i need it.
It ranks in the top five things i know i need in a mate, just under feeling protected.
i have thought about writing on this topic for several days and found that i couldn’t do it in a succinct manner (imagine that). i have thought about the different arrangements i have been in and the ways control were manifested in each one. i find that i cannot consider control and amounts of it without thinking of my own experiences with it.
My mother was extremely controlling and kept me from having outside relationships. Being a smart and devious person, a part of how she had and kept such control was by indoctrinating me with the idea that, as a family, we had no respect for outside control. When i told off my PE teacher in the fifth grade, that was considered a wonderful thing. My mother said, “Good for you. I’m sure he earned it.” (He did). But inside of her domain, her house? Extreme control. However, i was told i had a lot of freedom and as it pertained to the outside world, i did. My life did not look like anyone else’s and that seemed proof of my freedom. We all suffered from insomnia so when i was ten and sat up reading for days, that was fine. When i didn’t want to go to school because i was learning more at home? Fine. But the vacuuming had to be done twice a day and the canister dumped after finishing each room. If she texted me at 2am that she wanted breakfast in bed? No problem. Her toliet paper made into neat little triangles? You bet.
Looking at it now, many years later, when i had my first non abusive relationship and she briefly moved in with me in a house i shared with my mother, her comment was, “Your mother has turned you into the perfect slave.” And i had recoiled, enraged, and protested that anything my mother wanted was due her. That this was how things were supposed to be. Besides, i could do anything i wanted, right after i finished ironing her clothes for the week. And the cooking, book-keeping, money making, phone calls, dusting, and cleaning out the closets.
In the first D/s relationship i was in, at 18, he had control via isolation. i lived in a shack with him in the middle of nowhere, on five acres of land. No phone. No internet. No cable. No outside contact other than other Bikers and their girls, who lived much like i did. Except they seemed to use a lot of drugs to deal. Which was considered a fine practice, as long as they were ready to fuck and suck and could fix a meal on command. There was no concept for consent, informed or otherwise. It wasn’t too different from how i had already lived, other than i found out that if i was going to be having sex, i needed pain or i wasn’t even remotely interested. i also learned, for the first time, to accept punishment. i marveled at how he could beat me with a belt but didn’t loose control. i marveled that a person could mean exactly what they said and that it didn’t change. Things went along for awhile, til he started drinking, and subsequently started loosing control. i walked.
In the first BDSM arrangement i was in, i found myself in what seemed like an alternate universe. It was a Gorean-style house, and the man of it had been a former Navy man. i was at a total loss to understand that when he said he wanted dinner at 6:30 every evening, that actually did mean 6:30. Not 6:35. Not 6:29. There was a rigid structure to the morning and evening routines, and i discovered that i quickly learned and adapted. i had my own routine i developed for the day so i had time to cook and keep the house immaculate. It certainly was immaculate, as we worked to find a place for everything, which made it easy for me. The major downfall, for me, was that i could act out and got a variety of responses. i’m not good with a variety of responses. At all. It makes me feel insecure and angry. i had moments of freak out and clear mutiny, but because it was handled a different way each time, i never felt safe.
What i learned in that house was that all of the outside trappings of slavery don’t matter for me if i don’t have absolute consistency when i act out. i also learned, in time, that acting out is normal and a part of the process.
There were a lot of outside trappings there, by which i mean i did live in a locked collar, slept chained to a bed on a pallet on the floor, learned to call all men Master, had zero expectation of privacy, and had to consider my posture and being graceful at all times. The last one was acheived via an anklet of slave bells, pain, and routines. My years of ballet eventually kicked back in, but some things are a ton of mental work, especially things that are constant such as sitting with your back straight. All of the trappings of slavery, all of the structure, quite a bit of control were all there…..and i felt increasingly out of control because i could not predict what things would earn punishment and what would be glossed over. Indeed, not making a perfect arch with my foot on the trunk to be chained, for example, could be met with being lashed til we were both breathless……but making an obscene gesture when he told me to get off the phone once was ignored….other than his head turning red, so i’m fairly sure he saw it.
i also learned that tight control only feels tight until its not novel anymore. You adjust, it becomes your normal, and you find you need more in some undefinable way.
