Question the Details

service3danaewhisperingThe other day Destiny wasn’t feeling well so she was tucked away in bed. She said she was feeling hungry so I asked what she wanted and proceeded to get it – cereal.  Before getting her cereal I asked her how much cereal to milk ratio she preferred….such as more milk or more cereal or maybe just about even on both.  Now I was just taking care of my girlfriend in this instance, but this can apply to serving too.

When I was first serving Kam (my former dominant) many many years ago, I made him a peanut butter sandwich and made it how I always made it.  I didn’t ask him how he liked his sandwich. It just never cross my mind to even ask him how he wanted it.  I just did what I was taught by my Mom and made it that way for him. He didn’t like it and expressed that to me. But before that moment,  it had never even occurred to me ask questions before making it. Now all these years into serving it is just natural for me to ask those type of questions.

I ask questions – lots of questions – milk to cereal ratio? how much ice to put in a soda, ice tea or another drink as I know someone who has ice in their milk? how much peanut butter needs to be smeared on the bread for a PB & J?  lightly toasted bread or almost burnt? how warm of water for a bath? one blanket on the bed or more?  one pillow or 4?  pasta al dente or mushy?  coffee placed on the left or right side of the person? coffee – cream and sugar – how much?  breakfast right after getting up or waiting? light or heavier breakfast? brush teeth before or after breakfast? squeeze the tube of toothpaste from the middle or end? wash cloth or shower scrubbie when bathing?  soap or shower gel? toilet paper going over or coming from under on the holder? eating certain dishes with a spoon or a fork? The questions are endless.

Make sure you think about process.  Are you making or doing something in a way the d-type prefers or are you just defaulting to how you usually make it or do it?  Little details can make all the difference.  So think about every things you do…go through the steps and process and to check if it matches the d-types preferences.  Such as making the bed.  A normal way to make the bed is tucking in the flat sheet around the foot and the sides, but Master doesn’t like it tucked in as he likes to kick it off his feet.  Making the bed “normally” wouldn’t be his preference – so I learned this by asking questions and observing his behaviors. Because really good service can be about all the little details.

When is M/s right for you?

When I was 16, I was involved with a boy who tied me up and spanked me. We eventually had sex.  But I was kinky. I didn’t know there was a word for it though until much later. I was 27 when I discovered words for who I was and what I liked. It was probably close to a year after that I actually got the nerve to go into Barnes and Noble and order Different Loving which had only been published a couple years prior (before the days of ordering things online as Amazon wasn’t around). I was with my husband at the time and trying to get him to be okay with naming the relationship I felt we had before I knew there were words for it.  When I came to the section on 24/7 in Different Loving, I knew I wanted to be a slave.  I don’t recall anything that was said, but I still remember how I felt. I knew reading it that I wanted to belong to someone 24/7 and be a slave.

After my marriage ended, I knew I was going to seek a M/s dynamic. I bottomed and did a D/s relationship for a bit, but never felt totally fulfilled. I am glad I played and explored before jumping into M/s. Not everyone is going to want M/s…I get that. I also get that not everyone wants to be a Top/bottom or do a D/s relationship. These are not the only options in kink world for relationships. I am saying, by exploring, I could gain life experience, self-awareness, and also find out what elements I wanted and needed from a kinky relationship. I am thankful I explored first to figure things out before jumping into a M/s relationship as it helped me identify what elements I wanted in a relationship.

Why am I writing all this… What is my point….. Well… I was asked recently if I felt it was okay to jump straight into a M/s dynamic when new to BDSM and my answer was no. But I realized I didn’t explain why. I think a person needs to have self-awareness, a good realistic view of M/s and life experience to know if it is really the best path. But only YOU can decide that. Only the person wanting to walk this path can know if it is right for them.

I have been around people who were young in age, but had life experience and amazing levels of self-awareness and if they asked me if what I thought about them getting into M/s – I would probably say, “go for it.” I have known people in their 40’s who lacked self-awareness and life experience and I might tell them that maybe taking some time to really get to know themselves might be better before jumping into M/s. I have a very close friend in her late 30’s recently ask me what I thought about her pursuing a M/s relationship although she is new-ish to BDSM and I told her I could see the slave in her and understand why she wants/needs it as her path. I think she knows enough about what she wants and needs in a relationship to know if M/s was right for her. She was going to do it without my validation, but sometimes just hearing it helps that knowing inside shine brighter.

