This is our truth, tell us yours
Ask 100 people and you will get 100 different answers.
For some people it is about obedience, but many obey without submitting. A solider or a policeman, even a child in school, is expected to be obedient but not to submit. This is highlighted in our language when one of these is punished, in this moment they are seen as submitting to discipline.
The Christian view has been skewed by one on the most unfortunate line breaks in history. In Colossians a break is put between submitting to the church, and wives submitting to their husbands. The original letters had no breaks, no verses, and it can read very differently as a set of instructions to all to submit to ultimately to the power of the Church, and God.
For me submission is not so much about deeds, although it can be expressed in them, as in the state of mind. This is why it is very clear in the execrable 50 shades novels that Ana is not a sub. Being hot about rough sex or masochism is not the same as submitting. Her state of mind is that she must endure whatever Grey desires because she loves him. A submissive does not endure, indeed submission is the opposite of endurance which carries connotations of putting up with, an unwanted state of affairs.
This difference in many ways has been clarified by me through sex work. I used to know a pro sub, a very experienced and popular one. Each stroke of the cane was individually paid for, each slap, hair pull and word negotiated in advance. Whilst this is of course understandable and necessity for safety it is not submission. I have often wondered at those who pay for this, the actions without the mindset. The other side of the coin is men who contact me, who say this wish to submit, but have a script and list of experiences they expect of me. (I realise it is different for many pro Dommes who have a D/s type relationship with their clients). Again the mindset is missing and everything is about actions.
Another aspect of this occurs, ever so often I meet a client who presses my submissive buttons. I imagine carter can recognise this, not all sex is BDSM but sometimes we are having sex with someone who likes what we like without negotiation. However even whilst the sex is of a nature that arouses me, I am not submitting to the client, we are just enjoying making smiles with each other.
What is submission?
Perhaps the reason there would be a 100 different answers if you asked 100 different people is because submission is unique to each person. For me it is about giving myself totally, willingly and fully. However I do not see this as unquestioning, it is impossible for me to be unquestioning about anything. If that means to some I am not submissive enough, or should try harder, its because their idea of submission is different to mine. If it means I am not submissive enough to Carter, then, and only then, do I have to change.