Taylor was in a bad mood. It had been going on for several days now too. And there wasn’t a single member of his family who wasn’t completely tired of it. He was being pissy, rude, and bossy to everyone. He’d tried to figure out what was bothering him to see if he could reason himself out of it, but he couldn’t come up with anything. The three brothers and their family had been on tour now for several months and it had been going very well, so that wasn’t it. It was probably just his old pattern resurfacing, he decided. Three months of good behavior was about all he could usually manage before he’d start to simmer inside like this, and it had been a lot longer than that since he’d last gotten into trouble. He shuddered as he remembered the price he’d paid for that particular episode – paid with a pound of flesh - off his backside, that is. And all over a stupid cell phone too.
The family had just now arrived back home in Tulsa for a short break. They had gotten off the plane and were all congregating in the gate area waiting for an official to come help them get through the airport safely. As always, there was a crowd of screaming fans waiting across the concourse being held back by several security guards.
“How do they always find out our itinerary?” Taylor muttered grumpily. Usually he was elated to see the fans. The very fact that he was thinking so negatively about them meant he was pretty far gone temperament-wise. The truth was he was well aware that he was treading on exceedingly thin ice with his parents right now, and that any simple little misstep on his part could result in an extremely unpleasant scene. A scene he certainly wouldn’t want an audience for – especially of fans.
He felt like a pressure cooker about to blow. He’d already exchanged nasty words with both Ike and Zac when each of them had tried to calm him down. His parents were watching him like a hawk too. He was pacing and seething like a caged animal. Ike could see just how close his brother was to losing it so he decided to try one more time to get him to come to his senses.
“Tay, man, you’ve got to cool it,” Ike coaxed. “Dad’s about to strangle you ‘cause he’s so angry about the way you’ve been acting. And we still have to go over and talk to those fans before we leave. You’ve got to get it together.” Tay just glowered at him.
“Leave me the fuck alone, Ike,” he spat angrily and stormed off leaving his brother flabbergasted, his mouth gaping. The brothers never spoke to one another like that – well very rarely anyway. Ike was getting pretty worried for Taylor. And plenty irked with him too. His bad attitude was becoming more than tiresome to say the least.
Taylor stomped over toward a row of seats intending to sit there by himself and sulk silently, but his father waylaid him. Walker caught his son by his upper arm and leaned in closely to his ear. “I don’t know what you just said to Ike,” he warned, tightening his grip on Taylor’s arm to show him he knew exactly what was going on, “but I have a feeling it wasn’t appropriate and I think you’d better go apologize.” Taylor could feel his father’s hot breath on his neck. It gave him the chills. His words weren’t intended merely as a suggestion either, as Taylor was well aware, but he was beyond thinking clearly now. Instead, he angrily shook his arm free and plopped down in the chair, muttering under his breath, “You can leave me the fuck alone too.” Only trouble was it wasn’t quite under his breath enough.
There was a heart-stopping moment in which Taylor realized – a split second too late - what he had just done. Immediately an explosion of adrenalin flooded his body. Heart beating wildly now, he lifted his eyes slowly to meet his father’s, hoping against all hope that his words had gone unheard. One look at his father’s face though and Tay knew he was sunk.
In a flash his father reached down, grabbed Taylor by his left arm, yanked him up out of his chair and gave him a powerful smack on the seat of his pants. Taylor gasped, his right hand flying back to protect his stinging bottom from further blows. He was stunned. His father had just spanked him in public – and in full view of all those fans. He knew they had seen it too, because they’d let out a loud, collective gasp. Thankfully, his father didn’t smack him again. Instead he jerked him around roughly, and taking him by both shoulders, gave him a sound shaking, his blond curls flying back and forth. Then he leaned into Taylor’s face and hissed, “That’s it, mister! I have had it with you. When we get home you are going over my knee for a good, long session with the hairbrush on your bare bottom. Do you understand me, young man?”
Taylor groaned, his cheeks burning hot and red and his blood pounding so loudly in his ears he could barely think. His legs nearly gave out from under him. He was strangely relieved that his father was still holding him up, although he could only imagine what a pathetic picture he made right now – cringing at his father’s wrath as he received what was obviously a severe scolding. He shuddered. His father shook him again, snapping him out of his mental reverie. “Answer me!”
