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”

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.

Notes on The Scene

You might want to settle in with your refreshing beverage of choice for this one, as it’s really freaking long.

Recently, someone I’m very fond of, and who is quite prominent in the spanking scene, wrote a piece about the scene and where he feels he stands in it, in particular the large national parties. Lest people accuse me of name-dropping (“oooh, she’s friends with him“), I won’t say who it is. But his post was honest and brave, and it gave me the courage and impetus to do some reflecting of my own.

I have stated, time and again, that throughout life, I have felt like this photo:

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The piece that doesn’t fit. The square peg in a round world. Or, as I once heard in a 12-step meeting: “I feel like I’m trespassing on the planet.” Different. Weird. Etc. Throw kinkiness into the mix and you really get the stench of otherness.

I’ve also often said that navigating the scene is like dancing on a double-edged sword. On one side, you have infinite potential for belonging, for acceptance, for connecting with others. For personal fulfillment. For expressing your truest self. But misstep, and that sword can hurt you. Sometimes it’s little cuts that bleed, and leave tiny scars that no one sees but you. And other times, it can outright disembowel you.

The scene is loving. The scene is fickle. It is kind. It is brutal. The scene gives. The scene takes away.

I’ve seen so much in my scene years. Some of it has happened to me, and some things have happened to others. I’ve been loved, hated, accepted, misunderstood, put up on a pedestal, knocked back off it, immortalized on film and in cartoons, stalked, cat-fished, supported, betrayed, judged, defended. I’ve hit the highest highs and the lowest lows, and everything in between.

Just a few random things I’ve borne witness to over the years, that touched me deeply:

When a long-time party-goer had a massive heart attack and nearly died, he ended up in an extended hospital stay, unable to pay his mortgage and his bills. A GoFundMe was set up for him — contributions came pouring in. I believe they ended up with $15-20,000. He survived.

When a young woman mentioned on FetLife that she had a birthday party and no one showed up, a surprise party was arranged for her at one of the national gatherings. When she walked into the room and everyone cheered, she actually turned around, looking for who was being greeted. Then realization dawned, and she burst into tears.

When a woman had devastating losses from a fire, a GoFundMe was set up for her as well. Many came through for her.

A long-time host of room parties, who had been absent for years due to illness, came to his first party in years with his wife. They were given a tribute, complete with speakers (I was one of them) and an award. It was a beautiful recognition of a great scene contributor. Not too long after that, he passed away from cancer.

When a young woman came to her first party, not knowing anyone and having only connected online with a few people on FetLife, the enormity of it all, the noise, the crush of bodies overwhelmed her. The first night, she left the party room in tears. The party might have ended for her there, had it not been for a dear friend of mine intercepting her in the hallway. He pulled her into his room, let her cry, gave her a pep talk. She calmed down and regained her composure, took a break, then went back to the party. Later that weekend, I saw the same woman happily, joyously playing, right in the midst of the main party room.

When a beloved scene member nearly died giving birth to twins and then one of them tragically didn’t make it, a beautiful soul took up a collection to buy the shell-shocked couple a ton of essentials — everything from diapers to formula to clothes — plus a cleaning service and a subscription to Netflix for distraction.

Countless displays of welcome, of support, of love. The more I think about this, the more incidents I come up with. But of course, there is the other side.

I’ve seen relationships form, then crash and burn. I’ve seen countless emotional meltdowns at parties, including several of my own. I’ve seen friendships dissolve, jealousies flare, hurts inflicted. People who put out their time, money and efforts to open their hotel suites to everyone at parties get criticized and picked apart by those who consider themselves entitled to everything they want at someone else’s expense. I read an account of someone who welcomed everyone in their suite for several days/nights at a national party — and then was thoroughly reamed for having the audacity to restrict their suite to friends only on the final night. That’s just one story of many. I have witnessed people being systemically and cruelly shunned from groups. This one hates that one; so-and-so violated so-and-so; stay away from that guy; don’t talk to this woman. Battle lines are drawn; gossip runs rampant. Granted, if someone is a genuine hot mess, a violator, a predator, etc., with accounts from many to back up the concerns, that’s one thing; friends should be warned and safety should be paramount. But sometimes, good people who cross the wrong individuals can find they become pariahs in short order.

