I spent some time trying to understand why I felt off, because I don't like feeling off. I wasn't at peace. Something deep within me was troubled.
It's been a challenging few weeks, trying to ease back into our routine after being sick. Things are returning back to normal, but I'm not there yet.
When Jason first returned to work, I kept finding myself doing things I'm not allowed to do, because my focus was off. I caught myself walking out of the room with the burner on (a big no-no), raising my voice to my kids (also not allowed), not paying attention while I was driving (a major infraction). My focus was off. I wasn't on my game.
He understood I wasn't myself, and Jason does occasionally extend mercy. But one of the reasons he's so good at what he does, is that he's very consistent. He's very firm. There's a balance to domming well, just as there's a balance to submitting. He has to balance patience, understanding, and kindness, with consistency and firmness. It's what makes this work, though.
What's the balance in submitting? To me, there are many things that hang in the balance, but for us, with our dynamic, it's maintaining complete honesty while still obeying implicitly. Bringing my feelings to him, while still accepting all that he wants me to do. Being the strong, capable, opinionated woman he loves, while still granting him complete authority over every single area of my life. Maybe that's a topic for another day.
I know that part of why I'm feeling off is that I was seriously punished this week. I made a mistake, didn't do what I was supposed to, and put my family in danger. I hate when I do things like this – like the times I've left the stove on, or forgotten to buckle my baby in the car – because I love my family. I hate thinking my thoughtlessness could harm one of them. I also dislike feeling incompetent. But I know making these mistakes is because I'm doing so many things, I don't often slow down and think before I act. Jason has trained me to do this, for the most part. But sometimes, my focus is off. My focus was very much off this week.
His job is to bring me back into focus.
I was out with friends when my phone buzzed. Jason.
You and I have a problem. Do you know what that problem is, or do you need me to tell you?
My heart began pounding. I could tell immediately he wasn't joking. I wracked my brain, trying to think of anything that I could've forgotten. What had he asked me to do? Had I gotten a speeding ticket in the mail? Had I left my hair straightener on?
I excused myself and messaged that I didn't know. He took his time replying, and the wait was grueling. Finally, he replied, I broke a major safety violation by not paying attention in the kitchen before I left.
I sent him an apology. Feeling nauseous and ready to cry – I knew I was facing very serious punishment – I went home.
I had to wait to face the consequences. He told me not to mope, and I tried not to, but I'm not always sure what to do with myself when I'm waiting to be punished. I felt sick to my stomach and uneasy. I tried to distract myself, but it didn't work very well. Finally, we had privacy, and he was ready for me.
That moment – that moment right before I face the music, when his face is set in stone and I know there's absolutely nothing to do but accept my consequences – in some ways, I think it's the hardest part of the punishment. He's not going to listen when I ask him to stop, and I know there's a good chance I will. Punishment means it's beyond my tolerance; serious punishment is so far beyond my tolerance, I can hardly stand it. He's not going to let me get away if fight or flight kicks in and I squirm away from him or twist. I'll do my best. I'll try not to protest. I'll try to lie and take it. But I know it's unlikely I'll be able to. He'll hold me down until he's done his job.
But I know he will probably hold me when I cry when it's all done. I can't help it. I always cry when I'm punished. There have been times when he's sent me to bed with no aftercare, as part of the punishment – but I don't remember the last time that's happened. He mostly wants to set us to rights again. He calls it “bringing me back.” It all depends on the offense, my state of mind, and his.
He punished me. It was, as I knew it would be, long and hard. He lectured, and spanked, and I did squirm, and he did hold me down.
But I did not cry.
When we first began, I didn't cry. Even punishment spankings satisfied a need I had to feel his dominance, and even though they were effective, they didn't bring about the emotional response they do now. But over time, as he met all the needs I had, my desire to please him grew. I no longer needed punishment to fill my desire to be dommed. I still needed to be punished when necessary, but punishment filled a different desire – the need to be disciplined.
As my desire to please him grew, my emotional reaction to punishment changed. I cried when I was punished. It became the norm. Now, most of the time, even a verbal correction from him expressing his displeasure causes me to tear up.
But I didn't cry when I was punished this week.
Part of me wanted to cry. Although I dislike crying, there's a release I get when I do. But I couldn't. I didn't like that I couldn't.
