Time, Nature, and Submission

In the Museum of Science in Boston, there’s long been an exhibit about our senses and perceptions, including but also beyond what we normally think of. One of its features is a simple activity related to our sense of time. Hit a button, and, simply doing your thing, without counting seconds, hit the button again when you think it’s been a minute. Then, a screen tells you how long it’s really been. 

Often, our first tries come up short—way short. Anecdotally at least, whenever I’ve observed people giving the activity a real go, about forty seconds seems to be the first length of time people wait before hitting the button again—two-thirds of a minute.

With practice, accuracy increases. I took the idea home from the museum with me after a trip in August, played with the stopwatch on my phone, using thirty seconds, a minute, a minute and a half, two minutes, until I could consistently hit the stop button within a few seconds of the duration I’d had in mind. 

It became a mindfulness game. It’s not about how accurately you can count the seconds—as you’re not supposed to count—but being able to hold the clock in the back of your mind as you do something else. What does one minute of washing dishes feel like? What does two minutes of folding laundry feel like? 

I often preach a mindfulness practice’s uses in submission. In anticipatory service—you have to be mindful of someone’s cues and desires, without just staring at them constantly. In learning protocols—you have to be mindful of your speech, posture, and beyond, without contract permanently in hand and while also functioning in conversation. When serving in the kitchen, the ability to put something back in the oven for just another minute without always running for a timer or burning it is near priceless. 

I found it best if it became natural, and practice makes perfect. 


A few months after the trip where the stopwatch game really caught my attention, we were doing our normal maintenance discipline routine, Fridays after brunch. As the final part, Mistress puts me in the corner in the bedroom—for about ten minutes, the exact timing at her discretion. When time is up, she comes and gets me. 

That day, I waited as usual. In a way, that time is hers, as all of my time is—she dictates where I am and how I stand and what I (don’t) do and for exactly how long. Yet, it’s mine, too. I’m alone, and wandering off in the relative freedom of my own mind. Maybe it’s more like she forces me to take a few minutes to myself. 

So my mind wandered, then began to come back towards the present moment, usually a decent sign that time’s almost up. But she didn’t come get me anytime soon. At first, I wondered if my internal background stopwatch was a little off, but after a while, it became clear this wasn’t an issue with my perception of ten minutes or so, or that it had been bumped to fifteen minutes. It simply had to have been way more than ten minutes. Which meant she’d forgotten about me.

It wasn’t the first time, hence my guess. Mistress doesn’t share my fascination with the little stopwatch exercise, and generally sets a timer to tell her to get me out of the corner. And today, she’d clearly forgotten to set the timer. 

I lacked options except waiting for her to remember, as my body started to heartily protest that our Corner Position wasn’t built for this kind of duration. I had one thing coming to save me, though: I had a meeting in a little over an hour from the time she’d put me in the corner. I’d set myself a reminder alarm that would go off about an hour after she’d put me there. If nothing else, she’d hear that alarm. 

I was starting to get a little antsy, though. Really, I’d wanted to do prep for the consultation beforehand, review what the my consultee wanted and write down some initial ideas—in time I’d assumed I’d have between maintenance and the meeting. The reminder alarm was just the final call for plugging in my computer and my webcam, booting up Zoom. After thinking through what I could, and thinking about my lack of time, I estimated at one point that I had about ten minutes left until my alarm went off. Bored, I decided to let myself just count to six hundred. That would be about ten minutes, and then my alarm would go off. 

I got to about three hundred and sixty—about six of the ten minutes I’d estimated. Then my alarm started ringing. Nothing happened for a rather anxiety inducing minute or two, and then Mistress came into the bedroom. (She later told me that she’d heard my alarm, thought I’d shut it in a second as normal, then got confused I hadn’t, and thought she’d come shut it for me, and go find me and alert me to the fact it was going off, and thought that I would appreciate that.) She then realized what had happened. She let me out of the corner, somewhat mortified, and I—after collapsing to the floor briefly as my body, still screaming in protest, gave out—bolted to my meeting (with permission) the second I could manage the requisite curtsy. 

Later, I ran the numbers. My guess had been off by counting another two hundred and forty seconds—about four minutes. If my estimation of an hour had been off by about four minutes, that meant I was off by only about four seconds per minute of that hour. That was kind of neat, but my time estimation skills were also, in that situation, kind of useless. Perhaps there were better things I could’ve thought about—even pleasant distraction—or been mindful of—like calming breathing. But I couldn’t help the mental stopwatch. 

And if you’ve ever been forced to stare, statue still and silent, at a wall with your nose pressed to it for an hour, as the sun moved in the sky, maybe you’ve also wondered: what is a second? What is a minute? What even is an hour? 

I came back to those thoughts months later, reading a wonderful book called Saving Time by Jenny Odell. The book challenges many of our cultural ideas about time. The first critical question it asks is, “Whose time is it, anyway?” 

As I mentioned above, I’m very clear on whom “my” time really belongs to. I had the privilege of choosing whom to give it to, but it’s not really mine now. 

And why did I choose how I did? I wax rhapsodic in plenty of writings about why service and why protocol and why slavery, but often it comes down to, I enjoy X, and service or protocol or slavery gives me X. But why do I enjoy X? After a certain amount of digging, I often have to accept my desire for X as seemingly basically innate. 

I created a prettier final write up for my scribbled notes on Saving Time. I centered one key takeaway in an accent color, framed by two strips of thin, patterned washi tape: Never turn your back on the ocean. 

While I was working farther down on the page, Mistress came in to talk to me. Later, about to leave, reading what I’d been working on over my shoulder, she gave my hair a hard yank. “And never turn your back on the ocean, you understand?” 

“Yes, Mistress.” 

“Good, because I sure don’t,” she said, humorously, but also forced to take the spotlighted note somewhat out of context, and left. 

We talked about it later, though: what the note is getting at is the importance of nature. Nature is largely going to do what it is going to do—and you turn your back on it at your own peril. High tide will come whether you are looking at and ready for it or not. Trying to control nature is both unnatural and frequently impossible. 

And what brings me to this dynamic is my nature, that it is a place I can let my nature be free. Where my desire to submit is not seen as unsafe or demanding too much instruction or provoking guilt or a product of a rigged system. In my case, it is in my nature to submit, and my nature will shine through whether I am in an ideal place for it or not. 

I turn my back on that fact at my own peril. 


The book also explores other senses and scales of time beyond our systems of minutes and hours and days. Time is not really all equal—seasons vary by place and are inexact, days grow longer and shorter. There are multiple, overlapping patterns of the natural world that tell time—foliage blooming and fading, the phases of the moon, the patterns of the tide, the migration seasons of birds. 

If nature—my nature—is what brought me to this dynamic, perhaps it makes sense that the dynamic should run by such patterns of nature. Yet, cultural influence isn’t that easy to escape. I often hear that I run my life—primarily being, my slavery, my household—like a business. With contracts, logs and reviews and check ins, alarms and timers. Even as a slave and homemaker, Friday came to mean more to me than sunrise

But I was getting burnt out. Trying to solve my apparent time problem, I tried time tracking.

Yet any kind of time tracking I did seemed kind of lacking. Some things fit neatly—running a TNG munch, teaching a class. But if I made dinner for me and Mistress and my mother as a guest, what was I doing? Self care? I was eating and socializing, after all. Serving? I was required to make Mistress dinner, after all. Hosting, maybe? We had company, after all. Whose time was it, really? 

Saving Time proposes that just because you give something or someone time doesn’t necessarily mean you lose it, or that you took it from something else. You don’t only subtract—time can be shared, invested, planted like a seed. That time at dinner could be shared among the three of us. It was a rejuvenating time, investing in my later energy. Just like those minutes in the corner that are, ultimately, Mistress’, but also, mine. 

Trying to simplify that fact wasn’t helping. Sometimes, the familiar time systems themselves were failing me. Much as my internal background stopwatch didn’t help me when I was in the corner—if Mistress hadn’t heard my coincidental alarm, I would’ve been there until she just remembered me, regardless of the minutes or hours or my meeting—traditional time seemed unhelpful in other areas.

But a major point of time tracking was figuring out how long it took to get things done. And trying to cram how long things took into the boxes of hours and minutes and exclusive percentages of the day, with little regard for energy and consciously or subconsciously shared time, wasn’t working. As long as an activity was clearly serving at least one of my priorities, I decided I shouldn’t get too caught up on which others it might also serve. 

Seeking the whole truth, I noticed minutes and hours slipping away a little. 

I noticed, in quiet moments, other methods of telling time. How long it took for the bread dough to rise, how long it took for Mistress’ tea to steep. Yes, those things averaged a certain amount of minutes or hours, but why was that always the superior translation? If it had been three hours and the dough still hadn’t risen for some reason, it hadn’t risen. And if it had been seven minutes and the tea was still weak for some reason, the tea was still weak. I couldn’t reason with bread dough or tea leaves in terms of minutes or hours. 

Yet I’d been desperately trying to shove nature into the box of the twelve-hour clock and Gregorian calendar, frustrated when it didn’t fit, calculating based on how long it was “supposed” to take (based on cultural, and often ableist, ideals). And if something supposedly took me an hour to do, I didn’t measure how much energy it cost me, ignoring my body entirely. (Like when it was wrecked for far longer than that hour I spent in the corner.) Instead of time is money, which I’d long questioned, I thought, maybe time is energy. Even though the time (kind of) added up, I needed to do less in order to do what was really important to me, like serve. 

I still believe there’s a place for a stopwatch and time in mindfulness—you can train mindfulness without the thing you’re practicing being mindful of being important—but what about also simply coming back when the tea is done steeping or when the bread dough is done rising instead of when it’s been X minutes/hours? 

