Jul 232014
 

semiotics

Almost three years ago, I made J a collar.

I don’t know why I made it — I knew I’d never be able to give it to him. It felt too symbolic, too laden with meaning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for meaning, but it has to be organic. Giving J a collar I made with my own two hands seemed like artificially ascribing meaning to an object it wouldn’t otherwise have. It felt like forced symbolism — because the signifier was manufactured and artificially imbued, and because the signified concept wasn’t even possible.

But I made it. He never knew it existed until he stumbled onto my blog and read about it. It’s not something I ever mentioned, nor did he, until recently.

He asked for it — not his play collar, but the one I made for him.

I was wondering if you might consider letting me wear the collar you made for me the next time I see you. I understand if you wont, but I thought I’d ask.

I refused. I can’t give it to him. I don’t want him to wear it — I don’t even want him to see it.

It isn’t his. It’s not even mine, really. It’s just a scrap of leather on which I etched my mistaken understandings and misguided wishes.

If he put it on, then it would become something more than it is, and I wouldn’t know what to do with it when he leaves.

I’m not even sure I’ll know what to do with myself when he leaves.

o ring flourish

Besides that, J has a collar.

I bought one at my local fetish stop (Fetish Factory) around the same time I bought a bunch of other stuff — a leather corset, a beautiful leather, lace-up hood, nipple clamps, cock rings…

That collar — our play collar — is my collar.

It’s not ideal. It’s a bit too fetishy for my liking — it has three rings when I’d prefer only one, and it’s too wide to be comfortable for him. Besides that, it’s almost too small — it might be a women’s collar (is there such a thing?), or perhaps J has a particularly thick neck — I’m not sure. I have to fasten it on the last hole and even then, sometimes it seems too snug for him.

But with all of that — or perhaps because of it — it’s perfect.

It’s the collar he’s worn when he’s in my reach, under my hands, and in my control… and I adore it. It’s wildly imperfect and anything but ideal, but it’s ours.o ring flourish

When J asked for the collar I made, it got me thinking: What will I do with his collar now that he’s leaving?

I’ll never lock it around another man’s throat. But if I keep his collar, it will feel too much like I’m waiting for him to come back — and I’m not going to do that. We may see each other again, but he won’t come back to me… not for good.

I don’t want him to have it either, because after J is gone, he won’t really be mine anymore. It’s bad enough he’s taking a piece of me with him when he goes — he doesn’t get my collar too.

bolt cutters over heartI’ve been thinking about what to do with it for a while (longer than I’d like to admit), and I finally figured it out. I know exactly what I’ll do with J’s collar now that he’s leaving.

I can’t say it here — not now — I want J to be the first to know.

For now, I’ll say that what I’m going to do with J’s collar is sweet, symbolic, and beautifully flawed… just like we are.

I hope he likes the idea as much as I do.


Composite based on: 1) “HKP Bolt Cutter” by M338, (2009). Work released into the public domain. 2) “Love Heart SVG” by Bubinator, (2007). Work released into the public domain.

  17 Responses to “d/s breakup: what to do with my submissive’s collar?”

  1. This post really gets to me, made me cry even. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I’ve ever had the depth of relationship that you and J have.

    The last time my man and I were together, I called him ‘my boy’ and he nearly wept with joy in my arms. Then he spent the next two weeks holding me at as much of a distance as there ever has been between us. I have given up trying to get around his walls. I told him so tonight.

    I guess I have nostalgia for lost potential, the wishing for what might have been.

    Thank you for your poignant words.

    • It’s not like I’ve ever had the depth of relationship that you and J have. [. . .] I guess I have nostalgia for lost potential, the wishing for what might have been.

      Depth is relative — to time, to affect, to intensity, and to situation. There’s no threshold for mourning what might have been.

      holding me at as much of a distance as there ever has been between us. I have given up trying to get around his walls. I told him so tonight.

      There’s no possibility of seeing it this way now, but what you’re doing is the right thing, and the brave thing. Sometimes a person has to realize that what she faces is too much to handle, too much to overcome, or not worth the cost to make it happen. That’s a good thing — otherwise, even if you manage to tear down those walls, there might not be anything left of you to live what comes next. Kudos to you, Night Owl, for being honest, being proactive, and for being realistic about the present and the future.

