Why I Live M/s

Sometimes in M/s you take the parts of you that you don’t want to unleash other places and give them a place to flourish.

It is taking things that are not okay elsewhere and making them be okay.

For example, I’m a people pleaser.  And in a normal relationship—be it friends, family, whatnot—for that to be healthy, there have to be boundaries, and compromise.  In M/s, I don’t have to worry about, “Should I have said no?” or, “Should I have asked for this in return?” or any of that.  And I don’t want to have to worry about that.  It’s a relief to know that no isn’t an option, and it’s not a negotiation.

On the other side, Mistress likes control.  And plenty of people she encounters don’t want to be controlled.  There are again boundaries and compromise to keep it healthy.  But she doesn’t have to worry about those lines with me, and she doesn’t want to have to worry.

This is true in other areas of BDSM too—informed consent is what separates sadomasochism from assault just as much as it separates healthy M/s from toxic relationship patterns.

M/s gives me a place with clear answers on how to let those traits out which might not serve me well in the vanilla world, aided by openly M/s terminology and mindset.

Those traits…

There’s a minimalism quote out there that speaks of keeping only things that are useful or beautiful.

I think that useful and beautiful (I think pleasing would be a better word, going beyond aesthetics, but same concept) are things I strive to be.

In slavery, it can go like this.

The mostly useful side: practical service—the cleaning, cooking, house maintenance, pet care, hosting, secretarial tasks, etc.

The mostly pleasing side: rules/protocols/guidelines/details—the uniform, the leashing, the kneeling, the honorifics, the permission-asking, etc.

Slavery gives me instructions on how to be useful and pleasing; it does not leave things up to chance or interpretation or assumption.

It lets me have un-filtered, concrete answers to, “What can I do to be useful?” and, “What can I do to be pleasing?”

And sometimes I suggest answers that Mistress may not have realized she wanted, sometimes her answers change, sometimes life happens.

The lines of consent can look blurrier than some are comfortable with; there’s a limitless range of control across time, spheres of life, and other categories, and some, though not all, areas are controlled so actively it comes down to very precise details.  In M/s,  I don’t have to get caught up in if what I want, or am willing to submit to, is too extreme for a more vanilla label.

What M/s gives me is a healthy place to act on that urge to please and be of service, know how to do so without ambiguity, and take off the limits I would need other places to keep it acceptable.

I don’t have to wonder what would be useful, or when, or how often, or how I should be doing it—I get answers to those things.  And I’m allowed to suggest ideas, or ask questions, and not worry about getting indecisive feedback or answers, or ones that necessarily stay within the normal boundaries of what you can ask someone to do.  Lists for daily, weekly, monthly tasks, ones on other intervals, or by the day of the month or the week.  AM and PM routines.

I don’t have to deduce what outfit is cutest, or best suited, or have a, “You always look nice!” beating-around-the-bush conversation.  Or decide if I should wear makeup or not, or how to style my hair.  Uniform makes it simple.  Same clothes, every morning.  No makeup.  Hair down.  Other rules.  Straightforward answers.

No self-consciously adjusting my posture (or at least far less of it).  Set positions—for leashing/unleashing, for post-shower inspections, for general kneeling, etc.  No debating what to do with my hands, or about how many inches apart my knees should be while kneeling.

M/s for us is… deliberate, it’s systematic, and it does not know the usual bounds.

And I love living it.

Service Skill: Making the Bed

General Notes:

  • Bed linens and such that are properly sized, fit the color scheme, and in good condition go a long way. 
  • Remember to change/wash the linens regularly (once a week is a popular guideline); watch the care instructions.  
    • Having at least two sets of bed linens can save some headaches.
  • Don’t forget appropriately keeping the bed frame and whatnot neat too.  This might mean dusting, or handling upholstery, or something else.
  • Remember mattress care—rotating, cleaning, etc.
  • Set the tasks mentioned on a repeating schedule.
  • Maybe try a light linen spray once in a while—but remember to check on allergies and sensitivities first.
  • I don’t mention certain pieces below, because I decided to stick to what I do—but if you have a bed skirt, mattress pad, etc., factor them in appropriately.
  • Make sure the piece you’re handling is facing the way it’s supposed to, both in vertical/horizontal orientation and where the patterned side is; a patterned flat sheet, for instance, may need to be put on the bed face down to have the pattern facing up when folded back.
  • Customize it!  Make sure you adhere to your M-type’s preferences.

