I am submissive - most certainly in my relationship with my husband. I submit to him.
And this is the point at which most often people go on to say things such as, "But in all other circumstances, I am strong, independent, intelligent, feisty, a leader; really - I'm dominant, except to my husband/HOH/Master."
As much as people repeat that submissive does not equal doormat, no one seems willing to be considered anything remotely like submissive outside of their relationship. Not only are they not submissive - but they consider themselves dominant.
I'm not at all convinced that the word or the trait 'submissive' should be applied (to people) in contexts outside of intimate relationships/play/ttwd. I think that, used in the context of work, or extended family, or any other social dynamic, the word submissive is almost universally equated with doormat, pushover, shrinking violet, the runt of the litter cowering in the corner. Who wants to admit to that?
I am not dominant in the wider world. I'm not a doormat or a pushover. But i'm not the one who must be in charge. I can be; if i am the one in charge, i do that well. But i prefer to play nicely with others. I'm good on a committee. And i love teaching: it's in charge, yet still collaborative, it requires leading by convincing and motivating, not ordering and directing.
I am an introvert and i am shy. I strongly prefer not to be the center of attention, ever. I can be downright anxious meeting new groups of people or in certain social situations. I don't consider this the same as being a doormat or pushover. I think many people do, or they equate shyness with an inability to function or make decisions.
Certainly there are those who struggle with social anxiety to the point that it is paralyzing, or who are timid to the point of being unable to protect themselves, just as there are those who are extroverted or gregarious to the point of being obnoxious blowhards, or worse. Just as i am shy and an introvert, certainly there are people who identify themselves as submissive in ttwd who are not at all shy and who are quite extroverted, and everything in between.
Of course i am strong, of course i am intelligent, and independent. Who would not claim to be? There are so many types of strength and so many situations people face which require strength. Likewise, there are so many kinds of intelligence. I think everyone lays claim to those in some form.
I'm not really sure what 'independent' is meant to mean. I am very much intertwined with my husband and my family and even in the connections in my life beyond them. Does that make me not independent? Isn't the point of D/s to strengthen certain connections, not sever them? Maybe 'independent' means I am capable, high functioning, accomplished, self sufficient, and many more adjectives that are considered good, but which are really not very well defined either.
So yes - I am submissive: I submit to my husband. Beyond that - I am a lot of things, and there are many traits i do not posses, just as with everyone else out there, including those who are dominant in ttwd. I think it would be ok to have a full stop there - no need for further clarification, justification, explanation, or especially further assumption.