July 19, 2012

The Virtue Of Silence


To me, the old saying “Silence is Golden” has a special meaning. When I hear that phrase, I picture a beautiful glistening golden apple (or something else) stuffed firmly into the open mouth of a girl, like myself, who talks too much! I am often required in my relationship to accept my mouth being stuffed quiet often when I natter on a little too much. By doing so, I have learned a lot and become better at submitting and pleasing. You see, nothing but good has ever come from my curbing my tongue.

Do you have a problem with speaking too much? Or maybe the question should be: how do you know if you do this or not? Well, are you female? Then join the club! Seriously, if you answered “Yes” to the second question, the answer to the first (with some exceptions) is most likely Yes, too. We women are communicators. We love to talk and are often very good at it. But sometimes we can fall into a habit of speaking too much and then it becomes a vice, no matter how skillfully we may speak.

How do you speak to your dominant male? Do you tell him everything? Every little detail in your life? Are you constantly chatting with him in person, texting him, emailing him, telling him all the boring little things that are significant to you because they happen to you but mean nothing to other people? Do you initiate most conversations with him? Do you still ask huge piles of questions despite the fact that you are beyond the early question-and-answer phase of the relationship? Do you get mad when he doesn’t answer all your questions or seems to ignore some very important points you have made? Do you ever feel resentment over his seeming disinterest or lack of communication?

I ask these questions because that is how I used to feel about the man in my life. I fully admit it, I LOVE to talk. And he wants to know about me, so he listens carefully to me…the first man in my life to ever do that! But I found I was taking advantage of his good nature and willingness to listen. The more he listened, the more important I felt I and my issues were, and the more important I felt they were, the more I talked. It was a vicious cycle in which I considered my communications (every single one!) of prime importance and great value. Only golden nuggets fell from my tongue. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the more I talked, the less I listened to my Sir or even wanted to listen to him. It took a shocking incident to wake me up to what I was doing.

I have been living with this wonderful male in my life (I’ll refer to him as S.) for the last three years. Mostly, it has been a very happy three years. But something happened not too long after we started living together that, at the time, shocked me and deeply hurt my feelings. Later, however, I considered it one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned in my life. He told me, very bluntly and abruptly, that I was a chatterbox, that I was annoying him with my constant speech, and that I would need to learn to talk less. I was quite taken aback by his tone and also very ashamed.

Here’s how it happened. We had gone on a drive to the mountains. I was excited and happy to be on this trip and I had talked the ENTIRE time in the car.

Instead of behaving like the good submissive female I like to think that I am, I’d been one of those people I hate when I encounter them at parties and clubs: a self-centered bore, who can only speak about themselves.

I told him stories from my past, asked him questions about my role in his life (then sometimes interrupted his answers with my own responses!), commented on the scenery, on other drivers, and generally (I thought) tried to entertain him. A few times he tried to break in and say something but I ignored him and spoke louder and faster, continuing with the subjects that interested me. I didn’t see this as rude; to me I was just “finishing a thought.” Each time I did this he fell silent and let me keep speaking. I didn’t think anything of it at the time…I was just gratified to be able to keep on speaking about what interested me or what I thought he “needed” to hear.

Later, after we checked into our cabin and had dinner, he built a fire and we both sat in front of it, gazing at the flames. For the first time that day, I was quiet. I felt happy, I’d had a chance to say everything on my mind and I was certain that what I had to say had entertained and, yes, “enlightened” my Sir. We had both fallen silent. “May I speak now?” he asked suddenly, into that silence. He asked this softly but with a menacing tone. “Um, of course, Sir!” I said, feeling obedient and happy to hear what he had to say. That’s when he laid out my bad behavior for me to see. It felt like he was dissecting me on a surgical tray. He pointed out in great detail that each time he had tried to interrupt my nonstop dialog in the car, I had overridden him. He asked me, “What sort of behavior is this? Is this how a good, obedient girl who adores her Sir and hangs on his every word behaves?” He continued to rake me over the coals like this for quite a while, and the more he spoke, the more mortified I felt. I saw my egotistical and self-absorbed behavior. After my slightly knee-jerk resistance to his words, I started to cry. I saw how I had been oblivious to him and to what he wanted of me.

