Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Saga Of Roy

Author's Note: This post as nothing whatsoever to do with spanking. I have pretty much left that scene, but have decided to keep this blog up and running for those times when I feel the need to post something, whether spanking-related or not. This post is about my ongoing health problems and the religious crisis it spawned in me. If this kind of thing is too real for you or you're just not interested, please find some of the other posts I've put up over the years.

People will look at the title of this blog and scratch their heads. "Who the heck is Roy?" Well, allow me to elucidate. Roy was a guy I knew in high school. He didn't go to my school, but I met him at a basketball game my sophomore year when our schools played each other. Our "relationship" (if that's what you want to call it) started because I was dumb enough to give him my phone number. Now, don't mistake me here. I didn't have boys knocking my door down. I was pretty much OK with encouraging any boy who showed any kind of interest in me. Roy was taller than me (a requirement in my shallow days), nice looking and from a nice family. He should have been a total catch for me. I was not good looking. My family was a good one, but not well off like Roy's was. I was acutely aware that Roy had made an overture to someone who was below his station. 

I was so glad that a boy was interested in me that I didn't see the imperfections in the facade he presented at first. I mistook his neediness as attentiveness. He needed to know all the time where I was and what I was doing. He had so little self-confidence that he needed a girl who was totally available to him. If I told him I couldn't go somewhere with him because I was going out with my family that night, he would pout and tell me that, since he was my "boyfriend" I should be the most important thing in my life. What? More important than my family? I didn't take me long to figure out that Roy wasn't the boy for me. I had been dazzled by his nice looks and attention. But...after about two months, I could hardly stand the sight of him. I babysat children who acted more mature than he was acting. It took me six months to extricate myself from this "relationship". When you're 15, six months is a long time. OK, so fast forward to now and why I've exorcised the ghost of a long lost boyfriend to make a simple analogy. 

Starting about May, I started to feel a slight pain in my left lower back. It wasn't anything distressing at first. I work in a grocery store and I lift a lot of things. Maybe I strained my back? So I took some Aleve and put a heating pad on it and it seemed to go away. I went on about my life and didn't give it another thought. Two weeks later, right before I started my vacation, the pain came back. This time, I saw a little blood in my urine, too. But drinking extra water seemed to solve that. But the pain didn't go away with heat and Aleve this time. About a week after I got back from vacation, the pain got so bad I had to leave work. At this time, I made my first trip to the ER. I had my friend take me and we ended up waiting four hours just to be seen. When I was finally called, I was taken back to an exam room. There, the nurse started an IV and took blood and urine from me. This was before I ever saw a doctor. I have learned since then that this is SOP for Emergency Rooms. Doctors can learn a lot about us and our state of health by looking at our urine. When a doctor finally came back, he treated me a bit suspiciously. I could tell he thought I was drug seeking. I told him "Look, I haven't been to a doctor in five and a half years. I didn't just think at work 'Maybe I'll go the hospital and get some drugs. I don't feel like working tonight.' I left work because I'm in pain and I don't know what's causing it. I actually listen to my body when it tells me that something isn't right." I'd been in pain (cause unknown) for weeks and now the doctor in the ER was treating me like I was faking. He handed me off to another doctor, an intern who asked me questions about my sexual activity. "I'm 57-years-old," I told him. "I've had STD's before. This isn't an STD, unless they've come up with a new one I didn't know about." Meanwhile, I was describing my pain as "7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10" and they at no time offered me anything for pain. He felt around on my stomach, but there was no area I could point to that hurt specifically. I know from past experience that when a woman goes to the doctor with non-specific abdominal pain it's time to start the hand patting and the lectures about stress and getting my weight down. 

I was frustrated, to put it mildly. I'd already waited four hours to be seen. Now they were playing a game of musical doctors on me. The last doctor who came in was the attending physician. He asked me questions about my fluid intake. He asked me about being dehydrated. After hearing my answers, he said "Cheryl, I suspect you have a kidney stone. I'm going to order a CT to see if you do have a stone." Finally, a doctor who believed me and wanted to get to the bottom of my symptoms. However, he still didn't offer me anything for pain. I had to drink a large bottle of contrast before they could do the CT. They left me alone for 45 minutes so I could drink the contrast. Of course, after drinking that much fluid, I had to go pee. So they let me pee before taking me to get the CT. I was scared because, as usual, a small part of me was afraid of what they might find. What if I had a tumor? What if it was already spreading? This is normal for me. When I don't have information, my brain plays out the worst case scenario. Even after the scan, while I was waiting to see what they found, I spent the time working myself up to the point where I was convinced I had cancer. An hour later, the doctor (the one who had ordered the CT) came in and told me "Cheryl, you have a kidney stone." I had to ask him which side it was on and he asked me to guess. I said "left side because that's where the pain is." He said "Well, it IS on your left side. But it's not blocking anything so you shouldn't be having pain." I replied "Well, I am. I've been having pain for almost a month. Tonight, I had to leave work because it got so bad." He took out my IV and handed me my discharge papers and said "Follow up with your regular doctor and remember to drink a lot of water." On following up with my doctor (or the PA in her office), I learned that my stone was 7 mm. A stone this size is considered too large to pass on its own. I also got started again on blood pressure medication. 

So, armed with this new knowledge, I did the worst thing possible. I went online to see if I could get any kind of advice on how to deal with this. The doctors had told me that I shouldn't have pain, but here I was, having it. The only positive was that I was now drinking more water and less soda. I went on like this for two more months, until the beginning of August. The pain came back, even worse than before. I left work early three straight days. My bosses were very understanding. I went to the ER again, this time my directionally challenged sister braved the drive and took me. Again, they took blood and urine. My urine had blood in it this time (known medically as gross hematuria) and my pain was worse than last time. Again, the doctor wanted a CT, bu non-contrast this time. This was after the obligatory four-hour wait. After looking at my scan, the doctor I saw pronounced the stone "unchanged" based on a text from the radiologist who read my scan. "What's causing the pain then?" I asked. "It's non-obstructing so I really don't know." At this point, since this doctor admitted that she didn't know what was causing my pain, she would have consulted the urologist on-call or some other doctor. But she didn't. Again, I got nothing for my pain. I began to feel like I was going crazy. Again, I was told to follow up with my doctor. I had to suppress the urge to say "Yeah, thanks for nothing." I had to call in the next day because I was scheduled to be at work at 10:30 and I didn't get home from the hospital until 4:30. I spent most of the day not only in pain, but I was having anxiety too. The anxiety was from the gnawing feeling that perhaps my symptoms were psychosomatic. I went to work the next day, but again had to leave early. I asked my front end supervisor to take me off the schedule until I could figure out what was going on. I spoke honestly to my manager about what was going on, my frustration and fear of not knowing what was wrong. I told him that I wanted to go through proper channels and didn't want to put my job in jeopardy. He told me to do what I had to do and keep them in the loop.

My pain and anxiety worsened overnight, even after talking to my boss and his assurance that my job wasn't at risk (which I thought was where my anxiety was coming from). The next day, my sister took me to the local prompt care, which was located in the same office as my regular doctor. The nurse practitioner that I saw had given me more understanding than any of the doctors I'd seen. She looked at the report on my stone and told me, contrary to what I had been told in the ER, that it was now 1.1 cm. So why did that ER doctor tell me that it was "unchanged" when it was now 4 mm larger? She apologized for how badly I had been treated and got me a prescription for pain meds and also nausea meds, which can also be good for anxiety. She was the first one to tell me that large stones can and do cause pain, even when they're not blocking anything. "Those doctors never once acknowledged that I was in pain," I told her. "They never gave me anything for pain or nausea. They never told me anything I could do in the meantime." She nodded understandingly. "Kidney stones, especially large ones, are unpredictable. Large ones require treatment, whether they're in the ureter or not. ER doctors don't really like to be the ones to get that ball rolling. So they say to follow up with your doctor."  So I at last had some pain meds and also something for the nausea that the pain brings with it. I was told to call my urologist. Since I didn't have one, I called the office of the only urologist I knew of--the one who did a cystoscopy on my in 2013. Unfortunately, he was booked solid until late September. It was early August. I couldn't wait that long. So I asked them if there was any place I could get in sooner. The lady on the other end of the phone gave me the name of a doctor who worked in another of their offices. I managed to get an appointment, but I had to wait nine days. I was disappointed to have to wait nine days, but compared to waiting six weeks, this was doable. 

