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Outer You vs Inner You: Who are you?

Everyone experiences change from time to time. We grow, we age, and we learn. We try something new. We move to a new place. We get a new job. We go back to school. We meet new people. We fall in love. We have our hearts broken. We lose someone we love. We fall down, and we get back up. We try again. We adapt. We gain experience and find out more about ourselves. Some things may never change, while other things evolve with time.

Think about who you were when you were in high school.

I moved across the state between my 9th and 10th grade years. I went from a class size of roughly 300-400 students to around 1,200 students. I was terrified. I was leaving my friends and having to start over in a new town at a new school. What helped with this transition was band. I played the clarinet. During my years with the high school band, we had kids from all walks of life. We weren’t made up of just one group, but every group. I’ve always been pretty reserved and quiet, but in band, I learned a lot about leadership, teamwork, and responsibility. I was the section leader and library staff manager in 11th grade, and then, I tried out and became the drum major (student conductor) for the marching band during my 12th grade year. I learned how to project confidence when giving commands, and I felt like I had a responsibility to be someone the students in my band could depend on. I was the first person on the field before our shows started, and I was the one the entire band looked to for direction.

Think about who you were in college.

I continued band in college and was moved up to section leader after my first year. Again, we had students from all over campus from every type of degree program. I started working on my mechanical engineering degree and math minor. We focused a lot on teamwork and using new technology to solve problems. I decided to try my luck and applied for an internship at NASA. I was accepted and had one of the best summer experiences ever. In fact, I had so much fun that I went back three more times. Twice as a research associate and then I was promoted to Operations Manager for the last two summers. I took several honors classes throughout college and graduated with a 3.29/4.0.

Think about who you were during your early career.

I immediately got a job as a mechanical engineer quoting, designing, and fabricating steel tanks and pressure vessels. Over seven years, I went from mechanical engineer to project engineer to project manager to lead engineering business analyst. I implemented the accounting software which I knew inside and out. I even had to do all accounting manager responsibilities for six months before the company transitioned to a new owner.

Think about who you are now.

Now, I work in project financials. I’ve been with this company for just over a year. I’ve been trying to bring new ideas to the table and implement improvements on all of our current processes. I had an excellent one year evaluation which led to a promotion and a raise.

What have we not talked about? I’ve told you about who the outside world sees. This is the person you would meet at a conference or out in public.

Okay, so who are you when you can relax and be you?

Well, the previous posts on this blog take you through a lot of my intimate experiences with sex and spanking. Tom was the first person who tried to understand what I was yearning for. To his credit, he read every blog entry before I gave up blogging. He also read a private journal where I endeavored to be as open as possible with him. For a couple of years, he tried. And then, he didn’t.

For the time when he was trying, I discovered a part of me that I didn’t know existed. I wasn’t just this confident, strong, responsible, and independent young woman who could solve problems. I was also someone who needed a break from the stress of being the one who was always depended on. I needed someone else to take over for a while. I needed to know someone cared about me. I needed to be held. needed to be able to let go.

When Tom’s dad passed away, I started losing him. I stepped up and went above and beyond because that’s who I am. I am a fixer. I am a giver. I am dependable and loyal. I was more than capable of handling whatever life threw at us because I had to be. I could get us through this. I just had to be strong enough, caring enough, loving enough, and want it enough.

As it got harder and Tom gradually pulled away from me, I pulled away from who I was and what I wanted. I stopped blogging, stopped keeping up with others, and wasn’t even available for my friends anymore. My entire world revolved around Tom, his addiction, and the daily shit he put me through. After I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I told him, “It’s me or all of this (referring to his drug use and the house his drug addict friends were in – he was at another addict’s house in the middle of a work night in my damn car that I needed to get to work in the morning).” He chose, “All of this.” “You need to move out.” (He didn’t make it back home in time to take me to work the next morning. I ended up having to call my dad, so I could be fucking responsible and go to work.)

In August of last year, I wrote something that I considered posting here. But, I was not ready. Instead, I shared it with a dear friend who encouraged me to also share it with my therapist. I’m choosing to bring it up now because I know I am not the only one who has felt this way. In fact, I still struggle with it every day.

I am the person who has done everything my résumé says I’ve done, but what I can’t seem to reconcile is how is that the same person who wrote the following.

“Outer You vs Inner You”

Are the versions of you drastically different? Do you act differently? Do you hide behind a façade? 

