Beyond Black and white

Beyond the Black and the White

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.

Brene Brown
Beyond Black and White

I had to think quite hard about this quotation. Much as I wouldn’t like to admit it, I think in some ways I have been similar to Brene Brown. Looking back at my life, I would have to say that I probably did protect myself from vulnerability. This wasn’t a conscious thing but I did work hard to make things definite and certain. I had quite black and white thinking. This would still be my preferred default, although Dominance and submission has pushed me in another direction. I have had to make myself vulnerable and allow myself to give up some of the control that kept me protected.

Not that I feel as if I am at risk, of course. As a Dominant and protector HL does a good job of keeping me safe and allowing me to grow. And it is this growth that allows me to see how much I held back before. I had all of the things listed above and was happy with that, but I didn’t experience them to the same level. I feel that currently my ability to expose myself and show my vulnerability allows me to experience things on a different level. I suppose it allows me to take more risks.

I am definitely stronger now in terms of what I can endure. Partly, we endure it together and that makes it so much less of a burden. What happens, happens to us, and not just to me or to HL. That has made a significant difference. I am also more resilient and more resourceful. I can take those chances, put myself out there, in a way which I might not have done previously. I don’t have to worry about an escape plan, although that is a hard habit to break, because I trust that HL has my back.

When I lean into my submission, and into my vulnerability, things tend to work better and more smoothly. At points where I feel it less keenly and drift into my own world a little more, the habit of black and white thinking returns and I am less flexible and less open to new things. I close the door and baton down the hatches, and try to keep myself safe in the unknown. I am less able to experience things as fully as I do at other times, because my focus is much more on doing and much less on feeling.

I have learnt over the years about the value of vulnerability in building the sort of connections I want and crave, whether those are connections with things and experiences, or with people and relationships. Submission has certainly taught me about this. Without it, our relationship would not be what it is, and I would not have the level of intimacy and intensity that I have always desired. It has also allowed me to take this and apply it to situations outside our dynamic so it has been positive on all counts.

It is still difficult to allow myself to be vulnerable. It is part of a conscious letting go really, a choosing of a different path and a different response. It is very difficult to re-route those hardwired reactions, particularly when they are there to keep us safe. But moving beyond the black and the white has allowed me to experience so much more than I would have done without it. I am less stuck. I push back as a natural defence, but Dominance and submission allows me to be pushed past it and into new realms of colour.

To read more of my submissive reflection, please head to my Submissive Journal.

Posted in Projects, Submissive Journal, Throwing Caution To The Window and tagged , , , , .


  1. I love this post. The Brene Brown quote resonates. I spent my whole life protecting myself. One person at a time was allowed “in” to my vulnerability. But even then I never let go. Now for the first time, I am with a Dominatrix, and it is changing my life.

    • It must feel like a huge step. I have never dealt with not being able to be who I really was so can’t imagine how difficult that must be. Realizing the feelings I had always felt were submissive ones and trying to follow through was s change enough. I am glad that you are in a place now where you are able to explore all of those things. xx

    • Aww thank you. That means a lot to me. It is lovely to see you too. I have been in my own little world for a bit so it is good to be back blogging and engaging with people again. I hope that you are well and that things are going good for you xx

  2. As usual, an excellent post. “Without it (submission) I could not have the level of intimacy and intensity that I have always desired”..Thst ,to me is a most insightful statement. Submission is a remarkably powerful thing. it is not always easy to practice but it can be SO rewarding. It can lead to increased trust, increased peace, higher levels of intimacy and intensity, and increased unity in a relationship. I think it is conducive to passion as well.
    Thank you for providing us with rewarding insight into such a life changing and relationship building practice!

    • Thank you. And I know how hard to can be to achieve. We are a constant work in progress. Sometimes things feel easier than at others but I guess that is life really. Thank you for your kind comment xx

  3. Your musings are always food for thought, Missy, and this post is no different. It IS difficult to be vulnerable, and somehow I think circumstances should be ideal to be able to let go. Love that you have the safe environment to be able to do it!
    ~ Marie xox

    • I think it is one of those things we are continually learning with. And as you say, it comes and goes as circumstances dictate. x

  4. There is the concept of “practice makes perfect” — that doing something, and then doing it again… and again… will make you get better at it.

    Vulnerability, though… It doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t get easier with time. (At least *I* don’t think so.) And yet, there is the idea that practicing vulnerability will ‘perfect’ something about us — or at least, ‘improve’ us in some way, like bettering our ability to Have Relationships or Be Agents of Change whatnot — and honestly…

    I kinda think it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

    I do not say that to negate anything you’ve said here; your experience of growth through vulnerability is unique to your relationship with HL and as an outsider, I certainly appreciate the glimpses you share.

    I”m not personally much good at being vulnerable though. And I can’t say that my “practice” has made perfect. It’s more like, my practice makes me want to NOT practice. *laugh*

    A n y w a y

    Just being real. 😉

    • I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from there. It does leave you open to being hurt or let down and that has happened to me in different contexts. I usually feel at the end of the day that the chance was worth it though as it has helped me form the good relationships I have, which thankfully are fewer than the rotten ones where I ended up feeling betrayed and let down. Perhaps I have just been lucky though. I do get your point about practice making perfect. I don’t think makes a difference either. It either works or it doesn’t and that depends on the relationship itself. Thanks for sharing your own thoughts. It is always good to have a different viewpoint. x

  5. My vulnerability is something I have always been there, but I shield it with humor, ,and a few other things. I made a huge error in judgement and allowed myself to be vulnerable to the wrong person.

    That is precisely why I feel anger, nervous, sometimes crazy and I just wonder what I am doing all this education, reading, etc if I do not have a D to my s………

    Sure it my research has helped me in some others ways in life, but then sometimes it makes the lack of a partner shine brighter.

    Ahh, don’t mind my early morning musings.

    Missy, you and I seem to share a lot of similar views on things.

    Vulnerability is many different things to different people.

    Being vulnerable takes guts because it can turn around and bite you in the ass

    @Mrs. Fever I can certainly appreciate where you stand too.

    • I think you can feel very submissive and identify as such even without a D to your s, as you say. I can understand being wary when you have been hurt too. I am lucky to be able to explore within a safe relationship x

  6. Missy,

    Love love your picture…….are those tights? May I ask where you acquired them? Lol, I do not have long legs but I do enjoy a good pair of tights. I am cold natured and in colder months (we do not have a long winter in SC) but I especially love fleece lined tights, or anything along that category to help with layering.

    • Hi Nonya. They are tights. I used holdups for my avatar image but was meant to be speaking at an event and wanted something more suitable so I bought the tights. They were quite expensive as I didn’t want those cheap ones where they colour is sort of painted on rather than being woven. These are quite heavy denier. They are Emillio Cavallini. This is the link to their shop if you want. x

  7. Probably, it is in the genes of almost every person not to show their vulnerability, which can be perceived by others as a weakness. And only a mature person is ready for such behavior, because he knows that in fact he is strong and courageous.

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