Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Blogging can be uncomfortable

I've had a rather uncomfortable blogging day today.

I was looking through my visitor info at StatCounter today and noticed that there were several visitors who came from a certain blog I've never seen before. So, being the curious individual that I am, I clicked on the link to that blog and discovered that her post for today was about my blog. Apparently, she discovered it randomly (the "next blog" feature on Blogger? "Randomly"?) and found it to be "the strangest damn thing." She actually went through the archives and found the picture of me with my spanked (yes, really Mija and Sugarpie!) behind at the Grand Canyon, then linked it in her post. There were several comments, most of which were about my derrierre and were not particularly kind.

She was making fun of me.

My first reaction was to feel ashamed. Both of my kink and my ass. Though, more about my ass. Then a bit angry and defensive. Especially when she felt it important to say she thought I was of Middle Eastern decent (I'm not, though my research field deals with the Middle East and my Arab friends tease me that I might as well be Arab, something I would not at all be ashamed to be counted as). And I may be fat, but my blood pressure, my lipids, and my blood sugar are all at normal, healthy levels reflecting the fact that I eat properly. Then the teacher part of me came out and wanted to post something about the fact that she is indeed sheltered if she doesn't know anything about spanking fetishes as it's something well known in the national popular culture, seen on shows from "Sex and the City" to "Friends." Then I thought of making a kind comment on her blog. Express empathy with her having a boyfriend in Iraq as I have a brother-in-law in Iraq and it's scary as hell. That I know how hard it is to have a boyfriend far, far away. That I'm glad she works at a wildlife refuge as protecting habitat as well as the planet is important to me.

Then I decided fuck it. Why the hell should I care what a self-described "freak" who lives 2500 miles away and brags about her fluent use of the word "fuck" thinks about me and/or my ass?

As my Pop, who served as a Navy cook in an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific during WWII told me, "you be your own person." This blog is part of being my own person. One who likes to be spanked for whatever strange, sick reason.

But it came on an interesting day for me as earlier I also happened to click on another link I hadn't seen before in an email this morning: Women's Global Connection. It looked really cool so I registered and began perusing the discussion boards and stumbled on a thread about honoring our bellies.

The last week or so I've been going through a new round of "I hate my body." Yeah, most women do it. It's not a particularly original thought, though it carries with it many levels for me. Recently it's been because I've been dealing with a number of pain issues. I pulled a muscle in my neck a couple of weeks ago when my hand slipped on my yoga mat as I went into downward dog position. Then the tendonitis in my right foot has worsened to the point I can hardly walk on it as a result of the orthotics I just got a few months ago (which are supposed to make my foot pain go away!). And the other night a pinched nerve in my right thigh that I've had for about 15 years suddenly got really really painful so that I couldn't be comfortable in any position. Thankfully an increase in Neurontin has helped lessen it enough to be bearable until I see my doctor on Friday (though every time I increase my Neurontin dose, it costs me another $20 a month -- from a Canadian pharmacy). I've felt angry. My body has taken so much from me: my career, my income, my social life, my ability to go hiking or spend time playing with my nieces and nephews. Now it must make me suffer in what feels like never ending cycles of pain (and not the good kind either). Not to mention the fact that it doesn't look the way I want it to look. Or fit into normal clothes. Or even let me do anything to really remedy that. It's like a prison. My own Abu Ghraib.

So, when I saw the thread about honoring our bellies, I smiled and clicked the link. And read the first post. "...I learned about hara, the Japanese word for "belly" as both our physical and spiritual center. Hara points to the belly as the source of our spiritual power." It reminded me of how a QiGong instructor I had once said to a man who made a self-deprecating joke about his belly that it meant he had lots of qi. I clicked on the woman's site and read:

"I am saying: Love your belly, lose the shame. Honor and exercise your belly as the source of your inner strength—that's the best way I know to claim your inner treasure."


What if being fat is my treasure? My source of strength? I couldn't help but think of Baby Suggs' sermon in Beloved:

"Here...in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them...You got to love it, you! And no, they ain't in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they do not love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I'm telling you..." (Toni Morrison, Beloved, New York: Penguin, 1988, p.89)

I thought a bit more about my picture from the Grand Canyon. When I posted it, it was because I thought how cool it was to be spanked at the Grand Canyon. I mean, how often do you get that chance? But I was hesitant to post it. Mostly because I was afraid of getting the kind of comments that people posted on that woman's blog. But I also didn't want to seem slutty. Indeed, I was not prepared for the emails I got in the next few weeks from men wanting pictures of me and my ass. The point wasn't to be pornographic, but to share my excitement. To share an experience that I knew other spankos could relate to and enjoy and share in.

I don't want my body to be objectified, regardless of the reason.

