28 September, 2005

Fairy Tales

I had wanted to remind myself of the story line of a few fairy tales, so I found them online. I sometimes wonder why people bother to retell them, since they're so creepy all on their own. I also really wonder why people give copies of these to children!

The two I just read are The Six Swans and The Girl Without Hands, but even the most familiar ones are pretty disturbing in their older versions.

27 September, 2005

Fantasy # 2

Fantasies change as I write them, morphing into something that exists halfway between fantasy and what would make a good story. And, really, I do have a variety of fantasies, so I thought I’d write up another of them.

(And, sweetie, just in case you’re concerned, I’m writing this Tuesday night, not Wednesday day!)

She knocks on my study door, and opens the door. “Come into the bedroom.”

“In a couple of minutes,” I say, not really looking up from my email.

Not in a couple of minutes. Come with me right now.”

I turn my head, but she has already gone into the bedroom. I go in, wondering what she needs, a little irritated at being interrupted. As I close the bedroom door behind me, she says, “When I tell you to come, you come. Understand?”

I raise my eyebrows in surprise. This isn’t like her.

“Take off your clothes and get onto the bed.” I hesitate, and she says, “Now!”

My hands tremble as I undress. My heart pounds as I climb onto the bed.

She looks at me appreciatively, and then reaches her hand to grasp my cunt. “Whose is this?” she asks.

“Yours,” I murmur, slipping into a submissive state of mind.

“And when can I touch it?”

“Whenever you want to,” I reply.

“Good. Come here.” She strokes me, then grabs the back of my head and kisses me roughly. She lifts her other hand to twist my nipple, and electricity jolts through me, centering on my clit. She moves her head down and bites my other nipple. Then she pulls me across her lap.

Her hand is strong, firm, unstoppable. Spanks cover my bottom, and the tops of my thighs. She pushes me a little away from her, and lifts the blue whip. She lets the strands of it drift across my sensitive flesh. She begins to tap me with it, gently, then harder and harder. I shift to look at her, and she grabs my hair to point my face towards the bed.

She picks up a rhythm, and begins to strike more fiercely. I squeal, and she pauses to stroke my bottom. Her hand slides between my thighs, and I hear her moan softly as she feels the slick wetness. She lifts the whip again and continues. I would swear that I can feel the heat radiating from my bottom.

“You’re so red,” she sighs, and pulls me back over her lap. Her hand feels even more powerful now that my skin is so tender. She alternates smacks with lingering caresses of my asshole and cunt. When I clench my legs, trying to squeeze my clit, she pulls them apart. “You will come when I say you can,” she says firmly. And then she begins to spank the insides of my thighs. I squirm, but she holds me.

She finally pushes me off of her lap. My bottom and thighs are throbbing, and a different rhythm is beating in my cunt. “On your knees, facing the door,” she orders. I comply. She settles herself behind me, and begins to slide her fingers into my cunt.

“You’re so wet, so open,” she says. “I love your amazing body.”

I blush, knowing that anything I say will seem trite. And most of my powers of speech have been overtaken by the sensations somewhat further down.

As she begins to slide her whole hand into my cunt, I tense. “Maybe some lube?” I ask.

“Whose cunt is this?” she says, and slaps me with her other hand. “Don’t you think I know your body? Do you trust me to know what you need?”

“Yes,” I say, and relax. She does know my body, sometimes better than I know it myself.

“I know when you are ready, and I know what you can take,” she says. I ride the sensations. I hear the half-sigh, half-growl she sometimes makes when she slides her hand into me, and I know she is inside me to her wrist.

The sensations are electric, and overpowering. My cunt is burning, and the glow is spreading through my whole body. She makes me come, but she doesn’t stop. Her fist moves in and out, in and out, and I come over and over again. By the time she is finished, I can’t feel my toes or fingers.

Slowly, she pulls out her hand, and strokes it over me. She comes beside me, and kisses me, only slightly more gently than before. She growls slightly in the back of her throat, as she bites and sucks. “Mine,” she says, over and over again.

“Yours,” I agree.


I want it to be a surprise. Perhaps it would go something like this:

She sends a text message on her way home from work, when the train comes above ground. “Put on the clothes that are in the bottom drawer of the dresser, and stand in the corner of the hallway until I get home.”

I text back—“What?!”

And she responds—“Do as I say. Or you’ll be in even MORE trouble.”

My clit starts to throb from the mere fact of bottoming. I go into the bedroom and open the drawer, wondering what I will find. It’s a school uniform, or a close approximation: knee-length plaid skirt, white button-down shirt, striped tie. Knee-high socks, my lace-up oxfords, plain cotton underpants.

I blush as I change, and knot the tie carefully. I consider my hair, and put it into two French braids, because that seems to fit.

My heart is pounding, and I feel quite silly as I go to stand in the corner. I wonder how long it will be before she gets home. I wish I had my watch. I stare at the wall, and think about what she might have in mind. I wonder whether she’s really going to spank me, or if something will happen to distract her before she gets home. I wonder how long I have been standing in the corner, and consider whether I have time to go check my cell phone to see how long it’s been since she called. She will have no way of knowing how long I have stood in the corner, after all.

But, deep down, I’m a good girl, so I do as I’ve been told. The wait seems longer and longer. I wonder whether something has happened to the train, or whether she has stopped to talk to one of the neighbors before she comes in. I wonder why she decided to give me a spanking.

