I left my mandatory meeting with the university dietitian buzzing with anxiety. I wasn’t sure what happened. I walked in confident, but when the kind dietitian started asking questions, the words that tumbled out of my mouth were complete lies. One question after the other was met with a mistruth or prevarication. It’s like a completely different person was speaking on my behalf. When it was over, she told me that it sounded like I was doing great, and she signed the paperwork that I would need to get back to dance. If I got the psychologist to sign off, too, Dr. Doom could end my probation period and I could go back to participating free of conditions. This should have been good news, but it wasn’t sitting right under the circumstances.
As I scuttled out of her office, I shoved her note into the pocket of my purple raincoat and yanked the hood over my head so that no one would see me. When I arrived at home, soaking wet from the rain and mad with myself for the “everything is fine” performance, I collapsed onto my bed and took a deep breath. I still had to see the psychologist, but otherwise no one else knew about what I was going through besides my dance instructor and Dr. Doom. The Doc did offer to talk to me if I ever needed anything, but maybe she just said that to be polite. I slowly wiped the raindrops off of my phone screen and debated whether or not I should reach out to her. My room mate and I had recently been arguing, and my parents would never be any help. I wasn’t quite ready to tell my friends or my classmates yet, so with a shaky breath and a steadily-thumping heart, I dialed Dr. Doom.
I felt a combination of relief and disappointment when it went to voicemail. “Hi… it’s me… Shae. From, you know, I was in your office last week. About the eating di- anyway, you probably remember. I just wanted to let you know that I saw the dietitian, and the thing is, I’m uncomfortable accepting her permission for me to return to dance, because I don’t feel like I managed to be completely truthful and open with her. I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me. It was really hard. I don’t want anyone to judge me and I’m just so new to talking about this with people. So, ok. Just wanted to let you know, and maybe you can help me schedule a follow-up appointment so that I can actually get some help.”
When I hung up the phone, I replayed what I had said in my head over and over. Did I sound stupid? Pathetic? Would she be mad at me for lying? Maybe she wouldn’t call back at all. My time to worry was cut short when I realized that I had killed all of my downtime and was running really late to Italian. I didn’t have time to grab a snack, but I figured it was okay since I had eaten breakfast before seeing the dietitian (I didn’t want my stomach rumbling in front of the nutrition expert). After Italian, I took the bus straight to the performing arts center for dance, where I was occupied for 4 hours with classes. Thankfully, my instructor wasn’t treating me any differently in light of the eating disorder news. I left tired and sweaty, like always. While I was swapping my pointe shoes for rain boots, I glanced at my cell phone and noticed a missed call. My heart stopped. It was the doctor. My classmates were chatting but I wasn’t paying attention. I waived and said bye to no one in particular, and then rushed outside into the damp fall air to call her back. Please don’t let us be playing phone tag, I thought. I wasn’t even sure why I wanted to talk to her so desperately, but when I heard her steely voice greet me, my whole body seemed to tense and relax simultaneously. She had an effect on me that no one else in my life did.
“H-hi, Dr. Doom.”
“You can call me Melissa,” she said, with only the slightest hint of warmth in her voice.
“Oh. Okay, Ma’am. I mean, Melissa.” I heard her stifle a laugh. “Well anyway, thanks for calling back. I didn’t know who else to talk to.”
“It’s not a problem,” she said evenly, “I’m responsible for letting your instructor know when your probationary period is over, so it’s important that I’m fully aware of what’s going on with your appointments. I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t able to make good use of your time with Nancy today. Obviously, you’ll have to go back in order to have an accurate assessment done, and I will see to it that the next assessment isn’t a waste of everyone’s time.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll go back whenever it’s convenient for everyone. I didn’t mean to mess things up,” I whispered.
“I understand that you’re having a hard time,” she said slowly, “And as I said, the psychologist and dietitian are best equipped to help with the bulk of your issues. I would, however, like to help with what I can. I won’t be in the office much this week, but why don’t we have a quick chat tonight if you’re free?”
“Oh,” I said with surprise, “I guess I’m free, I just have to, you know, like shower and eat.”
“I’ll swing by your place to grab you at 7,” she said authoritatively, “Text me your address.”
“Ok, yeah, I’ll be ready.” With a glance at the time on my phone screen, I realized that I would have to rush. I ran to the bus stop, and when it deposited me just outside of my sorority house, I sprinted through the door and up to my room so that I could shower and change before Melissa’s arrival. I was ready to go around 6:50. That gave me ten minutes to eat dinner. I realized that the only thing I’d eaten since breakfast was an apple. Dammit. I scarfed down a modest bowl of pasta and a handful of carrots. At about 7:02, a text let me know that Melissa was outside waiting.
Melissa drove a beautiful white Audi SUV. I gaped at the nice, new interior as she stared over my shoulder at my sorority house. “It’s charming,” she said simply. I blushed.
“I know. I’m a walking stereotype. Dancer and sorority girl. But my sisters are super great and honestly, I’m cool. Like, I’m not spoiled or mean or whatever else you’re thinking.”
“No,” she smiled, “just skinny and bratty.” Without another word, she picked up speed and we glided down the street. “My son has soccer practice, so I figured we could just chat at my house,” she explained.
“Ok,” I nodded. We proceeded to sit in silence for the remainder of the drive. She seemed focused on driving and I was focused on how nervous yet excited I was to spend time with her, especially at her house. It only took about 10 minutes for us to pull up to a beautiful two-story house in a wooded neighborhood that I was wholly unfamiliar with as a campus-dwelling dancer. Still without speaking, she ushered me inside and offered me a glass of water or tea while I removed my shoes.
