What good is a fantasy? (Tuesdays with Ana, Part Two)

Welcome back to “Tuesdays with Ana”! Today’s topic is saying good-bye.

Nah, I’m not leaving. Not that kind of good-bye. No one died, either. Not that kind of post.

But recently, I said good-bye and thank you to a professional mentor who has “been there” for me, in one form or another (a thorn in my side or a cheerleader on the sidelines), for the majority of my time in my current position. When I first met her, she was a godsend. She helped me navigate the intricacies of a truly idiosyncratic system, and especially in the early days I relied on her for advice, guidance, and wisdom.

I was only her second professional protege, and she rose to the occasion over and over again. She had a reputation as a cold fish, but with me fell over herself to give the best treatment. She took me home to meet her family, toasted my successes with wine, and cheered for me in one never-ending stream of encouragement and nitpicking.

I push myself hard, and in my mentors I look for someone who will push me even more. She was that and more.

Yet at a certain point, our paths diverged. My professional interests no longer lay in the direction that she was taking me. What worked well when I was an eager newbie didn’t work as well once I’d settled into my own path. She turned her attention toward other new, eager proteges who *wanted* to follow in her footsteps, every one of them. I realized that I no longer wanted to play follow-the-leader.

In my line of work, a mentor is the sine qua non of professional advancement. I struck out on my own, only to realize that I did need guidance. Darn it. I was sure that no one could help me with my chosen career path, and I was even more sure that I couldn’t mold myself into the approved career path of my mentor.

It’s the same pattern of my spanky writing…that I write from the heart and most determinedly will write what I want and most fervently believe in. It would be a lot easier for me if I could force myself to write according to conventions, but that can’t happen. Not that I choose not to, but that I physically am incapable of writing from a mold. I’d sell a lot more books if I followed the formula, I’d get a lot more reviews, and I’d make a lot more money.

But what I have learned over the past half-year is that I am who I am. Online and offline, kinky and vanilla. Learning to let go of this mentor in my offline vanilla life has helped me to realize how much I have grown as a person…through this online kinky life. I can stay in this moment, treasuring all that I have been given while acknowledging that I have moved on. People come into our lives for different reasons during different seasons, but they don’t always get to stay.

In changing to someone new, I’ve let go of a lot of my fantasies about a mentor. I don’t expect someone who will anticipate my needs, make me happy, ask me whether things are okay, or mentor me in the way I wish to be mentored. I want someone competent at his or her job who gives me the tools to succeed…and then gets out of my way.

Sometimes, when the people closest to us are not doing what we want them to do, it’s time to take stock of our own expectations. In what ways are our expectations for others built on fantasy of a perfect mentor/spouse/parent/child/etc.?

Since The Way Home comes out tomorrow, we’ll wait to discuss Kat and Natalie until next Tuesday. Kat loses her mentor and must learn how to adjust her own expectations. But for today, I’d like to prepare for that discussion by pondering this question:

I’d like you to go here to read this M/F story again…but be sure to come back! As you read, please think about the fantasy element. Would you like to have a spouse like Rick? Do you think Rick is realistic? Do you agree that this story is a fantasy? If yes, do you think that fantasies like these are potentially helpful or harmful for practicing a DD lifestyle?

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25 thoughts on “What good is a fantasy? (Tuesdays with Ana, Part Two)

  1. joeyred51 says:

    I am not in a DD lifestyle, but I know many people who live D/s and DD 24/7. Rick is very realistic as a DD husband. I can think of a good friend who is just like Rick in many ways. I think fantasy stories such as your Christmas in March story are fun and may inspire a scene or two by a husband and wife.

    I think fantasy stories spark the imagination of people and help couples become creative with their DD relationships.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’m surprised to hear that you find Rick realistic. Hm, I had thought of him as pure fantasy. Though maybe by “realistic” you mean something that could happen in a DD or D/s relationship. I’m pleased if that’s so.

      I can see this story being a *very* fun role-play scenario! Hehe.

      Like

  2. Viola says:

    I do think Rick is realistic, he is kind and firm and yes, I would definitely like a spouse like him.
    I agree this story is fiction but it is realistic enough.

    Hugs
    Viola

    Like

  3. Sassy Chassy says:

    As someone who has been in a DD marriage for 5 years, part of DD groups & a leader of two DD groups more times than not Rick would be the epitome of DD fantasy. I would say those in the lifestyle that are like Rick make up about 1% and those are men who are very naturally dominant & seeked out this lifestyle themselves. The consistency & level of public chastisement is a huge fantasy among women. The reality might feel much differently than what we imagine in our minds. In DD there are perfect moments where things go just as we would imagine it. More times than not it’s a mix of that fantasy with a huge dose of real life human flaws, busy life, kids, illness, insecurities, fatigue, romance, a dollop of comedy. As much as we wish it we are not capable of reading each others minds & meeting every need without asking. So much more communication needs to happen than our fantasy would have. A willingness to compromise and forgive is huge in the lifestyle. DD can be better than fantasy, but we have to have realistic expectations. I think stories like these can be very helpful to indulge in. They meet needs within that we can’t always get in real life & they can inspire amazing moments in our real relationships. It is very important to remember the line where reality and fantasy diverge. I know many women who have brought this lifestyle to their partners and are so disappointed when they aren’t the perfect Dom (hoh) right out of the gates. This is a trap that we fall in when we forget why we chose them as mates to begin with & that measuring someone against a fantasy just isn’t fair to either ourselves or our partner. It’s something even I have been guilty of. It’s important to have our ideals & goals that we are working toward. It’s also important not to have a standard of perfection (or fantasy) because reality will never be able to measure up. However, having said that I do think fantasy is incredibly valuable.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Oh wow…someday I will need to get you to write a guest post of your own!

      In writing Rick, although of course this was influenced by what Jenny Chuenn (the winner of the story who determined the parameters) wanted, I concentrated on creating a fantasy of what many women want in a HoH.

      I think fantasy has wonderful benefits, but it’s always good to remember what’s fantasy versus what’s in our real life. Fantasy can give us an avenue to work out things that we can then apply to our own life. Plus, fantasy is just plain fun. 🙂

      Love your thoughts.

      Like

  4. Katie Meer says:

    I enjoyed reading this short story again. It was very well written, and seemed pretty realistic from a DD point of view. (or at least from my blog readings, and sharing with other DD’ers).

    My biggest issue stems from the real side of things. As the woman who brought DD into our relationship, in sheer desperation, to a husband who loves me, but is just not quite ready for this dynamic, it is hard for me to read reality in stories.
    I push myself to read more fantasy, so I can escape, so I won’t compare my relationship. It is kind of hard to compare your husband to a vampire or an alien (though I have on occasion, wished my husband was a spanking vampire. then reality entered again.)
    But in realistic stories, I can’t escape. I long for that dynamic with husband, and resent him for not being like the man in the story.
    It is a tough line for me because I can’t shake it off as fantasy, instead it is something that someone else has, that I covet.
    I think these stories can be extremely helpful to new couples entering the lifestyle. But , if the wife is confused, and resentful, like me sometimes, then she needs to be aware that realism for someone else, might still be a fantasy for her, and not to resent her husband. Otherwise it can be dangerous to the relationship.
    (I think I had two hours of non-concurrent sleep last night, so if you want to edit it my response, ask Corinne. She understands me quite well. 🙂 )
    Great questions, Ana.
    I would really like to talk about mentorship in one of your FIKA’s. You had some really good insight that I would love to chat more about. (on a full night’s sleep, maybe?)
    🙂

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      That’s an interesting point…that outright fantasy is easier to read than stories that are realistic. I can see how vampires, etc. would make it easier not to compare and become dissatisfied.

      Confusion and resentment is absolutely part of the dynamic, or at least it can be.

      Will message you about the mentorship. 🙂

      Like

  5. Renee Rose says:

    Hmm… I’ve been thinking about this too. As a writer of my fantasies. On one level, they satisfy. On the other, would I be better served spending some time fantasizing about my own husband, my own marriage and my own life? To make those more perfect? Because I do believe thoughts create our reality, so fantasizing about what *I* want in this life I’ve living right now, might be a more direct route to having all my fantasies fulfilled. Know what I mean, Vern?

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Writing is for grown-ups what playing with dolls is for children, I think. 🙂 You’re absolutely right that our thoughts create reality. I’m reminded of the myth about Pygmalion. We can pour so much of our energies into a fantasy that we lose sight of reality…but I still think that fantasy is a great gift.

      However, for you I would suggest washing windows. 😉

      Like

  6. Cat says:

    I think it depends on what type of relationship you are in and what you want as to if you find the story fantasy, reality or a combination.

    I had someone very similar to Rick and yes, it is realistic, to a point. If I had behaved like Jenny, the incident in the bedroom would have been deemed a ‘warm-up’ with much more to come when we got home! 😦

    Fantasies can be helpful or harmful for practicing a DD lifestyle depending on where you are in your relationship. If you are secure and in a good place, then fantasies are probably either helpful or harmless. However, if you are unhappy in where your DD relationship is, then fantasies may be harmful. But then again, the same can be said if you have a pure vanilla relationship that is not in the best place and read a romance novel.

    If any reading material (books, blogs, chats, etc.) cause you to be dissatisfied with your relationship (DD/TTWD/vanilla), then you probably need to look at yourself, your relationship and your expectations. Ok, off my soap box now. 😀

    Blessings,
    Cat

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      True…I was aiming for a very short story, and it was already running long. I am sure she could have done with a bit more attention at home!

      I really like what you say about the happiness/unhappiness with one’s current relationship being a deciding factor whether fantasies are helpful. However…I think fantasies can be constructive if we fantasize about things we want and are possible…and are good for us.

      Please step on your soap box whenever you wish. 😀

      Like

  7. Constance Masters says:

    I found this hard to answer but I’ll try. Sorry though if I don’t make any sense.

    OK would I like a husband like Rick? I’m happy with the husband I have? Is he perfect? Hell no but neither am I. Life isn’t perfect.

    Do I think Rick was realistic? Yes and no. Yes I think his reaction was realistic but more controlled than it would have been if it had been real. That’s not a bad thing. People don’t go to the bathroom in our fantasies either do they? Unless that’s what your fantasy is I guess but that’s not what we’re talking about.

    Was this a fantasy and does it help or harm DD lifestyle? Yes it is a fantasy, a very fun one. I honestly don’t think that a story can be harmful to a relationship of any kind. I agree with what Cat said there.

    I hope I sort of answered your questions Ana 🙂

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      What a great response, Constance. You make some really good points here. I hadn’t thought about the yes/no part of the realism. I mean, he wasn’t whaling on Jenny with a 2×4 or something. And yes, we do want some things to be better than realism in our fiction. LOL about those fantasies.

      I do think fantasies are good…I mean of course I do because I write them. 🙂

      Like

  8. minellesbreath says:

    Well I just want to say….Yes…. what they said. So many great thoughts. I believe you need to distinguish between fantasy and reality. We are human with so many imperfections. Life is wonderful however we are not perfect. If we expect and desire our partner to be a perfect ‘Rick’ we may set up our relationship for failure. It is like the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” That doesn’t mean we cannot aspire a better relationship using a model such as Rick. We can have our own version of perfection that works for ‘us.’

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    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I think it’s great to enjoy a wonderful story! I mean, where would be without our stories? What is a story except for a fantasy that sometimes is real in a way we could never expect?

      I do think Rick is loving, and I can see someone wanting a Rick. I’m not sure that anyone could be like Rick all the time. And yes, we all find what works for us and is perfect for us.

      Like

  9. Penelope says:

    Sorry to be a quirky and focus on a different bit of your post to everyone else, but hey. I’m a rebel like that.

    I just wanted to say it’s great that you “write from the heart” and write what you feel and believe in, rather than writing to some formula designed to capture sales. If art is anything – and writing fiction is certainly an art – it is a way to explore and express aspects of ourselves; a way to put our hearts out into the world. Without some kind of felt connection between artist and art, what’s the point?

    Oh, and I’ll see your sine qua non and raise you a lacrimae rerum. ;D

    Like

  10. Joelle Casteel says:

    I found it entirely realistic. unfortunately, for someone not into DD, it might be an issue- I type this having just received a hard review on Goodreads from someone not into BDSM. But Jenny agreed to the DD lifestyle. Rick said he didn’t approve of the dress; he said that very clearly. Although my simple acceptance of it might come from my M/s lifestyle- when I got my breast reduction about 6 years ago, my Master told me to get rid of all my frumpy clothes and I did. He said so. But the thing around which this all hinges for me is consent. If both parties consent- whether it be IRL or in fantasy- consent is what matters. Of course, in matters of DD or M/s, that’s the consent at the beginning of the relationship- sometimes a spanking will indeed look non-consensual, especially a punishment one.

    Like

  11. Jade Cary says:

    This is a hard one for me, since I find this kind of control unappealing. It’s one thing to have a man who is stronger than you in some ways (not just physically), and can guide you to being a better person. That would never bleed over into telling me what to wear. To me, Rick–and other characters like him–are pure fantasy, and as I read through many of the books and stories that are out there, I can’t imagine how these men keep up the day-to-day control and hand holding that makes for admittedly good fantasy reads, but I would guess, very frustrating and stamina-killing r/l. Joelle’s point, of course, is right on: SHE agreed to the life, HE said no to the dress…period. No gray area here. And NOT being in a DD relationship, but having a beloved who is opinionated and somewhat demanding, I still get the idea of expectations. I have to believe, though, that in r/l, depending how ‘strict’ the HoH is, that consistency can be a problem.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      That gets to the heart of the “fantasy” element, Jade. There is a longing to be held accountable and for someone to follow up, check up, etc. but in reality it is exhausting. I hesitate to say “consistent” because is it really a reasonable expectation to expect someone to check on whether we have done X and Y? At what point does it become not taking responsibility for ourselves?

      I personally think that “strictness” is a matter of interpretation, but if that is not part of the dynamic naturally then it can be harmful trying to force it.

      Like

    • Joelle Casteel says:

      Well I think part of where it’s a bit more fantastic and less real is the constant keeping up with it that we see in fiction- that’s not to say that I haven’t known BDSM couple IRL where the Dom was as on top of it. However, in my own experience, it’s not as constant. But Rick did say “Take the dress back.” If I’d decided to disobey my Master in such a way, I’d be in trouble- especially a dress that price. But if I bought a bottle of nail polish that He didn’t like the color, well if He even really noticed the color, I’d give the bottle away to a friend and buy a new bottle the next I can. I personally like the level of control Rick shows, but if it was anymore, I might even find it too much.

      Like

  12. Ami says:

    Do I like Rick? Hmmm, not sure. Unfortunately I DO have a husband who does not hesitate to tell me if he doesn’t like an outfit I am wearing. It then has the result of making me dislike it too. The snag is that I don’t take to criticism easily – I want and need justifiable reasons. I would probably have worn the dress and regretted it all day/evening.

    The other thoughts I have are that if a writer can cause the reader to truly ‘engage’ with the characters of a story, then they are doing a good job! If fictional characters stir our emotions to the point of us getting into heated discussion, or even straightforward debate about them, then the writer has done a ‘damn’ good job!

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