Yesterday was a difficult day for me. In part, it's because I've been having a lot of difficult days lately. And in part, it's because I had therapy; while therapy is good, it also takes a lot out of me, and leaves me a bit (in the sense where "a bit" means "over 90%") dissociated. Which is to say, by the time W. got home, I was rather on edge.
But I was managing. W. had given me a totally unexpected "good girl" spanking Wednesday night, and in addition to that, the effects of my Sunday night spanking had only just worn off. So I thought I was in a place where I could make it through the rest of the week.
However... I was also coping with a small part of my brain that was feeling hurt and resentful that W. has had to work such long hours recently. Rationally, I know perfectly well that it's necessary, and it's how we pay the bills, and it's how she's doing such a great job at work. But this little kid voice inside of me was letting me know that it feels (um, I guess I feel, even though I *swear* it feels separate from me!) a bit lonely and, well, not taken care of. And I guess it was showing, even though I didn't think it was.
So after dinner was over, W. said, "I guess you didn't think I noticed when you painted the wardrobe, so you did it again. I guess you're telling me you didn't get the response you wanted. I think I need to spank you for that."
W. thanked me for being honest. And then she said, "I still think you need a spanking."
We did our evening chores, and then she sent me to the corner. As I stood there, she said, "Why are you standing in the corner?"
"Because I painted the wardrobe."
"And was that a good way to get attention?"
The little kid inside of me felt like it was being listened to, finally. But it (I) also felt guilty. "No, I guess it wasn't."
She let me think about that for a while. And then she told me that she wanted me to write lines. She sent me into the playroom to get one of the pieces of paper I'd used while I was having my tantrum on Saturday. She wrote out the sentences I had to copy:
"I will use appropriate methods for getting attention. (25) I will respect furniture. (10) I will tell when I need limits. (5) I will not waste paper. (50)"
She told me to tape the paper up in the corner and write the sentences. The first, oh, three words weren't too bad. But I haven't had to write lines for 20 years, and I've never had to write lines on a wall. Within seconds my arm and wrist were aching. Within a minute, the sentences were drilling themselves into my head. The more I wrote them, the more I focused.
I thought about my behavior. Yes, a big part of it was just wanting to let myself vent. But there was another part to what I had done. I was acting out, trying to get my needs met without having to ask for them to be met and risk being told "no" or "not right now." Some of my behavior on Saturday was very much directed at W. Sure, I threw socks against the wall, because throwing socks doesn't cause any damage to anything. But, um, I only threw her socks. And I only threw her pillows. And even though the paper in question is technically mine, I had offered it to her for when she needed it.
I hadn't discussed my frustrations and irritation with her on Saturday, because, mostly, I realized that while on the surface the anger felt like it was directed at her, the actual cause was very different. I was angry at my mother for things that happened when I was a kid and couldn't be angry. I was feeling furious that I'd never gotten to be bad when I was a little kid, and I was especially mad at the parts of myself that had kept me from acting out when I wanted to when I was little. W. just happened to be, you know, in the way of that anger coming out of me. So I was ashamed to talk with her about it. And I wanted to avoid the frustration I often feel, because so many of my feelings don't come with words, and it's really hard to express something when you can't explain it.
I continued writing and thinking. I realized that I need both to learn to let my anger out, and to express it in appropriate ways. And I realized that W. and I have a lot of work to do together, as we try to figure out this whole discipline thing. Because as much as I'd like it to be true, she is not, and can not be, a mind reader. And much as I'd like it not to be true, my responses to what she does are unpredictable, and it's hard for her to know what she needs to do at any given moment (it's also hard for me to know what she should do, which makes things harder). Much of this work will have to be my own, getting to be more aware of how I'm feeling, and what I need. Because I'm never going to be able to live without having needs and feelings.
I finally finished the lines. My arm felt like it was about to fall off. I turned and put the pencil down on the bed. W. counted the lines, to make sure I had done all that I was supposed to. And then she sent me to get out the implements.
"Which ones?" I asked.
"All of them." I looked at her. "The spoon, the spatula, the bath brush, and the loopy toy," she clarified. I winced. If the loopy toy was involved, this wasn't going to be only a "fun" punishment; I still had my hopes, even after going through writing lines.
She arranged herself on the bed, and looked at me consideringly. "We already addressed how you threw all of the clothes and the pillows on the floor, so I guess you can have a pillow." She put it in front of her, and motioned to me to get into position.
I complied. She lay her hand on my back, and said, "You're getting this spanking because you asked for it, either with your words or with your behavior. Do you agree?" I agreed. "It's going to be hard, and fast." She paused to count up the number of lines she had me write, and informed me that I was about to get ninety smacks.
She was true to her word. First the wooden spoon, and then the spatula, whipped down onto my bottom. I fought to stay in position, as my backside got warmer and warmer. She would slow long enough to push me back into position, or to allow me to catch my breath, but she didn't relent. I wondered whether I could make it through the whole spanking without begging for it to be over. W. paused, and asked whether I needed her to turn off the music, so I could focus. I hadn't even noticed the music, once the spanking started, so I told her she didn't need to.
With five or ten strokes left to go, she picked up the loopy toy. I tensed. As she whipped it down on my bottom, I realized her goal. She was going to spank me fast enough that I could let go; she was going to spank me hard enough that I would cry.
Honestly, I don't know if it's about the spanking being hard, or even necessarily about it being fast. Sometimes it happens unexpectedly, and sometimes, it happens when W. decides to help me let it out. Something inside me lets go, my breath shudders, and the tears begin to fall. It's like knots coming undone, tangled things being put into order. It's not fun, though, and I often resist it with everything in me. But last night, I was able to let it happen.
She lay down the loopy toy, and held me close. "Let it out," she urged; "Good girl, I love you. Just let it out." We held each other as I let myself cry. I could acknowledge how hard it is, and how much I wish I didn't have to struggle through all of the emotional stuff I'm dealing with right now. I could listen to that little voice inside of me saying, "It's not fair. It's too hard. I don't wanna." And it felt heard, it felt noticed; it felt taken care of.
This morning, we were up early, and I drove W. to work, so we had a good long chance to talk. Really, the talking is the most important part of this. I started by teasingly asking W. whether she'd given me the punishment last night because she wanted me to have something to post here. More seriously, I asked whether it was because of my last post at my own blog. She assured me that it was neither.
"You needed it," she said. I must have looked skeptical. "I could see that you needed it when you came to walk me home from the train. You were tense and spaced out. I could tell. And I knew it would help."
She was right. I did need it, and it helped quite a lot. For the first time in days, or even in weeks, I was able to get through the day without struggling. The skittering bits of my brain that run around in panic were able to be calm. I think we will be able to make it through this part of my healing process, and come out the better for it.