Saturday, May 23, 2009

Putting me in my place

I've been having the same fantasy for months now. It's a fairly straight forward one: a punishment that begins with A. sending me to the corner to think about what I've done while he gets out the implements and straight-backed chair.

Initially I spent my reveries working out the details of going to the corner, draping myself over his lap, being whacked with the ping pong paddle (or rubber paddle -- implements that cause only surface bruising), squirming and kicking, crying. And of course, because it's fantasy, the spanking gets more and more severe. Involves more implements. An extra sojourn to the corner. Time over pillows on the bed.

However after awhile I noticed my focus had shifted to the dialogue. Each night I drifted off to sleep concentrating on what would be said and in what order. Editing the language to make it more stern, more infantalizing, more cheeky or more desperate. And the sharper it got, the more tingly things got between my legs.

Eventually I'd honed the conversation to a point where I simply had to write it down. Remembering it each night was getting to be a pain. It's nothing particularly clever or original. And the language isn't an exact match of what A. and I really sound like (though it's remarkably close). But it does articulate the place I imagine going emotionally and physically. And the more child-like I'm treated, the hotter it gets for me.

oOo

"Tell me again why you are going to be punished?"

"Because I didn't go to bed when I was supposed to..."

"And how late were you?"

"Just three minutes on Tuesday. But, um, an hour and a half on Friday and an hour and forty minutes on Saturday."

"And why were you up so late on those two nights?"

"Cause, um, I was online..."

"Did you forget to set the alarm?"

"No, Sir. I just kept thinking that I only needed a few more minutes."

"So you disregarded the alarm?"

"No. I hit the snooze button cause I thought I just needed a few more minutes."

"How many times did you hit the snooze button?"

"Um...uh...um...7 or 8 times I think."

"Seven or eight times?! That sounds a lot like disregarding the alarm to me."

"No. I just...I mean, I didn't mean to. I wasn't intending to disregard it."

"How do you do something 7 or 8 times without intending to?"

"I...I, um, I...I dunno...I just...I didn't mean to..."

"It would not be a good idea to argue with me, young lady."

"I'm not arguing, Sir. Just...explaining how -- "

"--You're arguing."

I pause. And scowl. And purse my lips tightly together in an effort to choke back the reasonable explanation/cheeky argument dying to come out. And look down at the carpet.

"Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir."

"Look at me." A. grabs my chin and pushes it up so that my eyes meet his. "Now explain again, why is it important for you to go to bed on time?"

"Cause I feel more sick if I don't get enough sleep."

"That's right. Little girls who are sick need to rest. And when was the last time I had to punish you for going to bed late?"

"Last week." Sigh.

"Tsk, tsk. So clearly last week's punishment wasn't hard enough."

"It was hard enough. I just -- "

"-- Are you arguing with me again?"

I'm not sure how to answer this question. If I say "yes, I am arguing," it almost sounds defiant. But if I say no, well, that would definitely be arguing even more. So I just hang my head, purse my lips, and look at the carpet. A. grabs my chin and snaps it up again.

"If I have to warn you about arguing with me one more time, you're going to be holding a bar of soap in your mouth during your punishment, is that clear?"

"Yes, Sir."

"So, was last week's punishment severe enough?"

"No, Sir," I say just above a whisper.

"No, it wasn't. And what happens to naughty little girls who continually miss their bedtimes – not to mention are cheeky and contrary?"

"They get punished."

"And how do they get punished?"

"They get spanked."

"That's right. They have their jimjams and knickers taken down, are taken over the knee and get their backsides tanned. Lift up your shirt." (In another variation of this fantasy I'm wearing my pink dress and have to lift that up rather than my pajama top.)

"Please don't spank me! Please! I promise I'll go to bed on time this week," I plead even as I lift up my top.

"Oh, you'll be going to bed on time after I get through with you." He grabs hold of my pajama bottoms. "Let's get these down." With a quick tug, they are swimming around my ankles. "Right. Over my lap, please." Without hesitation, but without a great deal of speed either, I step to his right side and drape myself over his lap. "This, I'm afraid, is really going to hurt," he declares while stroking my hair.

