Lifestyle Masochism: When You Start Acting Abused

When you start acting abused…

This has been a thing for a long time, really. I’ve had a lot of conversations kind of loop near this topic recently. 

I have almost always been a suspected victim of abuse. As a kid, I was neurotic, skittish, a little too eager to please, sometimes underweight, sometimes wore ill fitting clothes, sometimes poorly groomed, and seemingly always suspiciously injured, sick, or absent. Now, my parents were/are wonderful people. I just happened to a) have undiagnosed autism/sensory/motor issues and anxiety, b) grow very fast very early, c) have undiagnosed chronic physical health issues, and d) going with several of those things, be extremely clumsy. This admittedly added up to, well, a certain picture. 

Now, I outgrew or fixed some of those things, but not others. 

When I entered the BDSM scene, I was an apparently suspiciously heavy masochist. Never mind that I was looking for what some might call the extreme end of slavery; I didn’t even have all the words for that yet, and it wasn’t what I was first known for. Some people were surprised when I went the high protocol, service slave route, even though I thought I was holding up a neon seeking sign for that when I showed up as best I knew how. No, I was a masochism meme. That was what people focused on about me, perhaps fairly, because it was in plain sight. Pick up play at parties. All that. Literal memes were made. A lot of it was good natured and I laughed with it, encouraged it. Now, I bury it a little at times, because it seems to easily overshadow my other passions, something I have mixed feelings about, because I do love talking masochism—logistics and philosophy—too. 

But other rumors started to spread, to the effect that I had probably been a victim of physical abuse and that was why I could and perhaps why I wanted to take so much. Let me say it again: my parents were/are lovely people and neither of them ever raised a hand against me. Disclosure, I had a tumultuous relationship with my dad at times, including a few years out of contact, but physical abuse was never, ever an issue, and we were on perfectly good terms when he passed. (Okay, I love my parents, but I’ve yakked about them enough.) I do have some theories on why I am an apparently unique masochist, but nothing specific and solid, and a post for another day. 

But, moving forward: then it was Mistress’ turn to be the other variable in the people think Hannah is abused equation. The deep end of M/s—no safewords, no limits, no way out. The controlling high protocol. The housewife, service slave dynamic—little outside life. She picks my uniform, controls the finances, forbids me from having a job, tracks my location, has access to and limits my social media, and all kinds of things that sound bad out of the context of trust, love, respect, and consent. 

And there’s the hardcore physical sadism, and the way in which we enact it: which, yes, purposefully mimics random incidents of violence, physical domestic abuse, frequently not looking like consensual kink, sex, play. I might like it at the time, or I might hate it with every fiber of my being at that moment and long for relief. There’s a place for both, but especially the latter. 

It’s also kind of a lot to talk about when people ask me, So, what’re you into? at, say, a TNG munch.The service and protocol dynamic stuff I’m super passionate about might be a little boring to some people compared to talking about typical scenes, but I’m not too worried about them trying to leap in to “save” me, or triggering anyone with it, or dealing with surprise or accusations. There’s also frequently less explaining and justifying, worrying that they will copy my style without thinking it through for themselves and ending up hurt. Because it does require trust, communication, and self work that not everyone is up to, and that’s okay. It is always refreshing when it is met well, though, and it does happen. 

Now, many adults active in the BDSM scene used to certain things, and understand others, like chronic conditions. Some bruises covered by clothes and flashed on FetLife, and being a little quirky, won’t scare them. I’m not too noteworthy out in the vanilla world at this point, either. 

But one thing still comes up as a red flag: the flinching. From an out of place twitch to what I call the full Hallmark movie recoil, I am, relatively clearly, constantly expecting to be hurt. Almost every time Mistress reaches for me, I flinch. I edge myself away from dead ends and corners, watching how she’s subtly moving me there. I keep a distance, or get closer—what she fondly calls the snuggle defense, which is strangely effective on her—to make being struck in certain ways harder. I set things down out of the way, especially valuables or fragile items, when I remotely see pain coming, and keep my hands somewhere they can be quick to defend my face from being slapped or throat from being choked or collar from being grabbed or hair from being grabbed yanked or leggings from having a hand shoved down them, or wherever the target is. If her hands are out of my sight, I assume she has some impact implement or maybe a knife. I even verbally try to wiggle my way out of the degradation and humiliation, just like instinctively tugging at a rope tie to make sure it really holds. I can usually tell pain is coming from a mile away—it’s a sometimes pleasant, sometimes not, surprise not to expect it—but since I’m not truly going to defend myself, knowing mostly just builds anticipation. 

