Thankfully, I feel much less traumatised today. I got through work okay yesterday, but as I left the building at 6 o' clock my exhaustion seemed to roll over me like a wave. I was overwhelmed by the awareness that I'd struggled through the last three days without any real aftercare; I was freezing cold, my butt had been aching all day and as I stood up from my desk the blood seemed to flow back into the bruises and make them throb all the more ... within a minute I was shaking and tears were rolling down my cheeks.
Luckily my friend J lives round the corner from my office. He is not only a wonderful man but also an experienced Dom and sometime play partner of mine, and he only had to take one look at me to know exactly what I needed. One cup of tea with two sugars and a very warm bear-hug later, I was feeling a bit more normal and telling him all about the shoot. He stayed with me for twenty minutes even though he was due somewhere, bless him. By the time he left I was back in control, and could cope with getting myself and my suitcase home on a rush-hour London bus.
The benefits of having good friends who Get It. I'm a lucky girl.
I arrived home to a very attention-deprived cat, a cold flat and a frozen water system, but Tom turned up shortly afterwards and made everything better (including my plumbing, which was above and beyond the call of duty). He gave me cuddles, made me tea and a hot water bottle, and even went out in the cold by himself to bring back takeout. I settled down to a warm cat rapturously re-familiarising herself with my lap, and an evening with nothing planned but snuggling and watching DVDs. Perfect.
I didn't even know where to start with telling Tom about the shoot, so I showed him my most recent post, and my marks. He bent down behind me, casting an appraising eye over my bottom.
"Yup," he grinned, "that's a good start."
"Impressive, aren't they? And I don't even mark much these days!"
"That's because you don't let me hit you hard enough."
My lower lip wobbled a bit at that, but I didn't say anything because I knew what he meant. I don't want the hardest beatings I get in my life to all be from other people either.
This shoot was a huge event for me. Ever since I first started making spanking films I've been aware of the hard caners: Lupus Spanking, Mood Pictures, Pain4fem. Niki Flynn is one of the first friends I made in the scene, and since hearing about her experiences with Lupus the question has been on the edge of my mind; is this something I could do?
I remember watching my first Lupus DVD with Niki and Cameron - The Noise. It's one of the ones that has an hour of story and build-up before the two brutal, swift 50-stroke canings at the end. It also taps into one of my favourite kinky narratives, that of the human spirit flourishing in an oppressive regime - and, naturally, the human body being severely punished for the rebellion. I had my heart in my mouth for most of the film, particularly the prologue and the part leading up to the caning, where the girls look through the record books of previous punishments, full of clinical and grisly "before" and "after" pictures.
I didn't find the actual caning in The Noise erotic. I watched with a mixture of detachment and horrified fascination. My natural reaction when faced by something sensationalistically awful is to withdraw, to watch it with more curiosity than emotional engagement. But the fear and anticipation beforehand? That was hot.
I'm still not sure if I'd like to work with Lupus. I love the richness and detail of their films, I love their political narratives and sense of humour, and after Pain4fem I'm pretty sure I could take it. But I'm still not sure. For one thing - and this may make me sound mercenary but it's a practical concern - their fee isn't really high enough to cover the amount of time I'd need to take off work afterwards. Pain4fem pay by the stroke, which adds up to more than my usual rate over two days (even after paying an unexpected 45 excess baggage charge!). I'm grateful for it, because I think I'll need to spend a fair amount of the next week processing the experience and writing about it. And, of course, I'm not going to be able to model again until I've healed.
If my plans this year come off and I start filming my own material, then it doesn't really make sense for me to be marked for six weeks unless the resulting film is one of my own.
So this caning was a huge milestone for me. It's something I've been eyeing from a distance for years, wondering if I can do it. I'd like to work for Pain4fem again, and they've invited Amy and me back in the autumn if we're interested. But after that, I doubt I'll push myself to this level unless I'm producing the film myself. And I think that's going to be Tom's only opportunity to take me this far while I've still got a career in spanking.
Even then, submitting to this level of caning from him would be a hugely different experience. It wouldn't be brutal. He wouldn't want me screaming and yelling in outrage, or crying and miserable. We might be on camera, but I think he'd still want it to be deep and true and connected. I think he'd still want to make me fly.
This experience was nothing like that. I was doing this entirely for myself. Peter is lovely, professional, and an extremely accurate top, but there was no intimacy shared between us. Not even the friendly, flirty connection I enjoy when working with tops like Paul Kennedy or Stephen Lewis. During the caning I wasn't responding to Peter; my emotional landscape was wholly internal. Apart from encouraging myself to be brave with thoughts of Tom, I wasn't submissive and I wasn't giving anything to anyone.
That fact allowed me to immerse myself for the first time in the more brutal range of my fantasies. My character was sullen, angry, rebellious. I had to sit and watch Amy's caning on camera, which I didn't want to do - I wanted to wrap up warm and sip a drink and recover from the 15 fierce lashes of the singletail I'd just received on my back. I know that people watching spanking films want the girl watching a punishment to react with horror, fear and anticipation written on her face. Well, I was tired and I wanted a break, and my character intended to give her tormentors as little satisfaction as she could. And, as I said earlier, emotional detachment is my natural response anyway to watching something deliberately traumatic. So I hugged my knees and stared blankly into space, trying to block out the cracks of the cane and Amy's impressively hysterical weeping. Curiousity got the better of me a couple of times, when we paused between takes, and I wandered round to get a look at the welts, which were long and red and angry-looking. But once Amy's punishment started, the dread which had been eating at me for days had fled. I just wanted to get it over with.
So I wasn't submissive during the caning. I broke, after a few strokes; I had no desire to brazen the whole thing out even if I could have, and I'd decided to let my willpower crack at pretty much its own pace. I wasn't performing for anyone. I stared straight ahead of me between strokes, and found it extremely difficult to interact with anyone when they paused filming to give me a break. I didn't yelp, I yelled - or, on the hardest strokes, screamed with rage and pain. And I got to fully immerse myself in the kind of truly brutal, miserable, unfair punishment I've fantasised about my whole life.
I don't think I could ever achieve that space with Tom; our dynamic is too loving. This caning was cold and hard and clinical and I took it in isolation. That was a massive part of the experience, for me, and I don't think I'm going to want to re-live it more than once or twice.
I was going to tell you more details about the shoot, but that can wait for another entry. In the meantime, here are last night's Bruise Update photos:
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