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Jun 04 2017

Meditations for submissives 009: Maximus

There isn’t a bust of Maximus, so here are some Roman face pots instead. (source)

The Meditation for June is a mix of good advice for submissives and Dominants.

This is Book One, Number Fifteen.

The Maxwell Stanisforth translation in full:

Maximus was my model for self control, fixity of purpose, and cheerfulness under ill-health or other misfortunes. His character was an admirable combination of dignity and charm, and all the duties of his station were performed quietly and without fuss. He gave everyone the conviction that he spoke as he believed, and acted as he judged right. Bewilderment or timidity were unknown to him; he was never hasty, never dilatory; nothing found him at a loss. He indulged neither in despondency nor forced gaiety, nor had anger or jealousy any power over him. Kindliness, sympathy, and sincerity all contributed to give the impression of a rectitude that was innate rather than inculcated. Nobody was ever made by him to feel inferior, yet none could have presumed to challenge his pre-eminence. He was also the possessor of an agreeable sense of humour.

Maximus (possibly Claudius Maximus, another Stoic philosopher) was the embodiment of the Stoic ideals of being unbothered and unwavering. Moderation in all things including emotions.

Maximus was my model for self control, fixity of purpose, and cheerfulness under ill-health or other misfortunes.

Self control = goes along with moderation in all things. If you have control of yourself you can choose when to let go because you’ll know you can regain control when you’re ready.

This is a personality trait that is admirable in people on both sides of the slash. A D-type who can’t control themselves can’t be trusted to control anyone else and no one wants to deal with an s-type who isn’t interested in learning to control themselves.

Fixity of purpose as an admirable trait reminds me of one of my favourite quotes ‘The secret to success is constancy to purpose.’ Which is by Benjamin Disraeli, one of Queen Victoria’s prime ministers. I wrote a submissive journal prompt on why that was important for s-types. You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t focus on that thing.

Stoics were big on not complaining even when in pain. Pain was simply part of life that everyone who’d ever lived had dealt with and there was no reason to believe you were any more deserving of a painless ride than anyone else. ‘Pain is finite,’ basically.

This doesn’t mean s-types should keep health problems from their D-types. Dominants need to know what’s going on with their submissives so they may assign tasks and alter expectations accordingly. There’s a difference between being straightforward about health problems while getting on with what you can and whining about every little ache and pain as though no one had ever had a cold before.

Some D-types have to enforce down-time with their subs, however, as many subs take the Stoic value of working-through-the-pain too far, as they want to do everything for their Dominants, even with a perforated spleen and multiple compound fractures.

His character was an admirable combination of dignity and charm, and all the duties of his station were performed quietly and without fuss.

Everyone likes a person who has both dignity and charm. Unfortunately, ‘charm’ isn’t something that can be taught. When a person who lacks it, attempts to be charming they either come off hyper-creepy (men) or slutty-in-a-bad-way (women).

submissives who get on with their tasks without fanfare—because they enjoy and are fulfilled by what they do—rather than because they are prideful or are looking for praise are the ideal s-type. If a sub is trying to out-sub everyone else… or if you find yourself doing things for performative reasons or because you think it’ll ‘prove’ you’re a good submissive, it’s time to rethink those particular actions.*

*Performative doesn’t mean doing exhibitionistic subby things with your D-type because you enjoy doing them. If you enjoy it for its own sake it’s not ‘performative’.

He gave everyone the conviction that he spoke as he believed, and acted as he judged right.

Integrity. Something people on both sides of the slash should cultivate. subs: if the person you’re considering submitting to doesn’t have integrity—their actions don’t echo their words and they aren’t consistent—this is a red flag. You won’t be able to trust them.

Bewilderment or timidity were unknown to him; he was never hasty, never dilatory; nothing found him at a loss.

This sentence is what every person on Earth is looking for in a leader. Whether it’s a leader in business, the military, the bedroom or anywhere else. Some of these traits are acceptable (possibly attractive) in a sub, but not a D-type.

Bewildered or at a loss (never being): there are people who are collected under every circumstance. No matter what it is—it seems they’ve considered all possible outcomes and are prepared to handle it. While obviously a valuable trait for D-types, it’s also handy for s-types, as it means they’re used to thinking through various outcomes and are prepared to handle whatever they need to in order to make their Dominant’s life flow smoothly. This is a trait that can be cultivated with effort.

