Each day in September, I will be posting a question about submission, along with two responses- the first written five years ago and the second from today. I welcome all who wish to join in this exercise to post your own answers in the comments, adjusting the question if necessary to suit your own roles and sensibilities.
Do you include service as a part of your expectations of your submission? How do you define service? What does it mean to you? If not, what is it about the concept of service that is not for you?
Service is very important to me, but I’m not sure if it’s part of my submission. To me, service is an expression of friendship/affection/love (though not necessarily domestic service- imposing my cooking on someone would be more an expression of hatred). It is an investment in a relationship or a community. It’s more about empowerment or efficiency than an expression of submission.
I once overheard someone say that I am a good friend only in so far as I am useful and stay out of the way. While it was meant to be hurtful, I think this is true on some level for me. I express my feelings through service- by helping out in whatever way makes sense. I don’t see this as being used or demeaning myself- it’s just what I want to do for those I care about.
I also feel terrified that I need to do this to hold up my end of a relationship. I need to contribute something, and this is how I can do so.
As a bottom, I sometimes feel a bit of a leech. My play partner takes care to ensure I am comfortable (before they begin, at least), and often exerts considerable energy giving me an amazing experience- to say nothing of the time invested in research and training beforehand. Service is how I like to balance the scales. Following a top’s orders ( . . . unless I can find a cheekier way to respond . . . ) or anticipating their needs is my way of returning the favour and saying thank you.
A similar philosophy is behind my desire to get more involved in the back-end of the local scene (no, not like *that*). This “community service” is my way of showing my appreciation for all of the more casual scenes I have had, distant relationships where more personal acts of service may not be possible or appropriate. Instead of service to an individual, I try to be of service to the scene in a general sense by helping with munches and events, greeting new people, and doing what I can to foster a welcoming atmosphere and sense of community.