I also still believe there’s a place for alarms and timers and such—but you can’t always cram nature into them. Perhaps they should be more descriptive than prescriptive, the way we gave certain tasks and protocols a chance to form naturally before the contract described (and prescribed) them. Before I decide how long it should take to do something, maybe I should do it a few times and see how long it naturally takes, and how much energy and how many spoons it actually costs, beyond just minutes. 

Improving efficiency has to be about more than time. Doing something with less time didn’t always mean I was doing it with less energy, and as hours freed up and I filled them with more things, the energy meter went negative. 

I had turned my back on nature at my own peril—hyperfocusing on the exact minutes and hours society dictated instead of how long the natural patterns that really ran my service (and my health) took—and lost, burnt out.

Embracing those natural, inexact, overlapping patterns of time brought me closer to nature’s sense of time. I set the bread dough out to rise, and later, I start steeping the tea. The tea will be steeped, and later, the bread dough will have risen. Maybe when the tea is done but before the bread has to go in the oven, I can fold some laundry, regardless of if it’s exactly three o’clock. 

And embracing those patterns brought me closer to my nature, too—to enjoying service, instead of agonizing over minutes and seconds and hours. 

And that shift was what brought me peace. 

Is Butler School Right for You?

I’ve covered the big why of butler school and some other thoughts, and mention it frequently, but I relatively frequently hear from people interested in starting the course (the International Institute of Modern Butlers’ Full 400 Hour Private Residence Butler/Household Manager Online Course) who want more information, and often a recommendation on if I think the course is right for them. I thought I’d lay out my most frequent answers here. 

To recap the positive, the obvious pro to taking the course is the education. I have learned a lot, and a lot of it has been very applicable for me as a service slave. Other parts may come in handy later, are just interesting, help me answer questions when I teach/etc., or get used in my writing. I think pretty much anyone could learn a lot from this course that they would find applicable, though exact levels will vary. If you are not seriously interested in service, I think the course might be boring. I find a lot of the types of hard skills I’ve learned in the course to be somewhat missing within kink education, so it’s filled in a lot of those for me. 

Another good thing about a professional course is the confidence it gives you. It sets a clear bar that you will reach by the time it’s done, and gives you a highly qualified instructor and a piece of paper to tell you that you know what you’re talking about (once that’s true), on a professional level. That’s a feeling it can be hard to get out of attending large kink classes, and asking personal partners for feedback, and is very valuable for some people. If you’re shrugging at this, it might not be as valuable for you emotionally.

Those are what I consider to be the big pros. Now, let’s reality check. 

Firstly, there’s the money (always the buzzkill, I know). The course itself currently costs $2,500. This is just for the course itself. This does not count the course texts/resources (those are several hundred dollars more—many are pricey, hard to find locally, hence shipping costs, and you’ll need several of them on demand throughout the course, hence, hard to borrow, even if you can find them at your library). They currently estimate about $350 for books, and I think that is on the low end of what you could reasonably pull off, buying local/used, borrowing where you can, etc. This also does not count literally anything else you’ll need for the course, including required in person experiences, course appropriate clothing for pictures and videos, needed tools and supplies, basic technology, so on, as they come up. Be prepared; it would suck to get stuck on an assignment because you don’t have money for supplies, or are waiting on a book to ship. I know a lot of kinksters are on a budget. I was able to set aside part of my inheritance for this course. 

Secondly, there’s the other logistics. The time, focused space to work, the people in your life respecting those things, so on. The course says it takes four hundred hours to complete. I haven’t time tracked the course in detail, but… suffice to say, personally, it took me about two years to get about halfway through the course. You will be putting a lot of time in, that time will demand a lot of your energy, and this course will probably be A Part Of Your Life for quite a while, as actually doing it full time is, I think, very unlikely, due to the energy involved and also waiting on your instructor, in person experience opportunities, buying supplies, etc. Planning out your coursework time in advance can be difficult—I’ve tried many ways of doing it—due to that waiting, and because modules vary wildly in length, assignment types, so on, and you can only see the module you are currently on. So, be flexible in your approach.

As far as space: it will come down to your preferences. Some assignments will demand a space where you can take pictures/video or do certain practical assignments in the household, and then there are specific field trips. For the reading/written assignments, things where you’ll mostly need textbooks and a computer, anywhere you focus best works. The textbooks are large, heavy, and numerous if you get them in physical form (and several of them only come in physical form), and don’t always travel well. Working at home if you can, or really setting up camp somewhere with enough surface area, for a while, will probably be best. I’ve found working in cafes with plenty of seating or coworking spaces best when I want to get out of the house. 

Next, you’ll probably want a cover story. While generally I believe honesty is the best policy… I have found the course to be very conservative. As in, the fact I’m a young, American woman seems out there enough. Personally, I can get away with a few terminology swaps (“Mistress” and “employer”), omission, and tiny detail tweaks. To get the most out of the course and keep your story straight, though, I recommend being as honest as possible. If nothing else, feedback based on largely the truth is going to be much more useful to you than feedback based on lies. How close to the truth you can stick is going to depend on your exact situation.

Let’s talk about the energy, effort, and emotions involved. This course is a lot of work. Mental work—several thousand pages of reading. There are single assignments that call for reading a dry, eight-hundred page book. (And, yes, too many detailed, related assignments to fake it—and besides, if you’re going to fake your way through applicable reading, why take this course?) There’s also an emphasis on written assignments at times (including long essays on how to clean every material known to humankind). Be ready to use your verbal energies. Personally, this is a strongsuit of mine, which helps a lot. 

If you keep up with applying the standards of the course, there’s a lot of physical work—cooking, cleaning, and many forms of serving are all manual labor, and the course assumes you are doing this on a full time basis, before extra coursework. This may or may not actually be the case for you, and I do think you should make what you learn work for you, the person you’re serving, and your dynamic in terms of what you apply long term, but I do want to point out what the course calls for. I’ve definitely had to work on my health to keep up. 

This all can bring about a lot of emotions. The course will ask you early on to really take a look in the mirror and really evaluate your goals, your feelings, your reality, your strengths and weaknesses (and really work on them). You will probably have to conquer some small fears, and definitely work hard, beyond your comfort zone. You’ll almost certainly try new things (whether you like it or not, if you want to finish the course). You will generally have to get/keep yourself and your household together. You’ll learn how to serve with compassion in situations that sound ridiculous right now, how to always communicate efficiently with both transparency and respect. You’ll have to make a fool of yourself on camera until you get it right (and you will be asked to redo it again, and again, and again). You’ll learn how to polish silver and arrange flowers and pour wine down to details you’ve probably never heard of. In short, there will be growing pains. And that’s okay. But you have to be ready. If difficulty demotivates you, you might not be. 

Be aware that your instructor is someone you will have a professional relationship with. Expect that assignment you had all those emotions over to be met with “fine, pass” if you did well, and tough feedback and “redo” if not. (Yes, sometimes you will get enthusiastic praise—but it’s infrequent.) If you need a lot of positive reinforcement and reassurance to stay motivated, you might want to arrange for that with yourself, the person you’re serving, a friend, so on. 

Personally, I’ve found that, to generalize: the harder something is, the more I want it—so this all helps keep me motivated to do my best at coursework. 

So, is butler school right for you? Maybe. It’s not something I would recommend to everyone. It’s not something I would recommend to most people, to be honest. But it could be very valuable for the right person. I’m not trying to scare anyone off of it—I decided it was right for me, after all—but I do want to be honest about the difficult parts, given the investment it is. Ultimately, the decision is yours. But since I get the question and requests for more details fairly often, I wanted to lay more information out here to refer to. 

The Stoic Slave

Stoicism has called to me for a long time, as has being a slave. There’s a lot of overlap between them for me. I want to explore some things I commonly practice, how I think they relate to both, and why they’re beneficial for me. 

Sleeping on the Floor

There are several reasons I personally sleep on the floor at night, but I think it’s frequently considered a Peak Item of slavery and Stoicism both.

From the slave side, I think of it as a place defined by Mistress’ place—on the floor at the foot of her bed—with (especially given the leash), but not equal. From the Stoic side, it fits into asceticism, the self restraint and confrontation of discomfort (cultivating the cardinal virtue of fortitude). 

You’ll probably find that many of the practices I’ll explore here come back to asceticism and fortitude (we’ll come back to most of them towards the end of this post).

For me, the ultimate purpose in some of these seemingly masochistic practices is not actually to be unhappy—quite the contrary. They are also not really meant to remain unpleasant long term. They’re things that are kind of meant to be overcome, things I’m meant to become indifferent to. They make me appreciate the little things more. If someone sleeps in a bed every night, they probably rarely think anything of it, but if they slept on the floor for a night, they’d likely find it actively miserable. But on occasions when I do sleep in the bed, I appreciate the joy in it, and when I do sleep on the floor, I rarely think anything of it. Deprivation makes me want less. These practices make my happiness less fragile and more versatile. In the words of Epictetus: “Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.” 

Of course, it’s better to be healthy and safe and alive. But the point is that life is going to happen. Bad things are going to happen. But wouldn’t it be better to stay happy when they do? And that’s a skill, a virtue, that needs to be cultivated in advance. 

(Note: there’s a lot of confusion and disagreement when it comes to Stoicism and determinism. Bad things are going to happen is deterministic, but the ability to control ourselves and our reactions implies free will. Personally, to simplify, I see Stoicism as proposing a largely deterministic universe/external world, and a largely autonomous individual/inner world, though we are, I think we almost all agree, influenced by our past. In a way, we can change a lot—say, we can invent the airplane—but ultimately, we have to build them according to the natural laws of physics.) 

Study and Reading 

In many religions and philosophies, study of specific core texts or the system’s key principles in general features strongly. In Stoicism especially, I see virtue and intelligence/study conflated frequently. 