Although it might feel right and shine bright inside – there are still times you might question. You still might go is this really right for me even if most of the time it feels so right. You question because you are fighting against messages we have been told all our life – we question because it feels so different to actually be doing the thing we want as we often think it is not possible to have what we want – and we question because it is just our internal workings or nature as human beings to question. It is okay to want M/s and it is okay to go after it and it is okay to question.

Just know M/s doesn’t happen over night. Relationships build out of compatibilities. It takes time, energy, communication, and investment in each other to grow into it. But again the only person contemplating it can decide and know if they are ready and want to try.

Happiness from Serving

Do you believe your happiness can come(in it’s entirety) from serving your owner?
I do gain happiness from serving Master, but I gain happiness from many other things and people in my life too. All things and people are in my life with my Owner’s permission though so are done through serving him. Such as I am an artist and I create mixed media art works and he encourages this and allows it. By creating art I am serving his wishes and desires. He likes my creative personality as he has similar creative elements in his personality so it meshes well with him.

Do you believe the above view point is healthy?
I don’t think it would be a healthy place for me. I know that when I cut art out of my life – I feel unbalanced. I need a creative outlet to be fulfilled just as I need to serve and be owned to feel fulfilled.

What role does being owned play in your personal happiness?
I know that if I were in a relationship that had equal footing, it would make me feel off and uncomfortable. Being owned does provide happiness to me as I feel more myself. It fulfills many elements of my personality.

Does your owner encourage you to rely on (him/her) for your happiness, completely?
No, he doesn’t. He likes that I have many interests such as creative elements in my life and that they bring me happiness.  He encourages me to pursue things that make me feel good and happy.

Know Thyself…

We talk about defining ourselves.

It’s at our core, but we don’t see it a lot of the time.

We spend a lot of time in life walking along the Path – it’s the essence of who we are even though we lose sight of that or try to travel a road that was never meant to be traveled on in the first place.  When we’re not true to ourselves, we stray off the Path and sometimes end up in places that we truly don’t belong.  Other times we hit accidental luck – and emerge as though we planned it that way.

How do we know?  Where do we start?

It begins with soul-crushing honesty.

It’s that absolute – 100% – full speed ahead Scotty brutal honesty that begins with everything you’re considering.  If it’s casual – then it’s casual.  If it’s a relationship – then be honest about what that entails.

Please notice that so far I haven’t mentioned ONCE about checklist, the lifestyle or bdsm activities.  That’s because we lose sight of things at the point that our kibbles and bits are involved – in so that we lose track of the bigger picture.  Cum stains and hard-ons are going to be temporary … but if you’re going to make a life long commitment to someone – then one ought to be sure of what that’s going to look like in the larger scheme of things.

I’m not suggesting that it’s unimportant to take such things into consideration, but at the core of yourself when you wake up each day and begin to face the trials of what life is going to throw at you … it usually doesn’t start with whether or not you’re bound to the bed, if you’re going to have an orgasm today or if you’re going to lick My left boot before I leave the house.

Where it does start is: what are you looking for and what does that look like?  Are you looking for a casual relationship or a deeper-than relationship?  Again, it starts with the basic dynamic level foundation.  That chemistry alone can be a pretty big hurdle to cross.  If you’re ultimately considering a relationship – you have to consider the goals you both have, what their politics is and the ever important “you do watch football on Sundays, don’t you?”

Deeper-than relationships – typically mean it’s the whole package you’re going to get.

But if it’s casual that you’re seeking – football and politics may not matter that much.

…but the key to all of this is … are you being soul-crushing honest with yourself that this is what you WANT?

If so – then great!  Seriously!  No – I mean it!  Put it in your profile – find someone that matches the same path that you’re on – and go for it.  Everyone doesn’t have to be trying to find that 24/7 situation if that’s not what you’re wanting.  Then when suitors come to woo you – sit down with them and work through all of the variables so that you can ensure they are on the same page as you are.

It sounds boring and not really exciting, but it’s essential.  Someone who isn’t willing to navigate the variables and line up what they want in the same brutally honest fashion you’ve arrived at.  It’s about determining the chemistry – the goals – the honesty – the plan without obscuring the landscape with the over-sexual stuff.

What happens if you’re wavering …. or if you really don’t know what you want. There’s absolutely no crime in that.  Just be honest with yourself about it – and continue that honesty who contacts you.

