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 “life”

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Pondering life in the middle of Hump Day. Because why not.

I’m old enough to remember a time when if you wanted to communicate to someone immediately, you had two choices: see them in person, or call them on the phone. And if you called them, you took your chances that they weren’t home and wouldn’t answer. There was no voicemail. Or they were already on the phone and you got a busy signal. If you had an emergency and had to get through, you dialed the operator and had them break in on the call. People weren’t all that accessible. But somehow, they got things done. They made plans. They did communicate.

Now, people are basically accessible 24/7. Many of us have a phone on our person or at our fingertips at all hours. But we don’t have to make phone calls anymore if we don’t want to. There is texting. There is email. There is online messaging. There is Skype. You can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

So why do people communicate less now? How did we get so damn busy, so distracted, that we have the attention spans of gnats? Do we have too much stimulation? Is there simply too much to do and too little time in which to do it? Or do we just not care all that much anymore?

I can understand that in other times, people didn’t have the time to devote a large chunk of it to a visit, or to a long phone conversation. But now, it takes, literally, a matter of seconds to let someone know you’re thinking about them. You can fire off a text. You can drop an email.

John and I talk about this. His standard explanation is, “People are busy. And they’re afraid that if they engage, they’ll get caught up and obligated to keep responding.” Yeah, god forbid we should have to respond to others; what a burden. Okay, so people are too busy to answer a text? How come they’re not too busy to binge-watch hours and hours of streaming TV? Or play games online? Or engage in social media until their eyes bug out?

Last weekend, John and I went out to a nice dinner to celebrate our anniversary. There was a family of three at the table next to ours — a dad, a mom, and a teenage boy. While they sat and waited for their food, all three of them stared down at their phones in front of them. They didn’t say a word to each other. The phones weren’t put aside until they got their dinner, and after they were through, the phones were picked up again. Why bother going out together??

In the past couple of days, I’ve gotten a text that reads: “Sorry, I can’t talk to you right now.” I have no idea who the sender is. I don’t know the number. Not only is this person too busy to talk, they’re apparently too busy to even bother to check if they’re texting the right number.

People have the time to travel everywhere to convene with friends. But they don’t have time to spend with local ones.

So what you have is billions of people, with every possible way to connect… and who feel more alone and isolated than ever.

We all want to feel special. We all want to matter. And yes, we all crave attention and validation; some people more than others. So what do we do? Some of us become performers. We provide entertainment until people get bored with us and move on to the latest and greatest performer. Some of us go on really crappy reality shows and make complete asses of ourselves, but hey, at least people are noticing us. That is, until the next hot mess supersedes us. Some people make a whole lot of noise on social media, gathering followers and constantly posting/tweeting to keep their name on feeds. Until they stop… and no one notices. And in extreme cases, some others, feeling disenfranchised and forgotten, get guns and go on shooting rampages with them.

Some strive to stay connected, throwing out those texts and emails like little digital life preservers. Until they start to feel that maybe they’re being a bother and pest, and eventually, they stop. And then it’s metaphorical crickets. “Hey, where have you been? Are you okay? I’m just thinking about you,” seem to be lost phrases. Because we’re just too damn busy and distracted to notice or care that someone’s gone missing.

There is one sure-fire way to get noticed, to be appreciated, to have people say kind things about you.

You can die.

But that kinda sucks. Because you’re, well, dead. And you’re not around to hear the kind things. You don’t get to realize that you mattered after all.

Anyway… that’s about it. Please don’t let me interrupt you. I know you’re busy. Back to work with me.

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?

37k83l

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?

Yeah, still here…

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

grumpycatescapekey

So what’s been going on? This is another long one, kids. But there’s something fun at the end, if you want to slog through. Or just fast-forward. Up to you.

The past few months, I’ve been dealing with two separate issues. One you already know about; a bad bout of depression that was triggered by something that happened at the end of last year and then decided it wasn’t going to go away. And two, I started having shoulder pain a few months ago. At first I thought I just pulled something or another at the gym, so I worked around it, saw the chiropractor, iced it. But that didn’t go away either. Then it started hurting when I wasn’t even moving it. When it started impacting my sleep (damn near every position except on my back hurt), I knew I’d have to do something about it. And I was sick to death of feeling like death every day, too.

