Sunday, 8 February 2015

9 - Stockholm Syndrome (Picture Story)

It was the Summer of 2015 when I was kidnapped, and I loved every second of it.

“Now hang on!” I can already hear you saying. “You enjoyed being kidnapped? What?”

I’ve heard it all before, and I get it. Really, I do – it’s hard to wrap your head around why a grown woman would enjoy being subjected to the things I was (and still am). The police certainly didn’t get it that one time they showed up at our front door. My friends and family found it even harder; my parents in particular were very much on the “I think we need to call the men in white coats for you, Issy” train for a long time. They were very hard to reassure. I don’t think I’ll ever totally convince them that this is what I want, and even though that’s a bit saddening, I get it. It’s natural to be sceptical of the unknown, so let me explain.

Immediately before I was kidnapped, I was twenty-four, single, studying art at university and (most importantly) horribly depressed. I’d seen doctors plenty of times for help, but none of them seemed to offer anything more than temporary relief, and that made life hard, you know? I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, my appetite was non-existent, I had no motivation to do my uni work, my social life was non-existant, so on and so on. Life wasn’t hard, but it was empty, and more than once I just considered ending it all. It wasn’t like I was missing anything here – maybe I should just put an end to the nothing that was everything?

Then Rowena happened.

It was a late Friday evening when she entered my life, and I was walking back to my apartment with a week’s worth of groceries. There was no thought on my mind other than going to bed; at around this time, my classmates might be just about to hit the clubs, but not me. I was never the clubbing type, and all I wanted to do was head to bed and sleep the night and the weekend away so the Monday drudgery could start once again. It was a terribly bleak state of mind to be in, and I freely admit that, but it’s where my head was at back in those days. It wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, Rowena must have come up from behind me, because the next thing I knew there was a piece of cloth being pressed into my face, and then I lost consciousness. When I came to, I was in the room that later became my nursery, tied to an ancient rocking chair with something flexible and rubbery gagging me. It wasn’t till I began to kick and scream as best I could with whatever it was that was in my mouth that Rowena entered the room and introduced herself. She was a beanstalk of a girl with a narrow face, a mane of brunette hair and crazy in her eyes. Just the sight of her alone was enough to set me on edge, and I renewed my efforts to break free and call for help.

It was only then that my kidnapper explained the situation to me.

Rowena had an ‘adult baby’ fetish, and seeing as she’d been unable to find an adult baby that fit her desires the conventional way, she’d opted to take things into her own hands and force the matter. Unfortunately, I was the result. At the time, I’d never heard of this fetish and knew nothing about it, but in the end it was self-explanatory. She was the mummy, and I was the baby. Role-play. ‘Adult’ baby. Get it? It sounded crazy, and I have no doubt even today that she is crazy (you can’t just kidnap someone to make your fantasies happen, after all), but it was what it was. She expected me to be her baby right down to the babbling, the crawling, the bottlefeedings. The everything. Even the diapers.  

Naturally, I tried to protest, but there wasn’t much I could do; I was still gagged. My mutilated mumblings made my kidnapper giggle, and she told me that my gag was actually a pacifier, and it was clearly working as intended.

As it turned out, that was my introduction to my new life. I was already entangled in it.

Before I knew it, I had become Rowena’s reluctant ‘daughter.’ That first day, I protested from where I was tied to the rocking chair – from there on, I protested during my diaper changes. During my baths. As she fed me from my highchair. It became my life, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The front door was always locked, and she was always very careful to either keep an eye on me or ensure I couldn’t escape, one way or another. My crib with the locking top was my best friend those early days while she was at work.

After a while, though, certain understandings began to dawn on me. Was this really so much worse than where I had been? I had no responsibilities – I no longer had to grudgingly drag myself out of bed each day, because babies spend a hell of a lot of time in bed. I no longer had to stress about assessment, because babies don’t even know what the word assessment means, let fret about completing it. I mean, I didn’t even have the responsibility to make it to the toilet anymore. I wore my toilet. I could go wherever I felt like. For a while, it was just an unexpected-yet-grudgingly-welcome break from my life…and then it became a welcome change full stop.

I stopped looking at Rowena as my jailor. I started seeing her as a mother. My mother.

Eventually, I worked up the nerve to talk to her about just how well I was coping with my dramatic departure from adulthood. I had to – I mean, she treated me like a baby, but I was her baby prisoner. I didn’t want that; I was content to be her baby, and I didn’t need the locking crib or the wrist restraints or anything. It spoiled the illusion I’d become so enchanted with. It took a while to do it, but I got there in the end. She wasn’t blind; she could see the change in me. Suddenly, I was giggling instead of pouting when she bathed me. I was using my diapers and letting her spoon feed me without protest, even enjoying it. We came to a probational agreement, and when we did, I began to shuffle my life around to keep this going. I called my parents and had the most awkward conversation of my life explaining the situation. Rowena was financially stable enough that she could support the two of us indefinitely, and so I officially un-enrolled to become her baby permanently. I took to my new life with relish. I was no longer a prisoner – I was a baby, and I’d never been happier.

It may sound unbelievable, but I enjoyed having the responsibilities of adulthood stripped away from me. I guess you have to understand where I’m coming from if you want to really get it, with the perpetual emptiness and apathy and misery and whatnot. I enjoyed getting away from it all, and yeah, I enjoyed having someone dote over me and love me senseless. Sure, she had hit me with chloroform and kidnapped me and was probably clinically classified as a stark raving lunatic, but I’d never had that before, you know? Not since I was actually a kid. It was good to be loved, no matter what. It made the emptiness less empty, and for that, I guess I subconsciously held her in a high regard. I still do, if we’re being totally honest, because that’s why I’m still here over a year later. I might have protested at first, but those days are long gone. My vocabulary consists entirely of the baby babble that’s expected from me (except for when we’re having a rare but necessary out of character, grown-up conversation, of course). I no longer bitch and moan when Rowena insists I need a bath (I certainly used to, even after I made a mess of my everything after my morning oatmeal with my fingers. Rowena seems to think that some of those stains won’t ever come out of my highchair). Nowadays I let her strip me naked and wash me without fuss. I no longer beg her to let me use the toilet – I just do it, and if I’m being totally honest, I’ve even come to enjoy it. That I need Rowena to help me through my everyday life makes me feel so small and helpless, and...well, it’s just a wonderful feeling. To be needed. I play my role nowadays because I enjoy it, not because she makes me.

Take the other day, for example. Rowena decided to let me try big girl panties for the first time since I ‘moved in’ to her house. It was all a ruse, of course – both of us knew I had no intention of changing the current situation by leaving diapers behind, but I guess it highlights how much I’ve come to enjoy this. I let her strip me of my diaper and dress me in underwear that wasn’t padded where it counts…and, well, I happily wet it before the day was through. I’m just a baby, after all. What more do you want from me? 

Does that make sense now? I get that it’s a little confronting, but it’s why I haven’t pressed any charges against Rowena or done anything at all. It’s why I’m still living with her, and it’s why I’m still crawling around her house in nothing but a diaper most days. It makes me happy, and happiness is something I can be in pretty short supply of sometimes. So what if she kidnapped me? She’s a great mummy, and she makes me happy. Isn’t that the important thing? That I’m happy?

Personally, I don’t think I could ask for anything more.

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