Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Naked Bottom Days

Recently one of our more prolific writers at the soc.sexuality.spanking newsgroup posted a story called "Spanking Itch." And I dare say, like many of you, there are days when I definitely have the spanking itch.

Now, I might be revealing just how weird I am, but on those days I like to dispense with panties and trousers altogether. There's something very sensual and even naughty about feeling textures other than the usual cotton on my backside. In a way, it's like trying to scratch that itch even if it doesn't make the itch go away.

Since it's almost 90 degrees out, and A. just got me all hot and bothered on the phone before leaving me to go to bed (he has a penchant for doing that to me -- and this time he's making me wait until Friday before I can, um, tend to that...mean, mean, mean!), I decided this would make a great Naked Bottom Day.

Funny thing though. Several weeks back I was having a perfectly lovely Naked Bottom Day when I ended up making it to bed a little past my bedtime. Suddenly my itch disappeared upon the realization that I was going to be spanked the next day.

Impending punishment can be a bitch that way. Well, you know, along with all the other ways it's not very pleasant...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Story: Wrong Driver [M/F]

I'm doped up on a lot of drugs this week and don't know when I'll be awake enough to post something original. So, I dug around my archives and found this oldie.

It's another story looking at the darker side of the kink that I wrote after one of many lengthy threads on the newsgroup about discipline vs play spankings in which a friend of Mija compared disciplinary relationships (or domestic discipline if you are so inclined to call it that) to driving. It was an excellent discussion and the driving analogy helped me understand why an earlier spanking relationship I had didn't quite work, as well as inspired the following story.

*********************************************

Story: The Wrong Driver [M/F]

The dishes were still in the sink. Some crusty. Others floating in chili bean slime since Jenny went to visit her sister. And in the living room, Matlock was on.

“Oh, honey, you’re back!” James dropped the remote on the coffee table and jumped up from the recliner. Jenny let him embrace her, but didn’t return the hug. Just stood looking at the empty boxes that should be filled with the pictures and knick-knacks on the walls that would be moving in two days. Boxes he promised to pack while she was gone. “Oh, I missed you so much.” He squeezed her close.

“Yeah? Well, it’s probably good that I’m back then…Especially as those dishes need to be done," Jenny said a flat, tight voice. James blushed.

“I’ve been meaning to do those.” Then he straightened up. “But you’re not doing any dishes – the doctor said you’re suppose to rest. And if you don’t rest, I’ll beat yer butt.” Almost like he were taunting her. Jenny rolled her eyes.

[...]



“Then do the damn dishes.”

“Hey, don’t take that tone with me, young lady, or I’ll take you over my knee right now.” He was half smiling, but she knew he would.

“Fine. I’m gonna go lay down.”

“Alright.” He sat down and picked up the remote. “You did go to your doctor’s appointment yesterday, right?”

“No…” Fuck! “With the whole thing with Mom, I totally forgot. But, it’s just a routine blood test. No big deal to reschedule.”

“I understand, but…” He put the remote down and stood up. “We made the rule. No skipping doctor’s appointments”

“Oh c’mon, James. It was an honest mistake. Yesterday was crazy.”

“I know, but doctor’s appointments are important.”

She was too tired to argue as he pulled her over his lap.

The sting was gone as Jenny laid in bed that night but she was still sullen and she wasn’t sure why. Yes, she had agreed to the rule. It was a fair, necessary rule. And she liked rules. Structure. Discipline.

Yet, she also thought of the dishes, which he finally did after Matlock. The empty boxes, several of which he filled that evening. But only because she was home to make sure. To give him exact instructions. Like she did last month at the airport when she had to stay with him throughout the check-in process to be sure he didn’t get into an argument with anyone that would keep him from his flight. Or had been trying to teach him to call the temp agencies early in the morning to get jobs. And to sound peppy on the phone.

She knew he liked taking care of her. Liked trying to provide the structure she craved. But…

“I don’t want you to punish me anymore,” she explained when he came to bed.

...It was like being in a car with a driver who speeds excessively. Tailgates constantly. Is lost all the time…

And she didn't want him to drive anymore.

Copyright 2002 Natty

Sunday, May 13, 2007

ME/CFIDS Awareness Day: Being Understood


[T-shirts available at nopityshirts.com]

Right, so this is going to be a little off topic for a moment.

