therapy things

My therapist, Jillian, has long advised me to keep my sessions with her private and to refrain from writing my counseling experiences on my blog. Even though much of my blog is confessional and explicit, I have followed her advice, and I do not post the specific threads of my therapy with her. The following is simply a top-level reference to a few things from our sessions, and I have permission from her to mention them this one time…


Jillian is lifestyle-friendly — in fact, participates in the lifestyle herself. She sees the lifestyle as necessary and healthy, and her work is generally not remedial but maintenance — not about “fixing trauma” but rather about keeping one balanced.

Jillian can address trauma if it’s there, but she doesn’t believe, as some do, that submissiveness must be caused by something dark and devastating earlier in life. Recently she pointed me to a research article that summarized a study showing submission and dominance are not necessarily linked to trauma but seem to be intrinsic orientations in people.

For those of us who are submissive or dominant in the lifestyle, this is sort of “yeah, duh,” but it’s nice that research seems to support what we intuitively know.


The one thing in my childhood that became a level of significance in adulthood is my relationship with my father, who passed away many years ago. I won’t go into it. but I’ll just mention that my relationship with him was complex and difficult and has an influence over me today. Yet it was not abusive nor ever rose to a level of trauma.

Jillian makes the point that my relationship with my father continues with me even though he died so long ago. So, it’s important for me to find reconciliation with him even now. This has been part of my therapy work, and I won’t go into the details of that, but I’ll just say this: My father was never the cause of anything I am today. I am what I am apart from him. It’s important that I don’t believe I am broken in what I am. I need to celebrate my being a sexual submissive. Although my father has influenced me, obviously, he is not the explanation of me.

Likewise, it’s important I don’t ascribe some sort of blame to him for my nature. I can’t have it both ways: I can’t celebrate what I am at the same time as blaming him for what I am. And that’s what I had been doing for a while…


There’s a phrase Jillian has been using of me that I find of interest: sexual submissive. I think it fits me pretty well.

The term recognizes that there are many whose submissiveness does not have a sexual component — and then some, like me, for whom it does. There are service submissives and sexual submissives, and maybe others too. The terms denote the primary aspect of a person’s submissive nature.

While I feel my submissiveness is sometimes nurtured by simple obedience and service, I am more deeply fulfilled when I am dominated sexually. The term rings true.

It’s important to recognize this is not necessarily always about acts of sex but often about sexuality more generally. I have long thought that my submissiveness was part of my sexual orientation, and this term “sexual submissive” points to that possibility. As a submissive, I am fulfilled by “being treated sexually” — objectified and sexualized — as much as being used for actual sex.


One takeaway:

Much as I am fully given to being a sexual submissive, I also resist it on some level. I know that’s because of my moralistic upbringing, which still echoes in me from time to time.

My nature is to be submissive and sexually poly, as I am dominated to be. Yet a part of my mind judges me for that.

That moralistic upbringing is embodied by the memory of my father.

So you see why this is complex.

word studies

I wrestle sometimes with the way particular words are used, especially in the context of D/s understanding. Occasionally I like to post something about my musings on the meaning of these words. I realize many people are not so interested, but I hope followers can indulge my interest here…


Lifestyle

I use this word all the time, but only because I have to.

“Lifestyle” sometimes carries the sense of a wealthy, lavish existence. In certain uses it connotes artistic choices of decor and style. It’s also an overused advertising word. In all of these cases, “lifestyle” suggests superficiality.

Also, the word “lifestyle” implies a casual, maybe trendy choice — “we like being outdoors and have an active lifestyle” or “we’ve decided to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle.”

Of course, D/s lifestyle is not superficial nor casual nor trendy. It’s a serious and hard choice to live in a different relational structure, a demanding (often) 24/7 commitment, and a radical departure from normal life.

And more to the point — D/s is a relationship not a lifestyle. In the vanilla world, newlyweds don’t say, “We decided to live a married lifestyle.” Marriage is to be an intimate relationship of the highest order, and “lifestyle” cheapens it.