“Yesss sssir,” Tay stammered, swallowing hard.
“And I promise you, if you so much as look at me wrong - or anyone else for that matter – I will sit down right here and now, put you across my knee and give you what you’ve been asking for. Don’t think I won’t. Is that what you want?” he asked angrily, giving him another harsh shake.
“Nooo sssir,” Taylor answered hastily, his voice quavering with suppressed panic. Oh god, if that happened he didn’t know what he’d do. He’d just die.
His father released him then and Taylor staggered backwards several steps. Ike and Zac immediately swarmed around him effectively cutting him off from everyone’s view. It was such a natural reaction on their part they did it without thinking. Like animals defending one of their own – circling, huddling. It was an instinctive and loving gesture to protect their brother from further embarrassment.
Taylor simply stood there trembling, his face cradled in his hands. “I can’t believe he did that,” he finally said, still shocked.
“Well, you totally deserved it,” Zac stated bluntly. “You’ve been a complete asshole lately. I’m only surprised it took Dad so long.”
Taylor’s skin prickled. He looked up at Zac preparing to attack but the wind had been taken out of his sails by his brother’s words. Zac was nothing if not brutally honest - to a fault sometimes. It wasn’t always pleasant to hear what he had to say, but he was usually right. Taylor turned, looking hopefully at Ike for support, but he realized he’d already given up himself. He was defeated and he knew it. He’d been wrong and now he was going to have to pay for it. His fate was sealed.
“Zac’s right, Tay,” Ike added soberly. Tay just nodded, head hanging.
After a pause Taylor suddenly looked up at his brothers, his eyes full of alarm. “How am I gonna face those fans now?” he moaned.
“You’ll figure it out bro. You always do. They love you. Just flash ‘em that irresistible smile of yours and they’ll be putty in your hands,” Zac teased. Tay shook his head and chuckled softly despite himself, grateful to his younger, yet sometimes so much wiser, brother for breaking the tension. Able to think clearly for the first time in awhile, Tay new what he had to do. “First I better go say something to Dad though.”
He gave his brothers an appreciative - albeit embarrassed – look, then walked slowly over to where his mother and father stood discussing what Taylor knew was his deplorable behavior.
“Dad,” Taylor started nervously. “I’m sorry. I really am. I … I … don’t know what else to say.”
“Good,” his father nodded sharply. “You should be. However, that won’t get you out of the spanking you still have coming to you.”
“I know,” Taylor sighed sadly, surprised that some small part of him had actually been hoping it might. He scolded himself silently for even entertaining such a hopeless notion. In their family when a spanking was decreed it was always delivered.
“Okay,” Walker cleared his throat, shifting gears. “You boys need to go over and talk to your fans now so we can get out of here and go home.” He patted Tay’s shoulder comfortingly, knowing just how hard that was going to be for him. He was proud of his son for apologizing so soon though. It boded well. It meant Taylor had already begun to learn his lesson, and that a single good, sound spanking would most likely suffice as punishment. He remembered clearly another airport incident several years back that hadn’t resolved itself quite so easily.
Tay and his brothers walked over to the waiting group and began the ritual of shaking hands and introducing themselves - as if everyone didn’t already know who they were! Taylor was aware that his cheeks were blushing because he could feel the heat radiating off them. Several girls tried to ask him if he was okay but he just deflected their questions. Finally one girl simply burst into tears as Tay shook her hand. Tay was taken aback – and he knew he was going to have to say something now.
“What are you crying about?” he joked, attempting to be lighthearted. “I’m the one who just got spanked.” There was an uncomfortable silence as everyone tried to figure out how to react to that statement.
His father had come up behind Taylor and when he heard the exchange he playfully reached out to swat his son’s behind again. “And there’s more where that came from,” he teased as Taylor deftly swerved his bottom out of the way. The sweet scene between father and son totally broke the ice and everyone laughed. Walker gently massaged Taylor’s shoulders to show the crowd that there were no hard feelings. Taylor actually leaned back into his father’s strong chest, closing his eyes for a second, relishing the feeling.
