It’s been months since I posted anything here, and people have started to worry.
I apologize for not updating you, my reader, about my condition, but I am still alive and kicking and living a generally happy and awesome life.
In my normal over-sharing fashion, I’ll just let you know what has been happening for me.
When I last posted in September, I was going through some pretty scary stuff. Since then, I still have no certain answer as to my health issues, but I never had to get the spinal surgery that I was worried about and the current theory is that my condition is caused by some sort of autoimmune disorder so I started taking immunosuppressants around Thanksgiving.
They appeared to be helping and I was seeing some relief but I have felt pretty much like I had a low-grade cold ever since then. A couple of weeks ago, I started to have a lot of pain in one of the teeth that was damaged when I broke my jaw a couple of years ago and eventually saw a dentist to determined that I had an infection and that I needed a root canal. After a week and half or so of some of the worst pain I’ve endured, I got the root canal and felt much better. However, the infection activated my immune system and started to cause my legs to feel numb again. I’ve been on antibiotics since the root canal and I do think that I’m getting better again, but I’m still not quite up to my normal awesome self.
I have been able to go to work most days and even get out to BaGG most weeks, so my life is still pretty amazing, but I expect that I will feel much better once this infection is cleared and I can take the immunosuppressants again.
I apologize for neglecting my blog and you, my readers, but my life remains awesome and I will try to do better with posting now.
Before I begin, I need to make the disclaimer that I am not a healthcare professional and that any information that I provide here is taken from my personal experience and memory and is entirely fallible. You should really completely ignore any advice that I give, for the most part.
At some point in nearly every submissive/bottom’s progression through their journey they reach a point where bruises are a badge of honor and they will invariably want to be able to show these off to others either in person or online.
Of course – bruises can also be problematic in other contexts, so please be mindful of this and make sure that everyone involved in the bruising activities is enthusiastically consenting, or just don’t do it. It can be a big problem if you bruise someone in an area that they cannot easily cover if they have to interact with anyone who does not understand the BDSM lifestyle, so be careful with where you leave marks as well as how.
Bruising occurs because capillaries in the muscle tissue are damaged and bleed into the interstitial tissue and epidermis. There are six accepted levels of harm for bruising commonly referred to in the medical field (at least in the US, where I reside) where 0 represents light bruising with no lasting damage or potential for lasting damage. A level 0 bruise may by only barely visible and may not even hurt after the initial impact or it may not be visible at all, subject to being tender to the touch, either symptom is enough to diagnose bruising.
This ranges through level 1, where there is considered to be mild damage to the tissue around the bruise – which, barring complications, will heal on its own in a relatively short period of time. Levels 2 and 3 involve higher levels of tissue damage, more visible and larger bruises that last for longer periods of time, but again, the expectation is that such things will heal on their own, given time. Some level 3 bruises and nearly all level 4 bruises are significant enough to cause real harm and may lead to other complications including compartment syndrome (where swelling blood can cut off blood flow to areas of tissue entirely, which could result in tissue death or necrosis) or begin to impact nerve and tendon function in the areas near them. Level 5 bruises are significant enough that they could overwhelm the body entirely and result in death.
Level 0 and 1 bruises tend to heal fully in about two weeks time in most healthy persons without diabetes or another complication that might result in more tissue damage. Level 2 bruises can last slightly longer and level 3 and up may take months to heal. Repeated impacts to a bruised area can increase the harm level and keep it ‘active’ for much, much longer, but at the risk of increased tissue damage.
The really big, colorful bruises that most submissives crave to show off are usually level 1 bruises, sometimes level 2. These are shallow bruises that damage a lot of capillaries and result in a lot of interstitial bleeding, but little actual harm, and most of the time when we’re trying to create bruising, this is the sort of bruising that we are trying to create.