And then I hear feet on the stairs outside our apartment, and a key in the lock. I force myself to keep facing the wall. She walks up beside me and looks closely at how I am dressed. When I turn my head to see her, she firmly points it back towards the corner. She lifts my skirt to be sure that I am wearing the full uniform. “You’re properly dressed,” she murmurs. “That might help.”

She opens the bedroom door, and turns to make sure I haven’t left the corner. I hear her rummaging through the cupboards, and then going into the bathroom. I am dying with curiosity, but I keep my eyes to the wall. Much as I want to know what’s happening, I am grateful that the situation is so completely in her control. I take a deep breath as I stand there.

Finally, she says, “Come here.” I notice that she is wearing a uniform that is identical to mine. I wonder when she got them, and how she managed not to mention it to me. I grin, to think of how hard it must have been for her to keep the secret.

“What are you smirking about? This isn’t funny.”

“I—“ I start to protest, but then I decide to be “in character.” I look down, and examine my shoes, waiting to find out what our role-play is going to be.

“You know that as the head girl of our form, it’s my job to keep order, right?”

I look up at her, and nod.

“You are a senior student at this school, and I would think that you would help by being a good example to the other students. But you haven’t been, have you?”

“I am a good student!” I protest.

“You may be very smart, and you may even behave in your classes, but outside of class, you have been a very bad example to the other girls. Just look at this!” She hands me a sheet of paper.

September 2. Convinced entire first form that the common room is haunted by the ghost of our first headmistress. Four first form girls caught sneaking out of their dormitory at midnight to see the ghost.

September 5. Helped two first form girls put salt into all of the sugar bowls in the dining hall before breakfast.

September 9. Short-sheeted the beds in all of the senior dormitories.

September 12. Left the dormitory after lights-out, and read a novel in the common room until two a.m.

September 13. Overslept and caused the house to lose 10 points because bed was unmade and drawers were untidy.

September 15. Convinced five second form girls that it was the headmistress’s birthday, and that she would like to receive a singing telegram to mark the occasion.

September 16. Left the dormitory after lights-out, and read a novel in the common room until two-thirty a.m.

September 17. Replaced all of the articles in the school newspaper with parodies of the school songs. Disaster was narrowly avoided, as the assistant editor discovered the substitution shortly before the paper went to the printer.

September 20. Went to town and bought all of the supplies for the third form to have a midnight feast. Hid their food in the craft cupboard in the common room, and loaned them a travel alarm so they would be able to wake up.

September 24. Inserted two long passages from Enid Blyton boarding school stories into the school newspaper. Disaster once again avoided when the assistant editor discovered the insertion.

September 26. Hid ten alarm clocks, set to go off at different times, in the school auditorium. These interrupted a speech by one of the trustees.

Now I had to grin. These were entirely silly crimes.

“This isn’t funny. You are undermining the authority at this school, and you are setting a very bad example for the younger girls. The only reason the head hasn’t found out about this is that the other seniors, especially the prefects, have been making sure you aren’t caught. What are you thinking?”

“Well, it’s my last year here, and I thought it was time to have some fun,” I grin. “Besides, that was the most interesting speech that particular trustee has ever given, and you know it. Even the head looked relieved.”

She frowns at me. “I can see you aren’t taking your behavior seriously. You know that most of the items on this list would get you caned if you had been caught.”

“But I was careful, and I wasn’t caught, was I?”

“Yes,” she says, “you were caught. I caught you, and you know that I have the same power to punish misbehavior outside of class as any of the teachers have in a class.” She points to the bed, and I notice that she has both a cane and the bath brush arranged beside a pile of pillows at the edge of the bed. When I don’t move, she says, “I’m sure you remember the drill. Go lean over the edge of the bed.”

I walk over, my heart thumping. I wonder how seriously she is going to take the game. Very seriously, it seems. She stands beside me, and lifts the hem of my skirt.

“I am starting with a hand spanking, because many of the misbehaviors on this list are the kind of thing a silly first form girl would do, and silly first form girls don’t get the cane.” I can tell that she has been reading up on how to give a hand spanking. My bottom is uncomfortably warm, and I am squirming with each slap by the time she is done.

She pulls my underwear to my knees, and lifts the cane. “There are eleven items on my list. I’m sure that you have done more than that, so I’ll make it an even dozen cane strokes. If you move out of position, I will start again from the beginning.” I brace myself.

Swwiiissshhhh-CRACK! I squeal as the pain hits, but I stay in place as the second and third strokes come whistling down. She must have been reading about caning, too, because this is far more intense than she usually is with a cane. I really feel that momentary pause between the impact of the cane and the pain from the stroke.

She picks up the pace. I can’t help twisting to the side after the seventh stroke, just to get a break. She pushes me back into position.

Swwiissshhh-CRACK! “One,” she says, letting me know she is starting over. I clench my bottom and draw a slow breath. She keeps to a slower pace for the next several strokes, and then begins to go quickly again.

“Owww!! Slow down! Please! It really hurts!”

“Of course it hurts,” she says. “It’s a spanking, it’s supposed to hurt.”

CRACK! “Nine.” I clutch the bedspread and tense my legs, doing everything I can to stay in place. Just three more strokes, two more strokes, one more stroke…. I breathe a sigh of relief when it is over, and resist reaching back to trace the lines I knew she has left on my bottom.

She lays the cane down and climbs up on the bed. “Now that I’ve gotten your attention,” she says, “I want to make sure the lesson sticks. Give me the bath brush, then take off your skirt and underpants, and come lie over my lap.”

I look at her, my heart pounding. She can’t really mean that there’s more of a spanking. “I think the lesson will stick,” I say, rubbing my bottom gently.