The versions of me are very different. I do act differently depending on the situation, and I do hide behind a much more outwardly acceptable personality. 

At work, by some miracle, I’ve been able to hide what’s going on inside. Instead, I appear confident, ask questions, present ideas, work well by myself and with others, and strive to change things for the better for everyone. Before a meeting where I know I have to speak, I’ll get nervous, but I push through and am not afraid to throw out ideas. I am very mindful of others and how they do their jobs, and I do everything I can to make all of our work days a little easier.

When I’m around family and friends, they know I have some self-confidence issues. However, other than that being all in my head, I am a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need to rely on anyone. I own my house, I am about to buy a new vehicle, and I have a decent job where I am making more than paycheck to paycheck.

Underneath the Wonder Woman façade, I feel everything. I am free, lost, relieved, sad, excited, hurt, broken, happy, angry, and frustrated. I am dealing with imposter syndrome. I am dealing with a break up after years of living together. I am excited by new possibilities, but I am afraid of rejection. I am vulnerable and full of insecurities. I am hopeful yet still struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I know it is no one else’s responsibility to help me. I know only I can learn to cope and walk this road. I know it takes time. But, knowing all of that just makes me feel so much more alone. I feel guilty for reaching out to people who understand – I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I don’t want to sound like a broken record – same shit, different day. I don’t want to bring someone else down because I feel like hell. I feel stupid for even talking about what I’m going through because I feel like it really is no big deal especially when I know other people are going through so much worse than my little first world problems. Also, I’m confused because what I feel doesn’t align with how I think I should feel or how I think I should handle how I feel. If I remove myself from the situation, I could tell you exactly what’s wrong, what to try, and how to start working through it. So, what’s the problem?

Avoidant behavior. I am acting like nothing has happened. I do things to prevent myself from thinking too much, and I spend time with people who I do trust but not enough to completely let go around. I am ignoring the desperate need to breakdown and let go. Why? Because it’s easier than dealing with everything. I don’t want to fall apart alone because I miss being held and comforted, which only emphasizes the loneliness and spirals me down even further.

But, you know what? Life goes on and stops for no one. So, if I don’t have time for this – for me feeling sorry for myself, how can I expect anyone else to have time for it – for me.

Who are you today?

I’m not sure. Would you believe things got worse in the time since writing that. I feel like I’ve lost so much self-confidence and self-acceptance that I find it incredibly difficult to trust myself. I have fallen into periods of being depressed and painfully numb. I’ve gone through many anxiety and panic attacks. I still haven’t been able to really focus consistently at work, and I feel like I’m barely doing the minimum to get by. I hit a point where I felt like I lost everything about me. I haven’t even been able to cry in months, and I want so desperately to experience what’s in my pinned tweet with someone I can really trust – “What I wouldn’t give for a wall-breaking spanking, the cathartic release kind of crying, and some “it’s okay – I’ve got you” aftercare, followed by some restful sleep…”

Last week was the first time in a long time where I felt a little hope in the darkness. I held on to that hope and wrote my first blog entry in four years. It’s time to start sharing my story, to try new things, and to continue recovering.

I want to take a moment to thank many of you for the encouragement you have given me since I took these small steps both here and on Twitter. Your support and kindness mean so much to me. ❤️

Forever and Always

I used to write stories of events that actually haven’t happened outside of my head.  These were usually stories of things that I might have liked to have happened…for instance, if I wanted a conversation to go a certain way between Tom and myself, then I would make up a dialogue and scene to go with it. After reading it, Tom would understand where I’m coming from a little better and then we could have a conversation about it. This is one of those stories.


“Come with me.” Your expression tells me I shouldn’t argue, and you hold out your hand expectantly.

I’m not exactly sure what to think. Slowly, I reach out and you take my hand. You turn and you pull me toward our bedroom. You take me to the bench at the end of our bed and sit down before pulling me over your lap. Lots of emotions are running through my head – anxiety, excitement, slight confusion, and yes, even a little fear.

You rest your left hand on my waist and your other hand starts caressing my bottom. “I think it’s time for a change. You haven’t had quality time over my knee in a while, so I’m going to change that.”

“Umm…” You pop my bottom hard three times, but they don’t really make much of an impression as my jeans are still on.

“All I want to hear from you right now is, ‘Yes, Sir.’”

“Yes, Sir,” I reply quietly.

