I have always known life was unfair. We see examples of it everyday; I experienced and have observed it here in the US and many countries abroad. Fair is in August at the fairgrounds, there is no promise of it anywhere else. Knowing this, it should not have been a shock when my charmed life was upended almost two years ago by this principle.
Before I go much further, this article is not going to be about how you should or should not let your disability get you down, what you should or should not do in kink regarding it….. It is about me, and my challenges. Hopefully by letting you read about them (for the normal folk) you will be a bit more patient toward us gimped up people. For those of you who do face challenges, maybe you can find some humor and hope.
But I digress.
Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. One morning I woke up and had no control over the left side of my body, had a hard time focusing or forming words, part of my tongue was numb, and half blind. Obviously, my better half was concerned especially since I struggled for a half hour to get myself together for work, like a dumb ass. After Nibbles threatened to knock me down and call an ambulance I relented and went to the hospital willingly.
Honestly, at that point, I thought I had a stroke.
The First Week
You guessed it, lots of tests: after several MRIs, CAT Scans, blood tests, an EKG, and two ultrasounds later I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The neurologist put me on some high-octane drugs and steroids through an IV and I spent 5 days in the hospital. Time enough to contemplate and fear just how much my life had suddenly changed. Including kink. I was afraid I would never walk again, let alone be able to guide a needle or throw a flogger. The pit of despair I was falling into was immense. If it had not been for Nibbles and one other, I think I would have given up right then.
They reminded me I had a life to get back to no matter how that looked on the back side. We would figure it out and find our new normal.
Getting My Feet Back Under Me
The first few months at home I began to get back most of the motor function I had lost. Weaker than I had been before, but able to get things done with a cane and taking extra time. Movement was still slow, delayed. I remember one morning looking at my coffee sitting on the dining room table thinking my way through picking the cup up and taking a drink. Gone were the days, at least for a while, where I could just respond to my desire for that liquid. Everything was now a process.
And apparently, while I was not looking, I had become as fragile as a Faberge Egg. Every movement watched, being completely catered to, and my attempts to help out being rebuffed. I was allowed to do almost nothing for myself and I did not have the strength at the moment to fight it. So for once in my life, I did as I was told. At the time it was a great source of butt hurt for me. Now I have to look back and laugh at this sudden role reversal between myself and Nibbles. She was now in charge, taking on the dominant lead, and took the phrase mother hen to a whole new dimension.
Slowly I improved and over time I got back to more normal activities, well normal for me. Practicing with a flogger to see if I still could, a single tail, as well as other toys. Hell, I was not allowed to mow the lawn so might as well beat a pillow or two! And I did.
I found that I could passably work with my right hand with some effort. Florentine was completely out of the question and working from my left, we’ll just say I resembled a penguin with palsy. Even I had to laugh. But I kept practicing.
Tigers Hate Cages…..Even if They Are Gilded Ones
The first time back to the club, I might as well have stayed home! NOBODY would let me do anything but sit. Playing was not happening as a rotation of hens, now a squad strong, made sure my glass was never empty, my plate always had a “healthy” choice on it, and companionship was never more than twelve inches away. Now under normal circumstances, this might sound like I had hit the jackpot. Died and gone to heaven. Even to this day I am appreciative for all their help (that night and many others). In the moment, I was frustrated.
The big cat had finally made it back to his part of the jungle to be told he could not hunt. Doing the only thing I could, I put on a pleasant face and entertained those around me. From sunset until nearly three in the morning, I talked about whatever came to mind or was of interest. By the end of the night my voice was horse and throat so sore I wanted to jam a popsicle down my neck and leave it there. The experience gave me a new appreciation for the ladies who like to spend hours at a glory hole. Troopers one and all.
OK, So I Was Wrong – Changing My Perspective
If it is not apparent, to escape my coddled purgatory I needed to change how I approached things so those around me, acting out of a deep sense of care, would allow me to do what I do. Without hurting their feelings. I worked long and hard at home practicing with a couple of different floggers to make sure I was proficient enough to not embarrass myself or hurt someone. Finally satisfied with my progress, I talked to Nibbles and one of my play partners about setting up a scene that weekend.
I do not think I have ever, in my life, had to run such a gauntlet consisting of the number of variations and iterations of the question, “are you sure?” in my life.
I would rather have gone back through a military promotion board being grilled by senior non-commissioned officers for three days than repeat that hour or so of the concerned looks and expressions of uncertainty. I was certain, I was ready, and damn it……. If they let me….. I was going to do it. Thankfully, they relented. I had a date!
I realized though all that was happening, I was going to effectively earn their trust all over again. Not that they did not think me capable, kind of, but they did not want me to take on too much too soon and somehow goof myself up again.
Friday night came and off to the club we went. On the 30-minute ride Nibbles made sure to remind me as often as every other mile marker not to overexert myself, to keep drinking water, and that it was ok to stop and sit down if things got too much. Bless her heart, really. I think she was way more nervous about my scene than I was. Being the legend in my own mind, I was focused on making my chosen bottom cherry red from her shoulders down.
What really happened was I did overextend myself. I had a great time doing it, but the bottom was more concerned with how I was doing the entire time than just being in the moment. I think I spent more energy redirecting her back into position and to focus than I did swinging the floggers. No matter, I was back. All uphill from there. Just nobody told me it was going to be five miles, barefoot, in the snow, and into a headwind.
Yes, I was going to have to earn their trust again. So, in the moment they could focus and not worry that I might collapse into a pile of unresponsive goo. How?
Learning to Just Be Me Again – With a Twist
The problem was not theirs it was mine for the most part. They had every reason to worry because I was not displaying the self confidence in myself needed to inspire their confidence in me. I had to set aside the thoughts of what I could not do well anymore, and focus on what I could, as well as find new ways to function. That included kink.
The next several months were focused on what I could relearn, building a different muscle memory, or new ways to do old things. Short play sessions to put theories into practice and help reconnect with Nibbles and other play partners. Giving them an opportunity to relearn me also and show them I was not just trying to be better, I was getting better.
The more I worked on myself and worked with them, my self confidence grew and returned. They worried less about my physical state and started to enjoy play with me again. I rediscovered the joy in it. I guess old dogs can learn new tricks.
A Weird Blessing in Disguise
No, I am not the person I was before MS reared its ugly head. But what am I going to do? Give it back? There is nothing to do but be the best me regardless of the circumstance. I would like to think, in some perverse way it pushed me to be a better top and dominant, even though different. It forced me to look at myself, kink, and my partners in a new way. Shoving me out of complacent patterns allowing me to be more creative.
The support of Nibbles, and everyone else around me, gave me purpose to push myself harder. Certainly, I could not have done it without them and their encouragement. As annoying as it might have been at times, I could not have asked for a better life partner and friends.
When it all first hit, I lost faith in myself. I doubted what I could do and if I could do. However, I learned as long as I kept pushing forward, the details would take care of themselves. That to claw my way back I needed to trust myself again so my partners could trust and confidence in me.