There's no warm up. Using the ping pong paddle, he peppers my fleshy panty-clad cheeks with hard, sharp whacks all the while deploring my cheekiness and bemoaning my poor choices. The pain is searing and surprising. I start to panic somewhat as he turns to lamenting the less than dignified position in which I find myself.

"How very shameful, having someone take down your jimjam bottoms and spank you like a child. Just disgraceful." He keeps whacking with a fast, heavy hand. "And since your last spanking was so clearly a waste of time, I'm going to make sure I get every last inch of your bottom and thighs with this paddle in the hope that I won't have to do it again any time soon." That's the cue for him to stop just long enough to pull my panties in between my cheeks giving him a bare canvass to paint with the ping pong paddle.

And paint he does. There's no counting. Just minute after agonizing minute of hot pain accompanying a stern lecture about how disappointing it is to see that I've chosen to waste my precious energy on roaming the internet late into the night rather than getting the sleep I need to get stronger. About my shocking lack of deference when being addressed. When I'm asked a question I'm to answer respectfully and without quarreling. About how this penchant for arguing demonstrates the same unrelenting willfulness that keeps me from going to bed when I should, or keeps me on the computer for longer than I should be, or frittering away my energy when I should be saving it. And if it takes all afternoon, he's going to beat that willfulness out of me.

oOo

Of course, when I did get spanked over the phone with the ping pong paddle earlier this week for exceeding my allotted time online (which I'm doing again at this very moment, ugh!), I'd forgotten just how much that damn thing hurts.

"It never seems to hurt as much in the fantasy," I pouted as my backside smarted.

A., who too has experienced the dissonance between beatings in fantasy and reality, concurred.

"No. No it doesn't."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Come to bed with ME

(I love tag line, but I wish the poster were a bit more kinky)

Today is International Neuroendocrineimmune Disorders Awareness Day -- including ME/CFS -- during a week dedicated to ME/CFS Awareness. A couple of years ago I used this day to talk a bit about what ME/CFS is. At my non-kink blog I've commemorated the day in years past by listing what I've lost due to this illness, as well as what I've gained from the experience of illness. This year I thought I'd describe what it's like to have ME/CFS, in addition to the example of an X-Files phenomena I used a few years back.

Here in bed with ME/CFS, you feel like you have the flu. Your throat hurts. Your joints burn. Your heart beats like mad and sometimes in very peculiar ways. You feel chilled, profoundly weak, slightly nauseous, light-headed, mushy-brained, and just...icky. I wish I knew a better word to replace icky (aside from the bland, non-specific, slightly psychological-sounding term "malaise"). It's almost like your blood has been replaced with poison. You feel dreadful. Vile. Horrible. Nasty.

And on top of that...

You feel as though you've got a hangover. Every smell is too strong. Every light is too bright. Every noise grates on your last nerve, as well as that throbbing in your head just behind your eyes and at the base of your skull. And you might still be a bit tipsy because your spatial perception is off (I struggle with the "touch your finger to your nose" test), not to mention you can't walk a straight line. And then there are the times the room just spins.

And on top of that...

It's as if you've got jet lag. You fall asleep at weird times and wake up at weird times and you wish you could just go to bed at a normal time and get up at a normal time, but your body runs on its own clock that, unfortunately, is not during normal business hours.

And on top of that...

Someone is giving you low-grade electric shock torture and doing voodoo on you with a knitting needle. Most of the time it's a constant burning sensation throughout your whole body punctuated by arbitrary 5-30 second jolts of sharp sharp pain in completely random places -- your ear, your belly, your right arm, your left heel. (The burning sensation and the arbitrary jolts get markedly worse whenever I have an acute infection, especially if I have a fever.) And you have this weird buzzing sensation in random places too. As if a bumblebee or hummingbird were just beneath your skin. It doesn't hurt, but it's...weird.

And on top of that...

