Dependent and Independent – I am Both
I remember one of the first times my Master and I had a conversation, and I tried to make him understand what kind of a person I was. “I am a strong and independent woman!” Only, that is not really true. It is how I perceive myself, and it is how I am perceived by others a lot of times. But in reality, to be able to survive and thrive, we are all dependent on other people. Some more, some less. We are social animals after all, and we all need the love and care of others. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be independent in other ways, and that independence and dependence can’t both be present in someone’s life, at the same time.
Dependency in my D/s Relationship
I am dependent on my Master for many things. And I have struggled with that for a long time, I have come to realize that it is okay to rely on people you trust. I am chronically mentally and physically ill so I need his support in a lot of practical things, like getting in touch with professionals when I need help, like helping me get out of bed in the mornings when I am struggling. Reminding me to eat, reminding me to drink, pushing me to sleep. I am very dependent on him when it comes to creating a sort of safety and stability in my life. Without question, I need his guidance, his feedback, his patience.
I know those things are often present in vanilla couples as well, but I feel that in a D/s relationship, the connections go deeper. My Master provides me with something that I yearn for: dominance and guidance, sexual pleasure and safety. I also give back though, so it isn’t a one-way street. I give him my submission, I am sexually available and I am grateful. Though, I still sometimes feel that I don’t give as much as he does and it hurts me to think that we are in an unbalanced relationship. But then I get his reassurance that I contribute to the stability of our connection just as much he does.
It does seem a little odd to talk about balance in a D/s relationship. There is a power imbalance after all. But like all relationships, D/s relationships are not as black and white as most people think. The power imbalance, the dominance and submission, doesn’t always exist in all areas, nor does it need to be a constant. And not only that, as a submissive, I have just as much to say about the direction and nature of our relationship as my Master does. We discuss the rules, we discuss what goes right and what needs improvement. We built and are constantly building the framework together. So we are equals in forming our relationship, and we both are equally expected to do our best in our roles. But in the relationship itself, he has a more of a caretaker role, while I am more the one expressing gratitude.
I don’t mind being dependent on him. It doesn’t mean that I take him for granted or that I expect him to never leave. It just means that for now, I am grateful for everything that he does for me. And just because I am dependent on his guidance and support to function and sometimes even survive, I also feel like that I have a bit of wiggle room to not feel too constrained of the sort of relationship that we have. I am a brat after all, and I get to play and tease. And there is a sort of freedom in submission as well. You can just let go and feel free under the control of someone that you trust. That is a kind of freedom, and moment of breathing out, that many people don’t get to experience.
Frustrations and Risks
One area of dependency that frustrates me is finances. I don’t have a lot of income at the moment and I will most likely never be able to hold down a full-time job. And due to past trauma, where financial dependency was often used as a way to control and hurt me, I have a strong urge to be financially independent. It really is a huge trigger for me and it is saddening that I might never get to the point where my own income would be enough for me to provide for myself.
I understand that risks of co-dependency and inter-dependency in D/s relationships, but I also think that the important thing is that you are aware of those risks and then navigate the connection in a way that it seems comfortable and healthy to you. Some people need a caretaker Dom, or a Daddy Dom or a strong Disciplinarian to be able to function. As long as something feels good and it doesn’t hurt anyone else (unless they consent to getting hurt, of course!), then I don’t think that any sort of dependency needs to be wrong.
I am a Strong and Independent Woman
However much I am dependent in my relationship, I am quite independent in other ways. I have always been somewhat independent from society’s norms and expectations. I am not known to adapt to rules that seem arbitrary and close-minded. And I have an curious mind. I walk my own way. And yes, I live in an independent relationship style, not at all adapted to the norms of monogamous vanilla relationships.
I have always felt that norms and normalized behaviour were odd and questionable. Everyone has different needs, likes and talents, so why would we all need to be the same? I am not talking from an individualistic capitalist point of view. I am actually a socialist. And I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities to discover who they are, and be who they are, no matter their age, gender, race, sexuality, financial status or belief system. But it seems like in society, there are so many normalized ideas about what we should want and need that I never adhered to. I never wanted to be rich, become a mother or have a high status job. I don’t want a car, a house or a yacht. My way of thinking and my needs and wants in life are very much independent from what the general society years for.
Forming my own opinions and having my own way of life
I am just not someone who is swayed by popular opinion. I make up my own opinion by following what my compassion says, by reading up and by comparing it to my general ideological views, and my own sanity. That is why I don’t believe in cancel culture, that is why I want to protect trauma victims, that is why I don’t understand narcissistic behaviour. I am independent, I observe, and then form my own opinion. And I would hate if everyone shared my view though, because I think the plurality of voices make up for the intriguing colourfulness of our modern society. I want to learn and persuade through intelligent conversation. Hand me a torch, and I will throw it into the lake.
I am independent from society’s norms in so many ways: I am goth, I am fat and not hiding it, I am mentally ill and openly talking about it, I talk about sex, I am a sex worker, I am an atheist, I am a feminist and I am vegan. My views are very independent from the normalized expectations of society. I have an independent way of thinking and living, and I am quite proud of that I am not one of the sheep.
I know that you can never form your opinions, views or convictions without any influence from other people. Consequently, I am still somewhat dependent on the discourse and context I live in, the literature and texts I consume, and the discussions I have with other people. But I think I am as independent as one can be in the circumstances that I depend on to help me grow and progress.
So yeah, dependency and independence can exist in the same person, at the same time. It is all about what angle you have. and which perspective you prefer. We are all multi-dimensional and no one is just one thing, neatly packed into a box with parameters that remain the same. I abhor black and white thinking and I don’t believe in easily calculated truths outside the sciences. And I am probably a prime example of all of that: I am a contradictory being but if I were any other way, then who I was wouldn’t make sense to me. I am dependent, yet a strong independent woman.