Telling Truths & Telling Tales

I feel odd writing this because it’s something I want to discuss (hence
the whole writing thing) and yet don’t want to be pointing fingers or
telling tales at someone else’s expense.

So here’s my attempt to have it both ways.

In the past couple weeks it’s come to light that a popular blogger who
wrote about spanking, her marriage and domestic discipline / punishment
over the past several years has basically been creating an elaborate
fiction.  Though I didn’t read her very often (and therefore the site
wasn’t linked from the Punishment Book) I’m on another list with some
people who were very regular readers and feel upset / betrayed and all
sorts of other negative feelings.

My own reactions surprise me.  Normally when a work that was supposed to be "real" turns out to be fiction, I have a sort of "you pays your money, you takes your chances" attitude toward it all.  Basically, I tend to think if a story is a good story, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s "true" or somehow "real" or not.  That’s not what creativity is about for me. 

And too, I certainly understand why someone who is lonely and alone and unhappy would find it tempting to create an ideal relationship and even and idealized self.  I mean, I’ll cop to having gone onto IRC as other selves.  And "Mija" of course, isn’t my real name.   I’ve posted questions to forums under other nicks when I felt too embarrassed to use my "real" scene name.  I’ve attended Shadow Lane parties as Annie, Marianna and as Mija depending on how I was feeling that weekend.  As I’ve discovered that authors I like were posting stories under multiple identities (including mixing genders) I’ve generally felt pleased and amused. 

What I’m trying to say is that usually I’m not a stickler for "truth."  I can even be convinced that 100% autobiography is as rare and impossible as 100% fiction. 

In fact, none of us can possibly write the entire truth of our lives.  Even when I try and write an exact account of an event, Pablo will remember it differently.  And of course, we never can write everything.  Nor, in my opinion, should we try.  Pablo and I used to get a little freaked out sometimes by people writing to us via The Treehouse talking about how our "perfect" relationship was exactly what they wanted in their lives.  And we’d be shaking our heads and just saying "if you only knew."  Because, of course, things aren’t perfect all the time.  In fact, as in all relationships, they’re hardly ever perfect.  But we don’t write stories very often based on the bad stuff.  At first we felt like we should, but jeez… who wants to live like that? 

Probably someone.  But not me.  Not us.

In writing The Punishment Book, part of what the other authors and I were trying to do was show a little bit of the hard side of all this.  That it isn’t easy or perfect and doesn’t "just happen."  At least not in my experience.

And that gets me back to how I felt at discovering that a "real life" domestic discipline blog was really fiction. 

I felt annoyed.  Because, well, it was a blog that made it seem like the author had it all together at least in this one area of her relationship.  And as I’ve wondered at my feelings, so different from my usual ones, I’ve had to admit that one reason I didn’t read the blog very often was that it made me feel jealous and frustrated.  Even though I know such things are wrong, I was comparing myself to her.  If she / they could do it, why couldn’t I / they?  I’d wonder if maybe in 20 years time our relationship would be so easy, discipline so natural and familiar. 

And now I know it wasn’t true.  She doesn’t have it all together.  There isn’t a "they."  Maybe that means WIIWD will never be easy.  Maybe it never should be.

I don’t have an ending for this.  Except to wonder what, if anything, you think.

11 thoughts on “Telling Truths & Telling Tales

  1. Faith

    Hi,
    I’m new to reading this blog, and I’ve never posted before, but this struck a chord with me. I remember when I was a teenager I had a friend online who used to ask me all about being spanked by my parents. I never really was, but I made up all sorts of stories about it, because I knew he enjoyed it and so did I. It wound up being one of my only outlets for my spanking fetish as a minor, because I was unwilling to discuss something overtly sexual with adults. After I turned 18 and found someone to dole out spankings in real life I told my friend that I am into it, and he admitted that he was too. The funny thing is, he thought I hadn’t realized.
    Anyway, I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here, except I guess that I can see both sides of this. That said, I think there is a difference between a shared private fantasy and an elaborrate deception. The thing I am unsure about is *what* the difference is. Maybe motivation. I do know people who have several different personas that they mantain and each of those personas has an entirely diffferent life story and set of circumstances. This doesn’t bother me at all. I think what gets to me is the feeling that someone is being deceptive because they are unhappy with his or her own life, rather than exploring another aspect of himself.
    Hope that makes some kind of sense,
    Faith

