I’ve been thinking a lot about ways in which I feel vulnerable and the actions I take to try and protect myself from getting hurt, or simply from feeling unpleasant emotions. I try my best to be open and honest on my blog, and I am … for the most part.
There are elements of my past that are extremely relevant to who I am as a person, why I live the life I do and why I have this blog. They’re not horrific or overly traumatising, but they are the most vulnerable pieces of my story and it hurts to tell them. The truth is I judge myself for that. Even though though I find the courage to be vulnerable in others a beautiful and inspiring trait.
While this may not seem that relevant for Sinful Sunday, there is a reason I chose to share today. I have been lurking here for a long time, and I am always astounded by how raw and honest many of the images are. Part of not wanting to be vulnerable is making sure my pictures that I share online are very much ‘an image of me’. While I’m not tech savvy enough to do lots of photo-shopping, I am persistent enough and vain enough to make sure my pictures look the way I want so I can portray myself in what I deem to be ‘the internet me’.
In the interest of full disclosure even this week’s image isn’t the me you get first thing in the morning, or the puffy eyed, tear streaked me who has no idea why she’s crying (or does know but is too scared to admit it) or the me that sleeps with the light on sometimes because I’m terrified of my persistent nightmares.
I’m sharing this today because I want to work on being less afraid of admitting some of my truths, not only to others but to myself and to take the opportunity to say how inspiring and touching many of the posts for Sinful Sunday are on a weekly basis, as well as being incredibly sexy.
Please do take a moment to follow the lips to the rest of these weeks Sinful Sunday images and when you find one you love leave a nice comment and show your support to the awesome participants.
These questions are from this weeks TMI Tuesday. If you would like to get involved then follow the link below and you will find all the questions and information on how to get involved.
If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, your future, what would you want to know?
Crikey, that’s deep. I think what I’d like to know most of all right now is if the things I’m working towards will come to fruition and if they will make the difference I hope they will. Not only for myself but the people I am hoping they will have positive effects for.
What do you value most in your sex life?
Well my sex life, is more of a kink life, or an intimacy life. What I value most about my physical interactions with Bakji that includes all those things is the honesty, the exploration and the connection it has given us. I am regularly moved by how far we have come and how wonderful it is that we have found so many amazing things to share together. This includes venturing into non-monogamy as well, and I also value the wonderful connections and intimate friendships I have made with some truly wonderful people.
What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
Wow! Scary question. I think this is something that will vary massively from person to person. For me it often depends who is making the joke and what their intention is. I realise though that for many people that is irrelevant and certain subjects should be left well alone. The topics that I really don’t find funny to joke about couldn’t triggering for people just by reading them, so I’ll keep this one annoyingly vague. I will say though that sometimes I had a totally inappropriate and dark sense of humour, which doesn’t always sit well with people, but being able to laugh at awful things has got me through some tough times.
If you had to move to a state or country besides the one in which you currently live, where would you move and why?
Well I love where I live, but as we all know the U.K is going a bit loopy at the minute and as much as I love the U.S.A they’re in loopy territory too it seems. Canada seems pretty sane at the minute, so maybe I’d give that a go. If I had to live somewhere else in the U.K I’d probably go with London, then I’d be near lots of my lovelies and we could go on more adventures together. Although it has been winter here for what feels like an eternity, so maybe I should pick somewhere sunny and glorious.
Are you too nice?
Definitely not. Don’t get me wrong, I am nice, and maybe I’m nicer than some people but I’m a million miles away from being too nice. Some days I really do gives zero fucks and I work with the general public which means I often want to scream in people’s faces. Usually I manage to smile politely and be awesome, but sometimes like last week, I have to tell a colleague to back the hell away from my personal space. So yeah, too nice is not a problem I have. P.S I’m still lovely, please still like me and my blog.
Bonus: Falling in love is _____ . (one word only)
Tough asks this week. I think for the bonus question I would have to go with the word ‘complicated’! I posed this question to Bakji, I was curious as to whether or not our thinking was similar and his response was my given name (which weirdly enough isn’t Floss). So he is adorable and I’m a big cynic.
