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 “friends”

Back home, full circle: 50 Freaks 2020

I figured since my last post featured a photo of the view from the car on the way to Vegas, I’d post a pic of the view on the way home for this one. No clouds this time, but look at the snow!

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I used to post these reports in multiple entries, one for each day of the party, but I stopped doing that and now it’s easier to simply write one loooooooong post. So settle in and get comfortable.

What a party. So many thoughts and feelings. So many laughs. So many hugs. And yes, soooo much play. 🙂 I played with nine different men, four of them more than once. Not too shabby after a year off from play parties!

Before I get into the day to day, I wanted to say a few things about my experience overall. The welcomes I received were unbelievably gratifying — so many hugs, so many utterances of “I’m so glad to see you,” “I missed you,” “Glad you’re back.” No one asked me about what happened (many of them knew, as these things tend to get around), and the particular name was never mentioned in my presence. (John said a few people talked with him about it, but every time was with nothing but concern for my well-being.) I was able to relax back into things without feeling anxiety and paranoia over what people were thinking, if they were thinking anything, because I simply didn’t care. It’s done. And I didn’t regret coming back for a single minute. It was time.

The party was quite large and I think I knew only about half the people, maybe two thirds. It didn’t matter. The people who mattered to me were there, and I got to see them, talk to them, have meals with them, hug them. I focused on what was, not what had been or what wasn’t. I decided I was going to go with whatever the flow brought my way and let go of my need to predict/control everything.

And I had a fan-freaking-tastic time. ♥

So without further ado, here come the highlights.

Thursday: The drive passed without event. Of course, you’re thinking, why wouldn’t it? (sigh) Not with my brain. Y’all know what I go through beforehand with all the fretting about worst-case scenarios. But we made it, and in good time too.

The past couple of months, I had been bantering with Zack on Twitter. He was fairly new to the scene, coming to his first national party, and already had a long list of indiscretions I’d committed (including “breathing with attitude” — I kid you not), so I was looking forward to meeting him. He was coming from Kansas City (oh, that’s in Missouri, not the Great State of Kansas, FYI) and was sharing a room with Abby and “Jaibug,” so I texted him as soon as we settled in, and we dropped in to meet him and to see Abby again (Jai wasn’t there yet). It was mid-afternoon and we were tired and grubby from the drive, so we didn’t stay long, but of course Abby got spanked while we were there. She took it in stride and she and I tossed a stuffed penguin back and forth during the whole thing. 😀 Yes, it was going to be a fun weekend.

Thursday night is a blur of greetings and hugs. I don’t remember much about that evening, except that a quickie fun warm-up scene with Zack was my first (of many; I think he and I must have played about five-six times?). And before I get into more details, I have to stop and say that as fun as Zack is online, he’s even more delightful in person. Oh, and hugs-wise, of special note was getting tackle-hugged by Sarah Rocks. I do love that woman! She doesn’t just hug you — she hurls her whole body at you. One of the most infectiously happy people I know. 🙂

Then just before midnight, “InspectHerHide” Michael showed up with his lovely wife “Ellie_3.” I love these two people so much; Michael has been a highlight of my play parties for many years now, and the addition of his adorable bride has made it even better. As I passed through the crowded room, looking for him, several people stopped me. “Did Michael find you?” “Michael’s looking for you!” Finally I saw him across the room talking to someone, and I sneaked up behind him and kissed his neck. Oh, I’d missed those Michael hugs! And of course, immediately after the long hug, he took me by the hand and pulled me into the bedroom, where we had our usual raucous first scene of the weekend. Without belaboring the past year overly much, I just have to mention that Michael, during my disappearance, never stopped checking in with me with sweet, supportive texts. And when I finally told him, months after the fact, what had happened and expressed my deep fear that no one would believe me, he said the three kindest words he could: “I believe you.” Like I said, I love this man. ♥ After the amazingly-intense-for-a-Thursday-night spanking, I curled up into him and we stayed on the bed for a long time afterward, just holding each other close and talking, catching up. It was delicious.

So, so good to see Joe (DrLectr) again, and to meet his girlfriend P. As always, there were plenty of snacks and beverages, and pizza late that night (you really never have to go out to dinner during a Freaks weekend, but people do anyway). I don’t remember how late we stayed that first night; I know that when we did go, the party was in full swing, but we had three more nights to go, so we headed relatively early. (That means before three a.m.)

Friday: Okay, you guys know me and my routine(s). At parties, when I’m not playing or talking, I’m sleeping. I hate mornings. I don’t care who is doing what during the morning hours; they can do it without me. I stay up half the night and then in the morning, while John goes to the gym, I sleep and sleep until he wakes me up around 11-11:30. Then I drag myself out of bed, grumbling, shower and dress, and head out for the first meal of the day.

