Try before you buy

… in which I realise how much D/s is like clothes shopping.

Yesterday, Xander took me clothes shopping. I changed the way I’ve been eating and have lost weight, and I had no more tops that didn’t look all stretched and baggy. And I found a cute green merino sweater and some corduroy pants, all in a size 12! Last time I bought tops, they were 16s and 18s! That, and his appreciative looks are good motivation to keep going with my good diet.

mannequins-clothes-3d-model_D

Trying on clothes made me realise how I first brought D/s to my then unsuspecting husband. If D/s were clothes, I bought clothes for both of us that I liked based on how they looked on the hanger, models, or on other people. And I bought them without checking the material, trying them on, or asking my man whether he liked them on me or on himself. And then I ended up disappointed that he wouldn’t wear them, or wouldn’t comment favourably how they looked on me. And I thought something was wrong with me when they didn’t fit all that well.

Now in regards to real clothes, my man chooses and buys his own, and he simply won’t wear what’s not comfortable, stylish and has a certain class. His taste in clothes is more conservative than adventurous. He doesn’t wear bright colours or bold patterns. He doesn’t need to; his quiet strength and charm are plenty enough to make him stand out. And when he helps me choose, the items he picks for me are often bolder than what I’d dare, but I try them on, and he’s got a great eye for what suits me. In fact, most of my clothes that I get complimented in, sometimes even by strangers, were picked by him.

Back to our D/s journey, though: In the first two years, I was in a form of sub frenzy. Now that I knew what I wanted, I wanted it all and I wanted it now, and despite my best efforts to not overwhelm my darling husband / newly crowned Dom, I still did.

What is subfrenzy? According to Kayla Lords, “A heady emotional time when a submissive is so excited and eager to submit that they go above and beyond, are overly enthusiastic, and will sometimes submit to someone not worthy out of the sheer excitement and happiness to be submitting at all.” More here or here, if you’re keen to learn more.

And after two years of that, I couldn’t / wouldn’t do it anymore. Several reasons contributed to that D/s hiatus last year (among them stress and medical issues for both of us), but one that I hadn’t seen clearly then was that I was trying to “do” our D/s in a particular way and exhausting myself and frustrating him in the process. I was wearing metaphorical high heels that killed my feet and back, thinking “this is what a good sub wears”, and not realising that he’d never asked me to wear them and probably wouldn’t have picked them for me either. They sure looked good in the shop window, but they weren’t me, or him, or us.

When I called it quits on the D/s we’d done so far, I told Xander that I still wanted him to lead, but that I needed it to be really his leadership from now on, not just my version of what I thought our D/s should look like. And that meant, I had – and still have to – wait for him to find ways to lead us that feel good and comfortable and right to him. So, nowadays, much more than before, I’ll ask his opinion on particular ways of submitting to him before I “buy” them. Kind of like clothes shopping. “Look what I found! Do you like it on me? Do you want me to wear this? Do you think it suits me?” And if he says no, then I’ll put it back on the rack where I found it. Maybe even without moping.

try before you buy sign

The difference to before is, we’re going D/s shopping together these days, even if it’s at my prompting (“I need a new top!”). But I’m not buying things before trying them on anymore, and not without his approval.

And, unsurprisingly, his buy-in is a lot bigger than before.

I’m grateful to have my Dom back. And for last year’s struggles

… in which I look back over the last year and forward into the future.

Sometime in the middle of December, Xander asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I quietly told him: “I want my Dom back.”

Come Christmas, I unpacked a waffle iron. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted that, too. I’d picked it myself, after all. Four big square Belgian waffles in one go, great nonstick coating, and… oh, wrong topic, ‘scuse me!

Yes, my Dom came back, too! We could have rung in the new year with a countdown spanking, only that life got in the way and we were bushed and asleep at 9 p.m. And he didn’t come back all at once, but it built up slowly over December. When Xander started coming out of his lack-of-testosterone-funk, he gave me a few fun spankings, we started talking again about D/s things, and once or twice, he put a play collar on me for bedroom fun that didn’t involve going to sleep early. And a few days after Christmas (and after a good spanking and sexy time), he had me read him the list of “My needs as your Submissive and Wife” that I wrote for him a while back, and we talked about each point. At the end of that, he said he didn’t want me to get hurt again when he couldn’t keep it up, and that’s why he didn’t want to commit, but he was willing to give it a good shot. I told him that “domly perfection” wasn’t on my list of needs. His willingness to learn together with me how we can live our lives showing our love to each other in this way is (finally) good enough for me. (Yes, I’ve learned, too.) So, in short, I’ve got my Captain back on board, and I’ve been properly spanked and loved in the last two weeks. I’ve got an updated list of rules, and we’re both doing our best to live our respective sides of the slash. And we’ve got a new communication hack: When I’m hankering or itching for a spanking, I’ll tell Xander “I’d like a spanking, please”. When it’s gotten to the point where I know I need a spanking, I’m to tell him “I really need my medicine.” Then he knows I need his active support to keep our life calm and peaceful.

