‘No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become…There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.’
– Stephen King, The Stand
My blog is now a year old!
This time last year, my life was different. I felt like I was balancing on the edge of what was comfortable and what I knew, and had no idea what was waiting for me if I were to fall. The longer I teetered on that edge, the more I felt that I had no choice but to fall – there was nothing left to hold onto.
For the first time in my career, I was floundering at work. I’d spent the previous four years working towards this moment, this new level of responsibility, and I hated it. Outside work, I had been single for over a decade and was in the middle of another potentially promising fling that was already starting to drift apart. I was frustrated. I was frustrated at my imagined failings, my horrendous luck at constantly getting even cautious hopes dashed, and my inability to prevent this happening over and over again. I was also staggeringly bored. Nothing especially bad was happening, but it felt like there was nothing good either. Frankly, I was fed up and something needed to change.
So rather than wait for nothing to happen, I jumped.
I decided to stop ignoring how horny I was all the time and do something about it, even if that something was just starting a secret life on Twitter where I could get off reading more erotica than I could handle. I wanted to try and fix what I thought was broken by exploring what really turned me on and by organising my chaotic thoughts into some sort of structure by writing this blog.
And, by some miracle, it’s worked! I have re-read that introduction and I don’t recognise the person who wrote it anymore. I’d forgotten quite how insecure and unsure I once was. How I had so many questions and worries. How I felt overwhelmed by sexual doubt. How I didn’t know where sex fitted into my life. How I felt incomplete, deficient…undesirable.
Nothing is the same now, and I am fascinated by the chronology of this change in attitude – is my blog the cause or effect of my evolution during this year? Did the blog make me who I am now, or was this always me and having this blog has just given me the confidence to reveal it? This theme keeps recurring. As I should have expected, my job worries quickly faded as I settled in and I now absolutely love it. It’s stressful and difficult, but it’s awesome. Has this self-assurance and faith in my abilities sprung from the knowledge that I am now a woman who also has the confidence to take and post naked photos? Or actually, has the fact that I have shared naked photos and nothing bad has happened given me the strength to do, well, anything? (PS – I cannot underestimate how much Molly and the Sinful Sunday community have revolutionised my self-image and self-worth. I have taken control of my body, and I cannot thank Molly enough for developing a place where that has been possible.)
And it’s not just at work that I am reaping the benefits of this new inner strength. I am having the best sex of my life right now with a man who is making me happier than I thought possible. I don’t know if he would have noticed me without this blog, just as I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to meet him without having already taken the leap of writing one. It’s the paradox that interests me the most – has being open and honest enough to try to write a sex blog meant that I am also open and honest enough to let someone in, or is it because of him? In everything that he has knowingly and unknowingly done for me, has he given me the confidence to be this open?
It’s not all been plain sailing. I now have secrets. I am lying to the people I care about more than ever before, whether lying by omission or sometimes straight unequivocal lies, like ‘No, I don’t write a sex blog.’ I still haven’t told anyone about this, and I don’t intend to. I joke about my secret life on Twitter, but I can’t share this. I don’t know if that sentence should be followed by ‘…yet’ or not, but I currently can’t imagine a situation where I could share this with my regular life and not have to moderate what I post.
These lies do make me sad because I am so proud of this blog! It might not be much, but it’s something so completely new to a science geek like me and I sometimes wish I could show it off to everyone. I was asked recently if I was creative and I had to provide my stock answer – ‘no, I’m the academic of the family. My artist and actor sisters clearly outshine me on that front.’ But that’s not nearly true anymore. I write semi-regularly, both fiction and non-fiction. I am even soon to be a published author, thanks to the ever wonderful Oleander Plume and F Dot Leonora! And outside of writing, there’s the photography required for Sinful Sunday photos, another skill that I am really enjoying developing, but I can’t claim to be a photographer without providing evidence and I don’t really have any that isn’t #NSFW!
So who am I now?
Malin James wrote brilliantly about the satisfaction of just saying FuckIt and taking a risk, and that is exactly what I have done. And, oh wow, it’s been worth that risk! I know that I have been staggeringly lucky. This could have been a very different post indeed. Everything that I have found so liberating and empowering might just as easily have damaged me.
Instead, I am now a person who wonders out loud what one wears when meeting your lover’s lover, or what exactly it means to dress as you would for a first date with someone kinky. I am a person who is always wondering if it would be possible to take naked photos in new and beautiful places, or if anyone would notice if I had a wank in my car, or the cinema, or, well, anywhere. I am fulfilling fantasies that I didn’t even know I had and learning more and more about myself with every new experience.
My God, what was I even doing with myself before? How did I wait so long to do this? And as I have already changed so much, what on earth will the next year bring? Now that is a very exciting prospect!
Strange as it might sound, I think this blog, this secret life, this other world may have to count as one of my happy places. It’s proved to be somewhere safe and fun where I can find myself, where I’ve learned to value and understand myself, and, oh my gosh, where I’ve learned to enjoy myself. So thank you, all of you. I couldn’t have done it without you…