From the kink world, to quote Laura Antoniou, “A slave’s life is mostly composed of patience and study.” 

Continual learning has some obvious benefits for everyone. Practical knowledge that is gained can be applied. But deeper philosophical understanding that might not lead directly to an action item also has quite a bit of value. A better understanding of—even a new way of phrasing—why I do what I do helps me prioritize, do it with intention, be happier doing it, do it better.  

For this reason, I include monthly reading goals, and have always included plenty of study in general in my life. 


A lot of Stoicism is about the inner world (given that deterministic universe thing), and many Stoic practices you’ll find listed out anywhere are primarily mental exercises. Meditating on accepting death and mortality, negative visualization (imagining catastrophic events in order to decatastrophize the reality—free with every anxiety disorder!), mindfulness, reflecting on the near past and looking ahead to the near future, meditating on recent study, the ideal version of yourself, your desired virtues, what you do and don’t have control over—all of these have their place. 

I also frequently pitch meditation as a beneficial practice for slaves (and everyone else). Especially, some kind of mindfulness is necessary for smooth, even anticipatory service, and adhering to high protocol. And meditating on what you do and don’t have control over? I think the applications there are rather clear. 

I include various opportunities for assorted types of meditation throughout my day and the rest of my schedule. It’s calming, and I find getting my mind in order a crucial first step towards any action. (And ultimately, in Stoicism, though much of it may seem mental, it is all a first step towards our actions.) 


A lot of journaling is just putting mental meditations on paper, and the benefits are similar. Externalizing those thoughts forces you to examine and clarify them, helps ingrain them in your mind (or let go of undesirable ones), makes them easier to track over time, to come back to and be reminded of later, perhaps to draw further inspiration from them. The practice of consistent journaling itself is an exercise in self discipline. This can also help with the value of prudence (by gathering, storing, and reviewing information in a logical manner). 

Journaling—sometimes phrased as keeping a philosophical journal—is often taught as a key Stoic practice. Meditations is a very famous Stoic text, though it was actually the private journal of Marcus Aurelius, and was likely not intended for publication. 

Keeping a slave/submissive journal is a common first task for an s-type. Whether it’s meant for communication (as shared with a partner) or to be a private item, the same above benefits apply.

I keep a daily (slave) journal that I share with Mistress (I’m required to bring it to her once a week). It’s often brief and event focused, but it can also be a place for more when I have more to say. 

My philosophical journal is probably moreso my blogs, including this one. In a way, it shows up in my fiction, too. Those, I share publicly in the hope that others find some benefit in them. I’ve always been a writer, so that helps. 

I’ve also recently started keeping a daily dream journal. As someone who has a very active mind in my sleep, apparently, I find a lot of the same benefits in it as I do in journaling about my waking hours. (As someone with maladaptive/dissociative daydreams while awake, I also note key themes of my waking dreams that day.) 


Discipline of the physical form—fitness—features in many Stoic practices, with a combination of physical and ultimately mental aspects. Fortitude and self discipline are still key here. Voluntary exposure to discomfort, depending on the exact extent of the exercise, can also feature. Stretching and walking are often part of meditative practices as well. And, of course, there are physical health benefits here. 

As a slave, practicing self discipline (and maintaining my physical health) is key, and combining this with meditative practices is a bonus. 

As part of my routine first thing every morning, I do some stretching, maybe some bodyweight exercises, and go for an at least one mile walk as required (sometimes with sections of running), with no music/audio/whatnot, no exercise buddy, no fancy gear—just my mind to watch. I also enjoy hiking in nature and other similar activities. 

Waking Early

I admit I don’t wake particularly early, but I do rise at the same time every day, which is enforced, and it’s a small stretch for me, right around 8 AM. 

Marcus Aurelius wrote: 

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I am rising to do the work of a human being. What do I have to complain about, if I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’  

(…) You don’t love yourself enough. For if you did, you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it.” 

(Temperance, another cardinal virtue, is on display here—as much sleep as you need, not more.) 

I’ve written before that as a slave, although ultimately I don’t get a choice, I do have to choose to serve, over things like (asking permission for) sleeping in. To prioritize it, to seize the opportunity every morning. 

If submission is in my nature, if my purpose is to serve—if I love it—I will wear myself down doing it. 


As said, a lot of these Stoic practices will come back to fortitude and confronting discomfort, such as deprivation. 

Beyond deprivation of the desired, beyond discomfort, we have pain.

Pain can also play an important part in slavery, though it’s not necessary, as an expression of power. 

Personally, we have weekly maintenance discipline in our dynamic, which current contains ritualistic pain (a spanking with the discipline wand, and, incidentally, cornertime, a form of deprivation and meditation). For me, it’s a headspace event, not a behavior modifier or a sexual thing. Overcoming the pain to focus on counting obediently (some at the beginning and some at the end, usually ten—”One, thank you, Mistress; please may I have another?”) is a discipline practice. 

We also practice what I call lifestyle masochism, which includes a lot of what I’ve touched on above, and also what looks like random violence/mimicking physical abuse—things I don’t want in the moment, but overcome, building resilience (fortitude). 

Cold Showers

Another example largely of more of the same. I don’t stick strictly to cold showers, for practical purposes, but they do feature frequently in the forced masochism, and I try for at least a cold rinse in every shower. 

Many famous Stoics used voluntary exposure to the cold, especially cold water, as a practice. And many people praise various health benefits of this practice as well. 

Eating Simply, Fasting 

This one is a mixed bag for me. As someone who struggles with symptoms of anorexia, I am actually currently trying to lean further away from this, though, as I’m including it here, I do see some virtue in it in moderation, and I don’t want to eliminate it entirely (see also: exercise). Mindful eating, at least, not overindulging, and the occasional fast can all be healthy and Stoic practices. As a slave, I find that moderation (temperance), self control, and anything with physical health benefits are all pros. 

This features in many other philosophies and religions—fasting for spiritual purposes, advising against gluttony (one of the seven deadly sins), etc. In fact, my first experiences with fasting—middle school—were tied to Jewish holidays. 

Digital Minimalism/Detoxing 

Okay, so no one was talking about this in 300 BC, but it definitely fits many Stoic principles. It is hard to be mindful of the present moment, undistracted, while constantly glancing at your phone, and to go without, digitally, is to practice deprivation in our modern society, and many things one might be doing online are distractions from the other pursuits Stoicism praises. 

Personally, I’m a digital minimalist. My only Internet connected devices I use are my laptop and phone; my laptop remains powered off for over twelve hours per day, and there’s very little available on my phone (some of the apps that came on it, maps, and music). Even at other times, I frequently put my devices aside/turn them off/turn the WiFi and cellular off. I don’t have accounts on any major social media platform. I don’t have (virtual) games. We don’t have a television (and I very rarely watch anything on other devices that could be called television). So on.

And, at least once a month, I do a digital detox—not using my laptop, and using my phone only without WiFi/cellular (airplane mode), for at least thirty-six hours. Sometimes I don’t use the phone at all, either, if possible (though as I use it for alarms and such, I usually allow the device itself), and sometimes I combine this with a media detox (which eliminates books and such). 

This can be good for everyone, but particularly as a slave, this helps keep my attention on what matters (like Mistress). In fact, the night we first met, I watched her confiscate someone else’s phone when they were paying attention to the device instead of her. 

Dressing Simply  

Clothes feature in a few common Stoic practices (and other spiritual/religious endeavors). Whether it’s under dressing to expose one’s self to the cold, dressing modestly, dressing simply, or dressing poorly (exposing one’s self to ridicule), clothes come up. 

Personally, I wear only one thing—my slave uniform. It’s relatively simple and modest, admittedly cute, but not eye grabbing. I own a few copies of it, and that’s pretty much it. (I’m also a minimalist in my possessions in general—sticking close to what you truly need, and wanting less, being a Stoic practice.) As part of it, I leave my hair unstyled, I don’t wear makeup, the only jewelry I wear is my wedding ring and my collar. Mistress finds it pleasing, it eliminates my getting a choice in fashion/expresses her control, and it allows me to focus on other things, like my service. 

While it may sound submissive, eliminating decision fatigue from this small thing to focus on the bigger issues has also helped many powerful people—like presidents, CEOs, and Mistress. 


Silence can be a key aspect of meditation, necessary to look inwards, necessary to be mindful (are you listening, or listening to respond?), and a form of deprivation.

As a slave, silence can also be key, especially in high protocol. Personally, I have the rule of speak when spoken to when it comes to Mistress—there if she wants me, seen but not heard if not—and I regularly take a full silence vow of a day or two to reset, in a way (I did two this year). When I was in high school, I took my first silence vow for a week (as part of an assignment related to the book Siddhartha), and learned a lot, and wanted to continue the practice. 


Those are probably my top twelve practices that are a beneficial part of Stoicism and slavery both. I look forward to incorporating more as time goes on. 

What Makes Irrevocable Consent Okay?

So, what makes irrevocable consent okay? 

Firstly, for the uninitiated, let’s define irrevocable consent. For my purposes (I’m not claiming this as universal), I use irrevocable consent to define my dynamic’s consent policy. It means no no, no safewords, no hard or soft limits, no rights, and no leaving. Her power over me is unlimited by our contract and the dynamic ends only if one of us dies, or Mistress freely chooses to release me; I cannot end it (I’m not allowed to use murder or suicide to end it, either). 

Often, the general question is raised: what separates BDSM from abuse/what makes BDSM okay? The answer almost always boils down to consent. A problem with this is that either consent is not defined, or it’s defined in terms of safewords, limits, and other ways of revoking consent that my dynamic does not have. But do I think I’m in a non consensual situation? Of course not. 

