We All Hurt
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS STRONG SEXUAL CONTENT THAT MIGHT NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS. PARENTAL GUIDANCE IS STRONGLY ADVISED
by Jake Block
“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end”
— Hurt (The Johnny Cash version)
I first heard the song “Hurt” when I was alone in a dingy, low rent motel room in Seattle, Washington. I had volunteered to do a “stress test” to help determine the effects of stress while working in wartime conditions. It was a grueling 72 hours of hard labor, uncomfortable catnaps, and little food or water. Completely exhausted, we were placed in rooms alone in a dingy motel with no restaurant or bar… just a dingy room in a dingy place. There was simply a box lunch… a ham and cheese sandwich, small bag of chips, an apple and 2 bottles of water.
I turned on the TV, hoping to relax before dropping off to sleep and landed on MTV. Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt began to play and in the darkness of that room where I sat, tired and beaten down by exhaustion. It was the first time that I realized that suicide was indeed an option for those who felt this way on a daily basis with no hope or end in sight, and to be honest, as awful as I felt in my exhaustion, if I had access to a weapon in that moment, who knows what I would have done.
And in the darkness of that lonely room in Seattle, for all I have accomplished in my short (at that time) 38 years on earth, I heard the song speak to me of what WAS and, if I stayed on the same road, what would, most likely, be the trajectory of the remainder of my life, however long that might be. I handled it as I would any other obstacle, during that time in my life. I got angry and I got up and exercised to give myself a second wind and get the negative thought under control.
That was MY method. It worked with MY attitude. But, like that little black bag on the airport carousel, there are many little black bags… and attitudes too.. so what works for one might not work for others. And in this world of billions, there are those who have come up with some interesting and diverse methods of gaining or relinquishing control to regain some semblance of order in their lives…
She walked into “the room.” It was a familiar place, that she had visited before. She sat down with her escort, chatting amiably with him and those who, bidden and unbidden, made their way to the seats around her to listen to her thoughts and dreams, wants and needs without prejudice or judgement. They could not cast the first stone, nor would they, if they could, for in this place of pleasure and pain, all were equally aware that to cast that stone would be to cast it at themselves. They too had dark thoughts and dreams. They too had come to “the room.”
After a few moments of cordial interactions, she would kiss her escort deeply and lustily, not caring that those around her were watching her with laser focus. They were allowed. This was part of the ritual, setting the stage for the psychodrama that had begun the moment she had, at home, put on the most alluring clothing and applied her most attractive makeup. As she prepared, her mundane world and the cares within it slipped from her mind and new, sexually stimulating thoughts of “the room” filled her mind. She began to feel the rush of adrenalin and the need to release her tensions and cares was strong… so she made her way to “the room,” where it as dark and warm and saturated wit the energies of the many who had come before.
She began to take off her clothing as the men around her smiled appreciatively. There was no pretense or feigned innocence, as they all knew why they were there, and what was to occur. The only question would be that who amongst them would be active participants in the ritual now in motion, and who would simply be a witnesses to it, donating their lusty thoughts to the energy of “the room.” She laid back on her lounge seat, and multiple men began to touch her everywhere, and the more hypersexualized she became, the bolder they would respond, eventually asking her permission to do more… and more. She would grant some requests, denying others, and having limits on what she would allow that all would have to follow, with her escort faithfully enforcing her restrictions.
The woman wasn’t all that unique. Her methods of coping might not be the same as other women in her everyday situation might have chosen, but for her, they were the most effective in helping her relieve the constant stresses and heavy responsibilities that were the hallmark of her career choice. Doing her job, she had to be in control. She had to make snap decisions that, if wrong, could get herself or others hurt badly, AND cost her employer an enormous amount of money in compensatory damages. Her sexual release in this manner allowed her to NOT be in control, and to allow herself to feel the exhilaration of illicit, erotic contact, with her escort there to make sure things did not get out of hand. Satisfied and relaxed, she could return to her daily life of stress and duty, until the next time the need to release would lead her back to “the room.”