If you also have fibromyalgia (which up to 70% of ME/CFS patients do), you feel like you just had your first day on a chain gang breaking rocks in a quarry. Or that you went to the gym yesterday and worked out harder than you ever have in your entire life by far. Every muscle in your body burns and aches and is so stiff you can hardly move. You want to curl up in bed and sleep, but the kicker is you can't. You just lay there, though eventually you get up just to move a bit because your muscles have petrified and the stiffness is agonizing.

All of that. All the time. That's what it feels like in this bed. That's what it's like to have ME/CFS.

One million Americans have it -- more than have MS or breast cancer -- but it's among the bottom in diseases funded by the National Institutes for Health. The main reason for that is because most people don't take a disease named "chronic fatigue syndrome" seriously. However, as you can see, it's not just being tired. It's as/or more debilitating than congestive heart disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or end-stage renal disease.

So what can you do?

1. Donate money to fund research into what's causing this disease and how to treat it. Organizations include:
2. Let your elected officials know you want them to fund more biomedical research into the causes and treatments of ME/CFS. The CFIDS Association has a great "Virtual Lobby Day" page to make this as easy as possible.

If you're still reading, thank you. If you can help out, thank you even more! You can bet that if I ever get my hands on a treatment for this disease, there will plenty of spanking (both getting and receiving) and kinky writing to keep us all happy for a very long time.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Will you please call me Cordelia?

"Will you please call me Cordelia?" she said eagerly.

"Call you Cordelia! Is that your name?"

"No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It's such a perfectly elegant name..."

"...Unromantic fiddlesticks!" said the unsympathetic Marilla.

oOo

"Do you never imagine things different from what they really are? asked Anne wide-eyed.

"No."

"Oh!" Anne drew a long breath. "Oh, Miss -- Marilla, how much you miss!"

"I don't believe in imagining things different from what they really are," retorted Marilla. "When the Lord puts us in certain circumstances He doesn't mean for us to imagine them away."


Anne Shirley has been a kindred spirit ever since I first watched the Kevin Sullivan production of the classic book by L.M. Montgomery. The first time I heard her talk about "so much view for the imagination," I remember thinking, someone else thinks like that too? followed quickly by oh but you're not supposed to say that out loud! Like Anne I spend a lot of time in my imagination. And when you spend the overwhelming majority of your time alone (and in bed to boot) the imagination can become your permanent place of residency.

For the last four years now I have required an in-home caregiver. I don't know why, but I always imagined she'd be a thick Germanic sort of woman. Probably based on a character in a cartoon or TV show that I've long since forgotten. She'd be no nonsense, of course. A bit like Marilla, though more affectionate. She'd have hands as hard as bed slats, to borrow Harper Lee's phrasing. With the personality of, say, Thelma Ritter in Rear Window. Or my nurse when I was in the hospital with my first pulmonary embolism (Nurse K. might well fit too, though she has some subby inclinations). She'd be discerning, dependable, and devoted. And she would definitely be the one in charge, with the hairbrush to prove it.

The reality, of course, is completely different. It's having a total stranger come into your home when you've just waken up and every dish you own is scattered about the kitchen counters and the laundry is a smelly mound Sir Edmund Hillary would have found a thrilling climb. It's having a total stranger who doesn't understand that while you may look perfectly healthy because you're young, not paralyzed on one side, and still have most of your wits about you, you're not. It's having a total stranger handle your belongings both precious and intimate.

Indeed the very first day with my very first caregiver ended with laundry soap all over the bathroom, a hardwood floor stripped with dark grime after being mopped, and a LCD screen sporting a giant crack after she tripped over the cord and sent my laptop flying (to be fair, that last one was mostly my fault for leaving my laptop in a precarious position). I burst into tears upon her departure. The agency actually fired her a couple of months later after she repeatedly failed to show up for work. I felt badly for her because she had no telephone but did have a child with a father who wasn't particularly helpful with childcare. Yet she was obviously in the wrong line of work.