Making the Bed (the Daily Stuff)

  • If the mattress has shifted at all, for those tossers and turners, make sure it’s lined up/back where it’s supposed to be.
  • Fitted sheet: evenly place on the mattress; smooth out.
  • Flat sheet: make hospital corners.
    • There are many great resources on how to make hospital corners online.  A quick Google search should get you to guides for a variety of learning types if you haven’t done it before.
  • Main blanket: evenly lay on top; smooth out.
  • Fold down the flat sheet and the blanket so the fold lays not quite below where the pillows will be.  Neatly tuck the hem of the flat sheet under the hem of the comforter.  (This is really a preference point.)
  • Place any extra blankets, whether another layer altogether, or folded across the foot of the bed, or what have you.
  • If preferred, neatly tuck in the blankets under the mattress.
  • Put pillowcases on pillows if need be (tuck excess pillowcase fabric, if any, under the pillow); arrange pillows practically and attractively; try slightly propped up on the headboard.
  • Handle any other “extras”.  (As an example, I place my leash neatly on my pillow for bedtime.)

On 24/7 (Part 2)

So, I’ve been thinking about the question, “How do you maintain slave headspace 24/7?”

A lot of conversations about 24/7 start with a note about how there is still food to be cooked, a house to be maintained, pets to be taken care of, etc.  And this is true.  If saying, “I’m a slave!” magically eliminated responsibilities like this, a lot more people would do it.  In the real world, however, what it does is generally add responsibilities, not subtract.

The objection I have to how that conversation usually goes is that the “food to be cooked, house to be maintained” statement always seems to follow a “but”.  24/7 M/s… but there’s food to be cooked.  24/7 M/s… but there’s a house to be maintained.  And so on.

My issue there is that I do not see it as a “but”.

Because for us, it’s not that our dynamic lives in scenes and leaks out into the rest of our lives, hiding in the corners around the responsibilities of life.  Handling those responsibilities is itself key to our dynamic.  I’m a service slave at heart—doing the cooking, cleaning, yard work, pet care, coffee-making, event-hosting, meal and shopping planning, laundry, trip prep, filing, whatnot—that’s all the job itself, not something to work around.

This really helps us make 24/7 a reality, because a core value of my slavery is “usefulness”.  I like kneeling silently in a corner and just being nice to look at as much as the next slave, but for me, it’s not a defining factor.  Nor is play, or scenes.

The other night, Mistress and I had a good laugh about something.  We were standing in the bedroom and she said, “You may sit [on the bed],” and I looked at her curiously because while she says, “You may sit,” to me multiple times a day most days (almost exclusively in the kitchen, for eating), there is one place I don’t have to ask permission to sit (other than “in vanilla company”), and that is: the bed.  So in this case, she was mostly joking, but it got us going on “we’re less high protocol/overtly M/s in the literal bedroom jokes.

Yes, mostly jokes.  But it does have a bit of truth to it—our dynamic did not take root in scenes and grow out.  It started out being built around practical parts of our lives, which actually means I have fewer rules, protocols, guidelines, tasks, whatnot, to more actively keep in mind during dedicated scenes than I do going about the rest of my day, doing dishes and laundry and cooking and more.  

As said, usefulness is a core value, and I can only be so useful while tied up and being worked over with a whip and a neon wand, or while being set on fire, or whatever it is we kinksters get into nowadays.

Another element to maintaining headspace 24/7, one that Mistress brought up first when we talked about this general subject again later, is connection.

For a lot of people, maintaining a positive slave/service headspace requires interaction.  This may look like receiving an order, having their work checked, being supervised, etc. Most frequently, I think, it is based around acknowledgement and praise.

Mistress said something like, “If a slave does a task in a forest and no one is around to see it…”

Well, the ending of that sentence for many people is something like, “They begin to feel less submissive and maybe unappreciated.”

