Submission does not exist in the absence of domination. it is its partner. Finding the right source of domination in our lives is one of the most important choices we can make–any of us, no matter who we are.
This image of a woman, virginal, angelic, flying into the sky speaks on many levels. She flies like a kite, and yet she is held back by the ties that bind her to the earth. A kite, though attached with string, is ultimately free. A kite flies because of the string. Not because of the wind. Indeed, when you let go of a kite string, the kite falls to earth. The metaphor is incredibly apt. Mistress holds the string. She is deeply grounded as a human, which is why I trust her to hold the strong, and she connects me to the earth. This is particularly important for me based on my life [and I touch on why in the review of the Five Personality Patterns] and who and how I am and why I am the way I am. And to be able to fly thus, is to attract lightning–a kind of creative, living alchemy. Slavery, and my pursuit thereof, is ultimately a quest for liberation.
Apart from being somewhere in the middle of life, there is no reason to suspect that I should have any wisdom. It is not lost on me that most pro-Dommes are half my age, but curiously that doesn’t affect my willingness or desire to listen and learn.
We have these perverse cults in society which distort our ability to relate with people as people. “The wisdom of our elders,” or “the beauty of youth,” while faith and trust in expertise is currently being questioned. But all of these nuggets are actually forms of prejudice and help us not one whit. Perhaps if we lead with openness and seek to understand, to feel, and to contribute to, then our lives and our society would all be deeply enriched.
I do believe in expertise and respect the knowledge that comes with exposure to the world. I know how enriching life experience is, and how much more delectable everything becomes for having had it. My own worldview is to take delight in the unknown, to explore, and to experiment…and for this reason, I try to approach everything I do without preconditions or the burden of expectation. This applies to my explorations in the world of BDSM too. The results of my BDSM test demonstrate a consistency of thought with this basic worldview. [You can see the results here, and do take the test yourself, it is good fun, and very revealing]. My profile? The Explorer or Experimentalist.
That brings me to the concept of a pro-Domme. Mistress most graciously sent me back my original application to her not too long ago, and I was struck by how grown-up I sounded—and I say this a little tongue-in-cheek, but really meaning that I had a very clear idea of what I was looking for, very clear, and that it has proven extraordinarily predictive. And so, yes, grown-up in the sense that it was a very mature and self-aware application. I know that most of you might be thinking that I asked for this and that, or that I spoke of my kinks and what I wanted to do, but actually there was none of that. What I asked for instead was to discover a form of submission that was in response to her dominance, to be allowed to let go and to just follow. To be her submissive, in the sense that the character of my submission be born in response to what she would like to see in a sub.
I have no desire to ask her to fulfil certain kinks. I simply wish to find my way to an emotionally and spiritually true form of slavery. And what I may be discovering is that this form of slavery, though in name to the Domme, is a form of slavery to myself. What is clear to me is that being slave is a part of what nourishes me…not putting myself above others, accepting discipline and rules that come from outside of me, working for something bigger than me—all these things are conditions that I respond positively to [I wrote about this in the context of career here].
What is it that she teaches me? What I believe I am learning is that a Domme is a Guide. She refers to opening doors, to helping me see things within myself, but that it is I who must step through them. She describes “play” simply as a means to help find a door, and every one of us is filled with hundreds, thousands of doors, endless hallways.
The pro-Domme, therefore, is inside our bodies, and inside our minds, if we let them, showing us parts of ourselves that teach us enormously about who we are, what we’re made of, where we’re going, where we can go…To be a guide takes expertise. To be this kind of guide, takes really deep expertise. I don’t wish to wade into the debate that exists between the professional community and the lifestyle, but even a lifetime of experience for a lifestyle player cannot match what a successful pro-Domme picks up in just a few years. The variety, the experiences, this is incomparable. I do not wish to wade into the debate about fundamental motivation of the pro-Domme either, whether it is a cynical exercise, or something else, preferring instead to go with the enlightened observation of lifestyle Domme O Miss Pearl [who is an excellent writer by the way…you can find her work here]. She said, “you can’t do this well if you don’t love it.”
