Showing Up

Thank you to everyone who commented on Friday’s post about Beth’s collar. I spent the weekend thinking about some of the reasons her collar is so important to us, especially in regards to our particular D/s dynamic. To explain this, I have to jump way far afield for a moment. Bear with me.

Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” I assumed for years that he meant this nihilistically, that you just show up and do things and life happens to you and nothing really matters. A bit of research reveals that this quote was first cited by Marshall Brickman in an interview about Annie Hall, the movie that won the Oscar for best picture in 1977, which Brickman co-wrote with Allen. So the quote is actually a lot more oriented towards the pinnacles of success rather than the meaningless randomness of life. Brickman went on to say “Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both.” His point was not that an academy award was random and unpredictable nonsense, but that if you just show up, you are 4/5 of the way towards greatness. This quote has often been misquoted as “90% of success is showing up”, and while I’m a bit of a quotation purist, I think this misquote is  maybe more true to the original intent of Allen’s remark.

Still bearing with me? Okay, hold onto this thought. Imagine you’re holding it in one hand, way out over to the side. My main idea is still here in the middle, but to discover it, we need to put Allen’s quote way out to the side, and then pin a thought in between them. The two thoughts form a line, and that line continues inward to the middle and identifies the main point of this post.

(Yes this is really how my thought process works, and this is how I actually arrived at my main idea.)

So yesterday I was chatting with Beth and I said, kind of in an off-hand way, “the blessing and curse of D/s, the reason it works for us and the reason it breaks down on us, the reason we love it and the reason it drives us crazy, is that I actually have to show up in order to dominate you. I can’t be hiding in a video game for days on end or lost in a book or buried in work or a thousand other projects. You need me to be present, to get in your face and tell you this is how it is going to be.”

I realize that half of you are sitting there going “This was your big epiphany? This is stupidly obvious. Why are you wasting–” Hush for a minute. You might be missing the point, which is much more profound than it sounds.

Okay, that’s the midpoint thought. Start drawing that dotted line in towards the center. Let’s get to the central, real, point.

We cannot be present all the time. Not just Doms but subs, too. We have work, we have children, we have difficult challenges, we are beset almost nonstop with things that force us to disconnect from being present with our partner. But the fundamental essence of D/s is the act of being present itself. THAT’S the big epiphany. Dominance is being present and exerting my will upon my submissive, giving her sensations in a scene or tasks to perform or predicaments to suffer through. Even the mundane dominance of “today I want you to do laundry and work on tracking the family finances” is an expression of dominant will, a sensation placed in her mind rather than on her body, to be submitted to and embraced.

Submission just a much requires the same presence. Kneeling in slave position doesn’t help Beth’s attitude or provide a sense of meaning if she spends it thinking about grocery lists or which performer shes likes best on The Voice or whether the cats have overused the litterbox. She has to bring all of herself to the moment and let herself be fully present in the moment. To feel the floor under her knees, the stretch of muscles as she holds her posture, to submit her mind to being receptive to my will and my desires.

Okay. That’s my real point. If you’re 100% on board, feel free to stop reading here. 🙂

The reason the collar thing was so important for us, is that it’s currently the only daily ritual we have to affirm our D/s relationship. We have plenty of ad hoc requirements, but this is an actual, fixed ceremony. She kneels beside the bed morning and night, assumes a kneeling slave position, and asks me if she may serve me today (or tonight, depending on the time). I tell her “Yes you may” and, assuming it’s morning, I remove her night collar and replace it with her day collar. I give her gentle strokes and words of encouragement. During this time she is to maintain both position and mentality, accepting my words as her highest authority. I use this opportunity to give her soothing strokes of the hair and arms, and the tell her how proud she makes me and what a good girl she is.

Everything else we have in D/s lacks this deliberate, intentional presence, this explicit will to be in the moment together. We have moments of presence off and on throughout our day, but this is a moment reserved especially–explicitly–for it. Her bracelet and anklet symbolize her willingness pledge herself as my owned property, and my desire to adorn my beautiful submissive with elegant jewelry that she can gaze upon fondly and think of as her master “decorating her” because she’s worth it. But the thing about the bangles is that I put them on her a couple of years ago and, aside from medical necessity, they can easily be forgotten. If I play a video game all day and ignore my wife, the bracelet stays on.

That’s a blessing , since in moments when I cannot be present the bracelet and anklet are enduring reminders of my desire to show that I value my sub and wish to show this by adorning her with jewelry. But it is also a curse in that the bangles will remain attached whether I’m paying attention to my wife or not today, and I confess there are days that do pass this way.

So the collar is important for us. Not because it’s a collar but because it represents a moment of ceremonial presence. A time to be fully together practicing subjugating her will to mine. A moment between us of complete and total presence.

It’s the moment we reserve each day to show up.

One thought on “Showing Up

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