Which makes sense, really.  M/s is very connection-based for plenty of people, and that interactive part of service is thus the most fulfilling—without it, they get less of that feeling of submission because their submission is based on that connection.

Now, it might be harder to also get enough of that interaction and connection on a daily basis than it is to simply get the tasks done.

For me, a reason I think I fit into 24/7 well is that my slave headspace is far less interaction based and sometimes actually boosted by a lack of it.  (“Don’t bother me unless the house is on fire; set lunch on my desk at noon; bring me coffee when I ask; otherwise, don’t talk to me and go about your other duties as normal,” is headspace boosting, as an example.). An ideal service mode of mine is seamless enough to not be given much attention.

Although as a human, an extrovert, and so on, I still crave interaction and validation; it’s just not at the core of maintaining that slave headspace.

More at the core is performing the service itself.  The rewarding part is getting the thing done.  Real reward beyond that and the occasional pat on the head and “good girl” would strike me as overkill, personally, and again be harder to maintain, though it’s not up to me (but Mistress agrees).  I’m in it to be useful, and thus at the end of the day, it’s about what Mistress gets out of my service, not what she gives me back.  I also admit a skepticism towards rewards that seem to come down to turning off a piece of the dynamic (like temporarily not enforcing a rule or expecting completion of a task); I would find that more a disconcerting punishment than anything (not serving as usual in whatever way specified when service is the reward itself is more like taking away a reward), and knowing this, Mistress chooses not to use them.

In my last post about 24/7 dynamics, I spoke of the time investment factor.  My service tasks are a full-time-job-and-always-on-call level time commitment.  This gives me plenty of fulfillment.  The constant awareness, on some level, of the mostly always-on nature of our rules and protocols and guidelines, etc., is something else I spoke about—and that has an effect on headspace that is hard to replicate in the short-term, that “obedience is always mandatory” factor.  There are no times off-duty, weekends, breaks, times where it doesn’t matter.

Which is usually what that 24/7/365 phrase means, isn’t it?

Day in the Slave Life #2

Note: What it says on the tin—second in a series, a non-fiction piece about one day in my M/s dynamic, hoping to answer some questions I frequently see about the day-to-day life of a slave.

Still becoming awake, I open my computer to message Mistress.  She beat me to it, telling me to add something to the grocery list.

Yes, Mistress, I respond, and add, Good morning.  May I get up and get in the shower, please?

She gives the getting up request her typical response, which is coming into the bedroom from her office and unleashing me from the bed herself, and she gives me permission to get in the shower.

Thank you, Mistress.

There’s a “catch”—a quick bit of watersports before I turn the shower water on.  I smile, get up from my kneeling position and turn the water on as she leaves, feeling cold as I stand out of its way to let it warm up, and glad Mistress didn’t turn the cold water on this time.

I shower.  After, I go to her so she can inspect my work of shaving.  She approves.  I dry off a little more, brush out my hair, dress in my uniform.

We’re having a bit of an odd day schedule-wise; normally I’d be at my library volunteer shift and we’d go out to the grocery store tomorrow, but today, with the library closed and recent travel throwing off which groceries are urgent, we opt to stay home, and I place a grocery order instead, making the meal plan and snack plan, checking that and the master shopping list to make a list for the order I place.

Mistress and I spend some time together; I kneel on the floor next to her and we talk a bit and watch a video.  She goes to take a nap.

While she does that, she’s out of her office, so I take advantage of the good opportunity and clean up that room, file the miscellaneous papers of hers I end up sorting through.  I do some miscellaneous small tasks, a few loads of laundry, prep a coffee pot for when she wakes, bring in the grocery order and get it handled when it arrives.

She doesn’t doze long; when she’s up, I brew the coffee, fetch her some of that and some water.

I tell her I was planning on baking some chocolate chip cookies.  Does she just want to have those, or should I make the break-and-bake white chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough she requested from the store?  Or, does she want the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies to be homemade, too?

