Sub Journal 011: What We Need to Be

We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. –Max De Pre

When I first learned what a submissive was—and particularly service-oriented submissives—thought, ‘My whole life makes sense now! I’m going to be the best submissive ever! This is who I’ve always been! This is going to be a piece of cake. So easy. All I have to do is show up.’

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Natural vs Learned

Then I learned about natural vs learned submissives. I didn’t think one was superior to the other, but I thought learned submissives had a much harder road to go, since us natural submissives just were the way we were.

Now I look at Natural vs Learned as being right-handed vs being left-handed. Anyone can learn to write with either hand. To play Virginia Woolf in The Hours, Nicole Kidman learned to write with her left hand, as well as learned Woolf’s handwriting, while using pen and ink, for example. Practise and determination is all that’s required.
If Kidman had already been left-handed, that task, while still formidable, would have been significantly less so.
Being naturally submissive (when that’s what you want to be) is like being right-handed. The world is already working in your favour. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be a world-class guitarist the first time you pick up a guitar, but you won’t have to either learn to play right-handed or buy a specially-made left-handed guitar. You’re working from an invisible advantage from the start.

Antoniou on Naturals

There’s a quote from Laura Antoniou’s The Marketplace, which goes:

‘Even the most gifted of naturals, those individuals whose wrists are naked without restraints and whose souls are bleak without guidance, need to be trained.’

The more I read after I first got out there, the more I realised I had a whole lot of work to do. At first I thought I shouldn’t do any work on myself, because my first Domme would want to ‘fix’ me to be just how she wanted. And if I was perfect then she wouldn’t have anything to fix.

Now I side-eye my previous self.

No, honey. Just no. (source)

A submissive or slave’s position is to make life run more smoothly for their D-type (though I suppose there could be some who enjoy looking after a wreck of a person).

I realised I needed to make myself into a person who was worthy of being owned. It didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed to have bad days or be human—it meant being honest about my failings and improve myself to suit the sort of D-type I wanted to serve.

The sort of D-type I wanted was the type who would want to help me be my best so I’d need to prove that I was committed to being my best and improving myself before we met so I’d have something to offer in the first place.

What was I going to say, ‘I waited for you to arrive before working on myself, but now I’m going to develop discipline out of nowhere’?

Sure, self. That’s right.

The sort of Dominant I wanted wasn’t an idiot, so she wasn’t going to buy that, either. I realised I needed to start tidying up the place myself. I was going to have to start being my own D-type until someone else could blessedly take over.

It’s not as though I was going to attain perfection prior to meeting a Dominant and would wind up saying, ‘Sorry, you just missed having someone to improve.’

I even put it on a business card.

What I Need to Be

What I need to be is useful to my Dominant.

I can be that by learning what I need and want (and how to differentiate between the two).

By taking care of my body, with adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition.

By constantly learning about kink, my submission and the wider world.

By communicating (the good and the bad) even when it’s hard & unpoetic.

By recognising that I’m already good enough but that training is eternal.

By being kind to myself when I fail to live up to my own high standards.

 

[This prompt comes from submissiveguide, which I’ve reviewed on this site]

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.

Meditations for submissives 008: Severus

The Meditation for May is good advice for everyone regarding being a decent human, leader and friend.

This is Book One, Number Fourteen.

The Maxwell Stanisforth translation in full:

From my brother Severus I learnt to love my relations, to love the truth, and to love justice. Through him I came to know of Thrasea, Cato, Helvidius, Dion, and Brutus, and became acquainted with the conception of a community based on equality and freedom of speech for all, and a monarchy concerned primarily to uphold the liberty of the subject. He showed me the need for a fair and dispassionate appreciation of philosophy, an addiction to good works, open-handedness, a sanguine temper, and confidence in the affection of my friends. I remember, too, his forthrightness with those who came under his censure, and his way of leaving his friends in no doubt of his likes and dislikes, but of telling them plainly.

There’s a lot going on this time out, so let’s break it down a little.

From my brother Severus I learnt to love my relations, to love the truth, and to love justice.

Severus was neither Marcus’ birth nor adoptive brother, so he must mean spiritual brother.

Not this one, either. Looks like he’s about to drop some philosophy, though. (source)

I’m fully in favour of loving and respecting people who’ve earned it, though, whether they’re related to you or not. I’m sure Severus was wise indeed, but not all relations deserve your time and energy.

