I semi-joked the other day about making a Care and Feeding of The Heather user guide. I say semi because I wasn’t really joking at all, but I also didn’t plan on writing it. It’s a bit impractical because it would be about 30 pages long and who has time to read that? Truth is, it’s more impractical as an idea not because of the length, but the reasons behind why I want to create the text in the first place.
I want to create this guide so that I can avoid conflict with future partners, so lovers know which buttons to push, tops know what aftercare to provide, and loved ones know how to defuse a bomb before it ever explodes, all with me never having to open up in a conversation about all these things. The lengths we human’s will go to avoid vulnerability can be astounding; writing – and reading – tomes to avoid the potential awkwardness, unpleasantness, and multiple of feelings that come with conflict.
The extra inconvenient truth? I could write 500 pages and still not be satisfied. I’d grow weary of my partner having all the answers. Or I’d get infuriated that my partner skipped straight to the fixing without giving me time to feel heard.
And the downside to skipping the opening up part and providing my people all the crib notes of me is that I’d lose the opportunity of bonding and strengthening that comes being vulnerable and having that accepted by a loved one. I’d lose out on the opportunity to witness our relationship’s strength and gain trust in our ability to problem solve as a unit that comes from conflict. I’d lose fun of discovering my lover’s buttons. I’d miss getting to show my loved ones that I will accept them in their vulnerability.
I would miss a lot of really good stuff.
That all said; I can still see a lot of value in creating a Care and Feeding Guide for myself. Partially so that I can see the path that I’ve taken while exploring my sexuality, partially so that I can better see patterns in my own behaviour, partially so that I can provide my partner’s with pro-tips and best practices to help them – but without trying to do their job of partnering for them.
So I’m creating my own guide and following a few guide lines
- This document will be private. It’s not about providing someone crib notes, or seeking validation. There is no need to put it into the public sphere.
- This document will be reviewed for relevance. Seeing as I know myself pretty well these days most stuff will only need a cursorily review every 6 months. But some of my newer explorations about spirituality and kink? Likely after each experience and with actual focus.
- This document shall be reviewed for reminders. Especially before cons, camping, and other awesome events of intensity. Knowing how I tend to respond to various things (like no sleep, or fear, or large quantities of extroversion) always comes in handy at those times.
If you’re interested in creating a care and feeding document for yourself but aren’t sure where to start, try this out:
What are the top 5 things you would want someone to know in each of these categories:
Inherited Mental Processes
Or, since I’m a big fan of crowd sourcing here’s what myself and a few others came up with over on FetLife. Answering these questions should be more than enough to get you started creating your own person care and feeding guide.
What does it look like when I’m upset | Top x fixes
What do I have a tendency to forget when it comes to self care?
What assumptions do I default when interacting with people?
My favourite things
My love languages
My dominant (and other frequent) communication styles
What does it look like when I’m enjoying something?
What does it look like when I’m not enjoying something
What does it look like when I’m struggling?
Top Turn ons / turn offs
Best practices for support in times of stress?
Happy navel gazing!
 That’s certain to be either a gross overestimation…. or a gross underestimation.
 In other words; the ideas we picked up along our lives that have now squirreled into our brains. Like the ideas what we aren’t cool enough; or that people we love leave us, or fill in your own personal insecurities, fears, and faulty mental processes here. Maybe you could call it mental baggage; but that’s such a negative word…. If you know better word, please let me know! Edited to add: Someone has suggested ice – indoctrination, conditioning, education …. and I’m going to be flipping that around in my head for the next little while.