In this week’s mentor post Mollena Williams explains the appeal of service and the ways in which it can heal and provide an outlet for otherwise potentially negative impulses.
One of the most ephemeral emotional states is that of satisfaction. The sensation of pleasure. By its very nature fleeting, satiation – emotional satisfaction – is transitory. Emotions do not last. Persistence of vision, that illusory sensation of individual moments weaving together to form a coherent image – is not dissimilar to emotional memory, which can cling to us as we move in time. Of course there are situations where, due to circumstance or chemistry, our emotional states remain on the extremes of experience or lie dormant and create the sensation of stasis.
For most humans our emotional state, while variable, enables us to experience a wide range of feelings and yet retain perspective that reminds us that the extremes are not permanent and time will move us through them.
One of the main motivations for my alcoholism was a desire to control my emotional states, which frequently floundered beyond my control. If I was a little high on alcohol, my social anxiety became manageable, that worry about my finances gnawed less intensely on my nerves, and life seemed less of a meaningless grind. Of course, there is only so long one can short-circuit the organic response to the vagaries of life and eventually you will find yourself dependant – and possibly even addicted – to an artificial emotional modification that has rather unpleasant side-effects. Including death. SO… you can choose that continued oblivion or you can serenity prayer yourself the fuck out of that death spiral and accept the things you can’t change, have the guts to fuck up the shit you can, and have the goddamn smarts to be able to discern the fucking difference.
No, that’s not the original serenity prayer but fuck it. I gotta be me.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Being involved in BDSM and kink gives me an amazing opportunity. That is to moderate and control the amount of pain and pleasure I experience. I have no control over the shit the world throws at me but I can decide to submit to a spanking and enjoy that for the duration of the encounter. When I submit to another human being I have a unique opportunity to engage in one of the most sacred and profound tasks in which we may engage as humans, and that is service.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ― Rabindranath Tagore
I love service. Even when it pains me, even when it drains me, even when it brains me. And that is because I am careful to serve those I love. I know some people in the BDSM community will conscientiously separate love from service tied to slavery. Believing that love and ownership only serve to blunt and confound one another. For me, I cannot have one without the other. They are as oxygen and hydrogen wedded to form water. As that bond sustains life, as do love and loyalty bond to nourish my service. My service is action and that action feeds and informs my love and life.
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung
One of the things I know about my service to my owner and husband is that I can always take pride, pleasure and comfort in it. Always. Even on a shitty day when I go to sleep wishing I had done better, my heart of hearts knows I did the very best I could with what I had that day. I can feed myself on the satisfaction of that service.
I don’t need to medicate with alcohol. I know that the contentment I derive from a job well done is enough. It might be I have just shifted my addiction from drugs to dominance…from ethanol to erotic service. And I am pretty fucking OK with that.
Part of my kink is the eroticising of being submissive, to being owned. I am wired such that just the thought of being collared to my husband – my Spousemeister – fills me with pride and determination. I don’t have to take a shot of Jack Daniels to get through a rough patch. I don’t have to hide from myself anymore. I have modified my quirk to help keep me on track.
“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Is it pathological to be aroused and empowered by having an agreement to be the property of another human? It might well be! But I am too goddamn happy to give a fuck. I have, in fact, declared a fuckruptcy on caring about the judgement of others when it comes to whatever gets me through the night. The capacity to have control over my emotional state as leveraged by my sexuality is its own reward and I’m happy to self-medicate with my service and be drunk on the joy of consensual slavery.