The word “tired” is one of those clumsy English words (like “love”) that means a lot less without context. Is it “tired” like “haven’t had enough sleep”, “tired” like “just ran a marathon” or “tired” like “I’ve spent the day with a piled up inbox and the boss on my back”?
Synonyms are a lot better: boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, restlessness, weariness, sluggishness.
One that I find myself using a lot is “enervation”, which is a feeling of being drained of energy or vitality. It’s literally to be “out of nerve”, a specific kind of burnt-out fatigue.
KEEPING MASTER’S BATTERY CHARGED
It’s easy to look at a Dom/sub or Master/slave relationship and form the assumption that the Dominant or Master expends little energy and receives a lot from the relationship. Take mine, for example. My breakfast is served to me every morning, day-to-day household accounts are miraculously paid, newspapers are ready for me on the weekends when I wake up, any chore around the house that doesn’t give me pleasure is taken care of for me and I have one and sometimes two gorgeous boys kneeling by my bed after I shower in the evening.
I’m not going to whine about how hard it is for me to have all that. I’m fully aware how lucky I am. But, I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s the submissive or slave who does all the work in a D/s or M/s relationship.
At least for me, there’s an enormous outpouring of energy associated with being the Master in a relationship. The control, external focus and responsibility, all require a high amount of “on” battery power.
NOT THAT KIND OF DOM DROP
I have a pattern, which I’m loath to call “Dom drop”, because that would confuse it with the many other things that Dom drop might be. But, it is associated with my role within my relationships, so I’m going with labelling it a kind of Master-enervation.
While my relationships, particularly my long-distance one, are running smoothly, there’s a circle of energy that is empowering and makes things easy to manage. When the Dominant and submissive energies are in balance, everyone is happy. But, when we hit a bump, which is nearly always a temporary imbalance in those D/s energies, it can flatten me for some time. A day, a couple of days, sometimes even a few days. I function fine, I’m not someone who takes to my bed to mope, but it’s like the D/s light has gone out. I’ve still got energy, just not that particular kind of energy.
I think anyone who has ever been in one will agree that long distance relationships are particularly hard. You can try your best to have a certain level of protocol at all times, but ultimately two people in a relationship play a number of different roles in each other’s lives. As well as Master, you are also friend, confidant and cheer-leader. You want to be able to express your personality, laugh together and let the other person inside of your tough outer-shell. That means exposing, to some extent, your vulnerabilities, uncertainties and inner thought-works. So, there is always this balance going on in terms of control and partnership, the emphasis of the power-differential versus the more equal spaces of friendship.
IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
I’m not saying this is a Master-thing. Obviously an M/s relationship has two players and both work very hard to maintain the special connection that is for you and only you. But, those parts of the Master’s role that are about controlling and directing interaction can seem to be under bright floodlights in long distance relationships, where everything is mediated by technology. It’s like a coin dropping in a very quiet room. Without the background noise of visuals and environment, nuances in communication can seem much larger and noisier than they otherwise would do.
And, I find personally, that can quite easily cause miscommunication and problems. The two that I bump into most regularly are “why am I doing something” and a misalignment of space, where one party is feeling a particular way while the other party is feeling a different way.
One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river. The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream. “Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”
“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly. “Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!” “This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”
“Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog. “Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”
So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?” The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.
“I could not help myself. It is my nature.” Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
I think of myself as a nice guy. I put a lot of energy into caring for other people and I try to be the best that I can possibly be for everyone. I want to be a great Master, a great friend and the source of all things wonderful (and nothing bad) for those I love. But, it is in my nature as a Master to want what I want, when I want it. It’s not that I don’t have patience, I do, I have an almost zen-like level of it. But, I have a high level of expectation. I don’t know if that’s a Master thing, or if it’s a personal character flaw.
If I ask for something which I think is a legitimate thing to ask within the scope of our relationship, and I know the communication has been clear and that the other person is capable of it, then I’m left in a dilemma if I don’t get it. It’s that coin dropping analogy again. If I let it slide, then that tool is removed from my toolbox. Something which I’m demanding has become optional, and I feel that as a depletion in my dominant energy. If I insist on it, then there are a million ways it can explode in my face in a complex web of misunderstandings. And, if I have to force it, then I feel like I’m tugging on the leash, so in addition to the misunderstandings I’m also exhausted from the sheer exercise of will-power.
All those outcomes are negative, and all leave me with what I’m calling Master-enervation. Whether I get my way or I don’t get my way, I’m left flattened. I’ve heard of people who are energised by conflict. That’s not me.
The best and only way I know to minimise this in long distance relationships is to be more consultative than you ever imagined possible, ask a lot of questions, apply a lot of empathy and be as flexible with expectations as you can possibly be within the perceived construct of your role (of Master) and the direction you are trying to apply to the relationship.
For me, it has challenges. Like a big iron bridge, I do feel the M/s flexing and bending under my feet sometimes. But the reason they build iron bridges to flex is that if they were rigid they’d break in the first storm.