      Thank you for your poignant words.

      Thank you for saying so, but because of what you wrote, I can’t help but wish my words didn’t resonate with you.

      Stay strong. :) Be hopeful, love mercilessly, and live honestly — sounds like you’re doing just that. :)

  2. This is sad. I don’t know your whole story, but this story of the collar you made for him but wouldn’t give him is sad. I’m sorry for the need to do this.

    Fury

    • It is sad, but I’m really glad I figured out what to do with his real collar — I know it’s not really important, but it makes me feel better. :)

  3. I love that the collar that you and J use is perfect in its imperfections.

    My previous submissive was a boy whom I called Shadow. I made him a collar of his very own, too–a play collar made out of leather and chain, stamped with the word “Minion.” I never made him a 24/7 collar. Our relationship never reached that point.

    Our break-up was initiated by him, and while it was filled with sadness on both our parts (but, mostly mine), it was fairly amicable. During it, he tried to give me back the collar, but I refused. I told him I could never use it on another, since I had made it for him, and told him to keep it as a memento of our time together. To some extent, I regret that now. Shadow is not the sentimental type, and I think he has probably thrown it away by now (or will at some point), and the thought pains me. While I did make it for him, the collar is really more about me than him; it has all the marks of me in its making. Even though I may not have used it on anyone else, it may have been nice for me to keep it, a symbol of my own power.

    • keep it as a memento of our time together. To some extent, I regret that now. Shadow is not the sentimental type, and I think he has probably thrown it away by now

      Ugh. I hate this — I’ve been in situations like that, where I’ve given something to someone because the object means something to me… only to realize later than they didn’t value it as much as I did/do.

      In that sense, I understand what you mean by this: “the collar is really more about me than him.”

      I don’t think I could think of J’s collar as a symbol of power per se, but more as an (authentic) memento of a really great relationship and a beautiful time in my life.

      Thanks for the comment, Chaos. :)

  4. Collars have been a hot button for me ever since I left my first Dominant’s service. He wanted them back (I had an everyday gold necklace and a leather with rings play collar), and he insisted that it was THE WAY to conduct a breakup between Master and slave. I kept them, because I felt like I had earned every link of gold and inch of cowhide. The fierceness that surrounded our debate represented the depth of emotion that clung to those symbols of our dynamic. My conclusion, after shedding many tears, was that there’s no “right way” to deal with collars. Only what suits the people involved. I’m glad you’ve come up with a solution.

    • He wanted them back (I had an everyday gold necklace and a leather with rings play collar

      I could almost understand why he might want the play collar back… if it’s an issue of him not wanting you to use it for playing with anyone else. That, I get. But the everyday collar… no way. That I don’t understand.

      You’re absolutely right that there is no right way to deal with the issue of collars after the dissolution (or implosion, fizzling out, etc.) of a D/s thing — it should be whatever works for the people involved.

      I absolutely understand what you mean when you say that you earned every inch of your collars… and it’s not like the dissolution of a D/s thing negates what came before it. The relationship (and the dominance, and the submission) might be over, but it doesn’t cancel out your service, his care, or whatever feelings you two had for each other… for that reason, I I get why you would want to keep them. I’m glad you did. :)

  5. Its only “stuff”. Its not you. Its not him.
    Its something you will come across in six months time and wonder why you kept it.
    Give it to him
    Throw it away
    but don’t wear it round your heart

    • Its only “stuff”. Its not you. Its not him.

      Of course it’s only “stuff.” I get that… I mean, I get that it isn’t our relationship, if that’s what you mean.

      Its something you will come across in six months time and wonder why you kept it. Give it to him Throw it away

      Well, I don’t want him to have it, and I certainly don’t want to throw it away. I hope I never find it and wonder why I kept it.

      I’m not big into mementos (knick-knacks, souvenirs, keepsakes, and the like), particularly when it’s a thing that was obtained simply for the purpose of obtaining a thing by which to memorialize some other thing. I don’t like the artificiality, and I certainly don’t like stuff sitting around my house collecting dust.

