This is a guest post by Mistress Steel. It was part of her Steel’s Chamber Scrolls which is now defunct. Shared with Permission.
Sometimes it feels like we have an overwhelming need for labels. Everything should nicely fit as if the world or the universe is a gigantic jigsaw puzzle and everything has its place if we look hard enough. The lack of a label or classification makes us nervous. There is a longing to fit in, to find that perfect place where everything will make sense and we can belong at last. We tend to believe that such a place is external to us, maybe existing inside of other people. We look for that acceptance and in the search for belonging we uneasily take on the descriptions that someone else informs us we are.
The existence of labels tends to make us feel more comfortable. More in control. If I know ‘what’ you are then somehow I can ‘manage’ you inside my mind. You become an 'it', a totally understandable something. Compartmentalized, homogenized, categorized and invisible!
None of us is the perfect ‘it’! None of us is the containment of just the traits or characteristics that get that oh so important label stuck on us. When we accept a label, an external identity we are acknowledging only part of who we truly are. All labels fail. Any label can only describe a broad category at best. The limitations of placing too much weight or importance on the label cannot be ignored. To be whole as a person we need to acknowledge and accept all of our traits, characteristics, and sides. The existence of all of our quirks is what makes us unique, different, beautiful and strong. At some point, it becomes important to release the desire to fit ‘into’ any role, label or identity. The only true label that fits is that of a human being. At any given moment in our life, we manifest some combination of all that is within us.
Some people believe that those attributes or traits which are ‘different’ should be pounded out, eliminated or abolished. Differences mean that things don’t fit exactly. If something is different then it takes on a level of unpredictability. That unpredictability makes control of it more difficult, harder to manage. Control is important. Labels are something used to control or manage chaos. If you can identify something then you will probably believe that the existence of a name makes it less frightening, more manageable.
As broad terms or labels, the identity of Dominant and submissive can be considered useful. As personal identities, the need to utilize such a label can be harmful and misleading. Most often the individual will note where a ‘majority’ of their feelings or attributes tend to place them within the sphere of a given label. This leaves a minority yet a viable percentage of the individual unaddressed. In addition, people like to ‘harden’ labels. Forced fit. If the individual admits to any variation in the ‘acceptable’ label then they are not admitted into the club. Again the individual is made to feel outside or unacceptable. A person created the labels. It was an expression of their individual viewpoint. People are relieved that the label exists and race to join. That original label, created by or for a unique individual becomes a box which others try to emulate or become not truly understanding that there is nothing to become but you.
D/s covers the entirety of humanity. All colors, shades, orientations, sexuality’s, genders, desires, and persuasions. No one is excluded. There is no unified model that is the attainable perfection that every individual should strive for. There is nothing which says that one interpretation is any less valid than another. It is not mandatory to enjoy pain, it is not mandatory to need humiliation, it is not necessary to vacate any part of yourself to belong here. It is in our variety and differences that we truly reach our fruition. Being unique and whole is the core of the true self. Be willing to stand outside of the acceptable labels, groups, clusters, organizations, and rhetoric if that is your personal truth. Your strength and the strength of our community is in the open expression of our individual truths. If our differences make us more uncomfortable to others, harder to control and contain then that is a problem for those who wish to control and contain us. If we allow ourselves to become trapped within the created labels of others we are essentially accepting an external level of control or entrapment.
Know that how you express your Domination or submission will be unlike any other human being. You will do it like you do it. Becoming comfortable and accepting of yourself is when you will find your personal strength and internal peace.
Written by F.R.R. Mallory – also known as Mistress Steel. This article may be excerpted from Extreme Space, The Domination and Submission Handbook, Safe, Sane and Consensual, Dangerous Choices or other books by F.R.R. Mallory and shared here with her permission. Please click on the book title for information on how you can order a copy of these books and others by F.R.R. Mallory.