If any of those behaviors sound familiar: yes, I act like a victim of physical abuse. And it’s interesting this time, because my behaviors really are a reaction to being hit or choked or kicked or pinned or shoved or scratched or dragged or bit or hurt or fucked against my (momentary) will. I can’t deny that. And irrevocable consent is messy at times. Did I consent? Yes. Once. Years ago. Did I want to be beaten with no warning or warmup today until I screamed? Casually dragged across the floor by the hair yesterday? How about the sex when I was so sick I cried last week? In the moment? Probably not. That’s where the defense reactions come from. But I really want those things to keep happening overall, and I want to not want it in the moment, to gain that sense of ultimate submission from it, because in the end I submit anyway. I frequently don’t cry or scream, I almost never beg for mercy, I never actually fight her, just flinch and squirm, and frequently the only words out of my mouth in all of it are, “Yes, Mistress; thank you, Mistress.”  It’s complicated. 

But those incidents largely happen behind closed doors—obviously, I give insight into them in my public writings—but that is still not as visceral. But I can see a few people mentally flinch when they watch me physically flinch, watch that reflex kick in, because it is helpless and fearful, yet clearly expecting. 

Frequently, Mistress makes fun of me for this. “You act like I randomly hit you or something,” she’ll say when I flinch because she reached for an object near me, then slap me. 

Because the expectation isn’t wrong. She probably is going to hit me, and I’m not going to like it. And so I flinch. And others flinch to watch my constant expectation of pain. 

And yet.

We both continuously look inside ourselves. Can I do this? Should I do this? How do I do it properly? What do I need? What do I want? Why?  We continuously communicate with each other. How do those needs get met? How does this get dynamic get run to represent the underlying why and reality both? We communicate on how to communicate with each other. We check in. I am learning to be more resilient, to provide my own aftercare, to take care of myself, when needed. When pain comes hard and fast with no warning, no negotiation, no warmup, no mercy, no cooldown, no aftercare, I learn to quickly get up, dust myself off, and go back to writing or whatever it was I was doing. I have to trust that future me can take what current me is asking for. She has to trust me to not permanently go to pieces. I have to trust her to not give me what I truly can’t take and to give me what I truly need, while still acknowledging that I agreed to anything and everything and I will honor that vow regardless.  

And that’s what makes the difference, in my opinion, between helplessly acting abused and truly being abused. 

Service Skill: Turndown

Miscellany

  • Turn off bright/unnecessary lights, dim bedside lamps if possible, turn on nightlights. Close any windows and blinds. 
  • Tidy up the bedroom. 
  • Spritz a calming scent (check for sensitivities). See to any air quality needs, like filling humidifiers or adjusting the thermostat. 
  • Turn on quiet, calming music, or the TV/device of choice to preferred channel/show/etc. on low. Put the remote, if there is one, in a handy location. Or, make it quiet. 
  • Lay out desired nighttime activity (book, other quiet occupations).
  • Set the alarm for the morning and plug in devices, if desired. 
  • Put out bedtime drink and snack of choice, and any needed medication. Make sure the same is ready for the morning. 
  • Refresh desired bath amenities if needed/if there might be bedtime bathing. Offer assistance. 
  • Lay out clothes for tomorrow, and nightwear for that night, or help them change, if desired. Place the floor mat if there is one. 

The Bed Itself

  • Assuming the bed was made properly that morning
  • Remove any unnecessary/decorative pieces/covers, etc. 
  • Place any desired pieces that get added at bedtime (extra pillows, blankets, comfort objects). 
  • Turn down the bed. For one person, turn one corner down to form a right triangle. For two, turn down both corners. Alternatively, turn down the whole bedspread halfway. (You can also only turn down the top layers to the bottom half, turning down the flat sheet in corner style.) 
  • Fluff pillows. 

Turndown Card 

  • Neatly hand write and leave the turndown card on the nightstand/in an obvious place. Don’t forget the date.
  • Standard additions include menu for the next day, weather forecast, and other needed reminders.  
  • You can also add quotes, love notes, and more. 

Service Skill: Flower Arranging

  • Select your flowers. Pick ones that are fresh, and keep the combination simple: monochromatic, shades of the same color, or up to three complementary colors.
  • Remove unwanted/wilted bits. Make a diagonal cut near the bottom of the stems (cut to size depending on size of vase if needed). Remove any foliage that will fall below the water line in the vase. 
  • Clean vase if needed. Fill half to three quarters of the way with room temperature/lukewarm water with floral food. Create a guide grid using floral tape or wire if desired.
  • Add flowers. First, any base greenery, then focal points/larger flowers, then filler flowers/smaller ones, then “floaters”/miscellaneous filler pieces. You can use a Lazy Susan to rotate the vase and see it from all sides, or turn it yourself.
  • Give the flowers a light spritz of water to recreate the look of fresh dew.

