I folded it in half, grasping tightly to the buckle and the tapered end, and swung as hard as I could. The middle of the belt soared from my right hand, wrapped itself around the left side of my body and landed sharply on my right cheek. A red stinging square of pain formed and embarrassed, I looked over at Eric.
"Thank you," he responded, kissing my forehead and taking the belt from my hands.
I was single for a long time before we met. I had children to raise, a full time job, financial worries and a myriad of anxieties that plagued me regularly.
Like everyone else, I learned to cope. Sleepless nights would put my brain on overload and I'd devour caffeine and 5 hour energy shots to stay awake all day. Stress would weigh on me so I'd eat fast food and candy bars to calm my nerves. Fear would creep in and I'd run through the woods until I could barely breathe just to shake the anxiety. When I felt like I couldn't do anything well, couldn't keep up or wanted to give up, I'd "self discipline". Those were dark days and difficult times. It's the rarest of occasions that I ever go back but when necessary, I figured out what works for me.
Some people drink or do drugs. Some people cut themselves. I understand why. In my case, emotional drama is altered quickly and effectively with physical pain. My brain shuts down all of the trauma in my head, focused only on my blazing cheeks, and I'm able to begin again.
About four years ago, I worked on changing my coping techniques by finding ways to be kind to myself rather than self destructive. I learned that sleepless nights could be cured with a one hour massage over lunch or a power nap in the middle of the day. Stress eating truly made me feel worse, so I'd hit the gym instead. Reducing anxiety by desperation running became journal writing in a quiet space and when I did run, it was to feel strong and alive. I even discovered that playing solitaire helped my brain focus when a million things were bringing me down. Something about putting the cards in order cleared the clutter and allowed me to tune back in. Oh, and cleaning the house or vacuuming also proved to settle down the frantic thoughts in my head. By the time I met Eric, I was very much on the road to being a happy, motivated, authentically driven girl. Through consistent love and support, he enhanced every bit of the healthy me and wound his way into my heart.
It is only recently that Eric and I discovered we both have a taste for a non-vanilla relationship. We've dabbled with dd, ttwd and this blog since July. As we experiment and get closer, we've learned quite a bit about ourselves and one another.
Before being sent to the beach (Brilliant man - just what I needed to catch up!), I had found myself creeping toward the edge of "overwhelmed and floundering" a few too many times. Eric knew I needed a reset and he struggled with being on the road when I found myself at my worst. I brushed off his feelings.
"No worries," I stated. "I can take care of myself."
I've always wanted a partner but even after a few years of being together, I'm still learning what that means. To a man who works very hard at being my rock, the statement, "I can take care of myself" was rather hurtful to him. Thus began our "self discipline" conversation.
"I want to know what you would do and how you would do it," he insisted, "so I can better understand how to be there for you."
The vulnerable side of me wanted to run for the hills.
"I don't want you to feel like you ever have to go through anything on your own again."
Eric is very convincing.
Reluctantly, I showed him. I showed him with the belt and told him about my past with the paddle, spatula and spoon. He said he will no longer worry about physically hurting me by going too far. I've been much harder on myself than he'd ever be.
In the end, Eric led me to the closet where my years of self discipline used to take place. He turned me toward the racks of hanging clothes, bent me over and told me to hold on tight to a shelf halfway down the wall.
Three sound spanks with a heavy wooden cutting board and my bottom was on fire.
Eric wrapped his arms around my shoulders and held me so close, I could feel his breathing against my chest.
"I'm taking this away from you," he said tenderly kissing my lips. "No more self discipline. When you need it, I'll give it to you, but together we're going to work on you not needing it ever again."
That was yesterday and I basked in every word he said, but this morning when I woke up anxious about school and worried about work, and he was gone for four days again; I went down that path of insecure doubt.
"What if he leaves me? What if I'm not good enough for him? What if I disappoint or fail him? What if he gets tired of me or finds somebody else?"
I truly want and need to change the catastrophic thinking. It's a habit I began when I was alone and figured if I expected the worst, I could handle the actual.
I could use another trip to the closet and a "reset" today but with Eric on the road, I got a massage instead. I also took the time to write this blog, hoping that any of you in the same situation will find some peace in knowing your are not the only one.
I'm starting to see that Eric wants to be there for me not just through the good times, but through all times. My relationship with him certainly matters more than my ability to "take care of myself" so I'll wait until he gets home. In the meantime, I'll work on positive ways to cope with me. Spa anyone?