“Am I in trouble?” I asked, “because then wine might be better.” I said it with a smirk to denote I was joking, but it got me nothing more than a glare. “Ok, jeesh, just trying to lighten the mood. Water is great.”
“Why don’t you join me in the living room,” she said firmly as she handed me a glass. I followed her obediently. When she sat down on her couch, I decided to take a seat on another couch across the room from her. Distance is always a good idea when one’s behind might be on the line.
“Shae. I think that you know that you have a problem. And that you need help. You might need more help than I can give you individually, but what I can offer you is consistent medical advice and accountability. The latter might be more valuable to you. I think you need someone to help you stay on track. I wouldn’t normally offer to take on a bratty dancer, but I happen to think highly of you and I’d like to see you be successful.” She paused for effect and I nodded my understanding. “Great,” she said, folding her hands neatly on her lap, “So I think you understand how I ordinarily handle discipline. I plan to spank you for your stint at the dietitian’s office today, and I plan to spank you every time you fall short of my expectations, which- by the way- are high. But I think you also have high expectations of yourself, and we can be a good team. But to clarify, I’m the captain of the team. I want to spank you not only to punish you, but to show you that you aren’t always in control; you can’t be, and you don’t have to be. Whenever you’re with me, you can count on me. I mean that in many ways. You can count on me to tan your hide when you’re bratty or deceptive, but you can also count on me when you need someone to help.” She slowed down when she saw tears falling from my eyes.
“Thank you,” I said simply, “I’m not mad or sad. Just overwhelmed. And maybe a little anxious about the whole spanking thing,” I added with a small laugh. She smiled again.
“It’s ok,” she said. “Why don’t we start with the punishment and get it out of the way, and then we’ll talk about some ground rules and expectations.” I nodded my acquiescence, but I didn’t move from the couch. “Come sit over here,” she instructed. I shuffled across the room and sat down gingerly next to her. “Now,” she said, “I’m spanking you for lying to the dietitian today. I know you might have a hard time being open with people, but it was really unfair to her and to yourself. In the future, lying to anyone will earn you a trip over my knee, no questions asked. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I sniffled, eyes wide.
“Great. Is there anything else you want to tell me before we begin?”
“I guess not,” I said carefully, “But, I mean, I’m just feeling a little guilty because you’re letting me continue to dance while I work on my recovery, but I know I haven’t made enough effort to fuel my body properly. I only ate two small meals and a small apple today, and I danced for four hours.” I looked down at my hands in shame. Melissa put her hand under my chin and forced me to look at her.
“I understand,” she said, “I’m glad that you know it’s unacceptable. I don’t expect you to get rid of all of your bad habits overnight, but I do expect from now on that you can follow a simple, healthy meal schedule if you want to keep dancing. We can talk about that more after your spanking.” With my admission out in the open, I felt my shoulders relax, and my breathing returned to normal. I was still nervous, but the confession had taken a weight off of me in a way that I didn’t expect. I’m a very private person, but talking to Melissa made me feel better. I was interrupted from my thoughts when Melissa pulled me swiftly over her knee. Apparently the chat was over.
This time, Melissa started spanking me over my leggings. They were too thin to protect me much, but it prevented the heat from building as quickly as it had last time. The pain was more of a dull ache than a sharp sting. Her rhythm was almost relaxing. Before I could even think that it “wasn’t too bad,” she ordered me to stand up. She unceremoniously peeled my leggings down to my kneecaps. Luckily, I didn’t have much time to revel in the embarrassment of the situation, since she quickly pulled me back over her knee and resumed her assault on my upturned bottom. The bare-bottom smacks brought on a searing pain each time they landed. Damn, Melissa was strong.
“I know you know why you’re being punished,” she said, “So we’re going to skip any further lecturing. All I will say is that I don’t give many warnings. The next time you have to resume this position for lying, you are going to be feeling my hairbrush.” With that, Melissa fell silent and I could only hear the sound of her hand striking me over and over. The echo of her smacks filled the room, and the sting in my bottom grew and grew. After what felt like an eternity, she stopped to elevate her knee and raise my bottom further into the air. I was hit with a new wave of humiliation, and she began spanking even faster and harder. I wailed and kicked my legs. I begged her to stop and dug my hands into the carpet and tried to get away from her. She barely reacted to my tantrum- she simply adjusted my bottom again and wrapped her left arm even more tightly around my waist. Her physical strength was overpowering. I ceased my resistance and cried while she continued to smack my already burning bottom. Finally, she slowed down her smacks. The last few were softer, and somehow almost pleasant. I breathed softly and relaxed. She eventually transitioned to rubbing my bottom, and then my back. When I wasn’t crying anymore, she helped me sit up. I didn’t know what to do with myself, but she pulled me into her embrace and gently rubbed my hair, so I closed my eyes and whispered one final apology.
“It’s all fine,” she said, “You did a good job for your first proper spanking. It will certainly be worse in the future if you don’t behave,” she warned. I nodded emphatically and continued to snuggle my head into her collar bone. She was surprisingly warm and comfy for someone with such a cold and commanding personality.
After a few minutes, she encouraged me to drink the rest of my water, and she began to lay out the ground rules. I was tired and having a hard time focusing, so she agreed to send the rules via email instead, and she kindly ushered me to the car and drove me back home. Sitting through the car ride was, erm, not fun to say the least, but I went to bed that night feeling relieved and protected. Just before I drifted off, I sent the doc a quick text message: “Thanks for everything, Dr. Melissa, I really appreciate it :)”
“Sleep :)” was her characteristically short response. Well, I thought, at least I got a smiley face. She might make me behave, but eventually I’ll get her to be more cheerful!