It got better after that. Her replacement, J., was as perfect a non-kinky caregiver as I could want. Her first day she simply went about tidying up the disarray of my home without needing a great deal of instruction. And when she came across kinky toys that I had forgotten to put away, she never said a word. Just set them aside and went about her work. I was heartbroken a year and a half later when the agency she worked for dumped all of us county-paid clients. The county then moved us all to the only other agency they were contracted with and J. wouldn't work for them. I didn't blame her. The pay was shit and they effectively didn't provide health insurance. Which meant that her replacement wasn't nearly as good.

This last January I was switched to a different program which doubled my monthly allotment of caregiving hours. But with this new program, I have to hire my caregiver. And I hate calling strangers on the phone. With the old program, the agency just sent me someone. If I didn't like the person, I could ask for a new one but the agency was really the boss. Now I am and it feels...weird.

The first woman I hired, G., had the potential to be another J. But she had to quit after three months when she got a job that provided health insurance. I quickly hired S. as she worked for a woman just across the hall. S. could sense the ambivalence in my direction and promptly decided to take charge herself, which, on her second day, included replacing my old laundry baskets and handing me the bill. I hate conflict and since it was only $4.50, decided that was cheaper than mustering the energy to say no. Later that day she decried the clutter in my apartment and, after asking me if it was because of my illness that I'd "let the place go," notified me that she wanted to completely reorganize everything. Yes, there is clutter in my apartment though, while not nice to look at, it is neatly piled on shelves and out of the way.

This was not exactly the sort of bossy I was looking for.

So I mustered the energy to sit her down the next day and explain that I appreciated her ambition but I needed to channel that ambition based on my priorities, not hers. In addition, if she made me feel self-conscious about everything, she was not going to work out. She apologized, acknowledged that I was the boss, and agreed to follow my agenda. I thought it was going to work out after that. But, alas, she switched to a more passive-aggressive approach, telling me how I needed to replace this or that, including my vacuum as it hurt her shoulder. When she emailed me a few days later to tell me she was quitting because her shoulder hurt and her doctor told her to cut back on work, I was relieved. Fake excuses do make the world a happier place, no?

But that left me needing to hire yet another new Home Care Worker. And calling more strangers from among a list of names. It took me almost a week before I even looked at the HCW list and a few more days before I started calling potential caregivers. While my phone phobia could explain some of my procrastination, there was clearly more to my dawdling.

As I sat and thought about my feelings, I realized that, along with my continuing resentment over not being able to do my own cooking and cleaning, was fear and vulnerability. Will the new HCW understand that I really am sick, despite my seemingly healthy exterior? Will I have to prove I'm truly deserving of in-home care? Being fat makes me particularly paranoid about being seen as lazy. And what if she happens upon my toys? Will she freak out? I'm tired of putting together task lists and care plans (I haven't ever even bothered with creating a job application or seeking/checking references as apparently I'm supposed to). Being my own HR person is exhausting. I just want someone to simply take care of me already.

In the end, here alone all the time, it's so easy to slip into my imaginary world with my imaginary caregiver who already understands how ME/CFS works and will make me rest. Who understands and shares my kinkiness. Who doesn't need me to list every last thing that needs to be done but just...knows.

While I don't know if it was God, karma, fate, or whatever that put me in the circumstances that I'm in, Marilla's point that I'm not meant to imagine them away has a great deal of merit. Once I awake from my reverie, the real world is still here requiring my action. I can whine all I want about how hard it is. And like Anne begging to be called Cordelia, I can beg for life to be like it is in my imagination, but at the end of the day she was still Anne -- with an "e" -- and I still need to hire somebody to come do my laundry.

Tonight will be my first day with my newest HCW. I'm sure she won't be the caregiver of my imagination. And I don't even know if she'll be as perfect as J. was. But so far we've talked on the phone so much this week I feel like we're already friends. She cheerfully agreed to work my dream schedule and even volunteered to call my caseworker to make certain her pay is arranged (at least I don't have to deal with paychecks and tax withholdings), so I feel hopeful.

However it will be the alarm on my cell phone telling me when to go to bed tonight, the heart monitor I will be getting in the mail soon to telling me when I need to rest, and the good folks at LibriVox telling me bedtime stories.

Though I can imagine it's a strict nurse slapping a hairbrush against her palm...