“This will be over when I say it’s over,” she says firmly. “Come here now.”

I slowly do as she says, and find myself face down over her lap. She strokes my back for several seconds. I break character just enough to look at her, and we smile at each other, reassuring ourselves that this is all right with each of us. Then she gets back in character and firmly turns my head towards the bedspread.

“I want you to think about the behavior appropriate to a senior at this school,” she says firmly. “What you do reflects on all of us. And if you behave poorly, it makes me look like a bad head girl.” She emphasizes her last sentence with firm smacks of the bath brush, and then begins to spank me in earnest.

When I kick my leg just a little too much she stops, pushes me forward so that I am resting mostly over her left knee. She puts her right leg over the back of my legs and starts the paddling again. I squeal and squirm, but the brush keeps coming down. I know that she could hit me harder than she is, but the steady cracks are taking their toll.

Despite the increasing pain in my bottom, I have room to wonder how far she will go. Experimentally, I reach back to cover my bottom. She stops long enough to grab my wrist. “This spanking will continue until I think you’ve learned who is in charge,” she says resolutely.

Without the option of moving, I find that I can’t pay attention to anything but the steady smacks of the bath brush. Each one burns across my bottom and thighs. I relax completely into submission. I allow myself to squirm, but I also allow myself to yelp. As my bottom gets warmer and warmer, I slip further into the role-play. I promise to be good, I apologize for my misbehavior. The bath brush keeps slapping my bottom.

Finally, my emotions have nowhere else to go, and I start to cry. I cry because of the pain, but also because of the fact that I know it is safe to let go. I am not in charge, I do not have to be in control. No matter what I do, I will get this spanking. She is giving it to me not as a punishment, but simply because she knows that I need it. Several more smacks land on my bottom and thighs, and then she puts the bath brush to the side.

She slowly rubs the small of my back, and runs her hand over my bottom. Then she slides down and we rearrange ourselves so that we can snuggle. I rest my head against her chest, and she strokes my hair.

“Thank you,” I whisper.

“You’re very welcome, love,” she responds.

26 September, 2005

The Relief of Bottoming

We had a busy weekend, pretty much as usual. W.’s younger sisters came for a visit, and we went to see their cousin in a play on Saturday. After dinner with the extended family, we came back home, and then ended up driving her sisters back towards their own home (about an hour and a half from where we live). On the way back, W. asked whether I wanted a spanking on Sunday. Of course, I said yes.

I’ve been stressed out and edgy lately, and I really needed to bottom. On the way home from doing the weekend’s shopping yesterday, I checked in about W.’s energy levels, and mentioned that I really needed to bottom.

We got home, had some dinner, and did our usual early-evening things. Then, about an hour before bedtime, W. announced that it was time. She told me to choose music with a beat, which I did. She instructed me to kneel on the bed, facing the wall (we have no corners that aren’t filled with stuff, so this was perhaps the only way to do “corner time” in our bedroom).

I knelt and stared at the wall. I alternated between contemplating the fact that I was about to get a spanking and figuring out exactly how far-sighted my eyes have gotten (I absolutely cannot focus on something that is less than a foot from my face). W. finished reading the chapter she was on, and then went out of the room to do something else for a while. Then she came back, and rummaged through our toy cupboard. She arranged me for the spanking, and began.

And here is where I feel kind of guilty. She did a nice warm-up, and even had me over her lap, but it was… unsatisfying. I really, desperately needed to bottom, and I just wasn’t getting that last night. The spanking felt, I don’t know, perfunctory. And the sex afterwards also really felt like we were failing to communicate, or failing to get what we wanted.

I’m still too edgy to really be able to talk about it with her. I’m not sure how to describe what it is that I need, and I feel badly about wanting something that she isn’t giving, and about not being happy with what I’ve got. I could tell that she was being gentle and loving—but it’s like I was watching a television with the sound off, and although I could tell what was going on, it wasn’t coming through very clearly. It feels really selfish to say, “I know you gave me what you thought I needed, and I could tell you were making efforts, but it really didn’t meet my needs.” It’s like how I feel when I know someone spent a lot of time or money on a gift for me, but it’s not what I want. So I find myself grateful for the thought and love behind the gift, but also kind of resentful that they spent so much effort on something that I don’t like or want.

Maybe that means I should try to articulate what it is that I do want. I guess what I need is to not be in control, but that’s the usual situation. It’s not just about not being in control of the situation in general, though. I need to not have to be in control of myself.

I guess it’s a side effect of being responsible about so many things lately—I’ve been doing my work like I’m supposed to. I paid the bills instead of spending our money just on fun stuff. I spent my extra day off on Friday doing the laundry and grocery shopping, instead of hanging out doing something just fun.

Part of my frustration comes from my usual conflict. W. wasn’t into spanking before she met me, and so I feel like I should try to avoid asking for much from her in that area. And I feel like I should be grateful for what I get, even if it isn’t what I need. But what good is that? I don’t know if she enjoyed giving me the spanking, but for me, it was the equivalent of a finger just barely brushing my clit during sex—it’s nice in moderation, but it just increased the need for a different kind of stimulation.

But it’s not just that. On some levels, I see the spanking as where we can make other aspects of our relationship balance out. I feel a lot of the time like I have to be the “grown-up.” I make sure that bills get paid and groceries get bought and money gets managed. I’m the one who remembers to pick up the mail, and take out the trash, and all of those kinds of things. Honestly, none of this is precisely a problem. I don’t mind doing most of this, most of this is stuff it wouldn’t occur to me not to do, and it often makes better sense for just one of us to be in charge, you know? It’s not even like W. doesn’t do one of the most important grown-up things in our household: she goes to work every day, and brings home the paycheck that provides the bulk of our financial support while I work on my dissertation.

