Arlyn & Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

It’s REAL and I believe you.

Thousands of people depart to go on a cruise every single day. It’s a huge industry.

Would you want to take that seven day Caribbean cruise if you knew there was the distinct possibility that you could get off the ship and never be the same ever again? I don’t mean that the fantastic experience of seeing new and exotic places, ancient ruins and historical buildings has changed your outlook on life.

I mean you get off the ship and the world feels as though you never disembarked. The world continues to rock and sway just like the ship did, to the degree that you cannot walk a straight line and have great difficulty doing ordinary things like putting on your underpants or repeatedly bending over to do laundry.

Is this a real thing, or have I manufactured it to create a form of conflict a fiction novel?

I assure you, I’m not making anything up. I’ve created some awful tortures and gross deaths. This is so insidious that I don’t think even I could ever conjure it up.

It is called Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MDDS) and it is horrifically real. I know someone who is afflicted, and her story has inspired me to include the condition as a major underlying theme in my novel Arlyn: Adjutant & Apostle.

Many medical professionals have never heard of this, and will actually tell a patient it’s in their head. Some sufferers go to doctor after doctor, perhaps 8 to 10 physicians, before finding one who recognizes the symptoms and puts the mystery together.

Having the diagnosis does not mean it will go away, however. If you do a search for the term, you’ll find a study or two, and a website or two dedicated to educating the populace. The information is interesting but limited. The single greatest source of information, cruise lines, won’t cooperate in gathering information. Having the condition more widely known might hurt their bottom line, you see. It’s an unfortunate fact of big business to ignore that which may do them harm and hope no one notices.

The average sufferer is a woman between 35 and 55. Some may have had her period during the voyage, but the correlation is not proven. However, a girl aged 15 is noted, as is a woman nearly 70 years old. Men also get the condition, but in far fewer numbers. It also can happen from simple things like riding an escalator or an elevator, riding a train, though I did not find statistics on the frequency of those incidents. While we cannot point one single finger at the cruise lines, it’s impossible to ask an elevator to gather statistics on people who get off and the world is swaying for the rest of their lives.

If you really want to understand how horrific this affliction is, read the discussion boards. You will get a blunt and heart-wrenching view of daily life with MDDS, straight from the fingers of those who suffer it. Some have endured it for decades. Some were fortunate that it went away within a few months. It seems the longer a person has symptoms, the more likely it will be permanent.

See, there is no cure. There’s not likely to be one because there’s not enough work being done for it. There really isn’t much of any treatment either. Doctors try this drug and that drug, usually antidepressants. But if the syndrome is linked to hormones and hormonal changes (such as before, during, and immediately after a woman’s period), antidepressants really aren’t going to do much of anything.

Lying down helps some people, but makes it worse for others. People have to go to work. How can you go to work when you can’t sit up or sit at a desk? If the world is rocking so much you can’t sit up for more than a few minutes at a time, how are you supposed to drive yourself anywhere? Maybe the motion of the car might help, but that’s not certain for everyone who has the condition. Some sufferers are completely incapacitated and are disabled for the duration of their affliction. Might be half a year. Might be a year and a half. What if you’re still afflicted ten years later?

Sure, there are good days and bad days, but simply walking a curved path or watching a video of a person on a horse could change a good day into a horrible day. If it goes away, there is always the fear that it will come back again, at any time.

I was compelled to bring more attention to this vicious condition. I asked question after question of my friend, and she was as enthusiastic as I about spreading word of the ailment.

Once I felt I had what I needed, I stopped working on the last third of a book and went back to the beginning to edit in instances of the condition. I spent several days reading and finding places where it would assert itself, building slowly in frequency and intensity.

I believe I’ve created a compelling story. Certainly it is a topic not covered in any fiction book I’ve ever heard of. A search of Amazon for the name of the condition finds nothing more than album titles and a mention as a very small part of a much larger book about balance disorders.

There is an experimental treatment of subjecting a person to opposite motion from those that make them ill, with modest success; but it is years away from being available as a treatment. Then we have to talk about insurance even covering it. There is a billing code for the condition, but that says nothing about coverage.

Quite simply, there is no fiction story out there like this one.

There are, however, thousands of sufferers who have no hope for an actual cure. I cannot help them suffer less; but perhaps I can help others to understand better what those with the condition are going through.

It’s REAL and I believe you.

And you are not alone.

Arlyn: Adjutant & Apostle will be available to read on Halloween, 2017
To Purchase, Click Here

If this sounds like someone you know, please share this blog with them.

 

Winky the Blind Kitty

Winky 1 -- brighter

This little sweetie is Winky. She’s missing one eye and the other doesn’t see. She’s a young one, new to her disability and very frightened. As of this post, she’s at the Long Island Save-A-Pet.

Yesterday I took my daughter there and we handed out quilted and crochet blankets I had made.

My friend/SAP Volunteer who drove us there got this little girl out of her cage. She was so afraid that she was a fluffy lump in her bed, unmoving and uncaring. When my friend brought her out of the cage, her legs were fully pulled up, tail curled under.

She was a lost soul and I could see it. She had given up. There was no joy normally present in a kitty. There was no life in her.

