Erica Scott: Life, Love and Spanking

Ruminations, opinionated observations, darkly humorous blathering and the occasional rant from an outspoken spanko and unapologetic attention wh–, um, hog.

Archive for the category “depression”

Ever Have One You Just Can’t Forget?

I really don’t like admitting vulnerability on here; while it helps readers relate to me, it also opens me up to ridicule from haters who have nothing better to do. But sometimes, in the process of letting go, one has to first admit there’s something they’re holding onto. I know this won’t be relatable to those who only play with their spouses/mates, but for those who have known the unique connection of a play partner who isn’t your primary, hopefully you’ll get this.

In 2019, I was in a bad place, emotionally. In the second half of 2018, I’d had a friend/play partner I’d let in and trusted completely, who ended up hurting me so badly I dropped out of the scene. I deactivated on FetLife and stopped going to parties, so I fell out of contact with a lot of people I was once close to. And then, in the summer of 2019, I met the man I referred to on here as D. He had answered my long-standing Alt ad.

Mind you, I was in a fog of depression. My spanking libido was nil. My confidence was even lower. But this guy tweaked my deadened nerves. He was warm, friendly, full of questions about me, open about his own experiences. We exchanged copious quantities of email. And yes… he was gorgeous, if I could go by his pictures.

We met for coffee… from the get-go, the attraction was mutual and intense. I remember the way he looked at me, the sparkle in his eye. I remember sitting at the table with him, staring at his face, his big hands, his beautiful physique in a suit. I felt that old familiar stirring, one I thought was long dead and buried. That click. That chemistry. That elusive, indescribable something that’s either there or it isn’t. And daaaaamn, was it ever there in this case.

In the following months, we had three incredible scenes at my place. He brought me chocolate each time. He was fun, sexy, good with his hands and with implements, great with the talk, and very eager to learn and improve. Very caring about how my experience had been, how I was feeling. And the attraction? I am not ashamed to admit that my physical attraction to him made our scenes all the more amazing. I can’t explain what it was or how it was happening, but I was like a teenage in hormone hell around this man. My legs would tremble so hard, I could barely stand. My body came alive in every way. No, we didn’t do anything sexual, just played very intensely and I wept in his arms. But yeah. After feeling rejected and horrible for so long, it was pure joy to feel this alive and sexy and wanted again. Plus, I liked him. I liked talking with him. I saw this as something that could be a real friendship that lasted for years.

But it didn’t.

As you guys may remember, he slowly slipped away, got more distant, wrote less, texted less, told me again and again how busy he was. I knew he worked two jobs… but as I’d said then, he’d always had those two jobs and he still found the time to write and text before. And of course, all the old insecurities kicked in, wondering what I’d done or said, blah blah blah. And then, in a moment of weakness, I posted this blog entry.

And he read it. Shit.

He wrote a long email, apologizing, saying he didn’t mean to make me feel that way, that it wasn’t me, it was him… and then admitted that he was back with an on-again, off-again girlfriend. Our play had been great, he learned a lot, I’m sexy and beautiful, and anyone would be privileged to play with me.

I read between the lines. I reread what I had posted and cringed. More than likely, he thought I was a neurotic, needy nut job and he was backing way off, as kindly as he could.

And I was heartbroken. I couldn’t believe I’d found this kind of special friendship again, only to have it yanked away. It took me a very long time to move past it. I’d see his profile on Alt still, and I could see that he had looked at mine. Several times, long after he ended things. But then his profile was deactivated.

Life went on. I played with others, eventually went back to FetLife, and went back to parties. The person who had broken me in 2018 was no longer around. Then Covid hit and I didn’t play with anyone for 15 months. I found C and reunited with Mr. Woodland, and kept up my search for someone regular. I had moved on, or so I thought.

Last week, I had a coffee date with someone who had been giving me the runaround for, quite literally, months. He was interested, he wanted to meet, then he’d disappear. Then reappear, and start up the correspondence again. He told me one name, and then another name. We were writing on Fet, and then he gave me an email address… that didn’t work. We made a plan to meet… and he stood me up. And then apologized profusely and pleaded for another chance. I said okay… and then he disappeared for seven weeks. By then, I’d said screw it, this isn’t happening. Until he contacted me again. I was skeptical, but he seemed sincere this time. He gave me a proper email address. He sent face pictures. He answered messages in a timely manner. And I thought, what the hell. I was curious. After all this, I just had to see who this was.