Truth and justice—yes and yes. The truth may make you miserable, but it’s better than a happy lie. Children are placated with happy lies.

Through him I came to know of [many fun names to say, but people we don’t really need to concern ourselves with*] and became acquainted with the conception of a community based on equality and freedom of speech for all…

We’re all still on board for this, right?

…and a monarchy concerned primarily to uphold the liberty of the subject.

And we were sailing along so smoothly. Marcus was co-Emperor of Rome a couple of times and he believed in civic responsibility and doing the right thing for the people. This statement calls back to that—if a person has absolute power they should use it to ensure the well-being and freedom of the people they have power over.

Considering we can’t seem to reach that ideal with democracy I’m going to side with Marcus on this.

Fire and blood, friend. Fire and blood.

He showed me the need for a fair and dispassionate appreciation of philosophy…

Whether or not a person would like to study philosophy is up to each individual. Learning to think and examine one’s own thoughts and how other people think is highly useful, but it can also be taken to an extreme that’s unproductive.

Stoicism was revolutionary because it was the first (or one of the first, though I believe the actual first) philosophy that could be lived. Meaning, people could base their lives and conduct on the philosophy, rather than sitting around yakking about something that wasn’t going to affect their behaviour or the world around them all day.

I’m on the side of doing something productive rather than pondering infinite hypotheticals to no good end, so, while it’s interesting to learn about other philosophical schools (just as it’s interesting to learn about anything in the world), at a certain point I feel like: AND?

…an addiction to good works, open-handedness, a sanguine temper, and confidence in the affection of my friends.

Sevvy…Russ? Marcus’ brother was big on helping people out and being useful, being generous, not flipping out about everything little thing and knowing your friends had your back.

This is the only section of this piece that would apply specifically to s-types. Being of service, being generous and maintaining an even temper.

He sounds all right to me, really. The sort of person you’d enjoy spending time with who’d make you want to be a better person. I still wouldn’t name my kid after him. It’s an awkward name. (Though it was one of Marcus’ names at birth.)

I remember, too, his forthrightness with those who came under his censure, and his way of leaving his friends in no doubt of his likes and dislikes, but of telling them plainly.

Severus was also a straightforward person. The stoics valued straightforwardness in general and this guy had it in spades. If he rebuked you he told you exactly why and if you were friends you knew where he stood on all things. He was confident in his opinions and shared them easily.

*I say we don’t need to concern ourselves with the people Marcus mentions, because Meditations was written for himself—it was called To Myself—and wasn’t intended for public consumption. When he included names, it would have been to remind himself of connections between people like a diary—an audience wouldn’t be expected to know who those mentioned were.

Also, many of these people have been lost to antiquity and we wouldn’t know who they were anyway. (Not that I wouldn’t love a deluxe edition of this book with links to everyone they could find information on.)

For more information on this series, please see this post.

Sub Journal 010: Perversion and Normality

One person’s perversion is another’s normality. –Julie Peakman

This is the unofficial motto of my site and is the opening line of Peakman’s book The Pleasure’s All Mine: A History of Perverse Sex (podcast review, written review). The quote works in a couple of ways, but I think the overall message is that you’re normal for you. Whatever you’re interested in comes naturally to you so it’s natural. And if something’s natural then any shame or disgust is a product of other people’s opinions, which are shaped by culture, time, place, religion, etc.

The quote could be both speaking to someone who is judging another and also a reminder that just because your desires don’t seem ‘normal’ in this time and place doesn’t mean that what is considered healthy always was. The people currently practising acceptable sex are doing things that were considered quite odd five hundred years ago. ‘Normal’ is entirely subjective. You’re never going to please everyone so you might as well please yourself since you’re the one you have to live with on a day-to-day basis. (I mean this within the confines of being a law-abiding citizen.)

This quote also reminds me of a more serious version of ‘It’s only kinky the first time.’ If you naturally express certain aspects of your personality, sexuality or intimacy with your partner using particular acts, it’s not really kinky or unusual—it’s simply the language you use. It may not be the same language that is currently ‘acceptable’, but that doesn’t make it wrong. If both you and your partner understand and appreciate it, and it draws you closer together, then what does it matter if you don’t wish to speak the language of traditional intimacy?

