I think one of the reasons anarchists have such a hard time communicating is the fact that the things that led us to become anarchists are so personal and outside of the norm that we can’t talk about them. The main events that led me to become an anarchist are, for the most part, things that are not easy to talk about. Maybe we don’t want to get someone in trouble, don’t want to admit to wrongdoing ourselves, don’t want to admit that we can identify with the criminals, maybe because we were too traumatized by the event, or in the case of this story, just because it’s embarrassing. It just seems like the really powerful experiences that cause us to become anarchists are things that aren’t socially acceptable to talk about in everyday conversations.
So this is a clip from an autobiography that I tried to write years ago and gave up on because it just wasn’t turning out very well and I happened to come across a few weeks ago and decided to salvage. Not my greatest writing, but hopefully for some people it can open a new perspective on a classic issue.
I went to a babysitter a few times as a child who I’ll call Melissa. I didn’t really like her too much as she just seemed angry, and I wondered why she’d decided to be a mom and a babysitter if she was constantly mad at kids for being kids. But she wasn’t abusive by any means.
She took us to McDonalds once and I didn’t understand what I was ordering. I was used to getting chicken nuggets and wound up getting a hamburger, which is normally something kids like, but I’ve never liked hamburger for some reason and I couldn’t finish my happy meal.
Melissa didn’t like that and tried to force me to finish my meal, and finally said that I couldn’t have my happy meal toy, a little plastic boat, which for some reason, I wanted desperately. I tried to argue, but as a little kid you just don’t have a grasp over the language, even if you understand the concepts logically that you want to communicate, and it’s harder to deal with emotions at that age, because your feelings are so foreign and powerful, so you wind up whining or crying and being difficult. To me this is perfectly normal and not a big deal. It’s just a sign that kids need to get a better grasp of the language and have more experiences to put their emotions into perspective.
But she didn’t feel that way, so she hit me. Not hard, of course. It was just a slap to the hand, and the pain was gone within seconds, but somehow it instantaneously and permanently changed my personality.
As I saw it, the only time you hit a person is if they have absolutely no value as a human being. The only reason you would need to go that far is if a person is so insane, so stupid, so illogical, and so completely worthless, that you simply cannot communicate with them through any kind of words, pictures or stories.
I told Melissa that I was going to tell my parents and she insisted that they would support her decision and that I had deserved it.
The event kept coming back to mind, and I kept wondering if I was really as worthless as Melissa had been telling me. One day my mom told me that I’d be going back to Melissa’s house and she noticed that I was very upset, and finally coaxed me into talking about what happened.
To my relief, my mom was just as upset by the incident as I was, and immediately changed her mind about sending me there. I thankfully never saw Melissa again, and my mom explained that Melissa had been the wrong one. She was the one who was too stupid to understand how to communicate, not me.
And my mom saying that, I believe, saved me from a very dark and depressed path that I could have taken.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
I did not stop thinking about the spanking. In fact, quite the opposite, over the weeks and months, I thought about it more and more, and in my mind, turned it into a whole ritualistic event where she had pulled my pants down, taken me over the knee and spanked me repeatedly in front of everyone in McDonald’s, instead of the quick and discreet little slap on the wrist that had stopped hurting almost before I’d had a chance to cry about it.
And slowly, the more I thought about it, it turned from a horrifying and degrading event, into a wondrous and magical empowerment that gave me powerful and baffling emotions, but left me yearning for more. Within a few months, I was fantasizing about spankings every night, and it slowly became an obsession.
I started scheming about how I could find another babysitter that believed in spanking… but I didn’t want the sissy little hand slap. I wanted the full on, over the knee, humiliation in front of the other kids, the kind of punishment that makes you cry and beg, the kind you still feel the next day, the kind that leaves little red spots to remind you for days afterward.
I spent many hours trying to think of ways that I could first find a babysitter like this, and second, trick my parents into sending me to her without having them find out about it. Then I would be able to just go crazy and misbehave however I wanted and would be rewarded with the most wondrous thing I could imagine, real discipline.
But of course, I never succeeded at that.
And I was never again spanked, and I did not figure out until I was almost twelve years old that my spanking fetish was sexual in nature. I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I had been spanked at some point after that. I usually consider my experience with Melissa to be my first sexual experience, but it was not sexual at the time, it only became so afterward. If I had been spanked again, after developing my fetish, I don’t think I can predict how I would have developed.