I spent about two hours with this scared baby in my arms. She was so afraid she curled up in my arms and lay her head down and wouldn’t budge. My friend had been concerned she was going to try to jump out and onto the floor, but I knew she wasn’t going to go anywhere. She couldn’t see the floor to know how far down it was. She didn’t know what the room looked like to know where to run and hide. No, she wasn’t going to be going anywhere.

With the last crocheted blanket over her and my arms around her, we sat on a bench for a good fifteen minutes to half an hour while my daughter petted her face and head and talked to her. Then I started walking around with her so she could hear different rooms and smell other animals. Those ears slowly started turning this way and that. Eventually the head perked up when she heard a voice she knew, so we went to that person to say hello.

Whichever way her head turned, that was the direction we walked. We smelled numerous other kitties, but they were mostly all sleeping. It was ticky nap time.

I went to the front entry where there was another bench and sat. Within seconds, the head was up and the ears were moving and that nose was-a-goin’!

WINDOW!!!

She knew what a window was, and actively listened to the cars and sniffed and sniffed at the cool air wafting in (it had started to snow on Long Island), and turned her head toward the door whenever someone came in. She remembered there was life outside that lonely cage.

She made no motion to leave my arms but did adjust herself a couple times, pulling herself a little higher over my elbow. I was happy she did that much. Would have been delighted if she’d tried to jump down, or even just purred. But…another day. Recovery happens in baby steps and just perking her ears to actively listen and turning her head to notice noises and be interested in them was huge enough for one day.

When it came time we had to leave, she went back into her cage…and straight to the blanket my friend/SAP Volunteer had put in first. It had her scent on it. My scent as well. Familiar and comforting and hers.

When I checked on her a few minutes later, and took a minute of video, her head was still up, her ears were still up. She was so markedly better that my heart was glad for her.

Sometimes, saving a soul isn’t about throwing money at a shelter. Sometimes it’s being held close to feel the warmth and heartbeat of another animal. Sometimes it’s just being held firmly and kissed and talked to and shown familiar things.

Sometimes, it’s just knowing you’re really not alone.

Quilts for Kittehs & Puppies

I have, in recent years, been giving away all the blankets and baby sweaters, cotton caps, scarves and drawstring bags that I’ve crocheted.

I’ve given them to the Ronald McDonald House of NYC for the children. I’ve given them to a nursing home for the residents. I took my daughter to the RMH twice so she would understand what it meant to give on so personal a level.

But that second time, one of the women working there was so snooty as she was coming in the door, telling my child “That’s right you stay there” that I’ve never gone back.

And then the nursing/retirement home. I learned that one of the employees took one of the blankets I’d made. I didn’t make them for employees. I made them for residents. So no more of that.

Having this pile of fabric, I’d thought to make quilts out of it. But who to give them to? Meanwhile, I helped my daughter (now just about to be 13) to finish her first quilt. A doll-sized piece for one of her stuffed animals. And I thought to myself…self, that would be a perfect size to go in a cat carrier when taking an animal home from a rescue center.

And I know someone who volunteers at a rescue center. Save-a-Pet out on Long Island. It’s not far. Postage shouldn’t be too horrible.

EUREKA! A new passion was born.

I had some triangles already cut and was going to make myself some head wraps out of them. I pinned them together to make rectangles, sewing them on the machine, pinned them to batting and cut it out. Cut out a larger piece of purple gingham left over from the bolt I’d bought for my daughter’s big blanket (now finished and only 13 years old when I did finish it!). I used the outer edges, rolling them over and over and securing to the top/batting layers to make the finished edge. Through the machine all around to secure them and then random meanderings around the middle to create the quilted effect.

Within a day, I had four little quilts finished.

They’re too small to be of much use to people but perfect for going inside the cages. I packed them up and shipped them off. My only stipulation was that the blanket an animal had with them in the cage when they were adopted should go with them to their new home. That way, they would have something of their own, something that smelled like them, when going into this brand new world where nothing would be familiar. If their own blanket with their own smell on it was under them in the carrier, they’d be more likely to be calm during the trip home. Then at home, they’d already have their own bed, wherever it was put…or dragged. They’re highly portable for the enterprising kitty.

I received pictures last night, and video, and it seems the first batch are a terrific hit. I’m simply delighted. I can see in the videos how exciting it is for the animals. They’re playing with the blanket, tunneling under, playing catch that thing with a hand sliding underneath. Such complete appreciation for this small bit of comfort.

quilts with kitties & puppy

Now I have another three on batting waiting for backs. Eight more tops sewn together. And about twenty more pinned or rolled together ready for the machine. But I need more batting. I will be having more as soon as I finish a blanket for my proofreader. But it’ll only be enough for four or five, I’m sure. I’ll have some more when I finish a quilt for myself. But, again, only four or five blankets.

I need to buy batting. And I need to pay for postage. And then when all of these materials are used up, I need to buy more fabric, more batting, more postage.

If you would like to donate cash, I’ve set up a GoFundMe account and also have a Donate button through PayPal. You can easily access whichever you would prefer to use on the Charity Work page of my website.

