Tag Archive: 24/7

Under Her Skin

Last Friday, we went to the Ink Spot and got a tattoo done.

I say “we” even though it was Ghost who got tattooed.

She now has my words – or a reference there-too – inked into her wrists.
The words come from a poem I wrote for her… gosh… early-mid-March, 2010, if my math is right.

When we first began our service arrangement – back when it was just a service arrangement – she commented to me that I seemed to be reacting to the arrangement a bit like I was sitting on a horse, with broad meadows and green hills stretching as far as the eye could see, and thinking “Wow… This is pretty cool… I’m sitting on a horse!”

Which was remarkably apt, let me tell you.

Consequently, “horse and rider” has been something of a metaphor for our relationship, pretty-much from the get-go.

I (foolishly) have managed to misplace the poem I wrote for her (having carved it into her chest back in March 2010, the actual paper-copy has since gone awol), but the poem goes approximately like this:

green fields stretching wide
wind dips low, long grasses stir
What is an amazon
without her horse?
You are mine
my horse, my servant

My horse, My servant

One Year In…

So. One year ago today, I collared my servant.

Last year, it was a Saturday, and happened to be Spring Fling 2011 on top of that. Today is rather more low-key. (We keep joking that she should shampoo a rug or something on special occasions like this, but it’s mostly business-as-usual today).

She has an appointment booked with a local tattoo parlour and will be having some appropriate words inked into her wrists this coming Friday. (Er… just in time for us to take part in Come As You Are – a rainbow youth event happening in a small town near us – with bandages on her wrists… Woops).

I still feel very much like I don’t know what I’m doing (for more on that, try the cultivating entitlement and holding power tags) but I’d like to think that I feel like this because I keep staying on my own edge, rather than resting on my laurels (so to speak) where it’s easy.
Who knows.

Anyway. That’s my news. I was saying to my Ghost this morning that I like having a life where we have lots of anniversaries to mark. It makes me happy. 🙂 (And gives me an excuse to do fancy, if light, dinners every now and then). 😉

Ms Syren.

I have to take two mintues to squee/brag a little bit.
See, we’ve had Pest Control in this morning — our (new) landlords are (finallly) treating the Roach Problem that’s been aflicting our building for years. Huzzah! (Here’s hoping it goddamn works!) And what this means – aside from, we hope, no more roach problems for any of us – is that everyone in the building had to pack up their kitchen and empty their cupboards completely. O.O
We got word of what we needed to do, and when we needed to have it done by… on Easter Friday. A scant few days before Pest Control was going to be coming through.
Yeah. On the one hand? Great. Three-day-weekend means extra time to pack and clean.
On the other hand? Holiday weekend means multiple family visits and going out of town.

So here I sit, amids the entire contents of my kitchen (carefully packed into boxes and/or neatly stacked on the dining room table), and I want to squee. Why? Because my servant kicks ass. That’s why.
Moving – and, more to the point, all the stuff that goes with moving: packing, and clutter, and upheaval – stresses me out a LOT. And, as Ghost put it, packing up the kitchen was like all the hastle and stress of moving, minus the benefit of actually going somewhere new. So you can imagine just how helpful I was with all of this. It took about ten hours to clear the kitchen, and well over half of that was done by Ghost, by herself, after she got home from her day job. And she made sure that our unexpected guest and I had tea and dinner and everything on top of that.

So, yeah.

My girl is awesome, and I’m very, very happy to have her. I and I just figured I’d tell the internet about it, so that everybody knows. 🙂

Ms Syren.

So. It’s February 10th.

Two years ago I entered a service/reception relationship with my Ghost. In that time, it’s developed from a twice-a-week domestic-service arrangement into a 24/7 D/s dynamic (and primary romantic partnership, although the anniversary for that is still a couple of weeks off). My Ghost has been invaluable to me – as a servant, obviously, but also as a mentor. She’s been at this a lot longer than I have and her patience as I continue to find my feet means the world to me.

I know I’ve spent a good deal of time, with regards to this blog, thinking about D/s – various aspects of it and what they “mean”; which bits are hard for me, and which bits aren’t; what “type” of domme I am; and so on – and I’ve learned a lot by doing so. I collared my girl last May, and became her owner (a big deal in its own right), and we started sharing an apartment together.

But I think the Big Thing that happened to me over this past year is that receiving service normalized for me.

