Warning: mentions of self-injury.
A hard knock at the front door interrupted the depressing music filling my candle-lit room. I quickly wiped off my blade and stuffed it under my pillow. I wasn’t surprised that Max was here after the text I sent him about 20 minutes ago.
“Kenzie! Open the door. Now!” His firm, but concerned voice sent shivers down my spine.
I wondered why I ever involved Max in this part of my life to begin with. After all, I enjoy the emotional release that cutting provides me. Every detail from preparing the blade, the music, the locked door, the sticky red, blood. Why stop now? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew why. I craved more than what self-harm could provide me. I needed trust, affection, and forgiveness. I longed to be pulled out of this dark place I reside in.
I knew Max wasn’t going anywhere no matter how long I left him standing outside my tiny apartment. Getting up, slowly unlocking one door and then another, I was confronted with the face. I hate this part. I hate seeing the distress I have caused staring back at me. Max walked past me, guiding me to the couch, sitting me on his lap.
“Look at me,” he said, placing a hand under my chin so I didn’t have a choice. “What triggered these feelings today?” I didn’t want to answer. I never do. It always sounds so silly, so stupid, so… weak. There is never a good reason to want to hurt yourself.
I felt tears form as I thought about my day. I was thankful when Max let go of my face and gently rubbed my back instead. I went on to tell Max about the series of minuscule screw-ups that no one knew about, or cared about. Each reminder of imperfection made me feel lower and lower.
“My anxiety took over on the bus ride home. I couldn’t breathe by the time I walked in the door. I began my normal rituals to prepare for.. You know… and stopped. I texted you instead. I know this all sounds so silly, but I feel so out of control of my emotions..” Carefully omitting an important detail that I didn’t really want Max to know anytime soon.
I gained the courage to look up at Max again. A part of me always expects to hear laughter or sense judgment for how dumb it all may sound to someone else. Max never does that. It was his soft demeanor and impeccable listening skills that built trust between us.
“Ah, Kenz,” he said lovingly planting a kiss on my forehead, “I’m proud of you for texting me. It makes me feel good that you are beginning to stop before things get too far. You are a human though, you will make mistakes. We all make mistakes. I wish you saw the beautiful, smart, kind-hearted girl that I do. I hope that one day you are able to forgive yourself on your own.” With a reassuring hug, I felt him shift into a more serious mode. He pulled me off of his lap and I stood before him in my oversized t-shirt and panties.
“I want you to release some of these emotions from today and begin to forgive yourself,” he said as he slightly lifted my shirt and his fingers hooked the inside of my underwear. As I was stepping out of them, Max patted his lap and said, “Get over my knee, Kenz.” Feelings of nervousness and relief were starting to build as I found peace over Max’s lap.
He gently rubbed as I felt a breeze cool my bare bottom. His hand finally moved and shortly after my body jolted. The first smack is always the most startling. I let out the slightest whimper, but I knew it was only the beginning. Max continued to rhythmically pepper my backside with medium force smacks. The stingy pain was bearable. My mind began to concentrate on the predictable beat of the hits.
Every few minutes, he paused to rub some of the sting away. “You’re doing great, baby. Concentrate on me, us, here.” A series of 10 smacks followed. “Whatever happened today is over. You’re safe at home now”.
The spanking began to take priority over the anxieties that were clouding my mind previously. I felt tears trickle down my face.
Max increased the force behind each swat to my now fiery red bottom but maintained the same, dependable tempo.
As the pain continued to build, I couldn’t control the audible sobs. “That’s it, Kenz, cry for me. Give me all of those feelings.” Lost deep into subspace, my mind finally felt numb, I was only capable of accepting whatever Max felt I needed.
The spanking drew out for about 15 minutes, just enough for the worries of today to melt away. Although painful and embarrassing, Max’s lap was my safe place.
“Ah, my good girl. You’re forgiven for any mistakes you made today,” he cooed, rubbing the redness with his fingertips and massaging my head. “I’m so proud of you for allowing yourself to heal, McKenzie.” The validation that I am still good is so important to me. I finally was able to allow myself to move on.
He gently lifted and carried me into my bathroom. I leaned into his embrace and control.
Baths are my aftercare of choice. To me, it meant someone was washing away the terrible things I told myself before.
He set me down as he drew the bathwater at a perfect temperature adding bubble bath. The lavender aroma filled the air as he tugged off the only clothing left, my oversized t-shirt, and helped me into the bathtub. Max sat on his knees and began giving me a bath as you would a small child. I was being taken care of with an empty mind. My sense of reality still hasn’t fully returned as he began washing my arm and onto my wrists. Normally, I wouldn’t allow such intimate contact with my scars, but here with Max, it didn’t even come to mind as he rinsed over healed wounds.
As he moved onto my legs and inner thigh, I felt him stop. My heart sank as I became more aware of what he was looking at. “McKenzie Jane Scott,” I felt a sudden urge to curl into a ball at the sound of my full name. “What is this on your thigh?” My nakedness was more apparent to me than ever. I felt so exposed and vulnerable.
“Um..it’s old” I managed to sputter. I flinched in pain as he gently ran his fingers over the small, 1 inch cut on the innermost part of my left thigh.
“No way is this old, I can still see the blood scabbing over and it’s red.”