I’ve been asked a few times in various wordings if I would just say that our dynamic is without consent, since “revocability is a condition of consent”. But I don’t agree that revocability is a condition of consent for me, and we definitely don’t operate without consent altogether. At one point in time, I did agree—once, completely, forever. That crucial part didn’t get skipped. 

So if not predefined boundaries or revocability, what is consent? 

I don’t really like pulling the dictionary out on questions like this. As a writer and a linguistics nerd, I know that the dictionary is meant to be descriptive, to describe how language is already being used—and it’s not being updated every minute—not prescriptive, telling us how to use it (and not use it). Additionally, BDSM terminology is not frequently described or accounted for in most mainstream dictionaries. Still, let’s take a look at what the dictionary (at least the one on my computer, which seems about average) says. 

Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something

That’s relatively vague, without the stipulations I normally see in a BDSM context. I think it’s a fine definition, though. But let’s keep going. 

I’ve seen some people say that I coined the term irrevocable consent. I will say that I’m the first person I’ve seen use it in a BDSM context, and others have started using it since, many of them crediting me. I have no idea if I was actually the first, however.

Additionally, irrevocable consent is a longstanding legal/vanilla term that I definitely did not come up with. 

So if the law thinks irrevocable consent is a valid form of consent (note—the law isn’t talking about this in a BDSM context, but), and the dictionary doesn’t talk about revocability… food for thought. 

But, consensual in the BDSM world is frequently used almost interchangeably with words like ethical or moral. More than just is it consensual, what we’re often really getting at is, is it ethical, is it moral, is it right, is it good, is it okay. 

I think that answer depends on the individual. Some—dare I say most—people would never consent once, completely, forever, and that’s totally okay. For them, that situation would be non consensual and wrong, because they would never agree to it. 

But it works for me, and what I’m really trying to answer here is—why? What makes me think it’s consensual, ethical, okay, so on? 

Mistress and I both get this question a lot. I think the most in depth answer I’ve actually heard her give is (in a nutshell) that she encourages me to pursue passions that aren’t her. I thought her case was interesting, that the okayness of it all boiled down to the fact that our dynamic doesn’t take up my entire world, doesn’t cut me off from everything else completely. Still, a) I don’t think I agree. While definitely a huge upside, I’m not sure that’s it, my aha, for my view on why our dynamic is okay. (I also don’t think our reasons need to be exactly the same, as long as we both have them.) And b) it’s also not… entirely true. 

We discussed this later. I pointed out that there are a lot of limits on how I interact with the rest of the world, on what I can pursue. The big one being that I’m not allowed to be answerable to anyone who’s not her—this includes having a job, a career. (Which I don’t actually miss.) I joke that we’re so strictly monogamous, wrapped in power exchange, that even an employer would be an affair. And of course, without directly limiting options, the part where I do work, more than full time, for her—in domestic service, with structured timetables—which I love doing—not to mention many of our rules, do limit my options. (To the vanilla world, I’m just the uxorious housewife.) Besides that, she rather frequently threatens to ban the other things I do pursue when I express any kind of fleeting negative thought about them, and they are never to be actually top priority. I manage to get a lot done in my free time, within her rules, without an outside authority—but those things aren’t a right. 

She largely agreed with that when we talked about it more, mostly shrugging the obvious followup question off. 

(And, of course, my consent includes consent to all of those service tasks—that add up to a job—and to all of our beloved rules—I speak only when I’m spoken to, I sleep on the floor every night, I wear only my uniform, so on. This all goes far beyond the bedroom, far beyond sex and play, and I love that.) 

Like most such quandaries, it’s just not a very concrete question. It’s hard to point to one behavior, to one line in our contract. Many conditions are frequently put on consent and rightness in BDSM—a real Owner does this, or doesn’t do that (and yet, there’s frequently an outcry when that’s reversed: a real slave does this, or doesn’t do that). And I think we’ve violated just about all of those consent conditions. There’s beatings and sex while she’s high. When I’m sick. Without asking. When I’m hurt. In frustration. Without warning. When I’m saying no. Without warmup. Without aftercare. Until I drip blood on the carpet. If there’s a “rule”, we’ve pretty much broken it. Sometimes I love it; sometimes I ask for it. Sometimes I go no no no no the whole time. Sometimes both.

It’s not a very simple question. I think my answer does boil down to because I agreed. I did agree—once, completely, forever. I agreed freely; I asked questions first; I got to know her; I knew what I was getting into; I did the self work; I was willing to honor that agreement. We do this deliberately, with knowledge and trust and communication. I don’t think the fact I can’t take that agreement back changes the fact that I agreed, and many definitions back me up here. 

So, what makes irrevocable consent okay for me? That it is consent. That I agreed. 

That’s enough for me, and that’s what matters. 

As the Collar Tightens

The collar I wear is made of hemp. It’s one piece of rope connected to itself via an equilateral long splice, and where each of the three ends meet, it’s reinforced with a palm and needle whipping. Mistress has made each iteration around my neck, sometimes hours of me kneeling and thinking as she worked. It needs to be replaced now and then—about every year—and it must be destroyed to be removed—cut off. A small, stainless steel shackle connects an o-ring, and that, at least, transfers between every iteration. 

But, yes, as time goes on, the collar absorbs a lot. Drops of my sweat from the service I provide, stray drops of my blood and tears from the beatings I take. And more. (Realistically, mostly skin oils.) 

Now, hemp constricts when wet. When the collar first goes on, it gets a little tight when I shower or such, but I don’t really notice. As I wear it, though, as it absorbs everything, it has more moisture in it all the time, and when it’s almost time for a new one, taking a shower feels like being choked. 

This is the reward for putting in the time, sweat, blood, and tears: the collar gets tighter and tighter. 

The more I give, the more air it takes, the more I get to feel it.

It’s lovely.

I believe that the collar belongs to Mistress. While I sometimes call it my collar for clarity, truly, I think it’s hers. Here’s why. 

I believe that, in terms of consensual power dynamics, we met as equals. She wasn’t my Mistress and I wasn’t her slave, for real, until we both agreed. That part was a two way street. 

Now, however, it’s a one way street. She can dissolve our contract. She can remove the collar. I cannot. No safewords, no limits, no rights, no way out. 

Because that’s a one way street, I think the collar—a symbol of that agreement—belongs solely to her. 

But, I have to wonder, is some part of it mine, too? It’s custom made around my neck, lives there, absorbs parts of me with time, and must be destroyed to be taken off of me, after all. 

There is, I think, something about it that’s mine: the privilege of wearing it. That can be taken away—like everything else I have, a privilege, not a right—but it isn’t given out of sheer generosity, either. It’s something I’ve earned. 

If for no other reason, I believe it’s earned because owning a person comes with responsibility, just like owning any asset comes with responsibility. Mistress owns the home we live in—and if the air conditioning suddenly goes out, if the house gets damaged in any way, if it experiences any wear and tear, that’s her problem, and it happens at her expense, one way or another. 

The same for me. If I’m sick or injured or aging, she has to make the big decisions, probably take care of me herself, deal with my loss of ability, pay the medical bills (all the money is ultimately hers), etc. I come with risks beyond my control. I have to deal with what happens to me, too—I’m not inanimate, but. And I take on risk by being a slave, too—but I will provide care at her command, for her convenience, out of obedience, not ownership. 

Now, she can release me, washing her hands of those problems, just like she can sell the house if it needs too many repairs, but then she’s short a slave, and everything she’s put into me. It’s unlikely she gets money out of it, and slaves are more work to reinvest in than houses. 

I take on more risk than she does, by nature of not being able to cut my losses and dissolve the situation in case of problems, even if ultimately, all assets and liabilities are hers, in a way. And I have my own reasons for taking that on, but they’re not really the main point here. She takes on risk, too. 

So, ownership has to be worth the risk.

This means I must prove that I am a worthy, animate asset, that I am doing what I can to reduce my risks and increase my value. I must have something to offer that makes me worth the risk of owning me, of putting a collar around my neck to signify that. 

If for no other reason, I believe the collar is earned because, one way or another, I proved that value. She made sure of that before she made it around my neck.

So, back to the question: is some part of the collar mine, too, if I earned the privilege of wearing it? 

Perhaps. But it’s not debt free. To keep that privilege, I must continue to earn it, every day. I didn’t really just earn it once. 

Here’s a thought: maybe I’ve only finished earning it when it’s removed.

In my mind, my slavery operates on a lien against my honor. Since our contract isn’t legally binding, what protects it—especially that no way out part for me—is integrity. My debt is lifelong obedience. I cannot leave with my honor or integrity, unless I obeyed until one of us died or she released me, paying that debt. If I don’t give her that, I lose my honor. 

Thus, I can’t have completely proven myself, finished earning the collar, until that point. And at that point, I get ownership of myself back—the right to self collar, if you will (thought I might very well be dead). 

But that’s more the metaphorical collar, ownership. What about the physical collar, which doesn’t last as long? 

Perhaps I’ve earned each of those when they were removed and destroyed, then, when I had put in enough of the blood, sweat, and tears that it became dizzyingly, euphorically tight. 

I think the physical collar represents the dynamic in more ways than one. Where else would you first look to see the Owner’s will and preference represented? Subtle, flashy, practical, dainty, colorful, plain, leather, rope, locking, clasped, belled, tagged—collars come in all variations, and each tells a story. 

The collar I wear is, as mentioned, made by Mistress, out of rope. Rope is a big thing of hers. And that she makes it herself renders it an always handy example of her craftsmanship. Incidentally, so am I. A living example of her will, preferences, training.

To those who know what a collar means, it’s clear, like our protocol, but it’s tame (and comfortable) enough for 24/7 wear. It must be, since, like the dynamic it represents, it’s on 24/7. 