She opts for the latter, and I make both kinds of cookies from scratch, save some dough in the fridge, think about my project for National Novel Writing Month while I bake, answer a message from my mom.

I do more cleaning before the cookies cool and we snack on them.  Clean both toilets, do some sweeping, wipe down some counters, take out the trash, tidy up, check on that laundry to find the cloth napkins and placemats I’ll need more urgently; I check the laundry reference sheet I made about sorting as I put in another load.  I even get permission to use the dishwasher and run it.

Mistress is apparently in the mood to play a little today; she spanks me a little with what’s handy and sanitary in the kitchen.

It’s fun.  She acknowledges we’re getting short on time before dinner company though, so she lets me go to set the table.  I set her place setting’s silverware technically backwards, as she likes.

I get on the cooking.  Garlic chicken, corn, a new recipe for roasted potatoes my grandma recommended that I’m excited about.

Our friend who’s coming for dinner arrives.  I serve dinner not long later, get permission to sit at the table, the three of us eat and talk, I refill drinks and serve the cookies for dessert, clean up a bit as I go.  The food comes out well and the conversation is good.

He departs.  I do a few nighttime routine items and find myself leashed to the bed again, tired, but happy.

Service Slave Tendency Identification with Limited Kink Experience

In the vanilla world, you often hear a conundrum like this.  “No one will hire me because I have no experience.  I have no experience because no one will hire me.”

I see many s-types take this perspective to the world of kink as well.  Whether or not those new to the scene have an advantage or disadvantage, some people make this conundrum inside their head in slightly different words.

“I can’t become a service slave because I don’t know if I’m a service slave.  I don’t know if I’m a service slave because I’ve never been a service slave.”

I will admit that I am lucky in the sense that I have never had reason to doubt my side of the slash.  It all adds up neatly from my earliest memories forwards.  Some do have real doubts.  Some I think might benefit from learning to translate their vanilla experiences into a kink mindset, realizing that the underlying ideals might not be so different after all.  Doing this is what allows me to say, “From my earliest memories forward,” not, “From when I entered the scene,” or, “From when I entered an M/s dynamic.”

On the more slave side of service slave, it helps to think of how you have generally reacted to authority figures.  The younger crowd might think mostly of their teachers or parents.  Some might have more extensive work experience to draw on.  What happened if they made a rule you didn’t like, or set an expectation slightly hard to meet?  What does that tell you about you coping with it in M/s?

Some think of their favorite teacher from their school days as the one who let the class largely run free, was ultra understanding and gave a reasonable workload, perhaps a creative type, perhaps willing to improvise when authority wasn’t looking, themselves, someone who curved the tests and gave you two redos. 

Some think of their favorite teacher as the one who ran a fairly tight ship, a kind nature but a desire to push their students, who gave two times more homework than anyone else but you learned four times as much, who earned respect with the example they set and while less forgiving with their deadlines, more prone to give praise that really meant something.

There’s no archetype your favorite schoolteacher has to fit into for you to fit into any role in BDSM.  But, it’s an interesting exercise for many, and perhaps telling about what you respond to in an authority figure, what you don’t—and if you do respond well at all, or if it’s something to work on or a start of reconsidering.

As a general note, thinking of your interests in the media you consume or have consumed can also be telling.  Not just what you overall choose, but which parts, characters, and more draw you to it—and I’m not talking about erotica here (though that also says something), but even the vanilla-surface dynamics you have liked seeing in any books, television, movies, so on, throughout your life.

Service-oriented tendencies can also be spotted in vanilla situations.  A tendency to go above and beyond when able to help is a good sign of a service-oriented personality, as is a desire to be useful to family, friends, perhaps acquaintances.  Are you always volunteering to help with the dishes after dinner at friends’ homes, or hoping no one will ask?  Do you complain extensively to yourself or say something to them if they do ask—how would you overcome that?  Were you one of those kids who liked to do miscellaneous tasks for the teacher when you finished your work early in school? Circumstances allowing, have you been drawn to things like volunteer work or taking on responsibility in hobby-based groups?  And what drew you to them?  A feeling of helpfulness being a draw is one good sign, though certainly not the only.