The next day, I woke up early, as I always do. I sat alone, drinking my coffee and thinking about the day ahead, the painful reminder of the punishment the night before evident when I sat down. I thought about why I didn't cry. I knew I was tapping it down, putting it in that deep place within, that place of self-protection. It wasn't just one thing, but many.
This month marks the one year anniversary of my dad's death.
This week, a friend lost her mother. Going to the wake brought it all back. I was pushing it down, not wanting to feel it, not wanting to go back to that place of loss and vulnerability. I had my wall up.
And even though I submitted to being punished, and I apologized, and he forgave me, my wall was still up.
I have a very good friend, a real life friend who lives nearby, who knows everything. She's a good sounding board, as she knows both me and Jason, and she knows me very well. I told her how I was feeling, and she pointed out what I already knew, but still needed to hear.
“You need to tell him. This isn't good. You need him to help you through this.”
I knew she was right, but I knew it would hurt. I felt myself balling up, taking my feelings and drawing inward. It's why I find it so hard to lie over his lap to be punished. The instinctive desire is to protect myself -- not just from the pain of a spanking, but the emotional pain that comes from being punished. I didn't want to hurt. I didn't want to feel. It was all there, on the edge, but I kept batting it away. It was easier to look at the calendar and detach myself, make myself think it was just another day. It was easier to pay my respects to my friend, tell her I was sorry, without tapping into my own grief. It was easier to lie over his lap and be punished than to put down my wall and cry when he was done.
I try not to write in absolutes when I blog. We all have our own journeys, and I don't want to presume anything. But I can say this one thing absolutely.
It is impossible to draw all feelings internally, resist vulnerability, and still submit. Submission requires transparency, or it will not work.
I knew what I had to do.
I went to Jason before he left for work. I told him briefly how I was feeling. He told me he understood, but we only had so much time, and our day had already begun. He told me to focus on the task at hand. Focus on my rules. He rarely spanks me the morning after I've been punished, but he did before he left, reminding me he was in charge, making sure I didn't forget what I needed to do every time I sat down.
I focused every bit of my energy on obeying. Every bit of my energy on doing what he told me. And although I knew I was still tapping it all down, I knew I had to focus. I focused with all I had.
Finally, he came home from work and we had a really wonderful night together. But I still felt...off. I had the powerful, indescribable feeling of wanting to crawl into him. My friend calls it wanting to “climb in their skin.” It's a hard feeling to describe, and it comes from different places. Sometimes I feel it after I've been punished. Sometimes I feel it when we've been apart, or haven't had time together.
I feel it when I need him.
I needed him.
We watched tv together, and I was so tired. He instructed me to get ready for bed. “Go, now,” he said. “Go get ready.” And I felt the comforting feeling of his dominance as I obeyed. And as I obeyed, I fought the desire to run back to bed and throw myself into his arms, because the desire for him was so strong. But I did what I was told. When I came back to bed, he was reading.
“May I lay down with you?”
“Of course you may,” he said. I lay with my head on his shoulder. I let myself feel him. I am so incredibly attracted to him, and being allowed in such close proximity causes my heart to pound. I adore him.
But it wasn't close enough. I felt like I was on the outside still, not where I needed to be.
“I need you tonight,” I said.
“I know you do,” he said.
“I have so much to say,” I whispered. “But I don't want to talk.”
He put down what he was doing and drew me closer.
“I know,” he whispered. “You don't have to.”
I wrapped myself around him, wanting to be closer, held tighter. Protected. And we lay there in the dark, in silence. We didn't talk. His arms around me, I let myself feel how strong he is. I listened to his steady breathing, and felt the power of his hands on me, as I traced my finger along the scruff of his beard. I felt warm, and secure, and I could feel my defenses breaking down. I rested my hand on his hip as he held me.
One arm holding me tight against his body, he reached his other hand out and pulled my head under his chin. He held me like that, and I felt the strength of his hand on the nape of my neck. It was what I needed. That last feeling of being completely wrapped up in his arms, the warmth of his skin on my cheek, him holding me as close to him as possible.
The last of my reserves broke down, and the moment I finally felt it – the moment I felt safe, and understood – I wept.
I cried for my dad. I cried for my friend, who lost her mother. I cried the tears I hadn't shed when he punished me. I didn't say anything, as he held me even closer. I didn't need to.
“Shhh,” he said. “It's alright, baby.”
I was back. Back in my place of transparency, back to feeling what I needed to. Back where he could see all of me. Back to where I belonged.