In the beginning D/s is a fantasy. And oh what a fantasy! It's all whips and chains, and our mental images of perfection--how he should Dominate, how we will submit, and how it will all come so easy and fall into place.
Then some of us start to integrate it into our daily lives.
And it's not all whips and chains. He screws up, we screw up, kids throw up--life happens.
We bring D/s out of the bedroom, adopt power exchange as a way of life, and suddenly it's not all whips and chains anymore--it's displaying a certain level of graciousness while picking up the dirty socks that he will always leave on the living room floor, it's making cookies at night when all you want to do is sleep, it's accepting decisions you disagree with, etc.
It is accepting that his word is the final one.
In short, it's the end of that glorious honeymoon phase.
No longer can we focus on how he should be doing things. Now it's about self improvement, and how he thinks we should be doing things.
While fantasy and reality can intertwine nicely, sharing space with someone every day of your life within terms dictated by them is not something that we can fit into a fantasy mold.
In my opinion, if a submissive is going to live D/s, she can't pick and choose. There is no, "I'll do whatever you want in these exact circumstances, but you had damn-well better start picking up those socks!"
You do it despite the circumstances. And then you pick up the dirty socks.
When you live it, those socks aren't an optional experience, sex isn't an optional experience, cookies at midnight isn't an optional activity, and "I'll do it when and if I feel like it" sure doesn't fly.
Dominant and submissive is who we are, but it is not all that we are. Sometimes each part of the whole plays nicely, and sometimes it doesn't.
It is in acknowledging the struggles that come with reality, that we find the sometimes elusive balance between fantasy and reality.
Because living D/s comes with its share of dirty socks.