I’ve been doing a lot of inner excavating lately, and one doesn’t go digging into the darkest part of their heart to find rainbows and fluffy kitties. I’m a seeker. I want to see what lies beneath even if it scares the ever living shit out of me. And let me tell you, I’ve found the opposite of kitties in the darkness of my soul. Even though the digging has been painful and dark, the earth I’ve turned over has been rich. Which is the whole point of working on oneself, right? You go through the pain to grow. At least, that’s what my therapist had told me.
My personal seismic shift began last spring. The catalyst took the form of a visit from sir’s wife to stay with him for a month. I’m not going to go into detailing the series of events, because ultimately the specifics are irrelevant. The resulting actions, the reverberations of their time together and how it indirectly and directly involved me, shook the foundation of my relationship to sir and to myself. It was the latter part that pushed me into a tailspin. By the end of January 2016 (my last trip to see sir), I questioned everything, especially my relationship to BDSM, submission, and my role as a lifestyle submissive in a D/s dynamic. It felt like nothing fit anymore, and no matter how I had tried, I couldn’t make myself feel OK again. Something had to change. I had to change.
As a result of the catalyst, I began examining my motivations for being in a D/s relationship with a man halfway around the world. We didn’t start that far apart, but that’s where we ended up. I discovered the hard way that the dependency we fostered as a submissive babygirl with a Daddy Dominant when we lived together couldn’t continue in the same way via a long distance relationship. All our protocols and expectations that we created and nurtured when he lived in the States could not withstand the time and distance that now existed between us. I think logically I knew that would happen, but I didn’t feel like it should. Up until last spring, I desperately clung to what our dynamic used to be, and the intimacy we had fostered, as we tried to cobble a semblance of it through text, email, and Skype. And then it blew apart.
I was devastated. I felt like everything I had believed about submission, about being a submissive to this man in particular, was mostly one-sided. It wasn’t that sir didn’t love or want me, but he was busy creating a new life in a foreign land. And there I was at home, devoting much of my time and energy trying to keep a dynamic in place that was unsustainable given our new circumstances. It felt like I was clinging to a ghost, while everyone else moved forward into a new life. I’ve called it a game before, but that submissive role was central to my way of life and how I viewed myself as a person. I never clearly saw my dependency on him or how central my sexual submission was to my identity before their visit. Or maybe I didn’t want to admit that I was in deep.
I grieved for our loss and for the people we were. It was the summer of tears, but eventually I had to gather myself again and figure out how I was going to proceed. Once I began digging into the reasons behind my upset and bewilderment, I saw more clearly my motivations behind my affinity for D/s and BDSM. I took a long, hard look at why I loved the kinky things I did. Some of it was because I was wired this way and kinky shit got me off, and some of it was because I had daddy issues. The most difficult thing to admit was that I was cruel to myself, so that when a Dominant humiliated and degraded myself during play, I felt like I deserved it. Like deep down inside deserved it and should be punished for it.
Up until that point, I hadn’t realized how I had spent most of my life feeling bad about who I was and how I looked. The changes in our relationship were on one level, but below that lay some core beliefs about myself that needed to shift as well. Getting in touch with those feelings… well, I had some really dark days. I was raised a feminist, and I firmly believed in equality regardless of gender, race, and sexual orientation. I would never shame another human being for their kinks or body type yet I didn’t hesitate to judge my own. Living that kind of dichotomy of beliefs yet remaining unconscious of it—I had to ask myself, why had it taken me so long to see it? Why did I think it was acceptable to treat myself poorly with such little regard? Who was I if I wasn’t a submissive pain slut who deserved degradation and humiliation?
These musings brought me to the doorstep of what I enjoyed most in my kinky life. In the moments of a BDSM scene when I was the subject of humiliation or degradation, play that I loved, there was a part of me that believed it to be a reflection of my true self. I was a slut, dirty and shamed. And I reveled in those moments—desired it more than anything. Often times a scene was literally my inner critic coming to life, an external force that matched my internal one. In that glorious storm of physical and mental, I was made completely whole, because my internal beliefs had manifested outside of me. The inner critic had been embodied in my dominant, and my body was punished on the exterior in the same way that I punished myself on the inside. (Although sir had always been kinder to me than I was to myself.) It usually culminated in a crescendo of endorphins that left me in grateful tears, while sir picked me up and helped me come back to myself.
In those moments, I wanted to be a dependent babygirl who was rescued by her wonderful daddy. I also wanted to be the 24/7 sex slave who only existed to satisfy her dominant. The aspects of me, the most difficult for me to accept—the girl who needed saving and the shameless whore who wanted nothing but sex, were valued in this BDSM-D/s context. I suppose, to the average human being, this was obviously fantasy. But to me, in my heart of hearts, I so wanted them to be real. The feeling of alignment that I gained from a scene was such a relief, that I thought to have more of it was the key to happiness. I convinced myself that if I tried hard enough, my insecurities could find a home between me and sir. I had blurred fantasy with reality to the point that it had become detrimental to my well-being. When you’re waiting for daddy to rescue you, you’re not really addressing your own patterns of behavior or responsibilities. My submission was holding me back from one of my most important roles: being a caretaker of my own life.
The catalyst in the spring brought me three truths: 1. Sir couldn’t save me. He had to take care of himself, his career, and his home first. 2. In order to save myself, I had to start truly loving myself—the whole way to my core. I had to banish my inner bully and love those pieces of me that were twisted and perverse. I needed to learn how to love myself in the moment, just as I was. 3. I had to stop serving everyone else’s needs before my own and make myself a priority.
That’s where I am—standing amidst the rubble of the after effects of an earthquake and trying to figure out what to do next. I’m still in a D/s contract with sir, and we’ll be spending most of July together. Honestly, though, I’m not feeling all that submissive. It’s freeing and scary as hell all at the same time. I’m changing as I rearrange my priorities, and I think both sir and I are wondering where we’ll be after the dust has settled. I’m still sifting through the strands of what is fantasy and what is actually plausible in reality and adjusting my expectations of our D/s. I love him dearly, but I’m not the same girl I was. I’m also saying “no” a lot more. Do you have any idea how liberating that is? I say no in order to conserve my time and resources for things that are really important to me. Most of all, I’m learning to be kind to myself and loving as I’m pushed out of my comfortable labels of “lifestyle submissive” to be something different. Every day I attempt to write a love letter to myself by making healthier choices and allowing space for my needs to be met. I no longer think of myself last thing on the ‘to do’ list.
I had a dream last night that I was sitting in a college classroom. I had on a small, Hello Kitty backpack, and I leaned forward in my seat to talk to my friend seated in front of me. The professor, a tall man, walked up and down the aisles talking about a secret code that we needed to enter in order to take the test. He asked if anyone needed a pencil, and I raised my hand, feeling sheepish because I hadn’t been listening and was unprepared for class. Then I opened my folder and found three pencils inside. I had remembered them after all. They were short but sharpened. The professor gave me a pencil and made a joke with my friend. Something about if I ever got my act together, I’d be a force to be reckoned with.
I’m taking that as a good sign. I may not know the secret code yet, but dammit, I have pencils. It’s a start.