May 12 is the day when ME/CFIDS organizations around the world recognize ME/CFIDS Awareness Day. Those of you who read this blog much know that I frequently mention having this disease. However, it occurred to me a few months back that I haven't ever really explained what that means precisely like I have with being on anti-coagulants (blood thinners) or having Fibromyalgia (which shares this awareness day with us, as it's a fairly common co-morbidity and includes a lot of the same symptoms). So I decided then that a great way to celebrate Awareness Day would be to create a little more awareness here about ME/CFIDS. And I should have started working on this post then because it's been a lot harder to write than I thought it would be, hence the reason it's a bit late...

[...]



First, the name. The "ME" stands for Myalgic Encephalomeylitis, which literally means "pain and inflammation of the brain" and has traditionally been a British designation for a disease known in the United States -- both unfortunately and incorrectly -- as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a term that was created in the mid 1980s by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

In the 1990s, a group that later went on to form the CFIDS Association (the primary advocacy group here in the US), added "Immune Dysfunction" to the title to emphasize the immune system abnormalities that have long been associated with this disease, such as the low activity of Natural Killer cells, low molecular weight RNase L (an antiviral enzyme) and higher rates of apoptosis (programmed cell death) and gene expression of white blood cells.

I use both ME and CFIDS because at the moment there is a huge debate going on in the community about renaming the disease, with a committee of top physicians and researchers recently choosing the less specific term Myalgic Encephalopathy (i.e. pain and brain pathology) to replace the universally despised "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." However, they have also chosen to use the two together until government agencies such as the CDC or Social Security (for people like me who can't work because we're too sick) recognize ME in place of CFS. To me, using them together just feels a tad more accurate for now.

Second, what is ME/CFIDS? I think Maryann Spurgin of the ME Society of America summarizes it best by stating that it's "a multi-system disease adversely affecting the cellular mitochondria and the heart, brain, neuroendocrine, immune, and circulatory systems." While fatigue, or more accurately, profound exhaustion, is indeed one symptom, calling this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is like calling a concussion merely "a headache" or Tuberculosis something like "Chronic Coughing Syndrome." In other words, it's a hell of a lot more than just being tired.

I've often compared it to having the flu forever. However, in this post, Dyke Girl (aka Jigsaw Analogy) pointed out that it's actually worse than that. And she's right. In addition to flu-like symptoms -- muscle and joint aches, headaches, low grade fever, feeling chilled, tender lymph nodes and sore throat -- people with ME/CFIDS will usually have post-exertional malaise (riding an exercise bike for even just three minutes can send me to bed for the rest of the day), shortness of breath, widespread pain, irritable bowel as well as neurological problems such dizziness and balance problems, impaired spatial perception and cognitive abilities, difficulty processing sensory information and orthostatic intolerance (fainting or near fainting due to blood pressure drops). The most annoying part of all this is that all these symptoms are remarkably variable. Some days I can do things that two or three days later I couldn't even dream of doing. Why? Got me. I mean, obviously over activity will exacerbate symptoms (hence the reason I get into a lot of trouble for overdoing it). But a lot of the time it's completely arbitrary.

Lately I've started comparing it to having both Multiple Sclerosis and mild Congestive Heart Failure. My best friend has Multiple Sclerosis and he is often amazed at how similar our symptoms are, except mine are more severe (indeed, he's still in his PhD program and I'm not). A lot of that reflects the fact that his doctor knows what causes his symptoms and has medicines that can treat his MS. That's not yet the case with ME/CFIDS.

Third, so what causes ME/CFIDS? That's the million dollar question and a lot of the problem is sort of a chicken and egg one. Some have speculated that it's a virus that attacks specific parts of the immune system (whereas HIV is a catastrophic attack on the immune system). Some think it's undiagnosed chronic bacterial infections such as Lyme Disease, but the use of antibiotics (and growing antibiotic resistance) makes this a very contentious topic. One provocative theory argues that ME/CFIDS and Autism are one and the same disease caused by a genetic inability to maintain adequate levels of glutathione and that a person gets Autism if the glutathione problem develops within the womb and up to three years of age, while it becomes ME/CFIDS if the problem happens after three years old. But most of the more prominent research, however, has focused on the immune system and the brain, though in the last few years more and more research has also focused on oxidative stress, mitochondrial deficiencies, and the cardiovascular system.