You could even say we’ve got a new “project” in the works, too. As our D/s ways of interacting popped up again, I noticed how much I’d slipped in terms of showing respect to Xander. So, I told him of my resolution to consistently show him respect in my words, actions and tone of voice, and I asked him if he was willing to hold me consistently accountable for that for the duration of January. He agreed and has been paying attention and giving me feedback, both positive and of the discipline sort.

When he went back to work I struggled a bit, as he wasn’t physically around and mentally occupied with the go-live of a huge long-term project, and because I had my period (which often makes me feel down, sad, and neglected), but I coped alright. One thing that helped was that on the day before my period started, I hated how ornery I was feeling and asked him for a good “put me in my place” spanking, and he gave me one that has me still noticing it when I sit down today, four days later. Ouch, but yay.

I am so very grateful that we’re back on the D/s road, because I love the closeness and much improved communication when we engage this way, and because I love submitting to my man when my submission is welcome. And now that it feels we’re on the other side of them, I am also grateful for the struggles we overcame in the last year, as each of them brought its gifts. I intend to bring the lessons learned in this yearlong intermission forward into our “new” D/s, because they were good lessons.

train tracks going through water towards a cloudy sunrise

Things I’m grateful I learned this year

I learned that I am always going to have a submissive heart in my marriage, and that being submissive isn’t the same as being a doormat. It doesn’t mean always saying “Yes, Sir” in words or actions. “No, Sir, that’s not cool with me” can be just as important. It’s not good for our marriage or for me when I stop communicating my needs and desires to my husband. Just as Xander is in service to me and to our relationship, I am in service to him and to our relationship, and if his actions or lack therof are hurting me or harming our relationship, I have to let him know instead of suffering in silence. He loves me, and he wouldn’t hurt me or us on purpose. So if I don’t tell or show him my hurt, he won’t know to stop doing that thing, or start doing that other thing again because I need it.

I’m grateful I learned that there is a difference between being submissive, feeling submissive, and actively submitting to my husband, but there are big areas of overlap between all three.

I’m grateful I learned the term “sub frenzy”. I recognised that I’ve been there a lot in the first two years of our D/s life. And over the course of the last year, I learned that I can do life without overt D/s or DD. I may not like it, and I’m nowhere near as happy or effective as with accountability and a freshly spanked bottom, but I can do it. Even for a long time. That’ll help in the future, when our D/s life goes through low phases.

But the biggest thing that we both learned over the last year, when we were both suffering from fatigue, was to cut each other a lot of slack when we couldn’t do our respective jobs and to have faith that the other one is doing his or her best. I want to keep that goodwill, even if in our D/s relationship we have defined expectations of each other again. Because, clear expectations or not, we’re still only human, and life happens, so sooner or later we will drop the D/s ball. Despite my best efforts, I will have days when I break the rules, or when I don’t even want to play by them. Despite his best intentions, there will be days when he’s inattentive and can’t or won’t follow through. And that doesn’t mean one isn’t interested or invested, it means one is human. And it’s one thing to tell one’s beloved “it looks to me like you’ve dropped the ball”, or “when you drop the ball, I feel XYZ”, and it’s another thing entirely to assume and accuse the other one of disinterest or personal or moral failure because they dropped the ball.

I want to keep in mind that Xander loves me, and that means he gives me whatever he can when he knows what I want and need. When he’s doesn’t, it’s not because he doesn’t care or he doesn’t want to give it to me. It could also be that he simply can’t, either because of reasons inside or outside of him, or because I haven’t communicated what it is I want or need, or both. Or because he’s human and sometimes forgets things, too.

There is almost nothing outside you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you are waiting for a donor organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date serenity. Peace of mind is an inside job. – Anne Lamott