So at the end of March, I started making appointments. First, my regular doc to look at my shoulder, and second, with my HMO’s therapy department to 1. see if my meds need tweaking and 2. try to find a new therapist, as the one I had for over twenty-five years retired two years ago.

Going through the questions and interviews and appointments for therapy are so much fun, especially the tests they have you take, asking you to rate various thoughts and feelings and situations 1 through 5 (1 = Never, 5 = All the time). “How often do you have thoughts of hurting yourself?” “Do you use recreational drugs?” “Do you drink?” “Do you have trouble sleeping?” “Do you feel useless, guilty, unloved, hopeless, blah blah blah?” And then you have an appointment with a psychiatrist to assess your needs — said psychiatrist essentially asks you the same questions again. Because I am my father’s daughter, I couldn’t resist a bit of dark humor.

Doctor: Have you ever tried to commit suicide?
Me: Yeah, when I was nineteen.
Doctor: How?
Me: It was pretty lame; I blew out the pilot lights on the stove and in the heater, turned everything up full blast, closed the windows, and went to sleep. But I woke up.
Doctor: And are you thinking about doing that now?
Me: No, my apartment is all electric now.

What can I say. I saw her trying to hide a laugh. I mean, I get why they have to ask all this stuff. They want to make sure you’re not going to leave the appointment and then go jump in front of a bus. But still… enough. If I haven’t offed myself by now, it ain’t happening.

Anyway, after that, she decided not to switch my meds to something else, just to up the existing a bit, and also suggested I try exercising a little more and to start taking melatonin at night for better sleep quality. And then she referred me to a therapist, who I heard from shortly thereafter.

I’ve had two appointments with her so far and I like her. The first hour, I gave her an overall intro of my younger life: alcoholic dad, hypercritical mom, brother dying, the revolving door of stepmothers, eating disorders and depression, and other general suckage. The second appointment, I told her about Erica Scott and that part of my life. I didn’t get overly detailed, but I needed her to know about the scene, since so much of my current depression is around that. It took all the nerve I had, but I felt better afterward. So I’ll be seeing her regularly. Best part — the copay is only $15.

As for my shoulder, that’s been a lot more challenging. First my doc took an X-ray, found nothing, and suggested I simply stop exercising my upper body until this goes away… in six months or so. Not happening. I’m no doctor, but one thing I do know is you do not stop moving a body part just because it’s injured. You work around it, strengthen the area, keep things moving and flexible. So I asked the doc to refer me to the physical therapy department (after she turned down my request for an MRI). Long story short, I have a vague catch-all term for what’s happening: “Shoulder impingement syndrome.” I’ve had to adjust my workouts, my sleeping position, and the PT has been giving me exercises to do at home, adding another couple every time I see her. I’m up to eight exercises in the series, which take about twenty minutes to a half-hour, and I have to do them twice a day. And that’s on top of regular workouts. Oh, and ice, heat, and Advil/Aleve as needed.

Having shoulder pain is, well, a pain. Never take for granted simple things like pulling a shirt over your head without wanting to scream and cuss. But I’m working on it. You can’t say I’m not being proactive through all this crap.

I’ve been on the new dose of meds for about six weeks now. I do feel a bit better. Through all this, I’ve been highly functional. I got up every morning, got dressed, worked, did what needed doing. But I cried every day, and every night, my last thought before going to sleep was “Please let me die.” That hasn’t been happening for a while. So, progress. And along with a better mood came… guess what. Yeah, you got it. A renewed desire to play.

I had deactivated FetLife, and had no desire to go back on there, because there is someone I don’t want to encounter. So I reactivated some old ads on *shudder* Alt.com and SpankingPersonalAds.com. Yeah, I know. I was opening myself up to CHoS entries once again… and they delivered. Good grief. The very first reply I got after rejoining Alt was a dick pic accompanied with the message, “Want your ass, bitch!” However, there are occasional diamonds in heaps of coal, so I soldiered on. Had a couple of coffee dates; nice men, but just not a fit. One flat-out said he couldn’t imagine giving a woman a spanking and then not having sex afterward. “Guess I’d go jerk off,” he said. Charming.

Then I heard from B, an Irish gentleman who lives in Northern California. I liked how he wrote, I really liked his picture, and we started sending long messages, taking it from the kink site to email. Then he suggested we talk on the phone. I’m not a phone person, as you all know, but I was curious. So he called me one evening at a predetermined time, and we chatted for about two hours. He mentioned that he’d decided when he turned 50 (he’s 51) that he was going to travel to meet people and play, and he asked what my availability was. I said I spend Friday evening through Sunday at John’s, but Monday through Thursday I was home and my time was flexible. He said, “Well, that’s a problem. I work Monday through Friday.”