Yeah. Zack, Abby and Jai blew that all to hell. :-Þ

Zack, a morning person and an avid exerciser, had cheerfully announced that he was going to get up at 6:00 a.m. to work out. He wanted to know who would join him. I said, “Oh, honey… you’ve never been to one of these parties. People are just going to bed at 6:00 a.m. You try to get anyone up at that hour and you’ll have a mutiny on your hands.” Abby was more succinct; she told him she’d kill him if he woke her before 10. So he let go of that idea, and John joined him in the gym around 9:00.

As per our usual routine, John came back to the room around 11, stripped off his gym clothes and crawled into bed with me to wake me up. I’d barely opened my eyes when there was a very loud Knock knock knock! at our hotel door. What the… John threw his clothes back on and went to see who was there — it was Zack, Abby and Jai, who came in and Jai and Abby threw themselves onto the bed with sputtering, spluttering me, as I pulled the covers over my head and swore profusely. Of course, they all laughed at me, and Zack took pictures of me hiding in the bed, so I finally had to bite the bullet and get up (at least I had PJs on!). They wanted to go to lunch, so I pleaded with them to wait so I could shower first.

While I went about my ablutions, John just had to get a picture:

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I finally got myself pulled together and we went downstairs to eat. They have a shop that’s a bagel/breakfast shop at one end and a Subway at the other, so it’s got something for everyone and we pushed a couple of tables together so the five of us could sit and eat, and chat.

Friday afternoon didn’t have any activities we planned to attend, and on Friday evening, a group of people were going to the Cosmopolitan for a show, so it was going to be a low-key early afternoon and evening. I figured we’d just chill, sleep a bit while we could, then I’d wash my hair and get ready for the evening. But I’d no sooner slept for about a half-hour than guess who came knocking at the door again?? All right, you guys… I give. Clearly, this weekend was not going to be like my usual weekends, and I could either be a pill and a killjoy, or I could just go with it and forfeit some of my sleep. I chose to go with the latter, and I have no regrets. 🙂

After showering and doing my hair and makeup, we headed to 960 for the vendor fair. My dear long-time friend Andy (the photographer who took that long-ago picture of me in front of the mirror) was selling his canes, so I did a brief demo with him.

Shenanigans ensued as the evening progressed. At one point, I was sitting on the couch and Abby came bounding in, scampered up to me and said, “Wanna have some fun?” She then pulled a roll of duct tape out of her purse and said, “Zack’s in the room; let’s duct tape the door shut.” Sounded like fun to me!

However, I guess we made too much noise in the hallway. We were trying to stifle our giggles, but it was impossible to mask the loud ripping sound the tape made. So, we’d barely gotten one strip around the top and side of the doorway when Zack opened the door and tore the tape, and just stood there, smiling down at the two of us crouched on the carpet. Busted… He had to make a phone call, but promised he’d deal with us later.

And of course, he did. Abby first, and then me. Neither of us took him seriously, though. In fact, while I was OTK, I untied his shoelaces. And then Abby tied the laces from each shoe into a knot, binding his feet together. 😀

I was delighted to see that my friend Brandon was at this party — I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years, but we go back twelve years (geez, where does time go??). Sometime mid-evening, he sat in front of me and announced, “I’m going to spank you!” “Oh, yeah?” I said. “You and who else?” “Me and this!” he replied, holding up his right hand. Oh well, when you put it that way… We went into the bedroom, where we saw Zack and Abby on one side of the bed, so we took the other side. The four of us had a fun scene, all playing off one another. Check out Abby and me — do we look like trouble, or what?

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Zack also took a minute or so of video of the four of us and our silliness on the bed. He posted it on Twitter. It’s been well received, gotten 71 likes so far.

Brandon then had me get up and lie on the bed, and he gave me a strapping with his belt. I had forgotten just how good he is with that thing. Yummmmyyyy. Thank you, B.

Things are blurry as far as what happened when, but later that night, several of us were on one of the beds (me, John, Zack, Abby, and the Infamous Kat) when Roy came in. Ah, Roy. What do I say about Roy. I’ve known him for what, about five years now? Maybe six? We play a couple of times at every party. And we have this Thing, this chemistry, this crazy attraction for one another. Soooo… we flirt, we banter, we dance on the lines without quite crossing them. And dammit, it’s fuuuuuuun. And sexy. And harmless. John laughs about it, bless his non-possessive heart.

Anyway, he sat on the bed and started playing with my bare feet. He’d just gotten there that evening, so we hadn’t played yet — and then he said, “We need to play.” No argument from me there! “Big bathroom? Our spot?” he asked. Yup, we have a “spot.” Some of you might remember, that happened one party a few years ago when there was absolutely no place to play and we ended up going into the larger bathroom and he sat on the padded vanity seat. We’ve gone there ever since. Even got this picture two years ago.