The Slave Bell (Our Pager System)

People always want to know about our pager system.

For a largely outdated technology, it’s certainly an attention grabber. Two hour class, first question in Q+A? Pagers. Random inbox message? Pagers. Comment on a full length, mostly unrelated blog post? Pagers.

So… why?

I get it. I think a large part of it is the slave bell thing. Press the transmitter button, slave appears, and gets the refill, does the thing, so on. Mistress doesn’t even need to put what she wants into words, no shouting, “Slave!” (this created the rule that I need permission to make a phone call, and notify her if I accept one), no texting, just hitting the right button. It doesn’t invite anything but an instant, unquestioning response. The pagers themselves can’t send messages back, and I can usually only be buzzed by one person. It’s the peak of me being at her beck and call, and her beck and call only. That’s all true. 

Realistically, I use the transmitter buttons more than she does, built into services and protocols for things like efficiently requesting to be unleashed for morning (8:10 AM), or alerting her that brunch or dinner is ready (9:30 AM or 6 PM daily, then I get into Waiting Position), though her response will be at her convenience. 

This may still be part of the appeal—a dynamic and lifestyle structured enough that a significant amount of necessary daily communication can be done via pressing preset buttons. We’re both generally home all day, so it works for our range.

On the technology/setup itself… 

We each have one of these pagers. I’m required to keep mine clipped to my daily slave uniform. Mistress mostly keeps hers on her desk and might bring it with her if she moves around the house for any length of time when she’s expecting I might page her. She accidentally broke the clip on mine while shoving me once, and since she didn’t usually use the clip on hers, we traded cases. 

There’s a six button transmitter on Mistress’ desk and one by the blanket on the floor I sleep on  at the foot of the bed. A one button transmitter lives in the dining room.

Mistress has three active buttons on hers, so three distinct messages she can send me by pressing the assigned button, basically: coffee/water refill, check messages (to make sure I get a notification for a text message, etc.), and come here. These page me. I can keep all other notifications off 24/7 and be able to focus on her. She can also send non urgent digital messages without interrupting what I’m currently doing this way. 

The one by my blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed has two: check messages, leash/unleash request (I sleep leashed, and if she’s awake and home, which she generally is, she has to be the one to put it on and remove it). As mentioned, 8:10 AM for unleashing. I get leashed after Evening Inspection at 9:20 PM.

The one button in the dining room is generally used as my alert that the meal is ready (as mentioned, 9:30 AM or 6 PM daily, then I get into Waiting Position), though we also use it as an attention request button that (mostly, overnight) guests can push if they have an urgent question; so, it pages both of us. 

We set this up about a year ago now, and it’s been going great. No complaints. I’d highly recommend it to those in similar situations, though plenty of people may find something else a better option for them. Whatever works. 

Lifestyle Masochism Example (Your Presence Is Requested)

This is part of the Lifestyle Masochism series. These are stand alone non fiction/memoir examples of the lifestyle sadomasochism we practice within our irrevocable consent framework, as discussed in the explanation post here.

I’m making some natural cleaners in the kitchen when my pager buzzes. I lift my shirt a little and tilt it towards me from where it’s clipped to my uniform leggings as always. Your presence is requested in the loft.

I’m curious. There are currently three active buttons on the pager transmitter that sits on Mistress’ desk, marked with little sticker icons. One, if she presses it, pages me with, Refresh coffee and water. I’ll go to her and collect one or the other or both and refill them and bring them back. One tells me to check my messages, indicating she wants a response to something she can’t communicate with a transmitter button urgently, or at least wants me to see it, which allows me to keep all digital notifications off. The third makes my pager buzz with simply, Your presence is requested in the loft. Her office. The equivalent of ringing a more old fashioned slave bell. The simple, Come here, without the yelling, “Slave!” that created the rule that I need permission to make a phone call (or to notify her when I answer one) before things get awkward. Even with the pagers, the rule is still in place, actually. 

She uses this summons the least, since she could use check messages to communicate most things. But that’s the one my pager displays now. 

I have the feeling she just wants to harass me. On her daily spreadsheet printout, there’s a section that says simply, How to Harass Hannah Today.  Sometimes I notice the note she makes under it before she does it. Either way, I know it’s there and that generally something is in store each day.

So I go upstairs to the loft. As they say, when the slave bell rings, you answer it without question. Okay, I don’t meet many people that so literally applies to, but.

