Small Acts of Service While Disabled

I am disabled. I struggle with chronic fatigue and pain. It can vary in intensity, but it always affects my life, especially my service.

I don’t mention this for pity, as I’ve had enough pity for one lifetime. No, I share these details because I know that many service-oriented kinksters already struggle with a disability or will develop a disability within their lifetime. It can be devastating to find that one of your favorite ways to serve is now too difficult. I can also be devastating to see how others can serve, either in person or online, and wish you had the same energy, focus, or capabilities. This feeling of devastation, for me, comes and goes in waves. Often I think the feeling is gone, then I find something else I cannot do and it fills my body with shame again.

As of this writing, I’m living half of the week at Master’s house that he shares with his egalitarian partner. During the day, while they both work outside of the home, I work on my own projects and care for their home. I joke that I get to play at being a homemaker. It’s clear that my service makes a visible impact, as I can see clean dishes disappear into cupboards and laundry into drawers. However, some days, that just can’t happen. Some days, I’m so fatigued that a venture to the kitchen for food knocks me out for hours. Those days, I can feel negative about my self and my service.

In Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny’s class “Power Dynamic As Exoskeleton: Coping With Disability in A M/s Relationship,” they noted that power dynamics tend to be oriented around service or control. They went on to say that when service is impossible due to a disability, temporarily or permanently switching to a more control-oriented dynamic can be beneficial. Master and I have instituted these changes in our dynamic when I’m not well. We switch to protocols that emphasize that I’m under his control using possessive call-and-response rituals and particular body language. As Raven Kaldera mentioned in the foreword to Kneeling in Spirit: Disabled Submissives, “…while a physically disabled s-type may be limited in the amount of service they can provide, they can always provide obedience…Never underestimate the power of just plain obeying.”

Nonetheless, I’m insistent on finding opportunities to serve in more manageable ways. As Twysted mentions in Kneeling in Spirit, “…[i]t’s important to let the person do what they can while they can still do something. If you take everything away from them, they may as well lay down and play dead.” When I cannot stand long enough to do the dishes, I can still make sure the dirty plates end up in the sink or dishwasher. While I might not be able to sweep, I can wipe down the table after we finish eating. I remind myself that my presence as a cheerful and knowledgeable companion to Master and his partner is also an act of service.

While I often wish I could serve as much as I might without my disability, it matters that the energy I have, both physically and mentally, is devoted to service. My acts of service might look small, but when Master takes into account the amount of my waking time I use to serve him directly and indirectly, it makes him quite proud. 

If you have a disability and serve, I’d love to hear your story about how you make it work for everyone involved. Please leave a comment below or email me. I look forward to hearing your experiences.

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