I got a taste of what I needed, and my body carries the ache in mappable lines crisscrossing my skin. The soreness in my shoulders blossoming out into ameboid bruises from elbows and fists. The latitudes and longitudes of rope marks shadowed on my arms and legs. The singed lines along my stomach hair from momentary fire. Slow breath. Steady stretch. Just a taste.
I haven’t done impact in over 6 months, since I broke my face. That experience shifted the way I interacted in kink spaces, somewhat consciously and somewhat unconsciously. I’ve created spaces and ways for me to face this, but it hasn’t been the right time.
Or maybe I’ve just been afraid. Afraid of how I would react and respond. Afraid something would happen to reinjure the fractures along my cheek and under my eye. It’s changed how I negotiate. It’s changed what I am and am not willing to do. It’s changed more than just impact; it’s shifted how I play, and with whom. And I have existed like this, in a strange limbo space, for the past 6 months.
I’ve had some really great scenes in that time, especially at Winter Fire. In fact, every scene I’ve done in this time had been phenomenal. I want to hold on to a piece of that, because I really like the ways I’ve been interacting in the kink scene lately. A better sense of my own boundaries. More asking for what I want. More discernment around who I’ll play with. More analysis about how I kink, and why. What I want to let go of is the fear.
I am not a masochist, but sometimes, I need to hurt, and I never know what to do with that feeling. I never know who to go to who can hurt me the way I need to hurt, staccato thuds and slow, building pain. People who can hurt me without changing how they see me. But this time, I had the added complication of not knowing how to navigate my own fear around needing to hurt and not knowing if I could, safely.
It’s come out in writing and words, but as much as I love to write and need to do it, it’s doesn’t do much when I need to carry a sense of physical soreness. And I had to ask for this. I had to ask for impact in order to receive it, and asking for things carries its own complicated weight and backstory.
I felt the fear come out a little when I negotiated face rope; I traced the lines where the fractures were as a note so he would know. And later, when I realized the rope was slipping and pressing upward on my cheek, I didn’t panic. It was a fun, goofy, awkward tie, and he’s a friend I trust. I didn’t think twice about it when I told him the rope was slipping, and he moved it. No big deal.
But it came out again, when I walked onto the mat, having asked for this. The first hits, slow. Warmup. I felt myself sink into it and push against it at the same time. I felt the blows get harder, fists mixed with elbows. I sassed at him. Crawled to my feet each time he knocked me down. A challenge, a dangerous glint.
The first time I felt his foot connect near my ribs, my eyes turned to glass. Those sounds, were they mine? Was that noise coming from me, the gasping breaths and low moans? Why couldn’t I stand up anymore?
And when he turned me over, and made me look at him, and asked me if I was going away, I found myself fighting, the part of me that wanted to disappear and float away and come back into myself when it was over with the part of me that is wholly present when I am with him.
The latter won out. He told me to ask for it, and I did. He told me it stopped when I ended it, and it did. And in each moment, I let go of the fear, piece by piece, until I remembered why I loved this. Until I could remember what the collision of bodies, the violence, means to me. Until I could remember catharsis, the power of using my body as a shield for someone else, the price I paid for that, the price I could have paid for that, and what it means to choose it, over and over again.
I carry the lesson in and on my skin. I’m pretty banged up, but it heals. In what I choose to take as a cosmic reward, I left that scene to go smoke a cigarette and had thirty seconds of impromptu fire on the way, an unexpected treat, a reminder, a hope. Fire is still at the core of who I am, and feeling it momentarily on my skin was a good reminder, a nice culmination. Gasoline and a torch.
I remembered who I am this weekend. I remembered what I have the capacity to hold in and on my skin. I got a taste of pain my body has desperately been craving, and moments of laughter, and welcomed serendipitous encounters.
I got to see. See myself, see others, see more clearly than I have been able to in months. I got to be seen: by myself, by others, in many different spaces. I laughed. I gesticulated wildly and existed flamboyantly. I had almost forgotten the spaces I have the capacity to occupy.
I was sexy, I was on, I was happy, I was back to some semblance of myself, my head screwed on a little more firmly. It’s time to let go of that fear now. Time to carry with me what’s important, and let go of the things that are holding me back. Time to remember who I am. Time to get up off the mat.