Yet “lifestyle” says a bunch of stuff very succinctly. It is by definition “a mode of living,” and for the most part that’s how I use it. D/s is a different mode of living from other vanilla modes of living.

I can’t get away from using “lifestyle,” but I still wrestle with it every time.


Shame

In therapy, it is now commonly thought that “shame” is about one perceiving oneself as unworthy. This has been spearheaded by the work of Brene Brown, which has influenced my sessions with my therapist — who has in turn influenced me.

In that pantheon of “bad feeling” definitions, guilt is when you are literally responsible (“I shot the sheriff”). Shame is when you see yourself as faulty (“I am deficient; I am bad”). Humiliation is the experience of being seen or viewed by others as you are being disgraced. Embarrassment is a fleeting, often accidental, experience of being exposed — as when your bikini strap breaks at the beach. (I hate it when that happens!)

A further helpful distinction is that humiliation is more about the situation you’re in and shame is more about who you are.

Therapists’ counsel is to avoid self-shaming language and negative thinking. I agree with that, and for a long time in my blog-writing I avoided using the word “shame.”

However, I have started to use it again, and here’s why.

Outside of the counseling context, “shame” is also an emotion of deep intensity. In my slave experiences, “embarrassment” is rarely appropriate because my situations are not fleeting or accidental and the emotion the word suggests is too mild. I go often to the word “humiliation,” which is more apt. But at times there’s another level beyond humiliation, and it feels like it needs another gear. It’s then I need the word “shame.”

(As an aside, I think that in the D/s world, there are simply not enough words for these experiences. “Humiliation” carries much of the load, but is overkill in some cases, and insufficient in others. There are words like “abasement” and “ignominy,” which I use sometimes but are more archaic and less known. It is said that in certain Scandinavian native languages there are more than 300 words referring to “snow.” I don’t need 300 but it would be nice to have at least five words for “humiliation.”)

There’s another point to be made: in D/s, a slave is both highly valued and deeply disgraced at the same time. I agree that a slave should never feel unworthy; to the contrary, she is seen as being extraordinary in the life of D/s. But what she is — a woman kept, a woman used — is also a status of disgrace, and it’s appropriate for her to wear that as “shame.”

An example: I think of my experiences being made topless in the house around our handyman, Blake. My reaction to that goes deeper than just the sense of his visually feasting on my breasts. That much is humiliation. But in those situations he knows I am bared to him because I am an adult woman who is owned and kept as a slave. He knows my breasts are naked for him because of what I am. In this case, “shame” is the word that more fully expresses it.

“Shame” is a necessary word sometimes.


Normals

There are two words/phrases I’ve recently coined, and this is one.

In my usage, “normals” is a stand-in for “vanilla people,” those who lead non-D/s lives — ordinary people doing normal things.

Some have commented that by using the word “normals” in my writing I am suggesting that being a submissive is “abnormal.” No, that’s not my belief nor my intent. “Normals” is simply a statistical reality. More people are not submissive than those who are, and they are the norm.

Likewise, only two percent of the world population are redheads like me. The norm is for people to have black or brown hair — they are the “normals” because that’s what’s statistically most common. It doesn’t mean that as a redhead I am defective.

(However, what are the stats about a woman like me being both a redhead and a submissive? That makes me unusual for sure, though Mistress A would quickly say, “Don’t get too full of yourself, Shae. It doesn’t mean you’re special.” OK, then.)


Deep Submissive

The other phrase I’ve coined recently is “deep submissive.” I use this as a noun, describing one who is extremely submissive by nature. I am a deep submissive. (Duh.)

This is a term of degree and type. There are submissives of all kinds. I sometimes use the phrases “curious submissive,” “casual submissive,” and “role-play submissive.” A “deep submissive” refers to those of us who have an intensely strong need to live submissively.

For a deep submissive, the D/s life is not a casual or experimental thing. It is an immersive existence. The deep submissive is wired differently in how she experiences life and in the kinds of relationships she needs. For the deep submissive, submissiveness is part of her sexual orientation. For her, being dominated is not just a wish but a desperation, not just a desire but a need.