If you would like to purchase materials for me, I’ve made a Crafts Amazon Wishlist with fabrics and batting. I prefer a batting that’s made of recycled bottles and the size I prefer to work with is only $15 plus shipping. And I found a bunch of high quality quilting fabrics as low as $1.49 a yard! Postage for the box with the first four was about $6. It was between 1 and 2 pounds. Projecting ahead, between 3 and 4 pounds will be nearly $8. So that will quickly add up as I continue on. My initial investment has been only that first postage because I already had the fabric, the batting, the thread; but from now on, I’m having to buy things.

It’s such a worthwhile project. I cannot afford to throw wads of cash at charities. But I can offer my hands and create some comfort for the creatures who find themselves in such an unfortunate circumstance.

PayPal — TURN ON your email notifications!

I am utterly paranoid about unauthorized charges to our debit cards. For years now, I have asked my husband about this little charge or that little charge that came to my attention through an email from PayPal. Sometimes I could figure out what it was. Once it completely ruined a Christmas surprise, but I didn’t let on. Other times, he had to tell me what the vendor was. Some have tried to get him into trouble, as the store was in one place but the address for the charges was another borough entirely.

Today, my paranoia was justified.

At about 3:30pm, I checked my email and saw a payment to a company I had never heard of for $366. None of our bills are paid via that card, and that wouldn’t be the amount anyway. Maybe he had bought something? Well, no. The company is a credit card issuer (and not a very reputable one — Credit One Bank, with many complaints), so the amount would have been to pay the bill. We don’t have any credit cards.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach my husband. His phone was turned off because he was at work. I sent messages the two ways I knew would reach him when he turned it on, and got on the phone to PayPal.

The wait was about 15 minutes, so I opted for the Call Back. Never doing that again. I pressed one to continue with the call and it hung up on me. Nope. Sitting there on hold as long as it takes from now on.

After shouting Representative into the phone about five times, I finally got hold of a human being. She was very helpful in confirming what I’d already figured out. After some hmm-hawing on my end (deactivate the card and prevent more charges but risk stranding my husband without funds, or leave the card open for him but risk more charges), I decided to deactivate the card. I could always get on a bus and go to him if needed.

You can imagine my anxiety level during this time, when there was literally nothing more I could do.

When he finally was able to text me back, shortly after 7pm, my husband confirmed my suspicions. No, he did not make any such purchase/payment, and the card was in his hand. It hadn’t been lost.

I’d made the right decision in deactivating the card.

I went to the PayPal site to start the dispute process; but since the transaction was still pending, the system wouldn’t allow me to do it. I called again, waited on hold for another six or seven minutes after shouting representative once and yes several times, and told the nice lady who answered that I was calling to report a fraudulent charge.

She was able to do it on her end, and the entire thing only took a couple minutes. They may not be able to stop the charge from going through to my bank. (Because we don’t have that amount in our PP account, it draws from the bank, which causes a delay of a day or two.) If the transaction goes through, PayPal will reimburse us and pursue getting the money back on their own end. Of course, all they have to do is get with the credit card company and see whose account was paid off, and they have the guilty party. I may never know that part, but I’m burning to know.

Certainly, I will be watching very closely over the next few days, to be sure no other transactions crop up and see this resolved.

I cannot stress enough — TURN ON EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS OF TRANSACTIONS IN PAYPAL!!!

Three years? Five? I couldn’t tell you how many years I’ve had emails coming to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been paranoid and asked my husband if he bought this or that or went here or there..

Today, that paranoia was proved completely justifiable.

And it was the email notifications that saved us.

Autographed Copies of My Books

I’m making autographed copies of my books available through Ebay!

Flat price, shipping is right there to be seen, easy payment through PayPal.

And I can write the message of your choice (within reason) for the recipient.

They’re not all up yet. I have to order a few titles to have on hand. When I am certain I have them, I’ll finish the listings.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/tao_by_tyler/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

 

Melty Mints

Melty Mints

I saw the original recipe online but the video shows an extremely inefficient method of making these and tells you to make them FAR too large. These aren’t intended to be a small cookie, but a quick bite.

I’ve not altered the recipe (except to offer suggestions for other flavors and flavor combinations). My changes are largely in the instructions.

This is a very kid-friendly thing to make together. The kids will have a terrific time rolling the mints and smooshing them into discs. Plus, mixing colors is always great fun! Using a stand mixer will allow them to add the sugar and press the button themselves. Using a hand beater, they may not be able to do much beyond the second addition of sugar…and it’s likely to be a bit messy with powdered sugar getting thrown out of the bowl. YAY!

Ingredients:

8 oz brick of cream cheese, any brand, softened
Half a stick of butter, softened (I used salted and it was perfectly fine)
2 pounds of powdered sugar + extra for on your waxed paper and for rolling
1, 1 ½, or 2 teaspoons (how strong do you want it?) of mint flavor of your choice (Peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen) – You could also use half mint and half another flavor, such as lemon, orange, coconut, chocolate, cherry. Get inventive.

Time: Initial mixing, about half an hour. At least 2 hours rest in fridge. However long it takes you to scoop and roll them into mints. Then drying time, which was six hours for mine.

