Last Night at Crowbar: A Painful and Necessary Bout of Therapy

As I rolled over to catch a few more moments of sleep this morning, my body greeted me with a chorus of pain.  After hearing from the unnumbered welts, scratches and bruises liberally distributed across my body, memories of the night before came flooding back.

I went to Crowbar, a play party in Seattle catering to trans-masculine folks of various identities, and the people who appreciate and love playing with them. I headed up from Olympia, carpooling with a friend, anticipating a heavy scene with Neighbor Femme.

I had been undecided about going to Crowbar until late last week.  My schedule has been chock full of activities, mostly extroverted in nature, and I wasn’t sure I had another public night in me.  Emotionally, I’ve had rough waters to navigate, bottling a lot up, shoving it down, determined to handle my feelings mostly on my own and only opening up to a choice few others.  I think it was about Thursday when I asked NF if she was going (of course, she was) and if I could get some of her time that evening.  It had been two and a half months since my last beating, and my body and head craved it.  My emotional state was a concern, so I made sure she was up for the likely waterfall of tears that would be unleashed.

Turns out, ‘waterfall’ was an understatement.

I almost thought I was going to lose the opportunity for a beat-down when I entered the play space with decidedly messed up energy and attitude.  NF took one look at me and said “You’re a fucking mess” and she was not wrong.  Neighbor Femme had her own ideas about how to meet my needs, having recruited my carpool buddy and a very tall, blonde, scary top to assist her, one of the Tall Ladies mentioned in an earlier post.

I was jumpy, antsy, not fearful at all.  In fact, thinking back, I’m pretty embarrassed at the disrespect I was showing..  It’s a problem, you realize, having no fear while waiting for one sadist and surrounded by others?  Two of the meanest tops in the room came to stand near me, well, not just near, they were nearly pinning me between them, a quarter of a step closer and I would have been a sub sandwich.  They asked if I was afraid with them so close, I said no.  Now, you need to understand, I’ve seen these two work and that was not the right answer at all.  Not. At. All.  For all I knew, NF had arranged some sort of surprise for me, I could have been in a world of hurt with those two in a hot minute. The more temperate part of my mind couldn’t get the rest of me to settle down into a proper sub demeanor.  This can be a big problem in a room full of seriously sadistic tops who all know me.   If you want to get knocked down to size, come into a play space being a bit of a pop-off.  Being a cocky boy with no fear can be very dangerous attitude to have when mean tops are paying close attention to me.

Luckily, Neighbor Femme took matters in hand very quickly.

I can’t do a blow by blow summary of the night because once things got started, my ability to do anything linear disappeared.  I was free standing in the center of a thick mat.  NF cuffed my hands together, because she knows I feel more secure being bound in some way, and maybe so I didn’t flail them about.  She punched my chest, she pinched and grabbed and I staggered a bit.  Then I felt Tall Lady behind me, massaging my shoulders and pulling me against her body.  I actually stifled a laugh because as good as her strong hands felt on my shoulders, I knew she was loosening me up for her fists.  But it felt really good to  lean back against her while NF brought me to howling pain.  Then they switched up and TL began to pelt me with hard heavy punches to the back, slaps and blows that would have sent me sprawling if NF hadn’t gotten hold of me and pressed my face into her cleavage.  Talk about mixed messages.  Blows to the back turned to kneeing and kicking my ass.  TL loves kicking ass and there were a couple of times I had to take a break from it.   And somewhere in there the third top, who I will dub ‘Stingy’ (part of a duo who topped me a few months ago), got into the action with I’m not sure what but I know there was the handle of a cane or crop used on my thighs, arms, back and ass.  Oh, and the wrist strap of one implement used like a small single tail.  Ouch, ouch ouch.

Flogging happened too, and at one point the I was being held in place by TL (I think) and struck by all three while NF and Stingy circled me.  Topping in the round.  It was the kind of moment I should have been able to enjoy, despite the painful way they were paying attention to me, it was amazing to be at the center of their attention.  And I did enjoy it on a certain level, but remember what I said about being an emotional mess?  Yeah, so pretty much from the beginning, I was crying.  I remember choking down the first sob when Neighbor Femme held my eyes with hers and was saying important things that I don’t remember now.  Asking about safewords, asking if I was ready, making sure I was focused and committed, I think… memory is vague.

And there was a large audience, large for a Crowbar night. Apparently there wasn’t much else going on scene-wise so the draw of seeing a boy beaten cruelly by three female tops must have been too much to miss.  Neighbor Femme did an admirable job of keeping me in the scene rather than focusing too much on the onlookers, but I couldn’t ignore them completely.  Among them friends, tops, people I admire and respect and here I was, my face a mess of tears and snot, sobbing and carrying on.  But I didn’t quit.  That’s something I could hang on to.

The crying wasn’t the worst though.  Through out the scene, Neighbor Femme would get in my face, gather my attention and get me to say what I was feeling and why.  I would whisper something like, “I’m sad” and she would push me to confess why.  She pushed me to dig deep, wouldn’t let me off the hook until I was shouting my anger, frustration and grief to the high ceiling and beyond.  It was agony.  All the scar tissue built up over those emotions was torn apart each time I had to confess my feelings to the room.

“I’m so angry!” I whispered.

“What?  I can’t hear you?”

“I’m angry!” louder this time, but still not enough, so she pushed harder, told me to stop bottling it all up, stop digging my hole deeper.

“I’m fucking angry!!!”  my voice finally broke through that scar tissue and I screamed it at the top of my lungs.

“Why” she hit me in the chest, across the bruises already forming, “Why are you angry?”

“Because… ” my voice broke.