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We settled into our spot and started our scene. Oh, my. It went on for a long time. Roy is one of a handful of tops I know who can do pretty much anything and it’s okay with me. I feel like a hypocrite sometimes, because I bitch and moan and preach about tops doing things I don’t like, and yet Roy can do them and I have zero complaint. What can I say… that’s just the way it is. So when he began slapping along my inner thighs and down the backs of my legs, I didn’t protest. Well, until it hurt, then I winced. And then he said, “I’m sorry, baby–” and I completely forget how he ended that. “I’m sorry, baby, but you know you need this.” “I’m sorry, baby, but you know I have to do this.” Something like that. All I heard were the first three words and the rest blurred as I dissolved into girl goo. 🙂

People commented later about the marks on my thighs. My answer? “It’s Roy. Roy can do whatever he wants.” I’m so bad…

You know, after that, I don’t remember much, so I’ll end Friday night on that note. I think we left the party around 3:00. Oh, wait — we did have cake for the amazing Madame Samantha’s birthday at 11:30.

Saturday: This time, our morning trio of visitors didn’t come as a shock to my system. By now, I was laughing about it. They hung out while I showered and dressed, and then of course one thing led to another and I ended up getting a “good morning” spanking from Zack.

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Isn’t he cute?? And yes, that’s Roy’s handiwork on my thighs.

After lunch, John and I had some time to ourselves before the “Service Spa” event. Joe started doing this a few years ago; it’s like a mini-spa for the female bottoms, with massage tables set up, chocolates, champagne, and pampering. Each table was doing something different, and a couple of men (Zack and Michael) sat off to the side, brushing hair. Andy was there doing rhythmic sensual caning, which I love, so I got on his table and blissed out while he used two canes in a gentle tapping rhythm that was stimulating and had just a teeny sting to it but didn’t hurt. So many people are afraid of canes, but they have no idea how many different ways they can be used. And really, a cane is only as scary as the person holding it. Implements aren’t ever the culprits in a bad scene, I don’t think — it’s the bad tops wielding them.

Roy showed up about forty-five minutes into it — another one of our Things is that he always gives me a massage. I sat at his feet on the carpet and zoned out while he massaged my neck and shoulders, my scalp. Jeeezus, that man’s hands… (Side note: I know Zack also gave me a massage at some point during the weekend, and he’s really good at it also, but I can’t remember which night it was! Everything kind of runs together in my mind as far as sequence goes.) I was thoroughly relaxed after all this and then hung out on the couch talking until it was time to head off and get ready for dinner.

Steak house time again! Every year, Joe books us the small, cozy banquet room at the hotel steak house, and we get a group of fifteen. There’s usually a sign-up sheet for it, but this year there wasn’t for some reason, so there was some confusion and more people wanting to go than the room could handle, but it ended up okay. I showered and dressed up, and when we got to the restaurant, John and I ended sitting right near Joe and P, which was lovely. The group overall was great — Djinn was there, Peaches, Zack and Abby, Jai, and some others I didn’t know, but we all had laughs and wonderful food. I had a glass of Moscato that was delicious, and John and I both got the salmon and split a side of grilled asparagus.

Later that night, there was a birthday party for Dirk — Dirk and Roslyn have been in the scene forever and Joe adores them. It was such fun — the theme was the Roaring ’20s, and several people were in costume. There were colored lights and music and some dancing, and a whole lot of alcohol (the place was turned into a speakeasy and people were walking around the room passing out Moscow Mules and other mixed drinks, plus champagne). I had a glass and a half, and that on top of the Moscato got me a bit tipsy. Oh, and Moscow Mules are delicious — who knew?

Michael and Ellie were leaving early Sunday morning, so of course I had to have one more scene with Michael before they left. This one was shorter than Thursday’s, but every bit as enjoyable. I also played with a gentleman I’d just met named Andy — he was very tall and polite and had a delightful accent. I think (?) he was born in Germany, but had lived in Sweden and other places as well. After we played and I was sitting in his lap, he did something I loved — he stood up with me in his arms and spun me around before putting me down. 🙂 I giggled like crazy; it was unexpected and sweet.

The rest of the night is the usual blur of cacophony and bodies and watching people play. John and I discovered this time that it was good to take mini-breaks now and then when the noise and the crush got to be too much. Just a few minutes away would refresh us and then we could re-join the party. But we still can’t do the all-nighters so many others do, so we called it a night around 3:00-3:30 once again.