After a few more minutes with the fans, the Hanson clan gathered their stuff and followed the airport official out. Taylor was relieved beyond comprehension to have that ordeal over with. Now he just had to get through the next couple hours – he still had an embarrassing and very painful spanking to endure and his stomach was doing flip flops at the thought.
In the van on the way home Tay suddenly remembered another airport episode, frighteningly similar to this one, only much worse. It had happened about three years ago when Hanson had been on their first official promotional tour in 1997. They’d all been waiting to board a flight and Taylor had been acting up, getting on everyone’s nerves – especially his parent’s. He’d gotten a bit too big for his britches, as his mother colorfully put it. He’d been arguing with his brothers, then he’d pushed Ike and called him a nasty name, and his father had finally had it.
“Taylor, get over here immediately,” he’d yelled. Taylor felt his stomach knot at the memory. He’d been paralyzed with fear at the time. Ike had snickered, “Good, now you’re gonna get it.” Taylor lashed out at him again and suddenly his father had him by his arm and was smacking his bottom. He’d only gotten one smack that time too, but then his father started pulling him across the room – clearly taking him somewhere for further punishment. Not wanting to be seen being dragged away like that Taylor had shaken himself free. It was too embarrassing. His father understood this and respected it since the boys were at the height of their fame then and were always being watched. And there was often a camera or two around as well, catching very private moments that would end up in teen magazines or on the web. But although he let Taylor walk by himself, he clearly had him under his control, directing him forcefully around a corner and out of everyone’s sight.
As soon as he’d gotten Taylor alone, he’d grabbed him hard by the upper arm and given him a blistering spanking that left him breathless and sobbing. When he finally stopped he’d asked angrily, “Do I have to take your pants down and put you over my knee right here in the middle of the airport, or have you learned your lesson?” Taylor had been crying so it had taken him several moments to get the answer out. “No more. Please Daddy, don’t spank me anymore,” he’d blubbered. “I’ll be good. I promise.”
It wasn’t quite the apology his father had been looking for. He knew Taylor too well and he was pretty sure it wasn’t over yet. “I hope you’re right mister,” Walker warned, “because I can guarantee you that if I have to spank you again, you won’t be able to sit for a week. Do you understand me?”
“Yess ssir,” he’d whimpered. The image Taylor had formulated of himself in that moment had been branded on his brain ever since. He was standing there, his head hanging but his eyes looking up through tear-covered lashes, cowering in front of his furious father who held him by both shoulders, admonishing him hotly. He was the picture of submissiveness – of a little boy who was being soundly punished. It still sent shudders through him every time he thought of it. Even three years later. And it was exactly how he’d felt in the Tulsa airport just a little while ago.
Taylor remembered how being walked back into the gate area where everyone else was waiting had been nearly as bad as the spanking. He’d been so humiliated. He knew he looked like the perfect image of a well-spanked boy. No one could possibly have misinterpreted the signs. He could feel himself vibrating with shame, but also with a growing sense of resentment. He wasn’t really sorry yet – he was more angry than anything. Angry that he’d gotten caught, angry that he’d been spanked, angry that he’d been publicly humiliated.
On the flight he’d sulked silently, his bottom burning like fire. Everything Ike and Zac did or said got on his nerves, and he’d sighed noisily and often, rolling his eyes in irritation, and refusing to talk to them. The bomb was ticking. When they’d gotten drinks Ike had accidentally bumped Tay’s arm and that was it. Tay shoved him hard, purposefully knocking Ike’s drink right into his lap, and Ike’s shocked gasp brought their father immediately to his feet. He arrived just in time to see Ike punch Taylor back.
“Isaac! Taylor! What’s going on here?” he’d demanded a little too loudly for the boys’ comfort. They cringed but didn’t answer. “Both of you come with me right now!”
Not wanting to create more of a scene, they hastily complied, Ike throwing Taylor threatening looks which his brother studiously ignored. Their father lead them directly to the front of the plane where a curtain enclosed the galley area. He asked the attendants there if he could have a moment of privacy with his two sons, and they’d simply smiled, nodded, and left, giving the boys sympathetic looks as it was quite obvious they were in serious trouble.
“Isaac, you first,” Walker had ordered, his tone subtly revealing that he knew it wasn’t really Ike’s fault. However, what Ike had done in retaliation was definitely unacceptable behavior as well and warranted some sort of punishment. That would have to wait until he was done with Taylor though.
