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On becoming a small letter person

August 23, 2007

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that i’ve recently adopted the small “i” for myself and a bunch of capital letters when i refer to my Master.

i’ve moved in and out of the BDSM scene for about 15 years now, and i always thought the whole capitalization thing to be vaguely ridiculous. Everyone’s entitled to their kink, so i would never have criticized anyone for it, but i always thought it was a bit silly, and was happy that my Master agreed with me and let me write normally.

Ahem.

A couple weeks ago i was writing a reply to a blog comment, and i found that i really, really wanted to write Him instead of him. i’d like to blame it on reading too many D/s blogs, but i don’t get permission to do that very often, so it couldn’t be that. Instead, it was just like the first time i called Him “Master” – something that welled up inside of me, out of my feelings of submission.

i sent Him an email about the way i was feeling, and He said that He had been feeling the same way, and had just been thinking about the right time and way to tell me. He told me that i couldn’t just use the capitals for Him – i had to use the small i for myself. That was harder – i had to really suppress my “this is so ridiculous” reaction for that one. I could justify the capital H as having a functional use – it made it clear when i was writing that the “he” in question was my Master. But a small i is a statement about myself and who i am. His. His submissive. His property.

At least in our D/s relationship (and i think others too), there are a whole slew of little rituals – you can see ours in my rules. Those rituals serve a variety of purposes, but chief among them is to remind me who i belong to. Those constant reminders are what help infuse every bit of my life with my submission. Having to be aware of my submission in every letter that i type is a powerful infusion.

Even beyond that, it’s about respect. In taking me as His submissive, my Master assumed a huge amount of responsibility. Far beyond that in a “regular” relationship. And capitalization is an outward sign of my recognition and appreciation of that responsibility.

That’s the philosophy. In the day to day of being a small letter person, the “i” came far easier than i thought it would, and i’ve gotten so used to it that i have to be mindful not to do it when i’m sending emails from work, etc. The Him’s and He’s are fairly easy to remember, since i am very aware of my submission when i am writing about it to other people. The “You’s” are the hardest. In general, email and blog posts are easier, while SMS and IM are harder.

If i am in a hurry, answering one of His emails just like it’s another thing on my to-do list, then i will almost always forget to capitalize correctly. But when i take a moment to first “place” myself in my submission, to find my submissive self and move it to the foreground, then it comes naturally. It makes me more focused, more submissive, more thoughtful in my writing and careful in my word choice. i will rewrite sentences rather than going back and just fixing the mistakes as an afterthought, because it is the process, not the outcome, that is most important.

When i am “in the zone,” i hardly notice that i am doing it. When i am forgetting, each correction just reminds me to refocus myself on Him and on my submission. When i go back and read the emails or posts later, i love seeing those capital letters. It’s unusual to see capital letters in the middle of sentences, so it catches my attention every time, and in that capturing of attention, it pulls me out of the everyday and into my submission.

7 comments

  1. “But when i take a moment to first “place” myself in my submission”

    The act of language, and more specifically, the grammar, the rules of language serving to put you in your submissive place is truly one of those nuanced aspects of power exchanges that fulfill me. I really like the sound of the term “small letter person”. I hadn’t heard it phrased that way.

    I’m very glad i was led to your site. I shall enjoy perusing it.


  2. Thank you, Deity. i’m glad you’re enjoying my little corner of the blogosphere. i have been given permission to read a few of your posts, and have found them very interesting, insightful and well-written. So it’s very nice to see you here.


  3. I can fully understand that you like the feeling of submission that being a small letter person brings but if you had never seen it done elsewhaere, would you have felt any less submissive or accorded him any less respect????


  4. Katie – i’m not sure i’m understanding your question about seeing it elsewhere?

    i don’t feel like i was less submissive or less respectful before this change in my writing. But i like the way it acts as a marker to Him and to me of that submission and respect, and the way it makes me perceive myself and our relationship.


  5. hi lyn, i liked this post. my owners have never been strict with me about the big and small letter rules either. i actually wrote with small letters all the time before i identified as submissive, and when i started my first blog i asked my owners if they would mind if i just kept their pseudonyms lower-cased, and they said fine.

    but when my old blog had to be taken down and i started my current one, i just felt like i wanted to give them a little extra token of respect. i don’t type Him or Her or that kind of thing, but i do always capitalize Andrew and Morgan, and it makes me happy every time that i do.

    i really like the way you described the headspace that you get into by changing your capitalizing rules. it sounds like this was a really profound exercise for your particular submission. funny how sometimes it’s the smallest things that can get into the depths of our submissive hearts and minds. đŸ™‚


  6. I think writing in a way that pleases your owner/s is important.For me, blogging started as being a tool for me to express my thoughts on my submission to my Dom as it took me a while to express it in person as easily. There is that element sometimes i suppose of ‘is this really me?’. i got into the habit of writing third person and he liked that, and for me it was a tool for helping me be reflective, sort of outward looking in. Sometimes i get frustrated with it from time to time and just want to write ‘normal’ english but then, there is nothing normal or ordinary about what we are writing about so i think that its nice for it to be special. i occasionally come across people who dont like it, or the ‘grammar police’ who says it wrong – ignore them – they’re probably not having as much fun!


  7. persephone – thank you! You said “funny how sometimes it’s the smallest things that can get into the depths of our submissive hearts and minds.” And that’s so very true. Just as the hard things are usually not the things i thought would be hard, the things that make me feel most focused on my submission are similarly unexpected.

    thisgirl – i know what you mean about feeling on the outside looking in. If i think too much about what i’m doing, it all starts to feel completely surreal. So i just try to feel and be instead of think too much about it!



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