It’s also practical. Mistress likes to remind me that the weakest part of the collar’s setup is my throat. It can support far more than my body weight at its own weakest point. (And, I’m not an actual house cat who might get out and up a tree—that’s not a huge safety issue). It stands up easily to her grabbing and tugging, incorporating it into artistic rope ties, and leashing me every night. 

I do think about it frequently last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Every night, I see to my last tasks, turning down the bedroom, then strip out of my uniform, wash up, and get in position for 9:45 Inspection. 

I remove everything except the collar (and my wedding ring). Really, my whole uniform—I wear the exact same thing every day—is a display of Mistress’ preference. But at night, as required, it all comes off, leaving only the symbols that bind me to her. The collar, I note mentally, almost every time I strip entirely, is the one item I can’t remove. I eye my pager—a symbol and logistic of me being at her beck and call—but it’s not quite the same, and it comes off from where I keep it clipped to my leggings during the day, setting it nearby for the night. I leave the wedding ring, but I often take it off out of caution when I do dishes or such, tuck it into the clip of my pager and set them both nearby.

And after Inspection is done, her looking me over and telling me how my evening tasks— like cleaning up after dinner at 6—went (adequately, 99% of the time), I get into Leashing Position, which is my General Kneeling Position, except with a double check my head and hair are out of the way, the collar o-ring is in front, and with the matching leash draped across my upturned palms on my thighs. 

She leashes me for the night, and I curl up in my spot on the floor at the foot of the bed, see to a few final tasks, and go to sleep. All night, I feel the slight tug of the heavy clip of the leash, occasionally tangle my torso in the rope, or, more frequently, take it with me in my sleep when I roll over, hear the jingling of the metal bits near my throat, or the carabiner that connects the handle to a turnbuckle on the underside of the bed rattling around. At 8:10, I’ll page her or wake her and we’ll repeat the night’s ritual for unleashing. (Inspection, too, repeats, at 10:30, dressed in my uniform, for morning tasks, like cleaning up after brunch, served at 9:30.) 

So, first thing in the morning, and last thing at night—the leash, the collar, the symbol and the feeling of ownership. 

It’s a readily accessible feeling, really—there in what I do—a full time job of service, being the housewife—and what I don’t do, like speak if not spoken to.

But, if I ever need more, another reminder, reassurance, symbol—of what I am, what I do, what I’m for, what I’ve earned—it’s right there, around my neck. 

A little tighter every day. 

How Slavery Limits Me, and Why It’s Worth It

I’m washing the dishes after dinner as always. But it’s late, later than usual. We delayed our normal dinner time of 6 PM to accommodate the schedule of a guest, so cleanup, too, was pushed back. And, with the added person, there are a few extra dishes. So I’m still cleaning, later than usual. Last night, after dinner, Mistress ordered me to leave the dishes for the morning, deciding that I didn’t feel up to doing them due to a health flareup. So I spent extra time doing the dishes this morning, too, after the other meal I serve and clean up after every day—brunch at 9:30 AM.

And, as I’m finishing the last of the dishes for the day, admittedly eager to get back to some writing I was doing, I have the thought: imagine how much I could get done if I wasn’t always cleaning or cooking. 

I regret the thought immediately, looking around as if someone could’ve overheard it, unsure if that’s something like internal enslavement or the paranoid schizophrenia, or maybe something normal. But Mistress and the guest are both gone—they went out—so even if I’d spoken it aloud, no one would’ve heard me.

But, I think, in reverse, isn’t that kind of the idea of our service dynamic? Imagine how much Mistress could get done if she never had to clean or cook or do any of the other tasks that take about forty hours of my average week. Imagine if I could be that powerful difference. Even subtracting things she might do faster or easier or neglect altogether without me, that’s a lot of time. It’s hard to get serious amounts of work done without that kind of maintenance support. My mind goes back to the Manifesto for Maintenance Art. 

And she’s using that time well and all—being an independent entrepreneur—that’s not the issue. And overall, I’m happiest in that dynamic. But it’s human, I think, to occasionally wonder, But what about my time? It’s not actually that I don’t do anything other than cook and clean. No, I’m not allowed to have a traditional job or anything, and I don’t pine for that. But I still go hmm when I, increasingly, see people discussing my dynamic in terms of me not working—or largely not working—outside of my service. 

Firstly, it feels a little weird, because, as mentioned, service is a full time job, and it would definitely be weird to say, So and so doesn’t work, except for their full time job, in any other scenario, so sometimes I wonder if anyone else views this as legitimate. Some of them must, the way I see the stay at home spouse role discussed. 

Secondly, my time tracking shows that I spend another forty hours a week on things I consider work that aren’t service. Nine to five, no, but significant to me, yes. Writing, webinars, running TNG, going to butler school. Some make money, some don’t—and I know that part will sway some people’s definitions. Some of those things might come back to service or kink in the end, but not all of them. Yes, service must always be the top priority—but there’s some room for other things.  

And I know it’s false, but I still don’t identify as an erotica author or as a BDSM blogger (or, really, as a blogger at all, but that’s beside the point here), even though that’s what I’m best known for at this point. In my mental model of myself, I still write primarily vanilla, nonromantic, nonsexual fiction, like Contrivance, which was my main project for the better part of eleven years (and a sequel is brewing). 

But even knowing a significant portion of what I write at this point does come back to kink, a lot of it, still, does not. And writing erotica or kink blogging isn’t really a service to Mistress. She couldn’t care less if I do it or not. I’ve also embarked into vanilla webinars, into blogging about schizophrenia and productivity, other vanilla things. And I do those things because I love them, because, to my surprise, some people think I’m good at them, and I dare to think they make a positive impact—representation, education, bringing people together. 

So, yes, I do things other than cook and clean and serve. Still, I do all of the cooking and cleaning and serving that enables Mistress to do something good with her time. If we assume she does the equivalent of working full time, then she works full time once over, on her own endeavors, and I work full time twice over—once to support her endeavors (which also, incidentally, feeds me and keeps my environment clean), and once on my own projects. 

If I had the time that’s usually spent serving and supporting to myself, would it really all go towards my own projects? Probably, largely—I’m a bit of a workaholic. But what does that gain me—the ability to basically work twice as fast, in the long run? Yes, but wouldn’t it maybe be better, to do twice as much—to split my time—like I am now? Diversify what I do a little? Not to mention that her work that I’m supporting is different from my own, mixing up the benefits to the world further. Plus, rote cooking and cleaning is a nice, physical brain break from my largely more mental work. 

A recent conversation between friends summed this up nicely:

“Pretty sure if Hannah wasn’t a slave she’d just take over the world.”

“Eh, she still might. It’ll just take longer.”

Yes, I conclude to myself as I finish drying dishes and finish up cleaning the kitchen—it’s better this way. 


A few days later, I sit in my office, stuck and conflicted. 

Mistress is again out with a friend, and, having just finished what I was doing, I’m not entirely sure what to do now.  

Every little idea that occurs to me seems to be blocked by rules, and by my unwillingness to interrupt her. I kind of want to get the listings up for a weekend intensive I have planned, but I still need to do the final run of the dates, the obligation and possible schedule changes, by Mistress, though we’ve discussed the intensive itself. There’s a picture on my phone I want to upload to FetLife, but I need her permission. I have to go to the bathroom—and I won’t need her permission for that once she actually leaves, but her and the friend are lingering just outside, and it’ll be easier to wait for them to properly leave than to interrupt her now. I think about taking a shower, but again I need to wait for her to properly leave to not need permission, and she’ll still need to inspect my job of shaving and such when she gets back. I have some medical phone calls I could make, but again, either she needs to leave properly or I need permission; she’s already approved the changes I’m calling about. I can’t currently leave the house to do anything except to get the mail without permission, and even that requires notification.

I feel like I’m running into wall after wall, bouncing back into an impossibly small space. My life feels like it’s on hold right now, unless I’m willing to interrupt her—which feels bothersome when it’s unnecessary and she’s socializing—and that assumes, for some of those, that she also sees it and responds. I currently need her attention to do literally anything that comes to mind first, though a few things open up once she’s out out, and eventually, more comes to mind (like writing this). 

Our protocol typically takes into account practicality—hence why there are exceptions when she’s out or asleep or such. In her presence, I can’t leave the room, sit on the furniture, shift from most of my slave positions, or speak without permission (actually, I’m not even allowed to ask about the furniture, and I have to ask if there’s anything else she wants before I can ask for permission to leave, and curtsy if I get it, and asking permission to speak if she doesn’t speak to me first is a slave position, not a verbal question—and I still have speech restrictions). But, if she’s off alone in her office, I can roam around the rest of the house and sit on the furniture. If she’s asleep and it’s the middle of the night, I gain permissions like being able to temporarily unleash myself, no Leashing Position, let myself up from the blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed I sleep on, and go to the bathroom, and releash myself (though, for first leashing for the night or final unleashing for the morning, I need to wake her). If she’s out of the house or if we’re in vanilla company—usually somewhat rare—I gain some things, too.

Now, maybe the most practical and unobtrusive thing is not needing permission or to notify her of anything at all, so we clearly don’t make every compromise for practicality, because we also prioritize rules, rituals, protocols, permissions. Pleasing isn’t always practical, and really, pleasing comes first, unless it’s very unpractical. Likewise, there’s effort for her to put in, too. 