Timidity: Shyness in an s-type (hello) isn’t necessarily bad as long as it doesn’t interfere with being able to communicate needs and wants within the relationship. D-types need as much accurate information as they can get so submissives must learn to communicate honestly, no matter the subject, even if embarrassed.

Acting too quickly or being slow to act are unattractive traits for anyone. The former is an indication of impatience and the latter is indicative of indecision or wilful obstruction.

Impatience is, (in a power exchange) at best, useless. At worst, it’s dangerous, on the part of a Dominant. An impatient s-type is just annoying. Being in a hurry never hastened anything.

Indecision, on the other hand, makes a Dominant seem weak-willed. If, after a person has had the opportunity to review the necessary information, they still cannot make a decision (or choose not to for fear of accepting the consequences) they are not ready to make decisions on behalf of another person.

Being slow to act on behalf of a submissive has different consequences. If a sub requires more clarification before undertaking a task they need to learn to ask as soon as they reach the point of needing the information. If the slowness to act is based in procrastination or laziness then a review of goals and motivations is in order.

None of this is to say a person who is shy or who occasionally gets tongue-tied can’t be a Dominant. However, if a person tends to act rashly or is lazy, it would be wise to work on those aspects of their personality.

He indulged neither in despondency nor forced gaiety, nor had anger or jealousy any power over him.

The use of the word ‘indulged’ here is interesting. Even back in the year nil people enjoyed being emo and wallowing in their feelings to the annoyance of their friends. “Ugh. I like ol’ Sextitus, but he doesn’t half go on about Lucretia, does he? Sack up, already.”

Maximus wasn’t a Pre-Christian whiner, though. He didn’t let his negative emotions—sadness, anger or jealousy—get the better of him, nor did he pretend to be in a better mood than he actually was. Stoics valued seeing things as they were.

As a D or s-type, it’s important to be able to identify your emotions, but not allow them to control you. The former is necessary to accomplish the latter. Why should a submissive put their physical and psychological well-being in the hands of a person who can’t control their own emotions?

Kindliness, sympathy, and sincerity all contributed to give the impression of a rectitude that was innate rather than inculcated.

‘The impression’ of being inherently morally upstanding (rather than having learned to be so) is an interesting word choice, but an important one. It’s possible to learn to be kinder and more sympathetic (sincerity will follow) by learning more about the world and others’ situations and practicing empathy. By simply realising everyone is doing their best. These qualities are valuable in everyone—whether they are into power exchange or not.

Nobody was ever made by him to feel inferior, yet none could have presumed to challenge his pre-eminence.

s-types, if a D-type is trying to out-Dominant everyone around they are insecure. Insecure ‘Dominants’ are not people you want to spend time with. Huge red flag. Ethical D-types help everyone around them—submissives, other Dominants, vanilla people, dogs—because they’re not intimidated by other people’s success or happiness. Kink isn’t a competition.

Previously mentioned was how submission should be practiced for its own reasons—not to impress anyone else. See the final sentence of the previous paragraph. There will always be some submissive who seems to be out-subbing everyone else. If they’re genuinely happy then they’re doing so well because they’re genuinely happy and their submission complements their Dominant’s. And they’ve been working their hindquarters off constantly improving themselves. They’re not worried where they fall in the non-existent Power Exchange Olympics, because they’re focused on their own goals.

These are probably the ones the second part of the sentence applies to. The inspire other subs to try harder—but don’t compare yourself to them. They’re at a different place on a different journey taking completely different photos with a different tour schedule.

If a submissive is performing their submission—don’t be jealous because they’re not happy unless other people are unhappy and they will burn out. They’re not being fed by what they’re doing.

He was also the possessor of an agreeable sense of humour.

I like how ‘Oh yeah, and he was funny,’ is tacked on to the end. As though we needed anything else to recommend the man to us.

A sense of humour—being able to laugh at ourselves, and the scene in general, is vital. What we do is serious—being in control of other person’s body, life and emotional well-being is serious—and allowing someone to have control is obviously serious, but it’s also supposed to be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself at least some of the time—if you’re not being fulfilled emotionally—perhaps power exchange isn’t for you.

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