“Stand up for a minute.” You unbuckle my belt and undo the button on my jeans. Then, you slide them down to my ankles and tip me back over.

You start spanking in a light and playful manner at first. A couple of minutes go by before you say, “I know you miss this.” I nod even though it wasn’t a question. “Lift up a bit, My Love.” He slides my panties down and massages my cheeks. “You aren’t even pink, yet. Let’s try to fix that.”

You start spanking again but harder this time.  Another minute or two passes.

“You don’t blog or talk about this as much anymore. Why do you think that is?”

I just shrug my shoulders. The next volley comes hard and fast from your strong hand. “Yes, you do know.”

You pause to grab something behind you. I don’t know what it is, but I have a feeling that I’m about to find out. Smack! “Oh!” It’s definitely made of wood.

Smack! “I think you’re afraid, but I’m just not sure what you are afraid of… Are you afraid of me?”

Smack “No! Ow!”

Smack! “Then, what are you afraid of?”

Smack! “I guess I’m afraid of getting hurt.” You pause and I can tell you are wondering if you are hurting me now.

Rubbing my lower back, you ask, “Does that mean you don’t trust me anymore? That you don’t trust me not to hurt you?”

“I do trust you…I just feel that it’s been so long since we’ve played that maybe my pain tolerance isn’t what it was and you may not remember that I’ll need a warm up. Also, I don’t always want to put any expectations on either of us when it comes to playing. And, I really don’t know how to tell you exactly what I want when I’m not sure myself.”

You start rubbing my bottom again which is starting to feel really good. “I guess it’s just become easier to not say anything whether it’s online, in a journal, or when we’re talking. I know I don’t want this to become repetitive to where either of us get bored….and I don’t want it to always be predictable.”

“Like this?” My rear is met with a quick few swats.

“Mhm… Sometimes I would like a spanking to be for fun or be more serious or be for naughty reasons. Sometimes I’d like more of a warm-up and/or more aftercare.” You throw in three hard and fast swats for each cheek.

“Guilt! Guilt is another reason. I feel guilty for wanting all of this in the first place. I know it isn’t easy for you. I think about spanking a lot and see lots of opportunities for it, but I know you mainly associate it with love making. I don’t want to burden you with something that I think I want…it’s not a need after all.”

You pause again, “Do you like giving blow jobs?”

“You know I told you that I used to hate giving them.”

“But you give me head and do it quite well for someone who can’t stand it. Why do you do that for me?”

“Because I love you and because I know you enjoy it.” You pick up the brush or paddle, again. “Oh! Ouch!”

“Exactly, so what makes you think I wouldn’t do the same for you and for the same reasons?”

“Yikes! Because… I know I’m not worth the effort!” My eyes start watering.

“That’s it. Stand up and look at me.” With tears in my eyes, I slowly look up at you. You hold my face in your hands as you look back at me. “I love you with all my heart. You mean the world to me. You need to stop thinking so badly of yourself.” You pull me in close for a firm hug that makes me feel protected.

“I want you to spend a few minutes in the corner in the hallway by our bedroom door. Put your hands behind your back holding your elbows, feet apart, and forehead against the corner. I’m going to fix the bed and then I’ll come get you. I am sorry that this year has been so rough on us and especially on you. I know it may  not have seemed like it, but I need you to know that I’ve never stopped loving you. I want to be here to love, cherish, and protect you forever and always. Use this time to think about what I’ve said.”

“Yes, Sir,” as I turn to obey, he smacks my retreating rear.

…to be continued.

What do you do when you feel embarrassed, guilty, and ashamed of what you want?

I don’t mean when someone else has called you out or is making you feel that way. I’m talking about feeling embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed before you even open your mouth. I went into last weekend thinking that I was probably going to breakdown and cry at some point. I was feeling emotional (PMS) and felt like I just needed to cry. Well, we went to drop off my step-daughter and had a pretty good weekend which means I never actually had the opportunity or catalyst to cry. We are by ourselves again, so we’ve been taking advantage of the alone time by getting in some fun spankings and making love. We’ve also been taking turns playing a video game which has also been fun, but for some reason I’ve been feeling pretty bummed out since yesterday.

