15 July, 2006

Getting a Little Bolder

It started with the library fines. I’ve been needing some naughty girl spankings—the kind that aren’t quite a punishment, but have that aura to them. So when I admitted that I’ve gotten a little phobic about the library, W offered to check my fines. Twenty-two dollars, which is about what I thought they were. I suggested that this would make a good pretext for a spanking.

W, of course, never does these things the way I expect her to. So her thought was that the spankings would be tied to my paying off the fine. She told me to take a dollar to the library every day, or I would get one smack for each dollar I still owed.

Unfortunately for this plan, she also mentioned (thinking it would make me laugh) that the librarians had put a note in my file, saying “Puts books in book drop to avoid paying fines.” Sadly, instead of making me laugh, this just increased my little library phobia, because I always thought the librarians at our local branch were a little mean, and not the nice, friendly librarians I’ve always dealt with, and then I heard about that. So I continued avoiding the library for several days. And each night, W turned me over and delivered 22 smacks with the wooden spoon, quick and hard. On Tuesday, I did stop by the library, and pay $2, and avoided the spanking.

On Wednesday, we decided to get out of town and have an adventure. W wanted to go swimming, and since I’m allergic to chlorine and neither of us felt like being out in the sun at the beach, we went looking for a swimmin’ hole. We drove quite a ways, and never did find the swimmin’ hole we were looking for. But we did come to a little rural park, wrapped around a pond, and filled with nature trails. It was the middle of the week, and the day had gotten drizzly, so we were the only ones at the park. As we walked around one of the trails, W said, “Twenty wouldn’t take that long.” I figured she was just joking, and we continued with our walk.

We got into an even more secluded spot, and W noticed a conveniently placed log. She sat down, and told me to give her the backpack. She told me to get ready, and when she told me, I would pull down my pants and lean over the log beside her. I couldn’t struggle or complain, or it would just take longer.

I looked at her nervously, trying to figure out whether she was really serious. I wasn’t convinced we were the only ones in the park, or that someone might not have arrived since we started hiking. She told me to get ready by unzipping my shorts. Then she looked both ways, and said, “Okay, drop ‘em.” I complied, and leaned over.

The 20 smacks took less than two minutes. My bottom was blazing sore as I pulled up my shorts. Then W grabbed my belt loop and tugged me close to her.

She slid her hand up my thigh, and slipped her finger into my underpants. I gasped and looked at her, trying to determine whether she really meant to follow through with this next stage (I should know by now: she generally follows through). As her fingers slipped inside me, I realized she was serious. She stroked and rubbed, and I struggled to stay on my feet, and to not make incriminating noises. She was done pretty quickly (for us), and we continued with our walk.

Fast forward to Friday. We decided to get out of the apartment and find somewhere with air conditioning and cushy chairs. As we walked towards the subway, we were trying to figure out how I could be feeling less tense and on edge. Nothing was quite fitting the bill. W suggested a spanking, and I said maybe, thinking she meant “a spanking when we get home.”

SMACK!! Out of the blue, she smacked me with her 32-oz. bottle of Snapple. She did this once or twice more. “Why did you do that here?” I asked.

“It’s working,” she pointed out, “You’re smiling now.” And then she reached for my cane. The sturdy, hollow metal stick I use for balance and support. She gave me half a dozen good whacks with that, and then returned it.

My bottom was tingling, and I had to admit that it had helped. I was less tense, and I was able to make it through the rest of the evening without having a shuddering panic attack.

I’ve learned a few important things from this. First, W is willing to do many things that are normally outside of her comfort zone, simply to help me feel better. Second, a plastic Snapple bottle stings more than you’d think. And third, a cane designed for walking offers far more “thud” than “sting,” and makes an impact even through denim shorts with handkerchiefs in the back pockets.

08 July, 2006

On a More Serious Note

I’m starting to work on quitting smoking. There are many good reasons to do this: the cost of smoking, the danger to my health, the fact that W and I would like to start trying to get pregnant (and both of our unwillingness to subject a baby or child to cigarette smoke), and, of course, the fact that my smoking is a definite source of tension in our relationship.

