Submission, Control, Mantras, and Intro to Positive Power Dynamics
[Note: this is going to be a ‘goes over multiple topics’ kind of blog post, but the way they all connect and relate to each other and the way I thought through them to begin with means that putting them together works much, much better than trying to separate them out. Also, in this post I talk about myself and how I am a lot. This is just what is true for me, and is in no way what I think is best or anything. Everyone is themselves, and equal in that. This just happens to be me.]
Pretty much since I first properly thought about it, I realized that I wasn’t submissive, that that wasn’t one of the labels that fit me or was true of me. It took me three pages of writing to finally come to the conclusion the first time, back when I’d recently started reading about BDSM and had gotten to the point of trying to formally figure out how it all applied to me, but it was one of those times when I already knew the answer to something, and basically had to talk to myself until the conscious part of my mind caught up.
That first writing is very rambly – I went through a lot of analogies and attempts at conceptualization trying to put into words and thoughts the set of feeling I was having.
After, I mostly thought of my non-submissiveness in terms of two things that a lot of people I read about associated with being submissive, and that did not appeal to me – giving up/giving over power, and wanting something you don’t want.
Recently, I had the opportunity to watch an (amazing) scene that also reminded me of a third, very important thing that I was completely overlooking (though, looking back, it was pretty central to that rambly writing of mine) – control.
Now, at first I phrased this conclusion simply as not having a thing for control, but actually, that’s not entirely accurate, because there are multiple types of control, and I do have a thing for some of them. So, I though through my idea of that:
Types of control
Let’s say that there is something I want done.
Possibility 1: I write up a program that will do this, and feed it through my computer. My computer, having no independence, follows the instructions exactly. It has no will, and couldn’t have done otherwise. This is a type of control.
Possibility 2: I write up a list of instructions, and give it to someone absolutely loyal to me. This person does have indepence. They could decide to not do what I said. But they won’t and they don’t, because they have dedicated the will they have to me. This is a type of control.
Possibility 3: I am skilled at manipulation, have enough power to force and threaten people, etc. I use this to get people to do what I want. The people involved have independence and will, but I am twisting or forcing it so that things go my way. This is a type of control.
Well, kink-wise, I am interested in the last two types, but (unlike, as far as I can tell, quite a lot of people) not in the first one. Or, to put it another way, I have a thing for control, but specifically don’t have a thing for what I would call intrusive control – imagining that every person has a bubble of sorts around them that is their will, I kink-enjoy control that’s about forces between bubbles (one bubble tethering itself behind another, say, or being caused to move or contract by another bubble pushing it or holding a pin to threaten it), but I don’t kink-enjoy the kind of control that involves one person penetrating or flooding the bubble of another. From the other side, I don’t kink-enjoy someone letting their bubble go completely, or having it be flooded by someone else. [Note: I keep saying kink-enjoy because there is a very strong type of enjoyment I get from ‘these people are having fun that they want to have!’, and I get this kind of enjoyment out of very many things I myself don’t actually have a kink for].
So, first, I think this idea of not being into intrusive control is actually the central concept of me not being submissive. The kink-appealing thing to me is not a person (or myself) without will or without control – it’s a person who has will and (varying amounts of) control, but who is within or under a power dynamic that affects what they can or will do with it.
However, it also goes beyond that, because aside from not having intrusive control as an actionable kink, I also don’t have it as a narrative kink. Which left me with the question of, well, if that isn’t what I enjoy in positive power dynamics, then what do I enjoy?
This thought-quest of mine ended up being helped along by a blog post that Spiral made about mantras he uses. These are things he has people repeat that also have to do with their headspace, and they’re things like ‘I am obedient’, ‘I am a puppet’, etc. In other words, they all have the tone of intrusive control. So, given that none of them sounded like what I tend to like in positive power dynamics, I promptly tried to think – well, if someone in one of my dynamics was saying something like that, what would it be?
The first one I came up with was ‘I am at your disposal’. Then also ‘I am your tool’, and for some tones, ‘your servant’. And, this led me to figuring out the ‘what I like in positive power dynamics’ question. I will present my conclusions in the next post.
[Edit 9/17/12: I realized after some thinking and talking that I needed to further elaborate and distinguish between a few things in this post. So: I have read about and talked to people for whom being submissive involves a kink for intrusive control. However, there are also definitely people for whom it does not. I have also run into people for whom being submissive involves control type 2. And, there are definitely many other possibilities. Everyone’s identity is their own, and that’s that.
Now, also, people I was reading about and talking to seem to generally have a kink for their type of control not only as applied to characters in stories, but also as applied to them themselves in a scene or a fantasy. (Again, this will not be true for everyone, though).
I, personally, do not have a kink for intrusive control either when applied to me, or in stories. On the other hand, I do have a kink for non-intrusive control in stories – but not when applied to me. Scenes that I like involving control types 2 and 3 are roleplay scenes, where the control is applied not to me, but to a character I’m playing.
And, both my lack of a kink for intrusive control, and my lack of interest in any of the types of control when applied to real-me in a BDSM context, are, to me, connected to me not identifying as submissive.
This continues to have no bearing on anyone else’s identity and how they define it.]