The birth control pill I take usually has me wanting sex more often than normal during the week after my period. That has been me this week. For some reason the combination of wanting more sex and still feeling like I need to cry has me thinking about spanking, or rather being spanked, a lot right now. In recent weeks, I have unconsciously backed off of reading blogs and stories as often as I was because we’ve been busy. We helped Tom’s brother move, we had his daughter with us, and I’ve had to change my hours at work to something more normal (was 6am-2pm and I ate while working, now it’s 7am-4pm with an hour for lunch). I’m still trying to get used to the new routine which is proving a little difficult as it is a change. Also, my attention span or concentration ability isn’t what it used to be especially during the last hour of the work day.

Anyway, you may be wondering how any of this relates to my original topic in the header, “What do you do when you feel embarrassed, guilty, and ashamed of what you want?” It seems with my sudden increase in thinking about spanking, I am also feeling all those things that we tell each other not to feel. I feel embarrassed to talk about being spanked because I don’t know how to explain it. I feel guilty because on top of everything else on Tom’s plate, I want him to take me over his knee if I do or don’t do certain things. I feel ashamed because I’m a damned adult and shouldn’t want to be spanked in the first place.

It’s funny. I thought I had accepted myself. I was even beginning feel like I didn’t need spankings at all. It’s just so frustrating when you can’t explain what you are feeling and why you feel that way. I also don’t want Tom to feel like I’m complaining and that what he is doing isn’t good enough because he loves me and is stepping out of his comfort zone to spank me. I am definitely grateful for what he does and the effort he puts into trying something different for me. And, I don’t blame him when I feel out of whack. After all, I’m the one with the odd kink, not him. Even I think I’m crazy for wanting to be spanked sometimes. (sigh)

Finding a Balance

When I was little (eight or younger), I’ve been told I was a very brave and outgoing little girl.  Then, we moved from upstate New York to the South.  That’s when I became who I remember – shy and reserved, but still independent and strong-willed.  Not to say there is anything wrong with the south, but to a young girl it was definitely a culture shock.  Remembering back, I was always very good at holding my own with the boys.  They couldn’t bully me and I could keep up with the best of them. With other girls, it was a different story.  I couldn’t stand up for myself and was bullied most of my 6th grade year by girls who were friends before and after that year.

Fast forward a few years and I no longer had a problem with bullies and even developed a few friendships with other girls who were more like me – tomboys, wore jeans and t-shirts, and played video games.  I also joined the band and fell right into several leadership positions over the years.  I remained rather quiet and reserved, yet through being a leader and doing well in school, my confidence in myself started to grow and I became more outgoing again.

In college, I had to work harder to keep my grades where I wanted them and I used band as a break to keep me sane.  Eventually I did have to let go of band because of the ton of time it took up.  During summers, I interned at NASA and was beginning to think almost anything was possible.  That dream lasted until I came back for what should have been my graduating year.  I had just broken up with my then long-term boyfriend and returned to college to start the two most difficult classes I had ever been in.  At some point during the quarter, I truly believed I was going to fail both of them.  I couldn’t drop/withdraw from either of them because I would fall under full-time hours, so I was stuck.  By some miracle, I managed to just pass one of the two classes, but miserably failed the second one.  I know some people think, “No big deal just try harder next time,” and although that is exactly what I ended up doing, I was devastated.

So, why am I bringing any of this up?  Because I changed that day. Maybe I became more realistic.  I lost that childhood belief that you can do anything. My self-confidence took a major hit.  Suddenly the world got very small and I realized you can’t do anything.  When it came time to take the class again, I literally had to drop everything to pass it.  The class average was in the 60’s and I was hovering just above it.  This was the only thing left to graduate, so I threw all my time at it.  The final came around the week before graduation and I was probably never more prepared for an exam.  I handed it in and felt pretty confident.  I passed the final with an 88 B and passed the class with a C.  Great, right?  Nope, not to me.  I gave it my all but what I found out was, the professor made the final easier so that unless I (and the one other student who had to re-take it) really had absolutely zero grasp on the class, I could definitely pass it.  What does that tell me?  That I really don’t know much beyond the basics and it’s like the professor didn’t even have much confidence in me.

With little to no self-confidence, I took a job in town where I knew it would be relatively safe in that they wouldn’t expect the moon from me.  I gave up on doing anything more challenging and gravitated away from anything that made me directly responsible for anyone or anything else.  It’s been 2 years and 9 months since I started working full time.  I have grown a lot, made mistakes, and am slowly gaining confidence in my work-related capabilities.