It’s a difficult thing for me. Arguments about the dangers of smoking aren’t helpful for me in quitting, because, honestly, they are precisely why I started smoking. Five or six years ago, I was becoming more and more violently depressed. When I’m that severely depressed, the urge to hurt myself is nearly insurmountable. I finally decided that, if I was feeling suicidal, it was better to smoke—something that I knew could kill me, but not in an immediate way—than to stop eating, or to start cutting. So that’s where the smoking started, as something to do that would hurt me less in the short run than the other things I wanted to do at the time.

The problem is, smoking had sides I hadn’t planned on.
They never bothered to mention in all of those anti-smoking lectures in high school that nicotine actually makes you feel better. And the way I smoke adds to that: I go outside, I separate myself from the source of tension, I don’t try to do anything else right then, for a nice, concrete stretch of time. And I breathe deeply—in, hold, out… in, hold, out. I’m often not good at remembering to breathe, so this is a good thing.

I had started this week by trying to quit smoking cold turkey. And then the stress kept piling up. For one thing, withdrawal from nicotine, for me, seems to induce severe depression (um, yeah, because smoking suppresses many of those depressed feelings on a regular basis, so it makes sense that those feelings would emerge when I stop). And then things kept happening that really challenged my commitment to quitting immediately. I finally decided that perhaps cold turkey wasn’t the way to go. So I’m working on, I don’t know, slightly microwaved turkey. Room temperature turkey, perhaps.

As I see it, I have three types of issues to contend with in quitting. The first is the sheer physical addiction. My body wants the nicotine. The other times I’ve tried to quit (or not been able to smoke), this has cleared up in about two or three days. I don’t smoke all that much, so I think it’s perhaps a bit easier for my body to cope with not getting the drug.

The second issue is dealing with the habit of smoking. I tend to smoke while on the phone, at least for the first several minutes of a conversation; or I smoke while walking alone; or I smoke when I feel particularly tense or agitated or anxious. Not all of that is about addiction: much of it is simply that I’ve gotten used to doing it. Smoke breaks punctuate my day, and I’m soothed by the routine of them.

The last type of issue is the hardest to cope with: smoking serves a lot of purposes, and I need to be able to figure out ways to get those needs met without smoking. In some ways, I can deal with the addiction by just working through it, and with the habit by blowing bubbles (also something I do outside, also something that can represent a break in my routine).

But it’s hard for me to find a substitute for the desire to hurt myself. I have difficulty acknowledging the reasons I want to hurt myself, and while so many people blithely suggest that I do something self-nurturing to replace it, well, that was the problem in the first place. I’m not so good at that self-nurturing stuff.

And, as time has gone by, smoking has become helpful in more areas. It gives me a way to mentally separate from situations that I have trouble coping with. And that whole drug thing has a role, and helps to push away those emotions I’m having trouble dealing with. Smoking helps me to suppress anger, fear, sadness… I can numb those feelings to the point where I’m able to deal with them. And unlike cutting or not eating, smoking doesn’t seem to actually make those feelings more entrenched; it just suppresses them for the moment.

Smoking also gives me something I don’t have to share. I hate to acknowledge this one, because, well, it’s so selfish. But as I’ve moved into the reality of a full-time living-together being-married kind of relationship, I’ve had a harder time being able to manage that whole “sharing” thing. Growing up, despite having a ton of siblings, I mostly had a room of my own. I have almost always had a lot of personal space, and had to share surprisingly few things for someone from a large family. And, I hate to admit it, but I am sometimes desperate for something that is all mine, that I don’t have to share with anyone.

And as I examine the reasons I keep on smoking, I’ve also realized that some of it is a fear of moving on to the next stage in my life. Remember how I mentioned that I have to stop smoking before W and I can have a kid? Well, even though I mostly am desperate to start that process, there’s a big part of my less-surface brain that would rather put it off, just a little longer. It’s a scary move, and there are a lot of parts inside of me that would rather not make it. I’m trying to work out a deal with those parts, but it’s still something of a challenge.

In the end, I know it’s something I need to do. There are parts of me that wish W were willing to punish me for smoking, to help me quit. The problem is, I’m not sure it could work. I know how very much W hates smoking, and I think the punishments would feel very wrong, were they to happen; we’ve been reluctant to use spanking for things that are issues between the two of us, in large part because we don’t want to cross a line into abuse. Beyond that, I don’t know that punishment is the right approach in this case. On the one hand, I do feel fiercely guilty; but on the other hand, I really do need to learn about being more gentle and supportive for myself, and quitting smoking may well be a place to practice those skills.