I do want it to be appreciated as one of the many aspects of me.

An aspect that, like Baby Suggs, holy, says, I got to love.



P.S. A bit of clarification for all you gentle readers out there. If a title of a post starts out with "Story" it is fiction. I have never been spanked by an angel or at Trader Joe's or by a nun in Jerusalem. They are all scenarios I've thought up in my head and reflect my over active imagination rather than real life.

15 comments:

Chloe said...

Hey! I actually just randomly found your blog through the "next blog" button, too. I use statcounter too! Small world, and all that.

I think this is one of the eternal issues in the blogosphere-- people talking shit about you when they don't even know you, and just gaze through your thoughts and form an impression based on one quick look at what you choose to post. I'm not entirely sure what the etiquette is on this subject, but whoever posted that entry was really rude. I would definitely leave a comment and tell him/her to mind their own business, or ask them to remove the entry, or ask them to try getting spanked at the grand canyon sometime-- they just may like it!

Judgy McJudgerson probably has shit on their blog too that people can choose to take badly. I think the best thing about blogging is learning about people who are different from you from their own perspective-- the point is to open your mind, man!
Anyway, this comment is way too long, and sort of sounds like an after-school special. Just keep in mind, as the great dooce said, "All the haters can suck it!"

Chloe said...

Hey! I actually just randomly found your blog through the "next blog" button, too. I use statcounter too! Small world, and all that.

I think this is one of the eternal issues in the blogosphere-- people talking shit about you when they don't even know you, and just gaze through your thoughts and form an impression based on one quick look at what you choose to post. I'm not entirely sure what the etiquette is on this subject, but whoever posted that entry was really rude. I would definitely leave a comment and tell him/her to mind their own business, or ask them to remove the entry, or ask them to try getting spanked at the grand canyon sometime-- they just may like it!

Judgy McJudgerson probably has shit on their blog too that people can choose to take badly. I think the best thing about blogging is learning about people who are different from you from their own perspective-- the point is to open your mind, man!
Anyway, this comment is way too long, and sort of sounds like an after-school special. Just keep in mind, as the great dooce said, "All the haters can suck it!"

Anonymous said...

As your stat counter has probably told you (lol) I lurk here quite often. I have a passionate interest in this subject and I understand a lot of what you write about its roots for you. I'm also a big girl that has body issues that can be over ridden by my DH's love for my roundness.

I think that person needs to get a life - and is probably either secretly jealous of your obvious confidence or has a secret wish to be spoundly spanked too!

I'm glad you haven't let her get to you too much - and keep writing!

Bella_by_Barlight said...

Interesting. I just found our blog by clicking the next button too. I agree the person who was making fun of you clearly needs to get a life. But on the other hand, taking a "mind your own business" approach when the very nature of blogging is based on the principle that you want other people to read (therefore to some degree mind) your business. If you didn't, you'd keep a nice private notebook style journal to write your thoughts and musings in.

Having said that, the person who chose to use you as the butt of their own public joke should have, at the very least, had the decency to post their remarks on *your* blog, rather than using you as content to pad their own (probably rather dull) blogs.

sparkle said...

Michelle,

I think your experience is one of the reasons I haven't put a stat counter on *my* blog... either that or I am quite sure no one's reading it anyway ;).

Anyway, I hope you don't let this individual (conceited or just misinformed to be decided) affect how and what you post. I think that what you have to say is really important for a number of reasons.

For one, I think your blog is a visible and potent reminder that women *can* sustain physically and emotionally satisfying relationships even while struggling with unfair and undeserved medical problems.

Secondly, I think it's cool that you're willing to share so much of yourself with me... one of the anonymous (ok, not so anonymous) mass.

Thirdly, and this is the most important, your blog is your chance - your space - to share something *you* need to share. That makes it worth my time to listen (even if I don't comment much). Please don't let someone who is evidently lost to all common courtesy - or just plain mean - take that space away from you.

sparkle

sCruuw said...

This is Candi...the one with the mean post! Here, I have left a comment ok....

Yes, I think you have an ENOURMOUS ASS, Yes, It makes me sick to look at it! I wanted to share the 'feelings' your ass gave me with the rest of the world...Obviously you posted it for people to get more plesant feelings but I didn't have that experiance with your ass....sorry just being honest....

Are you happy I left a comment on your ass now???? SHEESH!!!

RisingSlowly said...

What a funny and refreshing blog. It's nice to come across a well-written journal. There are so many blog wrecks out there.
May I suggest that you publish a coffee table book of shots of your bottom at various sightseeing spots around the US?
Regards,
Maria

Mija said...

I think it sucks that this happened to you -- I love that picture and think you and your bum look great. Clearly the person taking your picture liked it a lot too. I also think it's cool that you're so open on this blog -- it's not an easy thing.