My Ghost asked me, the other day, what it was like to not have had to do dishes for two years. And the thing is: It feels normal. Like a big part of my brain/body/soemthing is going “Ah. Yes. This is how it’s supposed to be.”
Seriously. When we first started this (and for most of the first year, actually), I didn’t think I’d ever feel that way. Barely over a year ago, I was sitting on her couch, crying and wondering if I could Actually Do This or if I was just bound to disappoint her in the end.

And now – while I do still get occasional wobbles (ha – many of them blogged) – I find that I feel comfortable and even competent in my Place, in my dominance.

Who knew. 🙂

Happy anniversary to us. 🙂


On a tangentially-related note: Purely for the fun of it, and because we were joking about it the other day:

Kinky Anniversary Gift Themes (by year)[1]
1st: Paper (Papercuts; Formalized contract)
2nd: China (formal tea service – English or Japanese)
3rd: Crystal/Glass (Sex toys; Somalier course)
4th: Appliances (TENS unit; Vibrator; Crumb-collector; Creme Brulle Torch; etc)
5th: Leather (I’m sure you can think of something)
6th: Wood (Paddle; eco-friendly sex toys; stocks or other SM-related furniture; topiary)
7th: Silverware (pretty, pretty knives; Formal place-settings for one – or two?; Jewelry)
8th: Linens/Lace (lingerie, really suptuous bed sheets, tablecloths, perhaps a dog-bed)
9th: Steel (surgical tools, sex toys, piercings)
10th: Ink (“Property of…”)

I’ve only gone up to ten here, but I’m sure you can think of further options. 😀


Ms Syren.

[1] I’ve based these around a mix of “traditional” and “contemporary” gift themes for wedding anniversaries, and then mucked about with them a bit.

So, as you know bob, I picked up a copy of At Her Feet: Powering Your Femdom Relationship a while back. I’m pretty close to the end of it now, so I’m going to talk a little more about it.

The main thing I’m getting from this book is a lot of common sense. There’s stuff in here about how to keep your intimate (sexual/kinky/romantic/etc) relationship going for years rather than months. There’s stuff in here – not a lot, but way more than most other places – about how dominant women and submisive men[1] both get to deal with the social expectation that women be submissive and men be dominant (both within the hetero kink scene and within the larger culture) and how that can make things difficult. There are a lot of reminders to the readers that a long-term, 24/7 dynamic isn’t going to look anything like a kinky weekend.

From where I’m standing, I grant you, this is a no-brainer. But my dynamic began as a service arrangement that existed outside of both S/M and sexuality/romance, and I didn’t have a lot of experience in the kink community before it started. For someone else – someone who’s spent years going to play-parties, or doing short-term or context-specific D/s on weekends or in the bedroom, moving into a 24/7 model is going to be really different. Scene-based D/s tends to come with an intensity that’s pretty-much impossible to maintain over the long-haul when dealing with vanilla family, work obligations, and so on.
… Which kind of brings me to something that I found particularly helpful in the book.

See, in spite of my dynamic’s very mellow beginnings, I spend a lot of time wondering if I’m being “too vanilla” in my D/s relationship. I have to give myself little pep-talk reminders, every so often, just so I don’t forget that I don’t have to be all “On your knees, slave!”, or even just peppering the day with ten thousand little rituals and protocols, in order to effectively run my sub. None the less, reading the authors’ description of a “typical day” in their dynamic was immensely relieving for me.
Because it was so Normal.

And I mean that in two senses of the word. I mean “normal” as in: low-protocol, easily mistake for vanilla in a lot of ways.
But I also mean it as in “this looks like us“.

And, for me, that’s a big honkin’ deal.

So, yeah.
That’s where I’m at with At Her Feet. If you are a dominant woman, or wish to serve one, you may want to grab yourself a copy of this book (although if you’re a submissive chicky, the pronouns may piss you off). It’s got some good sense in it and it’s written in a very approachable way. Most of it isn’t stuff that you couldn’t find in a (good, non-stupid) book about vanilla relationships, but that bits that are D/s-specific are handy and gentle, and I liked them.

That’s it for me, for the moment. I’m off to eat dinner with my girl.

Ms Syren.

