“So humiliating.” was the IM message waiting for me on my Hangout last night. It was from slave angie. Reading further, I found out that she’d been pulled over and the police officer proceeded to act like an ass towards her. The ticket he gave her is one of those head-scratchers, but that’s not what this post is about.
This is one of those moments where my brain goes into overdrive. Build a tree in my head of actions and responses. What’s the real story? Was it negligence or a lead foot? Is this going to be expensive? Look at the situation. Get the facts.
So she came home later, I invited her upstairs to talk. No sitting on the bed, she went into the default position (Military parade rest, slightly relaxed) and we talked about it. Come to find out what a raw deal she got, and I believe her story. She was very nervous following me upstairs, which I get. She got even more nervous when I put her into position, but I find that these talks go better when we stay firmly in roles. The positions reinforce that. I could see her visibly relax once we got through the story and figured out what was going on and I gave her direction on what to do next.
The thing is that a lot of times in the past, I would overreact “in role” and “overMaster” or even worse, let the emotions rule and take over. Even keel, keep as hard of control on my emotions and get the facts first. Take action only when I know the facts, or do what I need to do in order to get more facts. BUT… the roles stay in place.
When someone hears the old story that a Master needs to master and control themselves first and foremost, those aren’t just words. It can be a lot harder to control ourselves than to exercise authority over someone else. It’s one of those “always getting better at it” things too.
I find that keeping our roles in place, in our minds, feels a lot more natural than it used to, and I think that has come with experience and trust in this relationship. I lead, she follows. The more I lead with calmness, with certainty, the more she can follow in trust.
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the Hagakure, which I’ve probably shared in the past, but it’s a good one, so I will repeat it again. It applies to this.
“There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.”