Yeah, still here…
I’m like that little floppy-eared bastard with the drum… I just keep going and going.
So what’s been going on? This is another long one, kids. But there’s something fun at the end, if you want to slog through. Or just fast-forward. Up to you.
The past few months, I’ve been dealing with two separate issues. One you already know about; a bad bout of depression that was triggered by something that happened at the end of last year and then decided it wasn’t going to go away. And two, I started having shoulder pain a few months ago. At first I thought I just pulled something or another at the gym, so I worked around it, saw the chiropractor, iced it. But that didn’t go away either. Then it started hurting when I wasn’t even moving it. When it started impacting my sleep (damn near every position except on my back hurt), I knew I’d have to do something about it. And I was sick to death of feeling like death every day, too.
So at the end of March, I started making appointments. First, my regular doc to look at my shoulder, and second, with my HMO’s therapy department to 1. see if my meds need tweaking and 2. try to find a new therapist, as the one I had for over twenty-five years retired two years ago.
Going through the questions and interviews and appointments for therapy are so much fun, especially the tests they have you take, asking you to rate various thoughts and feelings and situations 1 through 5 (1 = Never, 5 = All the time). “How often do you have thoughts of hurting yourself?” “Do you use recreational drugs?” “Do you drink?” “Do you have trouble sleeping?” “Do you feel useless, guilty, unloved, hopeless, blah blah blah?” And then you have an appointment with a psychiatrist to assess your needs — said psychiatrist essentially asks you the same questions again. Because I am my father’s daughter, I couldn’t resist a bit of dark humor.
Doctor: Have you ever tried to commit suicide?
Me: Yeah, when I was nineteen.
Me: It was pretty lame; I blew out the pilot lights on the stove and in the heater, turned everything up full blast, closed the windows, and went to sleep. But I woke up.
Doctor: And are you thinking about doing that now?
Me: No, my apartment is all electric now.
What can I say. I saw her trying to hide a laugh. I mean, I get why they have to ask all this stuff. They want to make sure you’re not going to leave the appointment and then go jump in front of a bus. But still… enough. If I haven’t offed myself by now, it ain’t happening.
Anyway, after that, she decided not to switch my meds to something else, just to up the existing a bit, and also suggested I try exercising a little more and to start taking melatonin at night for better sleep quality. And then she referred me to a therapist, who I heard from shortly thereafter.
I’ve had two appointments with her so far and I like her. The first hour, I gave her an overall intro of my younger life: alcoholic dad, hypercritical mom, brother dying, the revolving door of stepmothers, eating disorders and depression, and other general suckage. The second appointment, I told her about Erica Scott and that part of my life. I didn’t get overly detailed, but I needed her to know about the scene, since so much of my current depression is around that. It took all the nerve I had, but I felt better afterward. So I’ll be seeing her regularly. Best part — the copay is only $15.
As for my shoulder, that’s been a lot more challenging. First my doc took an X-ray, found nothing, and suggested I simply stop exercising my upper body until this goes away… in six months or so. Not happening. I’m no doctor, but one thing I do know is you do not stop moving a body part just because it’s injured. You work around it, strengthen the area, keep things moving and flexible. So I asked the doc to refer me to the physical therapy department (after she turned down my request for an MRI). Long story short, I have a vague catch-all term for what’s happening: “Shoulder impingement syndrome.” I’ve had to adjust my workouts, my sleeping position, and the PT has been giving me exercises to do at home, adding another couple every time I see her. I’m up to eight exercises in the series, which take about twenty minutes to a half-hour, and I have to do them twice a day. And that’s on top of regular workouts. Oh, and ice, heat, and Advil/Aleve as needed.
Having shoulder pain is, well, a pain. Never take for granted simple things like pulling a shirt over your head without wanting to scream and cuss. But I’m working on it. You can’t say I’m not being proactive through all this crap.
I’ve been on the new dose of meds for about six weeks now. I do feel a bit better. Through all this, I’ve been highly functional. I got up every morning, got dressed, worked, did what needed doing. But I cried every day, and every night, my last thought before going to sleep was “Please let me die.” That hasn’t been happening for a while. So, progress. And along with a better mood came… guess what. Yeah, you got it. A renewed desire to play.