Either way, I had a full-on spanking fetish by the time I was in kindergarten.
My spanking fetish melded into more complex fetishes over the years, and I began to fantasize about all sorts of domination, specifically anything police related, and anything child-discipline related. I fantasized about being thrown in prison, being handcuffed, being ordered to stand in the corner or even being forced to write sentences. Sometimes when I was by myself, I’d pretend I was being punished, and I’d see how long I could stand with my nose to the wall like the teachers would do to kids at school.
I started feeling like I was insane. All the adults everywhere spoke of prisons, spankings and other discipline as being deterrents, and implied that everyone, everywhere, sees these things as being unpleasant. I felt like an outsider to the human race, like my whole mind just ran backwards, so I hid my feelings.
But eventually I couldn’t take the secret any more, and one day when I was ten or so, I decided to just take the leap and tell one of my friends, a kid I’ll call Jim, about all my feelings. I expected him to be shocked, to tell me I was insane, that there was something wrong with me, but I needed to tell someone, and if he ran home and told his parents and had me thrown in a mental institute, I figured I could deal with that, because it would probably be for the best.
But Jim was not appalled by my revelation. Instead, his eyes lit up and his mouth dropped open, and he cried, “Dude, I’m the exact same way! I love spankings… My mom has this stick that she hits me with… and I know exactly what to do to get it… I like it when she hits me five times… ten’s a bit too many, but five from the stick is just right, and I’ve figured out just what to say to make her just mad enough so she hits me just as hard as I like it… it’s the most awesome thing ever… I can’t think of anything I like more than that stick hitting my bare butt.”
And he continued on, and I started to get creeped out, as my fantasies had never involved any family members, but as he went on, talking about his own wild bondage fetishes that went beyond anything I had envisioned, I realized that I was not so crazy and abnormal after all.
But part of me thought that Jim and I had been some kind of cosmic coincidence, that we were two freaks of nature who just happened to be placed on our road, and I continued feeling like an outcast and freak because of my feelings, until I was twelve years old and found some porn magazines in my grandparents attic. Most of the magazines were standard 1970’s Playboy and Penthouse, but there was one magazine called Nugget that focused on abnormal fetishes. When I found this magazine I sat down and read it nearly cover to cover.
I haven’t looked through other issues of Nugget but this one had some rather professional sex and fetish related articles. For example, there was an article by an historian about a cult in the early 1900’s, led by a woman who believed the penis was a demon and created a wide array of creative and unintentionally erotic bondage devices for her male followers to wear to prevent them from getting erections.
There was also an article by a psychologist, discussing the basis for sexual fetishes. He explained that most sexual fetishes are based on emotional trauma. Rape victims typically have rape fetishes, people who fear imprisonment have bondage fetishes, and of course, people who were emotionally traumatized by spankings, have spanking fetishes. He also explained that these feelings were quite common and that the vast majority of people who have them are completely unaware that they are surrounded by numerous other people with similar experiences and feelings.
I now consider that issue of Nugget to be one of the most empowering things to happen to me in my youth. Finally I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a freak. I could still lead a normal life. And most importantly, I knew that there were actually women out there that shared my fantasies, that I’d actually be able to have healthy relationships without hiding and shutting out my feelings.
And it has always bothered me that the law says that I never should have had that experience. So many parents and law enforcers believe that that magazine should have been taken away from me, that sense of empowerment, of finally belonging, of finally understanding who I am, should all be taken away from me, to be replaced with the fear and loneliness of confusing and seemingly demonic sexual thoughts.
Ever since then I have embraced my fetishes and sought to fulfill them in healthy and reasonable settings, and I’ve discovered numerous others who had very similar experiences as my own. Some stories I’ve heard are nearly identical, and I know now that having a full-fledged spanking, bondage, or discipline fetish by the time you’re in kindergarten is not uncommon. It’s only uncommon to talk about it.
But having said all that, I should say that if you asked me if I would choose to take that spanking event back, to have it un-done so that it never affected my sexuality and never gave me these wild fetishes, I’d probably say no. Spankings are a wonderful and beautiful thing and I wouldn’t want to give that up.
But I often wonder about all these parents spanking their children, still totally convinced in their simplistic, black-and-white attitudes about punishments, convinced that it’s discipline while blinding themselves to the sexuality of it and ignoring the long-term psychological consequences.