I wasn't too sure about driving to another city to see this urologist. I don't drive and so I'm always dependent on someone else for a ride. My friend (the same one who had taken me to the ER the first time) took me. The office was located in that city's local hospital, which had a park across the street. My friend took her granddaughter to the park to play while I saw the doctor. His waiting room was freezing. I had to wait a half hour after my appointed time because of some kind of thing that had come up. Well, I totally understood that. I know that surgeons sometimes have emergency cases. When I finally met the doctor, I liked him. He asked me questions about my symptoms and listened while I answered them. "Your stone is a very large stone, so it can't just sit there in your kidney. It could cause major problems down the road if it's not taken care of. It's only gonna get bigger if we ignore it." He told me about ESWL, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. They would use shock waves to break the stone into much smaller fragments that can be passed easily, most times without too much discomfort. There was one requirement for me to have this done. My stone had to be viewable on an X-ray. This is because they use X-rays to help triangulate where the shock waves should hit the stone. So he had me get a KUB X-ray before I left. KUB stands for kidney, ureters and bladder. The film shows these structures clearly and, since most stones are calcium stones, they show up as well. I was told that, as soon as the doctor had seen my X-ray, I would be called. I had seen videos on Youtube where people had talked about their experiences with lithotripsy and a few had said it had failed on them because there was too much body fat between the stone and the shock waves. I assumed that if I was too fat to have the procedure, someone would have told me. Well, long story short, I had to call them nearly every day to see if the doctor had seen my X-ray. I had my appointment with the doctor on a Wednesday and it was the following Monday before I was given the word. My stone showed up on the KUB film so lithotripsy was scheduled for September 5. By that time, I had been in pain for three months. 

On the day my surgery was scheduled, I showed up to the hospital at 7:30 am. My cousin, my sweet, awesome cousin, took me. She knew that I would be having general anesthesia and would not be able to take myself home, even if I could drive. The nigh before, I had had to get myself ready. I wasn't allowed to have solid food past six o'clock. I could only have broth or clear liquid foods and nothing after midnight. I had to use a Dulcolax suppository that evening. In the old days, hospitals gave enemas before abdominal surgery. These days, I think that pre-surgery enemas have fallen out of favor. I do remember having one before my hysterectomy in 1993. I understand the need to not have a bunch of fecal matter sitting between the shock waves and my stone. I also had to take two Gas-X tablets at bedtime. I had to take a shower in antibacterial soap. So I bought some Dial soap for that. Of course, they also said no make up, no jewelry, no valuables bought with me, etc. I was nervous, as I always am before scheduled surgery. My last operation, getting my appendix out, had been an emergency so I hadn't had any time to be scared. The ER nurses and the anestheologist came to talk to me. I also saw my surgeon briefly. He gave me thumbs up and we were ready to roll. I'd heard that lithotripsy routinely takes about 45 minutes. When I finally woke up in the recovery room, I looked at the clock. It was about an hour and a half since I went into surgery. The nurse noted I was awake and looking around. "Hi, Cheryl. Honey, how are you feeling? How's your pain?" I managed to tell her I was in some pain and she had something (probably Fentanyl or Delaudid) pushed into my IV. I can remember times when, if you had general anesthesia, you would be staying overnight in the hospital. Now, because of advances, people can be sent home the same day. I woke up quickly. They gave me some juice and a packet of Teddy Grahams as a snack once they were sure I was awake enough. My cousin helped me get dressed. I was surprised that I had no nausea. I didn't even have any bruising at the site where the lithotripsy was done. I went home in minimal pain.

That was NOT the case when I woke up from a nap that evening. The pain was the worst I could ever remember having. I'd had an internal bleed after my stent was placed that put me in the ICU that I didn't remember being that intense. I didn't remember my actual heart attack hurting this bad. I called my cousin and told her I had better go back to the hospital because I was going to die if I didn't. I made the decision to go to the hospital where I'd had my surgery rather than the one I had gone to the other times (the ones had been no help). It took her some time to get there and by the time she arrived, I was crying. Anyone who's familiar with me from the scene knows that I have an extremely high pain tolerance. But this was more than I could stand. By the time we pulled up to the Emergency entrance, I could hardly walk and my cousin had to get a wheelchair for me. As soon as they realized that I had had lithotripsy that morning, they seemed to know exactly what to do. The nurse started an IV and got pain medication into me quickly. I also got nausea meds. The doctor probably suspected what my problem was from the start. He ordered another CT scan, which showed two fragments stuck in my ureter. The doctor explained to me that this happens a lot with lithotripsy. There's really no way to predict when or why it will happen. So I asked him what do we do next? He said "Well, we're going to admit you at least overnight for observation. In the morning, we'll call your doctor and see what he wants to do."

They kept the pain meds coming while I waited to be admitted. My cousin, who had prayed with me and stayed by my side, decided to go home once they had made the decision to admit me. She knew I was in good hands. I had been in so much pain. Pain serves a purpose, to let you know that something isn't right. Once you discover what's causing it, it's no longer necessary to remain in pain. It was about 3:30 in the morning when I finally got up to a room. They continued to monitor my fluids because I couldn't have anything by mouth, not even ice chips, because the odds were good that I was looking at another surgery. It was in this atmosphere--after months of trying to get rid of this stone--that I decided to name it Roy, after the boyfriend I had spent months trying to get rid of. Don't ask me why, after all these years, Roy came to my mind. I was definitely drugged up on pain meds and probably not in my right mind. But I remembered what a pain he had been and how much effort it had taken to get him to leave me alone. Even after we'd "broken up", he continued to call me. There was no social media back then. Calling someone or going to their house was about the only way to talk to someone. This stubborn stone, that I had been dealing with for months, reminded me of that needy boyfriend who wouldn't go away. 

At about 7:30, my case manager came into my room to let me know I was going to have surgery at about noon. She smiled nicely and assured me that my surgeon was well aware of what had happened. A little while later, my surgeon came to see me. He told me he had been really pleased with how my lithotripsy had gone. He was really happy with how the stone had broken apart. But doctors really have no way of knowing if there are any large fragments that could be hanging around waiting to cause trouble later. I've heard that doctors often do a scan after lithotripsy to see if the patient is stone free (fragments, no matter how large, aren't considered stones). I was unsure if this had happened to me. But I began to doubt it. The stone fragments that had moved into my ureter and blocked it must have moved really fast. So he explained the procedure he was going to do that would remove the stone fragments and make me stone free. He warned me that a scope would be going up my ureter to get the fragments. "This is an invasive procedure and there are potential risks." So he outlined the risks without really telling me what he was actually going to do. So, for the second straight day, I was put under general anesthesia and the surgeon used a scope to grab the fragments. I also had to have a stent placed in my ureter. I was more afraid of this than the surgery because I had seen people on their Youtube videos tell about how uncomfortable they were. I woke up in the recovery room, again looking at the clock to see what time it was. "Cheryl, honey, come on. Wake up." It was the same nurse who's voice I'd heard the previous day. "Are you having any pain or nausea?" I nodded "yes" to both. She mercifully pushed pain and nausea meds through my IV. I'm always happy when the pain goes away. But I was starting to dislike the feeling of being drugged up. The drowsy, tired and foggy feeling was almost as bad as the pain. They got me back to my room and back into bed. They wanted me to get up and walk almost as soon as the anesthesia wore off. I was happy for the activity, but walking caused the stent to irritate my bladder. So then it was back to the pain meds. I hate hospitals. Let me clarify that. I don't hate that hospitals exist. I'm glad there's a place where people can get the care they need. What I hate about hospitals is when I actually have to be in one. They aren't good places to get rest. Someone is always coming into your room, whether you're trying to sleep or not. They need to draw blood or they need to get your vitals or they need to empty the garbage. 