In another arrangement, with a woman who was more of a daddy (little d), me being lost in my own thoughts for longer than ten minutes was met with harsh punishment. Pretty much any holiday with her family meant i was going to get a beating first, because it drove home the point of how insane my family was, and i was always trying to get out of it via dragging my feet. Again, i was tightly controlled via isolation and i resented it. i resented her. i had a very feast or famine sex drive, which didn’t help, because again if i’m not getting pain (before or during), i’m just not interested. In any event, Mommy Dearest was still in the picture, reigning supreme with phone calls threatening suicide if i didn’t come home, etc., etc., etc.
The day i knew for sure i couldn’t deal in this one was when i lied to her face about something Big and she choose to do nothing. It’s highly out of character for me to lie. i can evade okay. But not outright lie. i happen to be a terrible liar. i blame the pot and my nervousness because i wasn’t supposed to be doing that with Mommy Dearest. And, of course, i blame myself. Letting me get away with something you consider a Very Big Deal? It’s a deal-breaker for me.
In another arrangement, i was in a highly abusive relationship and controlled so fervently that i had to ask for move from room to room. If i forgot something i needed to clean the bedroom, i had to ask to go get the dusting spray from the kitchen. i could not use the phone or computer. i lived terrified and angry. Again, the trappings of slavery were there. Things i wouldn’t have minded and some of them i may have learned to enjoy, had it been consentual. There is a difference in hating being chained to the bed for a day….and hating it each and every day. Hate breeds contempt, apathy and these things are the opposite of slavery to me.
Control doesn’t seem to work as a stand-alone concept for me. If i can’t seem to see the point of what i am being directed in, i think i feel confused.
If i can’t predict what will happen if i don’t follow orders, i feel angry and scared.
If i feel like i am really in control, i enjoy it briefly, and then freak out. i’ve been in an arrangement where i was treated like a fragile, expensive object. An object that must be watched constantly, examined, and pleased. i made outragous demands (i need you to go get chocolate right now!) But the trade-off was two fold. i felt like i was dying inside, becoming a child or a pretty doll. i didn’t mind the objectification inherent in this arrangement but i minded-very much-the slow death that accompanied it. i was controlled via manipulation and tolerated quite a bit because i had learned helplessness before and fell into it again. Plus, i was in an environment where it was extremely difficult to take care of my own needs and was constantly told how i would die crossing the divided highway. So, you know, there was that true factor in there. And then there was the factor that not having pain makes living with chronic pain a real Bitch and i got that need for pain met. Finding people with a drive for BDSM which was as high, or higher, than my own was an amazing thing. However, i knew really quickly that this was not for me.
In this relationship, with Sir Raven, control is…. different. On one hand, we do live CNC. If i feel certain that what i am being told to do will result in my death or total nervous breakdown, i can voice that concern. That doesn’t really mean much, in reality. i mean, i have patiently sat while she taped a bag over my head and poured water into it. Twice.
i think the beatings are so valuable to me because they reach me in ways that other things do not. i am actively encouraged to let go into it, to beg for it to stop, and to be totally ignored. Do i get that as often as i’d like to? No. As often as i need to? No.
After it’s over- i’m flooded with a sense of calm, peace, security. It feels like all is right with the world. i feel totally safe, totally secure. She has made manifest her power. i have accepted it, endured it, languished in it or revelled in it. The very fact that none of my responses matter makes me feel safe. Held. Serene. Sure. It feels like everything is as it should be. That there is nothing in between Her and me. Nothing. It’s perfection.