There are several considerations to keep in mind when trying to create bruises:
Deeper impacts create deeper bruises that last longer and produce more tissue damage, but may not be as visible
Contracted muscles will bruise more deeply than relaxed ones and run the risk of doing more damage to tissue that gets compressed between the bone and impact
Bruises at or near the joints are more dangerous and tend to involve ligament, nerve, or other tissue that does not heal as quickly as muscle
Ribs are really easy to crack if you aren’t careful – and the pain of a cracked rib is intense and lasts for a very long time
Just stay away from the head – concussions are serious and unpredictable and potentially life-threatening
So – bearing these things in mind, and with the goal of creating level 1 bruises – very visible, large, and colorful – there are a few things that we can do to improve the chances of them showing up and reduce the chances of there being long term damage to any part of the body.
The first thing to bear in mind is that bruises are caused by damage to capillaries near the surface of the skin. So – we want to create conditions where it is easy to break these. In an otherwise perfectly healthy person, this means that we want to increase blood flow to the skin, reduce muscle tension, and then to reduce inflammation after the impact. Inflammation can lead to a lot of the potential complications that can come from severe bruising and reduce the surface area over which the interstitial spreading of the bruise occurs. So.. we want to reduce inflammation while increasing blood flow and damage the tissues nearest to the skin to get the best results.
If you have not read my post on finding subspace, I talk a little bit there about the physiological shifts that can occur when in subspace, and those are – coincidentally? – almost exactly the same as the sort of conditions that are required to make for really nice bruises.
Some other things that can help are to make sure that you are fully hydrated, rested, and relaxed. If you are the sort to do such things, taking an NSAID in advance – most especially aspirin – can also help, but do be careful about drug interactions and if you are taking any sort of blood thinners (warfarin, etc.) then you should not be trying to bruise yourself at all due to the dangers of increased harm.
Bruising can be more difficult to accomplish for people who have darker skin tones or more developed muscle tone. It is not that the bruising does not occur, but the visibility of the bruising is reduced. Trying to keep the bruising as shallow as possible can help. To this end, it can often be useful to slap the skin or repeatedly tap it before attempting to strike with the force required to create a bruise, but when you are actually trying to strike to create the bruise, you want to hit a much narrower/smaller area with a larger force. The bruise will spread out from the point where the capillaries are damaged.
A technique that I like to employ and have found to be particularly effective with canes, rods, bats, or other blunt instruments of the same sort is to very quickly and repeatedly tap the skin directly where I intend to strike between 5 and 10 times and then to come down on the very same spot once, very hard. From that point on, more hits to that same area should increase the harm level and amount of bruising fairly significantly. This works well even with my current submissive partner who has darker skin and well developed muscle tone – but was also shown to work well with other partners who had lighter skin and less muscle tone.
However – the most effective and least damaging way to cause bruising is actually suction… fire cupping or even just making hickies will create very visible bruises that are almost purely capillary bursts and involve very little tissue damage beyond that. But – those are not the kind of bruises that most people want to show off, so we’ve chose to focus mostly on those created by impact play.
So, to recap, the best ways to increase bruise potential are:
Be well hydrated and relaxed
Possibly take aspirin (or another NSAID) in advance – but be careful. Topically applied aspirin directly on the area to be bruised is also very effective – perhaps even more so than orally administered aspirin
Whatever steps you can take to get to subspace will also likely be very beneficial
Tapping or slapping the area to be bruised will help to increase the visibility and range of the bruise
Avoid the head entirely, the area over the ribs, and all joints – try to confine your strikes to the ‘meatiest’ parts of the body, preferably areas that can be covered by clothing.
As always – think about it before you do anything, don’t trust any single source of unsubstantiated information (including me or this blog), and make sure that you exhaustively cover issues of consent – both with the impact itself and with the likely bruises that will follow.
And then take pictures! Everyone loves to see pictures of bruises, right?
It’s just after 3 am where I am, and I am – obviously – not sleeping.