She asks what I’m up to. I tell her about the cleaners. She confirms I have no dangerous chemicals sitting open on the counter or anything. Approaches me casually, then slaps me across the face, hard, so fast I have no chance to see it coming. While I’m still reeling, she does something that ends with me landing on the floor, though I’m too disoriented to tell what. 

From there, it’s the usual flurry of abuse, the kicking, punching, choking, pulling me by the hair. I remember sliding clear across the kitchen floor when she pulled me by the hair the other day, the throbbing for hours after. Fond memories. Right now, the pain is everywhere. It’s wonderful. She tells me how pathetic I am. I agree. 

She yanks my clothes out of the way, fingers me, roughly enough I squirm, much more pain than pleasure. She presses one finger into my ass with negligible natural lube, though that might be my favorite kind of anal and, while it’s uncomfortable, I squirm less. I don’t remember all of the taunts she throws at me during this. The usual, slut, whore, slave, property, bitch, owned, masochist, pathetic, mine. Her other hand tight in my hair, wrapped around my throat, wrapped around my collar, smacking my ass. 

She stops abruptly, stands, gives me one more hard kick, and leaves. I hear water running in the nearby bathroom, probably washing her hands. I don’t manage to move right away. I don’t try very hard, to be fair, since it doesn’t seem urgent. 

Still, she makes fun of me for this when she returns. I don’t have the sense to run. I end up on the floor somewhere else—dragged, maybe, or shoved after a go at standing—and she fingers me again. Taunts me for getting off on all this. “What are you?”

“Your slave.” A familiar ritual. 

“That’s right. I own you. Show me. Show me your body does what I tell it to. You’ll come exactly when I tell you to. Ten. Nine.” 

The countdown is familiar. I can picture the little upwards line graph of pleasure amount versus spoken number in reverse order. 

“Eight. Seven.” 

Increasing. I’m wetter this time. 

“Six. Five. Four.” 

I’m pretty much there. Not struggling to hold it back, but I know I’ll do exactly as she said.

“Three. Two.” 

Maybe struggling to hold it back. I whine.

“One. Come.” 

I do. It’s lovely. After, I’m panting, coming down. “Thank you, Mistress.” 

She dismisses me shortly after; I fix my clothes, stand, curtsy as always, and leave.

 

Lifestyle Masochism Example (Stay Still)

This is part of the Lifestyle Masochism series. These are stand alone non fiction/memoir examples of the lifestyle sadomasochism we practice within our irrevocable consent framework, as discussed in the explanation post here.

I’m in my office, sitting at my desk, though I’m turned to the side and my laptop is in my lap, doing research for a writing project. 

Mistress comes in and I don’t think we make much if any small talk—I can see the Look, and set my laptop safely out of the way—before she tries to slap me hard across the face. Not quite quick enough—my hand flies up defensively, reflex, and she ends up hitting me solidly in the wrist, which still kind of hurts. 

And so comes the taunting. “Do you think that’s the appropriate response?” and others. 

Well, no. My answers are scattered; I’m getting shoved around in the general direction of the bed—my office is in the aptly named master retreat, a room with no door to the hallway, but double doors into the master bedroom. We call it the Hannah Habitat. I land on the bed on my back with my feet still almost on the floor, my hands pinned, but she can’t seem to keep me pinned enough one handed to hit me again without that flinch reflex in the way.  She pulls me to sitting up. It goes roughly like this: 

“What are you?” 

“Your slave.” She asks me this several times a day. There is only one correct answer. 

“And what does that mean?” 

“That you can hit me when you want.” 

And so on. “So stay still. You like being owned. You like me hitting you. You should be thanking me for it. Not all this wriggling. Now keep your hands down.” She keeps trying to nudge me into position, hands out of the way, shoulders down, head up and straight, but every time she so much as twitches, reflex kicks in. Still, with more force, she manages to hit me again, hard, several times—I’m starting to wonder if it’ll leave suspicious bruises—as I’m shoved back onto the bed, pinned, choked, degraded, and of course hit again. 

She pushes me onto my front, pulls my clothes down, notes the marks remaining from the toy I made mostly of barbed wire, some tape. “Did you like that?” she asks. “Did you like getting beat with barbed wire? Did you like telling people about it, and how the barbs with your blood on them fly off?” 

Yes, I did.

She spanks me. “See, all this wriggling when I try to hit you in the face, but on your ass, you practically beg for it.” 

I’m completely still. I have begged for it. For both, probably. 

“Can you imagine all the wriggling you’d be doing if I tried to hit you in the face like this?” 

She probably shouldn’t hit me in the face like she’s hitting my ass now.

With a few more shoves, she demonstrates this point by hitting me in the face again despite my wriggling. “What can I do to make you stop with that?” 

