Titleholder vs. Slave?

Posted: August 4, 2010 in M/s, Titleholding

Most who know me well know I am a slave, but for those just getting to know me, it is not always obvious.  My Master is a wonderful, loving, supportive Master and doesn’t mind being in the background when it comes to my work as a titleholder.  He is my rock and my biggest supporter.

He is also…my Master…my Owner.

I don’t know if I’m the only titleholder to be a slave outside of the Master/slave titles.  I don’t know if I’m the only bootblack titleholder to be a slave.  I do know that it does seem to be a rarity.  Many of the questions I was asked while running for my regional title were about the dynamic between my Master and I.  At the International level, the main one was whether or not I had his support.  That was an easy question to answer.

I wouldn’t have been running if he didn’t want me to.

The fact is that there are a lot of misconceptions even within the BDSM and Leather communities about Master/slave relationships.  In a MAsT meeting, I once heard the numbers of people within the BDSM and Leather communities who identify as being in a Master/slave dynamic (forgetting for a moment the confusion over the definition of those terms) and the actual percentage of overall lifetsylers was actually surprisingly small to me.  The reason MAsT chapters were founded was because it was felt that those in  M/s dynamics were a minority even among our minority.

My Master and I practice a form of Master/slave that most closely resembles what some call TPE, or Total Power Exchange.  The meaning of this is pretty much what it sounds like, that he has control of all aspects of my life and can choose to exercise that control in any way he wishes.  Not even every Master/slave dynamic has this as a part of their relationship.  We also practice something called IE or Internal Enslavement.  Loosely defined, this means that my Master works to form and maintain a very strong bond between us.  My slavery is maintained by this very tight emotional bond, not by external forces.  To be away from him is uncomfortable.  To be away from him forever is unthinkable.  Imagine the bond you may have had with your mother as a child and the separation anxiety you may have felt being away from her for the first time and it is similar.  Now imagine having a nightmare as a child that you would never see your mother again.  That is similar to an IE slave imagining leaving his or her Master.

So…how does that work when the slave is a titleholder?

All relationships are like a dance.  Over time, you each learn your steps and things run pretty smoothly.  When I won the SouthEast regional title, it was like someone suddenly changed the music for both of us and we had to learn new dance steps.  For a while, we stepped on each other’s toes, but over time, I learned how to be a titleholder AND a slave and he learned how to Master a titleholder.  Sometimes it was little things, like giving him all the things that needed to be done in a week and then letting him decide when I would do what so that he maintained control.  Other times, it was being honest enough to ask for what I needed to maintain my “slave headspace.”  That could mean asking to kneel at his feet for an evening or even asking for a take-down scene to really feel his dominance.  I had to learn to let him know more what was going on in my head and then be ready for him to do what was necessary to make corrections, even if I didn’t enjoy it at the time.  Over a couple of months, we settled into the new dance and we began to feel the smoothness of our steps return.

Then I won ICBB.

Now you could say that we’re having to learn a lot of things all over again, but luckily, a lot of what we learned with my regional title is reusable.  One of the things we both enjoy about having a power exchange relationship is that we both are constantly learning about each other and the dynamic.  This is not a relationship where you kiss and then live happily ever after.  It is daily work, but some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.  We are learning how to handle longer absences and working on ideas for maintaining rituals and protocols across the miles.  We’ll try something at an event and if it works, we’ll keep it.  If it doesn’t, we’ll drop that and try something else.  The important thing is that we each enjoy facing these challenges together and think the dynamic is worth the work it takes to keep it going.

So, what is it like being a titleholder and a slave?

Sometimes it feels a little uncomfortable to be a slave and be pushed up in front of my Master.  I like being behind him, serving him and often he is now in the background, supporting me.  Still, he reminds me that everything I do and accomplish is a reflection of him and his Mastery of me.  He is proud of what I’ve done and what I am working to do and we both know that all of that is a direct result of his work with me.  When I was interested in learning about bootblacking, he took that abstract idea and turned it into a concrete plan.  He had me contact a bootblack he knew of to learn from and drove me the long 5 hour drive both ways.  When I mentioned running for a regional title, he helped me come up with a plan to prepare and then supported me the entire contest, making sure I was where I needed to be, dressed how I needed to dress, and fed and hydrated.  He is right there with me, helping me organize my calendar and go through the lists of what needs to be done and directing me as necessary.  I may come up with the ideas, but it is his guidance and direction that helps make them a reality.

I think being a slave also helps with humility and reminding me that this is a position of service.  We used to joke about my titleholder medallion being a “community collar” in that it bound me to serve my community, but in many ways it is true.  I draw on a lot of my experiences as a slave to try to make myself a better titleholder, one that doesn’t see themselves as being above others, but a servant of others.  I think it is possible to lead and inspire others from your knees and I don’t feel like being a titleholder means I have to suddenly be any less of a slave.  My service to the community may take a different form and have limits to it, but it comes from the same place as my service to my Master.

I’m just lucky he is strong enough and generous enough to share this part of me with the community.

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