Ike, only slightly relieved by the tell-tale sound in his father’s voice, started warily, “He was being a brat, and when we got our drinks I accidentally bumped him - but then he purposely knocked my drink on me. He did it on purpose, Dad. I know it. That’s when I punched him. I know I shouldn’t have but he was being such a pain.”
“Taylor?” Walker asked, his voice darkening as he turned toward the son he felt certain was the real instigator.
Taylor could do nothing but hang his head and fidget guiltily. His father’s ominous words from earlier were ringing in his ears. “If I have to spank you again, you won’t be able to sit for a week!” He knew there was little chance of getting out of it now. But would his father really spank him right here on the airplane? He wouldn’t, would he? Please, oh god, please don’t let him do that, Taylor begged silently.
“Taylor!” his father shouted. Taylor jumped. “I… I …, um …I …,” but his voice just faded away.
“That’s what I thought.” Walker stated. “Do you remember what I said to you back in the airport after I spanked you? What was that? Tell me!”
Taylor shuffled uncomfortably and tears began to spill down his cheeks. “Um …, you said, um … that if you had to spank me again, I… I… wouldn’t be able to sit for a week. Please Daddy, please don’t do this. Not here. I won’t do it again. Really, I promise.” He was begging pathetically now but he didn’t care. He couldn’t let his father spank him on the plane. It was too humiliating. He’d just die. He knew it. He put his face in his hands and tried with all his might not to completely break down.
“Too late!” his father stated emphatically. “You should have thought of that before you treated your brother that way. Shouldn’t you have?”
Taylor couldn’t answer. He was too embarrassed and ashamed and overwhelmed.
“Well!” his father demanded. “Answer me!”
“Yes sir,” Taylor mumbled miserably. He felt about as small and weak as a defenseless little puppy right then.
He groaned as his father reached out and grabbed him, pulling him over to his right side as he lowered the jump seat and sat down. “Please, Daddy,” Taylor whimpered again. It was futile and he knew it, but as always he had to at least try. They were in an airplane for Christ’s sake. “Oh god,” he moaned.
His father wasted no time in lowering Taylor’s pants to his ankles and putting his disobedient son across his knees. When his underpants were yanked down in back Taylor let out a low wail – he was completely lost in his misery now.
The first smack jerked his body forward hard against his father’s powerful thighs. He gasped as the wind was knocked right out of him. Then the spanking began in earnest. The sting was unbelievable, especially given the spanking he’d gotten only a little while earlier, and the loud, slapping sounds of his father’s hand smacking his bare bottom made his whole body recoil with shame. He couldn’t stand it. He really couldn’t. The pain and humiliation were just too much. He began to fight and struggle hard against his father’s grip. He thrashed about and pushed violently trying to free himself. He had to get away from this awful nightmare. He just had to. His father was too strong for him by far though, and Taylor’s squirming was only making him angrier. He grabbed Taylor’s wrists tightly and pinned them both to his lower back, then he lit into his son’s backside like never before. When Taylor still wouldn’t settle down he suddenly stopped spanking him, pausing for a moment, trying to decide what his next step should be.
“If you don’t settle down young man,” he threatened in a voice that sent chills up and down Taylor’s spine, “I’ll send Ike back to get your mother’s hairbrush. Is that what you want? Everyone watching your brother bringing that hairbrush back to me? Do you?” he demanded with a sharp smack to Taylor’s flaming bottom for emphasis.
Taylor was desperately trying to catch his breath and make sense of his father’s words. The idea that he would be kept over his father’s knees, his bright red bottom bared and probably getting spanked the whole time, as his brother opened the curtain, then walked down the aisle, asked his mother for the brush, then brought it back - and that then he would get another whole spanking with the awful brush - was simply too much. “NOOOO,” he wailed. “Please Daddy, please don’t. I’ll be good. I will. I will. Pleeease. I’m soooorry. I’m sooorry.” Finally, the two words his father had been waiting for.