Instructions:

First, be warned. A stand mixer really is best for this recipe. It gets VERY stiff and difficult to manipulate with a hand beater by the time you get halfway through adding the sugar. It stressed my little hand mixer and my 15 year old had a hard time controlling it in the bowl.

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and the butter. They must be soft or they won’t mix smoothly. You don’t want chunks of butter and cream cheese in this. If you need to, put them into the microwave for ten seconds at a time until they are soft but NOT melted.
  2. When that is nice and smooth, add your flavoring and incorporate.
  3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and incorporate. Repeat until your 2 pounds is all in the bowl. Make sure to scrape the bowl down after each incorporation of sugar.

At this point, decide what you want to do about your colors.

Coloring:

If you only want two, start with a primary, then add another primary to save yourself some work. Example, start with yellow. When it’s incorporated and even, take half out and set aside, then add blue to make green mints or red to make orange ones. If you want three or four colors, divide the dough out into mixing bowls, leaving the last portion in the mixer.

Add your color.

Use the mixer for this! Hand mixing the color in is laborious work! Make sure to clean off your mixing tool between colors. You don’t want to contaminate with colors you don’t want mixed.

Cover bowls and put in the refrigerator for at least two hours. I make the dough the night before and then roll them out the next day.

Making Individual mints:

  1. Prepare your pan. Put waxed or parchment paper into a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar all over it. The mints will stick until they are dry, so you need the sugar to stop them sticking too much. Also get a small bowl and put half a cup of powdered sugar into it for rolling. I used a square bowl so I could get a number of them into it at the same time.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Use a spoon to scoop up a small bit of dough about the size of a standard gumball. Roll quickly in your palm and drop into the bowl. Considering how many this makes, you can roll two between your hands at the same time. One in the palm and one in the fingers. I did try three, but that was not as efficient or as easy as doing two.
  4. When you have half a dozen or so balls in the sugar, swirl the bowl around to coat them all.
  5. Take the balls out and place on the cookie sheet. Use a fork (dipped in the sugar) and gently press down to make ridged lines. If you don’t want the thin lines, just press them with your fingers. You could even leave them as balls if you wanted. You don’t have to press them down at all.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until you’ve done them all.
  7. Leave the pans out so the mints can dry. At about the three hour mark, turn them over to expose the bottoms for drying. The original recipe said 4 hours total. I made them smaller and mine needed a good six hours, half of that with a small fan blowing on them, before I was confident they were solid enough to tolerate being in the container together to travel to the event I made them for.

NOTE: The discs will be white at this point because of the powdered sugar. During the drying time, they will absorb the sugar and be (mostly) the color of the dough.

The original recipe said it would make 8 dozen. The first time I made them, I ended up with over 12 dozen (around 150 mints) because I made them smaller. I want them smaller still, to be one quick bite rather than a small cookie, and will update this with my count when I make them again.

About the picture — I’m not a food stylist. I’m not going to be taking my foods to a professional photographer to get the pictures. This is what they actually looked like when I actually made them and actually took them in a container to a party.

Melty Mints

12 Lessons of BDSM

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I’m something of a philosopher. I have always been about the Why even more so than the How.

How is easy. Floggings and spankings and fucking and bringing a plate of food and a cup of tea and Yes, Master and doing my best to help him through a rough day, knowing what he needs to distract and offering myself for play whenever the opportunity <ahem> arises. This stuff has always been easy for me.

WHY can be much more difficult. Why is fraught with guilt and uncertainty, second-guessing and is this right or is it not? and should I be doing this?, am I this or am I that and?…Groups here are stuffed to the gills with the various questions of the Why.

Though the concept is not new to humanity, I learned of the 12 Lessons of Taoism through my x husband and David Carradine’s Spirit of Shaolin book.

Going through some papers on my desk, a fold with red ink inside fell in front of me. The handwritten list of the 12 Lessons I’d jotted down a long time ago and had kept in my wallet for several years after I moved here.

Reading them over, I realized how readily they applied to BDSM as practiced in the really realz world. As always, cyberplayers need not apply.

These are MY interpretations.
If you don’t like them, go make your own.

1. There are no secrets.

There are only questions and puzzles to which you do not yet know the answers.

I don’t mean you have to go ask questions in group threads and a zillion people will give you a zillion different answers and maybe have a fight over them. Not at all. You can’t trust that what you are told is truth and told by people who have real and practical experience.

I mean this stuff isn’t as mystical and magical as some might have you believe.

Anyone who has the inclination can learn and do any of this stuff, and it means for you what it means for you. Quite a large number of us have figured out for ourselves that we’re dom, we’re sub, we’re a little of both, we’re sadist or masochist…or both. Some of us find great spiritual satisfaction in what we do and others know it purely as physical pleasure and there’s nothing spiritual about it.

It is for you what it is for you. It is for you whatever it needs to be to fulfill you – THAT is the great secret.

There is no super secret society one must first join in order to learn how to flog or how to tie rope. There’s no super secret society everyone must fulfill all the requirements of before they can be called a proper submissive. That is the stuff of fiction novels.

