It’s more complicated than it seems.
I asked for a date similar to what Dr. Payne had with one of his other partners.
He smiled and said, “You have to wear a collar.” We say it was my introduction to kink and submission and I often say that wearing a collar for the first time was as if I found my missing puzzle piece. In retrospect, my road to submission started many years before when I realized that it wasn’t my job to make other people happy, likewise, it was not other people’s responsibility to make me happy. The beginning of my journey into submission began with a journey into self-acceptance.
I spent too many years thinking people would love me if I could make them happy; I would be loved if I was perfect, or if I did everything exactly the way they wanted. I was often trying to guess what would make others happy and Dr. Payne often said “You know what to do to make me happy!” That was all before D/s.
We are not mind-readers! There is this thought that if you love someone enough you will just “know” what they want without being told. I’ve seen this in couples that have been happily married for many years. It appears from outward appearance they intuitively know what the other person wants or needs. However, that is what we see from the outside. What we do not see is the communication and years of miscommunication that preceded that intuitive response. It is so much work to get there and never as perfect as it looks.
If you are a people-pleaser like me, it takes an amazing amount of courage to say to yourself, “It isn’t my job to make people happy.” It took me years to get to a place where I was happy with who I was. It started with that simple realization and the thoughts processes that had to change following that understanding.
I had to find what makes me happy.
I had to explain to people close to me what makes me happy.
If the people around me didn’t appreciate what made me happy, I had to be alright with this.
I can’t force someone to love who I am or who I am becoming.
It took years of retreats, of reading, and of looking at the little things that made me happy, until those little things connected to big things; the things I was passionate about.
Going to the gym changed from “Can I make myself skinny and attractive enough?” to “I feel better and sleep better when I exercise regularly!”
I don’t know the exact key to happiness for any one person. I know what worked for me and it wasn’t easy. Much of it depends on understanding what makes you happy, and having the courage to look at yourself to change the things you don’t like.
When I was at my emotional lowest and thought it was my responsibility to make others happy, agreeing to put on a collar—even for one evening—would have been impossible. When you are stuck in a place where you are always trying to please others, you are also stuck in a place of I’m-not-good-enough and very often nobody-loves-me.
One of the first questions I asked about wearing a collar was, “Will you humiliate me in public?” Dr. Payne said “No.” I knew that if He betrayed my trust in this, I had the courage to take that Velcro collar off and walk away. Without self-love, I wouldn’t have had the courage to start the adventure, because I didn’t have the courage to get out.
It was a cheap Velcro collar purchased at a local adult store. As I got closer to the day Dr. Payne would take me on that first collared date, I had come to a place of acceptance. I had gotten to a place where I was able to accept that wearing a collar and speaking to Him in a certain way for one evening would not define me. Yes, it did define me, but I wasn’t afraid of it defining me.
I submit because I know who am, I love me, I am not afraid, and I know who I belong to.