Actually, I’ve done a decent amount of research into that, mostly for applying it to fiction because I doubt she has the patience for it, but my answers are kind of scattered from slaps and the struggle and not enough oxygen with her fingers around my throat. 

At some point she tells me to stand, that I can fix my clothes. She finds my pager, slave bell, where it came off of my leggings, but it’s intact in its clip case thing, unlike the old clip that she broke by shoving me around like this.

“Kneel.” 

I do. My body finds the position easily, the right placements of overlaps of toes and fingers and details, just like it does several times a day, with that and other positions. 

“Thank me for hitting and abusing you.” 

“Thank you for abusing me.” It’s amazing how easy those words are to say. I think they are more awkward to hear myself say than to feel, than to want to say, because I know how many people would think it’s sick. Others, hot. 

She moves her own clothes and orders me to worship her; I do. It’s not for long, though; she grabs me tight by the hair like a leash and pulls me towards the master bathroom. Rather than sliding straight along the floor like I sometimes do helplessly when she drags me by the hair, I largely manage to cooperatively crawl, though unsure if that was what she intended.  

She orders me to undress again. 

I know what’s coming. I make a helpless, small sound of—despair? dread?—but undress. 

“Kneel in the shower.” 

I do. The bathroom light isn’t even on.

She pees on me. The stupid thing is that wasn’t even really what the distressed sound was over. I just don’t want the hassle of showering after right now, of emerging cold and wet. We all have our pet peeves. 

“Clean me up.” 

I do. I don’t really object to that part, either, swallowing droplets without complaint. 

She fixes her clothes. “Thank me again.” 

“Thank you, Mistress.” 

She makes a vague gesture. “You may do whatever you want in the shower.” Which means I don’t have to shave, present for inspection afterwards. 

One more time, required, but genuine, “Thank you, Mistress.” 

“You’re welcome, slavegirl.” She leaves. I shower. 

Service Skill: Using Homemade/Natural Cleaners 

  • All purpose cleaner: two cups of water, one tablespoon of washing soda. Store in spray bottle. Spritz surface and rub clean and dry with cleaning rag/suitable tool of choice. 
  • Abrasive cleaner: combine small amounts of baking soda and water where needed until it forms a paste. Gently grind off stuck on dirt/food/etc. with sponge/mildly abrasive tool of choice. Rinse and dry.  
  • Drain maintenance: pour one cup of washing soda into drain, let sit for a few minutes.  Follow with three cups of boiling water.  
  • For lime/mineral deposits on fixtures: soak in vinegar using cloth, bag, etc. to soften it up to be removed/let it sit for a few hours. Then, rub clean with cleaning rag/tool of choice and rinse and dry.
  • For toilets: add one cup of vinegar and one cup of baking soda to the bowl. Let it sit for several minutes. Then, swish and clean with a toilet brush, then flush the toilet to rinse it.
  • For lime/mineral deposits/mold in containers (humidifiers, coffee makers, etc.): fill it with vinegar, put it in sunlight. Let it sit a few hours, agitating or scrubbing if needed. Thoroughly rinse and dry. (For coffee makers, you can run it with just hot water several times.) 
  • Fabric refresher spray: water, splash of rubbing alcohol, and desired amount/combo of essential oils in a spray bottle. Spritz on beds, couches, carpets, etc. 
  • Hard floor cleaner: one cup of water, one quarter cup of vinegar, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, a few drops of liquid dish soap, and desired amount/combo of essential oils. Store in bottle and apply it to the mop, or store it in a spray bottle, then spray it on the floor and mop. 
  • Carpet cleaner: one cup of water, one half cup of vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, and desired amount/combo of essential oils in spray bottle. Spray, let it dry, then vacuum.

A Weekend Vow of Silence

When I was fifteen, I took a weeklong vow of silence.  I learned a lot, and as the years went on, I frequently thought of doing it again.

When I first pitched that concept, Mistress was skeptical. I’m her main source of company, after all. So, years passed, but a new comment on “The Benefits of Silence” brought it back to the front of my mind.  I mentioned the comment to Mistress offhandedly, but it seemed her outlook on it had changed; she offered that if I wanted to do a version of it again, she might be willing within certain parameters.

I didn’t press right away—the timing wasn’t right—but a few weeks later, I floated a more specific idea, and she agreed.

Just a weekend vow of silence—from the time I fell asleep Friday night until the time I woke up Monday morning.

Now, it’s been over eight years since the weeklong vow.  A lot has changed.

I’m recently twenty-four. I’m happily married and collared; I own two homes, one outright; I’m a professional kink educator, and I’m a writer approaching publishing my fifth book. I am not the fifteen year old high school student with the disheveled purple ponytail and back to school sale composition notebook anymore. 

