We had our crew over last night, for chili and cornbread, wine and chocolates, and endless conversation. The topic seemed to circle around Discipline and Punishment. i found myself needed to take small breaks from the room, the intense energy, and to recall the new rules to not wait on everyone.
The word “strap” caught my attention from the bedroom, where i was talking to another slave, and i stopped speaking mid-word. i may have stopped breathing for a moment too, my attention captured intently on the words coming from Sir Raven.
She said that she comes from a place, from a people, who beat you because they love you.
That resonates for me, it’s truth as bare as a blank canvas.
It is proof of love, proof of trust, on both sides of the slash.
That i will let someone in, enough to make me cry, enough to make me beg or yell or scream: that is trust to me.
It’s a luxury, to have no control over myself, to fully be immersed in the experience of pain and redemption.
Last night, i kept hearing the idea volleyed around that punishment means that the slave has done something wrong.
That isn’t what it means to me.
i’ve done something wrong, independent of if i’m ever punished for it or not. Punishment is the way back home, the wall coming down, the start to forgiveness, the end to self-recriminations, the return to softness, the ability to be me without the weight of shame and guilt and frustration and anger.
One Master considered that if the dynamic was working “right”, without human error, the slave would never need to be punished.
i pointed out that if this is the case, then in all likelihood, there are simply things that the Master is not noticing or the Master has stopped raising the bar all together.
It’s supposed to be a power exchange.
In exchange for my freedom or word, thought, and deed, i am expecting and needing things in return. One of them is for the Master to fulfill their duty to discipline and punish me. To not have that erodes the foundation of the relationship. i’m honest about all of this, early and explicitly, because i think one ought to have a strong stomach if one’s path is to be a Master.
i’ll give everything in me.
And there will still be days that it isn’t enough.
i don’t deserve for the shame to eat me, for the anger to rise up in me, for the fear to displace me. In due time, that is what happens, because it begins to feel that all of the weight of the relationship is hoisted upon me. That is should seem effortless, every day, to give and be and do and smile and share and not be disappointed or angry or frustrated or cross. Put on lipstick and remop the floors. Be gracious and not tired and not stupid and try harder. Work harder and think harder and give more and love more and overlook sharp tones or careless behaviors or thoughtless habits.
We are human, first. With a full range of human emotions. There are simply times that you have to let some steam escape or you go numb. You start to wonder if your emotions need to be a part of this at all, so long as you can be of good cheer and not appear to be tired or sad or lonely or frustration or inconvenient in any way.
You think about stockholmn syndrome and shudder. You think about crying in the shower but can’t. You wonder what you are upset about at all, and the shame and guilt come back. You shove it down, try to sit with it, try to understand but it’s there.
Punishment is not about me doing something wrong.
i already did that.
It’s about the weight being taken off of my shoulders, being given a way to release the shame and anger, and being able to trust completely.
Is it a redemptive experience?
Definitely. It was never a safe thing for me, as a child or an adult, to let people see that i was in pain from their actions, that i could be forced into loosing control enough to not be kind for ten minutes. Long enough for my inner child to scream i hate you, without the worry that i’d be killed for High Treason. Or worse.
Afterwards, spent, exhausted. i feel nothing but gratitude, especially if i am left to cry myself to sleep, and can wake up feeling like me again.