This is our truth, tell us yours
It’s no secret that I have been down for the past few days, possibly longer. Earlier Carter wrote of that congruence that lies at the heart of all we do, in BDSM, politics and in our relationships with each other and the outside world. Part of his aversion to micro management is demonstrated when the dog comes to visit. It would be simple for Carter to set rules around my behaviour when I am low, rules around sleep, food, alcohol, and indeed I know kinksters for whom this is seen as care.
Carter also mentioned 50 shades of shite, in which an eating disorder is supposedly “cured” by the simple expedient of ordering someone to eat. I am sure people with eating disorders, and psychologists, the world over, cried hallelujah and wondered why something so simple had never occurred to them. A serious psychological condition solved by the simple expedient of saying, eat food.
This not only wouldn’t work in real life, but would most likely have the opposite to the intended effect. When someone is struggling they do not need orders, thats often what tips them over the edge. Even if they are not teetering on the brink, as when my dog visits, no longer staring into the abyss of self destruction but growling at my heels, what do orders actually do? Firstly they deny agency, a sub may be owned, but they are still a person, with agency. This agency is vital, for submission must always be a choice, that is what separates it from abuse, a freely given choice, Only someone with agency can choose.
Secondly, if Carter ordered me to do X or Y because he believed it would improve my mental health, he would be denying me the opportunity to learn how to manage my mental health. Disempowerment is not power exchange. I am Carter sub, he has power over me, this does not remove my power, my agency. This is again the difference between BDSM and abuse, He does not need to remove my power to demonstrate his, in fact it is vital I have full agency and autonomy to consent. This does not somehow mean I am less submissive, although such arguments frankly bore me. If you want to argue that you are somehow more submissive than me because you believe you have no choice, this isn’t the blog for you. None kinksters can get confused by this however, and I think its worth trying to explain, since it lies at the heart of this thing that we do.
Consider for example a conversation between Carter and I recently. When the dog visits I snap, and I leap to conclusions, he pointed out that I seemed to be saying there was a rule that he could not change his plans. I replied that there was. His reply was simple, one word “Really?” It was one word that carried far more weight than any order, since it was a word that allowed for agency, and choice. Was I submitting, or accepting? Was I able to remember which one of us had the power and which one of us gave up their power willingly? In short was I able to decide to submit, that constant process which makes BDSM real not a book written by someone with limited imagination?
There is a wider context to this as well. All too often those with mental health conditions are infantilized, by society at large. I would not mention being a sex worker or a sub in interactions with health professionals, including therapists. With my history of child sexual abuse and rape I know from experience that their minds would be unable to comprehend that I have agency, that the choices I make now are not invalidated by my past. Sadly I know I am not alone. Act in a sexual way that is not patriarchally approved and it will be assumed that you could not have chosen it. Its the only way patriarchy can deal with those who transgress, label them mad, bad or dangerous to know.
It is a fundamental principle of this blog, and of how Carter and I interact that we cannot tell others how to be. That isnt just words, we cannot tell others because it disempowers them If you respect other people then you allow them to find their own answers, to work out their own truths. It may mean that you are there when they stumble, but only so you can help them walk on their own two feet.