Well, crap. There goes that, I thought.

Until next day, when he texted me to say he’d enjoyed our conversation, mentioning that he gets chatty when he’s had a glass of wine. I texted back that I enjoyed it too, and I didn’t even have any wine.

He then wrote back that he was going to have to punish me for letting an Irishman drink alone.

Jesus Freaking Christ on a cracker. I was reading this in the locker room at the gym and damn near had a spontaneous orgasm. I answered that I failed to see the logic in this.

His reply: “Just Google ‘Irish stereotypes drinking’ and you will see how punishable this infraction is.” Ye Gods. We bantered a bit back and forth until I finally said that I was at the gym and if he didn’t stop talking like this, I was going to drop a weight on my foot.

Two days later, he texted again and asked what was the closest airport to me, and I said Burbank. He said he could fly out on a Friday night and we could play, and he’d fly home the next day.

Oh, my.

I told him I’d have to talk with John about this, because it would impact my time with him and I make a point of trying not to do that, so I’d get back to him. John’s reaction? “Life is short. Try it once.”

I love this man. ♥

So we planned it for the weekend of May 11. One snag — it turned out he was arriving around 11 p.m., so we’d need to play Saturday. Argh… I had planned to meet him Friday night, play, then head on to John’s. Now it was looking like I wasn’t getting to John’s until sometime Saturday afternoon. But I was all in, and that was that. And for once, the stars aligned; as it happened, John had a crew scheduled Saturday morning to cut down a tree in his back yard, and they were going to be chain-sawing and jack-hammering all morning. So it was just as well that I not be there.

I asked B if he could please come early Saturday morning, say around 9:00. We settled on 9:15. In the meantime, he’d friended me on Facebook, so I could read all about him. I had a full name, a number, an email. He said he could provide references; just the fact that he offered that meant (to me) that I didn’t need them. I was ready. Oh, and did I mention I was nervous AF? It had been six months. And did I also mention this guy is very big on caning? What the hell kind of tolerance was I going to have after such a long hiatus?

B didn’t like the idea of playing in his hotel, so he was coming to my apartment. Bright and early, he showed up. Even more handsome than his pictures, with that accent and the most beautiful blue eyes… oh, Christ, was I ready.

He’d brought his suitcase with him, having checked out of his hotel, and as he settled in, he unzipped one compartment and pulled out four canes, an implement that looked like a whole bunch of skinny canes bundled together, two tawses, and one short strap. Easy, Erica. Don’t panic. You’ve got this. Bionic Butt, remember? It’s like riding a bike. Oh, wait… I never learned how to ride a bike. Fuck. When he showed me the tawse, he explained it was a Scottish Lochgelly tawse, and it looked like one mean mofo — two tongues and very thick. He then added, “We probably won’t be using this.” Probably thought it was a bit too harsh for a first session. I certainly didn’t argue.

Mercifully, he did give me a brief warm-up OTK with his hand and the short leather strap, over my jeans. But all too quickly, it was done, and he had me get back up while he searched for the best place to bend me over for caning. The ottoman was too low, the armchair had no swinging room — but my bed was just right.

What is it about UK men and the cane? I have been caned many times by many tops, but no one seems to have the prowess and precision quite like UK tops. B was no exception. He was very methodical in his corporal punishment delivery — I had to count every stroke, I had to say “sir” with each one, and he was measured and even and focused. I’ve often said that a lot of people are afraid of the cane, but they shouldn’t be; the cane is only as bad as the person wielding it, like any other implement. In the right hands, in conscientious hands, it is intense, it hurts, but it’s a good hurt. It’s deep and it’s lingering and it’s…. mmmmmnggghhh. Yeah, that’s the word for it.

He gave me sets of twelve, and occasionally sets of twenty-four. I lost count of how many there were. He used that cane bundle too. We took breaks periodically, his decision. Here I am somewhere in the middle of it all.

20190511_110932

Look how spot on those cane strokes are. And yet, I felt all of those implements on my back, plus one more cane not in the picture.

You would think that after six months of no play, of practically re-virginized skin, this would have been enough, yes? You’d be wrong.