When I first joined the kink scene I was fascinated by how many cat people there were. As a lifelong dog lover I had never owned a cat and was somewhat baffled by why people thought they were better than dogs. That said I am a huge animal lover and will cuddle anything that will pay me attention, including non furry friends like snakes and lizards. So it’s not that I disliked cats, I just didn’t ‘get them’ in the same way I did dogs.
When my marriage ended I sadly had to re-home my dog, it was unavoidable for many reasons and made me so sad. Thankfully she was re-homed quickly and I was certain to make sure she found a good home. While I missed her personality and seeing her little face each day I did feel a weight had been lifted due to being relieved of an additional responsibility.
Please remember this blog post is about mental health, so it is important to me that I am honest. I don’t want animal lovers everywhere thinking I tossed her aside because I didn’t like having to look after her. I loved her to bits, but dogs are hard work and when you aren’t in the best state of mind, looking after yourself is hard enough. Add a toddler and a very energetic dog into the mix and things begin to become a struggle.
I missed the companionship of having a dog and thought it would be wonderful when I was asked to dog sit for my Dad’s partner. I was wrong. Somewhere along the line the long term company of dogs began to raise my anxiety levels. I still love giving them strokes and attention when I visit, and there’s a dog at Bakji’s house that always makes me smile. When I have to be their caregiver though I start to crumble into a big ball of stress and anxiety. This is noticeable to point Bakji told me I should decline further requests to dog sit, in his serious and stern voice, that’s when I know something is in my best interest.
When my Dad asked me if I could take a cat into my home for a couple of months I was dubious. I absolutely thought it was going to stress me out, but she used to live in my flat (though not with me, but I was known to her) and it was assumed her owner would be absent for a fair while (hospital stay) and I felt sorry for her being in limbo. So she came to stay.
What happened was a surprise to me. Her presence in my life brought me a new level of calm. The cat cuddles and the purring made me feel so much better. When she left a lot sooner than we had thought she would I honestly felt a little bit lost, add to that my son had decided he too was very fond of having a cat in the house, I felt there was only one thing to do … we needed our own feline companion. I am fairly certain she brought some kind of cat voodoo with her, working her witchy cat magic on me so that I would fall in line with the cat plan to dominate the human race and turn us into their food and fuss minions.
Voodoo or not though, I started to think about the right kind of cat for us. I decided a kitten was out of the question. As cute as they are I felt like kitten frenzy might not be what I was looking for. I wanted a grown up cat, who was affectionate playful and good with children. I started gathering information for local cat re-homing centres and we soon found ourselves having a wander round one looking at all the cats that needed homes. I honestly thought it would take us a few visits to find our new friend and was prepared to take our time to find the right fit, for both us and the cat.
What happened though was we found Coco at the first shelter we visited. The moment we approached her door, she jumped down from her resting place and came over to say hi. When we went in to say a proper hello she was interested and friendly and I knew that she was the cat for us. She has been home with us since January 24th and it has been such a pleasure having her make our house a home.
She was an indoor cat before we got her, and while she has the opportunity to go outside now she isn’t that fussed, which means I have her company for most of the time I’m home. Seeing her little face when I return from work, or just having her wander into the room after a little snooze just lights me up.
I’ve been having lots of deep thoughts about how I feel love compared to other people, and how I recognise it and whether I connect with love and affection in the way I should. Loving a cat has proven to be free from all that complexity though and as a result seems to have made it easier for me to respond to loving people in a more positive manner too.
I love sitting with Coco and brushing her, she is super fluffy and needs brushing daily or her fur gets all tangled. Providing her with all her daily needs instead of weighing down on me seems to lighten my load somewhat. The kind of comfort and happiness she has brought into my life is quite childlike and innocent in its nature.