So I thought I had a lot to potentially learn with a second go round, in what felt like almost a new life. 

… 

So came Saturday morning.

My morning alarm went off, now 7:15.  I stirred on my usual blanket on the floor and shut it. I hit the pager transmitter button and got into Unleashing Position, cold air hitting my bare skin as always. 

Now, I wrote a post on our morning ritual: “24/7 High Protocol: First Thing in the Morning“. And when I say in it, “This is how I wake up pretty much every morning,” I really mean word for word.

Being 24/7 high protocol, many of our required interactions are so scripted that I really didn’t need to speak my lines at all. Realizing the true extent of that was interesting.

Mistress came in and unleashed me. She gave me permission to use the restroom, so I didn’t need to ask. And today, the required, Thank you, Mistress, was an appreciative nuzzle.

For the first vow, there had been more planning.  Negotiating with my parents and teachers, warning friends, carrying a makeshift whiteboard with a brief note on the back explaining the project.

This time, I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone other than Mistress, and didn’t really plan to until it was over.

I started to wonder about this when I went on my morning walk (Mistress, as usual, predicting my required notification that I was leaving when I was applying her sunscreen—one of my morning tasks—so I didn’t have to text). 

Doing the same mile loop at the same time each morning, I tended to pass largely the same few people and dogs whom I was used to greeting. Still, I reflected, a nod or smile or wave wasn’t that out of place.

Later, I relied on Instacart instead of a quick walk to the store when the sealed milk in the fridge unexpectedly expired early, and quietly headed inside when I sensed the neighbor might be about to make conversation over the back wall. (He sent his young son to our front door with the lemons from their garden instead—Mistress got the door, though that’s usually my job.) 

I mentioned Mistress’ early skepticism.  

At first it seemed that while she would now allow the weekend vow, it was without enthusiasm. But as the time’d approached, her enthusiasm had risen.

At first, she talked about how I would be choosing not to talk that weekend. Then it was about how I wasn’t allowed to talk that weekend, an important distinction. Something I would happen to be doing (with permission) versus something she would actively be enforcing. 

By the time I served brunch on Saturday—9:30 as always, hitting the ever handy pager transmitter button and assuming Waiting Position behind my usual chair—she was getting more enthused. “You may sit,” she said first—I already wasn’t allowed to do that or ask to on any other day, always silent as she did a quick check on my position, the table setting, whatnot, so that was as normal.

She noted that she was more talkative at brunch, as she was doing one hundred percent of the talking.  She mocked my required silence happily and was already verbally plotting a third, pet play based vow of silence that I could spend leashed to her desk with maybe my notebook, but it would be a digital detox day, too. I’d already done a digital detox day recently, and spend plenty of hangout time leashed to her desk while we do our own things, me on the floor.

I decided to take the plotting as a good sign.

Saturday is our review day.  We both have reflection and planning worksheets to fill out and share with each other, and other review tasks. I write a weekly summary of my daily slave journal entries and bring her the notebook.

So it was a good silent day of self reflection.

I felt no strong urge to break my silence, as I hadn’t the last time, and there were no accidental slips (there was one, during the first vow, an exclamation when someone dropped something). 

The only thing that really gave me pause this time was the amount I apparently “talk” (more like mouthing words) to and for myself, and to and for my fictional characters, and putting that on pause even when alone.

I still felt very strongly connected to my fiction that weekend, even old, typically forgotten projects coming back into my mind. 

As I was silent, the background noise of my head seemed to have the volume turned up a notch: my inner monologue, what I call the music station, the white noise and conversational chatter, the fading out of this world and into my characters’, the intrusive delusional thoughts. 

It was around my fifteenth birthday that I experienced my first definitive symptoms of what wasn’t diagnosed for almost another three years as paranoid schizophrenia. I was much newer to psychosis during my first vow.

But now, I had more insight into such changes and more sangfroid in handling them (and a better medication choice), just observing my mind curiously. 

Communication, when I did feel the urge, was slow.

I realized I remembered most of the ASL alphabet, but Mistress didn’t, and it felt like cheating, anyway. 

More of my communication was regularly happening electronically than at the time of the last vow.  Mistress, my mom, my readers, my butler school instructor, the tenants.  I tried not to chat incessantly, but used messaging when I really had something to say. I put off asking permission to return one non urgent property management call until Monday. 

At one point, I asked Mistress for permission to use the restroom in person. Our typical protocol dictates that I wait in the doorway of her office (the loft) silently when I want her attention, waiting for her to acknowledge me.