Look through your memories for notable incidents, but for those looking for 24/7, especially, look for something else, too: consistency.

Do your tendencies change when you’re tired, somewhat emotional, a little under the weather, not fond of the task itself?  How will you overcome those things if they do? 

I feel like I’ve posed a lot of thought experiments or questions here, so let me address some of them for myself.

My submissive tendencies, in hindsight from the scene, are extremely hard to overlook.  I was always overly eager to please if anything, as in perhaps to a fault.  The man who I consider to be the best teacher I ever had provided an insane workload, was relentless in critiques, brilliant in his craft, and taught me more about the subject in half a semester than some people would get out of a Bachelor’s in it.

Some of my earliest memories are of watching and re-watching the late 90’s made-for-television adaptation of Little OrphanAnnie.  I was always suspiciously fond of A Little Princess as well.  Not the parts of the movie most kids would get excited about, but a fascination with the bits of servitude the movies would show.

Volunteering has always been something that sates my desire to feel helpful and of use.  Hospital, school, food bank, transitional program for the homeless, my current position in a library, etc.  Most had some kind of draw that got me there in particular—like knowing people involved, or having a love of books—but the general concept was always something I liked, too.

As far as consistency, I’m not a saint, but I’m pretty decent at keeping up my better tendencies even when half-asleep, and can usually find something to get out of a task that might not generally be my idea of a good time.  Scrubbing down the hardscapes of the backyard with dish soap and water, say, is exhausting and leads to dripping sweat rather quickly—but damn, that before and after is satisfying, and pushing water around with a long brush has something fun in it, too.

I’m apparently consistent enough that, as a funny aside anecdote, Mistress once had a dream in which several things were askew—like an added story to our house, having friends she didn’t know in real life, etc.  When she encountered me in the dream, she told me to do something, and my response was sticking my tongue out at her.  Apparently that broke the reality line and she quickly realized it was a dream, and it briefly became a lucid one before she woke up.

Breaking back away from me and into a conclusion—nothing above is meant to be universal, but perhaps a starting point for some who are questioning.  Kink experience is unquantifiably valuable, but is not the only source for some answers.

Day in the Slave Life #1

Note: What it says on the tin—first in a series, a non-fiction piece about one day in my M/s dynamic, hoping to answer some questions I frequently see about the day-to-day life of a slave.


It’s Sunday morning.  Mistress stirs a little next to me.  The cats notice I’m now awake and pad along the bed towards my face curiously.  I try to not make the metal bits of my leash setup clink when I stretch.

I check on the status of Mistress’ stirring.  She’s very much asleep, so I’m allowed to let myself up for my needs; I unclip the leash from my collar and slip out of bed to the bathroom, and when I slip back in, she’s a bit more awake, so I hold the leash out to her questioningly.

She blinks at me, her eyes never fully opening, but soon clips the leash back on and dozes again.  I curl up close to her and doze too, but I’m up before her later.

.

After some morning tidying, I make lunch for both of us, and when I don’t have to be standing next to the stove, I make quick trips to other parts of the house, setting up the pedicure supplies for after lunch, cleaning a few things as I notice them, rotating the laundry between the hampers I already sorted, the washer, and the dryer.  Intercepted, one trip becomes getting Mistress coffee.

After lunch, she settles on the couch and watches a TV show, while I do the last-minute pedicure setup steps, mostly getting hot water in the foot bath, and then get to the pedicure itself.

She looks up from her show only once, asking about my odd additions to the water.  I tell her I did some research, and found out they were good for removing dead skin.  She smiles and praises my initiative.

.

After, with permission to roam, I handle more laundry when my timer goes off, do some cleaning, but my main focus is prepping for a routine trip of Mistress’ that I’ll be accompanying her and a friend on.

I plan what we’ll eat while we’re away, and pack for that what I won’t be buying there.  You can make anything in a crock pot, I reason, confirming the pork roast and chicken breast recipes.  I bake batches of various cookies and pancake bites for snacks, figure out what tupperware I can pack the two of them lunch in.

