After morning coffee talks about sounding and scene-building and fear play (as ya do), my brain went on a rampage of building scenes for myself that would fuck with my head real bad. So I started making a list…and in that list, started finding a common theme.
For me, emotional and psychosocial masochism is the capacity for someone to know the things that I’m insecure about, pull them out and externalize them in some way, and force me to face them. So much of it is about facing fear in some capacity for me.
It’s about hearing the tapes I play over and over in my head said out loud. It’s the manifestation (or threat of) what I view to be the worst-case scenario in a situation to teach me that it’s not really that bad. Emotional masochism is, for me, a way to help emotional growth. It’s cathartic, but it’s hard. Cause fuck, you gotta know me well.
You gotta know that I despise the sound of my own writing read out loud. You have to know that I have no idea how to accept compliments. You have to know that positive things about myself are harder to accept than failures. You have to know my deeply ingrained fear of failure. You have to know how much my body responds to desire as a threat. You have to know the things that bring out irrational panic in me- and which of those you can play with and which of those are hard no’s.
But more than that, you have to understand what that means to me. Sure, I’m terrified of failure, but I fail all the time. You have to know what kinds of failure freak me out and how to draw that out. You have to know what types of writing I hate hearing, and- to some degree- understand why. You have to understand how to walk the line with my own desire that edges me to that place of panic and fear without crossing over to completely shutting down.
You also have to know who you are in relation to me. Are you someone who can push in those ways? Are you someone I trust with my resistance? How well you know me- and the chemistry and dynamics that we have- directly impact your ability to engage in emotionally masochistic scenes with me.
Man, I gotta trust you- not just with the thing you’re doing, but with whatever comes out in me. I have to trust you with my fear, with my mess, with emotional fragility. We are playing in dangerous places where we are deliberately activating a sympathetic nervous state and then forcing my body to physically respond against its instincts. If you aren’t someone I trust to be able to make sure I am actually ok afterward, we aren’t going there.
I don’t get scared often. Fear is subjective; the things that scare me or make me fall into a puddle of mess are different than they are for someone else. Again, damn, you gotta know where my buttons are with you, and whether you are someone that can push them.
Because the things that really get into my head are not only subjective to me, they’re person-specific. I might have, for example, some stuff around hearing my writing read out loud, but for one person, it might be worse if they read my erotica; for someone else, it might be worse if they read my high school poetry. You have to know who you are to me. The things that scare me with you are entirely dependent on the chemistry, dynamics, and trust that we have built.
So sure, while I can build scenes of things that would fuck with my head, I recognize, on some level, that those scenes are dependent on a lot of other external factors. These are not easy things; it’s why I don’t bottom for a lot of psychological and emotional masochism. Trust already does not come naturally to me; trusting people with this ugly, messy, insecure, terrified version of myself is immensely harder.
Because at the end of it, at the end of the silly things that make me panic, at the end of the things that are really Not That Bad, I need to know that you still see me as a strong person. As someone who can hold their own. I need to know, after you’ve seen me fallen apart and totally wrecked, that you are capable of allowing me to put myself back together. That the image of me broken is not the only thing you will ever see after that.
I’m a silly, ridiculous person, but I am not fragile. I can only trust you to see me terrified if I believe- more deeply than my fear- that you see me as a whole person outside of that fear.
Just for shits and giggles…
- do a blood draw and have me write positive affirmations in my own blood, then read them out loud to a group of people. Bonus points for critiques of undervaluing myself and making me do it again.
- point out imperfections you know I’m insecure about for 24 hours, then fuck me like it’s a chore or obligation
- read my old high school poetry out loud in the most melodramatic, exaggerated way ever
- related: read erotica that I have written about you out loud
- make me try things that I can’t visualize the sensory experience of in front of other people
- take me somewhere with glow-in-dark-stars on the ceiling; fuck me and force me to sleep there (here’s some context for this one)
- make me ask specifically and explicitly for everything I want, deliberately misinterpreting what you know I meant (within the bounds of what I literally said) until I get more specific
- ask me to write erotica specifically about you, then make me post it publicly