Long story short — we met last Wednesday. He was 40 minutes late. The pictures he’d sent me were of a much younger man. And the vibe was all wrong. When I said I was sorry but I just wasn’t feeling what I needed to feel, he abruptly got up and walked away. And I went home.

And on the drive home, D flooded into my mind unexpectedly. I couldn’t help but compare the difference between this coffee date and the one I had had with D in 2019. Oh my God, I wanted that again.

When I got home, before I could talk myself out of it, I emailed D. Kept it brief — just said I didn’t know what his situation was these days, but if he should ever want to play again, my door was open. I also said that if the answer was no, that he didn’t have to reply, and I’d have my answer.

Of course, he didn’t reply. I knew he wouldn’t.

I wish I could talk with him one more time. I wish I could tell him that I’m really not a needy, neurotic nut job, that I’m an independent woman with a partner I adore, but I have specific spanking needs and they are hard to fulfill. That he came into my life at a time when I was at a very low and vulnerable point, and that I developed an attachment to him probably too quickly. I wish I could tell him that I don’t want anything from him except play now and then, friendship, and that lovely bliss from great scenes with someone who gets it, who gets me. But I can’t. And I have to let this go.

It’s disconcerting, to say the least, to have all these feelings come crashing back three years after the fact. I am not sure why last week’s encounter made this happen. But I gave it one last try, and now I need to let go.

The other night, feeling defeated, all I could think was, “I am just so fucking tired.” And then, out of nowhere, a lyric from an old Electric Light Orchestra song, “Hold On Tight,” came into my head.

When you need a shoulder to cry on
When you get so sick of trying
Hold on tight to your dream

I guess that’s all any of us can do.

Have a good weekend, y’all. Be safe. ♥

Happy 2020

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope everyone had safe, happy and healthy holidays. Mine were quiet, exactly as I wanted them. Now it’s time to get back into work mode.

Also, it’s time for a fresh start, to dip my toes tentatively back into the scheme of things. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I wrote Notes on the Scene. Back then, I was coming from a place of sadness, hurt and disillusionment. Now, after coming out the other side of an ocean of tears, I think I’m more in a place of clarity. This past year opened my eyes to many things, and I will never again look upon the kink scene as I once did. However, I feel like I can now start to take back what’s good, and leave the rest.

To that end, I reactivated my FetLife account after being off for eleven months. And I plan to go to 50 Freaks in Vegas at the end of February, after a year off from parties. It’s a scary prospect, going back, but there are people I look forward to seeing. As for local play partners, the search continues. But I am hopeful.

For everyone out there reading this who is having a hard time, please hang in there. This time last year, I was going to bed each night and wishing I wouldn’t wake up. But the worst of it seems to have passed. There is a flip side to the darkness. And once again, I recall this expression of hope and comfort: May the depth of your despair be the height of your joy.

So, here’s to a new year, to new beginnings. Because I want to come out from under the covers and get back into this part of who I am. To bring some color back into my life.

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Cheers. ♥

Sometimes, life’s timing is perverse

Thanks to everyone who dropped in to say hello during LOL Days. I know this event isn’t as well attended as it used to be, but it’s still fun to see the people who stop by.

So, about last week. I need to back up a bit to last Tuesday.

You know how you can know in your gut that something bad is coming, but in your head and heart, you still hang on to a bit of hope that it won’t? Therefore, when the inevitable happens, even though you knew it was coming, it still knocks you sideways and hurts like hell? Yeah, that was my last Tuesday. I really don’t want to go into any more detail than that. It doesn’t matter.

I bawled, on and off, all day long and into the evening. I felt like hell, my eyes swelled nearly shut, my face burned from the constant tears. But I had to keep going, keep working. First, I had a lot of work to do and several things committed. And second, the next day, I’d be on my way up north for another visit with B. So I quite literally didn’t have time for pain or emotional fallout.