    Reply
  2. Iris

    I’m glad you posted about this, Mija, because I was thinking just this morning about that blog in contrast with this one. And I too have had mixed feelings about the confession. I didn’t read it very often, but found the admission a little disheartening. In some ways her posts about how well it worked for “them” made me feel better, as if there was hope for a well-adjusted, adult relationship that incorporated discipline. And it’s sad to learn that it wasn’t so. Because that means that this is just hard and complicated.
    However, that’s what I appreciate so much about this blog. That people can be honest about the tough stuff and support each other: commiserate, laugh, share experience, and talk about punishment in adult relationships. Maybe that’s the antidote, eh? This other person was just one–and her tower of perfection crumbled. This place is a community–and it’s stronger and richer because of the many voices and experiences it invites. (Uh oh… I’m starting to get theological here.)
    So here’s to the PB, warts and all! May we live long, complex, rich, full lives, and may we always be blessed with the company of others!
    Iris

    Reply
  3. sparkle

    I missed the entire confession and have been trying to work out what happened while I was off experiencing my own private, non-kinky dramas.
    It wasn’t very difficult to work out, of course, but like some others, I initially felt … sadly surprised. I mean, intellectually I know that the Internet spanking communities are a place where lying is *easy* and pervasive. However, for me it is a place where I don’t *need* to hide behind that mask I habitually don. Besides, the thought of creating an entire fictional relationship and blogging about it goes a bit beyond my personal ability to sustain.
    In other words, I wouldn’t be able to do it, because I’m a terrible liar.
    Mija, I think you hit on an important point when you mentioned not writing about the ‘bad’. It’s easy to see a relationship as perfect and workable where everyone is in complete communication because those are the times we write about. Frankly, I remember too well a few times when C and I tried spanking discipline but it failed dramatically, and I certainly don’t want to relive them by writing about it. One or two of those failures have occurred since PB started, so perhaps I should have.
    I suppose the only real defense against feeling hurt and betrayed by deception is a stalwart disbelief in anything we read that is promoted as truth. How impossible and depressing that would be – I’d rather not be online at all.

    Reply
  4. Haron

    I don’t have an opinion in the current situation, because I don’t know what you’re talking about. (I’m on dial-up in my mother’s flat, so can’t go investigating.) I do have an opinion about fake blogs, though.
    Everything hinged, for me, on how invested I am emotionally into what I’m reading. If I suddenly found out that, say, Pablo and Mija of the Treehouse were really a group of nerdy scientists in a University somewhere, I’d be hurt, because I’ve invested a lot of emotional energy into reading the Treehouse, at the time my English wasn’t that good and my knowledge of spanking world was nil.
    If somebody I don’t give a fig about was disclosed to have built a site, or a blog, or a book, or a reputation out of thin air – I don’t think it would matter to me that much. In the case of a book (i.e. getting financial gain from lying) or a reputation (i.e. getting respect points by lying) I may have ethical objections. However, not caring about something personally would make all the difference to whether I cared about its being based in reality.
    Which is all my caffein-starved brain is capable of conveying right now 🙂

    Reply
  5. Abel

    Haron just wrote: “I don’t have an opinion in the current situation, because I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    Never stopped you having an opinion before, m’dear 😉
    As to the fictional blog: I feel a little sorry for the author. Presumably it was easy to fake a few entries. But by the time they’d built up a “fan base” it must have been so daunting for them to realise that they were misleading so many people, and playing with their readers’ hopes and fears.
    I also think it makes the genuine spanking blogs out there ever-more important.

    Reply
  6. Chevaliersg

    Greetings A/all:
    Short true-story: I used to go to IRC and met my submissive there. We live together now in a little house in the wilds of the New York and New Jersey area.
    I have read and watched the whole drama in question and know what you are referring too.
    Oddly, from a Dominant’s perspective I have to say that I feel for this person. I know loneliness and desparation can make people do some pretty odd things. On the other hand I do not condone and deplore anyone falsifying for profit (which the blogger indicates was the case on one occasion).
    I belong to a writing group and we have been discussing the backlash that occured to the author of A Million Little Pieces.
    The members were split 50/50 on their opinion of of the author’s attempt to show some fiction as fact. I find that it’s running pretty much the same for that said blogger.
    I, myself, don’t blog nor does my submissive. One big reason is because of the bloggers on this particular blog.
    Haron, Mija (love that name, Latino myself)and their partners always seem to cover their subjects well (if only they were as good at covering their flanks).
    I don’t say this to swell any heads or for my own agenda. I say this because there is a need for honesty and for the personal journeys of our ilk to be logged.
    As frivolous as it may seem to some, remember there are others who are hanging on your every word saying “yes, I have felt that way too”.
    Of course I’d like to hear more from your Dominants. From the current stock of so-called Doms I’ve seen at IRC lately there’s a real need for some insight!
    Okay, that’s my two-cents and Hasta Luego to you all.
    Keep up the honesty.
    Chev

