Winner of the National Leather Association International
2012 Cynthia Slater Non-Fiction Award
It took six months to meet up with The Dominant Guy and do the stuff that really needed to happen in order for me to close out that account. Yep, I know that “closure” is something that is elusive, somewhat mythic, and really comes from within, yadda. In this case, I had emotional tailings that I needed to process, and part of what I needed was to wrap that process with him. I spent weeks pulling out as much of the emotional infrastructure as I could on my own. But all of that work was not going to erase the need I felt to get back the collar…my collar…that I’d given him the last time we’d spent time together. I’d given it as a token of my commitment to our relationship, to our negotiations. And within 24 hours of my having given it to him, a voice in my guts quietly whispered that I would not feel him ever place that collar on me. As it always is, that voice is correct, and within a couple of months the endgame had played itself out. And I needed to give him back the collar he had permitted me to hold, as a comfort, a kinky binkie, as it were. It had comforted me for much of a year, and across many states and several countries. And it was his, and I had to return it to him.
There was the emotional weight of the dissolution of the relationship that i worked hard to pull away, shut down, to disengage. I wish I could say I shook it off and moved on. But I will be quite honest- I’d let him in further than any dominant had gone before. There were some very real emotional and spiritual connections that had been forged, and part of the deal make as someone pursuing slavery is to open up places and give a ring of keys to the closets, drawers and cubbyholes don’t ever even open myself. There needs to be a reversal, a severing, and a moment to honor that. In the case where someone does some heinous shit and a relationship is traumatically severed, those ties, those connections are severed in an orgy of emotional violence. But this wasn’t the case in our relationship. It wasn’t some emotional brutality that was the catalyst for termination…it was that I needed stuff I wasn’t ever going to get from him. Stuff around which I could compromise no further.
SO, I did what it took to get us face-to-face again. And I gave him his collar, and he returned my collar and tag. After our conversation and the formal leave-taking, I felt the loss abruptly again. Its an odd inversion to feel emptier for having taken something back, but there it is. And there I was, feeling as though I’d been sent back to start in life’s big-ass game of chutes and ladders. I cried, and then I cried again. I sobbed on my friend, the confused teary, snotty babbling that leaves my sinuses inflamed and my head pounding.
And eventually I stopped crying and just sat, feeling whatever came up.
It is easy to talk shit about being independent. It is fantastic when I see people spewing rhetoric about personal responsibility, talking about being independent, maintaining boundaries, all that crap. But the reality is, in order to walk the path that embraces power exchange as the core of your relationships, you really do actually need to have, you know, another person with whom you can do that shit. And it can feel so very, very tempting, once you do find them, to cough up everything you’ve got, some kind of emo sea cucumber discharging all your squishy insides so that you can live out your dreams of submission.
But the real reality is? That submission is still yours. You can say all you want about giving it up. Giving it over. But it is still your responsibility to caretake it. To nourish it. To make sure it is being respected. And it is your job as a submissive to slave, to OWN THAT.
I know, kids, it sucks. We get fed a story about surrender that makes it look like you give it to some omnipotent dominant, some flawless master, who will treat it with respectful kid gloves and all that. But the reality is? You are dealing with a human. A human who makes mistakes. A human who underestimates what mastery entails. A human who overestimates their own capacity. A human who may love you dearly, and who will disappoint you. As will you disappoint them. That’s part of the path- and the triumph is overcoming those potholes in the road. Forging ahead.
And there is triumph in realizing that your paths are diverging, repacking your shit, and moving on with dignity and respect.
So once again, I’m a free agent. And I was very very tempted to feel totally lost, unplugged, that downed-powerline flailing and discharging sparks all over the place sensation. Then I remembered I have a very important job to do. The best work I will ever do. Work more important than anything. And that is making sure I am cared for. Remaining open to possibility. Loving myself. Forgiving myself for my impatience, for my selfishness. For my weakness. For my humanity. Loving that am able to see these things with less judgment today than did yesterday.
It is a romantic thing, that sensation of belonging to another. That desire lives at the core of my submission and drives my desire to be a slave. And now am taking the time to honor that need to own and discipline myself…because I am the best protector I’ll ever have.
Taking responsibility for and ownership of my submission means it is ALWAYS protected by someone I trust. People come and go, I still stand. Because I have to. I will always be an option in the life of another person. I will always be mandatory in my own life. And I will always do my best to respect the responsibility of taking responsibility for myself.
It is easy to remain saturated with longing for the dissolution of will in the stream of another’s power. It is alluring to give in to the idea that the person to whom you submit is 100% responsible for your joy and happiness. Power is hot. But what happens when they do some human shit? What if, Lord Ganesha forbid, they remove themselves from your life, or you walk away from them? Are you left bereft, a writhing, helpless creature waiting for someone else to come along and get your shit together for you? Or do you get the fuck up and have enough respect for yourself to let yourself mourn, heal and grow?
Not too long ago was in the midst of a very emotionally and erotically charged scene, one that included a service element, and I was blissfully lost in the contact, the heat, the gorgeous obliteration of losing myself, even if for just a few hours, in the will and desire of someone else. As the connection became more intense, and as I found my body reacting ecstatically to the energy of that power exchange, I felt myself moving into that place where I felt so in tune with my submission that any word, glance or movement from the person to whom I was submitting sent me into an eddy of gorgeous obliteration. Every breath was theirs; ever movement of my hands on their body was a prayer to the ephemeral bliss of that connection. And I had no words to communicate this, but I hoped my gaze was enough to say the things for which I had no words. As I looked up in a haze, the person to whom I was submitting to leaned down and took my face in hand, whispering “This is yours. You own this. It is always with you.”
I had always looked to my submission as something that someone had to activate, that I couldn’t love or understand in the vacuum of being alone. But this…this was mine. Seemingly from nowhere, tears ran, full and hot, down my face. The fierce, joyous tears of recognition. Recognizing that this was a new truth I needed. I felt my own higher power move aside my defenses in order to let this truth resonate in the clouds of chaos that often swirl around my processing.
I own it. This beautiful thing, this slavery, this submission… can permit someone else to taste it. Can give myself, body mind and spirit to another. And I can also know that bring this energy to the table. When I own my submission, when I take responsibility for living in my authentic self, I become more fully…me.
And that is a miracle. And that is a blessing. And that IS a gift.