But if you find that you’re continually asking yourself if you’re being honest — then it’s possible and likely that you’re starting to stray from that soul-wrenched honest point you started at.  As time goes, our lines begin to move.  We tend to be more agreeable and willing to bend accordingly to whoever we’re trying to court or woo.  We don’t want to be lonely and sometimes we act out in desperation – thus leading us to places where things may not pan out or don’t turn out as we hope they might.

As our lines keep moving around we start settling for something less than what we would be honest to admit.  That’s incredibly tough and yet – very common.

However – we’re organic people.  We constantly change and thus wouldn’t it be reasonable that our lines change as well?  Yes – valid point – except … can you follow the line and honestly admit that your lines would’ve changed naturally instead of when you were in service to someone … or they were in service to you?  Was this the Path you were destined to be on – or are you simply following someone?

….now that kind of soul-wrenching honesty may take awhile to digest….

Yes, of course it’s abuse

That’s the instant reaction from those that look at what we do in the lifestyle.

Folks have a tough time conceptualizing the concept of consensual abuse.  No matter how much we try to explain: “no really, it’s okay, we like doing this.” their minds just shut off reason and go instantly to conviction.

Alright – I can’t blame them.

Yep – I said it.

Even within the lifestyle – we have folks that routinely administer their perspective viewpoints that decry certain behavior as abusive – so therefore, we must be in an abusive relationship.

End of story, go home, case closed….

That’s how it feels.

With such a blatant failure in the understanding department, it’s these folks that want to throw the “abuse brick” out there without the basis or foundation of what it actually means.  Even in the lifestyle, some still say say: “we know it when we see it.”

Really?  Can we?  Do we really know it when we see it?

That’s part of the problem: what is it that we’re actually seeing?  How does that single perceived event cross the threshold into “we know it when we see it abuse?”

Even trying to apply the Webster’s definition: bad or improper treatment; maltreatment” is problematic because ….

Let’s face it folks …

…. bad or improper treatment is routinely what we do in the lifestyle…. 🙂

But the lifestyle prides itself as being an adult consenting way of life.  If it only comes down to consent, then I’d argue that there’s a lot of consensual “bad or improper treatment” in the world: football, boxing, any activity or sport where the participants knowingly and willfully engage in their respective dangerous acts … are risk-aware of the consequences that can follow.

How is that any different than the lifestyle?

Evaluate the Consent: If you’re not consensually risk aware of what your dynamic is in the lifestyle – then it’s probably prudent to pause things and evaluate them. Abuse (at least how I’m choosing to define it for Myself) usually occurs when the receiver of the abuse … cannot process the actions in a way that makes it consensual. Merely saying: “I consented to this” really isn’t enough.  Yes, it’s consent on the surface, but internally – how is that consent being processed?

At what point does the individual understand the risk-aware activity that’s about to transpire?  Simply resting on the belief “well she said yes” doesn’t really address all of the possible tendrils about what could be involved in that dynamic.  It has to stretch beyond the single act until you have a firm understanding of that dynamic and what it employs.  Someone who craves to be isolated, reduced or other wise dehumanized – isn’t abused because that happens to be their kink.  Someone who cannot rationally deduce what they want and are forcibly used in such a manner – then the argument of abuse can at least be raised.  It still might not be abuse … but attempting to use a broad stroke to widely define it for the entire lifestyle is nearly impossible.

I’ve had the abuse label placed on Me by others within the lifestyle. Folks who apparently made up their minds by reading our blogs that danae was in an unsafe, abusive relationship. They looked at her isolation, the monitoring and constant control I have over her.  That wasn’t natural in their opinion.  When she was caged and locked inside … it was about how unsafe I was to her.

I get that they were overly concerned and otherwise shocked that I would do such a thing …

The thing is – I understand where they’re coming from.  If this was how I personally define abuse – then I can wrap My mind around that.  But by what measure is that abuse defined?  The complexities of the lifestyle dull the definition of abuse – because – as I’ve blogged about so many times before, the very things we do in the lifestyle can be considered a form of abuse.  From spanking, to dominance/submission, to flogging and rough sex.  Without the proper context, folks would go: “hey he/she’s abusive!!”  But we keep assuring folks by saying that this was a mutually sought dynamic.  Does it still make it abusive?

danae, teacup and I mutually, consent to things and subscribe to a M/s dynamic.  If the consent wasn’t coerced, forced or otherwise tampered – then I simply don’t believe it rises to the level of abuse.