I finally finished the work I’d promised before taking off Wednesday/Thursday, and went to bed. I didn’t sleep well. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I wondered how I was going to switch gears. I looked awful. And while I was no longer sobbing, my eyes still kept dripping like a broken faucet. In the car on the way to the airport. At the airport. In the plane. In the Uber. Blech. When I arrived at our meeting place, I had an hour before B got off work, so I went into the bathroom and put on some makeup. Time to put all this crap on hold and be in the moment. I was here to have some fun. It was a brief escape and distraction. I could continue to hurt after I got home. But for now, I was going to shelve it and enjoy myself — and be a guest who was a pleasure, not a drag.

After B came to get me and we went back to his place, he put on some music and we chatted a bit. Despite the mood I’d been in for the past day and a half, I felt my spirits perk up and knew my emotions were under control. Whew. I can do this. I can forget about all this crap for a while and be present.

A couple of weeks ago, B had emailed me and asked if we could speak on the phone later, regarding our plans for my visit. As it happened, I was on a deadline that night and I was all stressed out about it, and so I asked if this could be handled by email. You guys know I have a thing about the phone; email and voicemail and texts are my friend. About the only person I talk to on the phone these days is John. So I truly wasn’t trying to be offensive… but I guess I should have been more flexible and agreed to a brief call. We did settle things by email — he wanted to know my choice between November 6 and November 13. I chose November 13 and all was well; he booked it for me and sent me the confirmation. And then told me I was going to be punished for not taking his phone call. Oh, dear.

Soooooo… not long after I arrived, it was time to address that. Upstairs we went. The scene that followed had a lighter tone; B was a bit more playful, and he used his belt for the first time, which I loved. There was the requisite cane, but just twelve this time. And then he did something new; he put a small digital clock (one that counts off seconds) in front of my face on the bed and said he was going to use the tawse very quickly in flurries all over for three minutes. Which sounded like a lot, but I was actually a bit disappointed when it was over — I liked it!

“Was that like I said it would be?” he asked. “Very fast and spread out over a large area?”

“Hey,” I blurted. “Watch it with that ‘large area’ business!”

“Excuse me?”

Oh, crap. “I mean, uh, please refrain from saying ‘large area’ when you’re talking to a woman’s butt… sir!” I think he just replied with “ExCUSE me??” again, so I just broke down and started giggling hysterically, and buried my face in the spread, preparing for an onslaught. But he let it pass. 🙂

“I think you need two more minutes.” Well, okay then. I think two minutes turned into another three and then some more after that — I lost track.

“You enjoyed that too much,” he observed. Guilty.

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This scene left me pleasantly warm and stinging, and relaxed. We then meandered back downstairs and he prepared an omelet for dinner, which was delicious. And then, more music, plus a selection of artisan truffles and Moet Chandon. It’s not all pain and strictness, y’all. B is the consummate host. 🙂

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The picture doesn’t do them justice — his champagne flutes are gorgeous. Can you see the gold rim at the top? And the chocolates were insanely good. The silver ones were my favorite.

It was a cool evening, so we went out to his building’s courtyard and he lit the gas fireplace there, and we sat outside talking for a while. I told him stories about some of my shoots and the people I worked with — he thought Sierra Salem was lovely, and I had spent lots of time with her. I also mentioned about how Keith Jones had nicknamed me “Bionic Bottom” way back when. It’s fun to reminisce; I really have had some amazing times.

Back inside, somehow we got on the subject of the Marx Brothers (!?), and B actually had the temerity to say that “the one who didn’t talk was useless.” Sacrilege! Harpo was brilliant! But what does he know — he’d never even heard of Zeppo, the fourth brother! So one minute we were bickering about this, and the next minute I was OTK, feeling this nasty little strap he has. It’s leather, but it’s very stiff and narrow and it has rivets on both sides, so it really bites.

“Bragging about your video exploits?” he huffed.

“You enjoyed that!” I protested.

“And your, what… your bipolar butt?”

I damn near lost it, laughing so hard. (Yes, it is possible to laugh hysterically and shriek in pain at the same time.) “Bionic! Not bipolar!”

On that note, it was near midnight, so we said good night and I went to the guest suite. By the time I showered, caught up on my phone and settled down, it was about 12:30. I think I was somewhere past exhausted. Nearly three glasses of champagne had taken its effects as well.