My constant talking on this trip and at many other times with him was all about me: my concerns, my issues, my opinions, my perceptions, and each one I regarded as this precious pearl, something deeply valuable that I was giving him. It never occurred to me that with my constant talk all I might have been giving him was a headache! I felt so ashamed that night. Instead of behaving like the good submissive female I like to think that I am, I’d been one of those people I hate when I encounter them at parties and clubs: a self-centered bore, who only talks about themselves. I wanted the earth to swallow me whole that night. What was wrong with me? Where had my interest in Him gone? Where had my awe of him, my respect, my love of listening to his wisdom gone? When had I substituted telling him things he “needed” to hear for listening to his wisdom and hanging on his every word?

S. and I have continued to discuss this issue since that eye-opening night by the fire. He has forgiven me for my self-centered blabbermouth ways but insisted I start to change my behavior around him to a more respectful form. In particular I’ve had to become more sensitive to him, to hearing and seeing HIM, not hearing or seeing myself as reflected in him. He is not my captive audience there to gratify my need to speak. He is my Sir and the love of my life. I think I’ve learned a few things about silence and submission since that time and I’d like to share some of these with other girls, because I know that, being female, we all love to talk, particularly about ourselves. While this may not be an important issue for most women, a woman who desires to humble herself before a man she loves and admires may find her constant desire to communicate works against that goal, actually. In fact, she may find, as I did, that this need to constantly speak is her worst enemy. Here are some points about speaking and silence that I’ve been trying to absorb since that night at the cabin:

Is it hard to realize how much you talk until someone points it out?

Even if it feels terrible, don’t bite their heads off for doing so because they are actually doing you a favor! I didn’t notice how much I dominated the conversations I had with S., until he pointed it out. To me it felt like filling a void. He was silent, so I should speak. I even prided myself that this self-centered behavior was obedient and useful. I had no idea of what an annoying person I was becoming. Thank God S. gave me a heads up and showed me how I looked through his eyes.

You don’t own your master or sir, he owns you.

What I mean by this point is that he is not there for my convenience and gratification. I am there for his, because I serve him and not the other way around. And I can’t be there for him if I’m so self-absorbed that I make everything about me. A woman who talks or texts constantly and without letup about herself thinks it’s all about her. She has forgotten that she is there in the relationship to give her man pleasure and benefits. He isn’t there to serve her need for an appreciative audience!

When you finally shut up and just listen to your man, you learn many useful things.

But when all I do is talk obsessively I learn nothing. In fact, I am, deep inside, putting myself in the role of the “teacher,” the one with all the answers, the one who should always be speaking. What a frightful arrogance that is for any woman, but particularly for a woman who considers herself obedient and modest. When you fall silent, when you leave pauses in the conversation or write short emails that are about him or ask him questions, you give him a chance to speak of the things that he finds interesting and important.

In silence, you can remember why you serve and you can recover, as I did, your awe of his wisdom and love for his communications.

My Sir, when he desires, fills those pauses, those empty spots, but often only if I leave them for him. I am often surprised by what he tells me in these times. I have been quite surprised by what I didn’t know about S.—and may never have known if I’d continued in my non-stop train-wreck style of speech. In silence, you can remember why you serve and you can recover, as I did, your awe of his wisdom and love for his communications.

Men, in general, do not like to spend their lives listening to a non-stop talking woman or have constant conversations with one.

Women love to communicate with words. Men are a little different. They use other means to communicate besides talking or they enjoy just being themselves and doing stuff, not constantly analyzing and gossiping about petty nonsense. It makes sense to me that a woman who respects her man will use his style of communication, which is often “less is more.”

We can talk too much online.

