Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The strong-willed submissive

[strawng-wild, strong-]
1. having a powerful will; resolute.
2. stubborn; obstinate.
3. Shannon. 

[suh b-mis-iv]
1. inclined or ready to submit; unresistingly or humbly obedient.
2. marked by or indicating submission.
3. the exact opposite of Shannon. 

For as long as I could remember I've wanted to be a wife and a mama. Truth be told I never wanted to go to college, and when I did I thought surely I would earn an MRS degree as opposed to a BS degree. This had to be a slap in the face to my mother who after completing two years at a community college got married, got a job, had one perfect child (why not - it's my blog) and still found time to complete her bachelor's degree. Oh - she and my father paid for it all themselves. The simple point - I grew up in a house with a mother who wanted a family, a career, worked hard to get and excelled at it (still does actually). Did she send me to daycare - yes, did I get homemade lunches with handwritten notes everyday - no, did she ever miss a swim meet or school event - no; I knew I was loved, I never went without and I think daycare and hot lunches are pretty awesome actually. 

With her as my role model, alongside two very hard working fathers, I still always wanted to be a wife and a mama as my primary job. Of course I thought about being a teacher, an architect, a landscape architect - even a doctor for a short while (what was a thinking?!?!) - but that was always an aside to the first dream job. 

I did the college thing, changed my major multiple times, after five years I graduated with a degree in Merchandising and a minor in Women's Studies. Still to this day I have no idea what it cost - THANK YOU awesome parents!! Merch classes made me fall in love with the idea of working as a buyer for Crate & Barrel or designing visual merchandising plans for Pottery Barn - but my WS classes found myself in constant conflict with my peers for my thoughts on home life. I was the outcast - the audacity of me, as a woman in the 2000's to desire to be a stay at home mom. My peers just couldn't understand why I would go through college just to quit a job soon after. By graduation I had surmised that I would work - after five years in college I had a boyfriend that I might marry but I would have to work. BUT I would only work until I got married and had a baby. Right...

I believed then just as I do now that feminism gives us a choice - and I choose for ME to make my family my career - not a part of my career. That when men and women embrace their gender differences and accept that we were created to fulfill different roles life is grand. That may be a little too poetic but you get my point. It's interesting as I watch my girlfriends go from singles, to wives, to mamas, how many of them are choosing to be stay at home's, or at the very least desiring to be. 

This plan made perfect sense until I broke up with my college sweetheart. Then proceeded to spend the next seven years dating jerks or not dating at all. I had no choice but to focus on my career and be the best that I could be at it. My family had always taught me that working hard and challenging yourself brings the greatest rewards so that's what I did. I poured myself into my job, changing jobs when I had hit that 'ceiling' so I could continue to grow. It's not what I wanted - I wanted the husband and kids - the house with the big dining room table and plenty of bedrooms for guests, a big mantle and wide front porch to decorate for the seasons, some chickens so I never ran out of eggs - you know, just the basics. But this was the one thing I couldn't get on my own. The house and chickens yes, but what fun are all those things without someone to share them with. What fun would they be without my knight in shining armor to handle the 'manly' things like taking out the trash and mowing the lawn. I was capable of doing all these things on my own, and quite frankly I'd gotten pretty good at it (except for putting up a Christmas tree - I'll save that for a later post) but that wasn't the point. It never was for me. How was it that the one thing in life I wanted most was something that hard work and dedication could never bring me? Ummm where's that Disney classic???

(Are you still there? I should have prefaced the length of this post at the beginning... grab some champagne and popcorn, it's a long one.)

At 30 years old I found myself in a new career - a male dominated and military based industry of which I had no experience to share. Talk about a challenge. More times than not I've felt in over my head, but I work hard, do my job, ask for more responsibility and keep going. Never mind the tears or the swearing that have commenced, I will not give up. This is another step in my career since I had yet to meet my Mr. 

Then I met my Mr.  - at work. We became best friends and when the time was right - he made a move (although he swears I did) and we've been inseparable ever since. Literally. His office is six feet from mine, we travel on the same business trips, we carpool, we live together. It's awesome.... most of the time. He is the person I was meant to do life with. He is my best friend, my soul mate, my mentor and my crush. This relationship allows us to be completely honest with each other, even when the honest truth is hard to hear. That is at home at least...

...Work. He IS our company. He bleeds our logo, his loyalty is unquestionable, his knowledge is beyond impressive, his job is important - we need him. Me on the other hand, my job was created for me, and some may say it has no place here. My energy and strong-willed tendencies have rubbed some the wrong way while others find it refreshing. He is in the middle. He see's my value and wants to protect me from those that don't. Before we became an 'us', and now more than ever, he has been my champion and has wanted me to succeed here. 

I've struggled the last six months on whether to stay or find a new job. There are so many things I love about it, yet some very frustrating times as well. Isn't that the case with any job? Add in the fact that you work with your Mr. Crazy. But when your partner, your best friend, is in the middle of it - that's the test. After a trying couple of days last week over work stuff we were in a heated conversation he said to me 'Why can't you just be submissive to us at work? I am submissive to you at home!'

Submissive. That word. It felt like nails on a chalk board. The audacity of him to say that to ME of all people. I am the opposite of submissive - I am strong-willed and I like that about me. He doesn't know me at all. 

What??? Who am I? Who is this person that after finally getting what she has always wanted she is fighting the opportunity to not just play but to own the role of woman and enable her partner to own the role of man? Suddenly all those years of feeling sorry for myself that I hadn't met my Mr. and focusing on my career had caused me to lose focus of the original dream. He does know me - sometimes better than I know myself. 

After a full night to gather our thoughts we re-grouped. While his delivery sucked (a statement I made no less than ten times to him) the message was what I needed to hear. I am a better employee, friend, partner and keeper of the home we share when I allow myself to thrive at what I do best and allow him and others to do so as well. When I stop fighting it. When I stop relishing the strong-willed in me. 

{I can only imagine the look on my mother's face after that last line. 
Please don't say I told you so - baby steps.}

We're not married yet, and we've yet to have kids (aside from his perfect ten-year old mini me that I adore as my own) but we are sharing a life together and I for one am excited to embrace my role as the strong-willed submissive

UPDATE: As I've thought about this post in the last 24 hours I want to make it perfectly clear that my Mr. is unbelievably supportive of me in everything I do. We work through home, life and work as partners with equality - merely respecting where each of us shines. 


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