Privately, i feel sad that she doesn’t crave it, because it feels like she doesn’t crave me. It also makes me feel frightened because i tend to feel a bit like i’m on some form of auto-pilot, without direction, and i have to fight myself to stay on course.
(To give a current example, yesterday i managed to erase an entire paper i had been working on. i sent her a frantic text, which i never do when she is at work. It would have been far easier to have dealt had i been sure there would have been direct consequences (beating)for not getting it re-done. Because…right then…in that space…i just didn’t give a fuck. Instead of throwing the laptop out of the window, i sat down and wrote a 7 page manifesto on gender stereotypes. And then i got up, went out, did laundry, re-swept and mopped the house, bought what i needed for the evening meal, and had her dinner ready. Do you know what she noted? That she had every faith i would have it done. Also…shock that the bed wasn’t re-made).
Then there are things that i can do, lots of things, way more than ever before. i appreciate being able to have the freedom to shop, move about, decide things on my own. Yet, there are also lines i do not cross and i don’t tend to find them by barreling through. She is not unreasonable at all really but if she told me to get off the phone, i doubt she would let is pass if i made an obscene gesture at her and kept talking. i’m cringing just writing that sentence.
There are times the control feels tight. The expecation for example, that when i am told to meet her after work, i ought not ask what we are doing or where we are going. The expectation that i can just follow expectations without consequences if i don’t. It makes me feel….i don’t know. i have sit here for several minutes and i have no idea what it makes me feel.
There are days the control feels loose. And i don’t know what that makes me feel, either.
i cling to the rituals a lot.
i silently acknowledge those things that remind me that i am, indeed, a slave. For example, in a vanilla relationship, i imagine one person does not cut off the other person mid-sentence, to watch a movie scene they have seen one hundred times. i imagine one person does not approve of or disapprove of the other person’s clothing….and that the woman happily trots of to donate said items. i don’t imagine a vanilla woman constantly scrutinizes their own motives and behaviors, looking for any proof that they are too willful.
Kaya over at www.underhishand.com posed the question, “Whats in it for you?” i found myself nodding at her thoughts a lot. The simple fact is that i live on faith in her. i have faith that she wouldn’t throw me out with no place to go. i have faith she will care for my basic needs, at least, no matter what. i have seen for myself how she cares for close friends and believe her with my whole heart when she says that a Master can dismiss a slave, but not their sense of duty to them. i never doubt those qualities in her. i am aware that this creates a level of dependence, intended or not. i do mean this in a literal way. The apartment is hers. Most of what i own, at this point, she bought. So, there is a physical dependence, which i would think is a part of control in a sense. There is also emotional dependence….i need her to feel pleased with me, overall. My ability to feel pleased with myself is tied directly to her pleasure. That is control as well.
Control is a lot of what is in it for me. It is the life blood of TTWD. From what i have read and experienced over the years, it seems like we are all slave goldilocks, sitting in one control bed after another, looking for one that feels “just right.” But its either too hard, til we get used to it. Or not hard enough, because we are used to it. Is there ever a “just right”? Or are we lusting for something that doesn’t exist at all because we are slaves? By definition, we have agreed to live a life that is going to be highly uncomfortable at times. Maybe the uncomfortable is a part of the control in a way we don’t understand. The sitting with that is harder than words can convey, the feelings of being lost can be so consuming. And then the next strong grip of control comes and it feels constrictive, overwhelming…til we settle down and relax into it.
In my mind, i’m in a vast ocean on a little boat. i am dependent on those waves to hold me up and fearful of the strong tide knocking me over. Low tide gets me nowhere. i feel like i am moving but i don’t know where. Waves crash and then gently rock. Provide what i need and then assault me with salt water in my lungs. There is no begining, no ending. Only the waiting. Always the waiting.
i am dependent. Maybe that is all i need to know. Thinking about that one thing gives me a sense of peace. There is not a plan for out, nowhere. Not in the back of my mind. i am just riding the waves, accepting, waiting.