Reality is that there is no one standard for anything. My House is run differently from your house, each according to its own needs and desires.

That is as it should be.

 

2. Follow the Heart

Let your mind have its say, of course. You cannot lose your head while pursuing this. But for a great many of us, being sub or dom resides in our heart. For a great many of us, it’s not something we consciously chose but what we evolved into as a natural course of becoming a mature adult. It is our essence and not something we’ve struggled with much.

Our heart has said “this is what you are.” We listened and accepted our innermost nature.

If it is who you are, then go with it.

 

3. Laugh at the cleverness of the Beast and the Beast will defeat itself.

I love this one. I employ it every time someone tries to insult me. I call myself a cunt, the cunt from hell, meanest bitch they’ll ever meet, thus rendering the words impotent when someone else tries to hurl them at me. I laugh at the words and the person. I laugh at myself. I mock them and I mock myself.

Those people have zero power over me and I make sure they know it.

 

4. Love, in the pain of its loss, is finally realized for the first time.

Over and over we see it. How do you get over the loss of the relationship? I can never replace the dom I had.

We rarely realize what we have until we’re about to lose it. I went through this personally when EW fell on the ice at Bryant Park in November of 2011. A little harder of an impact and I’d have been a widow. Then he was diagnosed with skin cancer in several spots on his face and shoulder and went through numerous surgeries – two of them quite dramatic.

Fortunately the cancer had not spread to the point that it needed chemical intervention. But what would I have done if he’d hit so hard that he had died? What would I have done if one of the cancers had spread to his brain and he had died?

Open your eyes and see the good thing you have and balance the good and the bad before you go chucking it out the window over a minor tiff.

 

5. Death Means Nothing to One Who Does Not Fear It

I’ve stood toe to toe and eye to eye with Death. Death backed down and I’m still alive. I don’t fear many things and I fear no person.

But I do prefer NOT to tempt Fate. You never know when she’s going to take you up on your offer.

I will never say I’m no limits. I absolutely have limits, and quite a long list of them. lol Some are there because “that’s just gross, man” and others are there because I’m not insane. But I’m not afraid to lie back for EW to do whatever it is that he feels like doing to me. I’m not afraid for him to take me wherever it is that he’s going to take me during that session.

Will it mean my death? No, of course not. No sane person is going to WANT to kill their submissive during play and no sane submissive WANTS to be killed during play.

It means I do not hesitate to put my life into his hands.

I don’t have to negotiate every time we play. I don’t have to put on a thousand conditions and limits in order to feel safe and know nothing outside of my immediate sphere of acceptability will ever be done.

Evel Knievel broke nearly every bone in his body but it didn’t stop him from getting back on the bike and jumping the next big whatever.

So a little wraparound doesn’t bother us. We go back for more beating. A little rope burn is no big deal. Next chance we get, we’re all trussed up again and loving it. The lingering sting from a quirt well-laid is a comfort we relish.

This is BDSM, people. What a lot of us do IS NOT SAFE! We are mindful of the dangers inherent in the activities in which we engage, but those dangers do not stop us.

 

6. You are your own greatest teacher.

So many ways this can be applied.

You can have ten people standing around you, teaching you how to use the flogger. In the end, you have to figure it out for yourself.

You can have a dozen people telling you that you need to do this or that in order to be a good sub or a good dom, a good whip artist, a good rope artist. In the end, you have to do the work and figure out how it works BEST for you.

You can have 100 people telling you that you’re supposed to like doing this and that and the other in order to be a valid bdsm participant. But if you don’t like this and that, then you don’t HAVE to learn it. You don’t HAVE to learn to like anything. Like what you like and learn everything you want to and everything you CAN learn about it. Blaze your own path, as EW and I have with how we go about our clothespin play.

If you’re sub and you don’t have anyone to do all those fun pleasurable things with, you can DO THEM TO YOURSELF! Teach yourself about your own body and what it likes and what it doesn’t like. There’s no need to wait around for some dom to finally show interest enough to teach you stuff. You can learn to beat your own backside, to apply the clothespins to yourself, to whip your own thighs with a quirt. To do needles on yourself and make your own designs on your own thigh.

There is this erroneous belief that everything bdsm must be a team or partner sport when that simply is not true. Let go your need to have that special One. You already HAVE that special one and he/she resides inside your own head. Let THAT VOICE be your Master and direct your hands and drive you insane with teasing and denial.

I assure you that the Master in Your Head is likely to be far more cruel than most you’ll ever meet face to face. lol

 

7. Kindness is cruelty. Cruelty is kindness.

There are a great many people around these cyberland parts who like to hold the hands of the newbies and make it all gentle and nice.

Then those people get into a real play situation and FUCK ME! It’s NOT gentle! It’s NOT nice! Damn it all to hell that paddle fucking HURTS! This is not the role playing game I thought it was.

“Butbutbut…I’m supposed to dictate everything and call it hard limits and he’s supposed to strictly stay within those lines, but he laughed at me.”

It is a cruelty to hold the hands and make it all gentle and palatable. It is cruelty to let a brand-new-never-done-a-thing-but-think-I’m-so-slave think they will have everything exactly how they want it at all times.

