I wear a collar - except it's a very, very ordinary necklace. It has that meaning to the two of us: taking it off would be asking for my release or him releasing me. But it wouldn't give the least hint of 'collar' to even someone who was looking for it. It certainly doesn't intrude on my consciousness, but i do reach for it and fiddle with it when i'm thinking, or especially when i'm pondering Us or Him or aspects of our relationship, or - you know - when i'm horny.
Recently he presented me with a bracelet. He said he wanted me to have something that he could have me wear when he wanted me to be more explicitly aware and mindful of our dynamic, something that would perhaps intrude on my consciousness. This bracelet is wider and leather, with metal bits, and a D ring and another point of attachment on the back. I quite like the look, a little Mad Max, maybe steampunk, I'm not really a delicate, fine jewelry kind of girl. It is however unmistakably BDSM. It's more a pretty cuff than an interesting bracelet.
And when he gave it to me - i said so, I pointed out that anyone who has any inkling will recognize it immediately for what it is. I balked. I didn't receive it well, i responded with my first thoughts and impulse rather than paying attention to him and what he was asking. He listened to me, he didn't get upset. He even asked if it would feel less exposing if he took the D ring off.
And I've felt awkward and sorry about it ever since. It's not even a matter of "my husband tried to do something nice for me and i shot him down" though i guess it's that too. I didn't listen to him and keep myself open to doing what he asked. He asked me to do something a bit challenging, something a little out of my comfort, that carries just a little risk of embarrassment or awkwardness for me - but not real risk of real harm. And i didn't obey, i argued.
It seems silly to write it now - it's a fairly small thing - our lives go on. But he's been moving us, changing expectations and shifting, deepening the everyday parts of our dynamic. It's subtle; he doesn't tell me what or when, there's no list or explanation of the new rules or ways to be. I have to pay attention and play catch up. And with this, i didn't catch up at all.