Insomnia is one of the side effects of the work that I’m doing to purge my demons. Of course, insomnia has been something that has plagued me for most of my life – reaching back to these very same events that I am trying to relate here.
It’s almost certainly appropriate that the song I’m listening to as I write this is My Demons, by Starset.
I had planned to write something different here, but something within needs to get out now, so here I am.
I’ve been to see many counselors and healers of various different specialties. I’ve been on drugs, both the prescribed-for-you kind, and the self-medicating variety. I’ve meditated and even cast spells in an effort to push the memories away, but they will not die.
I know that every event in my life has contributed to make me who I am today, and for the most part, I am proud of that man, so I do not express the opinion lightly that despite that pride, and even against the chance that I am now a better person than I would otherwise have been, I wish I could undo certain things from my past.
I have striven to make amends for all of my past mistakes, and I am content with what I have been able to accomplish in that regard. Those are not the things of which I speak. I would have that younger me not endure the things the he did… and I feel terribly selfish for thinking that.
It’s not just possible, but likely, that without the experiences that I have had, that I would not be nearly so compassionate, kind, or thoughtful. Without the suffering, I would likely not have learned empathy to the extent which I have. Without the years of bitterness and resentment, I would not have built a stronger character that can weather hardship without becoming spiteful. Without my relationship failures, I would not have been introduced to BDSM, I would not have had children, and I would not have started this blog.
I know that my reach is not vast and that this is an insignificant piece of a vastly larger construct, which is, itself, infinitesimally smaller against the vastness of the universe itself. What I do or don’t do does not change the course of things much. However, as a result of this blog, I’ve met some of the very best people from all over the world. I’ve made durable, lasting, loving friendships that I treasure. I’ve been told more than once that my message and compassion have saved a life.
And I would wish all of that away if I could.
Sometimes I wonder if the demons are me.
I feel weak. Most of the images that I would wish away are not even real. At least, that is what I tell myself, as I hide behind my bastion of science that does not allow for such things to exist. But either way, most of the images that I would wish away, changing the course of time, are not even real. So I am weak, and to be rid of these unreal, troubling images, I would undo all of it.
One of my psychologists was very interested to know about my views on religion, and asked me to question my own adherence to atheism, pointing out that because one cannot prove that God does not exist, atheism is as much a matter of faith as Christianity.
I made a pithy remark about the tenuous existence of a God whose existence depended on the logical fallacy of proving a negative, but there was no real passion behind it, and I realized that whether she was right about atheism being a matter of faith or not in general, it didn’t matter at all, because for me, it was.
I had to believe that there was no such thing as God, because if there was, then the things that I took part in were real. I had to believe that the supernatural was impossible, because if it was possible, then the things that I saw were true.
I have always been a firm believer that observable events always have rational explanations, even if sometimes those explanations are not something that we understand just yet. But for a time, even that definition was too permissive. That might mean that the things I witnessed were real, just not something I could understand, and that is an even more terrifying idea.
I’m in nowhere near so fragile a place now, and writing things here does help.
I know that my experiences were drug induced – poisons, really. That is all the rational explanation I need. It fits. And with the exception of the occasional late-night bout of insomnia, I really am dealing with it much better now, on my own path. I know that I will soon be to a point where I can get past the hold these things have on me, where I can use the experiences that I had to help others heal, and I know that the journey is worth the sacrifice, but sometimes I wish that younger me, the one who was curious and bold, would not have had to be broken first, and that I didn’t sometimes become him again in my dreams.
I’m currently working on a triptych of posts – dealing with the various forms and methods of control that I employ as a Dominant, and I hope that it will be worth waiting for, as it is taking me some time to write to my standards, but in the meantime I have something else to say.
This is the core of my own personal belief system and a telling window into my own soul, if such things exist.