Maybe I am lucky, or I filter out those who aren’t naturally stimulated by domination…but the very small number of Dommes that I have met, corresponded with, begun to get to know, all share this common thread—that they believe in the healing power of kink, that they wear “play” with ease, and that they genuinely enjoy the quirky people they get to meet, and the unusual games that they can get up to. And why not? It is so enriching.
There is no doubt in my mind that I am deeply blessed for having found my way to such an inspiring Mistress. And while I would argue that every client has to find the right fit with a Domme for it to create magic, there are these characteristics that this Domme displays that I believe place her in a very rarefied group, and it is these qualities that she consistently displays that make letting go possible and so deeply fulfilling.
Sadly, many of us are burdened by aspects of shame, particularly in regards to sexuality. Shame is quite possibly the nastiest and most corrosive of emotions, and one that can quite literally kill you. BDSM is for many people a means of letting go of shame. And when we do let go of shame, it is so lightening. And the crazy thing about it is, that often we did not even know that we were carrying such a heavy weight…it had been with us for so long that we didn’t even know it was there anymore. Mistress has taken a very enlightened attitude to where shame might be in my own life. Intellectually I “know” that because she has seen all of my kink before, and many kinks more, and many things beyond where I have ever imagined, experienced, or will likely experience, that nothing I feel or need would shock her. That in itself is incredibly liberating. That isn’t to say that I have not tested that gingerly with her, bits of my fearful inner self poking out just to see if it was safe. And me studying her face, looking for any sign of judgement or blowback, and not finding them, has helped my confidence in her grow. And it is this confidence that allows me to let go.
Mistress talked about this at length after our first time together, and how she looked forward to seeing me spread my wings. I told her then that I felt I had broken wings [something I wrote about here], a metaphor that has moved me deeply in how I love [Kahlil Gibran’s beautiful work Broken Wings reviewed here]. And in truth, I didn’t know what she meant at the time, or for many times after, and part of me scoffed inside, and said, how can you fix something that has only ever been broken? But little by little, I am discovering that you can.
My experience with Reiki will not be my last. I see it forming a part of my ablutions in preparation for seeing Mistress. I owe that to her, to come to her clean, noiseless, and free out of respect for her and her work, but also out of respect for myself—because the more naked I become with her, the further we travel. At my first Reiki session [discussed here], I met my spirit guide. And one of the most powerful sensations about that, was the strength of his wings…he is a Pegasus, incredibly strong, rippling with muscle, but also with feminine beauty. I could feel the breeze from his vast, languorously flapping wings. And I knew him immediately for who and what he was. And he is a metaphor for me.
My new therapist is not only sensitive to these types of spiritual experiences, she suggested before I told her of my experience that she saw Reiki as a good fit for me. She too believes in the spirit realm, which is a good thing, because it puts all of us on the same page. It is also a good thing, because it allows us to marshal all forces, temporal, physical, spiritual, emotional, erotic in the common cause of self-liberation. And boy, the feeling of power I have from this little dip of the toes into freedom is energizing in ways that I find hard to comprehend…and I feel the effect it is having on the people around me. It is a very good thing.
Mistress took me to a place recently that we had both hesitated to go to, simply because it was landscape filled with potential shame triggers. There was never any rush to go there, and indeed, I am glad we waited. It was a place for me of maximum vulnerability, but also a place of original trauma, and going there with her was intensely healing. Why such work is arousing and erotic I don’t know, but I struggle to think of a moment where I was equally aroused in my life. And it was a place beyond submission, a place beyond consciousness, it was a place of just feeling, pure, raw feeling…and in my openness I met her warmth and care, and we lingered there a while. And after, I can only describe my state of being as one of elation. And I felt comfortable to express my love. And that too feels healthy. How could one not love someone who guides you through an experience like that and brings you back again?