And it is kindness when a sadist delivers a most cruel and excruciating pleasure to the one craving that touch.

It is kindness to tell someone they’re dreaming an unrealistic and unobtainable fantasy that doesn’t happen in real life. They may not think so at the time, but eventually they come around and realize how blinded they’ve been by the ardent desires they’ve allowed to run completely unchecked. And they’ll go forth with a bit more caution and a little more wisdom.

It is kindness to inform a brand-new-never-done-a-thing-but-think-I’m-so-sub that, no, they will NOT get everything they want. Submissives do not get everything their way because theirs is a position of GIVING OF THEMSELVES to another person’s pleasures and authority.

That is the definition of “submissive” – to give authority to SOMEONE ELSE.

 

8. The Universe unfolds as it should – as it cannot help but do.

You cannot force an outcome in your favor and preferences. It doesn’t matter how hard you want something to work out. If you’re not on the same page as your partner, it’s not going to work out at all.

The Universe has its own ideas of how things should be and you can fight it all you want and not be able to change a thing.

People still get cancer. Lovers outgrow each other. New subs outgrow their first Masters. Students outgrow their first teachers.

It cannot be helped. It is as it must be.

 

9. Stop for charity, no matter the cost, and there will be benefit instead of cost. It does not matter for whom.

Define charity as you will. Issues of personal safety demand I not pull over in the middle of the night to help the guy on the road with a flat tire.

However, I would not consider all the people I’ve helped to be charity…but helping is helping whether it’s making sure someone gets on the right train or off at the right stop or donating a few bucks to the medical fund or helping them to accept the deepest, darkest reaches of their soul.

 

10. There are no prizes worth having

I find it most dismaying, this notion that a collar is a goal to be coveted. That being slave, the lowest member of any society around planet Earth, is a lofty goal to reach above all other ways of being.

If you make the collar a prize, which is more valued? The accessory or the person wearing it?

If the prize is being slave regardless of personal inclination and talent and low societal stature, then where is the value in the person as an individual?

 

11. Tie two birds together and they can fly – if they become one.

If you want to succeed in a d/s relationship (in ANY relationship, regardless of kink or d/s level), you have to both have the same goals, want the same things in life and out of your relationship.

You have to operate as one cohesive unit rather than factions fighting against each other for supremacy.

Both have to know and understand their place within the relationship and fulfill the requirements of their role. If you are d/s or m/s, one of you is the authority and the other is not. If you think the s side of that slash is the authority in the relationship and holds all the power, then you have more relationship and perspective problems than anyone here can help you with.

If the two in the relationship do not work together in harmony, if they only struggle against each other in a mini war, then both will fall.

 

12. The Ultimate Journey has no end – which is what gives it ultimate value.

Just because you’ve gotten into your most coveted and long-sought relationship does not mean that is the end of who you are and shall ever be and the end of what you will ever do.

Having obtained the relationship does not mean you can now sit back and do nothing. You both have to WORK to keep it. Work to please Master. Work to keep the sub feeling secure enough and happy enough that she doesn’t want to go off and find another Master.

We are forever in evolution. We are forever learning, whether we realize it or not. Who you are now is not who you will be in five years, is not who you were five years ago.

We take on new interests. We explore new pleasures. No relationship ever remains exactly the same from start to finish.

Neither does a person.

Dame Tyler

Excerpt from my 69 Shades of Crimson: The ANTI-Primer of Dominance and Submission, available on Amazon.

 

Soft Cup — The Grand Experiment

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get periods. I have an enemy that slowly stalks me down every month and then ambushes me for a week long siege.

Until recently, it’s gone something like this:

Day 7 to 10, twinge of pain in one side or the other. Twinge may work its way up to being an ice pick in my side and occasionally will incapacitate me so that I’m curled up in a ball over the pillows on the sofa and pumped full of Advil and Tylenol until it’s over.

I call this little slice of heaven ovulation.

If it happens on the left, it’s usually a day or two early and means it will happen again on the right in a couple days. YAY IT’S TWINS!!!

Then about a week and a half later, my tits will start to get tender. That’s the polite term, of course. What they really do is ache so badly it hurts when they bounce while I walk. Touching them? No, not a good idea. Beat me all you want, honey, but please don’t touch the boobies.

It gets worse as that week wears on, the monthly enemy stalking ever closer.

Some months, I can feel early cramping. There’s no blood flow, but my uterus has decided to clench and not let go. Could be just a day or so ahead of time. Or could be four days of misery.

Day 21 after the last day of my previous ambush, the monthly enemy has found me! Fresh ambush and siege that starts off relatively light that first day. Day 2 of the bleed, the monthly enemy has found the dam and destroyed it. The Niagara Falls of blood has arrived along with enough pain to put an elephant on it’s knees.

I once took 5000mgs of Tylenol in one day and it didn’t TOUCH my pain. Just made me sick.

“Lose weight” someone typed at me when I typed this. Idiot. I weighed 110 pounds at the time. How much MORE weight did they want me to lose??? Weight is not a factor in how much pain I have. It’s been like this since I was 12, thank you very much.

