"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.
Abandoned to his fate in inescapable rope
3 months ago