Like many submissive/bottom/masochistic-type people, I revel in the marks my Top/playpartners leave on my body. I love to look in the mirror right after or days after an intense session and see welts, rope marks, bruises and slashes. I admire them, I poke them, I relive the moments that caused them.
I got back from Austin Sunday night without a mark on my body. Nothing to look at in the mirror, to admire, to remind me of the events of the past weekend.
At least none that were visible to the naked eye.
Because sometimes, the marks left from a scene don’t show up in the mirror. They don’t bloom on the skin, betraying the slash of a whip or how a rope bound me. These other marks are inside, in my head or heart, and many times last longer than the ones on my skin. I tend to press on them just as much as I do the others though, trying to find the soft spots, to feel the bite of pain again.
When I came back from Austin I had some of those tender spots in my psyche to poke at.
Just as poking a bruise on my body can invoke the scene that caused it, poking the memory of an event that left an emotional or psychological mark on me can dredge up all of those feelings again, forcing me to relive it, in all its brilliant, sometimes cataclysmic, hues. Because the experience of these events is more a psychological one than a physical one, the reliving of them is sometimes just as pleasurable-or painful-as the original event itself. Pleasurable being a relative term, of course: many times the very reason I have gone there, done that, is to experience things that are not pleasurable but which are uncomfortable, disquieting, emotionally charged and sometimes psychologically painful. By poking at them, I can relive it all again: the humiliation, the embarrassment, the anxiety, the fear of rejection, the fear of being seen that way. I can relive all that, and then relive again the reward…that I can live through that and still, in the end, when it’s over, be me. Still be loved and wanted, still be found desirable, pleasing.
It’s scary…and exhilarating. It’s why I do what I do.
I didn’t actually intend to go there, to that place, in that way, when I went to Austin. Part of what we do, part of my dynamic with W, is to allow him to push me in ways I normally wouldn’t go. (Heh…”allow”…that word just doesn’t fit with where I am with him…what we do, what he does, is so beyond “allowing” him to do anything…he just…does what he does.) But what he does, what he knows I seek, is to be forced to confront those edges, the emotional as well as the physical. Going to Austin last week, playing with someone new…although W hadn’t instigated it, I did it, I started all that, because of him. Because I knew it would please him. Still…I didn’t expect what happened there to happen. I didn’t expect what I got out of it to happen.
Humiliation play can be a dangerous place to go. Going there with someone you don’t know well can be an edgy experience for both the Top and bottom. Hell, it’s edgy with someone you do know well. Not knowing the Top I played with in Austin intensified the experience. Knowing that I would have to come home and tell W everything that happened magnified it a thousandfold. Marks upon marks.