I felt so many emotions in that one moment. So angry that I allowed myself to do it again. Aggravated that I didn’t hide this better from Max. Upset that he saw the fresh damage to my skin. Tears flowed down and dropped into the bathwater.
“McKenzie Jane, talk to me now.” I sensed his own aggravation rising as I was not responding. “McKenzie, I swear little girl, we will start your entire spanking over unless I get an explanation quickly!” Anger over the entire situation building, my hands lifted and crashed into the water sending bubbles and water all over the bathroom and drenching Max.
I saw anger flash in Max’s eyes. It was an unfamiliar sight. Previous spankings were never for punishment. I have seen Max’s bright blue eyes show disappointment and sadness, but never the angry glare that was turning his eyes a darker shade. I felt him grab my wrists and yank me out of the tub. He dragged me into my bedroom and threw me onto my bed.
Goosebumps formed over my entire cold, wet body. My arms crossed over in a futile attempt to maintain warmth. I squirmed sitting on the edge of the bed, reminded that my bottom still ached from the recent spanking.
His 6’4 muscular build towering over me made me feel so small. I didn’t like the feeling of being in trouble. I spend my entire life doing the right things to avoid it. I was still in shock that bratty outburst just happened. Good girls don’t do things like that.
“Kenzie, why would you hide something like that from me?”
Sniffling and finding a sudden interest in my purple toenail polish, a small voice responded, “I just wanted you to still be proud of me, but I was feeling so overwhelmed in the moment. I couldn’t resist just one little cut.”
I wasn’t ready to look at Max as he kept questioning me. “Were you purposely trying to hide this from me?” he questioned motioning towards my leg. “It is so small and not your normal spot.”
Ugh, sometimes I wish Max didn’t know the ends and outs of my secret habit. “I dunno.”
He crouched down and became eye level with me. “First off, Kenz, I will always be proud of you, but I cannot help you if you’re actively trying to keep things from me.”
“But..” I whined.
“No,” he barked, cutting me off. “There aren’t any excuses for lying or keeping things from me. Not to mention, that little attitude in the tub was unacceptable,” he admonished, raising his eyebrows in disapproval. I let a little huff escape my lips. I knew he was right.
“I will never punish you for cutting yourself, ever. But I will not tolerate you hiding the fact that you did or being disrespectful towards me.” He let that sink in as I pondered what he would say next.
“You’re getting another spanking.”
That was all he had to say for my world to come crashing down. It wasn’t the pain of two spankings in one day. It was that I felt so… Naughty. It was the proof that I needed that the things I said about myself were true. I am bad.
I couldn’t find the words to argue. I felt my body begin to tremble as I was hoisted up by my arm and leaned over the side of the bed. Oh, how I longed for his lap. My bedside didn’t offer any of the intimacy and closeness of being over a knee.
The room ran out of oxygen when I heard the jingling and whooshing of Max removing the brown belt he wore every day from its loops. My mind searched for the breathing exercises I learned from years of therapy to avoid a full-blown panic attack. I had never felt anything more than a hand.
“McKenzie, tell me why you are being punished?” Punished. I was starting to develop a real distaste for that word today. I had never been punished by Max.
“I.. uh… I tried to hide my cut from you and I was mean in the bathtub… I’m soo sorrry,” Admission of my own guilt drove me to become a sobbing mess before any belt lashes fell.
Max knew this spanking didn’t need to last very long for his point to get across. Mentally, I had already punished myself enough.
His arm reached back high before coming down with a crash in the middle of my bottom. I gasped. He wasn’t holding back. This was meant to hurt. It was a consequence.
“Max, no I can’t. This hurts. This hurts. This hurts.”
I was thankful he didn’t give me the opportunity to think about it too much. Max didn’t delay and landed four more stripes quickly, each one landing directly under the first. The speed was a shock to my system. I wasn’t able to predict when or where the next lash would fall.
The last stripe landed at the top of my thighs. It took all I had to fight to not leap off of the bed with the assault to such a sensitive spot.
“Max, I’ll be good. I’m sorry. I won’t be mean anymore. Please stop,” the pleading in my voice was so desperate.
I felt relief flood over my body when I heard the belt being thrown to the side and hitting the floor with a jingle. “Shh, baby it’s all over,” Max said as he scooped up my body, laying me down on the bed. “You’re forgiven and my good girl.” I was thankful he repeated the same confirmations as earlier. After a punishment, those words held an even deeper meaning. Something about Max made me believe him. I felt truly forgiven.
He found some ointment and rubbed it gently on my cut. I felt a bit of uneasiness but allowed him to mend my wound. “I want you to keep this clean. You don’t want an infection developing. Take care of my precious girl, Kenzie,” he said giving me a kiss on the nose.
“It’s been a long day, little one. I think you need a nap.” Max curled up beside me in bed and tucked us both in.
He rubbed my bottom until I drifted into an incredibly restful sleep.
I woke up, surprised to see it was the next morning. It was rare for me to get that much uninterrupted sleep. Max had already let himself out to get to work before I woke up.
Remembering yesterday’s events, my hand searched under my pillow for the blade I hid there the previous day. To my relief, the underside of my pillow was empty. I was thankful Max had already found it and got rid of it.
Feeling well looked after and forgiven, I felt ready to face another day.