“Deep submissive” is one who seeks to live deeply embedded in a life of being dominated.


That’s all, folks.

health

Today I am the housewife, serving the house — scrubbing floors, vacuuming in ballet boots, and doing laundry.

Normally I would be back at the office with Amanda Thursday and Friday, but she is deciding, after today, to work from home for the rest of the week, being cautious in light of the coronavirus. This is a challenge — much of our business is face-to-face meetings and shaking hands with prospective clients. Amanda isn’t quite sure what to do longer-term, but says she’ll figure that out along the way.

As most people in this moment, we find it hard to know how to respond to the coronavirus. Some people we’ve talked to believe the crisis is overblown. And likely neither Amanda nor I are particularly in danger should we contract the virus. But I think of my mom, for whom coronavirus could be life-threatening. Of course, I’m 1500 miles away from her. But who has contact with her who might be spreading the virus? And what other elderly moms and dads might I have contact with here?

So this is simply to say — my calm, un-panicked wish to all of you — be wise, be cautious, be safe, and take care of others.


From time to time, I like to tell readers, watchers, and followers that I have regular sessions with a therapist. I’ve spoken of Jillian before, so for some this is not new news, just my letting you know my appointments with her are ongoing in my life.

For those who have come to my blog more recently, Jillian is a licensed counselor who herself has lived in a D/s lifestyle both as domme and sub. She specializes in counseling people in alternative lifestyles.

There was a time when I wanted to somehow capture my counseling sessions in notes or audio recording, so I could share some of the conversations here on my blog — bring readers into my sessions, so to speak. While Jillian encourages my blog writing, she advised me against sharing specific content from my sessions: “Shae, you need a space that is private.”

Consequently, I don’t write about my specific times with her. But I do want people to know I continue to be in therapy. The D/s lifestyle makes huge demands on us, physically, sexually, and emotionally. I have friends in the lifestyle who struggle with depression. So as I’m writing about health this morning, it’s well worth underscoring the importance of counseling in this strange life we live.

catching up on miscellany

Updates on some of the more boring happenings in my erotic life….

***

I’ve had some email exchanges and one phone call with Jennifer since having coffee with her a couple weeks ago. She is trying to get back here again, and I’m trying to find an opportunity to travel her way, but we just haven’t been able to arrange that yet. Even so, she and I are striking up the beginnings of a friendship, and I’m very excited about that.

As I mentioned before, Jennifer is in a developing D/s relationship with a man, which has so far consisted of weekend play dates. It seems to be progressing to more for her. She and he are exploring possibilities of a 24/7 life together. They have planned a weekend trial period in June, which I think is a good next step. And so Jen is asking me more questions about full-time slavery. I might share some of that at some point here….

***

My self-care efforts have been continuing. I’ve had sessions by phone with therapist Jillian, I’ve been hiking on my own and with Amanda, and perhaps I am developing a new friend in Jennifer.

Amanda has followed through in getting me to her spa, which has been just once so far, but is scheduled ahead for once a month. And that’s a little slice of heaven right there.

I have not yet had any real possibilities for taking classes at the regional community college here — just nothing even remotely appropriate or interesting for me. And I still don’t have a real answer for the spiritual life aspect of self care, as I wrote about. So, more to do.

One person I’ve kind of renewed my relationship with is Carol, back in Colorado Springs. She is a dear friend from my past, and another story to tell here sometime. She worked with me in my real estate agency, and is the one to whom I turned over the business when I entered this lifestyle. She is vanilla, but has been so understanding and accepting of me, and I have kept connected with her these two years, When Master K and Mistress Amanda took me, and I moved, my connection with Carol became physically more distant. We used to have coffee frequently, almost every other week. Now we can’t. We’ve stayed in touch by email, but it’s been different. I’m hoping to get back to the Springs soon. See below….


***

…which brings me to this: Amanda is planning a trip to Denver in two weeks, and she is taking me with her. Her purpose is business and there’s a real estate angle to it (which was the nature of my work for her in her office). More to say about this soon, but the way it matters to me personally is that Amanda promises me some time in the Springs and perhaps dinner or coffee with Master Michael. Likewise, I will have time with Carol. And in Denver, likely some face-to-face time with Jennifer.