      With that said, I do have a few mementos that I cherish — my father’s guitar, my grandmother’s wedding ring, my grandfather’s purple heart, and a few other things that are only things, but are special to me. I guess I’m somewhat sentimental that way…

      I certainly don’t use those things to mourn lost loved ones, or times past, but I do see them and they make me smile — it feels like I’m carrying some part of those people and those times forward with me as I make my way through life.

      I get that some people aren’t into that (and others are WAY into it), but to each her own. :)

  6. I think Maid Mary is right, it’s not either of you but it’s not just stuff either. It’s a symbol and a reminder of what you had. I’ve never had a Dominant/submissive relationship that meant so much to me but if I did my collar would hold much symbolism. I wouldn’t “wear it around my heart” if that means letting the memory of what was lost keep me from moving forward. I would keep it as something I could look at later in my life and remember fondly what it meant and how it felt to have something so precious.

    From your posts it is obvious how much your relationship meant to you but I think it is just as obvious that you aren’t going to let it hold you back. I love the way you express your feelings, so powerful, so touching, so real. Thank you.

    • it’s not either of you but it’s not just stuff either. It’s a symbol and a reminder of what you had.

      Agreed. :) Yes, it’s just a thing, but I like things, especially when they’re associated with fond memories and great people.

      I wouldn’t “wear it around my heart” if that means letting the memory of what was lost keep me from moving forward. I would keep it as something I could look at later in my life and remember fondly what it meant and how it felt to have something so precious.

      Exactly! You said it perfectly. :)

      From your posts it is obvious how much your relationship meant to you but I think it is just as obvious that you aren’t going to let it hold you back.

      Thank you for saying so — you’re absolutely right and I’m glad it comes through in what I’ve written here. J and this relationship are very important to me, and I will mourn for their loss. But, I’ll also move on and move forward, better for having known J and better for having had the experience of this relationship and this time in my life.

      I love the way you express your feelings, so powerful, so touching, so real. Thank you.

      Thank you for the kind words about my writing — it means more to me than you know. :)

  7. I understand why you want to do something symbolic with the collar. When I was a teenager and I got my heart broken for the first time, I burned the dress I was wearing the night I met that boy. I didn’t want to keep the dress (it reminded me of him) and I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. So a friend and I made a little fire and I burned it. I felt so free after that!

    • Ha! Sorry to hear about the teenaged broken heart, but your story about burning the dress make me chuckle — such a teen thing to do!

      I hope it burned hot and bright. ;)

  8. Im sorry if my comments made you feel defensive. Its too easy to be casual about the impact that ones words will have on people we don’t really know. My apologies.

    However I was very glad to see what you said about the other things you kept “the purple heart / the guitar/the wedding ring” You look at them and you smile. That’s perfect. Souvenirs should make you smile.

    Im probably much older than you, and for my own personal reasons Im going through my house throwing out “stuff”. The question I hold in front of me is “If you died tomorrow ,what would the children want to hang onto” – and its very little. That probably coloured my original answer.

    • Thank you for saying so, but there’s no need to apologize — you didn’t say anything wrong. I’m just a bit raw and twitchy lately, and also, wondering whether I’m handling all of this in the best way possible.

      Im going through my house throwing out “stuff”. The question I hold in front of me is “If you died tomorrow ,what would the children want to hang onto” – and its very little.

      I absolutely get this. I’ve done the same thing every time I’ve moved into a new place. I don’t like having lots of extra “stuff” around — with very few exceptions, if it isn’t useful, I don’t keep it.

      (Also, thanks for the comment) :)

  9. This is a very interesting post to me. As a new Dominant – and a broke one to boot – I don’t have many toys or accessories that normally feature in a Dominant’s arsenal. This includes the collar. Now, my sub has all these things, and he is much more experienced than I, but his carry the baggage of his previous relationship. I keep wanting to use the collar on him, but it always brings his ex to mind…
    Given what you’ve written here, I feel it even more poignantly. I will have to go out and buy him a new collar asap.
    Thank you.

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