The scene can foster closeness and special relationships, but it also provides a sort of pseudo-intimacy. We are in close proximity, we bare our body parts before we even learn each other’s real names, we engage in intimate activity. We are emotionally invested and vulnerable. We open fully and trust quickly. But sometimes, it simply isn’t real. And when reality does hit, it hurts worse. Because we’ve invested so much of ourselves. Not just our bodies, but our hearts and souls.

I have watched people rally and rise above bad times to eventually prevail. And I have seen people disappear, burned out or driven away. The trouble with being too close to the scene is it’s like a personal house of cards. The loss of a key card can cause the whole thing to come down for you. And although you know logically that there are other components of life, at the moment of that crash, it can feel like your entire world is crashing. Your source of support. Your place of belonging.

There have been many ups and downs for me over the years, navigating this scene. Luckily, I was spared the tumult of multiple relationships, of breakups, of having to see exes at gatherings, because I have been with John the entire time. A couple of times, I came very close to dropping out. When I thought I was done shooting because one company didn’t want me, I felt like a has-been and like my time was done. It was the first time I became aware of the fickleness of the scene, how much is about the newest hot young thing. However, I was able to work through that, with the help of a much beloved friend (thank you again, Danny)… and went on to shoot with several other companies for another ten years. I beat the odds, over and over.

Well-placed gossip can destroy someone in this scene. Roughly fifteen years ago, a woman accused me of trying to sabotage her relationship and steal her boyfriend. Ridiculous, since I had John. The man in question had been my play partner, she had been my friend, but when she began dating him, suddenly I became the enemy. Not only was he not to play with me anymore, he wasn’t to communicate with me at all. I don’t know where this jealousy and paranoia came from. I consider myself the least threatening woman on earth, hardly a femme fatale. I was older than her, and not nearly as striking.

Seems like this sort of thing is no big deal, right? Unfortunately, she happened to be a well loved icon of videos — definitely a case of “boys want to meet her, girls want to be her.” And she was telling anyone who would listen to her that I was a relationship wrecker. I lost friends. I was put in the awful state of wondering who was saying what about me and to whom. Or, even worse, having damning words come directly back to me, like the time a friend told me she’d been admonished in no uncertain terms by another that she should “sever all ties with Erica.”

I was devastated and thought I was done. But somehow, with support, I made it through that too. She sabotaged her own relationship, it ended without any of my involvement, and she eventually disappeared. Friends who had believed her ended up apologizing to me (including the “sever all ties” person). It was an ugly and painful time, and I think that came the closest to driving me out. (Please, no guesses. And no, it was not Samantha Woodley.)

But I was younger then. I had time on my side. I could ride it out, even though it seemed impossible at the time. Because there was a greater good. There was something to fight for, to persevere for.

Humans are resilient beings. We have to be. There is so much in life that is devastating and inevitable. Death. Illness. Crushing losses. And then there is the suffering that shouldn’t be inevitable, but it is: the pain from the careless cruelty and indifference of fellow humans.

We are able to move past and survive a whole lot of grief and loss, recover from disappointments, rise above life’s meanness. But I think everyone has a breaking point. Everyone has that one last straw, the one where they realize something has to change. Something has to give… or something has to go.

I am reminded of a woman I knew in the scene many years ago. She, along with her play partner and friend, hosted many room parties at Shadow Lane and was one of the organizers of a spanking group in her hometown. She was someone who had been through her share of pain in life; prolonged illness and death of her first husband with no support from his family, raising two children alone, addiction. But now her kids were older, she’d fallen in love and married again, and it seemed that life was finally going to turn around.

Until she was hit with not one, but two unspeakable betrayals from people she trusted. I will not elaborate on what happened or who was involved, only that the incidents were scene-related. They were her final straw. She withdrew from the groups, disappeared from the online boards. I stopped hearing from her; she lived in another state, so it wasn’t like I could go for coffee or lunch and hang out with her.

She died from acute liver failure at age 50, drinking herself to death.