So when she did, I pointed to myself and to the bathroom doorway perpendicular to what serves as her doorway.  She didn’t get my vague gesturing, though, and after several tries, she was standing in the bathroom looking around in confusion when the oh moment struck, and she granted it, which counted as permission to leave, cutting my figuring out how to ask if there was anything else I could do to be of service, then permission to go, without speaking. 

So I just curtsied and went into the restroom, leaving the door unlocked as always.

Sunday (and Wednesday and Friday) nights, sex is scheduled at 9 PM.

It really went largely as normal—it’s not like I say much other than a, Yes, Mistress, here and there. As is pretty typical, I wasn’t allowed to come, but after, seeing to turndown and a few last tasks, settling onto my blanket on the floor for the night, I was allowed to masturbate there, and that was very nice.

So went my silent weekend.

It was interesting to compare the two experiences, to replicate the vow with the way my life is now, being a high protocol slave and all. I think there will always be some fun new observations.

One day, I’d still like to do it again. Maybe Mistress’ plotted pet play version.

I Don’t Think of Self Care as Service

I don’t think of self care as service.

Firstly, I’d like to specify that—for this post—when I say self care, I’m talking about basic physical health maintenance—a healthy, regular diet, hydration, basic hygiene, enough sleep, so on.  I’m not currently speaking only of luxury self care or of mental self care, and am mostly speaking of the day to day, not lifestyle overhauls.

Now, self care is valuable.  The very basics of it are even necessary.  On either side of the slash, with or without a dynamic, kinkster or vanilla—you need water and food and sleep and such to survive.  To be healthy, you need enough of those things, regularly, and it needs certain healthful qualities.

That’s also reason number one why I don’t think of self care as service: I have to do it, with or without Mistress.  It’s not an option.  I did it before her.  What I strictly need and what is reasonably healthy don’t change because of my dynamic.

My personal—not universal—definition of a service is something that Mistress would need or want, independent of me.  Now, there are services I initially introduced her to, but now she’d want them independently.

Making her meals is a service.  With or without me, she has to eat.  Cleaning the house is a service.  With or without me, she’d want a clean living environment.  (And—as a side effect at the very least—this does mean that there’s food and a clean environment for me, too.)

Now, without me, she’d probably lower her standards of clean.  She’d probably handle certain tasks in a way that was easier or faster, or neglect them entirely, unless there was someone else to outsource to.  This happens on a small scale when I’m too sick to serve. But in her ideal world, she would still want those tasks to have been done, frequently and well, and there are plenty of others she would pick up doing herself eventually.

So, those are services she just wants done, period, with or without me. And I love providing service. It’s my full time job. 

But, if I wasn’t in her life, she wouldn’t want or need my self care.  Sure, as a kind person, she’d wish good self care on any given person out there, but it wouldn’t really have value for her.  So it doesn’t meet my personal criteria for service there.

Let me give a disclaimer: I’m not naturally inclined to self care.  It’s not a talent of mine, for various reasons, including the schizophrenia (which I blog and teach on).  Left to my instincts, I forget self care, I procrastinate on it, I view it as a necessary evil, I shove it aside in the name of being a monomanic tortured artist workaholic. However, I don’t truly endorse that method, and so I try to rise above those instincts and take care of myself to get more done, using productivity systems and, well, Mistress ordering me to take a break already.

Aha, you might say. So she does want your self care. Well, yes. And I’m grateful for that. There are a few things to consider in that, though, besides her just caring about me.

One: not everything I do because of Mistress is a service. Yes, we view service as a key focus of our dynamic, but we also have other focuses and are generally M/s. To me, a lot of other things I do because of her fall under acts of submission, but not service.  While submission and service are highly correlated concepts for me—but certainly not for everyone—they’re not exactly the same. 

I think of acts of submission as anything I do because of Mistress.  This could be obeying a once off order, doing a recurring service task that was assigned, obeying a rule (ever present) or a (somewhat situational) protocol, asking for permission when required, wearing my daily uniform, assuming my slave positions, so on.  I exclude from this the things that I would do with or without her. 

So, some self care acts are not acts of submission, either—things I do attend to well myself.  But some—the ones I do only because of her—are, by my personal criteria at least.  That is an act of submission because it is not something I also happen to want—I am submitting to her will: having a largely healthy slave. And submission is important to me.

Another thing to consider: it’s difficult if not impossible to provide consistent, quality service without consistent, quality self care.  My service declines when I’m too hungry, too tired, too dehydrated, so on.  While I don’t think of self care as service in itself, it is a crucial step one towards service. For her, ensuring my self care is, if nothing else, a cost of quality service. 