At home, my confidence is all over the place.  One minute I’m very sure of myself, the next I feel like I don’t know anything.  My fiancé tells me it’s like I’m walking on eggshells around him.  He says that it almost seems like I fear him and it’s preventing me from communicating with him.  I’ve thought about it, and I think the problem is that I want to avoid confrontation.  I don’t just say what’s on my mind because I don’t want to feel judged, rejected, or ignored which can all lead to hurt feelings and confrontation.  Has he done this?  It’s not like it is ever on purpose and it is usually never the intent, but every time it happens, my self-worth takes a hit albeit a small one.  I probably just take things too personally.

Another issue we are trying to overcome has to do with my parents.  I am caught in the middle.  Most of the time I feel like I’m doing a decent job of it, but then sometimes things blow up.  There are too many people trying to control everything.  I’m getting better at pulling away and speaking my mind with my parents, but I honestly feel like a rebelling teenager.  They have always done a lot for me and until now have always let me stretch my wings.  They have high expectations and some days those expectations make me feel so trapped.  I think it is getting better…at least I hope it is, but it is slow going and stressful in the mean time.

Yet something else that bothers my fiancé is my tendency to blame myself for everything.  Guilt, blaming myself, goes hand-in-hand with all my insecurities.  It’s my fault, I could have done something to change it, I’m sorry.  Who would want to spank someone who feels like this?  Someone who seems this fragile and already broken?  Stepping back, I can see his point.  Keep in mind he wasn’t a spanko before I brought it up and still sees spanking as possibly hurting and maybe even degrading to the spankee.  So, when he spanks me (not for foreplay), it would be like kicking someone when they’re already down.  I don’t see it as that.

I see spanking as a way to release and refocus.  I feel I need a spanking the most when I’m already on the verge of breaking down.  The reason why doesn’t necessarily matter at this point.  All I know at that moment is that I’m hurting emotionally in my head and in my heart and I’m fighting to maintain control. A spanking at this point would be the push I need to let go of control (being held in position), release the emotional pain (tears or not), and be completely focused on the here and now (reddening bare bottom).  After all, what choice would I have if my ass is being lit up?  This view is hard for him to see as helping my well-being.  He is not judgmental about it at all, but since he cannot see it the way I see it, he doesn’t automatically think about spanking when I do or the way I do.  That leaves me feeling lost…and so I tend to mope which he absolutely doesn’t like because he thinks I’m upset with him when really I’m just confused and unsure about everything.  He really doesn’t know what I want/need from him.

Since April of this year, I’ve been writing to him in a private journal that he will read when I add new entries, but we’ve never sat down together and re-read from the beginning.  I think that might be part of the problem of not knowing what to do or try next.  In my mind, I’ve written it down so therefore we’ve talked about it and if you haven’t done anything about it then you don’t like to or don’t want to do it. However, in his mind, I read it once and then didn’t think about it again…not that I don’t care, I just didn’t think about it after reading it.  So, we have accidentally encountered a temporary impasse.  There were some pretty active feedback entries on my part in that journal and I think if we took some time to look back we might find out how to move forward. We need to work together.  He has told me that where I am weak, he is strong and where he is weak, I am strong.  Sometimes I think we forget this and rather than help each other, we work against each other. We also need to find a balance of give and take with TTWD because neither of us want to change who we are and lose ourselves in the process.

The wonders of lurking…

I’ve been aimlessly wandering through blogland recently. I’ll click on a link, usually through Bonnie’s MBS blog, and read about someone else’s experiences. I might stick around for a few minutes reading recent posts and then I’ll click on the next one and repeat the process. So, what am I doing? What am I looking for? I guess I’m just trying to gain perspective. I want to see what might or what might not be working for other couples in TTWD. I’m looking for things I might want to discuss, but maybe most of all…I’m still trying to convince myself I’m not alone in how I think, how I feel, and what I want.

I’m finding that not only do a lot of us share this desire to be spanked, but we also share a lot of other things that come with TTWD. We have the same relationship caveats, the same fears, doubts, and confusion regarding roles and expectations. I see the lulls in relationships where nothing happens and the highs where everything is perfect. I see the fear and doubt bubble up into an overwhelming sense of being lost when things are confusing – am I doing something wrong? is it enough? maybe I’m expecting too much?