Sunday: Abby was flying home that morning, so she had asked if she could come by our room to say goodbye. Of course I said yes. So the three of them stopped by around 11:00, and we all hung out for a while, talking, before we had to send Abby on her way. Zack and Jai left, saying they’d be back, and I had assumed they were taking her to the airport, so John and I decided to shower. John was in the shower, I was naked with a towel wrapped around my hair… and there was a knock at the door! Whaaaa?? I snatched up a second towel to wrap around myself and went to answer it — turns out Zack and Jai didn’t drive Abby anywhere, they just put her in an Uber! And of course John chose that moment to come out of the bathroom, holding a washcloth over his privates (damn, I wish we’d gotten a picture of that!). I then went in to shower, with all this teasing going on in the background of how they were going to come into the bathroom and watch (they didn’t).

We went to Subway again, and this time were joined by Mir, Tall&Strict and Sean. It was a nice long lunch with several sub-conversations going on, and Zack had Abby on his phone on FaceTime so we could all say goodbye to her again before her plane took off.

Sunday early afternoon at these parties usually has the wonderful staple of Strict Dave’s Punishment Court. But sadly, Dave and Stacy had to cancel unexpectedly, and so Joe, with the help of Crashdance, RBH and others, put together a series of spanko games with teams and participants. We got there late and missed the first half of it, but got to see the games of Trivial Pursuit, Family Feud and Pyramid. Pyramid was especially funny, because it was all spanking terms. “Young Lady.” “Six of the Best.” “Bare Bottom,” etc. I wished I had gotten in on the game — I knew almost all the movie/TV/video trivia.

After the games ended, a bunch of us stayed in the room hanging out, and John and I met this delightful couple, M and B, who live in L.A. and have a small group that has munches and little parties periodically. As it turned out, I had watched B scening the night before, and was mesmerized by his scolding technique. He kept a running commentary going, his voice calm and even, with no sign of any rote phrases or trite drivel — damn, it was hot! I told him so. We chatted them up a bit and then watched a fun scene with RBH strapping the two of them plus Chloe for some prank that involved quinoa (you had to be there). While this was going on, I found a giant blow-up bat that was labeled, appropriately, “Super Bat,” and thought it would be a fun idea to bop Zack in the head with it. Repeatedly. Until he decided to address it. 😀

However, our scene was cut short when he noticed the skin on my sit spots was a bit thrashed and dry, and in dire need of some lotion. He was concerned that if he continued, my skin would break. (It probably wouldn’t, but I fully commend and respect a conscientious top.) So, plan B — I dashed back to our room to get lotion, and he spent some time massaging some into my poor beleaguered butt.

Then we took a selfie. I am sleepy-faced and have zero makeup on, and I don’t care — I really like this picture. 🙂

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Zack had to leave at 5:00 for his flight home and he’d checked out of his room, so he put his stuff with ours and hung out in our room that afternoon. Back story: in our weeks of banter, he’d often mentioned how hot he thought it would be to throw a spankee over his shoulder and carry her off to her fate. Having experienced that myself, I agreed, it was indeed hot, and I told him he was welcome to try that with me if he’d like to. And soooo… we did it. He picked me up like I was a sack of feathers, put me over his shoulder and carried me up and down the hall. And of course, we had to get a picture… (John took this one):

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When Zack left, John and I decided to sleep for a while, so we’d be fresh for the Sunday final blowout. Usually on Sunday nights, our thing is to go to the Oyster House restaurant in the hotel for dinner, but we decided to pass on that, since the party suite was having pizza again. I almost never eat pizza — it’s the only thing with cheese that I actually like — but a slice of it sure tastes good in the midst of all this activity. (I always want a second piece, but I have to refrain because I know it will make me sick to my stomach.) So, after packing some of our stuff and getting ready, we headed to 960 somewhere around 10-ish. Things weren’t quite hopping yet, but by 11, it was mobbed.

B came and asked if I’d like to play, and I said yes, I’d love to. We’d just met, but as I mentioned, I had watched him play and really liked his style. He likes role-play, and at a party, I’m game for it. But when we got to the bedroom and he stood before me, taking my hands and saying, “So, I heard from your school today,” I couldn’t help it — I burst out laughing. Then I said, “School?? Do you know how old I am? Pick something else!” He laughed, and then swung right into something about breaking curfew. (Which was equally preposterous, but I decided to go with it.) We had fun; he used his hand and belt (he checked in with me beforehand, asking about limits and preferences), and as I’d seen him do, he kept up a running commentary through the scene, allowing me to interact with him and banter. He was testing the waters, checking how I was by asking “Are you sorry yet?” I knew this was his way of saying, “Have you had enough of should I go on?”, so I said, “Yes… sorry-not-sorry!” Ruh roh… wrong answer! After another few flurries, he asked again if I was sorry, and this time I said, “Yessir!” 😀 It was a perfect little scene.