Throughout that day, I began to feel a little bit better. I was hoping I would be able to go home later, but it became apparent that I was going to have to stay another night. That depressed me a bit. I began to wonder if I was ever going to be back to normal again. Was there ever going to be a time where I acted like I used to? Had the pain meds completely made that impossible? Was my brain chemistry permanently altered? Once I got home, this feeling got worse. I was on so many drugs--tamsulosin (Flomax), hydrocodone, phenazopyridine (an orange dye that, when it enters the bladder in he urine, calms the muscles and makes that icky urgency go away), cipro, and my usual meds like Atenolol, which I take for my blood pressure. I started to feel so tired. I read the patient information on the Flomax and one of the side effects is drowsiness. I could hardly stay awake. I realize that I was healing up from surgery and that causes tiredness. So I guess what I was feeling was the normal side effects of the drugs and healing from surgery. 

I see my new surgeon tomorrow. The doctor who did my two other procedures is moving (or already has moved) to Texas so all of his patients were handed off to other doctors. I hope I can have this stent out and get off these pain killers so I can start to have a clear head. I've increased my water, trying to flush the medication out. Hopefully, this will help. So the Saga of Roy isn't over yet. When I was calling to get an appointment with this new doctor, a nurse in the office told me I was going to have to have another procedure done in "four to six weeks". She didn't say what that procedure was. I just know I want to get back to work and put Roy behind me.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vanilla Life

For most of the past year or so, I've been living a nearly totally vanilla life, something I had sworn in the past I would never do again. That's not to say that I haven't missed my scene friends and that don't miss all those wonderful spankings I've gotten over the years.'s been easier to do than I thought it would be. There are a number of reasons for this.

First off, and most importantly, I moved out of the home of my brother-in-law. My sister finally got tired of his crap and left him. She said she found condoms in his pants pocket when she was doing his laundry. I've known for years that he was being unfaithful. But the situation got physical and we had to get out of there quickly. We live in a pretty nice two-bedroom apartment. My sister and my niece share the master bedroom and I have the smaller room to myself. We're a bit cramped, but it's worth it to be in a more peaceful environment. The irony, of course, is that now that I essentially have my own place and can host guests, there are no play dates in my future. At least, not the foreseeable future unless things change. Having some walls and a bed and furniture I can call my own is really important to me. I haven't had my own place since Carol and I lived in our apartment and that's been almost ten years ago now. I have essentially lived with people since then. My sister, niece and I live quietly, comfortably and happily here. I don't have to worry about petty people messing with me. I have my own router now so no one can turn it off and deny me Internet access. My brother-in-law did this all the time. The router was in his room and he would often turn it off and then lock his door while he was at work. He used to do the same thing with the phone (this was before I had my cell phone). He would turn off both at the same time if he really wanted to mess with me. He did this in 2013 while I was recuperating from having my appendix out. He knew I was home every day and he also knew I would get lonely and feel isolated. He did this because that's how he got his kicks. I'm sure he went about his work with a smile on his face knowing how miserable I was. Once I moved back from Chicago, his behavior toward me improved for a while. But later, once I had a job and couldn't do the things I had done before (such as doing the dishes and other cleaning), he went back to treating me bad. Oh, he wasn't messing withp one anymore or the router (at least, he did it only occasionally), but he made it known that he didn't like me being there. The move was a nightmare. We were only allowed in the house when he was there and that was only on the weekends. My sister and I don't get many days off together, so what should have taken a few days, turned into months. Neither her husband or her son helped us move anything. We had to do everything ourselves. My good friend sold me some furniture she had for $150.00. It consisted of a couch (the kind that recline on the ends), a chair with a matching ottoman and two tables. I knew I wouldn't be able to carry the furniture up three flights of steps, so I asked a guy I worked with who does odd jobs if he'd move the furniture for me. He agreed and told me he and his helper would do it for $100, or $50 each. That seemed like a good deal. We set a date and he went over in his truck to my friend's house and picked up the furniture. The couch came apart in three sections, which made it a lot easier to carry. So for $250 I now had furniture. Once we got furniture, I set about getting cable and Internet set up. Yeah, we lived there for two months without living room furniture or television or Internet. It's  been a slow and arduous process, but we now have everything we need. Now, I'm not allowed in the house at all, under any circumstances, which I can't figure out because I never did anything to him. Despite the fact that my sister's name is still on the mortgage to their house, he changed the locks. Suffice to say, he's a miserable jerk and I'm happy I don't have to deal with him anymore. I'm happy that my sister gets to enjoy her days off, without him asking her if she sat on her "fat ass" all day. Of course, because of his conditioning, she still feels guilty about not doing anything on her days off. I told her she could do whatever she wanted to. She's slowly learning how to enjoy herself.

Secondly, my health is slowly becoming problematic. It was one of the major factors for me quitting the scene. My RA is advancing and it makes everyday tasks difficult, even on my so-called good days. I work full time, but I'm no longer able to walk like I used to. Since the move, I haven't been able to walk to work anymore because it's just too far. My knees and hips hurt almost all the time now. The flare up I had of my RA last fall was triggered by a fall I took at work in the summer. I still haven't fully recovered. Also, my eyesight is getting worse. I just don't think I'm attractive to potential partners anymore. My face is aging and quickly. I look at pictures of me from just a few years ago and I'm stunned by how much I've changed since then. I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to look like an old lady. And make up doesn't help. I still wear it occasionally, but I've gotten out of the habit of wearing it. Having to have a tooth pulled also drove the point home to me of how much I've aged. I had always wanted to keep my own teeth. The thought of dentures was out of the question. So when I lost a filling, I thought nothing of it. I thought I would just go to the dentist and get a new one put in. But the tooth had become infected, a sure sign that there was more than likely a fracture involved. My dentist and I decided that the easiest and least expensive route would be to pull the tooth. It was a molar so no one would see the bare spot. To me, it felt like the first step to hagdom. I was turning into a gap-toothed hag and there was nothing I could do about it. I'd always been careful about how I looked. Call it pride if you have to, but I always insisted on looking my best whenever I was at an event. Oh, I still get my nails done but only because of how bad my hands would look if I didn't. Plus, I refuse to give up my nails. I work hard and if I want to get my nails done, I will. My bother-in-law always hated it that I got my nails done. He also hated it that I got my hair done or bought pretty clothes for myself. I never heard a word when my nephew's wife (who lived in the basement with him) did the same thing. She went to the tanning salon and those things are expensive. But he never said a word to her. Now, it could be that he hated as much when she did it as when I did, but I rather doubt it. My nephew's wife had an elevated status in that house that precluded even my sister. When he was redecorating the kitchen and living room, he never once asked for my sister's (or anyone else's input) but my nephew's wife. It seems she was consulted on every decision, including what color the new siding should be. My sister was never asked what she wanted. This was where, I believe, the seeds of her real unhappiness came from. She had been uniformly unhappy throughout most of her marriage, but this, coupled with finding the hidden condoms, was the straw that broke the camel's back. It showed her, once and for all, how little he actually valued her as anything but a drudge; someone who was handy for cooking and cleaning and doing his laundry, but not for consulting with on important issues. The only thing I ever got from him was his constant disapproval. I gave my sister $60 a week ($240 a month) to use in any way she wanted. It mostly went towards groceries to feed the other people in the house, but not me. I was deemed unworthy of being fed and so I had to buy my own food, despite the fact that the meals I wasn't allowed to eat were mostly paid for by me. Of course, there was a time when I wasn't allowed to use the stove or the oven. Anything I brought home to eat had to be microwaved. Also, I wasn't allowed to keep anything in the refrigerator and, at one point, I also wasn't allowed to use the microwave. So eating became a real challenge. I would bring something home from work (I work in a supermarket) and put it in the microwave while my brother-in-law slept. Then I would wash my dishes right away so he wouldn't know I'd eaten. Of course, I wasn't starving. He had to know I was eating. My nephew's wife routinely threw away food I had stored in the fridge, saying it was spoiling or that it took up too much room. I was working in the accounting office of a supermarket. I didn't have unlimited funds to buy food every time she decided to pitch my stuff out. So, eventually, things came to a head and I knew it was time to leave.

