Beautiful and Terrible as the Morning and the Night

There are a few webcomics I read for reasons other than pure enjoyment, one of them being Girl Genius. I’m sticking with that one for the reason that it’s confounded me with its refusal to ever actually tie up a plotline in the main story and I’m waiting for the day that it does. It’s not that the authors can’t tell a story, a recent short arc outside of the main story, about a private eye, had an actual end to it as well as a coherent plot throughout. However, they do still occasionally hit a high note with a bit of humor, some action, or even a twist in the tale that doesn’t feel like a deus ex literal machina.  A recent update was not only reasonably well-written, it also has a last line that struck me in a way I don’t think they were intending. One character asks another how angry is the newly minted mad genius Colette Voltaire, a woman who is literally hooked to and controlling all automation in this comic’s iteration of Paris. The other character, responding to the idea that she’ll eventually calm down over it, says “Not too much, I hope! She was magnificent.” How wonderful is that line?

One of the things about the dynamic between me and my darling husband that I still have trouble with is the idea that he likes me mad. More specifically, he sometimes tries to prickle me by bratting at me, claiming that when he succeeds in it, I hit harder and just seem more generally intense. Being told this is an experience somewhat akin to someone claiming that water would be better if it were just a little drier. It’s not that I don’t understand the idea of the hitting harder and being a bit more firey, it’s just that I have trouble identifying as that person he’s talking about. I can feel angry, but I always assume that to other people, it’s a bit like being ferociously barked at by a Pomeranian puppy; one isn’t even sure that the wee puffball could even break skin with a bite. There’s a part of me, honestly most of me, that presumes that for him this is really good roleplaying.

I love the idea of being magnificently terrifying. I don’t personally want to live there, it’s not a dynamic I desire to inhabit all of the time. It’s more like a desire to go on vacation to a land that has closed its borders. Perhaps the very genesis of my love of scary goddesses and warrior queens is the fact that I cannot see myself in them. Perhaps my drawing parallels with my relationship’s dynamic is also is a response to my feelings that I am playing dress-up in mummy’s clothes, only mummy has nice boots and a whip. There was no indication when I was younger, up into adulthood, that I ever wanted to be dominant or a top. I’m a quiet, non-confrontational sort and frequently feel that a real dominant would be better prepared and certainly wouldn’t ever fall over their own feet in the middle of a scene. I’ve read enough other women who are in female led relationships or just plain love making their partner scream with things other than delight, to know that these factors aren’t what makes the relationships or interactions “real”, but convincing my heart that my brain is telling the truth can be a wrenching process that seems to have no end in sight. I know I don’t have to have my life together to dress up my beloved and bend him over the bed, I know I don’t have to be authoritative to tell KB to make coffee that he himself will not end up drinking any of, and I don’t have to pass an exhaustive personality test to buckle a collar around his neck. Still, even as I laugh at the commonest depictions of female dominants, oh to be magnificently terrifying. Perhaps my dreams are of having power to the point of it being manifested in my personality to the point where I am considered with fright and or awe, even the idea of being thought of as a formidable battle-axe. Perhaps I would even rather be Galadriel having taken the ring, rather than the Galadriel who retains her righteousness of rule by refusing it. I adore my husband and lavish him with love because this is what makes me happy with him, even when trying to feed the side of me that wants to leave him with red stripes sometimes feels like an odd, bumpy transition. Ah, but in my fantasies… love me and despair.


2 thoughts on “Beautiful and Terrible as the Morning and the Night

  1. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading your assessments and exploration of the ideas at hand. I have often wondered where the lines between the desire to be actually frightful and merely in control are drawn, and if they ever get blurry.

    Take care.


    • I do have to admit, this post is a lot more about self-image and insecurities, which do obviously leak into my relationship, than it is about play or dynamic.

      For how I feel about the actual practice of sadism (perhaps one can be magnificently terrifying without cruelty actually expressed, but I think those individuals are rare and I am not among their number) a post I wrote a little over two years ago touches on it. It’s certainly enough time gone by that I probably wouldn’t write exactly the same post now if I were going to write about whether or not I call myself sadistic, and doesn’t answer the how far is too far (for me) question.

      Liked by 1 person

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