And so, 6:45 a.m. arrived swiftly and rudely. I dragged myself out of bed, dressed, sent the requisite “Hi sweetie, I’m okay” text to John, and wandered downstairs, where B was in the kitchen making coffee. He gave me a shot of espresso first, then made a beautiful latte with the swirls on top and everything. And he had multi-grain toast with black cherry jam. It’s the little things in life — give me some caffeine, some carbs and a bit of sugar, and I’m a happy woman.

I was already packed up, and we had about an hour before we had to leave. After he cleaned up, he came and took my hand, saying it was time to go upstairs once more. Okay, I thought, I know the drill — we always play once in the morning. But once there, instead of having me immediately assume the position over the foot of the bed, he kept me standing and looked into my eyes.

“You’ve been very self-reflective lately,” he said without preamble.

Oh, crap. He knew. I’m not sure how; perhaps he read that damned “Catch and Release” post from a couple of weeks ago (one I probably should have taken down). Or perhaps he saw my tweet on Wednesday, talking about the perverse dichotomy of crying all day one day and then flying up north to play the next.

I said yes, I have. And he added, “You’re falling into yourself.”

Never heard it put quite that way, but it works. I often refer to depression as the abyss. Perhaps the abyss is me. I nodded, feeling my throat start to close. He said I needed some therapy; well, that’s for damn sure, so I agreed.

“What do you think would be the proper therapy?” he asked. I looked away. “Pain?” I replied.

“Strapping. To tears,” he answered. My heart started to pound. “You look nervous; are you nervous?” I said yes, I am. “Why?” he asked. “You’ve been spanked by lots of men before.”

Strange question. Kind of a non-sequitur, really. I mean, the nerves and anticipation beforehand are all part of it. If I didn’t feel any butterflies, wouldn’t that mean I’d become jaded and blasé about all this? And what fun would that be? I answered something lame about how toppy he is.

I settled into the bed, and he told me he’d be using two tawses, twelve with a lighter one and then twelve with a heavy one, and we’d go from there. No warm-up, I was already sore from the night before, so I was really going to feel this. Of that I had no doubt.

It didn’t take long. He’d already gotten into my head before giving me a single stroke. The first twelve with the lighter tawse felt like hell. During the next twelve with the heavier one, I broke. After a pause, he gave me six more. The fucking dam cracked yet again; the walls I’d put up the day before crumbled.

He let me cry, gave me a hug. Said he wanted me to be a good girl, to get outside of myself. Yeah. I want that too.

I lay back down and he sat in front of me, and we talked a few minutes. He asked how I was feeling. I said, quite honestly, that I wanted to sleep for a week. Shortly after that, it was time to pull myself together and get ready to go.

I asked him how he’d known what I needed. He declined to answer.

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He drove me to the train station, and we said goodbye once again. “Thank you” seemed inadequate, but it was all I had.

I was so tired, I damn near felt delirious. Just physically and emotionally wiped out. I made my first train, no problem. But then at BART, trying to catch the shuttle to the airport, I hit a snag. First ticket machine I came to had a long line, and when I finally got to the front, two women were struggling with it. I tried to help them, and then we gave up and went to the guy in the booth. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, “that machine is malfunctioning and will only take Clipper cards.” [whatever the fuck those are] “Walk to your right, take the elevator up one floor and there are more ticket dispensers there.”

So we went to an antique elevator that looked like it had been in operation since 1922, that took forever to open and then forever again to go up one freaking floor. Once there, I dashed out, saw the nearest ticket machine — and the “out of order” sign. Arrrggh! I ran around and found another — but directly in front of it were two security guards in some sort of altercation with a guy who was arguing with them, and they wouldn’t move. So I rushed over to a third machine, finally got my damn ticket… and by then I’d missed the train. However, I got the next one in a half hour, made it to SFO and got checked in with a half hour to spare. All was well. All I wanted now was to go home and collapse, and I finally arrived at around 2:30. Sent a few “I made it home” texts, unpacked, and went straight to bed for a 2 1/2-hour nap.

No rest for the wicked; I had a huge deadline for the next day and I didn’t have time to think, let alone blog or reminisce or talk to friends about my visit. I just swung right into work mode and hit it hard. When I finally sent the finished document to my client at 5:00 Friday, I was so relieved and so pleased with myself, I was beaming. And now it really was time to relax. Time to head for John’s, have a quiet weekend, catch up with sleep, come back to earth. Between work, emotional insanity and the brief whirlwind of travel and adventure, I was toast.

