A new kind of S&M


Earlier this year my sister, a single mum of three, was diagnosed with Hughes syndrome. Everyone in my family had to get tested to check we didn’t have it too, as it can be hereditary. It is a serious disease that can in some cases cause regular recurring attacks that can literally, as in my sister’s case, leave parts of your body paralysed. In this blog she talks about the transition she went through to become a single mum and her journey of self discovery and healing since finding out about the disease.

She is continuing to come to terms with the effects of the disease and is slowly making the changes needed to lead a more easeful spacious life, one that provide her with less stress and more rest.

She practices Yoga as part of her ongoing self care routine, sometimes with me but alas we live quite far apart and she is also a keen meditator and hopes to one day become a mindfulness meditation teacher alongside pursuing her real love, which is writing. You can find her blog here.

Life is all about the choices you make. I was once told that the pain and difficulties that a person faced were as a direct result of their choices. This led to years of procrastination and what if’s? I would spend hours weighing up the pros and cons of future choices, wading through a sea of muddy thoughts. Agonising about bad choices I had made that had left me vulnerable; determined not to make the same mistakes again. After all, wasn’t I the one who had actively participated in the choices that left my family homeless, in debt and broken?


I remember the exact moment I decided to leave my children’s father, sat on a beach abashed with guilt, knowing I was going to irreparably hurt the single most important people in my life – my children. The feelings of immense pain burned in my chest. For punitive measures, I allowed the heavy waves to crash over me, knock me hard to the ground (I can still feel the abrasive silt and sand scratching at my skin.) For as long as I can remember I have verbally and physically caused myself harm, punishing myself for the choices I had made as a child that had continued to haunt me as a woman; abusing myself in a sick S&M game, playing servitude to my dominating negative thought pattern of blame.


The internal rhetoric of my thoughts was finally silenced following an incident that literally made me re-think everything. Having woken at 6am, on a normal Tuesday, it took a while for me to gain my focus. Light that was streaming through the window was hazy. My chest was heavy and lifting my left arm seemed an impossible task. Face fallen, my left cheek was numb to touch and I was in a dream-like state. I panicked. I was a 38 year old woman; later to be diagnosed with a suspected stroke. This was not my choice; I had not chosen to be hurt as a child nor adult by the people who I had offered kindness and love – that was their choice, one I had not been part off.


In the coming days and weeks, I stopped. I stopped and allowed myself to be. I was scared and felt the most vulnerable I had ever felt. Yet I knew that the unkindness I had shown myself was a deriving factor. Over the next few weeks, I allowed thoughts to be fleeting and showed myself kindness; possibly for the first time. I began to practice a new kind of S&M; ‘Self-care’ and ‘Mindfulness’. The relief of which was palpable.


The gift I had given to myself was love; I had finally decided I deserved to treat myself with the kindness I show others. I found forgiveness for those who had hurt me, for the bad choices I had made and was able to learn from them. As the weeks turned to months, I have begun to become free of negative self-judgement and more aware of the moment I lived as I lived it, in the present. More importantly, I have chosen to love the person I am – allowing my mind to focus on all those wonderful little things that make up the beautiful canvas of life. I still have a lot to learn, yet I have chosen love and light to dominate how I live, offering myself the kind of S&M I have always deserved.

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