… in which I realise I’m not nearly as good at keeping my rules as I thought.
During a recent weekend check-in, Xander asked me how well I was trucking along with the rules I’d just recited. I said, “Alright…ish, I think,… Master.”
So he made me recite my rules again and expand for each one how well or not I’d managed to keep it of late. Then he would sum up my answer with “So that’s another no.” Oops. I couldn’t really contradict him, either. Now, the longer this interview went on, the more I dreaded where this was going. It sure felt like he was making a mental tally list, and he was keeping that domly poker face that tells me exactly nothing.
Now, a lot of my rules have an “at all times” attached to it. Like my respect, obedience, and honesty rule, and the “I am mindful of my tone” rule. If you ever tried to stick to those 100% of the time, come rain or shine, then you know how hard that is.
Some of my rules are restrictions on behaviour I want to control better. I can’t always stick to them by the letter, even if I do in spirit. And it’s not the end of the world when that happens. Example: “I don’t have alcohol or sweets without permission, except for two pieces of chocolate per day.” So I have to ask for anything else, and since I don’t ask very often, I usually do get permission – for this at least. But sometimes, when I’m about to melt down with the kids (an even bigger no-no, remember “mindful of my tone at all times”?) and I know that a single piece of dark chocolate right now can help me get back into better-mum-headspace, I won’t even message my man, but I do the needful thing, have that piece of “Samoan single origin 70%” crack, get back on track, and tell him later.
So, pretty much all of those not-sticking-to-my-rules were minor infractions. The big ones I always tell him anyways, and the little ones I usually tell him, too. Nonetheless, these instances still are, technically speaking, not sticking to my rules.
So… I finally arrived at the end of my list, and had gotten “So that’s another no” for about 90% of my rules. He didn’t say anything, just looked at me, still poker-faced. Inside, I was squirming like a whole can of worms while I waited for his response. When it became clear he wasn’t going to say anything, I finally asked, very quietly, “So what happens now?” After a seemingly endless time – at least a second or three – he answered, “Nothing. I just wanted us both to be on the same page regarding your keeping your rules.”
My commitment to submit cannot depend on my feeling submissive or not. And, why my man did absolutely not want to “just punish me” to help me improve my behaviour.
A word of warning, before we proceed
This is a more philosophical, maybe even categorical post. If you want to read something light that makes this submission gig feel easier, this may not be the post for today. If on the other hand, you’re prepared to put in the work that being submissive requires, then maybe a dose of reality may be just what the doctor ordered. That much said…
Commitment is a decision, not a feeling
It blows my mind how much this “little slave girl” thing continues to make things so much clearer to me in terms of my submission. Between the realisation that Xander’s lack of energy is likely due to depression and that my “job” as his wife and as his little slave girl is to support and serve him, not to be “yet another job” he has to fulfil, it has finally occurred to me that the onus of maintaining my submission actually rests squarely on my own shoulders and not on his.
My commitment to being Xander’s submissive is a decision which makes certain attitudes and behaviours a requirement, as per our agreement of how I express my submission toward him. “Feeling submissive” certainly makes maintaining theses attitudes and behaviours a heck of a lot easier, but it is not a prerequisite. My role as Xander’s submissive requires obedience, respect, honesty, and transparency of me regardless of if I feel like it or not. If I expect him to make me feel submissive in order that I might maintain my submissive role, I actually expect him to do half of my job, and that’s not fair. (And if I demand it of him, well… that’s not even remotely submissive to begin with, is it?)
I’m not saying that in a good, working D/s relationship the Dom doesn’t need to dom his sub. It’s a relationship and as such needs both give and take in order to exist. And if Xander didn’t appreciate my submission or didn’t show willingness to honour his side of the equation and act dominant towards me, at some point, I’d certainly reconsider my willingness to submit to him. But, the work and responsibility of submitting to him is 100% mine. The work – and responsibility – of guiding and protecting me are 100% his. And that also means I don’t tell him how to do his job (anymore, cough, cough), but that’s another can of worms which I’ll open another day.
But for this pledge of ours to live as dominant and submissive towards each other to be worth anything, it has to be unconditional. It cannot depend on how dominant or submissive we feel in the moment, or on the time of month, and not even on the behaviour of the other.
“If you just punished me…”
Which brings me to the next point: Many a submissive on this journey – and I don’t exclude myself from that group – dream of their dominant to have very high expectations of her, and to discipline or punish consistently when she fails to meet these, maybe with the odd exception for mercy… It sounds hot and comparatively easy, so what’s not to like? “If you punished me consistently and harshly, I’d learn to behave so much better so much quicker, and you’d benefit from my improved behaviour.” Been there, said that. Guess what? Just like for so many other women, it didn’t happen for me, and at the time, I was very disappointed. Didn’t he care? (He did, and that is why he did not do as I asked him to. Read on.) And couldn’t he see how serious I was about this? (Actually, no, he couldn’t – yet.)
Usually, this request doesn’t come from a wife who is already good at being submissive, sticking to her rules, or who is consistently obedient and respectful. So her own poor track record is very likely one reason why –from a loving dominant’s point of view – punishing her for behaviour she might have shown for years could sound like a bad idea. The other reason is the dominant partner’s need to protect. In a nutshell, he doesn’t want to hurt her, and before he can trust she really wants to and can change to the more submissive stripes she claims she now has, he is not going to risk her goodwill and trust through the possibly damaging action of punishing her time and again, in the vague hope that’s really what she needs.