So I work, I come home. I get on Facebook and see what my cousins are doing. I even sometimes look at Fetlife, but I really don't have the stomach for it anymore. I read and do other things that interest me. I do miss the fun of the spanking scene, but I just don't see myself ever being a part of it again. At least, not the way I was before. Maybe, at some point and with some luck, a man with an aim towards marriage will enter the picture. I said in my youth I would never get married. But when you're young and most of your life is ahead of you, you can afford to be brave. Once you hit my age, the thought of spending your final years alone is too awful to think about. But whatever happens, God will have his way in my life.

This is an update for those who might be wondering what I'm up to these days.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Author's Note: This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for probably close to a year. I have no idea why I never published this. The views expressed may be controversial, but they're mine. If any of these views offend you, then feel free to stop reading.

I'm not a huge fan of hashtags. But I began to see #sorrynotsorry on the two social media sites I belong to, namely Fetlife and Twitter. I guess the best definition I can give for #sorrynotsorry would be this: there are things I believe in and views I hold that I won't apologize for. I absolutely, categorically refuse to apologize for my views on certain subjects. They have been formed over years of living (usually on both sides of whatever the issue is), not just bowing to political correctness. I fully realize that there are people out there, perhaps the vast majority, who allow their thoughts and feelings on certain subjects to be dictated to by whatever "the crowd" is doing. That's all well and good...for them. I guess it keeps them from having to think about things too deeply. 

For the benefit of those who don't know me very well, or who have just found this blog, let me list some of the things I strongly believe in and for which I do not apologize:

1) First and most importantly, I believe in the power, omnipotence, and sovereignty of the Lord, whether in the Person of God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. I have taken many, many hard hits for this. But nothing will shake my faith. Not being called ugly names, not being told I believe in an "imaginary friend", not being called brainwashed and not being called a "hateful, intolerant bigot". Nothing. In Matthew 5:11, Jesus is giving what's called The Sermon On The Mount and he says "Blessed are you, when people hate you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you for my sake." Now I know how that sounds. Be glad when people make fun of you for being a Christian? Yes, because Jesus goes on to say that we who persevere will have a great reward. This man Jesus, who loved me before I was ever born, who died a criminal's death so I could have my sins forgiven, deserves my praise and obedience. I don't go around forcing the Gospel message on people. I don't tell them about how they're going to hell because they don't believe the way I do. I simply let my personal faith show in my life. Am I perfect? Far from it. I simply acknowledge that I cannot save myself. A lot of my friends don't believe in God and I don't let that keep me from being friends with them. This is what's commonly called tolerance. 

2) I'm a conservative. I believe in my Constitutionally protected rights--the right to free speech, the right to NOT have the government tell me how to worship (the TRUE meaning of the separation of Church and State that gets misunderstood by so many), the right to keep and bear arms to protect myself and my loved ones and the right to peacefully assemble. I believe in a small government that stays out of the way of people living their lives, running their businesses in accordance with their beliefs and stops giving cradle to grave hand outs to those who aren't even American citizens or those who don't really need the help, but just are lazy and are gaming the system. Yes, there are people who need help and we have the means to help them. But three generations in one family who have never worked? There's something wrong with that. Hard work used to be one of the hallmarks of American life--work hard and you can get ahead. No guarantee, of course, but the opportunity is there. I also believe that America is exceptional. If we weren't exceptional, why would millions of people risk their lives to come here and be part of that? Every year, thousands and thousands of people from all over the world become American citizens. Are we perfect? Far from it. Societies will never be perfect until people are perfect and unfortunately, this side of Heaven, none of us will ever be perfect. 

3) I do my kink my way and I'm not sorry for that. I don't force others to do it the way I do it. Quite frankly, I would hate to have that done to me. I once had a guy message me, after I had mentioned something in one of the Fetlife discussion groups about not being interested in bondage, saying that I was "judging" people who do partake in it. People who want to engage in bondage or play with needles or knives or urine should do so freely. Why are they so worried about someone like me, who isn't interested? Really? You don't feel free to practice your kink unless everyone totally agrees with and embraces it? I'm pretty sure there are a lot of kinky people out there who aren't into spanking or pain at all. Do I let that hinder my enjoyment of spanking and pain? No way. I can totally tolerate people who are disinterested or who even hate my kink the way I practice it. That's the beauty of living in a free country (well, still free for now at least). Everyone is free to do what makes them happy as long as it doesn't hurt another person (at least against their will). I've been taken to task for practicing my kink my way almost as often as the preceding two things on my list. It amazes me the kinds of emotional reactions I've gotten to something that is virtually no one's business but mine.

4) I'm not sorry that I'm a woman. There are so many women out there (and not just kinky ones on Fetlife) who think that woman=victim. According to many modern feminists, we're supposed to hate men; to hate their historic authority over us, to hate that they "oppressed" us, which is why men get the lion's share of credit for inventions which have benefited us as much as it has men. If only we'd been allowed to succeed the way men have without compromising our femininity. There are factions out there who hate women like me---women who are happy to be women, who have no desire to be a man. That's because this attitude somehow isn't validating to transgendered people. If a woman wants to have surgery or get hormones because she would rather be a man, she should be free to do that. But she should do that with the knowledge that none of that will make her a man. She may look like one on the outside, but minus that Y chromosome, she's still a woman. Conversely, a man can have all the surgeries and hormones he can afford in order to make him more like a woman, but he will never be genetically female because of that Y chromosome. Unfortunately, I don't have the answer for what to do about people who feel trapped in a body that they don't feel is the right one. 

5) I'm not sorry that I'm straight. I'm extraordinarily happy that I'm sexually attracted to men. Of course, I can look at a beautiful woman and admire her beauty, but that doesn't mean that I want to have sex with her. Now, if people want to be a practicing gay or lesbian, that's a personal choice. If they want to be celibate, then that also is a personal choice. My opinion shouldn't have anything to do with someone else's personal decisions regarding their own sexuality. 

6) I'm not sorry I'm an American. Oh, I know that according the Social Justice Warriors out there, I'm supposed to hang my head in shame because I'm a citizen of the greatest country on earth. I'm supposed to constantly apologize for my "white Christian American" privilege. But I don't. Not even for a second. Every morning when I wake up, I thank the God I believe in that he placed me in this country, with all of its freedoms and all of its wonderful promise. Contrary to what people may think, I didn't have a "little princess" upbringing. I wasn't given everything my little heart desired. Both of my parents were hard working and level headed and I also thank God that they instilled that in me. We didn't have a lot growing up, but I don't remember a time when I didn't have a roof over my head, clothes on my back or food to eat. Nowadays, I see kids with every gadget imaginable. And I get told how these poor waifs, with their iPhones and X Boxes and whatever the next big thing is need food stamps and free housing because they're so poor. Poor? They have more than I had growing up. But we never got food stamps or any other kind of public assistance. My parents simply broke their backs to provide for us, which was something that used to be admired in this great country. Hard work was always part of the package deal that came with being an American, whether you were native born or an immigrant. Now we teach people that hard work is a bad thing and that everyone should just have things handed to them. And even though I see bad things in America, I'm still thankful that I'm American. #sorrynotsorry

On Why I Left

"Well it's alright
even when you're old and gray.
Well, it's alright
you still got something to say."