So on days when the leash feels a little short, like today, I remind myself that pleasing comes first, before whatever I want to do, before peak practicality. I remind myself that without that leash, I more frequently feel equally stuck, not cornered into a small space but torn between infinite directions that go infinite distances, trying to figure out which one is best. I still want to be pleasing without a leash to guide me—and I don’t know which way to go. One reason I like being a slave is because trying to be perfectly pleasing to one person is a lot easier, a good compromise, compared to trying to be perfect to the world—which is impossible, yet I crave anyway. And the leash cuts down choices immensely, makes the right path to pleasing clear, and yes, I have to face the fact that it cuts down a lot, that my world gets very small, that I truly come second, but I’m not lost; I know how to please. I don’t have to wonder. 

And that’s worth it, for me.

On Maintenance Discipline

I’ve been trying to write this post coherently for years, but I think I just recently figured it out enough. 

Some of my earliest memories aren’t of real things at all, but of immersive daydreams I had in the backseat of the car, or trying to fall asleep at night, or while swaying on the swingset.

I had a lot of spanking (and related) fantasies, but also no concept that this was something that could be done with consent, for fun, by adults, and all those bits, yet. I understood it only as a punishment, and even then, my understanding of it was largely theoretical (my parents didn’t believe in it/I have no memory of being punished as a child, anyway). 

Still, I had a bit of a conundrum: I was a good kid. I was the good sibling, the teacher’s pet, the rule stickler. In high school, my dad recommended that I might try getting a detention, or a B, for the experience. My mom concurred, and dared me to at least dye my hair purple in teenage rebellion (that one, I did; then again, she did a dip dye with me). 

I had an issue with the punishment part of these daydreams, because I didn’t like doing things wrong. So I made my fantasies heroic—taking someone else’s—the whipping girl fantasy. Or they were arbitrary, unreasonable, done out of emotion. Something to take out that factor where I actually had to do something bad. These fantasies usually took place in some kind of destitute servitude setup (which I’d figure out was also crucial much later). 

Later, I discovered the words for all of these things, but even with the ideas of sex and consent and fun in mind, I still found my mind wandering to the same ole, same ole: the punishment idea, still sans the wrongdoing. Roleplay or funishment didn’t quite do it for me; I wanted real power, real meaning, just not real disobedience, in it. Besides the physical action, there were appealing undertones of that situation that I struggled to turn away from. 

I don’t remember discovering the concept of maintenance discipline. It may have been another thing I found a word for that I’d already independently explored the concept of in my head—though without the word, those fantasies lacked a coherency. But it fascinated me. It had all of those tones of punishment, in a way—the power and discipline and structure and protocol and needing but not necessarily wanting it, helpless to the schedule—without the wrongdoing. 

When I met Mistress, it was one of the very first things we agreed would be a part of our dynamic, within the eight weeks after we met and before we moved in together and went 24/7. Over four and a half years ago now. We both wanted the idea; after that, it was just logistics. 

And the logistics have changed a few times. I’ve already emphasized this as a headspace thing, more than it’s about the action or the pain. (My idea of a nice impact scene can run four hours, so pain wise, the way we do maintenance isn’t actually a big deal for me.) I also don’t view it as preventative, as reminding me of my place or nudging me back in it—I don’t think there’s any significant behavioral changes from it—I don’t need discipline for that—so it just has mental, internal benefits, for both of us, really. So as headspace needs changed—based on life circumstances, our evolving dynamic, so on—the details and benefits of maintenance changed. 

It has almost always been once a week (with a little deviation to every other week), and it has always involved at least a spanking with the discipline wand (an implement we chose to reserve for that purpose early on, for clarity, a short, wooden cane/baton/thing initially purchased by Mistress as a magic wand at a coffeeshop). At other times, maintenance has integrated service tasks, inspections (current), lines, corner time (now a part of our punishment ritual). It has always been done at home, frequently in the bedroom, in private (it’s strange at times, how open we are, yet how many pieces of our dynamic have only really been witnessed by us). It’s always been nonsexual. It’s taken as little as twenty minutes or as long as an hour and a half. 

We have always really tried to commit to it unless it truly needs to be cancelled, and sometimes it does, and that’s okay, too. We also try to not constantly tweak the ritual, doing so only when needed, as an important part of the headspace is consistency. 

At times, it’s had an emphasis on higher protocol than our then usual (when I needed an extra dose of structure and control), on catharsis when I was constantly locking down emotions due to external issues, on extra meditative focus (lines, corner time, counting), on the service tasks we integrated when other parts of our schedule might have been disrupted. 

Currently, it works like this:

Fridays, after brunch. Fridays work best for us right now, though I think it’s been on half of the days of the week at various points as schedules have changed. Anchoring it to something else—brunch, which I serve every day at 9:30 AM, made it easier to integrate than assigning it a random, standalone time. I serve brunch, we eat, I clean up the kitchen as usual. Then, normally I have a bit of time to myself to see to a few extra chores or whatnot before morning inspection. 

But on Fridays, I take the discipline wand from the mantel (where it has always lived, always in sight, vanilla looking enough to never be questioned), and find Mistress, usually in her office, to alert her I’m ready. This involves all of the usual protocol: I wait in the doorway, I don’t speak until I’m spoken to, I say, “Yes, Mistress,” when she gives the order to send me to the bedroom to wait while she inspects my morning tasks, and, that waiving the need to ask if there’s anything else I can do to be of service, or asking for permission to leave, I just curtsy and exit. 

I go to the bedroom, strip out of my daily uniform, then kneel and present the wand in Presenting Position (kneeling, knees apart, big toes crossed in back—right over left—back straight, head and eyes down, the wand resting across both of my palms, turned up on my thighs). I don’t usually wait long, but anticipation builds quickly. At this stage, even knowing the final outcome, I always start to feel a bit of dread, which can feel bad in the moment, but is an important part—an important part to feel and then get over—from that punishment without the disobedience setup. But there is no guilt, at least.

Mistress always tells me how much she likes walking in with me like that; it’s one of her favorite moments in every week, favorite moments in our dynamic. She checks the position, takes the wand from me—I raise both of my hands slightly and tilt it into her hand. She sits on the bed and beckons me, “You may come over my lap,” and I move. Usually, she tells me about the week briefly. Praise, what’s happened of note, what she knows was hard, that she loves me and she appreciates me and she’s proud of me and I’m hers. (On the rare occasion something really didn’t go well that week, that was handled separately before now—we don’t group punishment and maintenance together.) 

Then, without much pause, she gives the same instructions, every week. She’s going to hit me X amount of times (it’s almost always ten, though sometimes it goes up arbitrarily to twelve or fifteen, or, more rarely, down to six), and I’m going to count and thank her and ask for another. Then she’s going to hit me an amount of times of her choosing (usually at least one hundred, maybe up to two hundred—I don’t keep track, I had to ask for this post), and I won’t have to say anything. Then, X more that I’ll have to count. 

“Do you understand?” 

“Yes, Mistress.” 

Then she hits me, and it’s, “One, thank you, Mistress; please may I have another?” through ten, or whatever number she chose. It requires a lot of self control, to just count. 

Usually, she answers, “You may.” After the tenth, she’ll say, “Yes, but you no longer need to count.” 

Then there’s the middle part. I’m almost always relatively still and quiet for this part now, and after some active pain processing, controlling myself, my mind just floats pleasantly. Right now, I think the theme for me is the part where I surrender myself to it entirely, accept it, submit, feel it more than I sometimes do in the rest of the week. 

I still like the idea of catharsis, but we haven’t gotten there in years; my tolerance doesn’t seem to work like that anymore, for now at least, and it’s almost certainly not going to happen with the discipline wand, which my body is so used to, it hasn’t left marks on me for than a few minutes in years, either. 

Then, after that, “Now there’ll be X more, and you’ll have to count and thank me and ask for another. Do you understand?” 

“Yes, Mistress.” 

And we repeat that part. After the last one this time, she answers my please may I have another with, “No; you may not. You’re done now.” 

I might stay there for a minute or two. Then she lets me dress, and get in Inspection Position to complete our normal morning ritual—standing, legs spread, back straight, head and eyes up, hands clasped behind my head. She looks me over, my uniform, checks for my pager and the indent it leaves against my abdomen, runs her hands over me, tells me my morning service tasks were done adequately (ninety-nine percent of the time; if not, that would’ve been handled separately). The tasks include things like making the bed, folding up the blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed that I sleep on, and laying out the leash I sleep bound by neatly, general tidying, preparing coffee, checking on the plants and the cats, handling lights/windows/blinds, so on. 

Then, I get her sunscreen and apply it for her as usual, and then the morning is done. Usually morning inspection is at ten-thirty; on maintenance days, it varies a little, but we’re pretty much always done before eleven, and sometimes earlier than usual.

And we go about our day. The full effect sinks in slowly for me, in a way. I’ll frequently be a little off for a bit, then given new focus. It can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster at times, but it’s worth it, in the end, leaving me better off than I was, matching what I wanted out of those fantasies, shifting slowly to match headspace needs as time goes on. After most of five years, it’s harder to imagine going without it, far outweighing any momentary dread or pain, and I’m very grateful Mistress has stuck with it, too.

It’s important to me—even though it can be hard to explain why—and I wanted to share it.

My Top Three S-Type Archetypes in Vanilla Words

The (Abused) Housewife

We don’t quite fit 1950’s household. There’s a lot wrapped up in that trope that doesn’t quite work for us. We’re not straight, we’re not traditionally religious, we don’t have children, and the finance/external obligation thing isn’t so clear cut (we’re both self employed). Others are in similar situations and use the label anyway—which is great—but it just doesn’t feel like it fits for me. Housewife isn’t perfect either, but it’s closer, and feels less like playing at something a little lost in lore that I wasn’t there for historically. 

I use housewife in the vanilla world at times to explain what I “do”. To summarize that my top priority and full time job is housework (service), that our finances are ultimately more my partner’s concern than mine, that I am an active homemaker and not passively keeping maintenance to the bare minimum (being a little old fashioned in terms of homemaking skills and passions), and to imply a somewhat subservient role. People get the idea, and I use it in kink circles, too, in addition to service slave, to indicate that it’s my full time job in addition to being a label I identify with.

