Looking Back, Looking Forward
I have been reflecting a great deal about the last few months. They have been extraordinary months, being candid. To be here now feels magical, surreal, delightful and something I couldn’t even begin to imagine at the start of last year. As we come to the close of yet another year (where did you go, and just what have you have to say for yourself, 2022?!) it seems natural to reflect on the journey I have been on.
Reflection is an important practice. It’s a source of growth and insight (Violet wrote a lovely post on its value and relevance just this week). It is a means of taking stock, assessing progress and identifying areas of future focus. It is an important and daily ritual within my submission. This is often a process just for me, or shared with my partner. As we close a year of new beginnings, I’m sharing my broader thoughts here.
The prompt for this post was in part a question posted yesterday by Lemon, a friend on Twitter:
It was also prompted by my partner and I just last week celebrating six months in our relationship, a time that feels amazingly long and so remarkably short all at the same time. In some respects, it feels like we are just at the very beginning of our journey together (and arguably, we are). In other ways, our intimacy and familiarity with each other makes it feel like we have known each other for years.
Embarking On A Remarkable Journey
This was a journey I never expected to take. At this stage in my life, I was pretty sure any concept of pursuing a relationship tied to my submission was a non-starter. I had convinced myself that was okay, that I didn’t need it, that I had come to terms with keeping that part of me hidden and unexplored.
I was incredibly wrong on both counts. For anyone believing that there isn’t someone out in the world who will embrace them—fully and enthusiastically—for who they are, I assure you that isn’t the case. You need to put some effort in—both in being the best version of yourself, and investing in and valuing them as a human being—but opportunities for love and meaningful connection most assuredly exist. I found myself incredibly fortunate to have found a partner that doesn’t just accept my submission, but embraces and eagerly encourages it. Moreover, she embraces and encourages me—as a person and as her love, as well as being her plaything and pet.
What I was particularly uncertain about while embarking on this journey was whether I was truly submissive. Yes, I had obsessed over it since puberty. I was pretty sure I liked the idea of being submissive; if nothing else, and it was the fuel of so many of my erotic fantasies. As many of us learn at our peril, however, there can be a big difference between what we fantasize about and what we actually bring to life.
I’m a person that is used to being in control. I have a relatively demanding job, where I’m looked to for guidance, direction and decisions on a pretty constant basis. I’m used to being heard, and I am very comfortable with providing counsel, setting a path and establishing tone. Could I let go of that? Could I free myself of the bias towards being the one in charge, and release myself fully to another? In the context of any submissive relationship I did attempt, was I destined to top from below?
What has become amazingly obvious is how much my submission has flourished and thrived. Giving it voice and having that part of me be nurtured and cared for by someone who loves me and appreciates and craves my service—as much as I need to serve—has been incredible.
What I have come to fully appreciate is that submission is not just a dimension of who I am. It is a very essential core of my identity. Allowing it to blossom and thrive has kindled an energy and purpose in me that I did not know was possible. It has expressed itself in a remarkable number of ways. I have always had an orientation to serve, one that has expanded and grown appreciable nuance in a short space in time. I also need to submit, to be possessed and owned and cared for and nurtured. Giving myself to another is fundamental to being the truest version of me.
In making this journey, I have found a purpose. I’ll expand on this in another post, but very early on I was tasked with identifying my purpose as a submissive. What has emerged is something that speaks very strongly to who I aspire to be, the orientation and relationship that I seek with my partner, and what is important in sustaining our relationships.
Most importantly, though, has been the realization that my purpose isn’t about my submission alone. That was where it started, but not where it ends. My purpose is about me as a person. It is about my growth and evolution, and how I thrive and grow and step into the world. It is very much about becoming bear, in all of my aspects.
As I have nurtured and grown and come to truly inhabit and own and be confident in my submission, there has been tremendous spillover into the rest of my life. For starters, I am confident in my submission; it is something I am proud of and that I fully embrace. I give myself willingly and head held high to someone else, and I am as delighted in doing so as my partner is in receiving that gift.
In the past few months, I have also grown in confidence in many other respects completely unrelated to my submission. I am more playful and I am more expressive, I am more engaged with the world and engaging with others. I show up bigger, I speak more forthrightly, I am honest and candid and have a different level of comfort in navigating even difficult conversations. In general, I feel like I have become even more me.
Finding Whole Other Depths
I have also found more of me that I didn’t know about, or was at least uncertain about going into this exercise. Around a central core of submission, there were certainly interests and fantasies that evolved around bondage and discipline, with a side helping of potential masochism. What was unclear to me going in was the degree to which any of this was true. Again there was the question of what was real, and what was simply fantasy. Alongside this question was the reality that a surprising amount of fantasy very quickly faded away in the presence of actually submitting in an actual relationship.
My inherent question was what would emerge as a consequence. In previous self exploration, I had often encountered recurring feelings of shame and regret. This got amplified in situations of any level of intensity. After the original hotness of exploration and subsequent release, I would be awash with overwhelming feelings of humiliation and remorse. I would feel guilty for seeking the pleasure, and shameful about what would happen were that interest discovered.
I had assumed the feelings of emptiness that I experienced meant I must not really be into the things I thought I was into. What I have come to appreciate is that without purpose and focus, those actions felt meaningless because they were not for anyone but myself. In the context of submission and serving another who values and delights in and gets utterly turned on by my suffering, that has become a whole different experience. Pulling away the shame and guilt has revealed depths I didn’t even know were there.
I Don’t Know Where The Limits Lie
While I know my submission runs deep—and my masochism arguably does as well—six months along, I don’t know where the limits lie. Limits are an on-going negotiation exercise in kink, and it is one that my partner and I continue to explore. That negotiation happens in words, and it takes place in experiences. We are learning and developing a language of us that is uniquely ours. It is uniquely personal, wonderfully nuanced and continually evolving.
What I do know is that our mutual enthusiasm—for the relationship and for each other—continues unabated and undiminished. A half year along on an intense and intensive journey, it feels fresh and new and as exciting as the day that we began. While we are both a little surprised by that, we are also very much delighted with the truth of this as well.
So Much Remains Unexplored
What remains is where we go from here. We both mean to continue as we have been going on. That involves me continuing to grow and evolve as a person. It means continuing to invest my energy and attentions in my partner. It means serving her and submitting to her fully, embracing the opportunity to do so and enjoying her delight in my gifts. It means continually investing in and caring about our relationship.
This is a journey that has just started. Looking back, I marvel at how far we have travelled. I am astonished at how much I have changed. I am delighted how much I have come into my own and feel so very much like the bear that I want to be, that I can be and that I aspire to be. Looking ahead, I’m proud to offer my hand to my love and let her continue to lead. I do that knowing that my following is not passive, it is not weak and it is not inferior. I am an active participant, bringing enthusiasm and commitment to us being the very best that we both can be, as us.
I am becoming bear.