I don’t experience emotions in the same way that people who are born with them do. I don’t mean to imply that I was born without the ability to emote at all – of course not – I would have been institutionalized long before now if that were the case, but I was born neurologically different. I had Asperger’s syndrome, or something very much like it. Throughout my childhood, I was always the odd one out. While my ‘friends’ would play around me, I was often content to sit by myself, still playing, but the only interactions that interested me were the ones in my own head, or the things in front of me which I could control. I put together a lot of models and puzzles as a child…
I say I had Aspergers, because I no longer believe that I meet the diagnostic criteria for that particular syndrome, and the only reason I can imagine for that is that I rebuilt myself and made it less of a part of me.
Much later in life, when I felt that the Roman Catholic Church that I was raised to revere had failed me, I sought answers in other places. I found some, and I missed others, but I learned in the process.
When it became apparent to me that my life would remain one as a social outcast if I did not conform, I made a choice. I would not only conform, but I would exceed the norm. This has often been the choice I would make when I had the time, energy, and resources to do so. As a young man, I had those things in spades.
I watched people interact. I emulated their behaviors. I taught myself to be human. And somewhere along the way, I broke myself, several times. I was not prepared to deal with the weight of the emotions that crushed me when I took them upon myself. I was not prepared to deal with the staggering uncertainty that comes in the wake of allowing that information to percolate up from within me. I was not even aware that I possessed such things – I could see them in other people, and I could behave as they do, but it wasn’t until I rebuilt myself around that model that I became a real boy and could hurt so deeply – and I do hurt deeply – all the fucking time. Not in the sense that I am in constant pain – for while that may be true, it is of a physical nature and I hold my soul separate from that infection.. I am happy and hurting at the same time.
I came to learn that emotions are beautiful things. Each one has its place and time. Each is important information that one ignores at great personal risk. Happiness and love are certainly my favorites and I am blessed to have much of both lately, but pain and sorrow are also useful things.
I found the practice of Zen along the way, and I have employed it to deflect, avoid, and trap emotions from time to time. Zen became my method of self-defense against the mental assailants that I could not overpower and so it became my Aikido of the soul… But the greatest gift that Zen gave me was the realization that I don’t matter.
My readers will dispute that fact, and while I concede the point that my continued existence provides financial, emotional, and spiritual support to a lot of people – more than I ever realized – it is also true that none of you matter.
Please do not be offended by this. The universe is a very large place and we are but motes floating in the stream of time. None of us matter.
This is an empowering concept. It allows me to carry the understanding that the universe is so much greater than I am, and that there is so much in life that is unfathomable to a mere man like me. I do not need to understand it all and I am unable to do so.
It is my atheist way of understanding the Will of God.
Future generations of humans will be impacted by the things I do, but the net affect will be small. I can control things to an extent.. I can try to be good, and I can try to make sure that the microscopic things that are a part of my world take the best turns that they can, but my missteps will not derail the universe. Nothing is so horrible that it can never be forgotten.
A billion years from now, our descendants will appear nothing like us – they may not even be organic creatures, but they will carry forward in their own microscopic and easily forgotten way… until the universe itself cools and falls apart.
This is not fatalism – it is hope.
My past mistakes have already been forgotten by most. The horrible things that haunt my dreams will be completely forgotten when I am gone, to trouble my descendants no more. The horrible things that were done to me are already being erased by the love and compassion that surrounds me. I have forgiven, and I will forget – or I will die and whatever dreams may come from that will not be plagued by the evils of my past, but will be enlightened by the hope of my present and future selves.
I am still physically broken, and I cannot focus the power of my mind to solving hard problems yet, but I am mending and my soul is mending as well.
This was pretty self serving today, but I will follow up soon with things both erotic and instructional. Thank you for your patience as I heal.
In October of 2011, I was in a terrible car accident that almost killed me. I was at a dead stop on the highway and a driver in a work van was not paying attention and struck me at full speed – probably close to 75 miles per hour.
