Sonya has only been in the corner for a couple of minutes when she senses her Sir standing behind her.
“Open your legs,” he says. Quickly, she obeys, hoping there will be touching in her future soon. Instead, he says, “I want to be clear about what you need to think about. Not your Healthy Eating plan, not your lack of movement. That will come later. Right now, I want you to think about one thing. Your reaction – your disobedience and disrespect – when I gave you a clear directive. That’s the only thing you need to think about.”
She feels him move away- senses the loss of his body heat behind her. Frustrated and off balance, she frowns. “It’s not that big a deal compared to not meeting my goals all week long,” she thinks. “He must care more about his protocols than he does about me. I just said ‘what’ because I was surprised, I didn’t mean to be rude or disrespectful. And I did what he wanted, it’s not like I disobeyed for real.” She knows that she sounds petulant and whiny, even in her own head, but, “I can’t help it,” she thinks. “He’s not even reasonable.”
Quickly, new thoughts surface. “You know you agreed to respect and obey him,” another part of herself thinks. “You were rude and sassy. You know that’s not ok. Why did you act like that?”
She goes back and forth for a while. I’m terrible – he’s not fair – dancing through her arguments.
HIs voice in her ear startles her. “When you’re ready to apologize and to explain to me what you need to do to respond more appropriately next time, then you may come out of the corner.”
She sighs quietly. She guesses she’s ready to apologize, but she doesn’t know why she acted that way.
She stands in the corner a long time.
She doesn’t want to be wrong. She doesn’t want to apologize. She doesn’t want to figure out how to do better. She can feel herself digging into this stance, and wonders if she’ll spend the rest of her life in the corner.
Sean works on reading a book, telling himself he’s relaxing He wants to play with Sonya, but he figures he can wait all day if he needs to . The more stubborn she is, the more certain he is that he needs to be careful not to reward this behavior.
Her legs are getting tired. She shifts from one leg to the other and back again. She’s not thinking about anything except how to get out of the corner.
“This is really boring,” she thinks. “What does he want me to do? Apologize, right. For being disrespectful and disobedient.” And still she can’t decide if she was truly wrong or not. She tells herself she wasn’t, that she didn’t do anything wrong, but she knows she did. When she admits it, she can feel the weight of it, and she wants to make amends. But her mind doesn’t rest there.
“He wants me to tell him what I need to not do that again, she thinks. And I don’t know. Don’t know, and don’t want to think about it.” She doesn’t know how they can ever make up and that makes her heart hurt. She’s tired of standing here – and she has to pee.
She really has to pee!
“Sir,” she calls to him, loudly because she’s facing the corner. “Sir, may I go pee? I really, really have to pee.”
He sighs. She didn’t ask permission to speak, so he knows she’s not in the right headspace yet. “Are you ready to apologize?” he asks. “And tell me what you need to do better?”
“Yes, Sir!” she says quickly, doing her kegels and hoping she makes it to the bathroom.
“Then yes, you may.”
Emptying her bladder is a great relief. She feels so good about that, she’s quite ready to apologize. Washing her hands, she gets a little worried about what else to tell him, but she figures she’ll think of something.
Finished and feeling better, she starts to kneel in front of him, but he shakes his head. “Just sit,” he says. “You aren’t allowed to kneel just yet. Talk to me.” It feels funny, not being allowed to kneel. But that’s ok.
“Yes, Sir. I’m sorry I was disrespectful and disobedient.”
As she says the words, she realizes how true they are. And maybe she feels it more deeply because she’s not even allowed to kneel. He was right – doing what he told her to do, paying the bills right away, made her feel better. But even if it hadn’t, she wants to obey him. She doesn’t want to be rude. She wants to throw her arms around his legs, to kneel contritely, but she stays where she is.
His voice is still cool. “What do you need to be able to do better? To prevent it from happening again?”
“I don’t know,” she says only it comes out as a wail. She’s embarrassed. She had been feeling pouty, but now she sounds uncertain and afraid.
And he realizes she’s not refusing to tell him, she really has no idea what’s going on with her or what to do about it. “That’s ok,” he says. “Just take a minute. Breathe. Hear the stillness around you.”