From "The End Of The Line" by The Traveling Wilburys

A few months ago, I made an announcement on Fetlife that I was leaving the organized spanking scene. This was something I never saw happening, but there it is. My decision wasn't made rashly, in a moment of anger because I can't seem to find play partners. The decision actually took months to make. I started thinking about it in summer time. I was thinking to myself "Why continue wasting your time? It's pretty obvious that no one is interested in playing with you and it looks like parties aren't going to be happening anymore either. So just stop it." And so I finalized my decision and put a short note on Fetlife letting the people who weren't interested in playing with me that I had decided to leave the scene. A few people wrote that they respected my decision, while disappointed that I was leaving. 

I will state right here that I really am not leaving with any bitterness. Disappointment? You bet. But I'm not bitter. I met and played with some wonderful people. I had a door to a whole new world opened to me; a door that never would have opened otherwise. I experienced more than I ever thought I would in my thirteen years in the scene. More importantly, I had my sister with me for seven of those years. It was her decision to attend a Chicago Crimson Moon party alone that gave me the courage to follow her. Oh, the fun we had together! I cherish all those memories even more now that she's gone. Going on without her was rough, but I soldiered on with the help of friends and family. Of course, it wasn't really the same. And I'm pretty sure if she were still here, she would lament the change in the spanking scene the same way I have (but probably with a bit more wit and humor). 

To me, the spanking scene has become a popularity contest. The popular folks have now set the course of the scene to the point that, if you're not a "Fetlebrity" (someone famous on Fetlife), you're nothing. I hate to say it, but it's true. At one time, I would have probably considered myself a minor Fetlebrity. I had been on the site long enough to have a detailed profile and over 1700 photos posted. I went to parties in Chicago and as far afield as Atlantic City and Detroit. I was shocked when, about five years ago, I went to a hardcore BDSM event in St. Louis and several people told me they had "heard of" me. I was flattered because, believe me, I valued few things in the scene more than I did my reputation. I've stated before how hard I worked to get a good reputation; as someone who was both fun to play with, but also fun. Was I everyone's cup of tea? Certainly not. But then, I don't know of anyone who is. There are certainly people who think they are. We used to say these people "think they're all that and the box it came in." To me, nothing is a bigger turn off than arrogance and, sad to say, there's just too much of it in the scene these days. There are too many people out there whose attitude is that the scene would somehow collapse if they weren't there to prop it up. Here's a shot of truth: the spanking scene will be just fine without you. It will be just  fine without me. It existed before I ever knew about it, much less participated and it will continue to exist now that I've left. I have no illusions that I'm somehow bigger than the scene. I was but a minor player on that stage. 

To be fair, it wasn't just the changes in the scene that factored in my decision to leave. I have also had to adjust to changes in my body that had begun to make playing more and more difficult. I suffered two major flairs of my RA; one last spring and one in the fall (from which I still haven't fully recovered). What man wants to play with a woman who has to kill the moment (and takes her top out of top space) by constantly having to reposition? My hips and back hurt almost constantly from damage done by this progressive disease. I can understand the tops wanting to play with younger, more lithe and flexible women, who can hold those demanding positions. I would think that any top who expects a 56-year-old bottom who weighs over 200 pounds and has RA to bend over and touch her toes is begging to be disappointed. I can't do it; not just physically, but mentally. I have an intense fear of falling down. In 2012 I had a vitreous detachment in my right eye which affected my depth perception. So now, when I go down a flight of stairs, I take great care. Also, because I'm so top heavy, if I'm asked to bend over, once I get my weight going in one direction, it's hard to stop the momentum created by having large breasts and a thick stomach. Yeah, not a sexy thought at all. Fat girl falling down. Last summer, while walking to work, I misjudged how high to lift my foot to step over a bundle of firewood that had fallen off the pallet, my foot caught the edge of it and I took a spectacular tumble over it. Ten people must have seen me fall and only one person stopped to make sure I was OK. I wasn't wearing work clothes so he had no idea I going to work. I'm pretty sure that fall triggered that autumn's RA flair. So can you imagine any top wanting to play with a fat older lady with poor balance and a fear of falling? 

You know, I always said that I would remain active in the scene until my bones were too brittle to risk love taps. It never occurred to me that a time would come when demand would fall for anyone wanting to play with me. I always thought I would be the one who decided when I left. Perhaps that was arrogant of me and I guess I have to own that. I was so busy being excited about parties and pantie shopping that I never realized that tastes would change down the road. I think, like a few other things concerning the scene, I was led down a path or sold a bill of goods or however you want to phrase it. I was assured, each time my insecurities would rear their ugly heads, that fun, approachable bottoms would always be in demand. Well, someone define "fun" and "approachable" because I thought I knew what those words meant. More and more at parties, I would find myself prowling the empty hallways looking for someone who might want to play. Usually, I had no luck. In the beginning, Carol and I were two of the busier bottoms in the group. That's not bragging; it's the truth. In the end, I was reduced to playing with men I would have never given a second glance to in the days when I could afford to be choosy. When that realization hit me, I knew it was time to leave. 

And so now I bid adieu to that world--that world of hotel parties and road trips. Of yellow couches and midnight burger runs. To bruises and cane marks and giggling. I'll miss that world, but I'll never regret for one minute having lived in it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

An Honest Look At Some Recent Play Dates

I guess the first thing I need to do with this post is apologize to my readers. I know it's been a really long time since I've posted anything. There are several reasons for this. First off, my life got a bit crazy. I have been working all the time and that doesn't leave much time (or energy, to be honest) for the mental gymnastics this blog sometimes requires. Another reason is that I, plain and simply, haven't had much to write about. I've had the odd play date here and there, but nothing steady. I'll get to those in a moment. I'm truly sorry that I have been neglecting this blog. When I first started it back in February, 2008 I was still really enthusiastic about the spanking scene, despite 2008 being my fifth year in the scene. I wanted to share my experiences with others in a way that was different than just posting it on Fetlife. I wanted the freedom to say what I wanted to say or what I felt needed saying without fear of being excoriated for it (which I have been on numerous occasions). It's not that I can't stand to be criticized. I can handle constructive criticism as well as the next person. I'm keenly aware that my views are unpopular, another reason I wanted a place to write my thoughts freely. For a long time, this blog served a therapeutic purpose. I didn't necessarily care if people agreed with me or not. I just wanted a place to get my feelings out. When my twin died, that became even more important because I had always had her to share all of my thoughts and feelings with. So now, for better or worse, I share them with the blogosphere.

Look that that lady. That's one happy spanko. Unfortunately, this photo is three years old. My life was quite a bit different back then. I had a different job, but I had many more opportunities to play it seemed. When it came to play, I was a lot busier than I am now. For some reason, I don't seem to be as desirable a play partner as I used to be. This realization caused a certain level of dissatisfaction to creep in. I still don't understand how my stock could plummet this far this fast, but I'm coming to grips with the fact that regular play for me (with a regular partner) is out of the realm of possibility for me right now. Things could change in the future so I'm not ruling it out, but several recent play dates have been disappointments for me. I don't mean the actual play. That was totally great in every case. But it looks like those are doomed to be one-offs and I won't be seeing those gentlemen anymore. 

The first play date of 2016 was with a local guy (within 15 miles of me). He had sent me a friend request and I sent him a message back saying that I don't accept friend requests without a message of introduction first. I thought for sure I had met him at a local event a couple of years previously, but he assured me we hadn't met. So we made plans to meet on a Friday. He was on time, which was nice, but I got the impression he was more interested in sex than spanking me. 

When he showed me to his bedroom (where we were going to play), imagine my shock at seeing just a bare mattress. There weren't even pillowcases on the pillows. Now don't get me wrong here. I don't need a formal set-up to play with someone. But it was January and I thought some blankets were warranted. Apparently, he didn't agree. I just think that when someone comes over to your house, have the bed made. And when we stopped for a break, there wasn't even anything in the house to drink. He offered me bottled water, which I took because I was dying of thirst. When we went into the kitchen, there was an open box of cereal on the counter (from breakfast?) and dirty dishes in the sink. As I said, I don't demand pristine conditions, but a little cleaning up if you're a bachelor isn't asking too much, is it? I had to keep encouraging him to spank me because he kept wanting to do other things. I don't think he's as much of a spanko as I thought.

