Sunday, March 19, 2017

Emotional Labor

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post. Lady Grey, a fellow blogger commented and gently admonished me for over thinking life as Katie's submissive. She believes I over think things too much when it comes to me submitting and suggested I simply do what I’m told. And so for the past week or two I’ve done that (mostly :). There were more than a few times when Katie voiced her wishes that I repeated silently, “Just do what she says. Just do what she says. Just do what she says.” I’m sure I repeated that mantra aloud a few times too and could feel Katie’s smile coming through the phone.

Did I feel more submissive? Nope. Did I expect to feel differently? Nope. Will I keep doing this? Yep. Is there a reason why I’ll keep doing what I’m told? Yep. Am I going to tell you why? Yep. I’m going to do what she tells me because I made a promise that I would. That alone should be enough. 

Two weeks ago I happened to catch an interview on the radio. The topic was 'emotional labor’. The guest explained what this phrase meant. I hadn’t heard the phrase before and it piqued my interest. 

The gist of what she had to say was this: All of us invest a certain amount of energy into performing physical tasks throughout our day. Cleaning, preparing meals, work responsibilities, getting the kids ready in the morning, straightening the house, mowing the lawn, going out on a date, etc. Those physical tasks tax our energy reserves to some degree. Beyond the stuff that comprises our day is all of the emotional energy we put into those tasks as well as unrelated thoughts and feelings that have the potential to exhaust us. Interactions with others, worrying about how much it will cost to have the dishwasher fixed, not knowing if the Amazon package will arrive in time, getting stressed because the freaking traffic light isn’t turning green (I hate red traffic lights), having to sit at lunch with people you barely know and make conversation, worrying over a dear friend struggling with her health, marital stress - the list could go on and on.  All of this ‘stuff’ is emotional labor. It doesn't require actual physical effort but can be a significant source of energy drain. At times the drain can be so profound that it can become paralyzing. 

After the short interview I jotted a few sentences down on the subject and filed it away in my ‘post possibility’ file.  Some days later I wrote the post Mixed Feelings - Good Ones - Frustrating Ones - but in the end - all good.  At some point Lady Grey commented and tried to set me straight with her advice to just do what I'm told. Her advice was good. She makes a good point. I probably have been less than the ideal sub. I probably was putting too much thought into our D/s relationship and imposing my wishes on to Katie. After reading and considering her advice I thought about the interview on the topic of emotional labor. The light of understanding went on as I considered her advice and wondered if I was forcing Katie to invest more emotional labor than necessary into me. I wondered if my pursuits might be having a negative effect rather than the positive one I was hoping for. I wondered if I was becoming a burden rather than making her life easier.

The submissive-me finds it attractive knowing she's in control, that she has power over me and that she is has the decision-making power in our marriage. But having that perk requires Katie to exert more emotional labor than me. She's the one that has to decide how our money is to be used, what our weekend will entail, what events we will attend, what projects need to be done around the house, etc. Additionally she has me to consider. What does she want me to do? How is her sub doing? What work outside of my usual chores does she want me to address? All of that takes thought. There are, of course, benefits to having that freedom, but with that freedom is a level of mental energy that must be spent. 

Katie isn’t one to fly by the seat of her pants. She is a planner. She is self-conscious and considerate of others - almost to a fault. She is never late. She has a tendency to worry. All of this taxes her energy. I don’t see it but I know her mind is active even though she may be sitting quietly next to me. She is always considering the what-if scenarios before making a decision. 

And then there is me. Her sub. Her needy sub. If  I push her to be that ideal mistress those intentions may be good at heart but they aren't the qualities she appreciates in me. She likes me obeying, being there, assisting her, doing things for her, making life easier, being her best friend and generally being a low-maintenance husband. When I push, or wish, or gripe, or complain, or keep bringing things up, it has the end-result of taxing her energy reserves rather than adding to them. I know she only has so much to give and sometimes just getting through a day is all the energy she has. Having to think about being a mistress (and not just a wife) can sometimes require more than she wants to emotionally and mentally exert.  