I get the cats set up for our absence.  I clean out the car we’ll be making the drive in.  I pack for her, I pack for myself.  A few days’ worth of uniforms into my bag is easy; choosing what books to bring is harder.  

.

When she calls, I fetch Mistress more coffee, more water; when I notice a low supply, I refill the water dispenser, make another pot of coffee.

It’s nighttime proper; I’m exhausted when I’m by her desk again, kneeling next to her.  My hands are behind my back, but my head is in her lap.  She tells me to go to bed, don’t worry about the few remaining things to do right now, secures the leash to my collar again once I’m under the blankets.

And so, I sleep.

Honorifics: A Fascination

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with honorifics.

Maybe it’s my inner slave, maybe it’s my inner linguistics nerd, but I have.

Both of my parents actively disliked them.  If a cashier called my dad sir, he was known to say, “Nah, it’s man, bro, or dude.”  (And while a fairly masculine guy, he always had long hair, so he got called ma’am by plenty of people who only got a split second glance.) My mom just said it made her feel old but other than assuring excessive users that it wasn’t necessary, didn’t protest.  In any case, it didn’t come from my family.

I therefore called adults sir or ma’am sparingly, feeling awkward if I wasn’t sure if they held the same opinions as my parents, or on the other end of the spectrum, were going to be offended if I didn’t.  I must admit I got some kind of kick out of using the honorifics, though.

In eighth grade, I had just started at a new school and chosen to be an office aide during my elective period.  It was a busier and sometimes more chaotic role than I think I’d initially pictured, but it was a blast.

It was the second, maybe third week of school, and I’d just finished running some errands around the campus for one of the office administrators, of the sort whose official title no one’s ever sure of, but they sure do seem to cover a lot of areas.

I returned to his office to confirm, “Anything else I can do for you, sir?”

And he gave me this blank, jaw-half-open stare.

I just kind of stared back at him.  Had I forgotten some obvious other task he’d already assigned or something?

“Did you just call me sir?” he asked, sounding incredulous.

“… Yes…” I said, the ‘s’ a little too drawn out as I tried to decide if saying sir again was a good idea, deciding against it.

“I’ve worked at this school for twenty-five years and no one has ever called me sir.  That’s amazing.”  He seemed to snap out of his daze a bit.  “No, I don’t need anything else, thank you.”

“You’re welcome, sir.”  He smiled and I left.

Twenty-five years.  Don’t get me wrong, based on my experience with the sort of kids at that school, I believed it.  Still, it really went to show how that tiny gesture of respect made a huge difference to him.

So when I found honorifics and titles as a thing in kink, it tugged at me.

Mistress and I had talked about it very early on; she wanted to know my thoughts.  I determined that in my mind, Miss felt too diminutive to be my go-to for her.  Ma’am was fine, but very generic, something I could call many people by.  Mistress felt appropriately respectful, more personalized, and clearly had heavier M/s connotations.  She agreed.  That’s the title and honorific we went with, because it works for us.  Here meaning I use it both to refer to her, “(My) Mistress and I went to the store,” and to address her, “Yes, Mistress.”

In kink, of course, many people have thoughts on honorifics and titles in all kinds of directions.  But as said, my fascination with them started before I even had the right words for the feelings I would later know were a desire for slavery.

I think because even in the vanilla world, they do hold importance to many.  Almost funny how easily they set a tone, how one use of sir could endear a school administrator and one use of ma’am could have my mom wondering at her age.

As a writer, I latched onto that importance when I wrote fiction.  I’ve never written much erotica, so it was vanilla contexts in which I wrote honorific usage. As a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I thought about how they transcended times or universes.  Their usage in military and government settings amongst dystopian societies’ revolutions and wars; their usage in the office workplace of a grim future, with all kinds of power games being played on many orders of magnitude.

How telling they were.  One word could flip a reader’s perception when introducing a relationship between characters; in the right context, a certain usage of them could be enough to tell you who was speaking without dialogue tags; usage spread amongst characters could quickly indicate a more formal setting.

So when I found kink in the real world, my grasp of how telling, along with important, they could be came with me.

They seem fairly simple, but can be such a key thing in a dynamic.  I suppose my fascination has not faded.