Fear and Tawsing in Los Angeles

I got tawsed tonight.  Not for discipline, not to remind me to be a good girl, but as a punishment for not doing what I’d promised to do today.  You see, after a week of cruising along, doing more work than I’d even needed to some days (this included working after coming home from a day working on campus), I was supposed to transition to the next stage of my work. This next stage is writing.  Not writing ideas of others, but laying out my own.

caning-blockFear stalled me. Not fear of punishment, as some out there who don’t think What It Is We Do is a good for me, but my ever-present fear of not being good enough.

Instead of fighting through my fear and forcing myself to work, I let myself get caught up in the fun of the first day of fall on Twitter and the Mad4Plaid day some of us were having. (It was great fun, marred only by the gnawing guilt I occasionally (but only occasionally) experienced as thoughts of my neglected text passed through my mind. There was time for both, but I didn’t want to do the work and it didn’t get done.
That was all well and good until the clock chimed 6:00PM and Paul got home.  I looked like a good school girl in my plaid skirt and a pink oxford cloth shirt, but it quickly became clear as we talked about our respective days that I’d accomplished no school work today.  Paul spent a while talking to me, figuring out where the problem was.  It wasn’t just, as I first declared, that I didn’t do my work today. It was partly because I hadn’t thought about what I’d promised (an outline) and had no idea where to start work on the task.
We broke the problem down, bit by bit, teasing out what was insecurity and what was confusion.  And of course, the over arching issue of why I’d stopped dead rather than try and work through any of it. The talk was exhausting — any criticism of my academic work makes me defensive and cranky.  I know Paul must have to put on his best armor to talk to me about it.  We ended up curled up together on the sofa, my head in his lap.
And then he said something along the lines of “I think we need to go into the bedroom and talk about this.”

 

My heart sank. Even though I knew it was coming.  Even though part of me wants to be held accountable (well, all of me does, just not all the time) I didn’t want this tonight.  The bedroom meant the hairbrush and I was already sore from Sunday (a caning and tawsing) discipline.

So I held on tight and asked for a few more minutes of being held. Paul agreed, saying he wanted me to change into ankle socks and school shoes (I was wearing ballet flats on bare feet) and to find him 4 safety pins.  After the snuggle ended (it was now tainted with dread so not quite as nice), I went and changed my shoes and went on the hunt for the safety pin box.  During the interval, Paul changed his mind.  He lifted the Ikea footrest onto our coffee table and went to fetch the tawse, explaining he didn’t feel like fighting / struggling with me across his lap.

I had mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, he was right.  It’s still summer weather here, despite it being the first day of Fall.  And I do always struggle over the knee, despite my best efforts to be still. On the other hand, otk is informal, childish and intimate.  The caning (despite the make-shift block) is more formal and distant.  But even more importantly, it’s in the living room — a room separated from our building’s public walkway by only sheer curtains and our small patio.

Before I could argue much, Paul told me not to argue, that this was his decision.  Of course.

I just wanted it over. I quietly bent over the block so he could tie first my hands, then my feet together with school ties.  Being tied makes being punished much easier for me.  The headspace of accepting the punishment and loss of control comes so much more easily.  Paul took my panties almost to my knees before fetching the tawse.

I tried to be calm, but I felt a bit panicked, especially when I realized he was going to use the tawse rather than the cane.  The tawse in question is one of Ian’s creations and of heavy leather, not even broken in after several years of ownership.  When it makes contact it makes a lot of noise.  Meanwhile I could hear people walking by, laughing and chatting, as clearly as if they were in the room.  I bit down on the leather of the footstool, knowing Paul wouldn’t care who heard me.

Neither of us knows how many strokes he gave me.  Somewhere between 36 and 40 is the best guess.  Enough so I had to stop it in the middle because I’d somehow twisted my tied hands into a numbing position.  Part of me hoped it would be over after he fixed the tie, but the thrashing continued, at least another 12 strokes. And I was still quite tender from Sunday’s thrashing. Finally I was untied and stood so he could pin my skirt to my shoulders, front and back, (-er, that would be to the shoulders of my shirt) and had to spend 10 minutes standing still in the corner.  Finally, I had to have dinner with my plaid pleated skirt pinned up.

But then it was over.  Except for losing this coming Sunday as a “free day.”  Instead I’ll be working, writing.  Probably in plaid yet again.

11 thoughts on “Fear and Tawsing in Los Angeles

  1. Indy

    Awww. I have even more sympathy for the difficulty of getting around self-doubt when you’re writing than I do for your having to endure the tawsing. I take valium when I fly long distances (say, 15 hours…) and I’ve occasionally wondered what it would be like to work under its influence during those difficult times. Haven’t tried it though, as I don’t want to turn into Rush Limbaugh.
    Reading this entry makes me very glad I listened to Ian when he told me the black tawse is much softer and less stiff than the other colors for some reason. I have the same model otherwise, and I love it. From both sides.