There’s another layer to this one, though, which is what I’ve coined lifestyle masochism in kink; the most accurate way to label it in terms of a vanilla word would probably be mimicking abuse. The housewife thing is at the core of the abusive trope we’re after, in a way—associated with vulnerability and isolation. Not working outside the home limits your own social and financial resources, and being pleasant to be around and look at, and up for sex is part of the (note: problematic outside of a consensual framework) domestic package/debt. 

The thing we add is physical and emotional sadism, and the way in which we enact it: which purposefully mimics random incidents of violence, physical domestic abuse, frequently not looking like consensual kink, sex, play. I use lifestyle because it’s not a scene. There’s probably no negotiating, warmup, cooldown, aftercare; it can last a matter of seconds. 

Everything we do happens within our irrevocable consent framework. No safewords, no limits, no way out. For me, this is crucial. I frequently need to not want it in the moment. Truly. Not like flailing a little when I get hit, but to hate it with a deep, dark simmering feeling of fear, betrayal, depression, and regret for getting here. It’s just the type of masochism that really means something to me. But that feeling (for me) comes after a safeword, beyond a limit, and—to experience it twice—requires the inability to get out. If I have those things, I can’t get that feeling. 

The core difference is that while my consent is irrevocable, it was, once, given to her freely and completely, forever. 

The Majordomo/Household Manager 

This overlaps with housewife in a few ways—primarily, domestic service as a full time job—but adds a few things that I think are very important around here. 

As a butler school student, I can portray my life as a slave pretty accurately save a few terminology swaps, changing minor details, and using a bit of omission. I’m not male or British (though those are demographic issues I can’t change), and don’t have any other permanent staff (but I do a lot of coordinating between people, like contractors). 

I take pride in maintaining professional level hard skills in service, and less so the well, this is the way my grandmother did it that seems to come with the housewife role (though that can also hold wisdom). 

Being 24/7 high protocol (in kink terms) can kind of fit into either of these roles depending on where your focus is. Focusing on some protocols as controlling and limiting (or an imitation of the fawn response) might fit into the abused housewife thing. Focusing on some as respectful and polite to the extreme might fit into formal professional service etiquette. In any case, pleasing is a goal I enjoy. 

We do use a lot of professional systems in our relationship (our contract, formal time “off”/reduced duty system, written forms, inspections, review systems, meetings, my uniform) that would be out of place for the housewife dynamic, but provide much desired structure for us, so I think both of these are crucial archetypes for me, even though they both have full time service at their core. 

The Ascetic 

I have ascetic leanings, though again, I’m not traditionally religious, and again, it’s not complete. 

But, I sleep on the floor pretty much every night. I wear basically only my daily uniform; I don’t wear makeup. I need permission to masturbate or orgasm and (with only a few exceptions) shower or use the bathroom. I’m a digital minimalist; I have almost zero traditional social media; I generally don’t watch TV/movies/videos; I don’t do gaming. I’m a minimalist in my possessions. I don’t do recreational drugs. I am drawn to regular silence vows, digital detoxes, and fasts. I value little above self discipline. 

In a way, this is just on principle/how I am. In another way, it’s to keep my focus on the important things—like service and obedience—and limit the reward feeling to coming from a job well done. No distractions. A lot of the above is part of our protocol itself, structured and subservient. And in a way, it feeds my masochism, and limits bandaid fix distractions from pain, making me sit with it and process it. 

I’ve researched this one a lot, too, and in a lot of ways, it fits well. 

While the other archetypes are primarily about what I do as a slave, this one might be more about what I don’t do.

That’s an important part, too. 

Tales From the Butler Academy: Modules 0-9

Note: This is part of the “Tales From the Butler Academy” section. Start with “I’m a Slave; Why Am I Going to Butler School?” for more context.

I wanted to give a quick summary of what the butler course I’m taking has covered and what I’ve done so far. So here’s a quick module by module breakdown of the parts I’ve completed.

Module 0: Introductory Module

Resources: None

Assignment Types: All essay/written response, covering things like “how you feel about the subject of help” and “how you feel about the subject of control”, goals for the course and your career, and study techniques. 

What I Learned/Applied: Not much to apply from this module, it’s more of an introduction to the course and a “getting to know you” thing. I had to get my story straight pretty fast on the “actually a slave” thing and clarify my goals, and found subjects like help and control very applicable. 

Module 1: What Is a Butler? 

Resources: Reading Chapter 1 of Serving the Wealthy (STW), Volume 1, all of Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, pieces from STW Volume 2: “The Butler Goes Mainstream”,  “Keeping the Profession Whole”, “Historical”, “The Question of Robots and Butlers”, “And Finally, Some Printable Humour”, “A Day in the Life of a Modern Butler”, “Just When You Thought You Knew Everything”, “The Word Was Butler”, “So What Is A Hotel Butler, Anyway?”, “The Future Hospitality Professional”, “Poor People Skills and the Wealthy”, “The Indomitable British Butler”, “Transcript of Lecture at Harvard University”, “BostonCoach Keynote Speech”, and “Would You Like Your Service Today Live or Programmed, Madam?”. Watching: Gosford Park, The Butler, the pilot of Downton Abbey, the episode “Jeeves in the Country” of Jeeves and Wooster, and episode one of Black Adder III. 

Assignment Types: Essays related to the resources, one visual timeline—all on basic terminology and mindset of the profession. 

What I Learned/Applied: Still not too much to apply from this module, still covering basics, but learned some interesting historical bits, consumed some inspirational resources, and really started to get a picture of the course. 

Module 2: Essence of a Butler

Resources: Reading Chapter 2 of STW Volume 1, pieces from STW Volume 2: “Basic Attitudes”, “A Duty to the Profession”, “A Royal Butler Disgraced”, “The New Age of Service”, “Emotional Engagement—A Mantra in Search of a Technology”. 

Assignment Types: Some essays, and what I did as a giant self assessment spreadsheet. 

What I Learned/Applied: Really had to take a long look at myself and my soft skills, especially when seriously comparing to professional standards. Identified areas to work on and made plans to do so. 

Problem areas I identified included professional demeanor and professional dignity—I think this is affected by being a slave held to many kink norms day to day rather than being a professional butler. (The random beatings kind of make “dignity” take a hit, though I didn’t phrase it this way for the course.) 

Others included health and energy (for one, I had a kidney infection at the time of this module; I’ve taken a lot of concrete steps to improve my health since, and this being a weakness wasn’t exactly a shock). 

Other areas to work on: composure, humility, (fading into the) “background”. I think all have improved since. Humility, especially, we developed a few protocols around and I began to check in on in my posts/etc. As far as “background”, the later added speak when spoken to protocol helped a lot. 

Module 3: Trappings and Tools of the Trade

Resources: Reading Chapter 3 of STW Volume 1, piece from STW Volume 2: “Of Various Traditional Butler Tools”.

Assignment Types: Essays, creating (maintaining) a butler’s book and journal, acquiring/using/evaluating a butler’s resource library, wardrobe, and tools (including photos), learning basic computer tasks (if needed) and developing (maintaining) a time management system. 

What I Learned/Applied: Gained a few bits to add to my butler’s book, found out having a cigar cutter around is strangely useful. I already largely had the butler’s book, journal, library, time management system, and computer skills. Great material for my butler’s books class. Wardrobe wise, I still stick to my daily slave uniform. 

Module 4: Butler Etiquette  

Resources: Reading Chapter 4 of STW Volume 1. All of The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette (Nancy Tuckerman and Nancy Dunnan). Piece from STW Volume 2: ” Of Various Traditional and Modern Butler Concerns”. 

Assignment Types: Essays, and about twenty video etiquette drills, including several rounds of redos. (Each prompt outlined a different tricky situation.  My job was to sketch out a more specific scenario if needed, and film myself, as the majordomo, responding to it.) 

What I Learned/Applied: I wrote more about this in “Etiquette Drills and Compassion”. Ultimately, this module reminded me that compassion is at the core of the soft skills that set the butler industry apart, which was important for me as someone who’s low empathy. 

Module 5: Management and Leadership Principles 

Resources: Reading Chapter 5 of STW Volume 1.

Assignment Types: Primarily essays/written response. This chapter emphasizes checklists and processes, managing resources and problems, creating (and modifying as needed) effective routines, and what makes a good leader. 

What I Learned/Applied: Went through my assorted checklists and routines to apply the principles of this module. I still teach a lot of organizational principles from this module in many of my classes. 

Module 6: Staff Management

Resources: Reading Chapter 6 of STW Volume 1, Home Comforts (Cheryl Mendelson) Chapters 68 to 72, Debrett’s Etiquette and Modern Manners (John Morgan) Chapter 14, pieces from STW Volume 2: “The Placement Game”, “What To Do If There Is Nobody At Home”, “Why Good Employees May Be Hard to Find”, “The Hidden Drug Menace”, “Ethics? That’s Human Resources”. 

Assignment Types: Essays, gaining familiarity with tax forms, comparing and contrasting staffing agencies and vendors (and selecting them), writing vendor contracts. 

What I Learned/Applied: While there’s no other permanent “staff” here, I do work with contractors and such, so several bits were useful and I used this module as an opportunity to revisit some of those things. It also covers record keeping and insurance and such in depth, which I again revisited and was useful. 

Module 7: The Butler’s Relationship with Their Employer

Resources: Reading Chapter 7 of STW Volume 1, pieces from STW Volume 2: “Hope does not Need Rose-tinted Glasses” and “Don’t Just Sit There”. 

Assignment Types: All essays/written response.