I was physically broken by that accident. Emergency responders had to cut the door off of my car to get me out. I was concussed, suffered a minor skull fracture, a fractured clavicle, three fractured ribs, an avulsion fracture of my cervical spine, and countless soft tissue injuries, the scar tissue from which still causes me pain today, almost every day.
I can still count the number of pain-free days that I have had since October 2011 on two hands.
But I don’t have to be pain free to function, and I’ve developed a staggering tolerance for pain.
Recently I was in a conflict where I broke my jaw (hence the photo in my entry from earlier this month) and I walked around with a broken jaw for more than a week before I realized that it was broken. Sure, it hurt, but nothing more than I go through almost every day.
Physical pain and I have been traveling companions for a long time now.
I am only now beginning to realize that emotional pain and I have been traveling companions for most of my life.
Just in the past two years, I’ve been working hard to peel back the layers of my mind and access the deep hurt that has been buried there. I have developed emotional scars as well, and where I have learned to tune out the physical pain and walk on in the past 5 years since my car accident, I had also developed ways to tune out the emotional pain, I just didn’t realize it.
This is where things start to cycle back on themselves, and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s helping me to function again, so I’m just going to live with it for now and examine the consequences later.
I can’t take my anxiety medication right now because of my closed jaw. The capsules cannot be broken and there is no liquid variant available, so my psychiatrist gave me a different liquid medication instead. It doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve just stopped taking the meds altogether.
This is dangerous, I know.
This is probably not the right way to go about things, I know.
But those wonderful drugs that opened my viewpoint to allow me to experience more of the emotional spectrum and to be more emotionally available to my partner.. they appear to be a crutch, and it’s possible that my already developed and natural coping mechanisms – while not ideal, perhaps – may actually be more effective in letting me live a somewhat normal life than the drugs have been.
I took them, and I went to counseling, all in an effort to save my relationship and fight for the one that I love. But my counselor betrayed me and my girlfriend left me and now I’m physically broken again, emotionally vulnerable, and heartbroken in a way that I have never been before. I rarely leave the house, and there are days when I do not speak to anyone. Not one word.
But you know what – despite that.. despite the depressing canvas that I’m creating upon, despite the lack of medications, the lack of contact, the isolation from my family, the lack of any available friends, the severing of the best and worst relationship that I have ever had… despite all of this – I’m getting better.
I’m hardening again, and that may ultimately not be a good thing, but the funny thing is that I’m finding that the further I hold the world at bay, the easier it is to deal with.
I’ve cocooned the pain away, and it becomes easier and easier to deal with every day.
I was fighting hard for something that was probably hurting me more than helping.
The fight is over for now, and I have to find a new way to move forward in the world. Oddly enough, pushing away the pain has led me to be more present and patient. Or maybe it’s the lack of drugs that has restored my patient nature… either way, the fight is over, and I’m finding new ways to deal with the pain.
I am strong like the Oak. Pretending to be a willow does not suit me.
Pain is part and parcel of the BDSM lifestyle, but there is a difference of nuance in the meanings of pain and hurt in this context. As practitioners of this thing that we do, we are no strangers to pain. As human beings, we are no strangers to hurt, but while those words are synonyms, the English language has different words for similar concepts because those concepts are separated by subtle differences.
For the purposes of this entry, I’m going to define these words according to my own terms.
Both pain and hurt are used as verbs, though the use of pain as a verb is somewhat archaic. One might say, “my arm pains me” to mean the same thing as, “my arm hurts.” At the end of that second phrase, there is an implied “me,” but it is not usually explicitly stated in modern language. Usually pain is a noun – it is a state of being, a thing that is being experienced, while hurt is a verb.. it is an action word and like all action words it requires an actor and intent.
However, while these synonyms can pretty much be used interchangeably if you so choose, I like to think that they have evolved to have subtly different meanings.