[1] This book deals exclusively with hetero dynamics where the woman partner is the dominant and the man partner is the submissive. On the one hand, this is dandy. Because the authors actually say as much on the cover and, honestly, they might not have talked about those social expectations if they’d been aiming for a more gender-neutral book. Also, it bears repeating, it is awfully nice to read something where the default pronoun for “dominant person” is “she”. That said, as a domme whose submissive partner is a woman? It makes me twitch a little every time I read a sentence like “[…] you may actually have one relationship in your lifetime where you feel fully both a man and a slave”. It leaves me wondering if she’s going to feel as twitchy/uncomfortable/invalidated/irritated about the default pronoun for “submissive person” being (in this book – unlike many others) “he”, as I do when “he” is the default pronoun for “dominant”.

A Queen in Her Kitchen

I work from home. As of last week, I work entirely from home (unless I’m on a shoot or at a meeting, but the bulk of my time is spent chez moi, either writing, event-planning, or hustling for my next modeling job). Consequently, I tend to make dinner for the two of us (and, as a particular stripe of foodie, I tend towards fancy flavours, if not fancy presentations, and doing things from scratch) most nights. Not all. But most.
And sometimes – when my Ghost gets home tired and sore and needing a break, and I’m working in the kitchen while she’s surfing the internet – I catch myself wondering if I’m being “dommely” enough when I run my servant gently and give her time to recover, do self-care, and so-on[1].

I have days where I feel like I’m doing “a lot of house-work”. Meaning “as much house-work as I would have done on a given day before I got into this dynamic with Ghost”. Which doesn’t actually mean “a lot of house-work”: I’m not doing dishes. I’m rarely doing laundry or vacuuming, taking out the garbage or the recycling.
The house-work I choose to do[2] is, as many people (from feminist economists like Marilyn Waring to spec fic bloggers like Cat Valente) have pointed out, either the stuff that lives at the fun-and-creative end of the domestic-labour spectrum, or else it’s the easy, short-time-frame stuff – like putting away clean dishes or folding clean, dry laundry – that gives one a feeling of accomplishment (“Ahh, I can cross that off my list”) without actually requiring one to do heavy lifting or get one’s hands dirty.

Remembering this is sometimes helpful for me when I’m mucking about getting dinner on the table while my Servant is having 20 minutes of down-time after her work-day (the pay-cheque from which allows me to be a freelance writer/model/crafter). A queen in her kitchen is still a queen. 😉

Anyway, that’s my rumination for the moment.

Ms Syren.

[1] I’m aware that this is silly. Particularly when I’m also aware that running my sub gently is still running my sub. It doesn’t stop me from feeling insecure every now and then and wondering if I’m Doin It Rong or something by doing it with less formal structure than others might/do.

[2] And it is a choice. I know my girl will be tired and achy when she gets home from the Day Job. If I make dinner, she feels taken care of and I get to eat at a time of day that’s better suited to my needs/wants/etc. If I don’t feel like cooking? I phone my girl and ask her to pick up a frozen lasagna or take-out butter chicken or similar on her way home. Easy.

Control and Service – A Spectrum

If there’s one thing I’m grateful to Dear Raven and Joshua for, it’s that they gave me the concept of the Control-Service Spectrum as being something different from the Dominant-Submissive Spectrum.

It’s like… Okay, you know how we have gender (with “man” at one end of the spectrum and “woman” at the other and everybody else bopping along at various points in-between) and we have gender-presentation (with “butch/masculine” at one end and “fem(me)inine” at the other and everyone else bopping along at various points in-between)? This, by the looks of things, works more or less the same way.

One can be dominant or submissive or some combination there-of (D-s spectrum) and, on a parallel line, one can be control-oriented or service-oriented or some combination there-of (C-S spectrum). I’d kind of love to hear from folks who ID as Switches, or who can work both rolls depending on the dynamic, or what-have-you, with regard to this topic because I’m kind of wondering if people tend to be on the same end of the C-S spectrum regardless of which point on the D-s spectrum they happen to be occupying at any given time.

I hate – HATE – seeing “service top” or “service dominant” thrown around as terms that mean “not actually dominant (and – frequently that’s a bad, or at least laughable, thing)”… and that’s typically what’s being said when those terms get used. Using words like “prodom(me)” or “sadist” to describe situations where the person wielding the flogger (or whatever) is doing it because pain-play is fun and/or profitable and that it isn’t necessarily a D/s situation at all. There are lifestyle dommes who also happen to be professionals – professional sadists, professionals in humiliation-play, or whatever – who do made-to-order S/M or cosplay/fantasy sessions with their clients as their jobs and – like most people with jobs – aren’t necessarily working in a field that exactly and completely overlaps with what they would do for fun on their own time.