And two of my friends who I respect very much and who are caring for my balance and psyche on this journey, have talked to me about attachment and attunement in the context of D/s, understanding that this is the locus of my “trauma”. They have expressed concern for me that I should have this feeling with a professional. But I think, who better? Indeed, my new therapist and I discussed this very concept. She agreed with me. Who better? Just as I will go to this same place from a therapeutic standpoint in therapy, we visit it experientially through D/s. And my therapist is of the view, as am I, that when we work together, all of us, on these things, that real progress and growth can be made.
I am struck by how many people in therapy do not ever open up to their therapists. It is sad, but that is not therapy. Either one’s own motivations need to be re-examined, or you need a new therapist. Why do I say this? Because having just gone through the selection process myself, and speaking with nearly 20 different therapists, I could feel myself responding in my body to some of them, whereas with others, I experienced a shutdown.
And I am not talking about “trauma” to feel sorry for myself or to have anyone say, “oh, poor you.” Quite the contrary. This “trauma” has made me me. And I love me. I love the parts of me that are “dysfunctional” because of how they have shaped how I see the world, who I love and how, the things I like, the joy I find in small things, and is an irrepressible font of my own creativity, which is perhaps the one thing that has nourished me more in life than any other.
Mistress is not a therapist, and I am not even sure she is the catalyst (that is probably me), but in her I have found a most cherished and trusted companion for one of the most enriching journeys of my life. Most of us never let anyone in. Anyone. And here, I have found someone who I am happy to welcome in because little by little, and over time, I have discovered that life is much richer that way…and that is affecting how I approach everyone and everything.
The capacity to love is tied directly to being emotionally open. Growing up and living with ADD has been an exercise in bottling up emotions, and keeping them hidden, because ADD people feel with an intensity that is on another scale, and as a means of self-protection, we often seal those emotions off from the world. That was certainly true of me.
But since having children, this part of me has been changing. Perhaps motivated by a desire to be a different kind of parent, I have tried to learn to express love, and to be open to love. I believe that this process started with marriage and has been going on ever since. And somewhere along the line, I discovered that the essence of love is submission. The greatest love of all, to God, in whatever form that spiritual part of you takes, is a pure love that has no repercussions, no consequences, no strings attached. To feel that kind of love, and I mean in the giving sense not in the getting sense, to feel that kind of love, requires total submission. Whether we draw parallels into D/s for this kind of submission is neither here nor there, because whether you are Dominant or submissive, or neither or both, you will not experience true love unless you are able to let go in this way, and to just love.
I certainly believe that the relative health of my own marriage draws on this thinking. My willingness to bend and be flexible with my wife, to forgive, to let go, and to serve, has been a big part, at least from my end, of keeping love fresh, and not ever letting fights do permanent damage. It does take work, tremendous work, but what is worth doing or having that doesn’t take work or is worth fighting for? And yes, that is a form of submission. One of my siblings [blogged about here] once asked not too long ago what I attributed the success of my marriage to versus all of my family, which is a litany of divorce and broken commitment, and my answer was simple and expressed in one word: submission. And that was before all of this kinky awareness crept in.
When I look at Mistress, I don’t look at her as a dispense of kink, or even as a play partner. I look at her as a sacred partner. And I am suffused with gratitude to her. So much so, that when I think about it, without fail, I cry. And that doesn’t mean for a second that I idolise her, fetishize her, or even have what I would call unhealthy or unsustainable feelings about her. Yes, getting to this point has required thought, discussion, internal wrestling, but I think those moments were more of a reflection of my immaturity of experience in the world of D/s than anything else. [I wrote about letting go of the traditional way of thinking about someone you are attracted to in this post].
When we first met there was a mixture of physical attraction and fear which produced a visceral reaction in my body that had me literally shivering for two hours in her presence. This was followed by nervous excitement and flighty energy the first time we played together, and this weird manly me going out to dinner with her. Then there was playful me who was challenged by Her to think about giving and getting in the context of D/s, which was the challenge I referred to just above. And then we started to break through. Emotional resistance would come up, I might or we might work through it, and progress was made. Progress measured by ease, growth, letting go.
