What follows is the sort of self-examination that I do not indulge in often. It is borne of uncertainty, deprivation, and cabin fever. It will most likely be lengthy. It will probably not be rational. I anticipate many rhetorical questions. I expect it will get messy. You may wish to simply move along as though none of this ever happened. If you choose to stay, I suggest you don your hip waders. You’ve been warned.
Today while showering, I happened to glance down and notice a faint purple tinged line running along the top of my thigh. I knew immediately this was the remains of a mark from my last play. It was the last vestiges of the hog slapper’s handle. A smile chased across my face. My body does not hold onto marks any more. This pains me. I used to rely on them to remind me that my experiences had in fact been very real, however dream-like they might seem. I don’t look for marks anymore. I give myself 24-48 hours to spot them and then I stop looking. I assign them too much weight. Their absence combined with sub drop can turn my emotions very ugly very quickly. I can’t tolerate the compounded aftermath.
Today when I saw this faint stripe, this simple mark, in the solitude and quiet of the shower, my mind immediately went back to that session, nearly a month ago now. I thought about how devastated I had been that weekend. I thought about how intensely sad I had been. I thought about how I almost staid His hand, thinking it would be better for me not to play when I was internally that much of a mess. I thought about feeling ashamed after the scene because I felt I hadn’t been enough, my pain tolerance wasn’t enough, I hadn’t taken enough, been hard core enough. I was so crushed that it followed me for more than a week after the fact.
This mark … nearly a month later. On my body that barely ever marks anymore. On my body that, when it does mark, they are gone in a few days. If this reminder is still on my thigh then the play must have been more intense than my perception of it.
The next station on my train of thought was Warped Perception Depot. I thought about all of the areas of my life where people often provide positive feedback that I do not hear, that I am unwilling(?) to accept. Talented creative, wonderful mother, asset to the community, graceful submissive, positive roll model. I have no trouble hearing, giving validity to, internalizing, and beating myself up repeatedly about anything negative that might be said, regardless of the quality of the source. When will I believe I am enough? When will I develop the ability to say Pfft, they’re a first class douche canoe! Their opinion holds no water?
I looked back at my life two years ago. I mentally cataloged the changes, the goals I set out and achieved:
I wanted to get in shape. I dropped 60 pounds. I exercise often and have a toned, fit body. Not good enough says my self-talk. Look at that paunch I say pinching the inch or so above my c-section scar. Where’s the full six-pack? Not enough.
I wanted to be happy. I wanted more. I wanted power exchange to be part of my life. I wanted to serve. I am owned by an amazing Master. My family has grown into a poly family. Seamlessly connected. Communication hurdles behind me. This relationship has enriched my life in ways I could not have imagined. My marriage is rock solid and we are happy. Not good enough! shrieks my inner demon. My memory is horrid but the demon has no trouble clinging tenaciously to every error in my submission, from the smallest misstep to the most grievous fuck up. If I think about them, I can feel each and every one as if they happened this morning. I have fleeting moments of selfishness. No matter that I am human. Not good enough.
I wanted my child to excel academically. He has been on the honor roll his entire academic career in spite of his disability. This year he was accepted into a prestigious school that admits only the best of the best. He maintains his position on the honor roll in spite of all the new challenges I pushed on him this year Sorry. No Mother of the Year for you. He still has no friends. This term he was only honors not high honors. He still has a few behavioral issues. He still has to be brow beaten to do his homework properly. He would still rather watch TV than read. At least once a week he fails to clean his room before breakfast. Not good enough. Not even close.
I wanted to waist train and learn to tight lace. My first corset was a 36. I’m now at 23 inches. People in my community come to me for advice on getting started. I’m considering teaching a basic course. Where’s that last inch, eh Corset Girl? You wanted 22 inches. So what gives? Why can’t you get it done? Never good enough.
As I mentally filed these things, and several other relatively minor accomplishments, I thought Jesus Christ! Are you EVER going to be kind to yourself? Ever? Even a little? And if the answer to that is “no” then what the fuck are you doing here? If you do everything in your power to be the perfect wife, the slaviest slave that ever slaved, Super Mom and it’s still not enough for you … why bother trying? What exactly are you working toward? It’s clearly not the goals you set out for yourself because you accomplish those and still find yourself sorely lacking. Seriously, what the fuck?
I believe there is always room for improvement in everything and everyone. I don’t know how to adhere to that belief while simultaneously being accepting of myself, my best efforts, and my accomplishments.