So I’m not going to get a light-hearted (yet painful) spanking for smoking; but I’m going to figure out how to quit anyhow.

Story: How Was I To Know

I wrote this story several years ago, before I met W. The interaction between Michelle and Janey is, I think, very different from my and W's interactions around smoking (and around public spankings, for that matter), but it's still a very fun story for me. Part of the fun of the Janey and Michelle stories, for me, is watching their interactions with their housemates. It's purely imaginary, since neither I nor my housemates would have been quite so... open about spankings. But it's fun to imagine and pretend.

Hope you enjoy the story!

"How Was I Supposed to Know?"

"Well, how was I supposed to know you didn't have any underpants on?" Janey asked.

"Janey, I had zero reason to think you were planning on pulling down my pants and spanking me, in the BACK YARD at a PARTY." Come to think of it, if I'd had any reason to think Janey would make it to the party that early, I wouldn't have been smoking in the first place.

"I've told you. If you want to feel like you're being bad, fine, but come tell me, and I'll give you a spanking. You don't need to smoke." She looked at me for a minute. "Plus which, it wasn't that big of a party. Really, it was only housemates and their lovers."

I glared at her. She came over and rubbed my bottom. "Am I forgiven?" She smiled fondly.

I continued glaring. Finally, I allowed, "I guess."

"It was funny, wasn't it?"


"Well, let's go back down to the party. They're about to have cake. Maybe I should offer Liza a birthday spanking?"

"You do that."

Janey had thought she would have to work late, and she'd made plans to take Liza out for her birthday later in the weekend. So I assumed I was single for the night, and hung out on the deck, watching the barbecue heat up, and talking to Gwen, Samantha, and Sam's boyfriend, Kenny. When Kenny asked if I minded him smoking, I bummed a cigarette.

We were talking, and watching fireflies, and generally enjoying ourselves. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. "What did I tell you about smoking, Michelle?"

Shit, shit, shit. "Um, that it's bad for me?"

"And…?" Oh, shit. She'd promised to turn me over her knee immediately if she caught me.

I stubbed out the cigarette, and stood to head up to my room. When Janey plans on doing something immediately, there's no getting out of it. But as I turned towards the door, Janey tightened her grip. She sat down on the bench.

"No, Janey. Please! Not here. Not right now!"

"Yes here. Yes right now," she said implacably.

I writhed as much in embarassment as from fear of a spanking. Janey pulled me firmly over her lap, and started smacking me over my shorts. After fewer than a dozen spanks, she reached for the waistband. Desperate, I fought her for the shorts.

"NO! Janey..."

She pulled them down, and must have been surprised to discover me bare underneath. Which, of course, didn't stop her from continuing. As usual, she spanked long and hard. I wriggled, and squirmed, and tried to get away from her hand. I was doubtless putting on a very good show for our friends.

Janey paused. "Hi, Liza. Happy birthday."

"Hi, Janey. Is this my present?" I looked over, and saw Liza leaning appreciatively in the doorway. I have GOT to get my own place!

"Well, it's a bit of a surprise, but it can be your present if you like. Any requests? If you go get a nice wooden spoon, I can finish her off."

By this point, I just buried my face in my arms. Liza and Janey continued discussing possible approaches for the rest of my spanking. Eventually, Liza went inside to get a hairbrush. If it hadn't been her birthday, I would have been livid. No, wait, even though it was her birthday, I was ticked off.

Liza brought her girlfriend out to watch. It had to be the most embarrasing moment I've ever lived through, at least in that house.

As Janey set fire to the backs of my thighs with the hairbrush, I heard Liza's girlfriend comment, "Hoo boy, I wish I'd known this was the kind of entertainment offered here at Liza's. We'd be spending more weekends here, and a lot fewer in Brooklyn!"

"I know. I should be here more on weekends," Gwen and Liza commented together, and then gave each other five.

Janey put the final touches on my backside, and put the hairbrush down on the bench. She gently rubbed my bottom, and then pulled up my shorts. I shoved my way through the crowd on the deck, and went up to my room to sulk.

Janey, of course, followed me. "I warned you about smoking," she offered. I know it was her way of apologizing, but it didn't seem very apologetic.

"You gave me a BARE BOTTOMED spanking in front of FIVE people," I pointed out.

"Well, how was I to know you didn't have any underpants on?"