I’ve talked about the vulnerability of asking before, but apparently I have more to say on it.
Asking something of a submissive I’m talking to, expecting something of them, then paying attention to it, prompting them to do better: These are all ways that I communicate that I care. That I’m invested. That I’m trusting them with small pieces.
I don’t like to ask things of people. I know that will sound odd to some who have an idea that a dominant woman is all about asking, nay demanding, things.
But to me, asking something of someone is an attempt to make a connection, a binding of sorts. There is a kind of link there, both in the asking and in the doing what’s been asked.
In a lot of ways it makes me profoundly uncomfortable to ask for things, not least because it makes me feel vulnerable (to a ‘no’, to disappointment, to a feeling of not being heeded, valued, respected). I feel failure from asking as a kind of rejection (‘rejection’ is not quite the right word there, it conjures up something significant, but it’s more a ‘forgot to put sugar in my coffee and ew it’s bitter’ level of feeling).
If I don’t care about that person, I rarely want to enter into that small social contract with them. So I won’t ask, I won’t expect, I won’t pay attention, I won’t prompt.
If I do ask something of someone, and they disappoint me in it, I will feel like offering that tiny snippet was a mistake, I trust them a little less. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, and usually it’s not, it’s tiny.
And trust is not a yes/no switch. It’s a continuum.
I trust people often with big things and not small things. We all do. I trust pretty much everyone I meet not to steal my wallet out of my bag if I leave it with them. It’s a thoughtless kind of trust we all have: There is a clear ‘right and wrong’ in it.
But I may not trust that person to send me a text when they say they will. Something infinitely smaller in scale, but along a completely different dimension of ‘trust’.
They each require different levels of trust, and with the first there is the weight of law and society behind it. People know it’s wrong, there is no equivocation, no decision in it, and the consequences of doing it are dire because they go well beyond some small social contract between individuals. It’s really not a lot to do with me.
With some small thing like a promised text, though, there is no cost in breaking that small trust that has been placed in the agreement they made. Nobody gets hurt, there is no financial cost, there is no physical impact, it’s no big deal.
It’s a small thing. Worthless almost.
“Yeah, I know I said I would, I just forgot/fell asleep/didn’t think it was important/got busy/something.”
If they haven’t yet piqued my interest, I won’t talk to them about it because I just don’t care. It’s more a simple observation that ‘oh, so that’s how you are, I see’. My investment in them is low, and my desire to have to have a conversation about it (i.e. ‘making a big deal’ about it) is nil.
I asked, I offered something, it’s a small vulnerability. Tiny. And if they don’t step up, I feel it.
I file it away as a piece of information about them, and expect less of them going forward.
It’s not a show stopper, it’s just information in the first instance. But repeated demonstrations of their inability to do small inconsequential things I ask for will logically lead me to stop asking and stop expecting anything.
And when I get down to expecting nothing, I will no longer reach out, I will drift away.
I don’t get angry or upset, that would be ludicrous.
But asking for things makes me vulnerable, it puts a tiny piece of me out there to be kept safe or trodden on. I’m seeing if I can trust them enough to see and value some very small thing that I have offered.
And if I find that I can’t, I notice, and I will withdraw it.