I’m finding that, as Jalan accepts more control of my day-to-day life (largely at my request), that “micro-management” is about as useful a term in D/s as “unsafe play.” That is, what I do is edge play, but what that crazy couple does is unsafe. What I do is yield a measure of day-to-day control, but what crazy D/s couple does is micro-manage.
As I’ve ruminated on several times, the metaphors and labels for these relationships are more than a little tricky (I will get back to the point soon). Our primary metaphor is Owner/pet, but on reflection, the degree of authority Jalan has over my activities is not much different than that of many dyads who identify as Master/slave. The details differ between our relationship and the M/s stereotype, of course — but so it would for any given self-identified M/s dyad. Many who identify as such would probably resist the comparison if they witnessed the way we discuss new rules and protocols, rather than Jalan simply dictating them. But the degree of authority is there, once the rules and protocols are finalized by her to her liking and in place.
(This comparison is not meant to downplay the degree of power dynamic a given couple who identify as D/s, or any other /, might actually use — I’m just using M/s as the label most associated with high levels of control.)
Anyway: micro-management. I deal, as most reading this know, with anxiety problems. They come and go, but in periods of high anxiety, I crave and benefit from more assertive control from Jalan — whether in the form of physical restraint or of dictate. As I’ve been struggling with mental health issues recently, I was asking for and generating ideas for new methods of that level of control, especially for use on days on which we are not physically together. She gave it due consideration, and urged me to generate a system that would be flexible enough to meet varying levels of control that she would choose, whether at my request or her own initiative, to exert on a given day (or other increment). She was specific that this should replace the hodgepodge of such systems that have accrued through the time we’ve been together.
We have been using my proposed system for the past week, and it seems to be working well. The night before, or the morning of, the day in question, we create a plan for my day. It usually includes some combination of requirements and optional activities. Almost all regular leisure activities I do (including blogging) are available as options by default, but the plan limits the scope of what I can spend time on that is more likely to be anxiety-producing (e.g., work, personal business, finance — excepting, of course, unpredictable urgent needs that arise during the day, in which case the usual plan of action would be for me to ask permission to add it).
Most nights, I’ve been drafting the agenda and submitting it for her approval, but she always has the option to override components of my draft, or to generate the plan herself, or any degree of cooperative planning in between. Jalan has access to the documents (calendars, lists) that I use as source materials when drafting the plan, and so can check that things are getting done as needed, without letting needs get either frontloaded or backloaded. We also confer on the source materials on an approximately weekly basis, so she has the data. The difference is that I am not to look at the source materials — the longer lists — during the day, but only to work from the day’s agenda.
It’s a very different routine for me than in the past, in which all the have-tos are clamoring for attention all the time. The curb on what I may work on helps calm me, and Jalan has the option to micro-manage as much as she sees fit on a given day (or, of course, re-directing midday if she chooses). Thus, the micro-management I may need, but still under her control.