We spent some time chatting with Kat and her hubby, and with Mir. I went off to get a caning from Andy M, which was great fun. I love his precision with canes; I always know I’m in good, safe hands with him. Oh, and of course I had to have a second scene with Roy. We tried to grab our bathroom spot, but this time, the bathroom was occupied with two girls in a bubble bath and several others standing around talking with them. So we nabbed a spot on one of the beds. During aftercare, he said, kind of out of nowhere, “I don’t like it when you go missing. I don’t even know what happened, I just know it was some bad shit. But I’m so glad you’re back.” Little things like this really made my weekend. ♥

Did I mention that the pizza was supposed to arrive at 11 and it didn’t get there until 12:15? By then, I was ravenously hungry and lightheaded, not having eaten since lunchtime (aside from a few peanuts in our room), so it seemed like the best thing I’d ever tasted.

Of course, no party is complete without a Florentine flogging from Fineous (gotta love alliteration, right?). He and I have played on Sunday nights for… well, ever. If I don’t find him, he finds me. It’s our Thing. He had a massage table this time, so I stripped down to just panties and stretched out for my sensuous treat. Nobody flogs like Fineous — it’s indescribable, and so very relaxing. Perfect for winding down a party weekend.

After I somehow managed to stand up and put my clothes back on, I drifted over and found John talking with Mir and T&S. The conversation was animated, and as I got closer, I became aware that the subject was politics. Noooooooo. Not now. No. Please. T&S was ranting about you-know-who, and although I agree with him, I just couldn’t bear to listen to this now, not when I was so blissed out. So I groaned, “Mercy!” He kept going, so I said it again, louder. He still kept going! Then John said, “Hey, didn’t you hear her? She just safe-worded twice!” T&S laughed then and said, “Okay, okay, I’ll stop.” Yeahhh… don’t be killing my buzz, dude.

It was getting late, and I assumed that the flogging was going to be my last scene. I had hoped to play with Joe, but he was so busy and I knew the chances of that happening were slim. So I curled up next to John on the couch and prepared to just hang out there and chill until we decided to leave.

I assumed incorrectly. 🙂 As I hunkered down with John, I looked up to see none other than Paul Kennedy. I had not seen Alex and Paul for a long time (missed them both hugely!), and I think the last time Paul and I played was when I shot for Northern in 2018 — I’ve always loved playing with him. Well, looked like it was about to happen again; he didn’t say a word, merely stepped up to me and took my hand. Nice.

He had a short, thin cane with him (uh oh), and we went and found a spot on one of the beds, where he took me OTK and gave me a long, deliciously hard hand spanking. By the end of it, I was moaning into the bedspread, but when he let me up, he just smiled and said, “We’re not done.” And he had me bend over the side of the bed.

I know Paul is an expert caner, but I have never been caned by him before. Oh. My. GOD. He had a technique I have never experienced before, not in all these years. In general, I’ve had cane strokes delivered one at a time, with pauses in between to absorb them. Sometimes the top will do a bit of tap-tap-tap with the cane before the major stroke, just to get the positioning right. Paul did the tap-tap-tap as per usual… but after a while, the single hard strokes became double strokes. And then triple. And finally, quadruple. Each stroke would be in a slightly different spot, not all on top of each other (thank god!!), but have two, three and four hard slices in a row was mind-blowing. Oh… and did I mention he caned my upper thighs as well?

Holy crap.

This was definitely a Sunday night finale scene. It was hard. It challenged me. And I was in the best of hands.

When he pulled me up, I was speechless. I was breathless. My mouth was hanging open, but no sounds came out, just strangled gasps. He then laid a finger over my lips, pulled me into his side, wrapped his arms around me and said, “Shhhh… I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”

Sweetest of words.

It took me a while to come back down to Earth, and Paul let me take my time. Then after I pulled myself back together, he led me back out and took me to John, leaning over and kissing the top of my head before making his exit. Thank you, Paul. ♥

Wouldn’t you know it… as I stood there, my legs like butter, my entire lower half feeling like it was on fire, that’s when Joe came over and wanted to play! Ah, Joe, you know I love you, and I adore playing with you, but there was no way. I told him so, and asked if he would give me some lotion aftercare instead. He took me to a table, got some lotion, and whistled when he took a look at me. I think he understood why I couldn’t play with him! After lotioning me, he took some pictures. Here I am, in all my caned glory:

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The redness had faded, even in just that few minutes. But this is a pretty good representation. Stick a fork in me; I was done.

We lingered a bit more, but at 3:30, even though the party was still in full swing with no signs of dwindling, we knew it was time to go. So we said our last good nights and headed back to our room, where we staggered into bed at 4:00, sleeping for three hours and getting up at 7:00 to shower, pack up the rest of our stuff and check out. I was so tired, I was practically delirious, but I just went into automaton mode and did what needed to be done. We made good time, and after getting coffee for the road, we were in the car by 8:00.