But I still need a space in my life where someone else takes charge, and for me, that tends to be during a spanking (and, to a lesser extent, during sex). I suppose it would be healthier if I could let her be in charge of other areas of our life, but it’s still a lot of work for me to let go in most areas. And there are times when I need the relief of bottoming.

I need a space where I can let go, where someone else is in charge of what happens. I crave the opportunity to know that I have no say (aside from safewords, because, well, those also make me feel safe). I want to be able to squirm without the spanking stopping. I want to have W. take charge like she means it.

The funny thing is, I could have ended up with something very like that sensation today. W. called on her way home from school to ask how my work had gone today. It hadn’t gone well, but that wasn’t because I didn’t spend the day in front of the computer typing and trying to get work done. When she asked, I was kind of vague about how the work had gone (who wants to admit that they typed and retyped the same six or seven paragraphs all day, getting absolutely nothing?). Besides, I couldn’t honestly say I had been productive, because I had no product to show for my work. She simply said, “Okay, we’ll deal with that when I get home.” And she made a point of checking in with me about my work, and about how I had spent the day. We agreed that I didn’t deserve a punishment, because I had worked, I just hadn’t had a good workday. And some days are like that (even in Australia).

It was clear that if I hadn’t been working, though, that I would have gotten a punishment spanking. And that made me feel good, and cared for. I made sure to thank her for checking in, and holding me accountable, because it makes it easier for me to hold myself accountable.

What I need right now is not really a punishment spanking, exactly. I need something a little bit firm, perhaps disciplinary, but not as a punishment. The words that come into my head as I think about it are that I need to be held together for a little bit, just to ease the strain of doing it myself. I need a structure around me, and I need the release of the spanking. I need to feel like there are boundaries, and like I’m not the one in charge of maintaining them. But I really don’t know how to find our way to a compromise on this, since it’s not something I think W. wants.

Yes, it might make more sense to just talk to her about it. But right now, I’m so needy that I can’t get to a place where I can talk about anything like a reasonable human being, let alone having a conversation where I have to force myself to be vulnerable and take risks.

And I still struggle with the question of “why spanking?” Why not something like playing with blocks, or coloring? Some of that is that I can separate even disciplinary spankings from age play, and when I’m this vulnerable, ageplay is the last thing I want. Some of it is that bottoming meets some need I haven’t yet figured out how to articulate. It allows me to let go of control, it holds me together, it allows me the space to release emotions I can’t seem to stop bottling up. And it makes me feel really good.

I really wish, sometimes, that something else gave me those feelings, or that W. got equally good feelings from topping.

13 September, 2005

Breaking bad habits

I guess I got a little cocky after my first punishment. I thought that just knowing neither W. nor I liked the experience would be enough. And I did make myself do some work that week.

But I bewildered myself—I was doing the absolute bare minimum, holding (just barely) to the letter of what I had agreed to do. And, as it turned out, I hadn’t even been doing that, since it wasn’t until we checked in about my work later in the week that I remembered I had agreed to work five, rather than four hours a day, until I had “repaid” the hours that I wasted this summer.

I couldn’t understand it: I do like my dissertation topic, and while the chapter I’m working on is less interesting, it’s not completely boring, and I do understand why I need to do it now, rather than after I’ve written some of the more “fun” chapters. Thinking about it, there were probably two reasons I wasn’t working well.

First, I really dread writing, and I haven’t written a paper less than a week before it was due… in my life. I wrote my first last-minute paper at eight. I pulled my first all-nighter in the sixth grade. It’s just how I operate. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely not going to work with a whole dissertation (or even with a single chapter).

And second, I was testing my wife. Much as I hate to admit it to myself, a huge part of me needed to see if she was going to come through with the punishments, just so that I could relax into having a reason to force myself to write. And I hate to admit even more how I needed the punishment to be a disincentive all by itself. Because as it turned out, the fact that I knew W. didn’t like to give the punishment just fed into the guilt I always feel about how not doing my work hurts both of us. It’s too abstract to work very well as a motivator.

Actually, there are two more reasons that I hate even more to acknowledge. I wasn’t going to bed until quite late, and I wasn’t eating properly during the day. Both of these combined to give me a lot of trouble concentrating. I don’t have the sheer stamina I had in college, and I’m just not able to do without sleep and good nutrition and still get to have good use of my brain.

I brought the first two reasons up two weeks ago, and she gave me what felt like a very token spanking. She was looking at things from the outside, and felt very proud of me for having managed to get any work done at all. From the inside, I knew I had been setting the goals too low, and really failing to meet them even then. But I kept trying to make myself work, and getting at least a little bit done each day, which was an accomplishment of sorts.

And then came Labor Day weekend, and things went truly awry. Somehow, I couldn’t get back into the habit of working after taking three days off. Reading a dissertation that should have taken me perhaps two days of serious work was filling up my workdays. In a manner of speaking, because those “work days” were really much more filled with reading email and surfing the web. And even though I know perfectly well that my best work hours are in the morning and early afternoon, I would come into my study and check email before I started work. By the time I was done with all of my fooling around, I was lucky to get started with what I was supposed to be doing before noon. And even though I had suggested a perfectly reasonable rule—that I do my required work by 4 in the afternoon (to have some down-time before W. got home from work)—I was just not getting it done.

