Statement of Purpose: Traditional vs Kinky
In the vanilla world, a statement of purpose is something graduate schools ask applicants to write to demonstrate their aptitude, interest and suitability for the programme to which they are applying.
In the world of power exchange, a Statement of Purpose is a document an s-type engaged in self-training creates as a way to define their aims in training. The concept comes from Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and Their Owners.
According to the book, in the Statement of Purpose, the s-type should make:
…a personal commitment to work through the training program. Since you are essentially both trainer and trainee, be sure to specify the responsibilities you have toward yourself: excellent self-care, sufficient food, sleep, exercise, and recreation, and most of all, compassion.
There wasn’t a written example in the book, though, so I adapted her guidelines for my own purposes and have included it below. If it’s useful to you, feel free to use it as a basis to make your own.
Start Date and Date of Review
Start and end dates were not recommended for a Statement of Purpose, probably as it’s meant to be a commitment to complete the training in the book and that will take however long it takes. If you’ve designed your own training regimen or would like to make your document feel more like a contract you’re holding yourself to, you can add a start date and a date of review, when you can evaluate your progress and perhaps redefine your needs and goals.
This was also my addition—it’s a brief section on why you’ve chosen to write a Statement of Purpose. What does submission bring into your life? What do you want to get out of the training you’re committing yourself to? Why have you set the goals you’ve set?
Philosophy of Submission
The most challenging part for me was writing down my Philosophy of Submission, the idea for which came from the guidelines on making a training contract between a D-type and s-type.
The suggestion of both members engaging in a training contract including their philosophy of Dominance and submission appealed greatly to me. It makes sense to have it articulated at the start so if your theories of how power exchange is supposed to be clashes you’ll know immediately.
I wanted to include my philosophy in my Statement as a way of keeping in mind what I enjoy about being submissive/get from Dominance. It took awhile to formulate into words exactly what submission meant to me and my philosophy of it, though, so that exercise proved to be useful. Once I found the words they felt like a foundation—like part of my core, as though they had been sitting there, waiting for me to write them down.
At the very least I’ll have an answer if a D-type asks me what I think the point of submission is. Prior to this exercise my response would have been, ‘Um. I must have an opinion on it. Can I get back to you on that?’
(My philosophy of submission is not the only way. My personal philosophy may seem overly strict or too service-oriented for some people, just as other people’s philosophies would be overly lax or based in sexuality to work for me. What’s important is that your philosophy complements the person’s you’re with.)
Goals of Training
According to Training with Miss Abernathy, this section of a training contract:
…may be as simple as ‘the training of a slave to our mutual satisfaction’ or a list of skills to be acquired
I am an advocate of measurable results, so set mine up with a baseline of where I am currently on whatever habit or activity so, at the end of the year, I won’t have to try to recall where I was a year before.
Also, make a plan that can be implemented immediately—small steps—to start on whatever task is being undertaken.
Following Miss Abernathy’s guidelines—as you are your own trainer, you must look after your property properly. Lay out your responsibilities here and how you will uphold your responsibilities to care for yourself.
Benefits and Further Thoughts
Having your goals, intentions and philosophy written down with a plan and a set time to review it can help get (and keep) you focused on your training.
This can also be a useful addition to your submissive resume, if you have one. Or even a way to start one.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much—one thing at a time is plenty if you have a job and family and other responsibilities. If you discover an aspect of your training isn’t working for you, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad submissive; take some time—work out why it isn’t working for you. Break it into smaller steps or work on something else for awhile.
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but a yearly Statement of Purpose on my kinkiversary with measurable results is more meaningful than an arbitrary day on the calendar when everyone else is trying to magically become a new person overnight.
If you have a paperwork fetish like I do, you may check out Ignixia’s site—she teaches a class on contracts, Letters of Intent and other such gloriousness called ‘Let’s Make it Official’. I have a handout from the class she taught at Power Exchange Summit that I treasure. If she’s teaching it near you—or you can get her to teach it somewhere for you—attend.
[The Miss Abernathy books are out of print separately, but are available in an omnibus called Erotic Slavehood—this is the edition I’m reading and loving to bits.]
Statement of Purpose
Starting Date: 14/02/17 Date of Review: 14/02/18
Over the previous two years I have kept a submissive journal and made weekly goals and daily assignments in order to improve as a person and submissive. This year will begin my third year and I feel I’m becoming better at some things while I have slipped in others. Though, overall, I have improved as a person since discovering and developing my submission. This year, I intend to intentionally focus on the habits below, as I feel they are important to becoming a more balanced person and better submissive.
Philosophy of Submission
A submissive should enjoy making their Dominant’s life easier. A submissive should know exactly who and what they’re about and why they enjoy what they do, as well as what they need from a power exchange. They should be forthright but polite about their needs and desires. A submissive is a representative of their Dominant at all times—even when in the presence of people unaware of their dynamic—and must be a credit to said Dominant.
Goals of Training
1. Adopting a regular exercise routine.
Current routine: None.
Plan: Begin doing stretches and light cardio at least a couple times a week and work up from there. Hope it helps me feel better soon, which helps me stick with it.
2. Adopting a regular work routine that allows for recreation
Current routine: Rather scattered and not something I stick to.
Plan: Pay attention to how I’m spending time and where I have extra time. Also, how long it actually takes to do various things (as opposed to how long I think it takes) then make a new schedule.
3. Learning to attend to one task at a time.
Current success: Middling. Scale of 0/5 I’d give myself a 3.
Plan: If I have an idea for something that needs to be seen to whilst in the middle of something else, make a note of the new thing and keep going with what I was doing.
4. Being more aware of unproductive behaviour and eradicating it.
Current success: Awful: 0 of 5.
Plan: Go to bed when I’m tired. Keep from checking social media for more than five minutes at a time. Don’t check social media ‘just one more time’ before bed, as that always turns into 1.5 hours. Don’t fall for click bait articles. Pay attention to what I’m doing in general.
5. Listening more than speaking
Current success: Less than Brilliant 1 of 5.
Plan: Start with being more aware of what I’m about to say—think before I speak. Does it need to be said?
Responsibilities to myself whilst training include:
1. Getting adequate sleep, without allowing myself to sleep too much.
Plan: As a life-long insomniac, this is always going to be a challenge, but perhaps regular exercise and a healthier diet will help. I’ve also been practicing breathing techniques at night.
2. Eating healthily and drinking enough water.
Plan: I’ve been eating healthier than ever over the last couple of months and have been making an effort to drink fluids that aren’t tea or coffee. It’s a matter of keeping to that.
3. Keeping myself to the high standards the Ma’am I would like would keep me to, whilst also being as kind to myself as the Ma’am I would like would do.
Plan: The first part shouldn’t be difficult, it’s the second bit that will be the hard part. I have to remind myself that giving myself a nervous breakdown is no way to improve as a submissive.
4. Fitting in recreation—even if it’s forced into the schedule.
Plan: Scheduling in downtime on Sundays, at least, to do something just for me.