Strange how we get what we need, no matter how fucked up things can feel. Thank you, B. I hope you know how much I appreciate your care.

Just a word to people who have expressed that they’re concerned about me — here’s the deal. Yeah, I’m depressed. This has been a crap year for many reasons and I’m looking forward to kissing it goodbye. There have been losses, hurts, uncomfortable transitions and painful things to accept. Plus for several months I had shoulder impingement syndrome, so I had physical pain thrown into the mix. (Fortunately, that has mostly resolved.) But, to paraphrase the old Kinks’ song “Destroyer,” I’m not going crazy, I’m just a little sad. I don’t need to be avoided or treated with kid gloves. Support means the world to me. Disappearances break my heart. I need little, as I’m a loner by nature. I don’t need constant reassurance. But knowing people are out there caring makes a huge difference and brings bright spots to the darkest days. So for those who are still with me, thank you. ♥

Okay, time for me to adult and get work done. And get back to working out after taking most of last week off. Hopefully, I will be too busy to overthink things. I really didn’t have the time to be writing this blog, but you know, sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. Now I can work with a clear head. (Well… as clear as my head gets, which isn’t ever that clear, but you get my drift. Later, kids)

To Give Or Not to Give… a Fuck?

(Caution: Many f-bombs ahead)

Despite the fact that in many things I’m a moderate person (drink in moderation, eat sugar in moderation, indulge myself overall in moderation), my feelings of self-worth occupy opposite poles.

On good days, I feel strong, confident, reasonably comfortable in my skin. I am inner-directed, rather than focusing outward, and my self-acceptance is at an all-time high. During these times, I think, “I give zero fucks what people think of me.”

Then, for whatever reason (or sometimes no reason at all, simply because my brain wiring is screwy), I drift to the opposite extreme. Those are the times when my long-gone mother’s ghost natters in my ear like a relentless mosquito. “Don’t say that (do that, look like that, act like that, wear that, etc., etc., ad nauseam) — people will think you’re weird.” (God forbid, right?) And that’s when I think, “You’re a fraud, Erica. You give ALL the fucks about what people think of you.”

These down times are particularly insidious when they come at the end of something fun, something exciting, because life seems even drearier than usual in comparison after them. The drop is real.

I think what I need in this instance is balance. Giving zero fucks is unrealistic. Giving all the fucks is overwhelming. I need to learn how to give some fucks. In other words, be selective about my fucks-giving.

So who should get them? Who should be worthy of taking up space in my brain and my heart and my mercurial feelings? The people who care about me. Who love me. Who accept me, even when I’m being weird. (Which is pretty much all the time. Because come on — normal is overrated. So there, Mom.)

John, for example. For another example, the friend who drops me an email nearly every day; who, despite whatever is on her plate, always cares about what’s on mine. Or for yet another example, the friend who, after reading my tweet this morning about feeling blech again, texted me this:

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Which made me cry. But it was the touched kind of tears, not the hurt kind.

The gestures don’t have to be grandiose. I am appreciative of all of them.

People who remember my birthday.
People who notice when I haven’t been around and check in.
People who surprise me with special little treats (you know, like chocolate, champagne… 😉 )
People who make me laugh.
People who, even for just a few minutes, lighten my spirits and make me forget about The Putin Pleasin’ Treason Boy of Company Pee. (Thank you for that one, Bette Midler.)
Thoughtful, kind, caring people. People who bring out all the good in me, all I have to offer. Who make me want to be the best me.

These are the people I need to focus on, whose opinions I should value, whose thoughts and feelings I should care about. Balance.

So that’s my goal. Keep in mind those who are give-a-fuck worthy, and give them their due. The rest shouldn’t matter.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of fucking work to do…

 

The Vicious Circle

Yeah, I can hear you guys out there. “It’s vicious CYCLE, Erica!” Both are acceptable; both are a circular, cyclical course of events that go around and around, each part perpetuating the next. Why do I prefer “circle”? Because technically, that version of the saying came first.