Right about now, it’s time for another back story — long ago, my second spanker ever, a southern gentleman, had a very sexy southern drawl, and during/after play, he was fond of saying, “How’s your butt, baby?” I told John about this, and he’s been saying it to me all these years as a joke.

Anyway… we’re in the car driving away, and a text comes in from Zack. I read it, and laughed so hard I nearly cried.

“Hey Erica! I think you are probably under way now and I’ve got something I need to ask you… How’s your butt, baby?”

I said, “John put you up to that!” and he answered, “I have no idea what you’re talking about!” (Also a John phrase.) Well played, guys. 😀

The drive home was uneventful. We stopped in Barstow and had double-scoop ice cream cones for breakfast, because vacation. As always, the ride was filled with post-party chitchat, analysis of scenes, recollections of conversations. And yes, with me squirming in the seat and sitting with my feet up on the dash to take the pressure off my butt. Been a while since I’d been that sore. And I loved it.

Would you believe it’s taken me three days to write this thing?? No rest for this girl — I unpacked and settled in on Monday and took that night off, catching up with people, but Tuesday it was back to work. Reality hits hard after these weekends, but I haven’t felt droppy, just tired and a little overwhelmed with stuff to do. Speaking of which, I need to get back to work and do a ton of laundry. However, last but not least…

Thanks to so many people for contributing to my beautiful weekend. I really do feel like I came full circle and I’m back where I belong. Not in the same place I was before, but still a good one. I have a stronger sense of who my friends are, and I am deeply grateful for them. But more than anyone else, as always, I must thank my beloved, the man who is always with me, who has seen me through everything, who rejoices and mourns with me, who supports me, who has never left me. I love you with all my heart, John. ♥

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Thank you for reading! (Oh, for those who may be wondering — the cane stripes on my thighs have morphed into beautiful bruises, and my sit spots still look a bit mottled. However, my butt is pristine once again. I still got it. :-D)

EDIT: There are so many more people I encountered this party that I didn’t mention here, and I’m sorry. But if I were to mention everyone and everything, I’d be writing this post until Labor Day. Still, for those who shared a hug with me, a few minutes of conversation, thank you. Every one of you was part of my experience. Just a few, in no particular order: Pharaoh, Sha and your beautiful girls; Katerina; KentuckyGirl; Alex Reynolds; Brad; Djinn; Keagan; Gary; SweetEnticement; James and Korey; NaughtyMichael. and probably others I’m forgetting and please forgive me… thank you all! ♥

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. ♥

Birthday treats

(This is long. But it’s about 50% pictures.)

So I had another birthday, this past Sunday, 9/22. It was a fairly low-key weekend — spent it with John, who fussed over me and took me out for a lovely dinner Saturday night. I got some very nice greetings via Facebook, Twitter, and email. And some fun presents!

The first was an early surprise from Jay — a hot/cold beverage Beatles tumbler, printed all over with their songs. Check it out! Also check out my bare naked… face. On second thought, don’t.

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Makes me smile every time I drink from it. Thank you, my friend!

Next, last Friday, I got a small package in the mail. I didn’t recognize the return address; some talent agency in Hollywood. To digress for a moment — most of you who have known me for more than five minutes know about my almost life-long celebrity crush on David Selby, who played Quentin Collins on the old cult classic horror serial Dark Shadows. So imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found this:

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(Damn, that man’s face still takes my breath away.) But who sent it? I flipped through the book, thinking a card might fall out or something, and then saw this:

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I know his autograph. I have it on many things. And for about two seconds, my heart was pounding.

Calm down, Erica. David Selby doesn’t know it’s your birthday. David Selby doesn’t know your address. David Selby, if he would remember you at all, it would be as that pushy woman who planted a kiss on him at the Dark Shadows Festival nine years ago.

Then I checked the rest of the mail, and saw a card from my buddy Dave Wolfe, of Wolfie Toons. And put two and two together. Sure enough, he was behind this. Wow. What a cool and thoughtful surprise. I love you, Wolfie! Thank you for being my friend all these years. ♥

When I came home on Sunday, I found a big beautiful bouquet of flowers on my doorstep (from John) and an Amazon package from my friend Lily Starr. The contents made me laugh out loud. Lily has a Chihuahua named Buster, and she knows how much I adore Chihuahuas. I know they have a bit of a rep for being scrappy and yappy and cranky, but I think they are just so damn cute. Anyway… she sent me a stuffed Chihuahua so I could have my own “Buster.” I put him on my desk next to Grumpy Cat, who as you can see is thrilled…

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As it happens, this birthday did not include any cake. Booooo! But Lily made sure I had a version of my favorite cake anyway. 🙂

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And in case you’re wondering, it is absolutely delicious. I know some coffee aficionados (read: snobs) think flavored coffee is plebeian, but I don’t care. I love it!

Did I mention flowers?