In my Anticipatory Service class, I have a section on learning new service skills.  While learning the skill might not be in itself service by my criteria, you sure can’t provide that service without it. I view self care similarly. 

Likewise, if you have a traditional job, self care and learning probably aren’t part of your job description, but you can’t do your job well without them.

And because I want to do a good job, I must value self care at least for that.

Say, virtually all of my (not super incidental) required tasks come from one of two places: my calendar, and my recurring task list.

I have rules about what goes on those. It must connect to at least one of the following: writing, being a kink educator, running Las Vegas TNG, going to butler school, being a slave (service or submission), or maintaining my physical health.  I chose these areas based on their reflection of my personal core values list. I do plenty of other good things, but those don’t earn a place in the official systems.

And you saw my health listed in there: it deserves the priority because it feeds the other categories, including my service.

Now, being a slave also affects my self care in other ways.  We’re high protocol and practice lifestyle sadomasochism. This affects my self care.

I need permission to go to the bathroom. (Sometimes she accompanies me and throws humiliation in there.) I need permission to shower, am required to do it regularly, am required to shave everything neck down whenever I do (unless I gain permission otherwise), and am required to report for an intimate inspection after. (Sometimes she uses this opportunity for watersports, soaping, cold showers, etc.) I sleep on the floor, nude, on a leash, with a set wakeup and bed time.

I love all areas of our dynamic, and sometimes they require self care, and sometimes they make it a challenge.

In the end, I want our dynamic to be about her, for her to get the best deal she can get—and sometimes that means putting myself aside, but sometimes that means overcoming that instinct to make sure she has a largely healthy, well taken care of slave.

I don’t think of self care as service—but it’s part of our dynamic, and it’s important.

24/7 High Protocol: First Thing in the Morning

This is how I wake up pretty much every morning.

My alarm goes off.  8:10 as required. I shut it, blink myself awake.  I hit the pager transmitter button that will make Mistress’ pager buzz with the message for a leashing related request.  Only she can remove my leash, since she’s awake and home. My pager—slave bell—unbuzzed by this particular alert, sits nearby. 

I move towards Unleashing Position.  Kneeling back on my heels, knees spread, big toes crossed right over left, back straight, with my hair and head out of the way, collar o-ring and thus leash clip in front, leash resting on my upturned palms at the tops of my thighs. 

Some mornings, I’m not quite there yet when she comes in, but she’ll unleash me anyway. Other times, she waits. I like it when she waits.

As I move, my blanket slips from around me. I sleep leashed on the floor at the foot of the bed; my blanket—slave furs—is warmth, a bit of padding, and my primary bedding, though other things—like an extra blanket, a pillow—phase in and out. It’s pretty comfortable.

Today, air hits my skin as the blanket slips; I’m required to sleep nude and I’m not allowed to touch the thermostat, so I frequently feel a little chilly.

Mistress unleashes me for the day with greetings and asks if I have any questions for her.  Since she’s prompted me, I can speak to answer (speak when spoken to). I ask for permission to use the restroom (required if she’s awake and home/with me), in the required format—using may, please, and Mistress.  She grants it.  

“Thank you, Mistress.” The required response for permission answers, and real gratitude. The same goes for compliments. Unless it would be disruptive to the conversation.

“You’re welcome, slavegirl.”  The usual response, and real amusement. 

I usually wait until she leaves to get up.  If I want to leave when still in her presence, there’s the asking if there’s anything else I can do to be of service—doing it—then asking for permission to leave, curtsying before exiting.  If she dismisses me, “You may go,” or such, I can just curtsy and exit.  That and the speech restrictions only shut off with rare need in vanilla company.

But once she leaves, I’m free to just head for the restroom.  I’m not allowed to lock the door unless there’s company, but I don’t mind.  

After that, I go to dress in my daily Uniform and see to my required morning tasks.

… 

Now, that can be a lot to keep in mind from the contract before I even get dressed in the morning, in the first few minutes of being awake.  But I love it, and several years into our dynamic, slowly adding things with a lot of investment in practice, training, and experience, it’s actually pretty automatic, feels natural, and is harder to stop than to do.  Some things are easier than others.  

It does require being always “on” to an extent.  No weekends, no holidays, no hours off from protocol.  And Mistress always has to watch for it. 

In all ways, my dynamic has to be my top priority.  Here, that means I’m not allowed to have a job.  That means figuring out the finances. That means a full time job’s worth of service, always on call.  That means no no, no safewords, no limits, no rights, no way out.  That means her deciding what’s best without limitations. It means a lot, and I don’t, shouldn’t, can’t, take it lightly.

But, we live this way every day—first thing in the morning forwards—and we love our dynamic and each other, and that’s what counts.