So I am really pumped about all that!!!

***

One other reason for the trip is for doctor’s visits. Amanda insisted from the beginning that I maintain my routines with my primary doctor and my gynecologist in the Springs area. She said she would make it work out, and she is doing so.

I had appointments with each scheduled long ago for mid-June. We were prepared to reschedule those, depending on Amanda’s travel schedule, but it looks like it will work out and I can keep the original appointments. So I will have blood work done here ahead of time, and results will be in the network for access in the Springs.

It’s all the usual fun stuff — mammogram and gyno exam — (not!) and for many reading this, it’s TMI.

But I report it here just to let people know I am taken care of in medical ways as well. And maybe it’s a reminder to others like me in this lifestyle — let’s take care of ourselves health-wise.

***

So… I have not forgotten to write about my night of being shared with Mr. D several weeks ago. The writing has just been delayed. For several reasons.

At first I was struggling to find the words to express it. It’s such a complex emotional, submissive, and sexual experience. It just took time for me to write it.

But then it was delayed further because of permissions to post it. This was not unreasonably withheld but had to wait for others’ schedules to align.

And then it’s been delayed for another reason. Master K asked Mr. D to write his own account of the evening with me. The idea is that I would post that alongside my account. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I don’t get to vote. And so far, Mr. D hasn’t written anything, and maybe that won’t ever get done.

But that’s the reason for the delay….

***

One thing I haven’t written about before is my experience/review of TV shows or movies or books. I know other bloggers who do so, and they are likely more qualified that I am, so that’s fine. I find some of what they write to be informative to me and give me recommendations to view or read.

Meanwhile, I don’t suppose people are reading my blog to learn about the latest in the entertainment world. If I ever write a review of something, I think I’m more qualified, slightly, to write about a book I’ve read.

Still, I want to convey the truth of my life, and I don’t wish to suggest I never watch TV or binge shows on Netflix or other services. I do. But also I don’t want to convey that I watch TV all the time. I don’t. Most nights when I am not otherwise being used, I read a book. Sometime I might recommend a book I’m reading, like currently Where the Crawdads Sing. But I’m not done with that yet.

However, I binged a Netflix show a couple weeks ago — Dead to Me. It’s a humorous, suspenseful mystery, and features a terrific pair of actors — Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, who are great together. I won’t say more. Just that I loved it.

double bourbon

It’s Thursday evening and I’m really tired from my week. Emotionally tired mostly. A little physically tired. Lack of sleep too.

Today I had my phone session with my former therapist. I guess she’s no longer “former,” once again current, and likely future as well, as we are going to do this every month until the end of time. Although we will be every two weeks until the end of May, in order to talk through all that’s happened to me since I last saw her. I sound cynical, but I’m not really, and I like her, and I know this is important. Still, this was nearly two hours, and while it’s just talking, it’s stuff down deep inside me, so it is utterly exhausting. I will be writing and posting about the session this weekend, at least parts of it, for anyone interested. She thinks the blog is good for me, and writing about my sessions will be good for me too.

Yesterday I went to Amanda’s office for the day. I faced the crew there, its own emotional gauntlet, and wound up in several conversations, good, bad, and ugly. Again, I’ll be processing that in my head for a while — and in words as well — and posting on here. My life’s a book.

Of course, as I’ve written already, Amanda and I went hiking this week, and it was truly good, real exercise, The good news is that my quads are already up for the task, thanks to Master K and my “practices” with him. Who knew fellatio had fitness benefits? The bad news is that my calves were killing me yesterday, still stiff today. And my nipples are sore, not because of exercise but because Mistress thought it would be great fun to put those tiny rubber nano-gaskets on them. Why?

“I want to see them swell,” she said.

I made the mistake of making a play on words, saying, “You seemed to think they were pretty swell already.” Ha, ha.

She chuckled, but said, “You’ll regret that, We’ll see how clever you are in an hour.”