“Not so fast, little sub!”
Xander explained to me that, because he loves me and cares for me, he doesn’t expect me to do things I can’t do or things he doesn’t believe I can do. And he sure as hell doesn’t want me to fail and get discouraged or resentful. At the time I thought he could have advanced me some trust on this, but now I have to admit he was perfectly reasonable not to. So, I learned: If I want my man to expect a higher standard of behaviour from me, it’s up to me to demonstrate that he can – by making that standard my own as best as I can, whether he holds me accountable for it or not. Because Xander loves me, he had to believe I am capable of succeeding at something before he could feel free to require it from me.
Because I want this dynamic, I ended up submitting to Xander’s lead in how I went about improving this behaviour. I accepted and tried to implement his practical advice with as much grace as I could (which wasn’t a lot at times). I learned to receive (rather than reject) his encouragement and perspective when I felt I wasn’t doing so great. Over time, I actually got better at it. And when he saw I was able to control this behaviour better, it did become an expectation. This behaviour was something that, two years ago, he said he’d never spank me for. Well… I have learned much better self-control, and nowadays, if I do not uphold the “new” standard, I will get my backside warmed for it – and more than I like.
And we come back to the original idea…
And here I come full circle to where my submission is my responsibility: While acts of dominance from him do elicit submissive feelings in me, my commitment to submit to my dominant is not a commitment if I make it depend on how I feel in the moment. And if I want him to be able to expect my submission, then it is up to me to show him I’m able, willing, and striving to honour my commitment regardless of the circumstances. I’m not saying I must succeed all the time but he must be able to see I’m trying.
And before you think I’m one of those “perfect subs” and start rolling in the pedestal or gallows, here’s the reality: While my commitment to submit to my husband does not depend on my “feeling submissive”, my success at being a “good submissive wife” depends on it far more often than I’d like. (That’s one reason for our ‘permission denied’ games – they help me feel submissive) And frankly, I can’t see how submission could exist in a relational vacuum. It is hard to submit day-in-day-out to begin with, and even harder when things throw us off-course (Hello, life!) and I don’t get the submissive feel-good hormones. So while the responsibility for my submission is and remains mine, the success of it is a joint effort for sure.
Any thoughts on that? I look forward to your comments!
A change in our dynamic has
changed my body posture for the better.
A few days ago was the last day of my “trial month” as Xander’s “little slave girl”. This trial run of a deeper dynamic has brought us such positive changes, we both wanted to keep things this way. I let him know how very important it was for to me to mark the change from ‘trial’ to ‘for real’, and he replied: “Well, we’ll have to have a ‘little slave girl’ ceremony, then.” However, as the evening of that day came around, we were both too tired for anything resembling a ceremony. But as I was lying snuggled up to him, we talked for a while about the way forward and committed to it with him as my “Master” and me his little “slave girl”. I know we will mark the new state of things with a celebration or ceremony when we can, but emotionally, with a few simple words and a hug, the transition from trial – play? – to fact was done. It strikes me this isn’t unlike a wedding, where the the vows and signing of the documents – the formal acts that signify the partners’ intention to merge their two lives together for all times – are only a short and partly prosaic part of the whole ceremony.
So what has changed? At first glance, nothing – just like when we first were married after having lived and loved together for more than a year. But just after a few days, the ground has shifted noticeably between us. I have begun to see myself differently. I feel I’m truly “his” now and no longer feel the need to hold back anything of myself. I can trust more and more that he’ll tell me what he does or doesn’t like. And Xander has been leading with more self-assurance in my immediate and complete obedience.
I must have been 12 or 13 years old when a schoolmate’s mum commented on my hunched shoulders and that I was “burdened with too much responsibility”. I also remember thinking, in the peevish way of teenagers who don’t have anyone to confide in, “Really? Ya think? And what do you want me to do with that insight, lady?” Today, I don’t even remember who she was, but I’m going to send out my thanks to her for her astuteness and for speaking up, because today, I’m sure she was onto something. With the Master / slave girl between Xander and me, all responsibility now ultimately rests on his capable shoulders and is off mine.
And, much to my surprise, my physical default posture has changed: I am standing taller and my body doesn’t want to slouch, even when I’m tired. For as long as I can remember, my shoulders have been a bit hunched. It’s gotten a bit better since I’ve been rowing for exercise, but Xander would still sometimes admonish me to keep upright. I didn’t like my slouching either, and I’d try, but the moment I stopped paying attention to it, my body would just go back to hunching over.
I am delighted every time I notice it: When I do the dishes, the kitchen sink feels and looks just a tiny bit further away. It’s a bit easier to chop veggies with my chef’s knife as the height of the countertop feels a bit more ergonomic. I even had to adjust the rear-view mirrors in the car. And as I am writing this, my shoulders are relaxed where they should, and I’m sitting and typing with ease.
In short, I feel more beautiful, more graceful, more aligned with who I am, deep inside. If there is such a thing as an “authentic self”, then I definitely feel I’m closer to living it now, day to day, and my body tells me as much.
Meerkat: Public Domain
Geisha sitting in seiza: Japanexperterna – , CC BY-SA 3.0, https-::commons.wikimedia.org:w:index.php?curid=33219775