The need for ritual runs deep within me, it always has. I have shared about that need and how D/s has, in the past, fed and satisfied that desire by providing structure and consistency. Many folks build their D/s dynamics around tasks and duties for submissives, and lean into the service aspect of many subs’ roles. That’s always been a bit of a stumbling block for me, because I’ve never been very inclined towards ‘service’ in a very tangible way. I’m not resistant to service, but I find that I am more drawn to, and consistently successful with, rituals that honour my Dominant versus habits that make up arbitrary tasks. What I’m starting to now realise is that those things are not as mutually exclusive as I thought, or previously felt.
He’s a tea drinker. Black tea, a 3 minute steep, a splash of milk. I’m less picky with tea, and more of a coffee drinker in the morning, but I’m getting into the routine of making myself a cup of tea while the coffee brews. I make it to his exacting standards, almost as if I was making it for him and it helps me set the tone for the day. This ritual, (a habit imbued with meaning?), even though I’m performing it alone, puts him at the front of my mind, and more broadly, puts submission at the front of my mind. When I start the morning with His Tea, it gives me time and allowance to be more mindful and considerate of the sense of submission I am learning to embrace.
In the past, my submission has been completely linked to the person I was submitting to and when that relationship ended or changed, the need for submission fell away. When I first realized this I felt guilty for my submission being “performative” and had to face the thought that maybe in the past it had been purely circumstantial. For a long time I couldn’t relate to the ‘born submissive’ concept and that lack of “real” submissive identity made me feel like submission just wasn’t “for me”, something I could play at but possibly never do with real sincerity. It also set up a mindset that all submission must be deep and incredibly meaningful and committed; a real bond. Now I can see that previous iterations of submission were no less valid or real or sincere, but they were absolutely rooted in the other person, not in myself.
I wouldn’t describe myself as ‘a submissive’ – I’m a switch who can lovingly submit to the right person, but the sense of submission, the pull, the desire, is no longer strictly available to me through my Dominant partner. That need to submit lives in me, and has remained awake and curious and eager even when I was recently without a Dominant partner. Now that I can see it and feel it so clearly and I know it’s a part of me and not just a reflection of another person, I am so much more comfortable, so much more willing and so much more aware of him as well. He’s not the source, I don’t need to hold so tightly to the dynamic for fear of losing it. I can embrace and enjoy the push/pull of ritual vs habit. I can relax into things and work with him to design and implement the dynamic slowly, over time, with all the mutual confidence in the world that we will make it our own and make it work.
In this balanced dynamic, habits and rituals no longer feel in opposition of each other; both have a place and a reason to be. It’s safe, with him, to assign meaning to things. It’s not too much, it’s not seen as me going overboard or being clingy (one of my greatest relationship fears) because he also assigns meaning to things. He leads with a broad and reasonable view on D/s and keeps us on track and just like me he believes in the value of good habits and meaningful rituals.