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  2. Emma

    Awww Mija,
    That sounds positively dreadful (in the best possible way). I too have an unfortunate tendency to freeze when faced with obstacles in my schoolwork, it’s wonderful that Paul is so supportive of you and willing to talk it out with you to such a degree.
    I hope your all healed by Sunday so that you can put all your focus on writing – I’m sure once you start it will be fabulous!
    Em

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  3. Mija

    Indy: I hear you about anxiety (though I’m okay for flying). I take xanax for panic attacks, and sometimes before meeting with my advisor so as to avoid bursting into tears which would embarrass us both, but don’t think I could write on it. It’s a thought though.
    Our tawse was made out of the same heavy piece of leather that Ian made one for our mutual friend HH. It is exceptionally heavy and inflexible. I suspect you chose more wisely.
    Emma: thank you for your kind words. I am indeed lucky to have Paul and he definitely helps. Sore, but lucky. 🙂

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  4. Natty

    A. and I were just saying the other day that the one implement that is really missing from our collection is a tawse. This post is a good reminder about why I’m cool with that. 😉

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  5. Jigsaw Analogy/Dyke Grrl

    Yee-ouch. I’m sorry, Mija. Have you tried Rescue Remedy for the anxiety with writing? It’s homeopathic, and helps me with a variety of stressful situations. On the other hand, I can’t speak much to dealing with the academic anxiety, because when I tried to face it head-on, I went well and truly crazy and haven’t come back. But Rescue Remedy is good for various kinds of anxiety, and doesn’t have any negative side effects.
    And frankly, it’s not just the tawse (which sounds super painful) but also having it done in the living room, so close to where people are walking by. I like to maintain a fantasy, if only in my own mind, that in spite of the fact that we can hear pretty much anything our neighbors do, they can’t hear when I’m getting my butt whipped.

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  6. PaulatNorthGare

    JA/DG: “But Rescue Remedy is good for various kinds of anxiety, and doesn’t have any negative side effects.”
    I know I’m probably not supposed to say this, but Rescue Remedy, like Bach’s other products, is basically an expensive placebo.

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  7. Jigsaw Analogy/Dyke Grrl

    It’s entirely possible, except that it also works on my cat, who has no reason to understand why I put it behind her ears.
    With me, I’m willing to grant that it’s a placebo effect, but I’m perfectly happy to have a placebo that works and has no side effects other than just being able to cope with a tiny bit more than I can without. 🙂

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  8. Mija

    Natty: You’re right in your coolness at living without a tawse. They’re definitely not an easy implement (at least for me, there’s them that love them, of course.) You’d be welcome to test drive ours, but I fear Paul won’t let me give it to you.
    JA: Being in the living room, especially in the early evening when everyone is coming home from work and the windows are open, definitely adds a whole other level to the experience.
    As to your (and Paul’s as his mum uses it) opinion on Rescue Remedy — it’s not something I can use in any case without involving allergy testing. A few times I’ve tried to ingest natural remedies, I’ve ended up triggering my crazy severe allergic reactions. Natural medicines are just a little too lax about labeling for me to take their oral meds safely — though I did use Napier in the UK for some wonderful eczema lotions. I’ll leave it to the two of you to hash the rest out — just remember to charge Paul full price for any argument. 🙂

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  9. PaulatNorthGare

    JA/DG: “It’s entirely possible, except that it also works on my cat, who has no reason to understand why I put it behind her ears.”
    But it might not “work” for the reasons that the Bach people claim. Your attention, the physical contact, hell, even the small amount of brandy in Rescue Remedy are just as likely to be factors. It wouldn’t be all that hard to test. Mix up a control solution of water and the same sort of brandy that’s in RR, do some proper double-blind randomisation of RR and control, then use them as normal for a month or two and keep a note of what you think the response is each day. If the only difference between RR and control genuinely is the absence of RR’s “active” ingredients, I’d bet money that there’d be no statistically-significant difference in (your perception of) the response.
    No reason why you should do this, obviously, but if the control works just as well, you’d at least be avoiding giving money to a dishonest and/or delusional company.

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  10. Jigsaw Analogy/Dyke Grrl

    Well, I only do it with the cat if she has to be in her carrier for some reason (car trips, moving, the vet), so we’re not likely to have sufficient opportunity for the double-blind test.
    As for me, I’m fine if it’s a placebo effect, because it’s a darned good placebo. I generally take the lozenges, so it’s not the small amount of alcohol. But I wind up going from panicky and really wound up to a state where I still feel nervous, but I’m no longer ready to jump out of my skin.
    @Mija: That’s annoying about the natural remedies. I’m lucky (and crossing fingers) that those are one area where I don’t get much allergic reaction. Because heaven knows, my body has been pleased to prevent me from ingesting or being near so many substances, it’s good to have a few I don’t need to worry about!

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