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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Friendly advice wortth listening to

"You should take a break. I'm worried"

My flatmate, on observing me walk passed wrapped in a not-very-large-towel a few days ago. I can see her point. My knees are bruised, as are my arms. There are some cuts on my elbows and purple impact splatters on my back. There are also red lines cut into my upper arms and over my shoulders. There are other marks that she couldn't see. All in all, quite a lot to take in.

There's a few ways to handle this sort of comment, but the best one is to take a good long look at the person talking to you and take it in the spirit in which it was meant. It's easy to be over-sensitive to this kind of comment, to fly off the handle, to go into a death-spiral of teenage hormone infused stress over other people making decisions on your life. It's also easy to be blase - to brush it off in a "huh, I've done much worse!" one-up-manship style contest. But pushing aside comments like this is not the same as defending BDSM. It's not the same as defending your right to be hit as much as you like. It's partly about realising the wide scope that your play has on others - in my case, the effect that seeing these marks (although it was by accident) had on my flatmate. It's part about developing a context for your actions that goes outside the kinky-verse. Mostly, though, it's about the importance of another point of view.

Sometimes other people can see you better than you can yourself. Not always, but it's often worth listening, rather than just knee-jerk reacting and carrying on as normal. Her comment made me actually look at all the bruises and think about them, not just in the smug, smirking satisfaction of re-living how they were made, but viewing them as what they are: bodily damage. Regardless of the fact that I bruise easily, so that, in my opinion, the bruises are not an accurate reflection of the pain taken, they are a reflection of the damage caused to my flesh. And that needs time to heal. Not because someone made a comment, but because my body is telling me something and it would be stupid to ignore it, given how much heed I pay to it in other circumstances.

So, I've been spending a week with plenty of rest, plenty of arnica and a weekend booked with no impact play whatsoever. They've already healed up very well and I anticipate by the time next weekend rolls around I'll be white as snow and ready to start again.


M said...

This topic is very sensitive in that often when someone makes a comment, they could try to seem caring (by saying 'isn't that a bit much?') but would seem patronising.

I quite agree with your approach to how your friend reacted and your sober and calm reflection of their question is the right way to go about the issue of the bruising and cuts.

Often you are the one who best knows your limits, and it is also true that people can go overboard without realising. Both points you acknowledge.

I have a couple of curiosities following your post:

1. What is the importance of the 'clean slate' body in your bdsm experiences?

I ask because I surmise that you like dollplay. Would you want your body healed completely so as to be a clear, alabaster slate for domination? Or (2.) would you like a body of character with pre-existing/faded cuts and bruises?

This is I suppose, a question about symbolism, character, and aesthetics. I'm curious to understand, the state of the body communicates a lot. Bruises and scars are the very things that make us animate and human.

Always a pleasure to read your posts

electronic doll said...

Good questions.
I like questions.


1. The "clean slate" is more important in the sense that it indicates my body is now healed and has had sufficient rest and looking after to be ready to play again. The idea of looking fresh and new for a different play session is appealing, but I also like palimpsest marks - the fact that I can track my activities from them is pleasing.

I'm not sure if it's necessary for the doll project that the body is immaculate to start off with. It depends on the type of doll, which is a question more for my partners than me.

The "body of character" is something I like having for myself - but I'm also aware that lots of marks means lots of damage means time to take it easy. The odd one here or there is fun.

For me, bruises and little cuts are very different from scars, piercings and tattoos. The former are less symbolic, they are just nice memories. The latter tend to be more serious, they were pre-emptive, took plenty of planning and tended to be much more me controlling the look and feel of my body rather than a reaction to someone else controlling it.