Fourth, why they hell would I talk about this on a spanking blog? Well, I've been talking about having ME/CFIDS since the first few months of starting this blog back in 2004 (wow -- can you believe that was almost three years ago?). I mean, it touches just about every part of my life so it would be difficult to not talk about. And while I may have a disabling disease, it doesn't keep me from living. This blog is my way of talking about one particular way I live life to it's fullest as best I can.

I also wanted to provide some context. I've had this disease on some level for about 24 years now -- in it's more debilitating form for about 8. I'm not getting better anytime soon (indeed, I've been getting progressively worse save for a slight improvement in 2003 and the winter of 2005). Now, there may well be a breakthrough in the research down the road that will provide some relief (God-willing!) but I've come to terms with life as it is. While I'm sure there are going to be more good days in my future at some point, I also know there are going to be more health-related problems as well.

And when I write about those bad times, I understand that it's natural to feel badly after reading them. But making people feel badly isn't really my aim. I write about that stuff for the same reason that so many people blog: we are relational beings and sharing our stories is part of connecting with other people, of being human. C.S. Lewis once said that we read to know that we are not alone, and I think the same is true of writing. We string together words and send them out in the hopes that they resonate with somebody else -- an act that, perhaps, I appreciate all the more being housebound (seriously -- it beats talking to the cockroaches, which I've found myself doing lately with disturbing frequency...).

In other words, it's okay to look past whatever illness related context I may start out a post with and enjoy or contemplate whatever larger theme/story I'm writing about. It's okay to make jokes (like Alex did in this post). It's okay to ask questions. And, of course, it's okay to feel whatever the hell you want to feel about them.

Lastly, a little disclaimer. Everybody who has ME/CFIDS has had the experience of meeting somebody who had it (or knows of someone who had it) but got better thanks to [insert magic cure of your choice]. And there are some people who do eventually recover after a lot of rest and combinations of pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. I want to assure you that one, I stay more aware of current ME/CFIDS research than all but a small handful of people on this planet. I've also studied and utilized many forms of alternative medicine (and continue to do so). If I haven't tried something it's because there's either not enough evidence (including even anecdotal) to support its efficacy or, more likely, I haven't the money (this disease can be a bottomless pit financially). Ultimately, spending all my time trying out every magic cure out there is not only hard on the pocket book, but it doesn't leave me with much energy to do any, um, you know, living.

So now you know a little bit more (well, probably far more than you really wanted to know) about what those seven capital letters with a slash in the middle that I frequently refer to mean. The woman who makes the t-shirts at the beginning of this post, Ricky Buchanan, has also written An Open Letter to Those Without CFS or Fibromyalgia that you may also want to check out. She ends by saying that most importantly she wants people to understand her. And that's really what this post -- indeed my blog and any blog -- is about. All of us, healthy and ill, just want to be understood. I hope this post has helped you to understand me and all ME/CFIDS patients a little bit more.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned...

Between Mija's post at the Punishment Book and newsgroup pal Domino's story "Secret of the Confessional," a priest/penitent fantasy had been sounding mighty appealing. Then tonight I turned on PBS (yes, I know, I'm a total nerd) to watch "Secret files of the Inquisition" and when they talked about the practice of making repentant Cathars wear a yellow cross (which, in this show, were all women), well, what can I say? I think my spanko fantasies are now going into overdrive.

It's funny because I think one of the reasons that the priest/penitent fantasy works for me is because within the Roman rite (i.e. the vast majority of Catholics in the world), confession is so very different than in the Eastern Church. We have confession face to face, which makes it harder in some ways. Though the priests who have been my confessors (see here, for example) have generally been very kind -- including their facial expressions. The prayers are different. The listing of sins is discouraged in place of focusing on themes (at least in my experience). And, of course, penance is not meant to be punishment but medicinal. Going to confession is like going to the doctor.

So, reading Mija and Domino's posts almost felt like reading about a different culture. A culture that felt uncomfortable to my spiritual self, but tantalizing to my kinky self.