When I told Katie, way back when, that I wanted to submit, I somewhat convinced myself I was giving her my all. To some degree I did. I gave her more of me than I previously had. I became more involved in our home and the work required to keep it up. But when I handed her that list of 60+ chores I was willing to do and as I watched her circle the ones she wanted me to take on – I also hoped she would give something back to me. I wanted her to meet my submissive needs. I wanted her to fulfill my submissive wants. I wanted her to ‘play chastity’. I wanted her to deny me. I wanted her to do this and do that.

What I didn’t want to admit at the time was I how conditional my submission was. I wanted an 'I’ll do this for you because I know you’ll do that for me’ relationship. But that’s not what submission is about. It's about letting go, not holding on. I had the hope that what I wanted was an ‘if/than’ marriage. I didn’t marry a naturally dominant wife. I married a wife that enjoys my love and attention as well as the perks of the efforts much more than she enjoys thinking about how she can punish me or make me feel submissive. She feeds my wants by giving me morsels rather than shovel fulls. It’s who she is and who she’ll probably always be.

And so I’m going to continue to take the wise advice of my online friend Ms. Grey and do what I’m told. I’m going to do my best to not force Katie to invest more emotional labor into me than what comes naturally. I’m going to try to not make our D/s relationship about me. I’m going to try to be what I promised – her support person, her helper, her submissive husband.

Thanks Lady Grey!

I’m Hers

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Real Men Provide. Real Women Appreciate It

While watching the evening news a few weeks ago, they ended the broadcast with one of those human interest stories that often are a part of the nightly news. This one caught my interest. It had to do with a billboard mounted along a NC highway. After the newscast and I did some investigation . Typing in a few key words on a Google search I found several articles.  Here are a few excerpts from one of them:

A woman activist commented, "I take it as a very deliberate jab at women who demand equality and demand to be seen as equals and are vocal. So to me it's also a very blatant about wanting to silence women and tell them to just accept the way that things are."
She went on to say her concern isn't that the sign exists, but the message behind the sign, and believes the sign represents a mindset that should not be acceptable in today's society.
"We are protesting patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all. We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers.
I almost couldn't identify with what she had to say. My first thought was I would think women would appreciate men who have a job and earn a living (not that women don't also). I would think they would appreciate men who look for employment and want to work rather than sit at home and collect a government paycheck when they are able-bodied. Who in the world wants to be associated with a guy (or woman) with that attitude?

I began thinking about how much the 'lens of life' from which we look through determines our viewpoint. This woman viewed the sign from a feminist lens (and it's my opinion who wants no part of men helping her). She obviously took offense because she is against the very thought that a woman would even consider letting a man provide for her. My guess is she thought something to the effect of, "How dare they insult women. We can provide just fine for ourselves. And for God's sake, the last thing we need is a man to it for us."
For other women, the ones who prefer to be home, the ones who find value in raising a family (or the ones who just don't have any interest in working a conventional job), I would think they would have no issues with the wording on that bill board. I'm sure they appreciate the the income their husbands provide through their employment.
As a submissive man, I view those words similarly. The word 'provide', however, means much more to me than mere financial provision. Providing includes work around the home, providing comforts in the way of meals, massages, giving her my undivided attention when she wants it, and generally making sure she feels secure, appreciated and loved.
I have the mindset that all men should 'provide'. Providing doesn't negate a woman working a job if that's what she wants. Just because her 'man' works, it doesn't mean she has less significance or has less value. It doesn't imply any of that. 
Why does it have to be an either/or scenario? Can't there be both? Can't a woman be catered to by her man, 'provided for', if you will, and she still be able to have the same freedoms to satisfy whatever goals in life she might have? 
As Katie's submissive I hope I am that kind of husband. She happens to want me to provide (financially) but she also wants me to give her my time (by doing chores and meeting whatever expectations she has for me - cooking, cleaning, etc). She wants me to provide by showing her love and being affectionate, by reminding her how much I appreciate and admire her. She wants me to provide by satisfying her sexually, by snuggling with her at night and when we wake in the morning, by doing small acts of service throughout the day (like rubbing her back or getting her a glass of wine or opening a car door or reminding her of an appointment).
Providing can take on many forms and by me providing, our marriage is validated and strengthened. Eventually I will retire. Eventually the woman upset at this sign will retire. What happens then? Will she refuse the free gift offered to her in the form of social security? Did she live her life refusing the benefits her employer offered her in the forms of vacation time, medical and dental insurance, retirement payments and the like? I doubt it. Is her value completely dependent on her ability to 'provide' for herself? I don't think so and I sure hope it isn't.  
The old Simon and Garfunkel words, I am a rock, I am an island, is far from true. No one is a rock. No one is an island. No one lives without needs. Everyone has insecurities. No one is able to live life without others providing for them. We need others. We should welcome it when it's offered. I know for the two of us, I need my mistress and my mistress needs her sub. I provide for her with my efforts and she provides for me with her leadership and for that I am so thankful.
I'm Hers

