It has been an interesting morning at the home of Dev and Jos. I awoke needing to have a conversation with him about, essentially, whether he can continue to dominate me in the 24/7 way we’ve been doing given that I cannot make any commitment about it, now or in any future I can easily imagine. He awoke angry at me, for reasons he won’t share, and formed other thoughts and ideas I have no access to.
The conclusion of the conversation was that we are having a scene. The scene consists (at least so far) of my writing a blog post about the topic of turning tin into flesh, which I mentioned to him in a different conversation a day or so ago. This is that post.
C.S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity moves me deeply every time I read it, despite my fairly entrenched atheism. I am attracted to Christianity as presented in that book, and I think part of the reason is that Lewis appeals to my submissive self. I have observed many times in the past that my ideal model of submission comes largely from his writing.
If you haven’t read the book, this excerpt by itself may not mean much, but here is the bit about turning tin into flesh. This is an analogy, for Lewis, for what God means to do with us:
Did you ever think, when you were a child, what fun it would be if your toys could come to life? Well suppose you could really have brought them to life. Imagine turning a tin soldier into a real little man. It would involve turning the tin into flesh. And suppose the tin soldier did not like it. He is not interested in flesh: all he sees is that the tin is being spoilt. He thinks you are killing him. He will do everything he can to prevent you. He will not be made into a man if he can help it.
A later passage is inextricable from this meaning, for me:
…When I was a child I often had a toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother–at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain: but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists: I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie, if you gave them an inch they took an ell.
Now, if I may put it that way, Our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take an ell. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of (like masturbation or physical cowardice) or which is obviously spoiling daily life (like bad temper or drunkenness). Well, He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you Him in, He will give you the full treatment.
That is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’ before becoming Christians. ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, undestand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect…This I can and will do. But I will not do anything less.’
That is powerful stuff, for me. It’s not what I would normally express to a dom (though usually I cannot really submit on the level at which I am currently submitting, or anything close to it), but since Joscelin has been forcing me to be transparent and, in essence, tearing me down to the molecular level and examining the parts, well…a few nights ago, I said, “I want you to be God to me, Sir.” And this, along with the transparency (for what is God if not omniscient?), is a big part of what I meant.
What it means to me is that Jos would force me to let go of my pretenses, at least towards him, my prickly ego-resistance, my pride, my “front” if you will. (Many of the most amazing and fulfilling parts of what we’ve done so far these past few weeks have consisted, at least for me, of exactly this.) And he would improve me in the ways that he saw fit. He would take care of me, and he would not break me, and he would pay attention to how I responded to things, but he would push me relentlessly in the direction that he wanted me to go, and it wouldn’t matter whether I felt I could do it or not. And he would make me better.
There is a bit of a conflict here, right? I’m asking (perhaps) this man to be a god to me, in this particular sense, but this man is certainly not the Christian God. I also want to be used for sex, made to suffer pain for no reason other than his (or our) pleasure, and so on. Perhaps the real Christian God is a selfish, kinky bastard, but that’s not how I envision him. But somehow I feel this objection can be gotten around – I’m happy enough taking bits and pieces of my relationship model from different places.
I am not sure, in any case, whether turning my tin into flesh is something that is, or may be, on offer from Joscelin. But I’ll assume, for this post, for now, that it is. Can I choose that path?
One problem I have is that some of Jos’s stated plans and desires are, for me, strictly at odds with this vision. He wants to degrade me. We had a conversation about this the other night that essentially turned into a scene for me (the conversation itself) and then he used me sexually and afterwards I sobbed, not believing that aftercare could even exist, because I was so sucked down into this model where I can be made into nothing. Being made into nothing, made to feel like nothing, is not part of my vision. Having my beautiful tin body turned into a single point mass is not…what I have in mind, if you will.
I have long considered Jos to be “good all the way down,” but he took pains in that conversation-turned-scene to make sure I know he is also (these are my words, not his) bad, or mean, or cruel all the way down. Is it safe to entrust one’s tin to such a person?
Last night, I was resolved to break this off. Jos spoke of needing a commitment from me, during that conversation-scene – not in order to go forward at all, but in order to be in a committed relationship. I don’t see this as something I can, or could ever, actually commit to. I’m not sure it’s even OK to want someone to commit to being owned by you.
I decided to focus this year on becoming strong, and, as I explained to Jos today, I associate strength with independence. Putting your improvement into the hands of someone else, letting them judge your progress, letting them determine your worth – these are not the acts of a strong person. When the person is your ex-boyfriend who you still hope will take you back, it’s even worse, isn’t it? I want to focus my year on being stronger and in more control of myself. (Is that a pipe dream anyway?)
Totally separate from that is the question of commitment itself. As Lewis says, I have free will, and I can push Joscelin away. If I were to agree to have my tin made into flesh, how could I possibly trust myself not to just stop when I stop liking it, when it’s not hot for a while, when I’m just tired, worn down from my semester, lacking in energy for it? And would I then feel like (or actually be) a failure?
So these are the crossroads at which I feel I am standing. Maybe I don’t have a choice to make at all – maybe Jos is not interested in turning my tin into flesh, at least at whatever cost I would ultimately impose. Maybe we are just too incompatible for it to work at all. And I have no way of making the choice “once and for all” – at least not the “tin into flesh” choice. But I feel as though there is some choice here – to become the best, strongest, shiniest little tin man I can be, or to put myself as a toy into the hands of another person and see what becomes of me.