From March 1, 2009, until the evening of May 24, 2014, I lived as a collared slave. My life focus centered on my master. Over time, I became conditioned to always think in terms of what he wanted. If someone invited me somewhere, my response was always, “I need to ask permission.” When I shopped, I didn’t buy things I necessarily liked, I bought things he liked. When we were apart, I texted to let him know I arrived and texted to let him know I was leaving. I cooked and ate because he wanted to eat, not because I was hungry. When I was assigned travel for work, I always said, “I need to check the schedule at home before I can commit.” I always fixed his plate first at gatherings, got his drink, made sure he had no further need of me before attending to my own needs. Even in downtime, I was ever alert to orders and requests.
That is not to say I was perfect, because I was far from it. Sometimes in my downtime, orders and requests frustrated me. Sometimes when planning dinner, I would think about something I missed and wanted to have. Sometimes when invited somewhere, I said, ‘yes’ before asking, because I knew he would say yes. Sometimes I forgot to text my arrival or departure.
The point is that I rarely was in a position to think about what I wanted or needed.
Oh sure, there were times when I wanted play when we’d been too busy for awhile. There were times when I wanted to get out of the house because we’d been hibernating too long. There were times when the odd thing that I might want or need would come up, but it wasn’t the norm, not an everyday sort of thing. My time was not my own to do with as I wanted. It, and I, belonged to him. Even sitting on the sofa together, I was in this ever-attentive space, just in case he desired something of me.
It’s been a long time since my time was truly my own to do with as I pleased. Since no one had expectations of me.
I realized today that this last month or so I’ve been sort of floating about, no destination in mind, having no place to go and nothing to do. I’ve accepted some invitations and declined others, as my mood has dictated at the time. I’ve spent a lot of time alone, just sitting in my bedroom reading, surfing the net, or finding something to watch on Netflix or Amazon. Hungry? Just grab the keys and run out for a bite. Want to go for a drive? Just hop in the car and take off to nowhere. Want some new clothes? Spend a couple of hours shopping and come home with a few things. Nap? Swim? Visit with a friend? Just do it. No one to notify, no one to ask permission, no tasks that need to be completed first.
I’ve decided that being released is both a blessing and a curse. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely the right thing. What I mean is that it is allowing me the ability to again make my own decisions for myself, and to figure out where I want to go and what I want to do. And it is forcing me to again make my own decisions for myself, and to figure out where I want to go and what I want to do.
Confused yet? If you’re a slave, you’re probably not at all confused. If you’re not a slave, you might be.
I find freedom in surrender. I find freedom in bondage. I find freedom in captivity. It is part of who I am at my core.
Finding me again is a process. I’m taking it one day at a time. I could show up at a gathering tonight, or I might not show up at one for weeks. I’m hibernating a lot, spending a lot of time alone in my room. I feel like I’m in limbo, waiting for something to appear in front of me that tells me the way to go, the next step to take, the right thing to do. At the same time, I realize that the world is wide open to me, to go anywhere anytime I want. To do anything anytime I want. Today, I skipped breakfast and lunch, and only realized it while clothes shopping when my blood sugar plummeted. I spent a little money on some new clothes for work – after wearing sarongs and gauzy dresses or sweats for the last year and a half, I needed a few things. Last night, I spent the night with friends and then lingered over morning coffee and heart-to-heart talks. Nowhere to be, no expectations on my time. No one to ask permission, no one to tell me no or tell me go.
Some days I’m enjoying the freedom. Some days I’m hating the freedom.
Tonight, I’m staying home and going to bed early. Tomorrow? We’ll see.