When W. asked what I had accomplished each day, I was appropriately vague, trying to make the small amounts of work I had done seem like enough to have filled up four or five hours of diligent work. She finally called my bluff last week on Wednesday. When I vaguely said that I had read two chapters, she asked me whether that was really sufficient. I admitted that it wasn’t. It was painful, because much as I didn’t want the punishment, I needed to know that she was going to follow through. But I felt so guilty for that, and I had soothed my guilt in perhaps the worst way possible—by not being open about my procrastination. I didn’t want her to have to punish me, since it seemed so self-indulgent, if a punishment can be self-indulgent. So I was keeping my guilt to myself.

She finally said, “I feel like I should do something about this.” I couldn’t look at her, because I didn’t want to prompt it. We moved on to other topics, and I went to take out the trash. When I came back to the bedroom, I noticed the loopy toy on the bed. Relief and fear: she was going to follow through.

But either because she had noticed the power waiting for the punishment had on me, or just because she wanted to finish up with everything we had to do that night, she didn’t initiate the punishment yet. I tried to casually read in bed while she finished with her online stuff, and talking to her sister, and all of the other things she was doing.

But finally she told her sister she was going to sleep, and hung up. I felt mingled disappointment and hope—if she was going to sleep, that meant I wasn’t getting punished. But we cleared the bed, and she told me it was time. We chose music, so we could avoid disturbing the neighbors with the noise of the spanking. I took off my shorts and underwear, and lay across the bed in front of her, clutching a pillow to muffle my squeals.

This was not a token punishment in the least. It started off hard, and before I had gotten three strokes, I was desperate for it to be over. This wasn’t about not wanting W. to have to do it again. This was about not wanting to get the punishment again. And it kept going on.

I don’t reach back to cover myself, because I don’t want to be hit on the hands any more than I want to be hit on my backside. What I do is twist to the side to get my bottom out of the line of fire. But I remember with perfect clarity the second time I did that, when W. paused, put her hand firmly in the middle of my back, and calmly said, “You have to accept it.” And she went on.

She has given me harder spankings, in total. She has given me much longer spankings many times. But this one was, bar none, the worst spanking I had ever gotten. It was hard and fast, it didn’t give me time to relax between strokes, and it was completely unpleasant.

When it was over, she held me and comforted me. But we talked some more. She warned that I really wanted to avoid getting another punishment spanking.

“Because the consequences are worse for repeated offenses,” I acknowledged.

“No,” she said, “Because I’m getting more able to give a hard punishment spanking.” It wasn’t that she is comfortable with it, she explained, but that she was understanding how to give a punishment spanking and not back off from it.

We cuddled some more, and went to sleep. And on Thursday, I got up, read the paper, and got right to work. It was amazing: I had done a good solid five hours of work, and was finished by 2 in the afternoon! I had tons of time free! I could read my email without guilt, and surf the web, and even bake a little celebratory cake for the first day of school.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the increasing ache I’d been feeling in my back all day was due to a case of the flu. By evening, I had a temperature of 102°. So I spent the next four days in bed drinking fluids and sleeping.

But when I was finally able to be out of bed today, I remembered the spanking I had gotten last week. And even though I knew neither of us expected me to get any work done today, I also know myself. And spending the day fooling around online would just reinforce bad habits. So I decided to just do a little work, taking breaks as I needed them. Because while the theory of not reinforcing bad habits is little motivation, the reality of getting an even harder punishment spanking not too long in the future is not one I look forward to. So this time, I really think I’ll be able to start changing my habits. I hope.

06 September, 2005

Vibrating Buttocks Key to Driver Alertness

Someone on a list I'm on posted this link. It's about how a car manufacturer has come up with a way for the driver's seat to vibrate when the driver is apparently inattentive (such as when crossing a lane too slowly, or when about to rear end another car). The article claims that a Japanese carmaker says that all cars will be equipped with this technology by 2010.

I'm sure there is a good spanko application for this: either a vibrating massage to ease pain, or perhaps a more, um, targeted vibration to keep people behaving correctly.

05 September, 2005

Story: What I Need

I posted this on the SSS newsgroup probably four or five years ago. It's another of the Janey and Michelle stories, and I figured it would do some of the work of lightening up the mood on here, since it's not depressing at all.

“What I Need”
F/F, consensual

I had been in a rotten mood for weeks, and I had no idea why. I would force myself through necessary interactions, controlling my temper with sheer force of will, and then hole up in my study trying to make myself work in between times.

I felt guilty for neglecting Janey, but that was better than sniping at her, which is what I did when we spent time together. But Liza invited her over for our house’s “family night,” when we would each clean one room, and then play games afterward. I’d volunteered to clean the bathroom, and I’d tried to take out my irritation on the mildew in the grout. I was sweaty, but just as irritable as I’d been before I started.

I washed up, and joined the rest of my house, plus Janey, for pizza and Scrabble. The first game was fine, because I started out with a word that used all seven letters, and continued kicking butt for the rest of the game. It was easier to be nice when I was winning. But I didn’t do as well during the second game, and I found myself wanting to snap at people.

Everyone teased me in a friendly way, trying to cheer me up. They could tell that something was wrong, but they’d all given up on figuring out what it was by that point. So they tried to be nice.

Finally, I managed to get a word worth a measly six points on the board, and then discovered there were no more letters in the bag. “AAARRRGGHH!! I HATE this game!! I’m no good at it! I’m TIRED of being so STUPID!” Everyone looked at me curiously.

