An outward sign of an inward grace

Lillith’s words in the introduction to her new meme have given me confidence to share here.

BDSM in all its facets and ideas is a place for many people with very different concepts.

We all know those kink representative images – pictures with various BSDM concepts. And while a concept might be true for one, it might not work for another. Because there is No True way.”

I don’t know if how Mr Hunt and I structure and share our relationship is the same as anyone else, but it is our way. We stumbled and fell into who we are by happy accident and created our own grace.

Our grace is the strength and energy we draw from each other and from the structure of our relationship. The honour and credit we bring to each other through our behaviours.

Looking back on my life before the lovely Mr Hunt, I can trace and track all the loose threads that are now the life we’ve woven together. I can see where in his life his personality and desire to be in control first started to develop and the life choices he made that began to mould him into someone willing and able to be in control. All the messy relationships I developed with people where I relied on friendship to give me the structure I needed to deal with the world were me searching for someone who could give me what he does.

After a hook-up, the lovely Mr Hunt had to travel with work for an extended period and we spent time conversing by email. This was in the dark ages. I would write a letter on my computer and save it to floppy disk. The next day I would take it to work and add the letter as an attachment to an email to him and download any rely from him to the same disk. That evening I would devour every detail and write back in return.

In this communication we established lots of things. I won’t pretend it wasn’t cheesy. To begin with, we tiptoed around descriptions of our sexual experience and preferences in euphemistic terms, partly in case our messages were intercepted, and partly because neither of us were adept flirters. I still have the letters somewhere, but I distinctly remember very early on that he “enjoyed taking the wheel” when it came to sex. By the time he was due to return, we had advanced to distinctly kinky and detailed fantasies which established a sexual dynamic between us. More importantly, we set out lots of our social and emotional goals in those letters and that negotiation meant when we could be together, we had a strong foundation.

I was in my mid twenties and had already discovered and labelled my submissive desires, but I was ashamed of the breadth of my desire to relinquish control. It seemed to me you were allowed to be sexually submissive as a choice, but you shouldn’t be submissive as a life characteristic. There was lots of should and ought language in my thoughts. I should want to and be able to make decisions for myself. I ought to have a plan for the next stage of my life. With a degree under my belt, I should handle my finances and correspondence without approval from another person. Being a strong, independent woman was the life goal I should want and didn’t.

Everything about our relationship has grown organically from those early letters. We fit together, balanced but different in what we bring to the table. We started to use language to define our relationship as D/s as a choice and not because I was too flaky to adult, but because I was happy and trusting in him to help me with things I didn’t enjoy. He appreciates the domestic things I can do for him and our children which I find easy to do for them but would unmotivated to do for myself. He supports my career, which sees me fighting for the rights of my clients and supporting their development, again something easy to do for others, but not myself.

Growing like this, a collar as a symbol of significance has never really been important to us. We don’t transition from being us as a couple to us ready to engage in play or a scene. We just are.

Who we are in the privacy of our home doesn’t need an outward sign to be real and important. We don’t have many friends with whom we could share openly our dynamic: we did however express ourselves ceremonially, hidden in plain sight. I promised to love, honour and obey, and for Mr Hunt to cherish, it was no casual choice of words. To us, it was one moment where we could freely express our dynamic and relationship openly and honestly in front of our friends. We exchanged tokens, our rings, and for all intents and purposes, my wedding ring is my collar.

Ten years into our married life, domestically everything was a mess, with three young autistic children and several other strands of difficulty happening. But for us the dynamic, that I look to him to lead and he expects me to trust was more important than ever. And a collar even less so. I couldn’t wear anything round my neck without a child sucking it or pulling on it.

I read voraciously, and tried to be careful to choose fiction that had awards that suggested realism in the relationships portrayed. I found and read blogs as did he. It seems to me, for many people in a D/s relationship, a collar is the outward sign of the grace of their relationship, but aspects like collars and rituals didn’t apply to who we were. Mr Hunt says “That type of ceremonial or play symbol, it’s not that it has no meaning and I can see for others it can be imbued with deep significance, but perhaps our approach is bourne of pragmatism. We don’t break out of our vanilla lives to have sex or other interactions with a dynamic that is different to our daily pattern. A supportive, constructive type of D/s is our daily pattern.”

He is my protector. I am aware how my tendency to assume a submissive role in any relationship including friendship and professional relationships, can leave me in a position of tremendous vulnerability. It makes me extremely high maintenance, because I need protecting, mainly from myself and my desire to give of myself in many forms to make others happy. If a collar were a way of signifying to the rest of the world that to get to me, you would have to come via his gatekeeping, we would both jump at the opportunity.

He is the scaffolding through which I can grow my life. I can be safe inside it’s shape, but I can grow and reach out supported safely.

Sex is the glue that holds us together. Sleepy sex at bedtime with his hand on my throat. The random fuck in the middle of the day, because he felt like it. The detailed pre-planned exploration that included booking a babysitter so he could force me to be loud. Like the rest of life, he is the safe structure from which I can push through boundaries. Sensory boundaries. Mental boundaries.

Sex is just a metaphor for the whole of our relationship.

When he wants to show his possession, he leaves his mark, either as bruises, or given then can be difficult to explain away to little eyes, with temporary tattoos across my skin. I haven’t been away from him without his name signed on my body for a long time. I have a gold necklace which we thought of as a kind of touchstone collar I could wear if I was away from him, but it never quite had the feel of permanence of my wedding ring.

We both love playing with rope, and before the aborted Eroticon this spring, I asked if he would make me a collar that I could wear, knowing it would be recognised as an outward sign of who I am. It is beautiful, and some of the rope shots on my blog from earlier this year show me wearing it. I love how it feels because similar to being able to drape oneself in a pride flag for the first time and feeling the magic of acknowledging one belongs in that community, it gives me a sense of joy to take pride in being submissive.

While an outward sign of our relationship, beyond our rings, is not necessary, an outward sign to those who would recognise it that I am proud of being submissive would be lovely. A sign of how far I’ve come within the security of this relationship.

But the actual collar has no spiritual or magical feel for me, which is probably just as well since I’ve caught two of my children trying it on, having found it hidden in my underwear drawer or under my pillow. Nothing physical is sacred in this house as autistic children have little idea of boundaries.

And on that note, I am currently collarless. Under C-19 advice from my workplace, my hands are bare of my rings, including my wedding ring. He took his off in solidarity that same day in March. They are tucked away on a dusty shelf, because even given as part of a sacrament, they are just symbolic.

Whether our chosen symbols are worn or not, I am still his.

And he is mine.

No True Way

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