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mixed Feelings - Good Ones - Frustrating Ones - but in the end - all good

For who knows what reason, Katie stopped locking me back in late October/early November. Removing that chunk of steel from around me was a difficult adjustment. I missed it and interpreted the 'you don't need to lock' or 'I don't want you locked' as a letting go of our D/s relationship.  It wasn't that at all but that's how I felt.

Today, for who knows what reason I was told to lock. It had been what, 3-4 months? What the heck was with her? Obediently (and happily - more like gratefully) I locked up.

Some bit later I asked if I could read a blog post to her, one that I found interesting. After reading it we talked for a little bit but not at much as what I hoped. 

"Go make me breakfast. I'm hungry," she said out of the blue.

I guess whatever discussion we might of had was over. I stood and walked off steaming.  "Damn, why can't we talk about these kinds of things," I stewed. 

That's when I put it all together. I was as hard as a rock. I had jumped to my feet when she told me to go fetch breakfast. I was locked in a cage. I was everything I wanted and yet I was pissed. Or was I?  It took me a bit to get over the, 'I'm done talking about this' frustration. While I cooked her eggs my mind went to that part of my promise when I married Katie  that part about embracing her words. What I said when we married was ..... "I will embrace your decisions regardless of my personal views".....  "and I promise to be the man who embraces your dominance, who submits to you obediently and who acknowledges you as the head of our home."

Mulling over that while frying a few eggs had quite the sobering effect. She told me what to do and now it was my turn to do it. She decided she was through talking about something for now and now it was now my turn to let it be - and to be thankful she made the decisions she had.

Ten minutes later I served her a healthy and hearty breakfast. "Here you go Mistress," I said handing a plate of food to her. God she looked so beautiful sitting there. I melted and kissed her. I kissed her again and again and again - more times than she wanted but I didn't want to stop. My mood passed and I was once more thankful for having a wife who is securely dominant.

It wasn't until a few hours later when I fessed up and told her about my emotional turmoil. She listened and then replied, "You got exactly what you wanted." That was it. Short. Sweet. To the point. And 100% true. She was right. This is what I want. She is who I want to obey. Having her be in charge is what pulls me to her. I want to serve and I want to obey my mistress.

Just before sitting down to write this post I was told, "Make me coffee. I'm cold."  

"I don't know if I like you talking like that or not."I answered

"Why is that?"

"Because now you are telling me what you want instead of implying." I went on, "Usually you say something like I'm cold. I wonder if I might need a coffee. Then I'm supposed to interpret that as 'make me coffee'".

Again she reminded me, "That's what you wanted." (meaning being told.)

It is. I want her to lead. I want her to be confident. I want her to speak her mind -  and I want to obey.

Oh, and that post I read this morning had to do with asserting one's dominance. Before I started reading I asked what degree of dominance she felt she had in our marriage and what degree of freedom she still allowed me. 80/20 was what she perceived us to be. That may be right although I'm having a hard time coming up with examples of where I get to decide w.hat I want 20% of the time. 

She's my mistress. I'm hers. I keep reminding her I am and maybe once a day she'll remind me I'm her sub. Yet there are those times when I don't get my way and she acts like a controlling mistress. When those times happen I still struggle with not getting my way. Submission is not the easiest thing in the world to live out but it is what I asked for and don't ever want to live without. It's who we are. I am her sub and she is my mistress!

I'm Hers