When you started this post (or rather when I started reading it, I thought you were going to tell me your mom/advisor/godmother had found it and had recognized you.

And as to "candi" -- what a bitter little life s/he must lead (and what a tedious blog!). Pity is really the only thing anyone can offer her (or him, as is more likely the case).

Personally, Natty, I hope the world gets to see a lot more shots of your backside framed by national parks. And when you and Mr. Stern run out of those, maybe go on to global landmarks.

sCruuw said...

Woman! I don't wish you any ill will, your blog is well written. I have no problem with your "kink". ..more power to ya, just thought I'd share it with my fellow bloggers.

How could you post that pic and not expect anyone making light of it? Come on woman, get for real!

Blog on!

Natty said...

I want to thank those of you who have expressed your concern and put your minds at ease that I'm quite alright. As I said in the post, I came to that point where I decided I really didn't care what some stranger who lives far away thinks of me (or my ass). And I really don't.

I wrote about the experience because it was an interesting interplay among a number of different issues for me and I figured probably for many of my readers. As Bella by Barlight pointed out (and what I implied in the title of my post), when one writes about personal matters for a public audience, there is the inevitible and uncomfortable reality that someone will attack or ridicule the subject of that writing. Though, as there are over 4 million blogs out there, I figured my blog would most likely be read only by those seeking out the subject of spanking. Thanks to the "Next Blog" feature on Blogger, it apparently reaches a slightly more diverse audience. ;)

I'm glad that my personal experiences with spanking are resonating with others, both for myself and for you. C.S. Lewis said that we read to know that we are not alone, and I think the same could be said for writing. We write desperate to have others understand us. To know us. Yet there is a fine line that as a writer of both kink and non-kink material utilizing memoir and personal story I'm still trying to draw -- and will probably always struggle with -- about how much of myself I put into my writing. It's what gives it its power, but also leaves me far more vulnerable. It makes academic writing so much easier. :)

Reading through these comments has also been quite entertaining for me tonight (and Lord knows, the Vicodin can only go so far...). Particularly regarding Ms. Candi. I purposely did not name or link to her blog or her as I thought it would be more polite to keep her anonymous. Nor was I interested in starting a flame war with her. What I find so funny is that she keeps returning to my blog and then proceeds to identify herself and post comments that make her look like an even more enormous ass than the one upon which I am sitting.

As to Maria's comment about a coffee table book with pictures of my backside at different national parks, well...actually, my boyfriend had the same idea after we took that picture at the Grand Canyon. He thinks we should call it "Where's Shadwell's Ass?" (Shadwell is his nickname for me -- a Welsh bastardization of my Arabic name, Shadiah.) Needless to say that while I'm learning to embrace my body with all of it's...er...uh...fullness, I'm still in the *learning* part and not quite sure I'm ready to cause such visual discomfort for the Candis of the world.

Thanks again for all your comments (even the unsolited ones from Candi, for whom I'm quite happy to see her boyfriend is out of Iraq and wish you two the best fucking ever!).

Michelle

sCruuw said...

Michelle, thank you for your wish of best fucking ever....I wish that for you also and good luck with your health!

Haron said...

Natty, while you're learning to embrace your body, I'll happily embrace it for ya. :)

I hope the people who rush to offer their unhelpful criticism of someone else's bodies are actually perfect in every respect, because oooh boy, would it ever suck to read a group of cheerful imbeciles discussing _their_ imprefections...

the wench said...

Way to go natty.

You've got class kiddo. But then those of us who've read you from day one, and know you just a little through your lyrical writing in the community, already know that. ;)

I for one really appreciated your pic & the post and sharing about your trip.

Tarte said...

Just a gentle caveat:
I was curious to see what was said in the post in question, so I clicked over to the little twit's blog. Not only were my ears assaulted by some insufferable redneck background noise, but there was an attempted browser hijack (or some kind of insidious virus), commercial pop-ups and general ugliness. Why am I not surprised?

I never did see that post but I saw more than enough to satisfy my curiosity. Fortunately I was able to shut down my computer to escape without harm and have had no problem since. But there are things going on over there that decent people should be wary of. Consider yourselves forewarned.

p.s. Natty, you have a cute butt. You should do that Where's Shadwell's Ass? book.
Claire

Anonymous said...

Natty a warm welcome from over the pond,the picture of your bare bottom was very nice, like oppions everyone has one , bottoms come in all shapes and size's and my oppion is yours is very spankable and as the owner of a larger bottom my self I to have come across small petty minded individuals the best thing to do is ignore the wee anker's (insert the W )to them selve's and celebrate have a mighty fine dierrie (cant spell)

bry from scotland the uk....