Each person feels at fault when things don’t go as expected, when you both aren’t on the same page. It’s amazing that the feelings are the same whether you are the Top or the bottom – only the perspective is different. It’s all there – fear, doubt, loss of self-confidence, not being enough, general confusion. It seems that relationships in TTWD are indeed stronger and more open, but with the extreme highs, we can also experience extreme lows. It all sounds like a terrifying roller coaster of trust. So, the questions are…what do you want? Can we compromise when we don’t agree? Is it worth it?

How will you know any of those answers if you don’t communicate?

I know it’s easier said than done. I’m not writing/typing this for all of you because I magically know all the answers. I’m actually talking about this for me because I don’t have all the answers. I still don’t know what exactly it is that I want, I’m not sure what it is that I need, and I have no idea what the difference is between what I want vs. what I need or how to communicate any of it effectively.

It all works so seamlessly in my fantasies, but even I’m not the same person in my fantasies as I am in reality. Role playing doesn’t work for me because I have never been able to act like someone I’m not. I’m not the college student with bad behavior problems, I’m not the secretary who makes an abundance of typos, and I’m not the naughty wife who pays bills late or flirts with random guys. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I know I am far from being perfect.

At home, I can think things to death before coming up with an answer. I am the type of person who will drop everything to help someone else. I lack self-confidence in many things I do. I’m shy about what I want and unsure about what I need. I fear the unknown and too much change makes me nervous. At work, it’s another story. I project confidence and do what’s needed to get the job done. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask someone. If they don’t know, then I’ll research and discuss any issues with the customer.

How can I be these two very different people? I don’t even know when the switch occurs. When I get home, the change isn’t immediate, but it definitely leaves me feeling lost and confused. I just don’t know what to expect.

Am I submissive? I know I act like I am, but it really depends on the situation. Do I want him to be the only one in control? Sometimes, but not all the time. Sometimes I want to have fun. Sometimes I want to be punished (for what I have no clue). Mostly I want him to know what I want and to be able to give it to me.

I found you.

-- Just so everyone is on the same page. A majority of the dialogue from the following story has come directly from discussions my fiancé and I have had, however, the actual scene and how it plays out with spanking involved has not happened.  Maybe it will eventually and I really hope it does. At the moment, we still have a couple of guests so we aren't back to normal just yet. --  
With a sigh, I slump down on the couch. I'm feeling restless.  I want to get up and do something, but then again, I don't feel like doing anything at all.  I turn on the TV and start channel surfing hoping to find something, anything to distract me.  Alas, over a 150 channels and nothing has even remotely piqued my interest, so I just randomly pick a channel.  I stare at whatever is playing but I'm no longer paying attention.  I drag myself off the couch and decide to start a load of laundry and do the dishes...I might as well be constructive while I mope. 
When I'm done with the dishes, I return to the couch feeling just as restless as I had earlier.  At that moment, I hear the love of my life open the door.  As he rounds the corner into the living room, I quickly put on a smile after all he's not why I'm in a mood and I am happy to see him.  He returns the smile and asks, "How was your day?" 
I reply, "Mm, all right I guess."  I mean nothing unusual happened.  It was just a normal day, except for this depressing cloud that seems to hovering around my head.  "What about your day?" 
He sets his paperwork down on the countertop and joins me on the couch.  He starts to show me photos on his phone of the progress he is making at his current remodeling job.  After a few moments, it becomes apparent to him that I seem distracted.  He asks, "What's the matter?" 
With a shrug, I reply, "I don't know.  Just feeling restless...and depressed." 
"About what?" 
"Not a clue," I sigh.  It's just the same old worries and fears but a different day.  Why bother mentioning it again? 
He looks at me carefully and says, "You cannot look this gloomy and not know what's wrong."  Jokingly, he adds, "Don't lie to me." 
Suddenly defensive, I argue, "I'm not lying to you."  Then, knowing full well what I'm about to do, I scathingly add, "If I knew, I'd damn well tell you!" 
As soon as I shut my mouth, guilt (from lashing out) and doubt (from being unsure if I really wanted to go where this was inevitably heading) join the mix of emotions running through my head. I used to just not say anything at all and keep everything inside, but that would lead to me shutting down and not talking about it ever.  Now, I find myself reacting verbally first without thinking so that we can try to deal with things (attitude and all) in the moment.  Why can't I just talk? 
I look away and try to calm down while he watches me.  He can see I'm frustrated and upset.  His demeanor changes.  He takes control of the situation.  "Before we let this conversation turn into another pointless argument, I think I owe you a long and thorough spanking." 
Long and thorough? I figured on a spanking for my current attitude, but somehow I don't think we're on the same page.  I voice my confusion, "What for?" 
"For what we talked about the other day after our last disagreement and what you have blogged about a few times. You have repeatedly mentioned a fear of rejection and a fear that I'll just get up and leave.  I've decided to start handling those concerns right now.  I intend to do my best to make you realize that 1) I will not reject you and 2) I'm not going anywhere.  I've tried telling you, but that just doesn't seem to get through to you."
My heart starts pounding.  After a pause and no response from me, he adds, "Bring me the spanking buddy and the hairbrush." 
I hesitate.  He says, "I would hurry up if I were you.  Otherwise, I'll go get them and I'll add the big wooden paddle to the list." 
I get up from the couch and head to the bedroom to retrieve the items.  I feel a slight excitement knowing what's in store. Even though I am hurrying, it takes a moment to find what I'm looking for since we haven't really decided on one place to put everything.  From the other room, I hear, "Since it's taking so long, bring the shorter cane, too."