I lost my “clever” after fifteen minutes and excruciating numbness — I know, it’s a seeming contradiction in terms. But not. Amanda can be a cruel mistress.

Then this evening, she got home from work, and knowing I had spent a lifetime on the phone with my therapist talking about my lifetime, she asked if she could pour me a drink.

I apologized and said, “I should be asking you. Serving you a drink. I’m sorry.”

“Tonight,” she said, “it’s on me. What’ll it be?

“Double bourbon.”

She poured me Elijah Craig, neat, and then poured herself a glass of pinot noir and invited me to sit with her on the couch. We talked.

three short updates

I want everyone to know that I contacted my therapist in the Springs and she has set for me a phone session this Thursday afternoon. I was surprised she took me after this lapse of time, and then had time for me so soon. She had a cancellation. Thursday at three.

Also, Amanda, as she said she would, contacted her “lifestyle-aware” friends, and they will have lunch with me on Friday. I’m nervous, but thankful.

Finally, Amanda took me on a hike this afternoon. Just got back. This also is following up on the self-care things we had talked about.

I’m happy.

self-care

Thanks to Amelia for encouraging me to write and post this and other writings..

I was asked a question a few weeks ago by one of Amanda’s work colleagues. His name is Thomas, and he’s their web/social media director (I’m sure he has a more official title than that, but that’s how I know him.)

As I’ve written before, Thomas and all the others there at Amanda’s business know about Amanda’s lifestyle, as she is open and transparent about her interests. And they know what I am, which they were told when she acquired me. I have since been introduced to them literally as Amanda’s slave. I don’t know if, at the time of Thomas’ question, they all had started to read this blog; I know they are reading me now. But back then he may not have known so much about my life, and yet his question was greatly intuitive and thoughtful.

Thomas simply asked how I take care of myself.

I didn’t quite understand. “In what way?” I asked.

“Personally. How do you stay positive? How do you replenish? Sounds like it’s a demanding life.”

“It is,” I said. I realized he was asking about self-care, such an important aspect of the sub life — something I haven’t done anything about in months. I stumbled through a general and awkward reply. The question has troubled me since then, because I know how important self-care is and because I’m doing a terrible job of it in my life right now.

My life of slavery is all about objectification, degradation, and humiliation. Daily, I am treated like an object or pet or slut. Hourly, I feel subservient to everyone else. It’s a life I’ve chosen for reasons that are a mystery to everyone else. Somehow I have been made for this life. Somehow, there is some unique psycho-sexual chemistry going on in me that causes me to thrive and thrill when I am treated in those submissive ways. Subjugation affects me — I tremble myself to orgasm in the throes of it.

But afterward, the echoes of what was said and the aches of what was done continue to objectify, degrade, and humiliate me. I can very easily walk away fulfilled submissively, yet struggle humanly.

I referenced this in my previous post (”slut”): the nature of the submissive life is that we find pleasure in being used and subjugated; yet at the end of the day we feel the effects of being used and subjugated. It’s a yin-yang, a cycle of pleasure and struggle. The problem is that it’s easy for this to slide into depression or become an addictive cycle or or become a sequence of self-neglect.

How we handle this sub/slave life, how we replenish ourselves, how we cope is what self-care is about.

The real question is, who in my life is telling me I’m worthwhile?

As I write this, I’m painfully more aware that my neglect of my own self-care goes back some months, and may have contributed to the mess I made with Master Michael that caused my separation from him. Now after almost three months under my new Master and Mistress, I’ve had time to get acclimated with them, but I haven’t done anything to pursue the areas of self-care that I once did, say a full year ago.

I go back to some wisdom my therapist in Denver shared with me. She is herself a part of the lifestyle. (I’ll say more about her in a moment.) She talked about five dimensions of health for a sub/slave:

People life. What people, outside of your master or mistress, are you connected to who will honestly speak to your need, your worth, and your well-being? I liked this approach as opposed to “get a social life,” which implies “being social” and going to parties and clubs and bars — the last thing an introvert like me wants to do. My therapist emphasized that cultivating a friendship with someone who really understood me was important to my health. And this was my friend, Carol, in Colorado Springs, which is another story sometime.

