Choosing Service

By the time I woke up this morning, I’d thought about asking permission to sleep in a dozen times.  

I’d thought about it last night, cooking dinner—stir fry style chicken in the wok, and homemade bread, which I enjoyed—in such a fog, I barely remembered the process as I hit the pager transmitter button to page Mistress and waited in, well, Waiting Position, as always at 6 PM.  I’d thought about it rolling my way out of the bed after sex—pleasant, but no orgasms for me, as expected and preferred—and stumbling over to unfold my usual soft blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed. I’d thought about it every time I stirred in the night, and I’d thought about it when my daily 7:20 alarm finally went off, welcoming an unusually cold, wet day. 

I hit the transmitter button.  By the time Mistress came in, I was still trying to find my way to Leashing Position.  I was impossibly, unusually tangled in my leash, and the blanket that serves as my bed.  She helped detangle me and unclipped the leash.  I shivered as the cold air hit my bare skin.   

I didn’t ask to sleep more.  I figured that I could do all my required morning tasks, but, if need be, doze a little during the hour I usually reserved for writing.  I didn’t want to slack on the service tasks, and I’d gotten assigned a new one for the morning last night, and didn’t want to miss my first opportunity at it. 

So I stumbled through my morning routine.  Dressed in my daily uniform. Washed up. All that.  I brought the sunscreen to Mistress’ office—waited silently in the doorway until she beckoned me in—and applied it for her for the first time.  New service task complete, she dismissed me before I could ask if there was anything else I could do, or for permission to go, so, ritual cut short, I curtsied and left.

In that time, I’d also given her the required notification that I was leaving the house, so I set out on my usual morning walk, about a mile loop.  The drizzle was a little chilly, but light, and in the desert, welcomed.

The house was in sight again when something else came into sight—a beautiful, bright, full rainbow, right over the house.  I admired it, and walked a little faster.  I quickly brought Mistress outside when I got back, but it had mostly faded.  My phone camera, also retrieved from the house, couldn’t catch it. But it was awesome just to see, an extra bonus for getting up this morning.

Inside, I don’t nap through my writing hour.  I write this instead, before my alarms go off for morning housekeeping and serving brunch.

The thought I’m invigorated by is choosing service.  I could’ve chosen to ask to sleep in—and maybe Mistress would’ve let me—or I could’ve chosen to complain the whole way.  I could’ve chosen the writing hour, and slept during potential service time later, if I did decide to nap. But I didn’t. Not that I’m perfect, but today I chose service. 

Because—even in an irrevocable consent dynamic like ours—to an extent, it’s a choice.  If I want to serve, to serve well and consistently, with the proper spirit—I have to choose it.  Even when I also want to sleep. Priority, not an option. Because otherwise, I’m missing the opportunity. 

That’s true of almost anything I want to do, really. If I also want to write, I can’t doze through the writing hour, either. 

And submission isn’t the convenient line up of what you both happen to want—that’s a matter of compatibility—but the choice to submit, to serve, when you’re beyond the limits of the tasks you prefer, when you choose and prioritize service and obedience over conflicting desires like sleep.  When you are truly submitting, not doing what you would have chosen anyway. 

And I do want to serve, and I do want to submit, and I do want to write—and so I make those things a priority every day. 

On 24/7 #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 need 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?

On 24/7

24/7. It means the power dynamic never turns off. Even if we wanted it to, I don’t think it possibly could, for us.

So if she’s the Mistress and I’m the slave, 24/7, what is it that I do in that time?

No, I don’t actively do “slave-y things” all the time. I have to sleep, after all, and even if I’m leashed to the bondage bed—I’m still asleep and not actively doing a whole lot.

So what does 24/7 mean then, as far as external factors, and not just how we process our relationship internally?

Well, a big part of it is availability. If I’m sleeping, she’s still able to wake me up and tell me to do something. Frequently she chooses to not do that. But that’s her choice, not mine. There are other situations where I might seem unavailable where she more frequently chooses to interrupt. It’s like an on-call situation. It means when she yells, “Slave!” I answer instantly, not at my convenience.

It means our rules are in effect 24/7, as are some of our protocols (the rest are in effect whenever we’re not in vanilla company, which is most of the time). If vanillas aren’t around, I need her permission to use the furniture or be in a not-kneeling position on the floor just the same at 3AM as at 3PM. It means that her will affects what I do during any hour of the day.

It means other guidelines are in effect 24/7. Uniform code is uniform code no matter the time, and it was laid out with that in mind.

It means that in some ways, there aren’t really days off. She often allows things to lighten my workload when I don’t feel well, but that is at her discretion. Tired, sick, moody, chronic issue flare-up—doesn’t turn off the dynamic, doesn’t turn off rules or protocols or guidelines. And if she still wants a chore done or sex had, I still have to do as she says.

I do spend a lot of time actively providing service. Cooking. Cleaning. Organizing. Hosting. Cats to care for, coffee to make. Then there are tasks she expects that might not fall under service, but still take time. Daily slave journal entries, weekly events, and more. That active time probably adds up to about a forty hour a week job in itself. Keeping track of it all is a task unto itself.

While a lot of expectations are laid out in our contract, there are also things that happen too incidentally to put in there, and there’s keeping track of things in the moment, the schedule things repeat on, the times and dates.

So basically I view 24/7 (as opposed to a part-time dynamic) as partially about availability and the time range on rules, protocols, and guidelines, and I view it as a likely bigger time investment in general.

(Part Two)