So taking all of that into account, I’m really not sure how anyone can subscribe to the concept of abuse as being tied to the perception of a single event.  There’s the consent, but there’s also a trend, a pattern – something tangible.  While I won’t dismiss the possibility that the single perception maybe a snapshot of an ongoing abusive dynamic … by itself – I would find it hard pressed to say it was.

(Please note:  I am not including typical fight/disagreement/argument related exchanges in this context. I do feel that such events happen – regardless if they are lifestyle based or not.  I do feel fights can get out of hand – but how it’s determined on a scale of abuse largely depends on how we personally define it.)

Not everything in the lifestyle is fluffy bunny, SSC, etc.  I don’t make any apologies for it either.  Knowing consenting adults can engage with whatever they want as far as I’m concerned.  Pushing boundaries where identifiable personal trends can be observed …. then a deeper evaluation may be needed.

It’s responsible and prudent to have these kind of philosophical and moral discussions in a calm state of mind long before engaging in something that is going to be pushing boundaries .  If having this discussion and understanding doesn’t matter to you because you come from the belief that “I am dominant, hear me roar dammit” – then I’m afraid I can’t relate to you.

It has taken danae and I years of discussing and sharing to reach the point where I could grab her by the hair and lock her in the closet.  Doing that from the onset was okay for us – but there was still the discussion and the processing we were both doing at the time it happened.  It wasn’t automatic – and required a lot of faith and trust on both of our parts.  Yes it is an incredible

Burn Out

The other night I was chatting with teacup and she said she was reading the older parts of my archive from 2000 and 2001.  I told her that was my neurotic period and I’m not really joking.  It really was a very chaotic time in my life.

One of the on-going things on my “to-do” list is to go back into my journal and tag things so that they show up under the labels.  As I was tagging entries, I came across a time in my life when I was questioning if I could be a slave or if I was even submissive.  I constantly debated the issue all around my head.  At one point a good friend told me that I wasn’t a slave.  At another point in my life I was interested in someone who told me that everyone around me knew I was submissive and didn’t understand why I was even questioning it.

The thing is: I knew I was submissive.  The feelings I was having weren’t because I was questioning if I was or wasn’t a submissive.  It wasn’t knowing or not knowing if I could be a slave.  In retrospect, I can see that my internal struggle was not a question of my identity, but a cause from burnout – being burnt out being a slave.  I served Kam for several years and right from the start it was heavy service oriented slavery. I got up early in the morning – I did things all day for him and his household.  It was a regular practice to be woken up in the middle of the night to do things such as go get pickles at 1am or bake brownies at 3am. (Another entry I did on serving  at that point in my life after reading Diary of an Old Guard Slave by Vi Johnson.) I became tired. Very tired. After I was released I slept for days, but it was hard to stop serving. I had to reverse train myself to not jump and anticipate. I wrote about a little about the transition here.

So really I was questioning if I could submit and be a slave again because I wasn’t sure how I could work past the burn out or if I even wanted too.

Many slaves will say they don’t burn out. That is great if they don’t, but then often I also tend hear in almost the same breath that those who do burn out aren’t real slaves.  Another definition flame war erupts.  Who’s real, who isn’t.  Who’s more slave like, who isn’t.  (I really don’t want this to be another definition post.)<

I disagree with those that say that if it was really in a person’s heart to serve, then they wouldn’t burn out.  I think real life demonstrates that you can have your heart in something and still experience burn out.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a passion for a hobby or the job you do.  Burnout is part of the human existence.

I serve Master 24 hours a day 7 days a week – face to face and it is hard work. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it.  It doesn’t mean I lack the passion for it because it’s hard work, but one can achieve levels of burnout from over doing and giving it so much that it just wears one down.

Do I wish I had an off switch?  I had a March Question asking if I ever wanted a day off – I think this falls in that same line. I don’t want a day off from being a slave. But I do get tired and I do need down time.  I don’t always take the best care of myself to know when and what I should do to create a restful situation.  I feel always as I am his slave so not like I want to or can turn that off but I do need to have down time so that I don’t burn out.

Bottom line for me is that I do get burnt out and sometimes I don’t always give myself the type of rest I need to help it from happening.  Or just doing things to help myself get my energy back.  It is a constant struggle for me and I still haven’t learned how to not burn out from serving.  It is part of my life – not the most favorite but it happens. Over all life is good but doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with bumps in the road.