Body life. What are you doing to benefit and pamper and replenish your body? I liked the way she said this, as opposed to “join a health club,” which fills me with dread or “go on a diet,” which I haven’t needed to do. She talked about my body as a living thing that I should enjoy and take care of. “What is your body telling you about your value as a human being?” she would ask. I also liked the “pamper” word.

Self life. What are you telling yourself about your worth as a person? The thing is, we often deceive ourselves about ourselves, which is why this point suggests seeing a therapist or counselor, preferably one who is lifestyle-friendly. My therapist was active in BDSM and D/s, mostly as a sub, although she was a switch and sometimes was a domme. So she knows the dynamics and demands of the lifestyle personally. The main thing is that a therapist/counselor is trained to untangle the negativity we fall into and the lies we tend to be telling ourselves. This is so important, and it’s a shame that since I’ve been in my new slavery I haven’t followed up on the counseling sessions by phone she offered me.

God life. This is my terminology not my therapist’s, who just called it “spiritual life.” Realizing that many have differing beliefs, her point was that most people believe in the spiritual dimension of life and that they were created by a Creator. So why did that spiritual entity, whoever it is, make you? What are they saying to you about your worth and value? This is a big part of my life, my spiritual journey, and I wish to write about this separately, and will do so soon.

Interior life. What outside sources — books, movies, TV, art, music — replenish your inner world, your mind and heart? How do those creative “voices” speak to you about the meaning of your life in the world? And are you involved in expressing yourself in creative ways, echoing back to the world about your worth as a person? This is probably the one area in which I have done reasonably well. I read voraciously, both fiction and non-fiction, and, of course, I write a lot — this blog and fiction. I also watch movies, TV, and I love art, museums, and galleries, and such.

This piece has really been directed at myself, if you haven’t figured that out already. There was a time when I was doing really swell in some of this self-care stuff, but not so much for the past, say six months or so.

My fumbled answer to Thomas’s question reflected my lack of effort in pursuing my own health.

I need to get on that.

writing about writing

Some randomness:

I have a friend in this lifestyle, Chelsea, who is about to enter slavery for the first time. She and I became friends not quite a year ago, as she was part of some of the Community mixers, exploring her options in this life. We met for drinks one time and then again later. And recently she wrote me for advice as she takes this big step in her life. I did so, and it occurred to me later that my letter to her might be worth posting on here. So I’ve asked her for permission… we’ll see.

***

One of the hard things now regarding my blog is that I’ve forgotten some of what I’ve already said, what I’ve posted before. I sound like my mother telling me for the third time the story of the neighbor Miriam who nearly burned her house down making onion rings. Mother forgets she told it to me last time we talked. So I’m starting to repeat myself on here, I’m sure of it. I need an index of all my blog posts.

***

So, one of the things I can’t remember if I mentioned was about this guy, an acquaintance of Amanda’s, who is a writer-journalist and wants to interview me and her together about our lifestyle.

He met with Amanda briefly a couple weeks ago, and they are trying to schedule interview time. He wants a couple of mornings. Amanda doesn’t think she can afford that much time. “But you can do it, Shae.”

“I just want to know if I get to keep my clothes on.”

“Well, if you ask whiny like that, my answer will be no.”

“I’ll work on my delivery.”

“I just can’t afford that time away from work,” she says. “I’ll figure out something. He seems like a nice guy, professional.”

So that may happen, as it turns out, next week. And I’m going to ask this guy if I can post the interview here on my blog.

***

There are four subjects I want to write about, but I think they’ll be boring to my watchers and followers. I just feel the personal need to write them, maybe just to get them out of my head. They are:

therapy (with my counselor)
my spiritual journey
self-care in submission and slavery
q&a on writing (questions I’m asked about writing stuff about the lifestyle)

I know I can write whatever I want, but I don’t think most people are not interested in these areas of my life, so I am not sure about actually posting them. I just feel I need to write them anyway.