“Go take a walk,” someone else always suggests. Yeah…no. If I can barely stand up to go to the bathroom ten feet away, what MAKES YOU THINK I’m going to make it down (and back up) three flights of stairs? So that exercise thing never does fly with me. Maybe it works for other people. Not me!

I have to use those Super Plus tampons during these middle days. And I’ll blow through one in about two hours. “EIGHT HOURS OF PROTECTION” the commercial says, and I laugh my fucking ass off. I have to make sure to wake up in the middle of the night to change the thing at least twice. They don’t MAKE a super plus that is PLUS ENOUGH for me.

“Use pads” someone says. Yeah, I have ’em. Put one in the panties when I’m going out in case I don’t get to a bathroom in time to change the plug. Wear one at night in case I don’t wake up in the middle of the night. Gotta beat the morning gush to the bathroom otherwise.

I’ve read things that say the entire monthly output averages about two ounces of blood. Two ounces? For the WHOLE THING? Seriously? Does anyone here have that little?

I could weigh one of those super plus from Day 3 and I betcha it’ll be two ounces all by itself. Times one every two hours that I’m awake. No wonder I crave rare steak. lol

Somewhere around day 5 of the bleed, the entire uterine liner will shed and the Niagara Falls spigot closes about 75% of the way. YAY! I can use “Regular” tampons now like a “regular” chick and not have to worry about exploding all over my pants.

Day 7 of the bleed and we’re done. Next day starts as Day 1 of the 1 to 21day hunting expedition and the whole thing begins all over again.

This was such a regular and dependable system for 20 years that I planned our wedding six months in advance.

But the last couple years…things have been changing. Some I don’t mind. Others I’m not liking at all.

Ovulation isn’t waiting until day 7 to 10. Sometimes I can feel it the third or fourth day after I stop bleeding. This will throw the entire thing off, because it means I may start around Day 17 instead of Day 21. This puts a monkey wrench into a bunch of things. Will I start to get tender around Day 14 this month? Or might I just pink a bit on Day 17 but not start full until Day 19? If so, does day 17 count as Day 1 of the bleed? Or does it count when it starts the fuller flow on the 19th day? So now that whole last week from Day 17 to Day 21 is a watch’n’wait game of cat and mouse with my monthly enemy.

The flow itself is also changed. It may take two days before the dam breaks. And the liner might shed two days after that. And then I’m down to nearly nil by day 5 instead of day 6 or 7. And I mean nearly nil. Those last couple days, I might be so light that I don’t even need a tampon. Talk about a revelation!

So the supplies I’d have been burning through every two months…have been sitting there for three or four. At this rate, the pads I have on hand might just last me the rest of my menstrual safari.

At Rite Aid last month, I stood on the “NO MEN!” aisle and looked at this little pink box. Soft Cups they’re called. I had previously researched the Diva Cup http://www.divacup.com at one point, looking for a cost-effective alternative to tampons and pads. So I knew what I was dealing with. All those doubts cropped up again.

I have short fingers and rather a long channel. Will I be able to get it in? Will I be able to get it out??? Will it make a spilled mess when I take it out? Is it worth the price? For the Diva cup, you not only need the cup, but they want you to buy their soap as well. What a mess that would be if I was in a public restroom. I could just see people freaking out that I was washing this thing in the sink. (I think about these things.) Not to mention the horror stories of women who have forgotten they were wearing the thing and remembered days later, and walked out of the doctor’s office with a fist full of prescriptions for the infections.

So then I’d need two. Put one in a baggy to wash at home, put fresh one in. That’s $80 instead of $40. With two $7 boxes of tampons now lasting me up to four months each, the price of the Diva cup is no longer economically viable, even if all my other concerns were negated.

But here on the top shelf of the “NO MEN!” aisle was a little box with 12 disposable cups. Soft Cups — http://softcup.com/

I was wishing there was a smaller box with only four or six in it, so I could give a trial run. I’d not have hesitated if I was only spending about three bucks. But what if I bought the nine dollar box and it turned out to be a disaster just as I had been concerned all along? What if I didn’t spend the money and they could be the greatest thing since sliced bread?

I bought the tampons. Better the devil you know.

Then here I was about to start my period literally any minute and having to go to a party. I didn’t want to start at the party and maybe have a little yuck to deal with. But it’s not healthy or safe to wear a tampon when you’re not bleeding. The cups would be perfect for this kind of situation – one that is happening nearly every month at this point, since the start of my bleed is perfectly aligned with the second party of each month.

Another little joke by Mother Nature, thank you very little.

So I showed the box to EW. I laid out all the pros and cons, my concerns about all of it right down to the cost. Maybe a ten dollar mistake isn’t that big a deal to most. But I rarely ever buy myself anything.

In true EW form, he got out a coin. Heads buy it, tails don’t. He flipped. The coin said buy it. So I did.

