“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent…..Caring for myself is an act of survival” – Audre Lorde
Emotional self care. Sometimes we gloss over this subject. I am going to be writing this from the perspective of a submissive female in the lifestyle, but feel free to apply this writing to your everyday life if it helps. Why am I writing about this? Simple!
I have noticed many of my submissive brothers and sisters are going through hardships emotionally, physically, and/or mentally. They are striving to push forward in life, take care of their responsibilities, honor their commitments made in relationships and various types of D/s or M/s dynamics while trying to hide pain, disappointments, heartache, hurt, stress, and things that have emotionally or physically damaged them.
We are taught how to provide service with grace and humility. We learn how to give of ourselves with a smile on our face while privately suppressing the tears of disappointment, hurt, and/or betrayal. Many men and women continue to give of themselves by serving their Dominant/Master, serving their community, serving in their occupation, or providing the needs of the household while trying to push a car with no gas, still in park, uphill. Why? We aren’t accustomed to putting our needs before others. We don’t want to feel like a bother to the people we love. We don’t want the world to know sometimes we aren’t on top of the world.
I am guilty of trying to push the car uphill, in park with, no gas until I have nothing left to give. I am guilty of trying to hide my pain, disappointments, frustrations, and fear. If one part of my world is falling apart – I throw myself into work. I try to help others with their issues. I try to find catharsis through a sadistic scene. I try to release some frustrations through exercise. However, this summer I had no place to hide. Multiple curve balls came my way & the majority were hitting me all over my body until I collapsed on the ground.
During that time (I have talked about my issues before so no need to rehash all that), the days & nights were a blur. Nights spent crying myself to sleep. Days where I felt awkward in my own skin. Moments that all I could think was I am an absolute failure. You don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy, compassion, love, or understanding. How can you be a suitable person to serve another when you aren’t someone to be proud of? (Did I mention I am my harshest critic). During those moments I wanted to be useful. I wanted to be able to serve. In my most difficult moments I had to acknowledge a fundamental truth: YOU can’t be helpful. YOU can’t serve. YOU can’t do anything until you acknowledge your current state of being. YOU can’t care for others until you care for yourself. YOU can’t love another person fully until you fall back in love with yourself.
We are so busy trying to please others that we forget that we are a person. Yes some of us are seen as property but a good owner understands the importance of caring for what belongs to him or her. A great Dominant/Master not only lifts you up but also wants you to have self-respect without them because truth is we never know when a relationship may fall apart. I disagree with the theory that in order to serve another I have to deny my true identity. I refuse to believe that I am lesser than anyone (I choose to serve someone and be submissive to them through respect, love, honest, and you showing you have my best interest at heart). Squashing an individuals belief in themselves is setting them and you up for failure in the long run. Relationships fall apart, things happen, and if all of your identity is wrapped up in what one person believes what happens when they are no longer around?
Asking for what you need: love, affection, help, distance, or a change in the rules (with valid reason) is imperative. Asking for clarification makes you smart. Asking questions is imperative. Don’t give your power to another because you are attracted to them without knowing if this person is going to be willing to give you the things you need. Don’t compromise your needs in order to have “someone” or because you are lonely. D/s and M/s relationships are deeper than the average. No one is going to see your vulnerability and true nature within like the person who’s feet you decide to kneel at. Don’t allow that part of you to be seen if you know that person can’t honor what you are bringing to the table. Don’t give your emotional currency away for insufficient funds. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself enough to have rules and standards. You are enough. Outside validation is appreciated but you need to remember to value yourself more than what anyone else thinks. Caring/loving yourself isn’t an option, it is a necessity in this cold and cruel world.