Different people try different things to cope. We all probably know of at least one person who will sometimes use pain to feel in control of an uncontrollable situation. “Cutters,” will sometimes cut themselves when under severe stress so that they can concentrate on the pain their body is experiencing, rather than the pain their mind is having to cope with in dealing with personal or business problems. Surely, cutting oneself can be sometimes dangerous an difficult to hide, but its cathartic effects make the risks more acceptable.
I am aware of at least five men in the world of business who routinely wear women’s underwear beneath their business suits. They have told me that it provides a calming effect from the pressures of finance and commercial enterprise. Outwardly, they held the reigns, but they could feel the silken garments against their skin, and it seemed to comfort them, and one gentleman told me that he hoped it also helped him be more balanced in his decision making processes, reminding him to add a bit of the “feminine” to his often heavily masculine demeanor.
Another man that I know works out intensively on the weekend, desperately trying to purge the feelings of anger and frustration that he has as a police officer dealing with his beat in a poverty torn middle city. He sees the crime and the predation of men and women who in their own efforts to cope with their stresses in simply surviving, foist them on to others — strangers and friends alike. These become the unwitting victims for their rage and contempt for the lives they lead, because they dare not lash out at those who have the ability to fire them.
In the world of BDSM, which encompasses a wide range of activities that involve, bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism, you can find any number of ways that men and women might try to gain or relinquish control of life’s situations in order to cope, using powerful psychodramatic rituals to achieve the sense of calm and balance that they so need in their lives. The idea of turning one’s physical safety over to another is something that most of us would find hard to do, but when a person’s life is dependent upon their being in control of a multitude of situations that can instantly and adversely affect the lives of others, one often finds that they need a physical release from that stress in order to affect and maintain a state of balance.
Sometimes people can come up with interesting passive ways to relinquish control and gain some measure of comfort and security, even while they sleep. One woman related to me that she slept much sounder and more restfully when she wore nothing but a pair of regulation steel handcuffs to bed. There might be other components, such as masturbation or listening to an erotic novel audiobook, but the main component was is the wearing of the handcuffs, which were a gift to her from her lover. These people aren’t “mainstream,” and their methods of coping with the stresses of life are probably not those that 98% of the population would choose. But then, the reason that they have chosen the options they did could well have been that they AREN’T your cookie cutter citizens, and the choices others who are mainstream might not have provided the satisfying relief of stress that they, and those like them, might need. There might well be a correlation between extreme individuals and extreme stress management strategies.
And yes… there are many who just sleep, watch TV or drive to Vegas for the weekend, same as it ever was.
During my time on this planet, one thing that I have heard over and over was that “life is hard,” or that hell is on earth, and I’m sure that people were saying that since the beginning of time, because you know, life IS hard. Now, OUR life isn’t as hard as the same way that the first “humans’” life was hard, and I am certain that 20,000 years from now, someone of that time will opine that as hard as THEY have it, those poor bastards from the 21st Century are lucky to be alive, as they strap themselves in to their Acme Stress Eraser 9000 and flip the switch that returns them to a state of somatized bliss in 30 minutes while they look at pretty lights flashing in the dark.
It’ll be all peaches and cream when we reach theat Brave New World that Aldous Huxley wrote about, when we can simply sip our narcotic “soma” from a can and the world will be a place where reality becomes a euphoric hallucination of contentedness and social harmony. Or like the world of Zager and Evans’ song, In the Year 2525, “In the year 5555, your arms hanging limp at your side, your legs got nothing to do; some machine’s doing that for you.” Isn’t it remarkable that in almost every “utopian” visage of the future, something, be it a man made machine, or man made government turns it into a dystopian hell? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKQfxi8V5FA)
So too, I imagine that the stressors of life that we see now would appear to US as just another fresh hell that we have to find some way to contend with, both physically and emotionally as well. Will we still resort to our current means, our comforts and deviancies that bring us the solace we need, or will we march on, like time itself to those remedies unthinkable to us in our (at this time) primitive existence? I assume that we will find our own way to cope, simple or complex, as will others, and we will deal with stress as we do today, in our own way and in our own time.
Life for many people is a series of hurts and pains and disappointments that they must either overcome or find someone (other than themselves) to blame them on. We all hurt. How we handle it makes all the difference.
“And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt”