Home Alone 2

From Sunday DLW will be away for a while (on family business), possibly up to three weeks, during which time I shall be home alone. This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons:

  1. Sara will be away for her birthday. I had been getting a bit over-keen on the idea that we should have a short break away together — perhaps getting this visit out of the way will mean she feels she has more time for relaxing. I have presents to send her away with and presents for when she returns. I can make sure I am ready to receive her back lovingly.
  2. Three weeks is a lot of evenings alone in the house for me to succumb to weakness. Unlike last time I don’t have any plans in that direction. In fact, it was much harder than I’d expected to get back on the wagon afterwards, so I’d quite like to stay clean this time. That would be an achievement I think, if I managed to keep my eyes off and my hands off all that time.

I shan’t be taking time off work, but what I shall be scheduling daily yoga and prayer time, including both spoken and written prayer. I’ll stick to those schedules whatever else happens.

Susannah: a confession

#pornfree is going well (though the real test will be how I recover from a fall). That leaves one last bad habit to confront: looking.

Going back to the office after a long time WFH is a good time to break bad habits, and this is a good bad habit to break.

I have nicknames for a few of the women in the building — Clip-clop, Slinky, Pneumatic, … — I keep an eye out for them, entertain daydreams and fantasies. The woman in the office next door, my nickname for her is just Slut. Her presence is the strongest trigger — her voice, her footsteps, the sight of her waddling along the corridor, the sound of her car arriving — can flip me into a sudden overpowering hunger.

The David and Bathsheba story is not really useful here, in fact it’s rather gratifying to the voyeur: David gets to do what he wants to the girl, and she doesn’t have a speaking part (iirc) so remains an object of desire to be used as desired.

Slut’s real name is Susan. I looked to see if there were any Susan’s in the Bible, and found the “deuterocanonical” Daniel 13. I read it, transfixed and horrified, as if under a spotlight, feeling as if the story had been written directly about me.

9 And they perverted their minds and turned away their eyes from looking to Heaven or remembering righteous judgments. 10 Both were overwhelmed with passion for her, but they did not tell each other of their distress, 11 for they were ashamed to reveal their lustful desire to have her. 12 And they watched eagerly, day after day, to see her.

I want to use this story as a memory aid, a “reverse trigger”.

The men ambush Susannah when she is alone, and threaten to accuse her of adultery if she doesn’t let them “lie with” her. Susannah refuses and calls for help (“it is better for me not to do it and to fall into your power than to sin before the Lord.”), she is accused and condemned. The young Daniel intervenes and cross-examines the men, and they are exposed, humiliated, and executed.

Unlike Bathsheba, Susannah is a strong and memorable character in the story — stronger and more central (her steadfastness and faith) than Daniel really, though the happy ending is important.

The men are repugnant and weak, each acting as a tempting devil for the other. In cross-examination, Daniel describes each of the men as being cut or sawn in two. That is the experience of being overcome with a repulsive desire.

Two strong images to hold on to and use are:

  • the men being sawn in two by their weakness and their desire:
    “this repulsive desire that cuts me in two”
  • the root cause of the men’s sin, their failure to look to Heaven:
    “Let Me Look To Heaven” LML2H

Have the second pinned to the wall somewhere visible in my office. Be ready to use them both.

Passed a test

I’ve just spent a few days visiting my father. I visit him every so often for a few days to see how he his: he is getting on and lives alone since his wife / my mother died three years ago. Dad is well and we enjoyed our time together.

In the past these visits have provided lots of opportunity for shopping and dressing up:

  • The train station where I have lunch on the way out has a branch of Accessorize, where I have often bought knickers
  • I would not take any extra male underpants with me and I would wear knickers every day
  • It’s a cold rainy part of the country so on shopping trips out I would often wear a bra as well
  • I would wear knickers and bra on the way back. The train journey breaks at a county town with branches of Accessorize, New Look and Marks & Spencers and I would enjoy shopping. I would change out of the bra before arriving home

In fact, shopping and dressing up was an integral part of the visit (although one that only I knew about). So, having said goodbye to my dressing up habit last August, this visit was a bit of a test.

I certainly felt pangs, especially walking past the Accessorize on the way out. On the way back I went to Marks & Spencers and bought some men’s clothes, and felt the same pangs as the escalator took me past the lingerie department. I think the pangs were more of nostalgia than actual temptation. The appeal of dressing up is still there — but that appeal reminds me of the despair and even panic I felt last August, so it doesn’t develop into temptation.

I got back home without taking that detour. I passed that small test. I don’t feel like I was under the yoke of a new rule. This post is a little celebration.

Monitoring

I am reading “Better than Before” by Gretchen Rubin. I’ll review elsewhere, once I’ve finished (I like a lot, and I dislike a lot). For now, I’ve just read the chapter on monitoring. I found it inconclusive, so I thought I’d write up some of the ways I am using monitoring and where it seems to be effective.

Turns out I monitor quite a lot.

Some things I monitor

(more…)

Idea for dealing with temptation

I have put all the concrete details in the first section below on “the object”.

** the object

I found a website called Little Women that sells bras (and matching panties) for ladies with smaller busts. Cup sizes go down to AAA, even for larger band sizes.

(I found this linked from a blog post called “How to wear bras when you don’t have breasts” — aimed not just and even not mainly at crossdressers.)

It is clearly a sensible site aimed at sensible ladies. The designs are nice: similar to the kinds of designs I look for at Marks & Spencers.

So this raised the exciting prospect of finding a bra that would really fit me, really support my tiny breasts. There is a page full of (about 30) bras in “my size” (I would be a 38AAA). A few are nice but my favourite is the “Sheer Lace” bra (and I would get matching briefs in size 12).

** the yearning

The “object” of temptation, then, is the thing I want, together with what I want to do with it: e.g., a bar of chocolate, and eating the bar of chocolate.

I would go back to this website again and again, in bored moments, or when my work suddenly felt a bit hard. I would imagine over and over the whole process: choosing my favourites, making an order, having, enjoying. I would plot how to time an order to co-incide with my wife being away. I would think about the money and start to feel guilty, …

So each visit to the website would end up fairly emotional and I would end up fairly keyed up. It was a kind of pulling in both directions.

I realised that eventually I would succumb: an opportunity would arise suddenly, and I would plunge, grab the opportunity before it disappered.

** the temptation

The last time this happened, I noticed it start, noticed that shift of attention. I managed to focus my attention on that “shifting”, before “it” had managed to attach my attention onto the yearning (it seemed to me that the shifting attention “wakes up” the yearning, which then goes and seeks out the object).

This new “thing” that un-snicked my attention from whatever I was doing and took it to wake up the yearning, this thing I thought was the “temptation”.

I imagined it as a bluey-greeny glassy sheen. Now that I’d noticed it, it seemed to stand between me and the yearning and the object; first as a kind of sentinel, then I thought of them wrapping like layers — ( temptation ( yearning ( object ))).

Now that I’d pulled the temptation into the field, in its own right, I felt “protected” in a way from the yearning. It also occurred to me that the yearning was protected from me: I could think about being tempted (and about resisting temptation) without getting into the emotional maelstrom.

I could hold the bluey-greeny glassy sheen itself up to investigation: why have you popped up now? Instead of letting you lead me where you will — perhaps you are a sign or a symptom of something else. Perhaps I should have an apple or go for a walk, park this work and do something else.

** effects

So that is what I have been doing. Sometimes just noticing it tug on my attention is enough. Sometimes I can sense its pull is stronger. I am starting to think about “managing” temptation — have a bar of chocolate now so I don’t end up gorging myself tomorrow.

I like the idea that it can protect the object of temptation from me — especially if the thing I’m tempted to do is something like a sharp remark or a lustful look.

A “bluey-greeny glassy sheen” is definitely how I imagined it, and it has a kind of presence of its own. I’ll use it as a kind of internal alarm signal: am I hungry? Tired? Do I need some fresh air? A clear head? Perhaps it will turn out to be down to just sensual rhythms like these.

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