What I Learned/Applied: I wrote about this more in “The “Butler’s” Relationship With Their “Employer”. While I first thought this module might not really apply for me, ultimately it’s about proactive, effective, efficient, honest, routine communication, and about trust, respect, and clearly defined roles. I found it applied to many of our communication systems, and revisited a few things based on the principles of this chapter. I teach on many of these systems, as well.

Module 8: Housekeeping 

Resources: Reading Chapter 8 of STW Volume 1. Piece from STW Volume 2: “Appendix 8A”. Home Comforts Chapters 14 to 58. 

Assignment Types: Essay/written response and a lot of practical assignments. Cleaning all kinds of materials, polishing silver, flower arranging, building a fire. Making a bed, working with fabrics, handling laundry. Creating/maintaining housekeeping routines and checklists. Learning basic sewing. Closet organization. Acquiring cleaning tools and learning to use them/creating a cleaning caddy. Managing air quality, lighting, and pests.  

What I Learned/Applied: Hoo boy, now we’re getting into the hard skills. I learned all kinds of fun facts and neat tricks for cleaning every kind of material I can think of and several I hadn’t heard of/identified before. Reorganized every closet in the house, got a humidifier (game changer in Vegas), redid some lighting bits, experimented with polishing silver, improved my flower arranging, started making and using my own homemade cleaners, added/modified a lot to my housekeeping routines and checklists and class material…

Module 9: The Butler, the Kitchen, and the Chef

Resources: Reading Chapter 9 of STW Volume 1. Home Comforts Chapters 8-13. All of Think Life a Chef (Tom Colicchio) and Dictionary of Culinary and Menu Terms (Rodney Dale).

Assignment Types: Essays and practical. Exploring a kitchen supplies store and grocery stores and shopping techniques, assessing kitchen supplies and organization and safety, assessing refrigerator/freezer/pantry management, preparing at least three breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. 

What I Learned/Applied: Got some kitchen storage back in order, inspired me to add some more recipes to my repertoire (which I added to the resources for my culinary service class as well).


(Final Note: I’m currently on Module 10 of 22. Will write another one of these at some point in the future.) 

“But Isn’t It Automatic?” (Learning in High Protocol)

“But isn’t it automatic? After this long, at least?” 

“Yes… and no,” I say. We’re lingering over dinner, talking about protocol and what goes into remembering it, or doesn’t. 

Mistress is distracted, going upstairs to get something and coming back before I can finish my answer. But I’m not, and I can’t be—which is part of my answer. While she’s gone, I, too, rise from the table, but am alert, knowing that if she comes back before I sit again, I’ll need her permission for the chair, which I’m not actually allowed to ask for, and she’ll probably order me back into Waiting Position first, which is how I wait behind my usual seat before meals, after I hit the pager transmitter button to inform her food is ready, at the two assigned times each day. 

I also know that her leaving and coming back ends the interaction, even though I was basically mid sentence. Under the speak when spoken to rule, once she speaks to me, I can speak for the rest of that interaction—until one of us leaves (her at will, me with permission, asking first if there’s anything else I can do to be of service, then asking for the permission, then curtsying and going) or we’ve both been quiet for a while—back and forth like normal, without another direct question or prompt or permission. So I remember to keep my mouth shut now, even when she comes back, until she prompts me for the rest of my answer. 

While all little things, that adds up to a lot to bear in mind. 

When I’m able to finish my answer, I elaborate. 

There are several factors that affect how automatic a protocol is for me. 

The first—which she easily identified and is perhaps relatively obvious—is how long it’s been in effect. Our oldest protocols are four and a half years old now. But we add and tweak things frequently. Things got added and tweaked just this morning, based on the recent development of me getting my driver’s license. Older protocols are more likely to be automatic. But that can take years, depending on the other factors. 

Another factor, though, is how frequently it comes up. Now, most of our protocols come up rather frequently. 

I typically use five of our eight codified slave positions multiple times per day. Kneeling (used frequently when in her presence in lieu of the furniture), Waiting (for both meals I serve daily), Inspection (for both daily inspections, plus after showers—taken with permission—mostly checking on the shaving rule), Leashing (for morning unleashing and nighttime leashing for sleep, where I sleep on the floor, nude), Curtsying (every time I leave her presence, after the asking if there’s anything else I can do and obtaining permission). Another is Speech Request Position (to obtain permission to speak if I really need to and she hasn’t prompted me), which I use slightly less because I frequently just wait for her to speak first. The other two are primarily for maintenance discipline (weekly) or punishment (rare), though sometimes they come in handy for other things. I still practice many of these on my own in the mirror to check in on them. Not rocket science, but I like the bar high. 

Likewise, my uniform is exactly the same every day, and hasn’t changed significantly in a solid year and a half. Being basically the only clothing I own at this point—a few copies of each item—it’s not hard to remember, though I still double check I have small items, like my pager, and store any rare exception items separately.

If a protocol super rarely comes up, we often cut it. Still, there’s a range. The more I do it, the faster it becomes automatic. 

The factor that was less obvious to her was if the protocol was a do or don’t, if it was an if/then or a don’t/until, if there was a cue to start it or a cue that released it. Our more specific speech protocols have cues. She, in a way, initiates them, like a ritual. If she gives me an order, I say, “Yes, Mistress.” If she grants a permission or denies it, I say, “Thank you, Mistress.” If she gives me a compliment or a critique, I say, “Thank you, Mistress.” These all have cues to begin. If, then. 

But, speak (only) when spoken to isn’t an if, then. It’s a don’t, until. Don’t speak until prompted. Do not do this common thing until the cue. And there is no reverse, no don’t speak cue, just silence and existence. And that makes that one trickier. I must always, with no cues, keep it in mind, until the cue that I’m allowed to speak, creating my own cues for it. 

A lot goes into all of that until it’s automatic. 

Practice. Like the hours of checking positions in the mirror. 

Journaling, habit tracking.

Reminders everywhere. (She sprang the no using the bathroom without permission—if she’s awake, and we’re both home or out together—rule on me on my birthday, minutes before my mother—vanilla company—arrived to celebrate, leaving little time to think it through. I quickly left a large reminder note for myself in the master bathroom, which I use most often and guests don’t usually go in, which I took down a few weeks later. She didn’t come up with a way for me to subtly ask for the bathroom permission in vanilla company for over another six months.) 

Then there’s meditation. Lots of kinds of meditation, and lots of it. As a habit, and in the moment as needed.

Managing all of my emotions around protocol.

And a now yearly total silence vow for a day or weekend, resetting my awareness of my words. 

In some situations, I sit and review all applicable protocols before proceeding. As mentioned, I’m new to driving, so I still take a moment and sit in the car when I leave or arrive somewhere, remembering new or recently modified rules like always notifying her when I’m leaving the house and when I’m returning (if I’ve been gone longer than twenty minutes), asking permission to drive anywhere, though I can walk to get the mail and go on my required morning walks without permission, keeping her informed of my general plans, making sure she can track my location via my phone (ensuring it’s with me, and WiFi/cellular is on—for me, that’s far from a guarantee, otherwise), and parking in the shade and refueling at a certain level if I can, and taking all of my things back out of the car. Plus, like, remembering how to drive, safely. 

And almost any time we interact, I count protocols on my fingers. 

First, I usually press one finger into my palm as a reminder for speak when spoken to. This is also a reminder to wait in the doorway if entering her office, to not go farther, to wait to be beckoned in, then move, kneel in position if it’ll be a more than a minute. 

Once spoken to and in place, I release it, replace it with three fingers—permissions, feedback, orders—for the speech protocols I mentioned above. Permissions also covers the rule on asking—making sure to use may, please, and Mistress. 

If things get quiet, I switch back to the one, for speak when spoken to. If I’m thinking about leaving, I also switch to one, for our exit protocol I mentioned. 

The positions mostly get assumed before she comes in, or on demand, or as part of the things above. 

Even what is basically automatic, I want to be sure of; I want it to be done well—and that’s largely on me to figure out. The counting part is mostly automatic by now.

I have very little punishment immunity—there is no safe period for a new protocol, there is no automatic forgiveness for small accidents, there is no real time off from protocol, just not scaring the vanillas and such. 

We’re careful in our protocol design and tweaks because of how inflexible it is once in effect. And once it is, Mistress pointed out that she almost forgets it’s there, views it more as automatic code switching for her (interacting with me versus anyone else), and she views our dynamic as casual and relaxed because the protocol doesn’t really affect her actions as much, though she has to check on some things, like at inspection times (a job I appreciate).

I, however, have to handle what I call the protocol fatigue that definitely flares up now and then from keeping it all in mind, several years into 24/7 high protocol, on top of a full time job’s worth of service, and the effects of lifestyle masochism with irrevocable consent. 

And it’s definitely worth it. While I am service oriented and strive for useful more than anything else, I also want to be simply pleasing, elegantly bent to her every whim and preference, obviously obedient, adherent to every detail. My mind can’t frequently wander too far from her, with all of those things to keep in mind (and I’m not allowed to be answerable to anyone else—like having a job). The detailed training and behavior modification fulfills my desire to be as close to perfect as possible—for one person, because you can’t please everyone.

So is it automatic? Yes and no. It’s complicated. Some are easy, automatic now. But they don’t need to always be. I’m willing to put in the work when they’re not. 

I’m looking to teach others about that process, too—writing this, launching my How to Learn Protocols class—because there’s definitely more to it than meets the eye, whether it’s automatic now or not. I’m passionate about the process and the results both, and love living it, and discussing it with Mistress over dinner, or teaching it in a Zoom webinar, or writing about it in a blog post.

Maybe that’s part of why it doesn’t become automatic more quickly for me. I just love thinking about it too much.