He takes a breath, and, obediently following him, she takes a breath. And another. That helps, for a moment. But then, as she listens for the stillness, she thinks – “why did I do that, why was I rude, what’s wrong with me, how can he love me, oh, i shouldn’t think like this, this is stupid, of course he loves me, I’m just stupid.” It all runs though her brain, and cycles over again.
She begins to cry. “I can’t, Sir,” she says, “I can’t hear the stillness, can’t be still!”
Sean is so tempted to spank her. To blindfold her and restrain her, to wrap her in rope. “Or nipple clamps, that would quiet her mind,” he thinks. “But that’s not where I’m going with this,”he reminds himself. “I don’t want her getting panicky and relying on me to provide kinky sex or pain to fix it.”
“It’s ok,” he says. “It’s ok, baby. Come here.”
She crawls into his lap. She feels like a baby now, and she doesn’t care. Being contained in his arms is pure relief.
He holds her close until her tears stop and he feels her heartbeat steady. Hands her a tissue, then another.
“Now,” he says. “I noticed in your ledger that you hadn’t put any entries in your mindfulness journal. And I see you’re emotionally all over the place and think you’re the worst person in the world because you weren’t perfect last week. Is that right?”
Still cuddled in his lap, that makes her smile. “Pretty much, Sir,” she says.
“What do you know how to do when that happens?”
She sighs. “Just keep breathing til I get calm again? Let my thoughts come and go like clouds in the sky?” She pauses. “Why is that so easy to say and sometimes it’s so hard to do?”
“Hmmmm,” he laughs, “this sub girl I know says ‘that’s just how life is.’”
Sonya giggles, “Yeah, I guess I do say that. Easier to say it than it is to remember sometimes.”
“Are you ready to talk about what’s going on with you?” He asks.
“I want to,” she says. “I guess, I was just scattered, all week. I was working on a couple of stories for the blog, and kind of obsessing on that. Like every minute I wasn’t working, I was writing, or thinking about it. And then I just, I didn’t even want to think about anything else.”
He nods, “I thought you seemed distracted when I asked about it Wednesday. And then today?”
Her voice is soft, “I guess I was mad at myself and took it out on you, Sir. I wanted you to – I don’t know what I wanted. To – to punish me, I guess, so I wouldn’t feel bad.” That’s so hard for her to say, she hates that she craves his punishment as a release.
“What could you have done instead? This week, I mean. What have we talked about doing when you’re having a hard time?”
She sighs again, “Talk to you about it, Sir. I know.”
“And? What happened?”
“I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. Oh. Yeah. I didn’t want to do all those things I was supposed to do. I just wanted to write.”
He nods thoughtfully. “So you were being willful. And defiant.”
“Yes, Sir,” her eyes are wide as she absorbs this. “I was! I just wanted it to go my way. And didn’t even realize it!”
“Ok.” His voice is calm and patient, leading her. “And what could you have done differently?”
“Um,” biting her lip, “I could have talked to you. I could have told you how I felt. And you would have said, ‘is this what you need to do? If it is, then embrace it. Don’t fight it.’ Damn. It would have been a very different week, wouldn’t it?”
“What kept you from doing that?” There is an undertone in his voice now, she notices that and feels her belly tighten.
“I don’t – I mean, it was part willfulness, Sir, and defiance. And because I wasn’t practicing mindfulness, I didn’t realize what I was doing. I’m so sorry! Really sorry.”
“I know,” he says, snuggling her closer. She wishes he weren’t dressed, she’d love to feel his skin against her, but she’s forfeited that privilege for a while.
“When I punish you,” he says, “I won’t be punishing you for not following your meal plan or your movement plan. What will I be punishing you for?”
“Oh, for defiance!” She says. “For not communicating, not asking you for help, for not – “ her voice drops as this sinks in, “for not being open. For closing myself off from you.”
“Good girl,” he says, and she knows he means it. “Now,” he says, sliding her off his lap and onto her feet, “Drink some water, and go pee again, in whatever order you prefer. THEN go stand in the corner and we’ll start this check-in over again, from the beginning.”