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Yeah, I got a lot of flowers. 🙂 I love flowers. My place smells so nice.

Finally — this isn’t really a birthday present, but John found this guy being given away (it had to be from a child who had outgrown him, because he’s in perfect condition) and brought him home for me.

Isn’t he CUTE???

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I named him Marlon. Marlon the Minion. However, John couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of this name.

John: “Hey, can we bring Marion to lunch with us?”
Me: “Who’s Marion?”
John: “You know, Marion.”
Me: “No, I don’t. Who the hell is Marion?”
John: “The minion!”
Me: “That’s Marlon. Marion is a girl’s name.”
John: “It’s a man’s name too!”
Me: “Yeah, but it’s a sissy name for a man!”

(And yes, before some of you get on me, I know that John Wayne’s real name was Marion. I don’t care. I couldn’t stand the SOB, and he had a stupid name to boot.)

Later:

John: (taking the minion to my car) “Don’t forget Marlo!”
Me: “Marlon! Marlo is a girl’s name!”
John: “Isn’t there a guy named Marlo? You know, a cop or something?”
Me: “You mean Detective Philip Marlowe?”
John: “Yeah.”
Me: “Marlowe is his last name, honey. And besides, he’s fictional.”
John: “Oh.”

Anyway, I’m really too old for a giant stuffed minion, but I’m keeping him regardless.

I told my therapist about all the goodies when I saw her yesterday. She gave me a wry smile and said, “Wow… some people actually like you. Imagine that.”

Yeah… imagine that. :-/

It was a sweet birthday. As for the much overdue birthday spanking? (sigh) Latest on that is maybe next week. Maybe. Ugh. D said he’s still drowning in work, but maybe he can squeeze in some time — he suggested coming over early in the morning before he goes to work. My reply to him was I don’t care if it’s in the middle of the night, at this point. I swear, if I wait much longer, we’re going to look like this:

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(thanks to Jay for sending me that!)

And thanks to everyone who sent greetings, good wishes, presents, cards, whatever, and for thinking of me. It means a lot. ♥

The ephemeral nature of kink intimacy: Can it be real?

And if it can, how do you know when it is?

ephemeral

[ ih-fem-er-uhl ]SHOW IPA

adjective

lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory:

the ephemeral joys of childhood.

 

lasting but one day:
an ephemeral flower.

 

(Why do you show off so damn much with your million-dollar words, Erica?) I can’t help it. I like them. But you can’t complain if I provide the definition, right?

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Note: I’m aware that many of my readers are married to or monogamously involved with their spankers, and don’t play with others. This post is more for those who do play with others, whether or not they have a primary relationship… a situation that can be a lot more confusing. Leave it to me to choose the more complicated route.

According to general societal patterns (you know, those “normal” people), here’s the blueprint: Couples meet, however they meet. They exchange names. They talk, share basic information. In the course of a few hours, a few phone calls, a few dates, whatever, they learn more about one another. Preferences of all kinds. Music/book/movie tastes. Political leanings. Fears. Hopes. Dreams. Failures. The jigsaw puzzle of personality gets filled in, a piece at a time. In the course of this time, there are physical exchanges, often starting with kisses. Then a little more, and a little more, until we have full-on sexual intimacy.

Now we kinksters, we do everything ass backwards (word play intended). Oftentimes, basic vetting aside, we play first and ask questions later. We have physical intimacy first. Instead of that slow burn of growing attracted to one another as we learn more, we burn hot from the get-go, act on chemistry over personal knowledge, invite others into our homes, our beds, our bodies, our playrooms, etc. before we’ve even begun to invite them into our hearts or our day-to-day lives. Oftentimes, that last part doesn’t happen.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s kind of hot. If I wanted to go the traditional route, I would have. I tried it for many years. It’s overrated.

Funny and perfect case in point: When D came over a few weeks ago, we’d met only once, and briefly. Essentially, I brought a strange man into my home, my space. I felt completely okay with that. We played. We had intense and close-up contact. I laid myself out, physically and emotionally. He inflicted both pain and pleasure. He saw me raw and open, exposed.

Afterward, when I was lying on the couch bare-ass naked with him massaging lotion into me, I dreamily turned my head and asked, “What’s your last name?”

He told me. I told him mine. And the massage continued.

I’ve been doing this for so long, this feels perfectly normal. But I know there are tons of people out there who would be shocked at the idea of someone seeing their bare ass (not to mention exposed genitalia) before said someone learns their full, real name.

This is what I call “pseudo-intimacy.” It’s an intimacy quickly forged out of a strong cocktail of physical attraction and a shared desire, a common bond of kink. But is it real intimacy — whatever the hell that is? And if it isn’t, can it become so? When does a play partnership cross over into a real friendship, a relationship of sorts, where people care about one another?

