Posted at 21:13 on 10 Jul 2011 by Pandora / Blake
Overall, I am quite content with there being more of me these days. Birthday money from my parents has allowed me to update my wardrobe with some fetching and comfortable summer clothes (including a new black pair of short shorts which do wonders for my confidence) and my lovers certainly don't seem to mind - if anything, quite the opposite - which is really all that matters. However, I have my moments.
One such was on Friday morning, after getting back from a wonderful few days away with Zille Defeu and her husband Duncan (on which more later).
D, as I may have mentioned before, has an installation of wall mirrors beside his bed. He likes to watch. Normally I like to be watched, and dressing up for him takes on an extra thrill when I'm reflected in the gaze of his mirrors as well as his eyes. This time, however, I didn't want to look at me and him together. Every time I caught a glimpse of us together I felt huge, ungainly, in a suit of skin that was just too big for me. I tried to focus on him, but as soon as I acknowledged my insecurity to myself I succumbed to vulnerability, and ended up crying on his shoulder.
I felt stupid. Sure, when I was 18 (and skinny, incidentally, as I realise now) I used to obsess, tediously, about my negative body image. These days my liberation from the paranoid obsession is delightful. I wasn't proud of having slipped. "I'm sorry," I said, brushing away my tears, "this isn't really very grown up of me."
"It's okay," he soothed me, trying to reassure me with cuddles. I appreciated his goodwill, but I felt like I was stuck in a pit I'd dug myself. I didn't know how to climb out.
He got up, leaving me sniffling on the bed, trying to pull myself together. He went to a drawer and returned holding my collar.
Tom and D bought matching collars for me back in 2007, but after an initial burst they haven't seen much use. The heavy band of leather and suede is reassuring and sturdy, but I find it digs uncomfortably into my voicebox after extended wear, and isn't compatible with the deep throating which is so prevalent in our play. The collars we have found most practical with our playing style are much lighter and more flexible. D used red ribbons for a while; Tom has a band of black velvet I made for us, hemmed and with press studs attached. The magic isn't in the object itself, but in the intent. I actually rather like the trope of fashioning one-off collars out of whatever one has lying around, imbuing it with temporary symbolism in the power of the moment.
The collar D was holding this time was the heavy leather one. When I saw it in his hands it felt like my heart dissolved, and with it my tension melted out of my body. I knelt, quietly, as he fastened it around my neck. Hands at my throat, a finger traced gently along my jaw; his green eyes coming alive with the energy of the power being exchanged between us, sparkling, seeming to hold the world. Or at least, my world.
It wasn't any power inherent in the object, left gathering dust in a drawer these last few months, which quietened me so instantly; pervaded me with a sense of calm, of self-acceptance, and enabled us to pick right back up where we'd left off with no further upset. It was all about his intent. The fact that that particular collar had sat unworn for so long, and was now being brought out as a specific compassionate gesture added to the power of it. I was struck dumb with the reality of his love for me, his wanting me to accept that love. It was a gesture of possessiveness, of ownership, and of wanting. All at once my demons shrivelled up, and I bowed my head and accepted the reality of his regard for me, and the unimportance, in that moment, of everything else.
It worked; our intimacy from then on was unimpeded by needless self-doubt. Rather than glancing anxiously at my reflection, from then on my eyes were only for him. It struck me as a powerful symbol of what this dominance and submission thing is all about. Negative body-image is a very narcissistic obsession, after all, and so it is appropriate for submission to another to be the thing that lifts one out of it. Although it was about both of us, in a way this moment we were sharing was not about me. By deflecting my attention onto him, and the currents passing between us, he was able to distract me from my disruptively inward-looking negativity.
But it's also a lovely microcosm of the spaces in which it is appropriate for my partner to exercise authority over me. Neither of us would consider it reasonable - or wise - for him to use that power to win an argument or debate. But using it to draw me out of myself, to focus my attention on him, and to reflect good feeling back on me, on us - that works just fine.