“Of course, a lot of such deaths are due to ‘movie disease’ — that desirable ailment that leaves its victim fresh-faced (except for perhaps a bit of dark Max Factor under the eyes and cheekbones, plus a dab of pale matte lipstick), coherent, and with plenty of time to say their perfect goodbyes to the people they love. But even when I know I’m being played, the tears I’m shedding are the tears of my old friend, catharsis, otherwise known as joy.”
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“I used to teach classes in what kinky folks call Pain Processing. The concept will be familiar to anyone who has taken classes in the Lamaze Method, or in many kinds of yoga or martial arts: it’s about divorcing pain from all the feelings that usually accompany it, such as fear, anger or worry — which is to say that you clear your mind of the past and the future, staying doggedly in the now. In the now, you may find that the pain itself is manageable, or perhaps even pleasant.
“Of course, I was teaching these techniques to rooms full of sadomasochists who wanted to know how to play harder and longer, so my perspective may be a little skewed.”
“Of course, the problem with a word like ‘aging’ is the same as the problem with a word ‘pain’ — it doesn’t have a solid definition. We use the same word to describe the sparkly heat of a well-administered spanking that we do to describe a stubbed toe or an amputation, which causes a lot of confusion for those who can’t comprehend why anyone would ever seek out such an experience. And we use the same word to describe the graceful, decades-long accumulation of love and wisdom that we use for the hateful calcification of body and mind, the slow downward spiral that has only one endpoint.”
Of course, a lot of such deaths are due to “movie disease” — that desirable ailment that leaves its victim fresh-faced (except perhaps a bit of dark Max Factor under the eyes and cheekbones, plus a dab of pale matte lipstick), coherent, and with plenty of time to say their perfect goodbyes to the people they love. But even when I know I’m being played, the tears I’m shedding are the tears of my old friend, catharsis, otherwise known as joy. The person on screen is dying exactly as I hope to die, borne up by the people of my heart, with minimal discomfort and maximum love.
“Those years of sluthood taught me more than you could imagine about friendship, about connection, about pain, about ecstasy, and about where all those experiences intersect – a nexus which I like to call ‘my life’.”
“BDSM, at least the sensation-heavy kind I do, is a practicum in distinguishing between good pain and bad. To an outsider, it looks absurd when someone who is getting their back savaged with a bullwhip stops the scene because they have a cramp in their foot – but the much-desired welts from the whip are a spiritual channel between loving friends, whereas the cramp is unintentional and meaningless, and is moreover a distraction from the party in the back.”
“A congenital overbite that was grinding my back teeth into stubs led to the loss of six teeth to prepare me for major jaw surgery. (With the previous loss of my wisdom teeth, and the subsequent loss of two molars that were causing problems, I’m now down to twenty teeth, same as your five-year-old niece. Make of that what you will.) I spent two years wearing braces and two months with my teeth wired shut, but at the end I had a nice even bite and an actual chin, which was not something I’d had until that point.
“Now, of course, I have several of them.”