“You kicked our collective butt in the last game,” Liza pointed out.

“You’re not stupid,” Gwen reassured me.

I glared at both of them, trying to keep myself from flinging the board across the room.

“Do we need to have a talk upstairs?” Janey joked, hoping that the spanko reference would cheer me up.

I was stunned by the surge of relief I felt when she said it. I looked at her thoughtfully. “Actually, maybe we do.”

Janey looked at me; Liza and Gwen glanced from me to her. Finally, Janey broke the silence. “Will you two excuse us for a moment?” Liza and Gwen nodded, half smirking. Janey led me out of the living room and upstairs to my bedroom.

She sat at the edge of my bed, and patted the spot next to her. I sat down in the chair instead. “What’s going on, Michelle?”

I stared at the floor. Finally, I said, “I don’t really know. It’s not PMS, since I’ve been edgy and irritable for almost a month now. And I’ve had my period. I… I just want to snap at people. I seem to need to get into an argument and shout and throw a fit, and that’s not okay. Nothing is helping, and I just keep getting more and more and more tense.”

“We’ve noticed,” she said wryly. I felt a surge of irritation. What right did they have to notice?! I swallowed it, and didn’t say anything.

“So why are we up here?”

I examined my fingers, and the end of the bed, and the grain of the wood on the floor. Finally, I whispered, “Um, well… Okay, when you asked if we needed to come upstairs, I felt so… relieved. I had this image of you giving me a spanking, and… I think it would make things better.”

Janey looked at me consideringly. “Fine. Let me go down and tell Gwen and Liza to play without us.” She stood up.

“Wait! If you go down there, they’ll know exactly what’s going to happen up here!”

“Michelle, whether or not I go down there, I think they’ll have a pretty good idea,” Janey laughed. “Even if you’re really quiet,” she added.

I sat on the chair waiting for Janey to return, half nervous and half relieved. I got up and rummaged through the toy box and found the stingy little hairbrush. I put it in the middle of the bed, and then sat back in the chair as though I hadn’t moved.

Janey was laughing as she came up. She composed herself at the doorway, and then closed the door quietly behind her. She raised her eyebrow when she noticed the hairbrush, but she didn’t say anything to me about it. She sat on the bed with her back against the wall. She patted her thighs. “You may as well take off your pants and underpants right now,” she said. I complied, and then got into position over her lap.

Janey rested her hand on my bottom. “I’ve wanted to get you in this position for a few weeks,” she mused, rubbing gently. “You’ve been a real pill lately.” SMACK! “You need to realize {SMACK!} that you don’t have to be perfect.” SMACK!! SMACK!!

“What?” I protested. The last thing I’d been for weeks was perfect. I had been more imperfect than ever, and I have never approached any kind of reasonable standards.

SMACK! “Michelle, we will {SMACK!!} still love {SMACK!} you, even if you’re crabby.” Janey stopped talking for a few moments while she smacked my bottom. “It’s okay to just let us know you need some comfort.” She delivered several stinging smacks to the tops of my thighs as she said this. “You don’t have to lock yourself up all alone just because you’re feeling hurt.” Janey punctuated each word with a sharp smack.

My bottom began to feel tingly and warm. Some of the tension started to ebb away. Janey stopped long enough to pick up the hairbrush. “Why, where on earth did *this* come from?” she joked. “Perhaps someone really needs a sore bottom tonight.”

CRACK!!! I yelped. That brush had never hurt like THAT before! “You need to learn to relax,” she said. She continued whacking my bottom and lecturing me. Instead of the usual sting, the hairbrush was setting my bottom well and truly on fire. My irritability and frustration seemed to radiate out of me along with the heat in my backside. Finally, Janey put the hairbrush down on the bed. She slowly rubbed my bottom and back.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better,” I sighed, and took a deep breath. “Thanks. That helped.”

“Shall we go back downstairs?”

I followed Janey downstairs, and I felt better enough that I didn’t even mind the teasing I got from Gwen and Liza about “learning to play nicely.”

Story: I Have Learned My Lessons Well

I've been thinking about this story a lot, lately. In part, it's because my wife thought Make Me Whole Again was a story from my own life. That one isn't, but this one is. I posted it to the SSS short story contest in 2003. I placed it in "edge" because it's quite edgy for me to talk about negative parts of my childhood. Things are only hinted at in this story, but I "tell" by not telling.

Parts of me kick in, wanting to say, "It wasn't that bad, there were good parts, too." And there were. But it's the not-good parts that I struggle with, and that add so much extra, unneeded confusion to my relationship.

I have learned my lessons well:
Good girls don’t remember.
What they remember, they don’t tell.

It’s hard to forget things. Especially when you’re only supposed to forget some things.

“I thought I told you to fold the laundry.”

“I forgot.” My voice is small. I make myself as numb as possible, so I won’t try to protect myself. That only makes them angrier.

Chores sometimes get mixed with the things I’m supposed to forget. “Don’t tell your mother I was in here.” “Don’t let your teachers know.” “Don’t remember what I did when you were five… when you were three… when you were eight….”

Don’t remember. Don’t remember.

It’s a more important rule than don’t feel, don’t need, don’t tell.

How can I help it if the forgetting leaks out?

It’s easier this way. I cannot let them know at school what happens at home. Nothing here is bad enough for us to be taken away, and when social services did come, after… I don’t remember.

But I remember not to tell.

There are lots of ways of telling. Drawing pictures is telling, unless you’re careful to draw happy pictures, with smiling suns. Forgetting your homework is telling, fighting is telling, crying is telling… I practice being good very hard, because everything else is telling.