“Well, we’ll just see about that now, won’t we,” his father said, tightening his grip on Taylor, and beginning to spank his sizzling bottom all over again – with renewed vigor. Taylor sobbed wholeheartedly now, breaking down completely, relinquishing totally to the abject horribleness of it all. He didn’t fight or kick anymore – he just lay there, flinching and squirming against the stinging smacks, utterly mortified, taking what he knew he deserved. The spanking seemed endless though. How many people could hear, he moaned internally? How many people knew? What if someone came in here? When would his father stop? His bottom was on fire.
After what, to Taylor at least, seemed like an interminable amount of time, the spanking finally came to an end. Taylor was limp with exhaustion by that point, bawling hard, his breath coming in hitching sobs. His father let him lay there for a moment or two to compose himself, then he pulled Taylor’s underpants back up over his fire engine red bottom and set him back on his feet. Taylor bent painfully over and slowly, gingerly, lifted his pants back up, carefully avoiding having them come anywhere near his sizzling backside. He felt like he’d sat on a red hot stove. His father motioned for him to turn around and face the corner. He meekly obeyed. He wasn’t about to argue. Still, the thought of having to stand in the corner on the airplane made him woozy with shame.
“Isaac,” Walker said next. “Please come here now.” Ike, shaking visibly from head to toe, slowly walked over to his dad. Please, please, he prayed silently, don’t let him spank me like that. His father rose, turned Ike around and, holding him firmly by the upper arm, gave him six hearty smacks on the seat of his jeans. Ike just gritted his teeth and held on – hating every single second of it, but thankful all the same that his pants weren’t coming down and he wasn’t going over his dad’s knee. Taylor winced at each blow he heard. He felt so guilty and ashamed to have been the cause of Ike’s spanking. He’d have to make sure Ike knew how sorry he was.
“There are better ways to deal with conflict, young man, and you know it,” Walker admonished Ike between spanks. “I would have expected better of you.”
“Yes sir, I know. I’m sorry,” Ike gulped, head hanging, throat tight from holding back his tears.
“Okay, you may go back now,” Walker said, releasing his grip on Ike’s arm. Ike turned quickly and left, anxious to get out of there and back to the safety and shelter of his seat. He needed some privacy to get his emotions back under control. And he desperately wanted to change out of his soaked clothes as well.
“Taylor, come here,” Walker ordered, his tone still authoritative but not nearly as angry. Whimpering, Taylor turned and walked to his dad. He had no idea what to expect next. He could only pray he wasn’t about to get another spanking. He wouldn’t totally put it past his dad to decide that he still hadn’t been punished enough. His father sat back down, making Taylor’s poor heart nearly leap out of his chest. But he didn’t take Taylor over his knee again. He just held him by his shoulders and lectured him sternly. Tay sobbed quietly, nodding his head, taking in every harsh word, apologizing over and over, and promising to be good. And he meant it, he really did.
Finally, satisfied that the scolding had completed the punishment, his father pulled Taylor to his chest and held him tightly, rocking him back and forth, calming his weeping son. He sat Taylor on his knee – carefully – and wiped his damp, sticky cheeks. Taylor wanted to just curl up into his father’s lap and fall asleep there like he used to when he was little. He was fourteen years old but he didn’t care. At that moment he felt like he could stay there, wrapped in his father’s loving arms, for the rest of his days.
Taylor had been so lost in these thoughts he hadn’t realized they had arrived home. His father’s sharp words snapped him right out of his daydream. “Taylor, after you help unload the car, you are to meet me in the living room. That goes for everyone – there will be a family meeting as soon as we’re done getting everything into the house.” Oh god, not that! Taylor groaned silently, his heart starting to race again. He’d blissfully allowed himself to forget about his impending punishment for a little while. Now it all came roaring back to him like a steam engine – along with the rushing sound of his blood in his ears.
He hadn’t considered the possibility of a family meeting being held either. Meetings like those were often called whenever the whole family had been adversely affected by the disobedient child’s behavior. They were intended to increase the level of intensity and effectiveness of the punishment – and it worked. Tay had been the recipient of a number of these public spankings and he hated them with a passion.
He slowly unfolded himself from the car and picked up some suitcases. He wasn’t moving very quickly though and his father gave him a sharp swat on his behind to speed him up. Taylor colored deep red, praying that no one in the neighborhood had seen it. However, he knew well that their homecomings were always a bit of an event and many people watched with great interest. He swallowed hard and picked up his pace. He didn’t want any more trouble.