I quickly find everything and return to the living room. 
He stands up, takes the implements from me, and places them on the couch.  His eyes find mine and after a moment, he pulls me into a hug.  "I love you with all my heart." 
Squeezing my arms around him, I whisper back, "I love you with all my heart, too." 
He pulls out of the hug and sits down on the couch.  "Time to lose the jeans." 
I pull my jeans down and stand closer to him.  Reaching out, he takes my hand and kisses it.  Then, he guides me facedown over his lap.  He rubs my bottom and tells me to turn my head so he can see my face.  I close my eyes and turn my head.  He asks me, "Why do you close your eyes?" 
After thinking about it, I answer truthfully, "Because I'm hiding." 
"Are you hiding from me?" 
"What are you hiding from?" 
Thinking - from being depressed and vulnerable, from fear and guilt, from doubt and pain, from you and me.  Damn, here we go again...why am I so fucking weak?!  Eyes still shut, I let out an exasperated sigh and answer, "Everything." 
"OK, let's see if I can find you."  He starts spanking me with his hand.  Slowly and gently, he works his way all over my bottom.  It feels good and doesn't hurt yet.  I appreciate he decided to start like this.  After a couple of minutes, he pauses to rub and then pulls down my panties.  The hand spanking resumes and he builds up the intensity over the next few minutes, warming me up nicely. 
He decides it's time for the spanking buddy.  The first smack is definitely more intense than his hand alone.  He mixes slow, deliberate smacks with a few in quick succession.  He continues for a while evenly darkening the pink hue of my rearend.  He pauses to ask, "How do you feel?" 
"Warm..." Spanking harder - Smack, smack, smack, smack. 
 I know your backside is warm and we certainly aren't done yet. (smack) I meant do you feel how much I love you?  Are you beginning to realize that I love you no matter what?  Do you understand that I want you to always be able to talk to me?  I accept you for who you are." 
I don't reply.  He pulls off the spanking buddy and picks up the hairbrush.  He smacks each cheek a few times to get my attention before asking, "Are you listening to me?" and follows up with two more each. 
Stubbornly, I remain silent. So he just steps it up with a flurry of three here then three there and repeat. I start wiggling and I gasp, "Yes, Sir!" 
"Good." He finds a steady, but intense rythm and begins talking while spanking.  "I have never loved anyone as much as I love you.  You push me to be a better person without even trying.  I see how much you love me in the little things you do every day.  Why would you ever think that I'm going to just leave and not come back?"  My eyes start to water. 
"Ouch! I don't know! Ow!"  He pauses. "I guess I thought you would just get tired of me one day.  That you would decide I was too clingy or too needy or that my parents are too involved in my life for you to handle.  That I wouldn't be worth the work involved to keep our relationship strong."  I start crying. 
He begins spanking again, "You are worth the sun, the moon, and all the stars combined.  You are the best thing that's ever happend to me.  Also, how could I ever reject someone who is so beautiful inside and out?  You are the most giving person I have ever met." I start crying harder. 
He pauses to rub my back and bottom, "Let it go, Baby, because, like it or not, I'm not going anywhere."  I manage to chuckle a little even through my tears. 
He tosses the hairbrush aside and picks up the cane.  "I'm going to end with 'my nine' using the cane."  I nod and he begins to work his way slowly through the nine from the top of my bottom down to my sit spots adjusting the intensity based on my reactions and making sure it hurts but isn't too much. I can't count so he has to tell me, "That was nine, Honey. Come here."  He rubs my bottom while he holds me close. I feel safe.
When my breathing returns to normal, I slowly look up at him. After wiping away what's left of the tears on my face, his eyes find mine and he whispers, "I found you."