Initially, when S. was teaching me how to control my constant desire to tell him every little detail about myself, he told me to use online socializing as an outlet, to pour out what I think might be unnecessary to tell him on Facebook, Fetlife, Twitter, and places like that. So I poured. And poured. And poured. Stuff about me rained out of my mouth and onto the virtual pages of these networks. Perhaps you can guess what happened next. I got obsessed with “pouring.” I started to live every spare moment I had online, responding to people, posting interesting (I thought) things that would get them to respond back to me, lapping up all the attention for being an online socialite. I was very well liked, had hundreds of friends, and people (mostly women but also a few chatty men) who responded to me as much as I responded to them.

I think that online relating is a good temporary Band-Aid for a woman who talks too much. It channels that avalanche of speech in another direction and often gives her man a much-needed breather! But in the long run it may encourage her tendency to be self-centered, which I think is at the heart of talking too much. Later, when S. began to wean me off such places, I found it REALLY hard to be denied my social network fix. But as I started to talk less in those places, I began to notice how much everybody else (well, the women, anyway) constantly talked about themselves or their ideas, but never really listened to others, except in the most shallow of ways designed only to get someone to pay more attention to them. I saw myself in their behavior. I had been acting in exactly the same way.

“Transparency” can be used as an excuse for boring our men to death.

Based on my own experience, I conclude it’s very easy to become obsessed with yourself as a submissive or a slave. Initially our sirs want to know all about us. They need that knowledge in order to control us. And they need this information to be good data, not false or selective facts. So transparency is encouraged to combat the desire to be secretive about the things we don’t want him to know. But with me sometimes transparency got confused with telling him every little thing I thought of as soon as I thought of it. It became a tool of my ego to get more attention. I was very guilty of this in the beginning because S. encouraged me to talk openly and not hide anything from him, no matter how far out it was, no matter how much I wanted to hide it. But I took it too far because I made no distinction between what he needed to know and what I wanted to tell him. To me, these two very different things were one and the same! It nearly reached the point where I thought that forgetting to tell him I’d had a bowel movement that day was “non-transparent!” Definitely a case of TMI.

When you talk or write too much you may not realize it is a problem. The best way to realize how much you do it is to stop it, completely, for a while.

My Sir has given me practices to do at various times to help me become aware of my tendency to over-talk. I’d like to describe a few of these.

Sometimes I have a day where I may not speak unless spoken to. He always chooses a day when he’s going to be physically present the whole time and he tells me I can signal him for permission to speak…but only if it is absolutely urgent and cannot wait. During those days he’ll check on me, he’ll ask me questions or he’ll say something then add, “you may speak” to the end, but I am required to keep my responses short and modest. Also, I don’t respond at all if not given permission.

Or we may have a “doggy speech” day: I can say one “arf” for yes and two “arfs” for no, and that is it. For the entire day! Again, I have a signal I can use if it’s a dire emergency or something that will really hurt him not to know at that time: I can turn my back to him and (blush) “wag my tail.”

At still other times he has randomly (he never warns me when he is going to do this) ordered me to stay offline for one or more days. I can still read, but I cannot respond to others or initiate conversations with them. I may be in the middle of an engrossing conversation in emails, too. Too bad. I cannot speak, even to tell others that I’m going to be missing for a few days.

There are more such exercises. (S. is very creative!) There are two points to doing them, he’s said: one is for me to practice self-restraint and learn to control my speech. The other is for me to observe how I feel when I am denied speech: to watch how my ego squirms and wiggles, trying to find some way to express itself, to get others to pay attention to me.

Talking too much is deeply disrespectful.

I know I mentioned this before, but this one is SO important. I think someone may have mentioned it in the forums here, too. It’s a sign that your ego is very “unaligned” with his, that you consider yourself and your interests, obsessions, fears, worries, ideas, whatever, far more important than him and his communications. This is the primary lesson S. has taught me: that when I am constantly blabbing away, whether to him or others but especially to him, I am usually not paying enough attention to him and what he wants. It is only by falling silent (for longer than a few seconds, that is!) that I start to think about what he wants, wonder what he is thinking, and desire to learn more about him.

Friendly chit-chat can quickly turn into bitchy, negative speech that is very ugly in a female who claims to be humbled.