I had deactivated FetLife, and had no desire to go back on there, because there is someone I don’t want to encounter. So I reactivated some old ads on *shudder* Alt.com and SpankingPersonalAds.com. Yeah, I know. I was opening myself up to CHoS entries once again… and they delivered. Good grief. The very first reply I got after rejoining Alt was a dick pic accompanied with the message, “Want your ass, bitch!” However, there are occasional diamonds in heaps of coal, so I soldiered on. Had a couple of coffee dates; nice men, but just not a fit. One flat-out said he couldn’t imagine giving a woman a spanking and then not having sex afterward. “Guess I’d go jerk off,” he said. Charming.
Then I heard from B, an Irish gentleman who lives in Northern California. I liked how he wrote, I really liked his picture, and we started sending long messages, taking it from the kink site to email. Then he suggested we talk on the phone. I’m not a phone person, as you all know, but I was curious. So he called me one evening at a predetermined time, and we chatted for about two hours. He mentioned that he’d decided when he turned 50 (he’s 51) that he was going to travel to meet people and play, and he asked what my availability was. I said I spend Friday evening through Sunday at John’s, but Monday through Thursday I was home and my time was flexible. He said, “Well, that’s a problem. I work Monday through Friday.”
Well, crap. There goes that, I thought.
Until next day, when he texted me to say he’d enjoyed our conversation, mentioning that he gets chatty when he’s had a glass of wine. I texted back that I enjoyed it too, and I didn’t even have any wine.
He then wrote back that he was going to have to punish me for letting an Irishman drink alone.
Jesus Freaking Christ on a cracker. I was reading this in the locker room at the gym and damn near had a spontaneous orgasm. I answered that I failed to see the logic in this.
His reply: “Just Google ‘Irish stereotypes drinking’ and you will see how punishable this infraction is.” Ye Gods. We bantered a bit back and forth until I finally said that I was at the gym and if he didn’t stop talking like this, I was going to drop a weight on my foot.
Two days later, he texted again and asked what was the closest airport to me, and I said Burbank. He said he could fly out on a Friday night and we could play, and he’d fly home the next day.
I told him I’d have to talk with John about this, because it would impact my time with him and I make a point of trying not to do that, so I’d get back to him. John’s reaction? “Life is short. Try it once.”
I love this man. ♥
So we planned it for the weekend of May 11. One snag — it turned out he was arriving around 11 p.m., so we’d need to play Saturday. Argh… I had planned to meet him Friday night, play, then head on to John’s. Now it was looking like I wasn’t getting to John’s until sometime Saturday afternoon. But I was all in, and that was that. And for once, the stars aligned; as it happened, John had a crew scheduled Saturday morning to cut down a tree in his back yard, and they were going to be chain-sawing and jack-hammering all morning. So it was just as well that I not be there.
I asked B if he could please come early Saturday morning, say around 9:00. We settled on 9:15. In the meantime, he’d friended me on Facebook, so I could read all about him. I had a full name, a number, an email. He said he could provide references; just the fact that he offered that meant (to me) that I didn’t need them. I was ready. Oh, and did I mention I was nervous AF? It had been six months. And did I also mention this guy is very big on caning? What the hell kind of tolerance was I going to have after such a long hiatus?
B didn’t like the idea of playing in his hotel, so he was coming to my apartment. Bright and early, he showed up. Even more handsome than his pictures, with that accent and the most beautiful blue eyes… oh, Christ, was I ready.
He’d brought his suitcase with him, having checked out of his hotel, and as he settled in, he unzipped one compartment and pulled out four canes, an implement that looked like a whole bunch of skinny canes bundled together, two tawses, and one short strap. Easy, Erica. Don’t panic. You’ve got this. Bionic Butt, remember? It’s like riding a bike. Oh, wait… I never learned how to ride a bike. Fuck. When he showed me the tawse, he explained it was a Scottish Lochgelly tawse, and it looked like one mean mofo — two tongues and very thick. He then added, “We probably won’t be using this.” Probably thought it was a bit too harsh for a first session. I certainly didn’t argue.
Mercifully, he did give me a brief warm-up OTK with his hand and the short leather strap, over my jeans. But all too quickly, it was done, and he had me get back up while he searched for the best place to bend me over for caning. The ottoman was too low, the armchair had no swinging room — but my bed was just right.
What is it about UK men and the cane? I have been caned many times by many tops, but no one seems to have the prowess and precision quite like UK tops. B was no exception. He was very methodical in his corporal punishment delivery — I had to count every stroke, I had to say “sir” with each one, and he was measured and even and focused. I’ve often said that a lot of people are afraid of the cane, but they shouldn’t be; the cane is only as bad as the person wielding it, like any other implement. In the right hands, in conscientious hands, it is intense, it hurts, but it’s a good hurt. It’s deep and it’s lingering and it’s…. mmmmmnggghhh. Yeah, that’s the word for it.