    Reply
  7. sparkle

    Hi Chev!
    Where on IRC do you go? (It’s a pretty expansive little world, all on its own.) My husband and I spent quite a bit of time on IRC (and in AOL IM, I admit) before we lived on the same coast of the same continent, and I still frequent one IRC channel where I have close friends – both virtual and ones I meet and keep company with in real skin-to-skin time.
    That being said, in my experience – you’re correct. Many of the tops/doms currently ‘hunting’ online for partners are not in a relationship for fairly obvious reasons 🙂
    sparkle

    Reply
  8. Chevaliersg

    Hi sparkle:
    I used to go to irc.bondage.net and to TSP if you know those two. I met sassygirl, my submissive, at the latter and we’ve been together 6 years come this Tuesday, April 25.
    I don’t go to IRC that often anymore since being R/l with sassy is all I can handle, but I still infrequently go to TSP or bondage (where sassy has a permanent room).
    I like the term you used “hunting” when refering to these would-be lotharios calling themselves Doms these days. I rescued sassy from one of these predatory jerks who used his Dominance to hurt others (unbeknownst to sassy until she discovered his two-timing)so I have a little bit of a mad-on for such cretins.
    Anyway, keep up the good work senorita. And that goes for all you other senorita’s too.
    Chev

    Reply
  9. Pablo

    [Some thoughts, even though I’m hardly a ‘dominant’ (never mind a capital-d ‘Dominant’ – I can only aspire to such heights *snark*).]
    I think I tend to fall back on some sort of ethics of personal responsibility here. As someone who writes both fiction and non-fiction, I do feel a certain moral obligation to be open and honest about kink-stuff. Which isn’t to say that everything is tellable; but a realistic balance between the cute and cuddly and the hard and crunchy is good. Partly because it’s real, and real is *interesting*, but also partly because I am aware, from years of occasional e-mails from readers of the Treehouse and elsewhere, that people are liable to take on-line writers, particularly those in real-life relationships, as either examples of the fact that this is *possible*, or (slightly disturbingly) as role-models. I feel a small amount of responsibility for the fact that the Treehouse has, I think, erred somewhat on the cute and cuddly side. For my own part, I think it’s just good for the kink generally if both fictional and non-fictional portrayals of the kink are upfront about the fact that this is *hard*. In that sense, I’m slightly less concerned about whether something is *true* or not, than whether it’s *real* or not – noting that something can be *real* without necessarily being true. A realistic, but fictional, portrayal of a kink relationship might be hugely worthwhile. And honest, too.
    However, I think consumers of on-line spanko fiction and non-fiction also bear plenty of responsibility here. It’s maybe understandable, given how much fantasy material there is out there, and how strong and long-held the fantasies can be, that consumption (as well as creation) of both fiction and non-fiction can easily slide into wish-fulfillment. That’s fine if everyone knows that’s what’s going on. But that doesn’t always happen. People wouldn’t, I hope, go to pulp romance as a guide to vanilla relationships, but some do seem to reference equivalently-pulp kink fiction as a guide to kink relationships. I think the moral of the story is that the kink isn’t a *solution* to anything. It’s just another layer of complexity on top of all of the other layers of complexity that exist in any relationship between two real people.