Often I did this sort of speech with the people I considered my enemies, like strangers online who said something I didn’t like, who insulted me or my Sir, or who just said something I thought was really stupid. It is so easy for females to become nagging bitches or sly, bitter antagonists of anybody else that they consider “the enemy.” The bigger your ego gets, the more likely you are to do this, and you may not even notice the extent that you apply your words, like razor blades.

S. has given me “exercises” in this area as well. When I’ve complained bitterly to him about how dumb something written online was, he sometimes orders me to write the poster a supportive, positive response to it, even if he agrees it is dumb and wrong! He reads these responses before I post them and if he senses any hint of negativity, sarcasm, or my ego trying to score points in any other way, I am punished and then have to write a new response. We don’t do this one often, but it is one of the most interesting and hard exercises he’s had me do. It’s been interesting because it’s taught me to look at an issue from another perspective, to really be in that person’s shoes, no matter how much you hate being there. It is useful to be able to see something from another person’s point of view. But, to be honest, I really hate doing this. Sometimes the points of view he tells me to support are so… words escape me!  And since they have, I think it is more than time I end this essay! (smiles and puts golden apple back in its proper place)

Learning to curb your tongue is a life-long process.

S. just read my essay and ordered me to add one more point. Some women might think when they read this piece that I have “arrived,” that I know how to speak less and am super skilled at controlling my tongue. Unfortunately, the urge to over speak never seems to fully go away, at least in me, and I think that controlling my speech is a life-long process and not something I will ever have perfect control over. When I wrote this, for example, he was away on a business trip. It was just for a couple of days, but I missed him deeply. Although I have learned a lot about speaking less and making my words count when I do speak, I still forget at times, particularly when I am anxious, hyper, or experiencing some other distracting emotion. So yesterday, I wrote him dozens of emails. Literally, dozens. Most were short, but a few were longer. Most were trivial: they were about the things I was doing for him while he was away and asking him questions about them, but as I re-read them this morning, I saw that many were unnecessary. He had been responding to every single one, so I guess I felt that was giving me permission to bug him even more and with ever-more trivial things. Ahem.

Here’s an example: it was very hot over the weekend and His condo home became dangerously overheated, despite the fact that the air conditioning was working fine. It just wasn’t strong enough to combat the heat. I told S. about this in one of my many emails. He ordered me not to bake or broil in the oven as that seemed to contribute to the really bad overheating. So I avoided that but couldn’t resist asking him in email if I could pan-fry some chicken for five minutes. Sometimes it’s important to ask your sir clarifying questions about something that is important, but this was a silly one that a little thought on my own could have solved. He knows I use the stove top to heat water for tea or soup. He had not forbidden my use of it during the heat wave. So using it for a few minutes to pan-fry chicken was probably not something I needed to ask him. But not only did I ask him but I felt anxious and flustered when he didn’t respond immediately with directions about this trivial issue. Upon reflection, I believe this was my ego again, hard at work trying to get more and ever more attention and feeling frustrated when its ploy failed. I have noticed that when S. gives me more attention than usual, I seem to want even more. It’s like an unending hunger! That is why I think that, for a woman, learning to curb the tongue is an ongoing endeavor—once which will never be “complete” in her life so long as she can make words.


January 24, 2012

Discipline: The Greatest Gift


Photo by Marc Esadrian

I am what can best be described as a consensual slave. I wasn’t abducted, tricked, or brainwashed into it. I consented, once, to become someone’s slave, knowing full well what it would entail, as I was experienced and he took great pains to spell out the details, big and small. Since that moment my life, as I fully expected, has had nothing to do with consent. I am kept by a very strict but admirably fair Master whom I regard as a god. I consciously chose this life for myself because I have needed and craved it since my earliest memories. By “slave” I don’t mean to invoke the usual icons the mainstream and “alt” culture tends to forward when the word is used. My life as a slave is just that: the life of a slave. It is not easy. It is, in fact, replete with pain, struggle, and hard work and, I expect, will always be so. There is no saying “no” to him. There is no pleading to do something later, for whatever reason. When given a command I must drop everything to perform it. I am worked constantly and the products and benefits of my labor are never my own—they are all his. I must abide by a complex code of deeply respectful behavior designed to show my awareness of my status as his property as well as my appreciation and love for his presence in my life. If I slip up in any way, I am disciplined with both the belt and the more terrible lash of his tongue. I am new to being disciplined and I am imperfect in my servitude. When corrected, I often sob from remorse, fear, and pain, but nevertheless, I consider it to be the greatest gift my Master gives me.

