A collar is not made of leather. It isn’t made from metal either. It doesn’t have to fit around your neck. It can be anything at all, because a collar is an idea. A concept—a symbol of commitment in a relationship where one person submits their will to another.
Of course, we’re speaking specifically of the kind of collar a submissive wears. There are other kinds of collars and they can be nothing more than a clothing accessory—but with the right context it can be everything.
I’ve had more than a few collars in my life. Some I bought myself to wear because I liked the look and it’s always fun to wear an obviously “BDSM” collar around your neck, especially when you go to a fetish event so everyone knows you’re a submissive. For a while they were in style and you could get them everywhere in velvet, satin, or even leather, and when you walked around in a public place and saw someone wearing one you got to wonder if they were a submissive, or if they just thought it was cute. Maybe they saw yours and wondered too.
A precious few of them were given to me as part of a relationship. To a submissive, a collar that is given to them by a Dominant can feel like the most important thing in the world. Just seeing it, touching it, can evoke strong emotions and influence behavior.
My current collar is actually a bracelet. It has special beads with specific meanings and it’s meant that more will be added over time for special occasions. Right now, there are three beads: A maple leaf, a lily, and one with a garden leaf design—each means something important. So basically, a charm bracelet but with intense meaning for my submissive self. No one looking at it would ever think ‘collar’ and that’s fine because it’s not for them it’s for me.
At times I get weird about wearing it. I judge myself as deficient in some way, a failure, and I won’t put it on without being told because I don’t think I deserve to wear it. I don’t feel worthy. I’m slowly trying to work through that because it’s not something I’m supposed to feel, but emotions are hard, and they don’t really get along well with logic.
When I put it on my wrist I’m constantly aware of it. Every second I feel the weight of it, the way it slides on my skin when I move my arm. The way the little beads clack as they shift on the silver band and bump into each other. Every sound, every touch is saying “You are loved. You are safe. You are ours.”. When I’m nervous or agitated I play with it; running my fingers over the beads, sliding them back and forth and it soothes me because of the meaning behind it.
So why would I deny myself that comfort, especially when I know that’s what it’s for? I think it’s probably a self-worth issue. Many people struggle with that, of course, but I’ve noticed it’s something submissives in particular have trouble dealing with. It’s an on-going battle and I think sometimes it gets the best of me. Denying myself certain things is a way of punishing myself.
I’ve been reminded more than once that it’s not my job to punish myself, but old habits die hard.
Lately they’ve been ordering me to put it on more often, because they’ve noticed I don’t wear it enough on my own and I really love that. I love (and sometimes also hate, depending) being given any orders, since my submissive side has a strong urge to serve, and it makes me aware of how closely they’re watching my moods. It makes me feel safe, protected, when they notice things, but there’s something else, something that most submissives crave…
The feeling of belonging to someone.
It’s caring and special when a Dominant does things [to you] for your own good, but there’s something deeply satisfying for a submissive when a Dominant does something because they want to. I don’t get many orders like that because there’s not many things I can do for them that they can’t do for themselves with less effort, but the longing is there.
Often when a suggestion is made, or a question is asked, I will try to take care of it as if ordered to, because it gives me that feeling of being useful. When I’m told to put on my bracelet I want to feel that they want it on my wrist because I’m theirs. Because I belong to them. Because I’m claimed.
I know it’s more likely that they just felt I needed to have it on because my mood was dipping, or I seemed to be struggling, but being told to wear it still gives me that sense of being owned and I like that. I need that—but I also need to balance that with being able to put my bracelet on when I need to feel it on my wrist and that’s been harder for me. Like everything else I guess it’s a work in progress.
What I do know is that there really isn’t any feeling quite like wearing a collar that says you belong to someone. I’ll probably never find the right words to explain it, but it makes me have very mixed feelings when I hear a Top talking about how a submissive has to earn their collar first. How can a submissive earn a collar if she doesn’t feel like she’s completely yours to begin with? How can you make someone earn a feeling of safety and connection? Isn’t that one of the fundamentals of this kind of relationship?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should ever collar a person before you know them well. I just think that’s what training collars are for, to provide the safety while you build the connection, and I also feel like you should know a person pretty well before the subject of submitting even comes up. Yet I’ve seen Masters and Doms who want a commitment of submission immediately and then want the submissive to prove themselves before getting a collar and that bothers me.
For some submissives that works, I’m sure. Which just goes to show you how important it is to find the right Dominant and the right style of dominance before you submit. It’s hard to wait, and far too easy to jump for the first Dom who shows up, but trust me, it’s usually a mistake.
I know what I need, and that kind of formality is not for me. Make me safe first, nurture our connection, and then watch me blossom in your collar, because I will.