And what sustains me, pulls me forward, nourishes me in all of this, is that I am increasingly able to see Her without artifice, without all the baggage of what a Dominatrix might mean. She is human. And along with that comes this growing sense of love which is not like any other love I have ever experienced. It is not wife love, or even sexual love—even though I am very often insanely aroused in her company. It is companionship love, and perhaps more fundamentally, self-love. And what makes this possible? That there is common ground between us that exists outside of kink, a common ground that is larger than kink.
I am not a “butterfly” in the sense of being flighty [I wrote a goofy piece on butterflies as my spirit animal here]. Instead, I try to live with intent. I don’t really like to gather tons of people in my life, preferring instead a smaller collection of substantive and good ones. Because of my lifestyle, this has meant that they are scattered. But in Mistress I have found someone that I would like to stay connected to. I know that I would have never met Mistress were it not for D/s and her chosen profession. I know that there would have been no avenue to explore on any level had I met her casually, because of how these things happen in life. D/s has made it possible. D/s has also created a framework in which we are able to interact as people in a healthy and mutually beneficial way. That does not mean that D/s is and always will be the essence of interaction. D/s provides guardrails, and provides a framework in which interaction can flourish, but the content of that interaction could take any form, and who knows where that might go.
I did meet with a pro-Domme recently who I discovered through one of her subs, a person who I admire. His life has many parallels to my own. He is married with children but has managed to integrate both aspects of his life. I should like to do the same, to just be out and not have to hide. I feel this way because of how healthy I believe D/s is for me, how healthy Mistress has been for me, and how this relationship is improving all of my relationships, indeed the rest of my life. I do not regard this as an easy path, but I am determined and committed.
To what? I wish to discover what it means to be a slave. That is not some external definition but is going to be one that comes from within me and from within Mistress…and should I have the honour of travelling this path, it will be one of mutual discovery, co-created. A slave can be a useful ally and support in life. An owner can be a useful ally and support in life. That we call it “slave” or “Mistress” or anything else, is really neither here nor there. She’s a Guide, and what she is guiding me towards, is a better me, a more successful me, a happier me, a stronger me, a far more functional and productive me…only good things…and who could or would say that such beneficial effect is negative? Who should say that the outcomes which result should not be shared? And with all modesty, I hope that she grows too, as she surely will if we do this with purity of intent.
In this sense, slavery and submission are simply tools or enablers for more important things—they are not the end goals. And as with raising a healthy child [and I wrote about the structure that a child needs to grow up well here]—and no, the metaphor is not lost on me—the structure and rules and protocols that D/s provides, are the very facilitators of successful outcomes. They are the safety net for both parties. They are the boundaries inside which emotions can run free, that we can exist without judgement, that we can love and receive love. And through these things, the rest of our lives can be enriched.
Typical of the ADD person, one of my challenges is not output—in fact I produce on a prodigious scale—it is instead completion. Finishing the things I start. I wrote about how many unfinished books I have around me, more than 20 cookbooks, several novels. What if external discipline, even if unrelated (in other words, let’s not make somebody else responsible for our achievements), helps to address that issue? And I do see it as an issue, and I do see that D/s is already helping to address it.
In another context Mistress described a balance in life where D/s should for me be no more than 10-20% of my life. I think that is about right. And in a separate sense I think about the system of tythes in medieval church life. That was a level of financial commitment towards the church which represented spiritual sustenance and community. The parallels are not lost on me. There is no doubt in my mind that Mistress is providing for me something akin to what the Church represented in those medieval communities—spiritual sustenance and growth, acceptance, a medium through which I can discover higher meaning and truth, and I am finding in Her a most honourable and decent human being. And I also feel a genuine affection coming back, and it feels really, really wonderful to become one of her boys, one of her subs, one of her faithful supporters. Kinky me likens it to being in her harem. But spiritual me seems to be taking over, and I think of Her more and more as a Guru, as a High Priestess, as a medium for things that are much bigger than myself. And through my interactions with her, I am finding the meaning of my life and a renewed sense of purpose.
So, whether it is with a Domme or the church, or even meditation, I ask you, where do you get your spiritual guidance? And more importantly, what can you do with it once you find it?