I delurked with a story and a very few details about myself, given the name Mija by Bea, who, at the time, was a regular poster. Usenet was very mysterious to me, as Ron McIngle discovered to his pain as he tried to explain to me where I was and how I got there. I didn't have web access -- I'd found alt.sex.spanking via crosspostings from a Los Angeles personals newsgroup. The spam was very heavy -- probably at least 95% of the group's content at the time. But the community, in the midst of planning the creation of this group, shone through. That it existed at all seemed more amazing then I could bear.
At the time I was 29, in the middle of the first year of my MA program and floundering in an unhappy marriage that had taken my 20s and left me feeling far older than I was. My (now) ex husband saw my interest in spanking as "outside any idea" he could have about me. I'd buried my desires deep, only to have them reappear, triggered by writings of feminist Dorothy Allison.
ASS/SSS gave me another world and life to be part of, a place where I could write and post the fantasies that had made up my inner life for years. Tasha, who at the time had bravely moved in with the man who would be her Daddy for a number of years, and others here inspired me to imagine that my life could be better -- that I could give myself a chance to find someone who could love me and find my interest in spanking something other than a sign of pathology. Further, through SSS, I was able to meet other women who had similar feelings about spanking and could see that I wasn't strange -- or at least wasn't alone in craving both play and pleasure and punishment. To the other women who write on the Punishment Book, many thanks to you too for all the love and acceptance you've given me.
Less than 10 days after I posted my delurk, Pablo and I exchanged the first of what would become more emails then I can count. When I had to go off-line that summer in order to get out of my marriage, he started a ritual of calling me nightly at midnight, despite his living 6000 miles away. Those days he seemed like the only person in the world who knoew and cared for me. On my birthday that summer it seemed appropriate that he was the only person (including my family who lived in the same city) to manage to get me a present on the actual day. Over time I came to realize that he was my soulmate -- one of a kind and meant for me. He understood and accepted that for me spanking was both the heart and soul of my sexuality and something that I needed and wanted to express real aspects of discipline and punishment. 10 years later and we've been married over two years.
My life is happier now than I even could have imagined then. I owe more to this community then I can express. It's hard to know what to write. My best friends, parties, playmates, scenes and loves have come from here. This place and you people have given me more than I could ever hope to return.
This summer I'll turn 40. I'm in the final year (or so) of my doctoral program. My 30s have been the most wonderful time of my life and I feel so fortunate to have found ASS/SSS, the scene and all that has come from those discoveries.
I look forward to the next decade. Life takes swings and steps backwards sometimes, but ultimately it seems to always get better.
Ten years ago today I discovered the spanking community. I really believe it was the most significant thing that will ever happen to me.