Meditations for submissives 007

The Meditation for April is all-round good advice and completely straightforward, as well.

(For less-than-straightforward, but no less useful entries in this series, start here.)

This is from Book One, Number Ten

The Maxwell Stanisforth translation in full:

It was the critic Alexander who put me on my guard against unnecessary fault-finding. People should not be sharply corrected for bad grammar, provincialisms, or mispronunciations; it is better to suggest the proper expression by tactfully introducing it oneself in, say, one’s reply to a question or one’s acquiescence in their sentiments, or into a friendly discussion of the topic itself (not of the diction), or by some other suitable form of reminder.

This is always necessary advice to us pedants. No one likes an overly-fussy submissive. Or Dominant, for that matter. Be polite, basically.

Sub Journal 009: Tolerance of Others

How tolerant are you of others who live in a lifestyle that would not suit you and who live in such a way it does not affect you? Do you consider yourself open minded? How do you react when others judge your lifestyle as fantasy?

I wouldn’t say I’m tolerant—I would say that I’m accepting of people who live their lives differently, as long as it doesn’t effect me (someone who believes people like me should be denied rights, for example). I tell people to ‘find their level’, because what is normal and healthy for one person would be stressful and unnatural to another person. I certainly know what it’s like to be judged and I’d never want to make another person feel that way.

I definitely consider myself open-minded. I grew up in a place that most definitely wasn’t tolerant, let alone open-minded or accepting, and I didn’t get why or how it was possible to dislike people for something they have no control over. I’m more interested in why people are interested in what they’re interested in.

In terms of what is considered healthy and what is considered fantasy—power exchange is two autonomous (or more) adults, consciously deciding how they want to structure a relationship based on what everyone involved needs and wants with the understanding those needs and wants may shift. ‘Traditional’ hetero, vanilla, romantic relationships rarely involve conversations about consent or desires, hinge on the notion of one person answering another person’s every need and rely on the ‘happily ever after’ trope. Which one of those sounds like a bigger fantasy? One of those two types of relationships acknowledges actual human beings are involved and the other tells the people involved they’ve failed if they don’t magically know what to do with this whole other person—without asking, because that spoils the ‘romance’.

By the same token, it’s understandable for people who’ve been told the way they naturally connect with others is the ‘normal’, correct and healthy way of doing things. People enjoy feeling like their way is the right way. It’s easy to misunderstand something when you’ve only been exposed to inaccurate versions of it in the media. Versions that have been written by other non-kinky people with their own prejudices.

It’s common for people to view the way other people conduct their lives or relationships as a rebuke of their own choices, whether it’s choosing to remain childfree to being polyamorous, and will respond as though, by merely existing, the non-traditional person, is telling the traditional person that they’ve made a mistake. This is is no more true than saying because jeans are comfortable for me all people should wear jeans and anyone who chooses to wear a skirt, kilt, slacks, sari or anything else should be defensive about it, as if my choice to wear jeans is my way of saying, ‘What I wear is correct for everyone. Differ and suffer my disdain!’

What is comfortable for one person—one person’s level—isn’t going to be for everyone else.

Different isn’t bad or wrong. It’s just different.

If people are allowed to be comfortable in something as basic as clothing, why are we all expected to conform when it comes to something as complex as relationships or sexuality or desire?

In terms of how I react to people who judge me, externally, it depends on the circumstances and the person. Some people clearly aren’t interested in being educated and it’s not worth the emotional energy. Usually, I try to calmly explain how I feel and what I think. Generally, people will treat you the way you behave and if you are calm and rational and behave like an intelligent, courteous human who knows themselves and something about what you’re talking about then the least that comes out of it is that you look like the grown up in the situation.

[This prompt comes from submissiveguide, which I’ve reviewed on this site]

Apps for s-types: TracknShare

Apps for s-types is a new, monthly feature of resources (usually mobile apps) that will assist s-types in being more useful to their D-types or improving themselves, if training on their own. (Or not—like all other reviews on the site, I’ll list the pros and cons and you can decide if it fits your needs.)

These resources will also be of use to anyone interested in being more productive or achieving personal goals. Though these reviews appear on s-type Sundays, they will not be written expressly ‘at’ slaves/submissives/property/etc, though that is their intended audience—reviews will be in neutral language.

