When we do play, have sex, or interact in any intimate way at all, anything that reinforces and drives our dynamic - he does both/either/whatever he wants: bound or not, gagged or not, wants to hear my pain or wants me to endure quietly, predicament or quite comfortable, humiliated and objectified or attended to and coddled, pain, pleasure and everything in between.... always his choice and i have to catch up and follow along.
For the mental submission though, the day-to-day mundane - the true opening of myself to him - i am never bound or gagged or restrained in any way. I am expected to follow, to comply, and to open up to him entirely of my own accord. I have to own every bit of it all, take each and every step myself.
The interplay between the physical, intimate and sexual and the mental and practical aspects of submitting is huge. So many acts, demands, shows of force large or very small can put me back where i belong, keep me on track in my mind, reinforce that lovely submissive feeling, and keep the whole thing flowing, His Dominance feeding my Submission feeding His Dominance. When it's good - it's very, very good....
But we do get off track sometimes; the circle breaks. Sometimes it's me, sometimes him, most often it's that the circumstances of life draw us too far outside of ourselves and demand our resources elsewhere. We coast and draw on the energy of our dynamic in these times. That has allowed us to weather some things much better than we would have otherwise. But getting back on track, getting the energy flowing again is hard work.
Lil writes about the getting back beautifully here. All that metaphor comes to me after the fact - not during. My actual, messy reality is that I have a very difficult time remaining open to him while i am putting out fires in the world outside of us. The bigger the fires, the more i become self-reliant and independent. Self-reliant and independent shouldn't necessarily be anathema to submissive, but for me they are too difficult to hold onto at the same time. Normally, i can switch all day long, as the situation demands - mom, professional, His... that's where all those small rituals and subtle shows of submission are so important.
But there is a threshold past which i can't switch back. I obey, i meet expectations, i comply. But i can't open my mind (my heart?). And, damn it, he can tell. I think he doesn't even consider that i would not comply in deed. It's the intent he cares about. If he doesn't have my mind - he's not interested. I get caught up in thinking: if i were really meant for this - wouldn't i have learned how to do it right by now? Is there a fatal flaw in me that keeps me from being able to let go of it all? I can see what i want, what he wants, why can't i just be that?
What i want at those times (now) is some big show of force, or some little ones, demands or actions that would put me back in my place - because i really think that might work. i notice that, at these times, i am incredibly needy, crawling out of my skin with desire to be taken and used hard. And i'm sure that would put my head (and my heart) back exactly where they belong. That doesn't happen though. Instead, he waits for me to take the steps. So i stick to my mantra. "It's not about me," and hope that clears the path.