So there’s that.

Similarly, there are control-oriented submissives who get glared at or dismissed as “prone to topping from the bottom” but who, themselves, actually feel like Anticipatory Service means Making All The Decisions (topping from the bottom) and they just want their dominants to “alpha up” (as my friend, Miss Sugar, puts it) by putting some limits and rituals around what they can and can’t do and how they’re allowed to do it.

I find that there’s an assumption floating around the place that “Control-Oriented = Good/Real Dominant” and “Service-Oriented = Good/Real Submissive”. I suspect I’ll be poking at this a little more to see how it lines up (in theory at least — reality doesn’t tend to work out to be this uncomplicated) with what we expect of men vs what we expect of women, and how our assumptions about Dominant and Submissive “default genders” (see: That Awesome Post About Domism for details) work into that. But not right now.

Right now, I just want to say how incredibly heartening (and clarifying) it is to see someone state outright (and in print) that “dominants can be service-oriented (and still be dominants)”. Until then, I didn’t understand why all the dom(me)-oriented literature out there seemed to focus on stuff like “rewards” and “punishments” and “training” and “positions” and… stuff that, by and large, seemed like a lot of work and Doing Things Entirely for the Submissive’s Benefit (Aren’t I Supposed to be Getting Something from This?).

But now I can look at that stuff and go “Ahhh… So, if you’re a control-oriented domme, probably this stuff is (a) relevant to your interests, and (b) hella fun for you”. I can see how, for someone who is control-oriented, it could be fun, interesting, exciting (or whatever positive you want to throw in there) to develope, maintain and enforce a series of rules, consequences, limits and requirements just for the hell of it. But for me that doesn’t work — it just feels like I’d be coming up with a dozen seemingly arbitrary Must-Haves that I then have to remember to enforce. I’ve got enough on my plate, thank-you-very-much (where’s my tea, you know how I like it).

To put it another way: In our house, my Ghost is required to ask for furniture (with a couple of exceptions). Yes, this is a “control” thing. It’s a Limit or a Placing or whatever you want to call it. But I can count the times I’ve said “no” on one hand. And (I think) still have a finger or two left over. For me, it’s a control that’s focused on her making sure that her actions are in line with my likes and dislikes (and whims, for that matter). For someone else – maybe someone more control-oriented than I am (I’m guessing here) – the focus might be on the fact that the dominant can say No any time zi likes. More “you are subject to my whims! :-D” and less “Excellent, you’re checking in with me. :-)”
Or something.

Regardless, this still leaves me with something of a derth of service-oriented domme literature available to me (although the author of At Her Feet seems to be one such dominant – although, again, I’m not that far through her book – as does Raven Kaldera of Dear Raven and Joshua. So we’re not completely without resources. 😉

Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that my job is (continues to be) figuring out how to hit on the “relevant to my interests” and “hella fun for me” aspects of (service-oriented) dominance while still providing enough control (containment? limits?) that my service-oriented, but control-appreciative, submissive is getting her needs met, too.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
Drop me a note and let me know. 🙂

Ms Syren.

Going Deeper

When I hear the phrase “go deep” in the context of D/s, it’s pretty-much always being used to describe something that a submissive – rather than a dominant – experiences: The intensification of devotion and obedience to the dominant, the acceptance (and welcoming) of further restrictions or responsibilities from them. But what does it mean for a dominant to “go deep”?

For me, right now, “going deeper” means getting myself to a point where expressing what I want as instructions, and expecting those instructions to be followed with alacrity, becomes second nature. And that’s definitely a start. Eventually – in theory – I’ll get to a point where “what I want” moves from simple stuff that takes an hour or an evening to more complex things like having my Ghost learn specific skills or turn over specific freedoms.

My Ghost calls this “freedom to shape” – to make of her what I want her to be. I know I’m not there yet. Right now I’m trying to find the balance between getting what I want (by voicing it, by expecting it) and making sure she has enough space to do the non-me-related[1] things that are such an important part of her life. Eventually I’ll find that balance, though, and then who knows what I’ll do. 😉

Ms Syren.