That said: A note for single s-types. If you’re keeping a training resume, this would be the sort of thing to list in an improvement section to show you’re making an effort and how you’re going about improving yourself.

First up, one of my personal favourites.

TracknShare

Brief Description: An impressively flexible multi-tracking app. The definition of ‘What gets measured gets managed.’

Cost: $4.99 (Worth every penny); There’s a ‘lite’ version to try to see if it would be useful before purchasing the Pro version.

Platforms: iTunes (it doesn’t look like it’s available on Android, which is baffling. Check—perhaps I’m having bad luck.)

Website: TracknShare.com (they have several new apps now—check those out, as they may better suit your needs.)

Features:

  • Sharing information so if someone needs/wants to oversee another person’s improvement, that’s easily accomplished. (One person has to send their information to the other—it’s not something that can be done surreptitiously.)
  • Graphs to spot trends, which can be viewed over days, weeks or months.
    User-defined categories, under which you can have a variety of user-defined items to track including:

    • Yes/No
    • Numbers including two decimal places (for money or weight)
    • How in love you are
    • Grades
    • What the weather was like
    • A note (where you can type a fair number of characters—I never ran out of room)
    • 0-3 Severity
    • Pain as demonstrated by smiley to frowny faces
    • Hours, mins, secs (I used this for exercise times)
    • Completion
    • And several others
  • Hundreds of icons to choose from or you can upload your own—though that does slow down the app.
  • Set goals and try to meet them.
  • Various ways to back up—iCloud or dropbox—so you won’t lose your data.
  • I didn’t use all of the features—there is more functionality than even this.

Drawbacks: It’s been awhile since I’ve used it (I consolidated my system for tracking things—it was nothing to do with the app) so I can’t recall many.

There was no calendar view, which would have been useful when comparing things like mood, period, weather and migraine—all of which I tracked. That was the big one for me. I also wanted to keep up with my bp and pulse at doctor visits, but there wasn’t a place for that, so I wound up making a note and had to find it again at my next appointment (not easy without a monthly view) to compare.

As I said above, I didn’t even use all of the features, as there were so many, so I may have missed something that wasn’t optimal. It depends what you’re looking for.

If this review sounds effusive, it’s because I started with one of my favourite apps. It’s one of the first three I recommend to everyone.

User Experience: Because my phone was with me all day, I used the note feature and made note of start and stop time for each task I wanted to track, at the end of the day I’d tally those times and enter them in the correct places—it was a nice way to wrap up the day and see how I’d spent my time.

Review: I used it every day for a couple years and loved it—I had dozens of trackable habits, goals, times and other things in various categories. I had no idea how much of my day was spent on apps and the internet until I started using it. After being appalled at how not-productive I was I got to work on improving that.

Will work best for:

  • People who wonder where on Earth their time goes and want to exert more control over where they put their energy.
  • People who want to set goals for others and mentor those people to help them achieve those goals.
  • Those who want to track their moods or health or (nearly) any other thing.
  • Graph-lovers.

Statement of Purpose 2017-18

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.

Sections

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.

Intention

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.

Responsibilities

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.]

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Statement of Purpose

Starting Date: 14/02/17 Date of Review: 14/02/18

Introduction

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

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.

Meditations for submissives 001

Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of Rome (twice) way back during the early triple digits of the common era (before the year 200). He was a Stoic and wrote a collection of thoughts that were originally titled ‘To Myself’ and are now called Meditations. Some of these would be very useful to submissives.

The first Sunday of each month I shall be posting quotes from the book that s-types may find helpful. They could be used as writing prompts or ways to centre yourself in the morning, evening or when you need a break.

I’m using the Penguin Great Ideas edition, which I highly recommend. I’ve looked at other translations and Maxwell Stanisforth’s is the most accessible and poetic. The Penguin edition is only around 13USD and 5GBP.

Marcus Aurelius was Roman but wrote in Greek because they were more...cultured. (credit)

Marcus Aurelius was Roman but wrote in Greek because they were more…cultured. And limber.

I’m going to start the series off with one of my favourite quotes. It was the first one I memorized. This is from Book Two, number five.

The original (Stanisforth’s) version:

Hour by hour resolve firmly, like a Roman and a man, to do what comes to hand with correct and natural dignity, and with humanity, independence and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the wayward thought, the emotional recoil from the commands of reason, the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. See how little a man needs to master for his days to flow on in quietness and piety; he has but to observe these few counsels, and the gods will ask nothing more.

