Ever since I entered “the lifestyle,” I have strived to attend as many educational demos as possible. My local dungeon, The Red Chair, offers a monthly educational demo on a wide variety of topics. Since I have always believed that we should never stop learning and teaching, I make an effort to attend those demos whenever possible.

About a year and a half into my journey, I was fortunate enough to attend a demo focusing on the history of the leather lifestyle. As always it was a very educational presentation and I would have listened to the engaging speaker for as long as she was willing to talk to us. I took away an abundance of information from the evening but one thing really stuck with me –the proper return of a collar. She had told us the story of how a collar had once been returned to her and I was struck by how a few extra steps added such a volume of distinction to what could have been an almost forgettable course of action. After all, you don’t hear of very many “returning of the collar” ceremonies.

We all have relationships that end, and usually, when they end, they do so badly. If everything was great, chances are, things would not have ended. I am sure that all of us have returned past items after carelessly throwing them into a trash bag or cardboard box and passing them to their giver with quite a deal of real scorn or feigned nonchalance.

Time passed and eventually, I found myself in the position to return a collar. It had been quite some time since I had been in contact with the person who presented it to me. When we parted ways, I had mentioned the desire to ensure that the collar was in the rightful hands of it owner, where it belonged. I am not sure of the reasoning behind their words and, honestly, their decision was irrelevant, but I was told to just discard the item. It would have been easy to do but it is just not for me to throw away something that, technically, does not belong to me.

The words of the demo came back to me and I decided to return the collar with the same regard in which it was presented. Traditionally, a collar is offered with a great deal of significance for the persons and the relationship they share. But in the heat of emotion, we may not think to return one in the same reverent manner which it was accepted. So, I took it upon myself to rise above the childish feelings I could have so easily resorted to.

I searched a few stores and stumbled across a beautiful leather-covered box that was the perfect size for the collar. Wanting to place the collar on something, I chose a simple, white cotton scarf and folded it until it precisely fit into the box. Lastly, I scattered red rose petals onto the scarf, laid the collar upon everything and scattered more rose petals before closing the box. I sent it via the mutual friend who had agreed to return it on my behalf.

I realize that the collar’s true owner may not have cared how the item was returned, or if it was even returned at all. Taking the steps I chose to take afforded me one last chance to serve someone from whom I had once accepted a collar.  It also allowed me to feel that I had the opportunity to walk away graciously. But more importantly, returning it in such a way allowed me to not only honor our protocol- driven world but to also find the closure I needed.

Laney is a bottom from Alabama who has been an active participant in the BDSM community for two and a half years. She is the Special Events Coordinator for The Red Chair in Birmingham and is a greeter on FetLife. She has a fondness for shiny things and loves to play with staples, scapels and knives. You may find her on FetLife as LaneyDoll.