I become the perfect student. My teachers love me. They say how proud my parents must be. I don’t say that no matter how smart I am, nothing will make them proud of me. I’m too horrible, and I keep on remembering.

I learn that a lie can be just as good as forgetting what I can’t erase. My mother is drunk and remorseful. “I still feel guilty for when you were five and I beat you for half an hour because you lied to me.”

“I don’t remember that,” I lie.

But I do remember. I found a quarter. I remember the glint of metal between the seats of the car, fishing it out from between them. She insisted I had stolen it. I insisted I hadn’t.

I remember her rage. I see the wooden spoon. I remember her eyes, and the smoke floating up from the cigarette. “I’ll teach you to lie!” My heart pounds until… I can’t remember.

But I learned my lesson: No matter how innocent I am, it is better to accept the punishment.

I only lie when I must. “Yes, I did it.” “It’s my fault.” “I don’t remember.”

I make my mind large, to encompass the forgetting. I skirt carefully around the places I must not travel, relaxing only in the safe grounds of classrooms and story books.

I lock the memories behind thick walls. When I was ten and took too long coming home. When I was three and wouldn’t eat enough dinner. When I broke the dinner plates. The memories loom, threatening until… I don’t remember.

I have learned my lessons well.
Good girls don’t remember.
What they remember, they don’t tell.


Being In Total Control of Herself

Being In Total Control of Herself

The phrase was meant to reclaim the word for which it is an acronym and make it positive. But the truth is, the acronym is a description of what happens when one is in total control of oneself for too long. I should know (and those around me probably know even better). I’m not always successful with it, but my natural mode is to be in total control of myself at all times. It’s not easy, of course. It takes constant vigilance. But I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, and most likely long before that.

I’ve been talking with my wife about how I’ve longed for disciplinary spankings for most of my life, and how that connects to the spankings I received (or didn’t receive) when I was a kid. There was a lot of spanking in our house, but I didn’t come in for much of it. I can remember, offhand, perhaps half a dozen times I was spanked or hit by someone older than I was. My siblings and my mother don’t even remember that many times. And this is just a little strange, given that people were being hit constantly.

So how was I avoiding it? Because I was in utter and total control of myself. I did not allow myself to mess up. And, what’s more, when I did make a mistake, I was pretty much certain to beat myself up over it (figuratively, not literally). So a scolding was more than enough to make me change my behavior, and I only got hit if I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time—i.e., within reach of an authority figure when they blew their top. Or else, when I made mistakes at the wrong time.

Punishments (or rewards, come to consider) were nothing like consistent when I was growing up. Sometimes a little mistake (say, taking too long to find my siblings before dinner) would result in a huge eruption. And other times you could mess up pretty badly, and nothing would happen at all.

Psychologists say that random reinforcement is the most effective kind. For my siblings, this meant that the randomness of the punishments rewarded their misbehavior. For me, it just cemented that if I was perfect, absolutely responsible and reliable, I could avoid having that anger come crashing down on me. But it came from making changes in myself that are exacting a high cost, now that I’m an adult.

I still beat myself up about little mistakes.

I still strive to separate myself from any negative emotions.

I still have that filter in my brain that will not physically allow me to talk about the bad parts of growing up—at least not directly.

Even while I was growing up, I craved a consistent type of discipline. I wrote stories in which the characters got spanked, but in which it came from a loving and protective impulse from their parents. For years, I explained this to myself as a way of trying to reconcile my love of my family with a way that I could understand what they were doing. But that’s a stretch. Those stories make much better sense if I read them as a way of me trying to work out why I wanted spankings, even if I hated the way they happened in my house. In fact, when I was ten or eleven, I remember telling my older sister that it wasn’t the spankings I minded, but the way they happened. She pointed out, “You cry just the same.” And I couldn’t explain the difference to her (or to myself, really).

There is a world of difference between the disciplinary spankings I need and how I was hit as a child. When I was a kid, and someone hit me, it arose from frustration. As I’ve gotten older, I have managed at least to comprehend the unhappiness, despair, frustration, and anger that would make people need to hit something. I don’t quite get how they were able to hit small children, but I do understand the desire to hit. Hitting came from a loss of control. It was unpredictable, and it wasn’t safe. The person being hit might have been a catalyst, but it wasn’t really about us.

The thing is, either because of how I’m internally wired, or because of how I was raised, punishment works better for me than rewards. It’s probably a part of why I was hit so much less often than my siblings—because I would do anything to avoid punishment. (Well, not anything, because the only time I ever successfully lied my way out of a punishment was when I was nearly given a speeding ticket when I was 25.) You know how they say that kids prefer negative attention to no attention at all? Not true for everyone. I far preferred being ignored to punishment.

Rewards were nice, but they came at a cost. Or else they seem somehow insincere—I got a lot of positive reinforcement at school, but it really didn’t overwrite the messages I received at home. The only reason my teachers liked me, I reasoned, was that they didn’t know what I was like inside. Because if my family didn’t love me, then how on earth could anyone else care for real? What’s more, the only reason my teachers liked me was that I was so practiced at being good that I rarely slipped up in the simple environment of school. Things were so predictable at school that my success at reading my teacher’s minds was no challenge at all. I failed more often than I could bear to at home, where it counted.

I’ve been working my way through all of these issues ever since I left home. I’ve chipped away at it, but so much of me is still inclined to strive to be in total control of myself (oh, yeah, and everyone else around me). And there are times when it makes me a real bitch.