Soon enough the entire family was gathered in the living room, awaiting what they all knew would be a very unpleasant event. Taylor was standing there holding the hairbrush he’d been ordered to get, looking every bit the scared, guilty boy he was. Walker cleared his throat and started the proceedings. “Taylor has been acting very badly lately,” he said, “as you all know since every one of you has been the target of his nasty attitude at some point or another. And his behavior back at the airport was completely unacceptable. I told him then that when we got home he was in for a good, long session with the hairbrush and that’s exactly what he’s going to get. Taylor, go get a chair from the dining room table and bring it here.”
Taylor squeezed his eyes tight shut for a moment trying to gather the strength to face his disgrace. Slowly he dragged himself across the room to get the chair his father would sit on to spank him. It was truly awful. He kept his eyes glued to the floor unable to meet anyone’s gaze. When he’d brought the chair back and set it next to his father he waited anxiously for the next order. His knees were shaking so badly he was afraid he might just crumble into a heap on the floor.
His father took his seat, then crooked his finger at Taylor indicating he was to come closer. Taylor had been keeping his distance for as long as possible. That time was officially over now, however. He walked tentatively forward and was immediately grabbed by the waistband of his pants. He groaned and fought hard not to run – or scream. His father’s experienced fingers deftly unfastened his pants and slid them down his legs. Taylor had goose bumps all over now and he shivered at the sensation. He felt his left wrist being grasped, then he was pulled down over his father’s knees. The last two things he remembered clearly were seeing the floor come into view and feeling his stomach wrench as his bottom was bared for all to see.
He closed his eyes, clenched his jaw and tightened every muscle in his body. It didn’t help one little bit. The searing pain of the first smack made him cry out painfully, and that was that. He broke down and sobbed full out from start to finish. His father really laid into him. He thoroughly spanked every inch of Taylor’s backside, setting off what felt like firecrackers all over it. Taylor moaned and jerked and kicked his feet uncontrollably, trying desperately to handle the pain. His arms flailed wildly too, his hands grasping first the rungs of the chair, then the side of the seat, then his father’s left leg, then finally, his poor blazing bottom. When they flew back behind him, however, his father methodically took each one, held it palm up and smacked it hard with the hairbrush, causing Taylor to yelp loudly. Then he pinned both wrists firmly to Taylor’s back and continued with his systematic thrashing of his naughty son’s flaming behind.
“Are you getting the point Taylor?” he asked between stinging smacks. “Are you learning your lesson?” Taylor was gasping for breath but he knew he had to answer. “Yessss sirrr,” he moaned, hoping his dutiful responses would somehow buy him a little reprieve. No such luck. The blistering spanking continued unabated for several more minutes.
When his father finally determined that he had administered sufficient punishment for Taylor’s deplorable conduct he brought the spanking to an end. Taylor was panting and choking with sobs by then. The sudden quiet stillness brought him up short though and he quickly calmed himself, swallowing hard and slowing his breathing. His father released his hands and pulled his well-spanked son’s underpants back up over his throbbing bottom. Taylor then slowly pushed himself off his father’s lap and attempted to compose himself as best he could - considering.
“Are we done, Taylor? Is your behavior going to change for the better or do we need to do more?” Walker asked.
Taylor nodded, desperately, sorrowfully, still trying to find his voice. “Yes sir,” he managed to croak out finally. “I’m sorry. I really am. I’ll behave. I will. I promise. I’m … sorry.” His voice cracked as sobs once again swelled in his throat. He felt so awful – so humiliated, so embarrassed, so pathetic. For the life of him, he couldn’t understand how he had once again, at seventeen years of age, allowed himself to get to this pitiful place. Standing here like this, disgraced in front of his whole family – having been spanked bare bottomed over his father’s knees like a little boy, his backside burning so fiercely it felt like the skin had been singed off. When would he ever learn? When would he grow up and figure out how to behave properly so he wouldn’t be subjected to this. What was his problem anyhow? Why didn’t he just stop? Was he simply incapable of it, or was there something in it for him? A payoff of some kind? But what? Why? It was crazy. Simply ridiculous.
“You are to go stand in the corner now,” his father ordered. “I believe you have some serious thinking to do.”