The next play date was a month later, right before Valentine's Day. This was an older gentleman than I was used to playing with but I didn't let that put me off. We had quite a spirited exchange of messages and I was encouraged. He was polite and we talked about a lot of different subjects, including baseball (which gained him Brownie points with me). He admitted he was pretty new to this, but very eager to give it a try. He did talk about being a nudist and that made me a bit uncomfortable. But when the Big Day came, he messaged me about how excited he was and admitted he'd made a dry run to my house earlier in the week so he wouldn't get lost trying to find my house. He was a few minutes early but that was OK. Since it was so cold, I wore a sweater and jeans and felt that would have to do. When we got to his house, it was beautiful. He was retired, so he had time to spend keeping the place neat. He had lots of wooden figurines, which he had carved himself. The coolest thing of all (at least to me) was the little red Corvette he kept in his garage (it wasn't the car he picked me up in, though I would have been thrilled to have him pull up in that red beauty). We spent a lot of time talking, despite all the messages we'd sent each other on Fetlife. He was a widower, he told me. His wife had died of cancer five years previously. I told him I had lost my twin to cancer the same year and so we had that in common. I showed him my rather extensive toy bag, which he had asked to see. But I sensed a distinct lack of interest on his part. But when it came time to play, he was right there. His leather couch served as the perfect place for me to get over his knee. He spent a lot of time hand spanking me, which was OK. As a relative beginner, I thought concentrating on the warm up was a good thing. 

I figured his experience with implements was limited so I had him use simple things on me, mostly leather. To my surprise, he could bring it pretty well for someone who was inexperienced. After about an hour and a half of playing, he realized it was getting late and he asked me if I'd like to go get something to eat. Sure, that would be nice. Compared to the previous play date, who couldn't even be bothered to clean up the kitchen or put sheets on the bed, this was an amazing invitation. He took me to his favorite Chinese place and we had a lovely meal. I felt like somewhat of a pig because I ate the whole plate of food, which was substantial. I told him "You have to excuse me. I haven't eaten today." I didn't have the guts to tell him that it had taken me almost all day to get ready for this little date. I'd gotten up that morning and walked (in very cold weather) to the nail salon where I get my nails done. Then I came home and dyed my hair. After that, I got in the tub and did my shaving and everything. By the time all this was done, I had about half an hour to put my make up on. Since he had been married for so long, I figured he knew that women take a long time to get ready. Actually, I had been scheduled to work that day, but I'd been suspended for one day for making an error on a Western Union transaction. There had been a malfunction of the website and the money ($35) went to the wrong place. My direct supervisor had not wanted me to get in any trouble because she said it wasn't my fault, but the store manager is a bit of a meanie so I got the one-day suspension. 

When we returned to his house, we resumed our play, this time in the basement, where he had a table set up. It was warm down there and I asked him if he minded if I removed my sweater and of course, he didn't mind. We continued on, using the long straps and the cane. I was started to feel pretty toasted and I suggested we wrap it up. I noticed it was almost eleven o'clock and I had to be at work in the morning. The whole time he was driving me home, he gushed about what a great time he'd had. He asked if we could become regular play partners and I said of course. When he dropped me off in front of my house, I asked him to text me to let me know he got home alright. His text again said how much fun he'd had and he hoped I'd had as much fun as he had. Imagine my surprise when I got home from work the next day and read his message to me on Fetlife. In it, he said he had been disappointed in our session, that he had wanted someone who would get naked with him and I hadn't done that. I did go down to bra and thong though. And on a first date, which is unusual for me. I wrote him back, telling him that he had gushed about what a great time he'd had and that if me not getting naked was a dealbreaker he should have said. Then he back pedalled and told me that it was "too soon" after his wife's death for him to be seeing another woman. She had been dead for five years and it was too soon to have a play date with a woman? A play date he had suggested? His first message put the blame for his so-called disappointment squarely on me. Then when I called him on it, he changed his story. He did respond to my second message, but then he blocked me so I couldn't write him back. It was a shame because I really thought he had potential as a top.

I had all of March to lick my wounds because there was nothing else to do. Then, later that month, someone I used to play with regularly (but who I hadn't even seen or even heard from for almost a year) contacted me. He called me pretty much out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to get together. His plan was for me to come and spend the night, where I would sleep in the guest room. He promised ,me a hard spanking and dinner in a nice restaurant. I knew he was someone whose interest in the scene came and went depending on things that were happening in his life, so I wasted no time in checking my work schedule to let him know what night would work. We settled for April 1st, which was a Friday. I had to work until eight and had the next day off, so the plan was that he would come pick me up at work. I took a change of clothes and my make up bag with me. I spent the whole shift thinking about how much fun it was going to be. We'd gotten together the previous summer (after I hadn't seen or heard from him in four years) and it was obvious that his stamina wasn't what it once had been (when he could spank both me and my sister multiple times) and also that our chemistry wasn't as good as it had been. Anyway, I hoped things would go better this time. At eight o'clock, I clocked out and went into the bathroom to change and put my make up on. I hurried because he was the kind of person who was usually early and I didn't want him to have to wait for me. When I went outside, I expected to see his car out front waiting for me. But he wasn't there. Immediately, I was concerned because in all the time I'd known him (about thirteen years by this time), he'd never once been late. It was something he prided himself on and admired in others. I texted him, asking if he was on his way and I got no response. Knowing that he was as prompt about returning texts as he was about being on time, I called him. It went straight to his voicemail. I left a message asking him if everything was OK, expecting an apologetic phone call to follow. But he never called me. It was now almost 8:30 and it slowly dawned on me that I had been stood up. Maybe his phone call hadn't been as out of the blue as I'd thought. Maybe this was an April Fool's joke. I called a cab and, while I waited for it, walked several stores down to a Chinese place I liked and ordered some food. I waited for him to call me, but he never did and I haven't heard from him since. I have a long standing rule that any man who stands me up goes in to the Permanent Asshole File and there they stay, never to have another chance to do the same thing again.

I bring up these three play dates (well, two actually) to make a point. This is what I'm reduced to. It used to be that playing with me (or my sister, or both of us if you were lucky) was somewhat a matter of pride. It raised that person's stock, so to speak. I had a very good reputation in the scene and thought it would always be that way. But how times change. Playing in a room with no sheets on the bed with a guy who clearly just wants sex and having another one lie about how much he enjoyed our time together and blaming it initially on me...this is what I've been reduced to. There was one other play date, with a man who is obviously very busy. We had dinner one night and then about a week later we met and played. It was a great time, but he has put me off for five weeks now. I'm off Monday this week (he likes to meet early in the week) and I messaged him but I haven't heard back. I really don't know what to make of this situation. I kind of feel like I'm getting the brush off. If he didn't enjoy his time with me, then why didn't he just say so? You know, honesty is something I value highly, both in myself and in others. It broke my heart to consign a long time friend to the Permanent Asshole File. I never thought I'd ever have to do that to such a long standing partner. And the guy that just wanted to have sex, well I don't want to sound arrogant, but I think that's somewhat beneath me. It was just very tawdry. It felt like a night in a cheap motel. Not up to my usual standards at all. And I don't want to lower those standards just to get spanked. I won't compromise myself just to get spanked either. So I guess the time has come for me to do some soul searching. How much longer do I want to go on subjecting myself to these kinds of scenes? I may have fallen a few rungs down the ladder, but I still have my dignity. Do I want to continue scraping the bottom of the barrel? Or should I go on, metaphorically kissing those frogs until a prince shows up? 