It’s tiring to always be in control. It makes me feel resentful that other people don’t take up the slack. But I can’t tell them that I need this, and I have the devil of a time accepting when help is offered. Help is a dangerous a thing.

It’s so hard to change my way of interacting with the world. More importantly in this situation, it’s nigh impossible to change my way of interacting as it affects my wife. It’s incredibly frightening to just tell her what I need, to speak honestly about how I feel.

Yet, I have started to learn that I can actually avoid a long bout of depression if I actually face the issues that are giving me feelings that I don’t want to have. I don’t want to need someone else (one wonders why I got married—well, I do have some good sense, buried somewhere in my brain!). I don’t want to acknowledge that I’m imperfect, that I make mistakes, that I need attention and nurturing. And for even more reasons than I can express, I really don’t want to acknowledge how much I need for someone safe to take some control in my life.

So now we’re grappling with what it means for her to take up some of the control in our relationship.

My wife commented yesterday about how much she loves being the passenger. She meant it to be a thank-you to me, for being there, and being in charge of that particular part of decision making in our lives. I was shocked at the resentment that burst inside me. It’s not that I don’t want to be the literal driver, because I do like doing the driving. But often, it feels like I’m always the “driver” in our relationship.

I crave someone else to take charge somewhere.

I’ve been working on understanding that my wife is that separate, real-life individual, with feelings and issues of her own. So often, not talking about things, my brain will build up this sense that it would be easy for her to just give me the spanking, easy for her to just take more charge in our lives. It’s especially hard, because in so many ways, she is very like the fantasy I had built up about my ideal partner. And then she turns out to be this human being who has needs of her own, who can’t read my mind. Our relationship turns out not to be this simple thing, where we always want exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.

I was reading Pink Bottomed Girls, and Pink and Brat each made insightful posts this weekend on this very topic. What Brat wrote resonated with me because it’s so much what I’m feeling right now. Pink’s post really helped me to empathize with my wife. Pink said that there are times when
… the last thing on my mind is disciplining someone else. I can’t even discipline myself. I am feeling the need for externally compelled discipline and self -discipline, for order, for giving up control, for someone to take me over their lap and show me how much I am loved even though I haven’t done the dishes or put away the laundry, either. I do think that part of the problem with our situation is that we don’t have clearly defined roles (gender or otherwise) in our relationship; we share every responsibility with no delineations. How can I punish her for something that I could have/should have done? I procrastinate, I’m messy, I’m lazy too. How can I punish her for faults I share? And who will discipline me in return?

My wife may not want or need to be spanked, but, like Pink, she does want someone to help her get organized, to stop procrastinating, to become more consistent in doing the things that she needs to get done. She needs the knowledge that I love her unconditionally. Much of the time, I provide that for her (or I hope that I do). But when we both need it, it’s difficult for either of us to have our needs met.

In our house, we do have suprisingly well-defined roles much of the time. From the beginning, we recognized that we each were strong where the other was… less so. And most of the things that need to get done can be divided along the lines of our strengths. I’m the one who is supposed to be type-A, responsible, reliable, dependable. I’m the one who is supposed to take charge in so many of these details.

Much of the time, this is easy and natural for me. I have taken charge most of my life—I took charge of my younger siblings when I was growing up; I took charge of my own life so that I could go to college; and I have continued to take charge ever since then. Sure, there’s the side-effect that I can be very controlling. Yes, sometimes it means that I sulk when things don’t go exactly my way. It also means that I roll right over less, um, pushy personalities. But most of the time, things do get taken care of.

In some ways, I worry that my wife resents me when I need her to take control. I feel guilty, because I know that it isn’t easy for her to take charge, to tell me what to do. And it’s even harder, because I find myself resisting, even when I know that it’s exactly what I need. Something inside me struggles against easing her way. I do this with so many of the things that I need—comfort as much as spankings, encouragement as much as criticism. It’s as though I want her to prove that she cares enough to fight her way through the barbs and challenges I throw up against her. If this is hard with things that come naturally to her, how much harder must it be with something like spankings?

Tomorrow is Labor Day, one of my traditional “New Year’s Days.” It’s time for a fresh start, time for a clean slate. So I will make two resolutions. First, I will strive to be a little less of a “Being In Total Control of Herself.” And second, of course, I will strive to procrastinate less and to be in control of the things that depend on my control. We’ll see how it works out.

03 September, 2005

Procrastination or Not?

I can't decide whether this idea is yet another way I'm trying to avoid work I don't want to do (ie, writing the chapter). I was thinking that it might be a good plan to write a bibliographic essay, to make myself think in a consistent way about the historians I'm responding to in my dissertation. It would probably take a week to re-read my notes on the books I've already read, and to "gut" the books I haven't read, so that I have a sense of what their arguments are.

The benefit would be that I'd have something to refer to as I'm writing, because once I start writing, everything I know (both about writing and about the subject matter) tends to fly straight out of my head.

The downside would be that it would be entirely for my own uses, and wouldn't show my advisor that I'm actually getting any work done. And it wouldn't move me forward in the dissertation (except that, well, I might actually end up paying attention to what other people have said, and engaging with the literature).

Thoughts from other academics would be helpful. Thanks!

02 September, 2005

Piled Higher and Deeper

I can't remember where I got the link to this comic. If you make the title into an acronym, you'll know what it refers to. Yup, PhD students. Anyhow, I thought that this comic was particularly a propos for my situation. It's the one good thing about being off campus--on days when my wife is at work, there's no one to procrastinate with . Ah well.