I didn’t start that night. In fact, early this morning, feeling that dull ache low in my belly, I remembered that we just had the time change. It’s Spring. My bleed is always a couple days late that first cycle of Spring. I showed pink this morning. Not a lot. Just a tinge. Not enough that I want to put in a tampon. So I got out the box. Looked at the side. It was in French. I turned the box around to the other end. Did the best I could and it seems I may have done it correctly. Or correct enough. lol When I wipe, I don’t see blood, so nothing is getting past it at the moment.

When I sit on the toilet, I can feel the edge of it with my finger, so getting it out may not be the problem I had been concerned about.

Softcup Experiment #1, Day 1
So far so good.

Experiment Day #2 – Now I remember why I never liked non-applicator tampons

I have never enjoyed sticking my finger into an ooze of warm gooey blood, mucus and uterine lining.  I don’t like cleaning that blood out from around my fingernails either.

So last night, as I had posted, I had given up on the soft cups.  I even wrote the company to complain about the money I spent and the three pairs of pants that are soiled that would not have been if I’d just used tampons.

As the night went on and I was thinking what could I do to change the experience and make a positive out of it, and maybe even a success?

While getting ready for bed, I got an idea and went and looked at the box. I looked at one end…and turned it around to the other because the first end I look at is always the one in French. I squinted my fuzzy vision and examined the pictures.  Nope, I was putting it in correctly.

But…what if I turned it upside down?

See, putting it in open side up put the leading edge at the bellybutton side of my vagina.  When I turned onto my tummy, the gap happened and leakage occurred.  So if I turned it upside down, when I pushed in the end, it would be at the tailbone side of my vagina.  On my tummy would be safer.  On my sides should be perfectly fine as well.

So that’s exactly what I did.  And the night was just fine.  Not a problem.

I got up in the morning and took it out (see that top paragraph again) and was not happy with the mess AT ALL.  I’d hoped to be able to get under the rim, like the picture shows.  But not having talon-like fingernails, that just doesn’t work for me.  I have to get it around the top edge to create suitable leverage to drag the thing outta me.

(big sigh)

Wiped clean, fresh cup inserted upside down to continue the experiment, and I go about my morning of getting coffee and firing up my twelve places I get email messages at. (I’ve tried periodically to whittle it down, but it does NOT work.)

So there I am at the desk when I feel that tell-tale warm gurgling.

(Insert string of favorite epithets here.)

A fourth pair of pants soiled.  Man, am I glad I have so many pairs of black leggings and stretch pants!

Furious, I practically ripped the thing outta me and couldn’t get the tampon up there fast enough.  Clean pants on <note to self, do laundry> and here I am banging this out to you as the conclusion to my little experiment.

Softcups may work for other people and be a minor miracle to their lives.

I, however, am sticking with tampons from now until menopause-come.

A New Take on the Spoons Thing

There is this explanation about living with chronic exhaustion, that each day we have a set number of spoons and every activity takes spoons away.

It’s a very good and basic way of helping someone to gain a little understanding; but it doesn’t really grasp the pervasiveness of chronic exhaustion and pain.

The story starts with the woman holding out a dozen spoons for the day and asking her friend how to start the day. “Take a shower,” the friend says. But what about getting out of bed? asks the person holding the spoons.

Stop right there, says I.

Back up a step.

You woke up. You have to sit up and leave the bed.

Let’s take inventory in that moment, with your head on the pillow, having not moved yet. How many spoons are you holding at that very moment? How many spoons did you wake up with to begin the day?

Twelve may not seem like very many, but I sometimes wake up with zero spoons.

Imagine what it feels like to wake up with no spoons, with no energy to even sit up and get out of bed. I lie in bed for fifteen minutes trying to gather up one spoon to get up and go to the toilet. Or maybe I’m lying there for half an hour just to gather up a spoon in order to sit up in bed and gather that one to go use the toilet. It sometimes takes that long for the wooziness in my head to fade so I’m not dizzy when I get up to walk.

So how do I manage an entire day when I’m starting with nothing?

One task at a time with sitting to rest between. Once I’m mentally awake enough, I can start doing things with a little more gusto; but I still have to pace myself. If I’m going out on errands, I have to plan those errands for the least amount of walking and standing possible. I have to plan my purchases, or text home for someone to come down and help me carry things up the stairs. If no one is home to help, I have to pare down the heavy items and ask my husband to buy them and bring them home. Half a gallon of milk might be too heavy when added to everything else I’ve bought.

I remember one time when I was about 19 and working at a convenience store. An elderly woman asked me to carry the half gallon of milk to her car for her. She had osteoporosis and couldn’t carry it that far. At home, she had someone to help. I remember thinking how terrible it must be to not have the strength to carry half a gallon of milk. Here I am, understanding that feeling all too well.

When I get home from grocery shopping, I have a choice. Power through and get the groceries put away, or sit for five or ten minutes before doing that.

Making supper means breaking up tasks and sitting to rest between them, timing the meal more carefully.

Going places means plotting out my best commute and taking into consideration how many steps I have to walk up or down and at what point. Better to have fewer steps at the beginning so I’m not completely exhausted when I arrive. More steps on the way home is usually unavoidable, but more of them are downward rather than up, so it’s a little easier.

Everything is an effort.

I remember the strong workhorse I used to be. The workhorse I was just a decade ago.

I miss her.