Since I've decided to make this an honest and objective look at my kink life lately, I'm going to come clean and say that I really haven't been trying that hard to meet new people. If I think back on all the play dates I've had over the years, I have to say that I almost never made the first move. Those guys all reached out to me first. So maybe, just like at spanking parties, I will have to make the first move from now on.I'm not quite ready to give up entirely. So please stay tuned. Something interesting might happen.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is Fat The New Skinny?

The answer is, of course, no. The title of my post today is a rhetorical question. Now, I have several points I want to make, but it's going to take me some time to get there, so I hope you'll bear with me.

I was on Youtube today looking at fashion haul videos (which I won't define because I can't believe there's a person on the planet who doesn't know what a haul video is) because I want to see what the trends are and also because I like seeing what other people buy. Anyway, one of my favorite clothing stores is Torrid, a fashion-forward plus size store that caters to bigger women who want to wear pretty clothes. I'm definitely one of those, although Torrid does feature some clothing that's simply too youthful for me to be wearing. So it stands to reason that the ladies doing Torrid hauls on Youtube are also bigger girls. Some of them are very, very big girls that make me look average sized. One of them is a young lady who works for an adult website. She made a video addressing the "concern trolls" who seem to be all over the comments sections of her videos. Concern trolling, for those who don't know, is a kind of subtle fat shaming where the person feigns concern for a fat person's health. I've seen and experienced concern trolls on Fetlife, too and it almost always angers me. "I'm just telling you that you're fat and fat is unhealthy." Well, OK I already knew that so what was the point of telling me? The answer you usually get to this question is along the lines of "I'm just very concerned and worried about your health." Why? I'm a total stranger to you. If this person was a friend or family member, I wouldn't consider them a troll. But a total stranger lecturing me on my BMI or a random person dropping a similar comment on a Fetlife photo of me? Yes, that's considered trolling, especially since we all know how much trolls like a reaction. 

She also addressed the folks who believe she won't be able to "get a man" or be happy until she loses some weight. She used an example of someone who said "Well, I may not have my dream job or have a perfect life, but at least I'm not as fat as she is." This seems to be saying that, as long as you're skinny, you won't be considered a loser at life, even if your life is a complete mess. But if you're fat, you can have a fun job doing what you love, surround yourself with loving and supportive people and be fulfilled in every way, but if you're fat, you MUST be unhappy because you can't wear a macro bikini like a Victoria's Secret model. If your happiness depends solely on what the scale says, then yes, I would say you will be unhappy unless you lose weight. These are the people the so-called diet industry targets. If you're one of those people that labors under the delusion that only skinny people are happy and all of us "fatties" are miserable, then I would like to ask you to perform this quick experiment. The next time you go to the grocery store to buy your organic tofu and zero carb water, pay attention to the magazines as you're waiting in the check out line. Look at all those beautiful people and then read about all the misery in their lives. Case in point: Jennifer Aniston. She's considered one of the most beautiful women on the planet and yet her romantic woes are well documented. She can't seem to keep her men from cheating on her. If looks were all it took to "get a man", then women like Jennifer Aniston should have it made, right? But no. It seems like every time one of the tabloids announces that Jennifer has found happiness at last, within a few months, there's a tearful photo of Jennifer minus her ring with the caption "It's over!" But there are many women that society would deem fat who have long, happy marriages and fulfilling lives without being able to pass for a model. Statistics tell us that the average American woman still (years after the aerobics craze and liposuction craze and now the cleansing craze) wears a size 14. So could it be that there's more going on here than mere aesthetics? Without throwing out blanket statements, I feel pretty safe in saying that most of the skinny women in Hollywood are neurotics who probably view every other actress as a potential rival for a part in a movie or for a man. I'm not saying there aren't happy, well-adjusted women living in Hollywood, but well, they seem to be few and far between. Living in the Tinseltown goldfish bowl just doesn't seem conducive to it. The tabloid articles always make it seem like we're supposed to feel sorry every time some model or actress gets dumped by her bad boy boyfriend. Poor Jennifer. Dumped again. And yet, the fat girls that society detests are told to "cover up" or keep out of sight so that they won't be subjected to our fat. Or could it be that they don't want to be subjected to our happiness? Think about it. Because we don't fit society's definition of beauty and because no good-looking man worth his salt would be seen with us, there's really no pressure on us to conform. We're freer to be who we really are. And yes, I know that fat women are often reduced to dating fat men, but let me tell you some of those fat men are an awful lot of fun to be around. 

I know there are probably going to be PC folks reading this who will think to themselves that I shouldn't be using descriptors like "fat" or "skinny". That's just completely wrong. Well, I AM fat and I don't have a problem saying it. I do dislike the word "skinny" but I think if someones bones are sticking out, then they're skinny. I was a very skinny kid. I was skin and bones and not much else. So I've been on both sides of the weight fence. When I was a young woman wearing a size 12 I thought I was fat. I look at photos of myself back then and I wish I looked like that again. Then I remember that I was an unhappy alcoholic who abused pain meds and I rethink that. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that thin doesn't equal happy. I know many thin women who struggle with depression, body image, self-hate and other serious issues. The fact that there are people out there who wish we would just remain invisible and stay home so they don't have to be disturbed by our fat just makes me feel sad for them. I blogged some years ago about my thin and beautiful friend, Amy whom I went to high school with. I mentioned that she often spent Saturday nights at home alone because she had ridiculously high standards when it came to the boys she would date, while I and the rest of our circle of friends went out and had fun. Now, you have to understand that Amy would rather have sat alone at home than date the boys that I and my other friends dated. She considered them rejects. A couple of years after we graduated, I ran into her by chance getting on a bus (I blogged about this too). She had a child with the man she was living with. I could tell she was ashamed for me to see her with her used stroller and the shiner she sported. She was living with an abusive man in a trailer without a phone. I discovered this when I asked if I could  call her sometime. Now, at this time, I was going to junior college and dating a young man who was studying to be an architect. I couldn't help thinking how the tables had turned. I always felt like a shaggy dog next to her. I hated being photographed with her because her radiant smile and lovely face ensured that no one else in the photo would be noticed. I considered myself plain and still do. I'm just not a beauty. And I'm finally OK with that.

Despite not being a beauty, I have always been girly. I love clothes, make up, shoes and all the things that come with being female. I have blogged about that, too. But it's that love of all things girly that makes me watch other peoples' haul videos. It's not just a good place to look at pretty clothes though. I think it's a pretty good place to get some perspective.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Much Ado About Fetlife

I joined Fetlife (the online social networking site that's been called "Facebook for kinksters") in September, 2008. I've been a fairly high profile presence there for about the last three or four years. I've been relatively disenchanted with Fetlife for more than a year now. It's not just that, despite having hundreds of thousands of members who claim spanking as a fetish, the percentage of pure spankos who engage without a D/s dynamic remains relatively small. It's not just that Fetlife has become less and less welcoming of the heteronormative mindset. It's not just that many of the discussion groups have become overtaken by people posting personal ads. It's not just because Fetlife has become a cesspool of people just looking for a quick hook up. It's not just the male entitlement attitude that permeates every aspect of the site. It's not just that people now seem unable to disagree without name calling and personal attacks. It's not just that you are labeled "judgmental" if you don't embrace kink the way others do it. It's not just that factions and splinter groups seem to have infiltrated the power structure of the national spanking party scene, thanks to having a site like Fetlife to use as the springboard for their supposed popularity. It's not just that Fetlife members routinely engage in silencing and shaming those who either disagree with those they perceive to be in power or who hold views that somehow dangerous to those chosen few who are actually in power (whether anyone chooses to acknowledge this or not). It's ALL of these things combined and more. So let's take these reasons for my disenchantment one at a time.

1) Pure spankos (those for whom spanking is their main or only fetish) remain a small part of Fetlife's overall membership. 