[1] These are, by and large, the chance to spend time and energy and attention on her Other People, but also include some of her outdoorsy fun stuff, so.

Oh, Neil… How do you always know what to say?
(Oh, wait…)

Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s Wish on the eve of 2012 encourages us to make mistakes because, if we’re making mistakes, it means we’re trying new things, making new things, and stepping into the unknown and untried.
Being willing to make mistakes – and, ideally, to learn from them – means being brave enough to try something you aren’t already good at.

I am, of course, terrified of fucking up. I’ve got decades of baggage (it feels like I’m carrying a huge bundle of fire-wood that I would be better off setting down right now and burning, honestly but – just to stretch the metaphore – I’m afraid it’s going to suddenly get cold again and I’ll need it later on) telling me that, for various reasons having – for the most part – to do with fear of loss and/or retaliation, I’m not allowed to Try Something New unless I’m already good enough at it to be passably reasonable. Not perfect, okay, but close-enough that getting perfect (or perfect-in-the-eyes-of-random-bystanders at any rate) is an atainable and sustainable goal.

Which, no kidding, is a silly way to think about things.

Moving forward in 2012, there are a lot of things I want to explore and develop — my modeling career, my writing, my outreach work, and – big surprise – my dynamic with Ghost.

On the subject of that last one: I’m wanting to go deeper in my dynamic with Ghost – although at this point in the year, I don’t actually know what “deeper” means from my own (domme) perspective. Most likely I’ll be hashing some of that out on this blog. Things like “What would I put in a contract?”; “Where does the ‘control’ aspect of my dominance live?”; “What does ‘entitlement’ look like from a ‘service-oriented/receptive’ dominant perspective?”; “What does ‘service-oriented dominance’ mean?” and “How is ‘service-oriented dominance’ different from, or the same as, ‘service-receptive dominance’?” Stuff like that.
Chances are good that, as I try to do this – not the hashing out, not the theoretical stuff, but the actual activities and expectations that I put into practice as I (try to) push our dynamic further and deeper – I am going to make a few mistakes.
Maybe a lot of mistakes (although I hope not).

Here’s hoping that I can keep Neil’s words in mind if (when?) those mistakes crop up: I’m trying something new. I’m being brave. I’m allowed to mess up in the process as long as I can learn from it when I do.

Here’s hoping 2012 goes well.

Ms Syren.

Instruction on the Fly

So. I’ve spent the last two months getting increasingly prep-heavy for Solstice and Xmas at our house. I’ve written about how this relates to the way I manifest my own dominance before, however today I’d like to touch on where I fall down in that department.

See, it’s Dinner Week. Meaning that last night was the small-scale, family-deities-and-ancestors dinner[1], and tomorrow night is the Big Solstice Shindig.

And what typically happens when I throw a party, or a dinner, or some other event that involves food and space preparation (this totally happened at Spring Fling, too), is that I end up in a squirrely, strung-out head-space where I Must Do It All Myself. Even when I know I have four hands instead of two.

The trouble is that, while I can develop a routine, I’m not very good at Instructing on the Fly, so to speak. And so I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, just wanting people to stay out of my way – because, even though what I really want is for people to Move That Couch or Clear That Table or Put The Coffee On or Dress and Set the Table… I’m in a state where I can’t think far enough ahead to articulate that, or articulate how to do it Right, or to sort out what order they need to be done in so that my helper(s) and I aren’t working at cross-purposes.

This (a) leaves me feeling frazzled and, sometimes, put-upon or irritated[2], and (b) probably leaves my helper(s) feeling awkward, underused, and potentially incompetent.

None of this is a good thing.

So. What can I do to mitigate this?

I think what I need to do is to develop a Plan beforehand where I’ve not only sorted out what needs doing, but have also sorted out who will be doing it. It’s not a perfect solution – case in point: tomorrow evening, my Ghost will be getting home with The Wine a scant half-hour (if we’re lucky) before the guests are due to arrive. Her main task will be Having A Shower, while I make sure the food gets set out and the birdcage gets moved into the bedroom. None the less, I think it’s worth trying and, hey, at least then I’ll have a list of what can be delegated versus what I want/need to do myself.

It couldn’t hurt.

Ms Syren.

[1] Complete with house-cleansing and spell-work, although minus the divination – in part because that usually happens at the Big Shindig.

[2] Because, what, they can’t just read my addled mind and see the jobs that need doing?