Why would someone consciously choose to live in this way? The answer to such a question is complex; there really is no simple (or single) answer. Instead of covering all the possibilities, this writing approaches that question from just one angle: the need that some females have to transform themselves or their lives, to change into something more refined than what they started out as. Such a change, if you choose the life of a consensual slave and desire to become a better one, is greatly facilitated by discipline. Many people, including many who claim to be in such types of relationships, do not include discipline within their lives. Some feel it’s something appropriate only for immature children, not responsible adults. Others think the negativity of painful punishment outweighs any good it might bring about, but those who have studied the effects of discipline in-depth or experienced them first hand usually have a different tale to tell.

A simple analogy from Nature might help to illustrate the beneficial effects of discipline from a transformative point of view. Rocks in the natural world come in all sorts of shapes, colors, sizes, and materials: pumice, shale, sandstone, basalt, mica, and quartz are just a few of the many varieties. Only a few types of rocks have the potential to become polished, beautiful gems if the right treatments are applied.

Human beings have something similar to a malleable stone inside them: the soul. Souls are far more delicate and complex than simple stone, but they, too, can be shaped, polished, faceted, and even placed in a setting that perfectly offsets their beauty—but, like stones, they will not really glow or shine unless they are of the right raw material.

For example, you can polish basalt all you wish, and it will still remain…a slightly shiny basalt which, while good enough for the bottom of an aquarium, has none of the luminous or translucent qualities we associate with gemstones. Sandstone, while it often has nice patterns that can be brought out by additional cutting and grinding, patterns ideal for flagstones or other building elements, will never glow with its own inner light. When you explore the class of rocks known as minerals, however, and, in particular, gemstones, you find that rocks which often don’t look like much in their raw state have the potential, through cutting, polishing, and correct placement, to become gorgeous works of art.

Human beings have something similar to a malleable stone inside them: the soul. Souls are far more delicate and complex than simple stone, but they, too, can be shaped, polished, faceted, and even placed in a setting that perfectly offsets their beauty—but, like stones, they will not really glow or shine unless they are of the right raw material. Most human souls with this potential are like common beach agates: randomly and haphazardly polished on the shores of life. The results are uneven and unpredictable, even hidden until placed into the right element. For agates, that element is water: they glow when wet and their semi-precious nature is revealed. Their nature becomes even clearer if these agates are then tumbled hard for many days in a lapidary.

To bring out a soul’s greatest beauty often requires far more than random blows from life that teach randomly and unevenly. For a soul fit to be a perfect servant, the finishing process requires two conscious wills: The first and strongest will is that of the “polisher” or Master. This person has a creative vision of what the end product will look like and the ability to recognize good raw material when he sees it. He also has a deep understanding of the processes that bring about the required transformation and an unwavering intention to follow these process through to the end, no matter how painful or difficult that might be. This determination, this steadfastness, is one of the rarest qualities to find in a would-be Master, for many self-proclaimed Masters who would polish the souls of their slaves are not up to the enormity of the task–particularly when things get difficult for the slaves.

