utter shambles! What is worse, I could not run to my Husband and cling to him as I wished to do. The country we visited frowns upon public displays of affection. After cleaning up-- this time in the regular washroom!-- I rejoined my Husband in the common area. We looked at each other. Although the situation hadn't been particularly funny moments before, the corners of our mouths began to turn upwards. In the end, we could not help but burst out laughing!
Thus are a few of the crazy musings of an even crazier "Traditional wife." ;-)
Sacred Scripture reminds us: "A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:4; Douay-Rheims). All of life is truly a beautiful gift. Each "season" ought to be appreciated for its own sake and treasured for what it can teach us. Just as sorrow may temper our self-will and make us entirely dependent upon our Creator so, too, may joy and mirth cultivate a heart that is thankful for each unique God-given moment.
With a glad heart, may we choose to go forth to love and serve the Lord!