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”

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.

Onward… where to, I’m not sure

So here I am, staring another birthday in the face. Didn’t I just have one of the damn things? Look, I enjoy birthday festivities as much as the next attention whore hog, but I can do without this ageing business.

And — confession time. I don’t have a birthday spanking to look forward to. Because as it happens, I do not have a play partner at this time.

I feel kind of ridiculous and thought perhaps if I just didn’t talk about it, people would forget that big announcement I made a few posts back. I thought about deleting it, but I really didn’t want to. That would be denying it ever happened, and it did. And it was lovely and lots of fun, however brief.

Please don’t ask me for details… it is what it is. I will tell you this much. I have not lost a friend. Ulf is a dear, kind-hearted and special man I am privileged to know and who I hope to keep in my life for a good long time, as my friend, part of my chosen family.

It just seems he’s not meant to be my play partner.

So. Once again, I am adrift in spanko land. And you know what? I’m tired of looking. I’m not going to make a thing out of finding another partner. If it happens, it happens. But the process can be so damned disheartening and frustrating, and many times, the best relationships have happened organically and not when I was specifically seeking them. So I won’t.

Of course I will miss regular play. I’m not going to kid myself and say no big deal, I won’t miss it, I’m busy, I’m working, I spend weekends with John, spanking isn’t everything, so on and so forth. It’s a huge part of me and I feel a sadness, an emptiness when I don’t have it in my life. However, I would rather go without it than to settle for anything less than what fulfills me. I’m not going to play with just anyone, simply for the sake of feeling a hand on my butt. I need the connection. I need the trust and chemistry and the humor and the attraction and all those wonderful things that come together to make the potent cocktail that sends me into bliss.

In recent times, I’ve befriended a couple of lovely young women on FetLife — very young (early twenties). Both have been lucky enough to have positive and caring early experiences with good men, which is so very important. Both are eager sponges, wanting to soak up everything about this kink and learn about where they fit in all of this, and with whom. One of them recently told me that she was concerned it wouldn’t always be this good, and she was setting the bar too high. “It can’t always be this perfect, can it?” she asked.

In a word, no. Nothing is always wonderful. Even chocolate cake isn’t always wonderful. (Come on, you know you’ve had a dry piece or two in your lifetime.) Yes, spanking is readily available pretty much anywhere if you look for it. So is chocolate. But sometimes you get See’s or Godiva… and sometimes you get Russell Stover’s. Don’t settle for the latter. It just makes you want the former even more.

This is what I said to both these women — I told them they were given a very special gift, getting to play with good partners early on. They would go on to have a lot of experiences with many different people, if they kept on this path, and not all of them would be so hot. BUT… they would always have a benchmark. They would always know how it was supposed to feel when it’s right. And when it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have to question themselves. No. I don’t like this. Doesn’t feel right. Next.

Well, guess what. I’m taking my own advice, because I too have benchmarks. I have had some incredible play partners. I have had dozens — hell, hundreds — of positive experiences. And yeah, I’ve had some really crappy, unsatisfying, and even a few traumatic ones as well. But they were anomalies. And I knew there was something better, something worth waiting for. Because when it happened, when all those elusive factors came together and made for that connection, it was blissful. Quality over quantity.

Recently, a good friend asked me how I deal with all the losses of play partners I’ve had over the years — how could I stand having my heart broken again and again? I told her that’s the risk you take. It’s an unusual relationship, often times a fleeting one. And yes, it hurts to open my heart, give my trust, and put my body and soul in a man’s hands, only to have him go away. But the alternative is not playing. The alternative is not experiencing the closeness, the intensity, the magic. And that’s worse. That’s so empty.

Yup, I know there are those who think I’m too picky. That I have too many hard limits, my play focus is too narrow, I should open myself up to more experiences and some different types of people, should experiment more, should be more scene-inclusive, blah blah blah. Yeah, maybe. But you know what?

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That’s right. Screw this whole PC thing that says we’re supposed to embrace all varieties of our kink. That we’re supposed to “evolve” — implication being that if your scene tastes don’t broaden, you’re a dinosaur. Well, call me Erica-sauras. Or sore-ass. Whatever. I’m too old for this shit, y’all. I’ve tried other stuff. I tried to push my square peg self into some other round kinks and just got scraped and chafed and miserable. I have been doing this long enough… I know who I am. I know what I like, I know what works for me and what does not. I know where my comfort zones are. I get to say I don’t like stuff and I don’t want it. That doesn’t mean I don’t accept when others do it. People are welcome to do their own consensual kinky-fuckery. But acknowledging/accepting it and embracing it are very different things. For example? The recent Shadow Lane party and the extreme scene I mentioned that was stopped. It’s. A. Spanking. Party. If a man wants to kick and stomp on a woman while wearing heavy boots, and she wants him to kick and stomp on her while he’s wearing heavy boots, fine. They can knock themselves out… at a dungeon. Not at a spanking party. I don’t want to see it, and I shouldn’t have to.

If I were younger, newer, then I’d say sure, experiment. But I’ve done that. Sometimes I wish I did like more varieties of play — I’d certainly have more opportunities for fulfillment. But we are who we are.

So, here’s what I do want.

I am a bottom, a strong woman who happens to enjoy the power exchange of being spanked by a man. I am not someone who needs to be held accountable, except in a playful realm — I hold myself accountable. I am a living, breathing human — I am not an object. I am not something to be owned and controlled. Yes, you can push me, test my limits. You can break down my walls, break through my defenses, touch my soft center. But you do not get to break me. Don’t break my heart or my trust. Be my friend and give me loving firmness. Make me sting, make me sore, but don’t harm me. I can take a lot of pain from you if it is done with caring and proper technique. But if you slap/strike anything other than my butt/thighs, you will not like my reaction. You want to punch/kick something? Go to the gym, and stay the hell away from me.

Make me laugh, and let me make you laugh. There is great joy in what we do; it is not a dark and serious thing. Embrace it with me.

Yes, I like playing with younger men. Enough with the cougar crap and other ageist insults. I’m not a predatory beast. I’m a woman who is young at heart and in mind, in good shape, and I just happen to relate well to people who are younger than I am — both male and female.

And for sweet Christ’s sake — don’t disappear, don’t ghost. I have seen more damn disappearing acts than the Magic Castle, and I’m tired of them. Yes, I get that lives are busy. Mine is too. I don’t ask for much of your time and attention. I just want to know you are in my life and you care, and know in my heart of hearts that I will see you, get to spend some time with you, sooner or later. Shoot me a text or a tweet when life is crazy. It takes seconds.

I guess time will tell if my dream play partner will materialize. Meanwhile, life goes on. John is making a big fuss over my birthday and I love him for it. He’s already sent me beautiful flowers, and this Saturday (the actual birthday), he’s taking me to the Walt Disney Concert Hall to hear a live performance of Mozart’s Requiem. I have never been to this particular venue, and I love classical music, so this is a huge treat.

So, like I said, onward. I am a bit melancholy, a bit adrift, but I am okay. It is what it is. And life has a way of surprising me when I least expect it. We shall see.

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