I don’t know! Nothing! I’m fine!

Sound familiar? How often do these words actually mean what they say?  Why do these phrases seem to be the default answers when we are upset?  Come on, I know I’m not the only one who attempts to use them as quick copouts to avoid revealing the answer. Isn’t it just easier to say one of the automatic responses than expose our emotions, our vulnerability, or how needy we really are underneath the facade?  Hurry, flip the autopilot switch before you reach the point of no return and fall to pieces!

So, what could be the real answer to “What’s wrong?” or “What’s the matter?”

A possible answer could be something insignificant like I forgot something on the grocery list.  OK, so in this instance, I just feel ridiculous for forgetting whatever it was especially if it was on the list and after spending a crazy amount of time in the store.  Maybe I just don’t want to admit that I’m embarrassed; however, this could also be the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

Or, it could be that I simply had a rough day at work. My days can vary.  One day I could be managing/programming the company’s internal webpage which is not even remotely related to mechanical engineering, but I do enjoy it.  The next day I could be working on two quotes and taking care of two jobs (calculations, drawings, paperwork, etc.).  Some days just make me feel frazzled because customers are calling in, things are due, and of course everyone else is out of the office!  I know I should learn to step back and breathe.  Believe me, I used to be a lot worse when it came to work-related stress.  Even though I’ve learned how to let some things go, I can still have my rough days.

It could also be more complex like someone saying something and because of a combination of the way it was said and how I took it, now I feel very insecure and hurt.  Maybe it’s one scenario or maybe it’s just adding one more thing to the list of things that could be bugging me.  Suddenly, all those annoying little things, which might have been manageable individually, are now wrecking havoc in my head.

So, how could this play out in conversation and how could you get passed the brick wall that has been erected in an attempt to save yourself from possible rejection?  The dialogue of the automated response conversation can happen any number of ways. Here’s one version that might help me.

At the end of one of those long days…
Me: (you and I make eye contact and I look away quickly, eyes beginning to water) Maybe he won’t notice.  After all, I’m fine, right?

Him: (with concern) Honey, what’s wrong?

Me: (on the verge of tears – the dam won’t hold for long) I shake my head as if to say, “Nothing,” but don’t utter a word.

Him: Baby, I can see it all over your face. Now, what’s the matter?

Me: (a tear travels silently down my cheek) He actually cares about me – I can hear it in his voice. I can’t hide because he can see right through me.  Breaking down, I reply, “I don’t know!” (insecurities kick in) It doesn’t matter. He’s just going to think I’m being foolish.  My heart feels heavy. Why can’t I be strong enough? Why am I so needy? I feel so childish, raw, and vulnerable.  What happened to the strong, independent woman? Damn, I guess I left her at work.

Me, cont.: (glancing up at him, mind buzzing with irrational, fear-induced rambling – no, not fear of him or anything he’ll do, but fear of rejection and fear of not being worth the trouble) Please don’t leave me!  I need you…to be my rock, to pick up the pieces, to take control for a little while.  (He hasn’t moved yet.  He’s just patiently watching me.)

Him: (His hand reaches out to caress my face.) Do you need a spanking?

Me: (not looking at him) I nod.

Him: Sweetheart, come here. I’ve got you. Let me take care of you. (He reaches for my hand and gently pulls me facedown over his lap.)  It’s OK. I’m here. (His hand caresses my bottom.)  This isn’t a punishment – it’s because I love you and I want to help you.  We will deal with this together.

Me: (whispered) I love you, too.

With his hand and maybe some implements, he slowly tears down the wall, watches me relax, and whispers sweet encouragement.  He is there to pick up the pieces.  When it’s over, I’ll feel loved, cared for, protected, and cherished.  Maybe now, we can talk about what was bothering me, significant or not.  I no longer fear being rejected.  For the time being, the weight of the world is no longer resting on my shoulders.  Soon, I’ll be able to stand strong and take on the world again.

Q: But wait, did you ever answer?  What was such a big deal?

A: (shrugs with a shy smile) I don’t know…maybe I just needed to cry…

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