“Because it’s not fair?”  She prompted.

I sobbed my agreement, “It’s not fair… it’s not fair that She doesn’t want me anymore.”

“What’s that again?  You need to get this out of you because it’s eating you alive. Come on, Kyle, get it out.”  She used her fists to emphasize her words, but the tone in her voice and the intensity of her eyes would have done the trick regardless.

“Because She doesn’t want me anymore, I’m a good boy, but She doesn’t want me”  fresh tears and a hoarse whisper.

NF ground her elbows into the physical pain gathered in my chest and pressed out my emotional pain.  “What?  Quit holding it back”  Each word punctuated by an elbow strike.  I felt Tall Top standing strong behind me, holding me up, giving me strength.

“I’m a good boy!!” I shouted to the room, as the force of my feeling uncoiled, “I give good service but Sir doesn’t want it anymore!”

And further and further we went, NF and I in a brutal dance that had me digging deeper and confessing my anger at Sir and the situation we are in now.  My feelings of being abandoned and deserving better.  The unfairness of it all.  The deep, brutal, acidic, terrible unfairness of a Sir and a boy who love each other deeply but can’t be together.  The feelings I’ve suppressed for months now, the gut wrenching grief of feeling left behind, of having given my all as a boy to his Sir and finding that it’s not enough to hold back the tides of change.  I remember sobbing without control as I remember how proud I was when Sir collared me, how good and right and amazing it felt.   Before Her, it wasn’t even a glimmer of a desire, I’d never wanted to be owned by someone, never wanted to be in service.  But once it had happened, it had been one of the most right things that has ever happened to me.

Each confession was followed by a wash of shame, as bitter as bile.  I was betraying my Sir in saying these things.  I was not being the loyal steadfast boy I insisted I was.  I was a bad boy who was saying bad things about his Sir.  Back and forth I went, confessing my true feelings and feeling ashamed about them, crying the whole while.

It was so much, physically, emotionally.  I wasn’t anchored the way I normally am in a scene, not physically, nor mentally or emotionally.  I was drifting, feeling overwhelmed by emotion, barely anchored by the pain and the physical presence of the three tops and beginning to slide away.  Neighbor Femme came in close again and I felt real fear.  What was I going to confess next?  What was she going to have me dig up now?  I couldn’t string two thoughts together to figure out what was left, what more I had to give.

I locked onto her eyes, fierce but also warm.  I concentrated on her eyes, and it came back to me that this is a person who loves me, who wants the best for me and who is doing me a great favor by pushing me so hard.  I don’t remember the words verbatim, but she told me that I wasn’t alone, that despite the way I felt, I didn’t have to do this alone.  I cried even harder at that.  She indicated TL and Stingy as well as others in the crowd watching.  She told me they all cared about me, that I didn’t need to go it alone.  I had people I could lean on, which was the lesson she was teaching me by not clipping me to a cross or other piece of furniture.  Throughout the scene, I’d leaned on her and on TL and they’d both been there to support me.    I think she had me say it out loud, that I wasn’t alone, that I had people who cared about me and would help me through this.  I remember shouting ‘Love, love, love, love’.  I have to say, that was as hard to open myself up to as any of the rest of it.  I’ve been drawing into myself all year, not trusting myself to fully be open to others.  The idea of opening up, being vulnerable, showing all of that unattractive need and loneliness and grief was not something I’d have asked for, but it’s what I got.

At the end of the scene, I was down, in a kind of child’s pose on the mat, crying, occasionally beating my still cuffed hands against the mat out of anger and frustration.  Neighbor Femme pressed down on my arm, one and then the other, with her boot.  It was like someone flipped a switch, I felt calmer, grounded.  Something in the sense of being restrained felt really good right then, as temporary as it was.  She followed with some not so hard kicks to my ass and ground the soles of her boots into quads.  No doubt she wanted me to feel well used.

I’m sitting here, having written all this, knowing that my Sir didn’t abandon me on purpose, didn’t choose the circumstances of Her life that have led to being unavailable to me in that way.  She’s not making a statement about my service, not dumping me because I’m not good enough.  I know all of this intellectually, but that has no effect on my feelings.  My emotions have their own reality and those emotions spoke up pretty loudly last night.  The pain I took physically is nothing compared to the pain I have been feeling inside.  Digging my hole, falling into it, cowering at the bottom with my grief and shame and feelings of abandonment, feeling alone and unwanted.  And the shame of feeling any of that when I love my Sir so much.  All of that is real.

I’ve been talking about finding a therapist I can talk to about all of this (and more) but last night was the kind of therapy I’ve been needing.  Much thanks and appreciation to Tall Lady, for being mean and solid, sadistic and caring.  Thanks to Stingy for all the ouchy welts she left on top of all the other welts.  And huge thanks to Neighbor Femme for tearing me down and building me back up again.  I’m not done by a long shot, but that helped a lot.  You showed me tough love and cared enough not to be put off by my bad behavior, you kept at it until you knew I couldn’t give anymore.  I am thankful for your strength, your wisdom and your love.  Thank you for caring so much and for showing me how much the others care about me, too.  I’m a very lucky boy to have so many good people on my side.  I am not alone.  I don’t have to do this by myself.

And now I think I need to sit back and recover a bit.  Later, folks.
…just the smallest example of what I earned last night.

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One Response to Last Night at Crowbar: A Painful and Necessary Bout of Therapy

  1. Julia says:

    You mentioned Brene Brown earlier….watch her TED.com vid on her book The Gift of Imperfection. I enjoy reading your work….enlightening, inspiring, authentic, validating. Thank you. Never Thirst~

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