I’d had a really bad day. The reasons were trivial: I stepped in a puddle and my shoes got wet, I was tired from school, I was hungry. I felt overwhelmed, and so tied up in my brain that I forgot how to be present. Instead of leaning on L, I took out my feelings on her. I acted out against the rules that we’d set and she punished me according to those rules. I felt the flogger fall against my skin again and again. By the time it was over, I wasn’t just apologetic, I was at peace. Something about pain demands attention. Something about it makes me feel like I can finally breathe. When people talk about subspace, for me, this is what they mean.
For the rest of the evening, I floated in that space. I sat at L’s feet and loved curling into her legs. I waited for instructions to perform any acts of service she needed, but I didn’t have the usual anxious desire to do more that accompanies me when I wait on her — I just felt ready. I noticed when I was hungry and did something about it. I noticed when I was tired and did something about it. I experienced the present.
To be mindful is to be present. I first learned about mindfulness when I trained to be an actor and felt it reinforced when I seriously began therapy. As a way to combat a cocktail of mental illnesses that try and keep my mind anywhere but the present, mindful living is work. Meditation isn’t easy for me — I feel like I’m always doing it wrong — but on the rare occasion it works, there’s a glimmer of what could be. Subspace gives me that same glimmer — more easily and more consistently, if less intentionally — but getting there doesn’t feel like impossible work the way that meditation does.
The more I experience subspace, the more I think that mindful living is possible for me. In that space, I don’t experience feelings as good or bad, but just as present. I surround myself with a mandatory fog just to be able to make it throughout the day — it ensures I don’t feel anything too deeply or experience anything too intensely, but it also hinders me from having authentically embodying the present. In subspace, that fog is gone and I see and experience my life in the moment. I feel at the same time excited, surprised and at peace. I am prepared for whatever comes next because I’ve accepted that I have no control over it. When in subspace, I exist in the present for one purpose: to be submissive to my dominant.
My intentions in subspace are different than my intentions in meditation, which I think may contribute to their different states of mindfulness. When I meditate, I’m trying to meditate right. I want to do what my therapist has taught me to do in order to be in the present, which means I end up not actually trying to be in the present but just trying to be right. When I enter subspace, being in the present comes easier because I’m not focused on it. Instead, I focus on serving, submitting and being all that my dominant needs. I’m not trying to force being in the present, so I am.
I don’t know how all these things correlate to one another except that I know when I’m in subspace that I feel like I’m doing something natural and good. I feel like my life is manageable and organized. I feel like I have a purpose, but I don’t feel crushed by the weight of that purpose. I know that I am cared for and supported. For me, the act of submission is the act of being mindful. I am not the best submissive when I’m thinking about submission, I am the best submissive when I’m practicing submission. In that same vein, I am my best self when I’m practicing life, not just thinking about it. The key to submission, and I guess kinda to life also, is that they don’t work for me if I think about them. The fun, and growth, comes in the practice.