Overall, it’s apt for submissives–particularly service-oriented subs who may have to get on with chores when they aren’t feeling much like it. It advocates for humility and focus and gratitude for what you have rather than what you don’t.

The advice to go about each task as though it were to be the final thing you’d do is a good one. ‘If this was the last thing I did for my Dominant would they view it with pride?’ (The Stoics believed the only moment any person had was the one occurring just then so this line makes sense within that context. You should live your life so you’d be at peace with dying at any moment, basically, but that’s for another day.)

The quote could be adapted for subs (or any s-types) for a morning meditation thusly:

Hour by hour I resolve firmly, as a submissive and a woman (girl/boy/etc), to do what comes to hand with correct and natural dignity, and with humanity, obedience and justice. I shall allow my mind freedom from all other thoughts. This I will do by approaching each action as though it was my last, dismissing the wayward thought, the admiration of self, the discontent with my lot. I see how little I need to master for my day to flow on in quietness and peace. I need but observe these few counsels and my [D-type] will ask nothing more.

This is just a suggestion and it could be altered in other ways, but the general idea of the quote is what got my attention.

Submissive CVs and Resumes

Finding a partner is difficult in the vanilla world [understatement warning] so it’s no surprise attempting to find one with kinks that complement your own is exponentially more complicated.

Anything that can make the process easier is welcome.

Enter the Training CV/Resume and the Submissive CV/Resume.

This is the sort of 'Dom' you end up with if you don't do your paperwork, subs.

This is the sort of ‘Dom’ you end up with if you don’t do your paperwork, subs. (credit)

What is a submissive Training Resume/CV?

Both are documents an s-type can give a prospective D-type when they reach the stage of the relationship where they’re considering a power exchange. Or whatever they both want.

A training CV is documentation of training a sub has done/is doing. This should, in theory, never stop expanding.

A submissive CV is a shorter document (1-2 pages) that includes what the s-type is looking for, their qualifications in brief, experience with BDSM, limits, skills, hobbies and interests.

The training CV is something that a prospective D-type would request after having seen the submissive CV, as it’s much more detailed. Though I suppose an s-type could hand over a giant binder.

Speaking of which…

Contents of a Training Resume/CV

(these are all from Submissive Guide)

Beginning Your Training Resume: This is a list of general information, some of which is covered in the regular CV, others which are not, but would give a potential D-type a picture of who you are. Like pet peeves, religion/spirituality/beliefs, causes that you’re active in, etc.

Recording Your Training History: This is like the part of a typical resume where you list your previous jobs and what you did in them. It’s a detailed list of the training you received in your previous relationships beginning with the first one.

Recording Your Completed Training: This is a section so prospective D-types can see what you are proficient at. The example given on the page seems needlessly detailed, but the concept of how fulfilling a sub finds a task would be useful for a Dominant.

Mapping Out Your Ideal Submission: Here you’ll write about your ideal relationship, the structure it has and the level of protocol. The post has resources for mind-mapping, as well.

The BDSM Checklist that Will Really Help You: While the idea of a checklist is great and should be included in the CV I’m not madly in love with the one linked here. I would recommend the CEPE BDSM Checklist as well as this vanilla one that covers some things the BDSM lists leave out. (Yes, that last one is for teens/20-somethings, but I promise it’s still worthwhile.)

Add Your Reading List to Your Training Resume: What it says. Not only the list of books you’ve read (and if you’re me, want to read), but also what you learned/thought about those books. It will show your D-type that you’re interested in learning more about your submission.

Add Cons, Classes and Events to Your Training Resume: This falls under what the author calls community exposure. ‘Exposure to the Community’ doesn’t sound better, though. Anyway, it’s a section for what it sounds like—information about where you went and what you learned whilst there.

My Training Resume

Though I’m not looking for a Dominant I still intend to create one of these as a learning exercise. This site would be part of my CV, as it has submissive journal prompts, essays and my thoughts on the kink-tinged books, films and other media I consume. Seeing as how many s-types have websites, there should probably be a place on the CV for their blog address.

I have a giant binder of my writings, because I like the physicality of being able to see and feel how much I’ve written and learned. I rather enjoy the picture of giving a Dominant the option of reading the digital or the analog version. Then thunking down this thing.

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