Anyway… where was I? Oh, yeah. What’s the vicious circle of a kinky depressive? When you’re deep in the abyss, your spanko desires take a hike. It’s like that part of you has gone into indefinite hibernation. I have experienced this, so I know it’s real. But then, as all depressions will do eventually, the fog lifts, some color comes back into the world, and you find yourself waking up in the morning without the first thought in your mind being, “Oh, fuck, I’m still alive.” So far, so good. And as you start feeling like you’re coming back to life, what kicks back into gear with a vengeance?

Uh huh. Your kinky desires. In my case, the intense, undeniable desire to be spanked. And it comes back almost angrily, as if it’s saying, “Really? You thought I was gone? Well, feel this.”

And then you remember you don’t have a regular play partner. And you feel frustrated. And then, if it goes on too long, that frustration burrows, you feel unattractive, and then guess what… you feel depressed. Vicious circle.

I guess the maddening restlessness and itch is preferable to the gray pall, because at least with the former, I feel alive. But it is challenging, to say the least. First world problems, I know. I am grateful to be feeling a bit better. However, having my needs reawakened and then unfulfilled is not good for my psyche either.

It’s during times like these that I am reacquainted with the ickiness of the kink ad sites and how frustrating and unsatisfying they can be. Yeah, you get the occasional diamond in the endless heaps of coal. I met B through one of these sites. But overall, the replies I’ve been getting are little more than CHoS fodder.

For example: one man on Alt.com sent me a message, and right out of the gate, tells me how much he loves masturbating to spanking videos. TMI, dude. I don’t answer. Over the next month, the same man continues to message me, a total of twenty times. TWENTY.

“Aren’t you going to give me a chance to spank your ass?”
“You won’t be disappointed!”
“When are you going to stop teasing me and let me spank your bare ass?”
“Well???”

Good grief. I’m not teasing you, jackass. I’m simply ignoring you. He attached pictures, too. Not dick pics, thank goodness. But one of his playroom table, which is strewn with implements along with butt plugs and dildos. No, thank you. And he repeatedly sends the same picture of himself, wrapping his mouth around a very large ice cream cone. Is this supposed to be provocative? Again, no, thank you. Part of me wanted to answer just once and say “For god’s sake, I’m not interested, give it up!” But I figured that would just encourage him.

Then you get the guys who can’t communicate. I got three messages in three days from the same man; they were as follows:

“Hello.”
“Beautiful.”
“Hello beautiful.”

No, it’s not rude or crude, but come on. Say something.

Best (?) of all, I am reminded of how many BDSMers out there simply don’t get the spanking fetish, and let me know that if they give me a spanking, they will want something sexual in return. The attitude is “So what’s in it for me?”

Makes me think of the guy on FetLife years ago, a real Uber-Dom type, who wrote to me and said that he thought bottoms who take a spanking from a man and then don’t offer at least a blowjob as a reward are “selfish and revolting.” Honey, don’t do me any favors. If you don’t get anything out of spanking, then don’t do it.

I even put this question to Twitter last week: “Tops, what do you get out of spanking? Do you feel fulfilled and happy even if it doesn’t include sex?” Some of the answers I got were so gratifying, so lovely. Of course, none of these men are local. (sigh) But it’s good to know that some really do get it.

So I keep trying, and hoping. Last week, I actually got a message from a man who is local, can string more than two or three words together at a time, didn’t send me any dick pics, and seems to get the spanking fetish. Oh, and instead of insisting we meet immediately, it was his suggestion that we get to know one another via email for a bit. All good. But you’ll forgive me if I don’t get my hopes up too high. We have yet to meet, so I will keep my head until I see this person in the flesh, talk to him and know he’s real. So far, he’s said some yummy things. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, a word to my female friends and readers out there: If you have a good top in your life, cherish him. Don’t take him for granted. Value his time. Sometimes, I think we forget that our beloved tops are people too, that they have needs and moods and insecurities, that they like to feel special. They are a lot more than simply figures there to service us and make us feel good, give us release, etc. With all the wannabes and jerkoffs out there, a good top is worth his weight in gold. Treat him as such. ♥

Yeah, still here…

I’m like that little floppy-eared bastard with the drum… I just keep going and going.

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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.
Doctor: How?
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.

Oh, my.

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.

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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.”

Uh oh.

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.”

Oh, shit.

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.

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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.

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As always, thanks for reading.

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