“Yes sir,” Taylor mumbled. He’d been hoping to be spared this final, embarrassing part of the ritual, but it wasn’t to be. And he realized now that he actually needed it. It was the perfect time to reassess his situation – to look long and hard at his motivations, to discover what was driving him. And hopefully, then, maybe gain some semblance of control over his choices and actions for the future.
Once in the corner, his mind flashed back to that moment in the airplane three years ago when his father had gathered him onto his lap and into his arms. He had wanted to simply curl up there forever. Safe, secure, loved, free. He craved that so much – it was the best drug he knew. He shook his head at the memory, trying to clear his mind. It wasn’t that simple. It couldn’t be. There had to be more to it. He could get a warm, loving hug from either of his parents anytime he wanted. All he had to do was ask. They were more than generous with their affections – especially with their beloved children.
Why did he need to get a spanking first, he wondered? Why did there have to be pain involved? Pain and humiliation and shame? For some reason these things seemed to be necessary ingredients in the package for him and he was at a loss as to how to explain, or justify, or understand that. He hated spankings with every fiber of his body. One hundred percent. There was absolutely no doubt in his mind about that at all. The submission, the powerlessness, the vulnerability, the embarrassment, the indignity of it all - not to mention the awful pain. It made him shudder just to think about it. But he couldn’t seem to find the release and cleansing he longed for without them. Why? He searched and searched his mind for the answer.
In the rest of his life – his professional life - he had everything he could possibly want - power, control, confidence, prestige, accolades, admiration, and untold success. And of the three brothers it was always him they wanted, him they sought after, him they wrote letters and reviews about, him they screamed for. He often felt guilty that he was given so much more credit and respect than his brothers. He hadn’t earned it – they’d worked just as hard as he did. He had been born with it – his voice, looks, musical ability, songwriting skills, stage presence, and, more importantly, that certain indescribable “it” quality people seemed to attribute to him. He felt blessed to have been given such gifts and amazing abilities but he wasn’t sure he deserved it all. In fact he was pretty sure he didn’t. Who was he anyway to be given so much, he thought?
He didn’t want to be singled out all the time either. It made him nervous. Like more was expected of him than he had to give - or wanted to give. But yet he also secretly loved that he was always the “one” they wanted to see, to talk to, to touch. He couldn’t help but feel superior and special and simply better, but yet he felt guilty and ashamed of these arrogant, egotistical feelings as well. It was a powerful and constant struggle inside him.
At times he felt overwhelmed and insecure too – like he was really an imposter. That he would be found out – be discovered – be revealed as the mediocre, no-talent, incompetent jerk he sometimes felt he was. Maybe he was just searching for balance somehow. Someone to knock him down a few notches – keep him in line – show him he wasn’t such hot stuff. After all, he could still be put over a knee for a spanking, right? Still be put in his place. It kept his head in check – his ego under control. It helped pay for his sins, his lies, his guilt.
There was something else too. From a very early age he had been saddled with huge responsibilities – he and his brothers had been making music and performing professionally for years. And when their fame had really hit, he had felt almost crushed by the weight of those expectations at times. It was a lot of pressure. A lot of stress. Especially on him. It was a relief to just be a kid sometimes - to not have to be responsible or adult-like. A kid who still had parents who took care of him and made sure he was safe, secure, guided and loved. Parents who still told him what to do, told him when he’d done wrong, and punished him, pure and simple, when he needed it. Parents who took the weight off his shoulders for awhile.
Taylor breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn’t sure he had the whole answer yet, but so far it seemed to fit. He felt a sense of calm and rightness when he thought of it that way. It must be true then – at least to some extent - he figured. He would have to continue to explore all this – it was pretty complicated and exhausting stuff. But for now at least, he felt he’d discovered an important inlet into his psyche, and he was satisfied enough to let it go for awhile. Time would tell.
But although he felt he had uncovered some of his deepest desires and drives, he knew that still didn’t answer one big, burning question. How was he ever going to break the pattern? How was he going to finally grow up and learn how to deal with his needs and wants in a more personally empowering way? That he couldn’t begin to fathom yet. One thing was for sure though, he told himself, next time he was in an airport he was going to be as good as gold!