He gave me sets of twelve, and occasionally sets of twenty-four. I lost count of how many there were. He used that cane bundle too. We took breaks periodically, his decision. Here I am somewhere in the middle of it all.
Look how spot on those cane strokes are. And yet, I felt all of those implements on my back, plus one more cane not in the picture.
You would think that after six months of no play, of practically re-virginized skin, this would have been enough, yes? You’d be wrong.
He stopped when he thought I’d had enough. He was gauging my skin and my color. And because we had just met and he didn’t know the full scope of my tolerance, he exercised caution. I knew all that and appreciated every bit of it. But…
I still wanted more.
So when we got up, went back into the living room and sat on the couch to talk, I told him so. I said it wasn’t a criticism; I just liked to be pushed a bit. And because I haven’t played for so long, I’m feeling insatiable. He didn’t answer that, and changed the subject. I figured okay, this was great, we had a good intense scene and I got to dip my toes back in the water.
Until about ten minutes later when he suddenly stood up, picked up the tawse, and said, “Back in the bedroom.”
Once there, he said, “I’m going to give you twelve. After that, I will ask you if you want twelve more. You will not want them.” I still had my jeans on; how bad could it be?
Oh, crap. That tawse is one mean son of a bitch. It packed a wallop, even over denim. I felt a bit shaky after the twelve were done.
“Do you want twelve more?” he asked.
“Yes, please,” I replied.
The next twelve were harder, and I was barely able to keep count by the end. He told me to stand, and I did, on shaky legs. “Wow,” I murmured, looking at the wicked thing in his hands. “That was intense. I can’t even imagine how that feels on bare skin.”
He just looked at me, not putting the tawse down. “Want more?” I hesitated. “How about six.” “OK.” “Pants down.”
Took down my jeans, and he gave me six hard ones. And then, he gave me six more. I took thirty-six with that beastly thing.
And I felt so. Damn. Good. I haven’t lost it. I’ve still got it. Now I was done.
Notice the absence of something? Like, I don’t know… wrapping? Unevenness? Perfect balance and distribution. I was impressed.
It was now almost 12:30, so we started to pull our things together. I had already put my weekend suitcase in the car, so all we had to do was gather all his stuff and then I was driving him to the rental car place near the Burbank airport (which was on the way to John’s), so he could drive into Orange County to a shop he wanted to visit there, and then he would fly home from LAX. As he was getting ready, I glanced at my bar top and saw a box that hadn’t been there before. “Is this yours?” I asked. “No,” he said, “it’s yours. It’s a gift.” It was a stove-top espresso pot! In one of our earlier conversations, he had asked me, apropos of nothing, if I liked coffee, and I told him I did. I thought, okay, maybe he’ll bring coffee when he comes over, but then he didn’t, and I forgot about it. Wow. I did not expect a present, and I was really tickled. Thank you, sir, for everything.
I have to admit, what happened last year made me seriously question my judgment in people, my instincts about who is good and who isn’t. But even someone who’s usually pretty accurate about sussing people out could be thoroughly taken in by someone who was so charming and convincing. My instincts are not flawed; they’re just not perfect every time. This time, they were spot on.
I wasn’t sore that evening, which was strangely disappointing. But when I woke up Sunday morning and sat up… holy hell. My butt felt like it had been hit by a bus. Repeatedly. I was sore, deep into the tissues and muscles, but not a mark on me. I think that might have been due to B kneading out the cane strokes in between sets. He asked me which I preferred: having the massage, or having marks. Naturally, I said I like both. I felt the soreness for two days and relished it.
So. Project Erica Taking Her Power Back. Getting my life back, my spirits back, my kink mojo and confidence back. And finding new ways to indulge it, because I can’t go back to the way things were. There’s too much mistrust and pain. Eventually, I will write more about this. I still won’t name names. But I think it’s time to talk about it; I just have to figure out how. Meanwhile… please hold a good thought for me. Healing thoughts for my shoulder and my psyche. And for God’s sake, wish me a local play partner!
And finally, a side note: RIP, Tardar Sauce (yes, that’s how they spelled it), AKA Grumpy Cat. The iconic kitty has passed away at age 7. I mention this because she was my spirit animal, and I related to so many of the memes. But I will always have my little desk mascot.
As always, thanks for reading.