The second conscious will is that belonging to the soul being polished. It must be the type of will that can patiently endure a long and painful process. The slave’s soul has to have a clear vision of the final result, believe it to be the highest ideal to strive for, and understand the connection between the pain of the process and the glowing end result. This, and her desire to please another, makes her receptive to being polished. She must be perceptive enough to recognize a skilled polisher when she sees one. She must not have the common flaws that cause people to quit a process halfway through or give up when things get a bit rough. Her devotion toward her polisher must be solid and steadfast as this will carry her through those times when even a strong intent and perseverance aren’t enough. The slave also has to understand that, unlike a gemstone, this process is never fully completed and that due to its malleability, her soul would degrade, turn dull, even sink below its original state if the polishing wasn’t kept up constantly. She must be willing to accept that pain on some level as her lot. A part of her, in fact, needs to crave the searing guidance.

In the context of a man refining his woman’s soul to his satisfaction, terms like polishing, faceting, and cutting all refer to discipline: physical and emotional pain that teaches her what she must do, how she must feel, and most important of all, who and what she really is.

For many years I participated in a lukewarm Master-slave relationship that was really a front for a romantic connection among equals. There is nothing wrong with this, but I longed for slavery. My Master at that time was in love with me and he was also philosophically disinclined to use corrective discipline. Like many others in such relationships, he didn’t believe it worked or that it was even necessary with me. He treated me with the utmost respect, we talked things out when I had difficulties, he let me clearly and freely express any emotion I felt toward himself and toward others.

I don’t feel resentment for any of the pain, no matter how harsh. His whip and belt hurt terribly, but I understand their necessity. Without his firm rule, I wouldn’t be able to change.

As a result, I became a worse slave, not a better one. I was spoiled, indulged, coddled, and over-protected. I knew I could get my own way through manipulating him with my emotions. There were never any consequences for bad behavior. I ran wild on the Internet and was terribly disrespectful of others. I hid things from him and pretty much did whatever I felt like. I felt no obligation to be honest with him or to try harder to be a better servant, because I believed what he told me: that I was perfect for him just as I was. This coarsening of my personality would have continued until the day I died, had not my Master died first.

Losing him was the hardest thing I’d ever experienced. I realized many things during the loneliness and isolation of the ensuing years. Foremost among those realizations was that I still craved only to be a slave to a man I loved and worshiped.  I also realized how very much I needed the strong guiding control of a Master that would not put up with my spoiled temper tantrums, my whining over how hard a command was, my attempts to wheedle out of my duties, or my inconsiderate and shrewish treatment of others. I finally realized that if I was going to succeed at improving myself in being a slave in more than name only, then the next time around I would need a special sort of man to shape me: the sort who wanted me to improve for him just as much as I wanted to and who knew how to bring about such improvement. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to find a person who could create such an environment of change around me.

Photo by Marc Esadrian

And sure enough, under his discipline I feel myself changing: I feel the transforming processes upon my soul. I don’t feel resentment for any of the pain, no matter how harsh. His whip and belt hurt terribly, but I understand their necessity. Without his firm rule, I wouldn’t be able to change. I wouldn’t be able to become more loving, more subservient, more obedient to him with each passing day. But with his strong control and guiding discipline, I am becoming exactly what he wants me to become: a functional, useful female capable of sustaining the demands and rigors of total enslavement for a very long time and capable of loving her humble place at his feet.

The pain from discipline accomplishes a number of important goals. First, it improves memory. When a slave is forced to associate a bad behavior with a harsh slap or the strike of a whip, or is told to repeat out loud that she will not do such-and-such as each stroke is laid down, she tends to remember the next time that which she once found hard to focus upon. Secondly, pain reminds a slave, intimately and viscerally, of who and what she really is: his possession that can be used in whatever way he desires, no matter how she may feel about it. This realization, which many “slaves” who are treated more as “equals” likely never experience, makes her deeply grateful for her Master’s resolve and willingness to help her to improve. It also makes her thankful for the small mercies he bestows upon her during punishment. A slave’s soul is refined in this manner: she becomes more purely the property of her Master, she thinks more about his will and desires and less about her own, and she strives much harder to please him and not repeat past mistakes. She becomes beautiful in the eyes of those few who value selflessness above all else. Finally, the pain from discipline brings about a level of intimacy that is not achievable in any other way: it deepens the slave’s already profound dependency upon her Master and heightens her awareness of her humble role as his useful tool and plaything.