He stopped when he thought I’d had enough. He was gauging my skin and my color. And because we had just met and he didn’t know the full scope of my tolerance, he exercised caution. I knew all that and appreciated every bit of it. But…

I still wanted more.

So when we got up, went back into the living room and sat on the couch to talk, I told him so. I said it wasn’t a criticism; I just liked to be pushed a bit. And because I haven’t played for so long, I’m feeling insatiable. He didn’t answer that, and changed the subject. I figured okay, this was great, we had a good intense scene and I got to dip my toes back in the water.

Until about ten minutes later when he suddenly stood up, picked up the tawse, and said, “Back in the bedroom.”

Uh oh.

Once there, he said, “I’m going to give you twelve. After that, I will ask you if you want twelve more. You will not want them.” I still had my jeans on; how bad could it be?

Oh, crap. That tawse is one mean son of a bitch. It packed a wallop, even over denim. I felt a bit shaky after the twelve were done.

“Do you want twelve more?” he asked.

“Yes, please,” I replied.

The next twelve were harder, and I was barely able to keep count by the end. He told me to stand, and I did, on shaky legs. “Wow,” I murmured, looking at the wicked thing in his hands. “That was intense. I can’t even imagine how that feels on bare skin.”

He just looked at me, not putting the tawse down. “Want more?” I hesitated. “How about six.” “OK.” “Pants down.”

Oh, shit.

Took down my jeans, and he gave me six hard ones. And then, he gave me six more. I took thirty-six with that beastly thing.

And I felt so. Damn. Good. I haven’t lost it. I’ve still got it. Now I was done.

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Notice the absence of something? Like, I don’t know… wrapping? Unevenness? Perfect balance and distribution. I was impressed.

It was now almost 12:30, so we started to pull our things together. I had already put my weekend suitcase in the car, so all we had to do was gather all his stuff and then I was driving him to the rental car place near the Burbank airport (which was on the way to John’s), so he could drive into Orange County to a shop he wanted to visit there, and then he would fly home from LAX. As he was getting ready, I glanced at my bar top and saw a box that hadn’t been there before. “Is this yours?” I asked. “No,” he said, “it’s yours. It’s a gift.” It was a stove-top espresso pot! In one of our earlier conversations, he had asked me, apropos of nothing, if I liked coffee, and I told him I did. I thought, okay, maybe he’ll bring coffee when he comes over, but then he didn’t, and I forgot about it. Wow. I did not expect a present, and I was really tickled. Thank you, sir, for everything.

I have to admit, what happened last year made me seriously question my judgment in people, my instincts about who is good and who isn’t. But even someone who’s usually pretty accurate about sussing people out could be thoroughly taken in by someone who was so charming and convincing. My instincts are not flawed; they’re just not perfect every time. This time, they were spot on.

I wasn’t sore that evening, which was strangely disappointing. But when I woke up Sunday morning and sat up… holy hell. My butt felt like it had been hit by a bus. Repeatedly. I was sore, deep into the tissues and muscles, but not a mark on me. I think that might have been due to B kneading out the cane strokes in between sets. He asked me which I preferred: having the massage, or having marks. Naturally, I said I like both. I felt the soreness for two days and relished it.

So. Project Erica Taking Her Power Back. Getting my life back, my spirits back, my kink mojo and confidence back. And finding new ways to indulge it, because I can’t go back to the way things were. There’s too much mistrust and pain. Eventually, I will write more about this. I still won’t name names. But I think it’s time to talk about it; I just have to figure out how. Meanwhile… please hold a good thought for me. Healing thoughts for my shoulder and my psyche. And for God’s sake, wish me a local play partner!

And finally, a side note: RIP, Tardar Sauce (yes, that’s how they spelled it), AKA Grumpy Cat. The iconic kitty has passed away at age 7. I mention this because she was my spirit animal, and I related to so many of the memes. But I will always have my little desk mascot.

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As always, thanks for reading.

Notes on The Scene

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

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

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

brickdoesnotfit

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.

Legacy, shmegacy

Yet another bit of time-wasting nonsense on Twitter is a program called Curious Cat. You can set it up so your followers can ask you questions, anonymously. Also, the program generates a Question of the Day. Usually, it’s something fairly generic and insipid, like what book changed your life, what’s your biggest fear, would you be a kid again if you could, blah blah blah. The other day, CC asked: “What do you want your legacy to be?”