    Reply
  10. Joey

    OK, as a definite fan of both this site and the blog in question, I’d like to very politely point out some rather important but incorrect points that are being made. (Unlike those of you who have commented so far, I’ve read virtually every post entered on that “other” blog).
    First, she never really claied that all of the stories or posts were true and in fact said on many occasions that all was not as it seemed and that she really wasn’t anything like her stories or blog entries. (Early on, she wrote entries that she said were based on truth and kept those under a separate heading and used different names for the couple involved).
    Second, just because the storylines may be fictitious doesn’t make her insight or understanding of the issues any less valid. In many respects, it seems to validate her knowledge and understanding even more. For her to be able to write as she does, with as much depth and background and emotion and instinct, she does have a tremendous talent that can’t be denied.
    She also claims that many of her stories are based on real-life events but that she has changed circumstances, time periods, and other extranneous details as she saw fit. So what if it didn’t happen yesterday or she was spanked with a belt instead of a cane or a particular scene was all or part fantasy instead of reality?
    What difference does any of that really make? The truth is, that as she said, she has a blog, not a forum. Blogs are created by the author, ultimately for the author to use as they see fit. Though the author can choose to allow comments or not, everything about the blog is really for the primary benefit of the blogger and any part (or none) of it can be shared with the viewers (or fans, as you’ve called them here).
    Lastly, before I receive the inevitable amount of backwash, let me say that your site is very different in every respect from hers. They should not even be compared as they are truly apples and oranges. Sure, they both relate to spanking or D/s or DD or fetishes or whatever variations on “normal” you want to use. And believe me, “normal” is a completely relative and therefore useless term in my humble opinion.
    Anyway, I love this site and have for a very long time. I also love the blog in question and am still very much a fan. I also visit the Treehouse often and am a huge fan of Mija and Haron’s writings in particular, along with Sparkle and Domino.
    In the end, we should all be encouraging of each other because it is a very difficult world out there, the “real” world. We all know that. And in the end, all we really have is each other and our own preferences, likes, dislikes, beliefs and opinions.
    Besides, as much as I would like to believe in the “truth,” it is never a certainty in the online world. I could be a 26-year-old divorced Asian man, an 18-year-old single Indian female student, a 40-year-old bisexual Caucasian woman, a 56-year-old married Hispanic grandfather or none of the above. We each take away from our visits to the Internet whatever ideas and thoughts we decide to embrace. Does anything else really matter, as long as it doesn’t involve abusing anyone (including child pornography, etc.) in any way.

    Reply
  11. Seri

    I agree with a few things everyone said, and wanted to comment on them as much as my very-tired-brain will allow right now.
    Like Mija, I didn’t frequent the blog in question very often, for reasons I can really only explain as unease and perhaps jealousy. Something always seemed a little off about the things written there, I could never form a connection like I do with this blog and a few others I read religiously. Even though everything P said and talked about mirrored my own interests and would logically be something I’d want to read about, I avoided. I’m glad I did, because like Haron said, it’s much harder to stomach a truth like that about someone you are connected to and emotionally invested in. I’m glad I never formed that connection.
    I don’t feel much of anything other than oh, wow…, and wondering if that feeling is “oh wow, my instinct was right! Weird…” or “oh wow, what a shock to read that.”. If it was Mija, Haron or Sparkle though, I know I’d feel a lot more angry and even betrayed, because I have invested emotional feelings of friendship in these bloggers and have talked to them from time to time on a friendship level. So viewing someone as a friend you talk to online versus a person who’s blog you read…makes a big difference to me, as to how angry or upset I’m going to feel by their actions. I think what she did was wrong, but I’m not angry about it.
    I’m still in a feeling out stage of my own blog. I do wish more people read it and commented, but at the same time, I do NOT want the kind of following that P had, or that others have. I abhore the idea of feeling I am writing to impress or entertain others. I would not enjoy that at all (which is why I refuse to write for publications despite offers to do so). I can see how easy it would be to fall into a trap of feeling the need to impress people in order to gain their friendship and attention. Not condoning it, wouldn’t do it myself, but I can understand the trap factor. There are many times I decide to not post something to my journal because I think it will bore people, then get pissed off that I even care. It’s MY journal for pitys sake, why am I worried about entertaining people when I claim I keep the journal for myself only and chose to share it with those that wish to know me better? So yes…I can understand the trap factor there, and I struggle to avoid it myself, although in a different way.
    I miss the days when blogs and journals were places people wrote for themselves, and allowed others to peek. Now, it’s rare to find a blog/journal like that, and I do miss it. The Punishment Book and the authors here stay true to that original blueprint of journaling quite well. I do enjoy that very much.
    Perhaps that is another reason why P’s “betrayal” is hard for many people to stomach. You EXPECT to run into a lot of fantasy and BS these days, as a lot of blogs are easily identified as being complete and total BS. Her blog didn’t have any visible signs of such behaviour, so I think it makes us doubt our instincts and ability to weed out the bad apples out there. Not that P is a bad apple, but her actions are still hurtful to many. I can understand that too.
    Nuff said, I’m exhausted and kind of babbling here.

    Reply

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