No, I’m not going to drink myself to death. Or anything myself to death. But I think I’ve experienced my last straw as well. And I don’t think I’m going to get past this one. Unlike with the others, time is not on my side. I know I harp about my age a lot, but this statement has never been more true: I really am too old for this shit. I’m already dealing with a lot of insecurity about the changes in my body, my face. And now that I feel like my confidence, sense of kinship, and trust have disappeared, that’s simply too much to cope with. I can’t put the face on anymore. I don’t want to be seen. When I look in the mirror, the face that gazes back at me looks pale and lifeless.

50 Freaks was this past weekend. This is the first time since this party was conceived that we’ve missed one. The decision was painful and I’ve shed copious tears over it. I hope Joe will understand and forgive me; it had absolutely nothing to do with him. But I simply couldn’t do it. And interwoven with all the sadness and regret was a feeling of relief. All the prep of getting there felt overwhelming and exhausting. I’ve never liked that part; I’ve always found it stressful. But I also always knew there was great joy and welcoming and fun and play and escape on the other side. Now… that has been tainted.

It snowed in Vegas, a rare occurrence. Several flights were canceled. I told myself, meh, it would have been a hassle driving in it (I read about road closures and other traffic nightmares), it would have been freezing, I’d have to bring a ton of heavy clothes, and who feels sexy and spanky when they’re bundled up like an Eskimo? But of course, I knew that was ridiculous. We’d be in a hotel, not in a freaking tent. In our room, we could turn on the heat. In the party room, all the bodies would keep things plenty warm. So that was just a rationale.

God damn, I miss play. So much. Part of me is yearning, fully, bodily, emotionally, to lose myself in the pain, to be spanked to tears, to feel those incomparable endorphins cleanse me. But I don’t know where that is to be found right now. I don’t know who I can trust with it. In case you’re wondering whatever happened to Mr. Woodland — he is not gone. He is great and I would unquestionably scene with him. However, he is very busy dealing with Life at this time and not available.

And more than play, I miss the connection. I miss the bubble of parties, the complete immersion into an altered state for a while. A few days of respite from reality. The hugs. The laughs. I miss the me I was at these events. I don’t know if she’ll ever come back.

I am and will always be a spanko. I just don’t know what my outlets will be now. And like I said, it doesn’t seem like time is on my side. I feel a profound emptiness, a sense of loss. I suppose, like everything else, I just have to let it be there and wait to see what’s ahead.

By the way, the absurdity of this post doesn’t escape me. I can hear people out there thinking, “Oh, boo-hoo, you little snowflake victim. First World Problems. Get over yourself.” One friend I know is dealing with her mother’s terminal cancer. Another lost both her parents within seven weeks at the end of last year. Others are dealing with physical ailments, money worries, dying pets, relationship issues, and life’s other assorted crises and grievous situations.

Right now, John’s health is stable. I am working. I love my quiet, safe apartment. I am lucky enough to live in a strong, progressive and enlightened state during these terrifying times. I don’t wish to minimize any of the good things I’m grateful for. However, this is one of the worst and most long-lasting depressions I’ve had in years. And it is about more than just parties and playing. It’s about feeling like I’m losing a piece of myself. John says I am going through an existential crisis. He’s not one given to exaggeration, although I think this phrase sounds melodramatic. But perhaps I am. I’m questioning everything and everyone, including myself.

They say depression is anger turned inward. I am angry. More than anything, I am angry at myself. I allowed my power to be taken from me, let harsh words break me. I should be stronger than that. But I guess it’s that last straw thing again. Sometimes our well of strength runs dry. I don’t have it in me to go through another episode of wondering who’s saying what to whom. It’s soul-sucking.

I was told, among other things, that I use my depression like a shield, so people will feel sorry for me and not hold me accountable for my actions. That is the lowest of the low blows, cruel, and untrue. I hold myself accountable for my actions. When I fuck up, I say so. No one is harder on me than I am. But if one person believes this of me, then surely others do too. There are flawed humans, as we all are, and then there are those who cross the line and are fatally flawed. I’m not sure which side of the line I’m on… or am considered to be.