When I first joined Fetlife, it was still new so I rather optimistically thought that as soon as more spankos discovered the site they would join. But that has proven unfounded. Fetlife, the way I see it, is still mostly populated by those whose main thing is a D/s dynamic, whether spanking is part of it or not. In fact, it seems to me that Fetlife is now pretty much taken over by the bondage and flogger crowd. I've heard from a number of other spankos that they are derisively laughed at for being "just a spanko" and told, like me, that they are practically vanilla. I'm not saying that there are no other spankos on Fetlife, but there aren't enough to make me not feel like a minority. 

2) Fetlife has become less welcoming to those who hold heteronormative ideals.

This has become especially true since the Supreme Court decision that made so-called same sex marriage legal came down in June. I received several hostile (and one threatening) messages in my inbox because I identify as "straight". For the sake of argument, let me define what I believe heteronormative is: to me, heteronormative means accepting and embracing traditional gender roles for both sexes. I'm not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination. I don't happen to believe that women are superior to men. I also don't happen to believe men are superior to women. One sex is not better than the other...they're just different. If you hold this view, you are likely to get it with both barrels from feminists of every stripe. The same with homosexuals, which is why I received hate mail from them when the Supreme Court decision was made public. They seem to think that simply identifying as "straight" means you are diametrically opposed to them and are therefor judging them. So more and more, as a straight female who's only attracted sexually to men, I feel less than welcomed.

3) Many (if not most) of the discussion groups on Fetlife have become nothing more than places to post personal ads or, more commonly, "what would you like to do to me?" posts.

When I first joined Fetlife, discussion groups were mostly for...discussion. I totally understand that there are only so many topics that spankos are interested in discussing. The topics aren't unlimited. But at some point, it became acceptable for groups to be co-opted by these "single and looking" personal ads. To their credit, some groups have made rules that ads either can't be posted at all or only in a thread designated for them. I guess at some point, group moderators just got tired of beating their heads against that brick wall and just threw up their hands. The sad result is that you're less likely to see actual discussion in these groups.

4) Fetlife is slowly being turned into a hook up site by those who use it that way. 

I've opined on this topic in other entries, but I will just say that, because Fetlife is free to use, many people (men mostly) use it as a way to get porn without having to pay for it. Because of this, they tend to view the women on Fetlife as their personal sex vending machines. Women who don't want to be treated this way are usually told "lighten up" or "get with the program, sweetheart. You're on a sex site." I freely admit that I've met some pretty cool people here on Fetlife, some of whom turned out to be play partners. But using Fetlife to get my sex on? Just no.

5)  Male entitlement attitude is rife on Fetlife.

As I said, I'm no feminist when it comes to relationships between men and women, but for crying out loud the men on Fetlife need to get a clue. The number of men openly looking for play or sex partners is staggering. That's not the problem. The problem is the men who want these fantasy women to simply fall in their laps without putting any effort at all into the endeavor. It's as if they're saying to us "You have something I want. Give it to me!" I've given up counting the number of ads I've seen in groups where men (mostly "strict" doms) post about how they can fulfill my every desire and they can host, too. Uh...these guys are totally clueless. Do they really think that any woman in her right mind will just run off to visit a stranger in his home? That breaks two rules of SSC, the safe and sane part. When you point this little fact out to them, they get all butthurt and say things like "I wasn't asking for advice", etc. They just don't seem to understand how this thing called kink works. They just want random women to punish, they don't want to waste time getting to know these ladies as whole people or building trust. They just want to be serviced. 

6) If you disagree with someone on Fetlife, expect name calling and personal attacks.

It used to be that people on Fetlife were a lot more civil towards each other. When I first joined, people often disagreed about things, but made their arguments in a much friendlier way. Now, with so many snark groups on there (of which I belong to a couple) it appears that snark is now the norm in most groups. I've seen hundreds of people whose go-to answer to someone they disagree with is "what an idiot" or "don't feed the trolls". So now, if you hold an ideal that's different from someone else, you're now automatically a troll? I'm a Christian conservative and I make no secret of it. It would make your head spin to see the hate-filled venomous attacks people like me endure on a daily basis. I wonder what happened to tolerance and acceptance in our scene? Oh, that's right. Being a Christian automatically makes me a "hater" so it's OK to flame me publicly. Carry on.

7) Expect to have the "judgmental" label pinned on you if you don't do kink the way others do it.

Somehow, we've come to the point where even being uninterested in other forms of kink will get a person labeled as "judgmental". I'm not now and never will be into certain things; things like bondage and spanking as punishment are things that will never float my boat. However, I don't have anything against people who do those things. We used to have a code for this attitude: YKINMK (Your kink is not my kink). It was a way to let people know that whatever it was they were into was totally OK but just not our cup of tea. I remember sometime last year someone who was a friend of mine posted an adorable photo of herself in a costume. It was so precious, I just had to love the photo and put a comment on it. I said something like "Costumes aren't my thing, but this is really adorable" and another person (not the person whose photo it was) sent me a private message reading me the riot act because supposedly I'm always being negative and making fun of other peoples' kinks. Not only did she remove herself from my sisters list, eventually she unfriended me and then she blocked me. So be aware that asserting your individuality, even in the smallest way, will get you labeled as judgmental.

8) Factions and splinter groups have infiltrated the national spanking party scene, due at least in part to having Fetlife as a platform for their popularity.

I'm not quite sure how this happened. When I first started in the party scene, people went to their "local" party. People from Chicago (or those withing driving distance) went to Crimson Moon. Those in Michigan went to MDSS. Those in Florida went to Florida Moonshine. The only exception was Shadowlane and that was mostly because of their videos. They had a much higher profile so quite a few people went to their parties too. Nowadays, people seem to hit every major party during the party season (which, like baseball, runs from about April to October). Maybe the fact that CM went from having five parties a year to only two had something to do with it? Whatever the case, there now seems to be factions comprised of a small number of people, who attend every big party and have a hand in organizing them, even though they're not local to the area. Some of these people have only been in the scene a few years. Now I'm not criticizing someone who wants to step forward and do something for the community as a whole. Those folks are always well appreciated. I'm talking about people establishing a personal power base for themselves where they begin to dictate policy and their tastes begin to be made the norm, not just at one party, but all of them. I believe this was achieved simply because Fetlife gave these people a platform to speak from and in a way was a springboard for their popularity. I'm not a conspiracy theorist so you have to know that I feel really strongly about this. 

9) Fetlife members now use shaming and silencing to keep unpopular views from being heard. 

For some time now, I've limited my opining to this blog because I learned just how unpopular my views are on Fetlife. I believe bullying is an overused word these days, but I think this might be a case where it's actually happening. If you oppose same-sex marriage as I do or if you believe in your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, then you are going to be called a zealot or a Neanderthal (if you happen to be male). You'll be told that your views are bigotry and/or hate speech and that you should join the 21st century. If you're a Christian, you'll be called a hypocrite for even being on Fetlife. The "tolerance and acceptance" that the Keepers Of All Things Fair and Equal preach does not extend to those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, well because of that unfortunate passage in Leviticus. I've seen people post in groups that "those crazy Bible thumpers" ought to have their free speech rights taken away and at least, on Fetlife, that has pretty much happened.

I admit that I'm not on Fetlife nearly as much as I used to be. I think the fact that I once lived on that site made it a lot easier to notice when things began to go downhill. I've actually let my support for Fetlife expire because I just don't see how I can justify spending $60 a year for something I enjoy a lot less than I used to. It seems more and more evident to me that if you really ARE an individual and you resist joining the conga line that Fetlife has become you won't get as much out of the Fetlife experience as those who are willing to give up their individuality and join the crowd. Oh I guess if you just want to have a profile and maintain a weak presence then you'll probably be OK. But try to join in on things and be a real presence there then you will, at some point, get dealt with by the so-called powers that be. And I don't mean John Baku (the man whose brainchild Fetlife is) or the caretakers. I mean the people to whom they have ceded their power. 

Maybe the problem is that Fetlife has gotten a little too big for its britches. Whatever the case, it's pretty obvious that the present day website isn't the same site I joined seven years ago. Change should be expected but it isn't always for the better.