Most of you know the story of how John and I met. I placed an ad; he answered it. We chatted once on the phone. And then we met for coffee. We talked at Starbucks until they closed, then went for a walk. He ended up pulling me over his leg in the alley behind Starbucks and spanking me, until we heard the telltale jingle of a leash and a man appeared, walking his dog (and getting quite the eyeful). We then proceeded to John’s vehicle where he spanked me some more, gave me an orgasm, and he took my panties, claiming I’d have to see him again if I wanted them back.

This is not your typical “first date.” We were both seeing other people at the time.

Cut to the present — on August 30, we’ll be together 23 years. Somehow, that initial pseudo-intimacy became real, blossomed into something much fuller. It can happen.

But it’s complicated. Because of the nature of what we do, it’s easy to confuse pseudo-intimacy for something real. It’s easy to fall for the actions, thinking you’re falling for the person. When in fact you really don’t know them at all.

I remember my very first spanker. Saw him a total of three times, played twice. Paul. I never did learn his last name. But he changed my life. In one afternoon, in the time span of no more than an hour, he put me on a path of no return, opened me to a vast new world to explore and experience. That first spanking meant more to me than losing my virginity did.

At the time, I remember feeling like I’d fallen in love with Paul. But even then, in my haze of hormones and endorphins and wonder, I knew that wasn’t it. Of course I wasn’t in love with him. I was in love with what he gave me. But of course, sometimes, when your emotions get involved, it’s hard to compartmentalize it like that. The boundaries blur. Your mind says one thing, your body says another, and your heart says yet another.

No wonder so many scene relationships go sideways.

I have been thinking back on some of my play partnerships over the years, many of which have been chronicled in my blogs. All the time I’ve been with John, I’ve played with other men, all with his blessing. I am lucky that way. A lot of these partnerships simply faded away, due to various life circumstances. A couple, I really regret losing. Two come to mind that did indeed blossom into real friendship, much more than just the physical act of getting together to play.

Danny Chrighton and I were play partners for over three years. But we were also the best of friends. We didn’t just play. We hung out. We did stuff together. He and John were buddies. Our play chemistry was awesome, but beyond that, our closeness was true. He knew me, and I knew him. There was mutual trust and respect. And the only thing that ended it was distance, when he moved out of state. I loved him. I still do. I miss what we had, to this day, even though I haven’t seen him in years.

Then there was ST. Same deal, we met through an online ad, got together to play. From the beginning, we were consistent; he came over every Monday evening. We hung out and talked after playing. Our play was sometimes edgy, dancing on the boundaries and limits, maybe at times a little scary… because I trusted him. I knew within that he would never really hurt me. And on the flip side, we had our silly times, like when he showed up at my place on Halloween, masked and dressed as “Super Spanko.” I knew all kinds of odds and ends about him; the farming community, population 350, he’d grown up in; the names of all his siblings; how much he adored his dog.

We were friends/play partners for over two years. And… then he met someone. There was a mutual attraction, a couple of dates. He told her about me. She said, “I don’t think I like that.”

And just like that, we were done. The last time we played, I wept. I told him I loved him. He said he loved me too, and he always would. But then I never saw him again.

Does that mean that what we had wasn’t real? Is something real when it can be tossed aside so easily? Or is that simply just another sad fact about the nature of relationships? I don’t know.

I bear him no resentment. I did hear from him briefly once, via email. He’d bought a house. I hope he found happiness. He was a good guy; he deserved it.

I suppose the point of all this rambling is — damn. I’ve been doing this for over twenty-three years, and I still get muddled and mixed up emotionally over what’s real and what’s simply born of the intense, instant intimacy and vulnerability. And if I still get taken in by it, how the hell do scene newbies handle it?? How do they navigate the sea of feelings that can be stirred up when you put yourself into someone else’s hands? When they cut through layers and layers of outer bullshit and go straight to your core? When you gift each other with trust and vulnerability, and then it’s gone as quickly as it came?

In a perfect world, pseudo-intimacy would indeed develop into something more real, and more lasting. We could keep those wonderful feelings and experience them again and again. Where real life wouldn’t take them away. Where no matter what relationships go in and out of each person’s life, the core friendships and caring remain.

Is that too much to ask for? I know some say that I don’t have a right to expect this: that I have a relationship, so I shouldn’t want for this too. Well, guess what. I do anyway. I guess I will never stop yearning for it. Because I know it’s possible. And don’t ask me what the man is getting out of it, if he’s not my primary relationship. I sure hope to hell that all the men who have been my play partners over the years got something out of it.

Because I sure did, and I don’t think we could have connected as deeply if they didn’t.

Anyway. I should be working. But sometimes, I just have to ramble. And hope that it resonates with someone out there. Thoughts, anyone? Your own experiences with this?

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…

 

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.

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