I stayed off social media this past weekend. John did his best to keep me distracted, taking me to see a movie, joking and being silly. It was a strange, surreal feeling all weekend, knowing what was going on and not being there. Wondering how everyone was doing. Who made it, and who got held up by the inclement weather. Who played with whom. Two of my favorite people there recently married; I hope they got lots of attention. What dramas occurred, because they always do. Would they have been mine, or someone else’s?

Since our going missing from the party, John has received one text, and I’ve received two messages, asking if we’re okay… and that’s it. Ouch. Humbling indeed. 😦 “It’s not personal,” John said. “People just have short attention spans.” I like his kinder, gentler take on it, rather than mine — that my reputation has been damaged, and people are staying away. Or, even worse, that no one cared all that much to begin with. Out of sight, out of mind. We’re all just faces in the crowd. (Or asses, in this case.)

So no party report, I’m afraid. May not be much of anything from me, at least for a while. I will always love the spanking scene, sharp edges and all, and love some very special people in it. I’ll always be grateful for what it gave to me. I just don’t know if I can be part of it anymore. Or if it even wants me to be.

John has done all he can to assure me that I am indeed lovable, that I matter. He told me that I make his life worth living, every single day. The same goes for you, my beloved fellow misfit. I love you with all my heart.

Carry on, kids.

So anyway…

I feel like I want to write something here, even though I’m not sure what that is. I used to think I had to have something special, something of interest or intrigue, to post, but perhaps this blog can also be a place for me to ramble.

I miss playing. I really do. No, it’s not physically essentially like air, food and water. But it is emotionally essential. It’s a part of my makeup. Even when times are funky and I’m down, the cravings come when I least expect them.

People ask, “Isn’t there anyone available to play with you?” That’s not the question. It’s more like “with whom I want to play.” Because despite my neediness, I still prefer quality. I would rather go without than settle for an experience that doesn’t fulfill me. That’s the weird dichotomy of spanking, for me. The good ones can be so rich, so intensely wonderful and memorable in every way. But the not-so-hot ones? They are almost repulsive. It’s like having sex with someone you’re not drawn to. Why would you? Just for the sensation of being screwed? I’ll never want sex — or spanking — that much.

And, unfortunately due to circumstances of recent times, I do not feel safe or comfortable seeking what I need. Because the last time I admitted to neediness, to vulnerability, it bit me in the ass. Not in a fun, sexy way, either. So even though there are those I would indeed enjoying seeing for some play, I will not be the one to ask.

Regarding the party at the end of February… because I know how the gossip train is in this scene, I figured my hesitation about it would get back to the host, and his feelings would be hurt, which I do not want. So I headed things off at the pass and wrote him a long message, explaining what was going on with me and that my desire to withdraw from everything had absolutely nothing to do with him and I loved him dearly. He wrote back to me with such sweet words, I wept. I am a treasured friend and the party wouldn’t be the same without me. That he really wants me to be there, so please, please come.

So. I booked our room. That has to be done in advance. As for the rest, I have a month and a half to think about it. Everyone says I should go. Part of me wants to, so much. But the ugly, bleak voice within that seems to have taken over in recent weeks keeps saying no.

What else am I thinking about… oh, just random stuff. Like, remember I mentioned watching the Twilight Zone marathon over New Year’s? We happened to catch “It’s a Good Life.” Y’all know that one, don’t you? It’s the classic about the town that is being held hostage by a monstrous child, six-year-old Anthony Fremont? A child with too much power, but a complete dearth of empathy or caring? Who hates everyone who doesn’t like him, eliminates necessary things simply because he doesn’t care for them? Just one tiny little man-child, running the town according to his whims, making everyone suffer.

I was especially remembering the part where the party guest gets drunk and loses it, pleading tearfully to the others in the room to please, PLEASE, somebody, grab something heavy when he’s not looking and lay it across his skull, and end this once and for all?? Of course, no one did, but they all wanted to. The poor guy died for his outburst. And then for good measure, the little bastard changed the weather so it would ruin all the crops.

Why am I thinking about this so much? Eh, no particular reason…

Have a great weekend, y’all.

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