When I say that I am in pain, I mean that I am experiencing the physical sensation of pain. When I say that I don’t want to hurt you, I mean that I don’t want to cause you unintentional distress. For submissives under my care, I will often say, “I have no desire to hurt you,” and then proceed to slap, smack, spank, flog, whip, bite, and toss them into furniture. In the absence of a way to properly distinguish my meaning, this would seem to be a case where my actions are not in line with my words, and yet, no one in this position with me has ever given me any indication of being confused on this point.
How is that possible?
I will attempt to elaborate by way of example…
The other day, I was in bed with my girlfriend, post-coitus, and she was expressing some concern about an interaction that we had has previously that day. I failed to pick up on some of her emotional cues and created a situation where my lack of action caused her emotional turmoil. I didn’t intend to hurt her in this case. We do not have a TPE relationship and even if we did, I am not the type of Dominant partner who would ever want to create an emotional rift like that. So in our discussion of what happened and how to best avoid similar situations in the future, I said to her, “I never wish to hurt you,” and then had to pause and chuckle, following up with, “well, you know what I mean…” and of course she did, but it brought to mind for me the unvocalized nuance that followed with that statement.
The words do not support this notion natively. We have to imbue them with subtlety of our own. And yet, because she is a smart woman and because she knows me rather well by this point, she understood my meaning without the need to elaborate significantly.
Hurt is a part of every relationship.. mistakes happen, people will fail to live up to our expectations, especially when those expectations are not vocalized – perhaps because the effort of so doing is extreme.
Pain is not a part of every relationship, and for most people, it really ought not to be. I’ve said it before and I’m certain that I will say it again, but without consent, what we do is abuse. For most relationships, there is no desire for pain, there is no discussion of appropriate applications of pain, and without the acknowledgement and discussion, the infliction of Pain is no different at all from Hurt.
Pain is a part of most BDSM relationships, but while we can revel in the pain, use the catharsis that follows, have a release of endorphins and emotions, we usually try to avoid Hurt. Pain is part and parcel of the lifestyle that we choose to lead, but Hurt is abuse.
For my girlfriend, for my friends, even for my family, I try very hard to avoid Hurt. I have felt Hurt from my family. From some members of my family, that hurt has never abated. We so very often hurt those that we love when we are, ourselves, hurt. But I try very, very hard not to do so intentionally, and for those I love, this is especially true.
If you put yourself under my power, I will cause you pain with intent. I will willfully bind you so that the bindings are tight enough to cause you pain. I will willfully flog you with enough force to mark your skin and leave behind reminders of the experience. I will bite you hard enough to leave a bruise that lasts for weeks. But I will not intentionally pull the rug out from under you or cause you to question your trust. I will not intentionally belittle you or put you down unless that is a specifically negotiated arrangement and executed at specifically designated times so that you can understand the difference between my words and my beliefs.
I respect those that I encounter, and even for those that have hurt me in the past or continue to hurt me now – I try to be respectful and forthright, but make no mistake, I will not idly sit by and continue to take the abuse, nor will I suffer it as you apply it to others. I will at the least ostracize you and may even confront you, depending on the situation.
I have often said that I think I’m more of a masochist than a Sadist, and perhaps that fact is informing my opinions here. I make no broad statements to say that a majority of Dominants feel as I do, nor do I necessarily think that they should, but this is what works for me, and it is a continuing part of my education and growth in this wonderful and scary world we inhabit.
I’m not sure at what point in my life I started to make this distinction, and I know that I’ve never successfully conveyed the nuance before, but I suspect that this is the kernel that exists behind my personal difficulties in causing pain in those that I love.
When you look back at me and say, “please hurt me,” this is the difficulty through which I have to process before I can act. Like my grasp of other languages, I have not yet (despite my advanced age and position) been able to completely internalize these things and so I must go through a process of translation and change this to, ‘please render pain unto me,’ in my own particular and rather archaic idiom.
But my life, my experience in BDSM, and my experience in relationships is an ever evolving process and this is yet one more thing that I am refining and will probably further refine again over time.