So...in the beginning of the year, Jason told me he'd been too lenient with me. This set my heart to pounding, because....well, I wouldn't exactly use the word lenient to describe Jason.
Is her merciful? Absolutely. Is he gentle with me, and patient? Yes. Does he sometimes extend mercy? Of course.
But does he let me get away with anything? Nope. He is consistent, and firm.
Now, the truth is, I need him to be this way with me, and he knows it. But the reality is, I dislike being punished.
When we first began TTWD, being punished had a certain novelty about it. It was new. I felt incredibly loved when he took the time to give me what I need, to hold me accountable, and spank me when I needed it. I would almost be eager for a spanking.
I still feel incredibly loved. But over time, my feelings about punishment have changed drastically.
I pretty much hate to be punished. The other day I said something somewhat rude to him while we were getting dressed in the morning. He crossed the room, gave me a firm swat, and told me not to speak to him that way. One swat. But it was humbling and effective, and I swallowed the desire to cry. Afterward, we had our morning check-in, and he set me to rights again.
But now, even the smallest correction is difficult to take.
There is no going back.
But the reality is, this is not easy.
The other day, we had a nice night together that ended in some intimacy that was amazing, and beautiful. And to my surprise, I burst into tears when I settled back down into his arms when we were done.
He hugged me tightly, and asked me what was wrong. I could only shake my head as I cried. He held me tight, and he just knew.
"Poor girl," he whispered. "You're just a big ball of emotions right now, aren't you?"
And I nodded into his arms. I was.
As I sit here typing this, I'm in trouble yet again. I've made vast improvements over the past year. Over and over and over again, he's told me how proud he is of me, how happy is that DS has brought us so close together, but as we become closer, he's also realized my need for a firmer hand. And it's been an adjustment for me.
I've heard others criticize those of us who are punished frequently. I am not punished frequently all the time, but I think it's normal to have periods of time when punishment does happen more often. It doesn't mean this isn't working. It absolutely is. It does mean that sometimes I need to pay more attention. Try harder.
So Jason does this thing he calls a heart check. He doesn't do it every time, but when he notices I'm feeling down, or that I'm being punished more frequently, he asks me.
I look up at him and wait to hear what he has to say.
"Is this what you want? Do you still need this from me. Where is your heart on this?"
I have told him, each and every time.
This is what I want.
I don't like to be punished and I hate letting you down.
But I need this.
My heart is right where it should be.
I kneel in front of him after a punishment spanking and he will frequently lift my chin. That's when the question arises.
The questions he ask me boil down to really one, very important, incredibly vital question, for not just me, but both of us.
Are you happy?
I think it's important that we check in with each other. This is not a game. This is not a fairy tale. We are two human beings, with feelings, and emotions, fears and insecurities.
The other day, we had an argument. I was upset with him. Finally, he knew exactly what it was that was bothering me. He took me over to him, had me kneel, put his hand under my chin, and said, "Last night, you had an off night. I'm not going to punish you for getting overwhelmed. This morning, I had an off morning." And then he said something I needed to hear. "We are not perfect. We aren't going to do this perfectly. I am human, and you are human, and we will work through this together."
And isn't that what this is all about, in the end?
It's not about achieving a level of perfection. If perfection was what we were striving for, we'd be wasting our time. Sure, there are some things I can tell you I will never, ever ever do again -- like drive like a bat out of hell. Whip a dish across the kitchen in a fit of temper. Text in the car. Forget to take a dish towel off the stove. I've learned my lessons, broken some habits, and I'm working hard at forming new habits.
But I'm not perfect. I'm still going to get spanked.
He's not perfect. He isn't going to always know exactly what I need and isn't always going to be completely prepared to give that to me.
We are still going to have our ups and downs because we are human.
But these heart checks? They are vital. And in the end, what matters isn't our level of perfection.
What matters is that we're in this together.
And when I'm down because I'm in trouble again...or my constant needs and insecurities become overwhelming to him, and he needs to withdraw to recharge...when we hit our down times, I try to remind myself.
My heart is where it should be.
His heart is where it should be.
There are times I let the criticism of others bring me down. There are times when I let myself down.
This morning, when I had to fess up, I was lying in his arms when he told me I was getting a spanking. He said he was disappointed in me, and that cuts me to the core.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I'm going to do better. I promise."
He hugged me tight and said, "I know you will. You'll do better." He kissed my forehead and said, "You're my best girl."
His best girl.
Sometimes, that's all I need to hear.