There’s a face I try to present to the world, a woman who is always confident, who has all the right answers. No matter what chaos is swirling around me, my goal is to appear in control, to embody grace under pressure. I strive to come across as rational, logical and diplomatic, even when I’d rather run screaming from the room or let loose a string of obscenities.
I try to put my best self forward because I want to be a positive role model for my children and earn the respect of my colleagues at work. That mask also serves to hide the anxiety I’m actually feeling during stressful situations. I learned over the years that if I pretend I’m playing a character, I can trick my brain into letting me be that person, at least to some degree. For the duration of my performance, anxiety and any other potentially messy feelings belong to someone else. I can be the patient mother, the polished presenter, the witty conversationalist. I am strong enough to hold everything together, brave enough to face any challenge… or so it appears.
But the universe demands balance. After I’ve held that control over myself, I need to let go. The longer and more difficult the performance, the greater the need. That release can take a number of forms. Frequently, it involves singing at the top of my lungs in the car. I might binge on a favorite TV show, or get a massage. Sometimes, my indulgence of choice is alcohol and very uncensored conversation. There are lots of ways to rid myself of the tension that comes from being constantly on guard, on edge. But there’s nothing quite as effective (or as enjoyable) as sex.
In the safety of the bedroom, I can fully relinquish control. I don’t need to worry about what might go wrong, what to say. The analytical part of my brain can shut down…there is only now, only instinct. Instead of control, I crave surrender. I want my partner to take me over, to fill me up both literally and metaphorically. I want to be completely at his mercy, no decisions to be made or problems to be solved.
That might mean physical restraint, being tied up or held down. There’s something sweetly ironic about replacing the emotional restraints I place on myself with bound wrists, or strong arms pinning me to the bed. Or it could be more psychological, a collar around my neck, the commanding tone of his voice feeding my eagerness to obey.
It might mean playing rough, the sting of a paddle across my ass or deep, pounding thrusts. Then again, it could be the slow torment of relentless teasing…a blindfold so I can’t anticipate his next move, his hand pulling away as I’m trembling on the brink of orgasm.
The details aren’t important, as long as I can lose myself in the moment, as long as there is no room in my head for anything else. To paraphrase a favorite Torchwood quote, I want to come so hard and long I forget where I am. In that instant when my mind goes blank, everything is right with the world and I can leave the pretending behind.