I had to think about that. Who has legacies, anyway? People who accomplish great things? People who lead, who contribute, who create, who entertain. Who paint, build, compose music. Who invent things we can’t imagine living without once we have them, even though we did before. Who cure diseases. These are but a select few. Most of us shuffle into this life in obscurity and shuffle off the same way. As my father put it, life is but an entrance, an exit, and a lot of bullshit in between.

Legacies are often in families — those who have children, who pass their names and their experiences on to future generations. Not a possibility with me, as I did not have children. Perhaps legacies, then, for childless people, are how others remember them. If they made an impression — good, bad or otherwise.

It seems you don’t really get to find out what others think of you until you die. And then, unfortunately… well, you’re dead. You don’t get to know. So you live your life the best you can, and hope that overall, you’ve had a good impact. If you have an impact at all. If you mattered.

This is where I find myself separating Erica Scott and Erica [real name], which is silly, because they are one and the same. But I can’t help thinking that Erica Scott has made much more of an impression. Erica Scott put herself out there, exposed herself physically and emotionally. Erica Scott is on film and in writing. Erica [real name], on the other hand, has lived a very quiet and reserved life. No marriage, no kids, no grand career, no accomplishments to speak of (with the exception of a successful relationship). If you Google her, you don’t find anything.

So what indeed would be my legacy? How would I be remembered? So many possibilities.

  • The expressive writer with so much to say, who filled countless journals and blogs, who self-published three books, but who spent most of her time perfecting other people’s writing.
  • The depressive, glass-half-empty kind of girl, spending her days doing her best to dodge the abyss.
  • The snarky, opinionated bitch.
  • The woman who cried way too often, but when she laughed, you could hear her in the next county.
  • The empath who listened, who cared, who felt the pain with others.
  • The introverted recluse who hated the phone and hated to travel.
  • The survivor.
  • The mercurial, moody, maddening and often misunderstood woman who people either loved or couldn’t fucking stand.
  • The woman with the peanut brittle exterior and the marshmallow heart.
  • The contradiction: Cynical, yet still hopeful. Bitter and sweet. Sarcastic and compassionate. Cussed like a sailor, but had an almost pathological revulsion toward the c-word. Independent and autonomous to a fault, yet hungrily craving attention and validation.
  • And yes, the woman who broke all the rules in the fetish world, starting to act in spanking videos at an age where most bottoms are long retired — and continuing to do so for eighteen years. Who got into the scene late and made up for lost time in every possible way.

A segue at this point: One more stupid trend circulating the interwebs lately is the Ten Year Photo Challenge. People are posting two pictures of themselves, side by side, the pictures being ten years apart. Yeah, this is fun… if you’re like 15 to 25. Or 25-35. Or even a youthful 35-45. Anything past that is just a public, pictorial announcement: “Hey! Look how I’ve aged!” Fucking depressing.

So the other day on Facebook, I casually commented that I wouldn’t be doing this challenge, because I didn’t need another reason to feel bad about myself. Then, someone who I suppose thought this was helpful, commented to me, launching into a lengthy, rambling lecture about how we need to embrace the various stages of life, that we have to choose to be happy. (Excuse me, but if one more person says that latter thing to me, I’m going to explode into a million pieces.) That I should find another avenues, like volunteering. And she ended it with “Your [sic] worth more than some tacky films.”

Um… excuse me?

Yeah, I know. Spanking videos are hardly classic film. They ain’t Shakespeare. And I’m not naive — I know they’re mostly used for wank fodder.

But to me, they represented freedom. They represented my expressing a part of myself that I kept stifled for years and years. They were some of the best times of my life. Despite the fact that I was performing, I was often my most real, authentic and joyous self doing those tacky films.

I have had women write to me over the years, telling me I inspired them to explore their own kinks. I think they saw me and thought, “Hey, look at her. She’s not twenty. She’s not conventionally pretty. But she’s doing this. She’s got the guts to be who she is.” In this way, I touched lives, perhaps more than any other way. If that’s tacky, then so be it.

So, back to the legacy thing. I guess we all end up being remembered, within our own circles, by a hodgepodge of things. I think the following captures my own little personal hodgepodge concisely and with my signature sardonic humor:

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Here lies Erica [real name], AKA Erica Scott.
Tongue was often too sharp.
Heart was often too soft.
Ass was just right.

Have a great weekend, y’all.

So anyway…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, y’all.

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