I think to anyone who doesn’t recognise how anxiety and depression can manifest, it’s hard to explain the mental shift having Coco has brought. I’d imagine that to many people this just sounds like the regular happiness of having an animal in your life. It has been more than that for me though.
Before I started taking the Sertraline prescribed to me by the doctor I felt like I was trapped down a deep, dark hole. I could hear the noise of the outside world above me, but I couldn’t find my way out of the hole to join in properly. The Sertraline helped me build a ladder, and step by step I started to find my way up, out of the hole and into the world. Every now and again I would find things along the way to strengthen the rungs of my ladder; exercise, supplements and healthy eating are a few of those things. Coco seemed to know a shortcut though. It’s as if she laughed at me for building a ladder, and pointed out there had been a door I could use all along, if I just knew how to find it. While I am still building and reinforcing my mental health ladder, I am also being guided through the door into mental well-being by my feline guide.
To anyone who thinks cat ownership (do not tell Coco I said I’m her owner, it so doesn’t work that way with cats) sounds wonderful and magical, it is, but let me be clear, she is still an arsehole, like virtually all cats it seems. She has forced me to rearrange my house, meows at the most inconvenient times, great if 4am wake up calls are you thing and basically seems to view me as her human slave. She is so flippin’ cute though that I’m happy to do as I’m told and follower her training regime to get me to be a suitable human for cohabiting with a cat.
Financially there is an investment too. Many of our local shelters no longer work on a ‘donate what you can’ basis when you re-home an animal from them. They mostly have set fees that allow them to continue doing the work they do, so they can find the best homes for the animals in their care. There is also vets trips, cat litter and food to consider, amongst other things. It isn’t a decision I made lightly, but it is a decision I am so thankful I made.
As an additional thought, for anyone who might read this and has been considering or is now considering giving a home to a cat. Please consider a black one. Our local shelters are made up of somewhere in the range of 60% – 80% black cats at any given time. The ones that aren’t black tend to be reserved and re-homed far quicker. When I saw how many black cats were waiting for homes there was not much chance of me taking home any other colour. I adore my black cat and what she lacks in colour variety she more than makes up for in personality.
I would love to hear from anyone who has found animals of any type to be a positive influence on their mental health. Links to blog posts you may have written on this topic would be fab too. While finding a feline friend is what works for me, I know that for many other people dogs are absolutely their saving grace and I want you all to know I am still delighted by pooches, just in a different way these days. Bunnies, guinea pigs, snakes, horses, chickens, ducks, pigs, cows, goats and many other animals also fill my heart with joy. I just don’t have the space for them all, so it’s just me and my cute as can be Coco for now.
Ethical non-monogamy is something I knew very little about before joining the kink community. It’s then something I got involved in almost as a side effect of being kinky. In truth I never thought I’d truly identify as non-monogamous and I never imagined I’d be truly happy to see someone I was romantically involved with find sexual pleasure with someone else.
As time has gone on I have started to see the value in non-monogamy, not only as something others do but as something I want for myself. I have come to realise that sexual and BDSM non-monogamy is something I really enjoy, but romantically I’m still fairly monogamous.
In my last post I discussed the first time I was prescribed medication for depression. The seconded time I visited the doctor about this matter, it was anxiety that was the centre of the discussion, though for me the two are always interlinked.
I was 22 when I went to the doctor about feeling overwhelmed by my struggle to sleep and my constant worries about leaving the house for work. When I explained my sleeping patterns to the doctor and how long that had been part of my life, I discovered I’d been suffering the effects of anxiety for all of my adult life. It was my ‘normal’ though and I had never questioned it until it had started to affect my daily life.
The doctor said I had ‘high functioning anxiety’ and since that day I’ve always accepted that as true. Especially once I found some information on typical behaviours of people who suffer from this. Even now if I type high functioning anxiety into google I recognise myself in virtually any of the articles I click on. All these years on I can also see how unhealthy many of the behaviours associated with this are, and I feel a little bit sad that they just became a part of me. I find it hard to believe that it is possible for me to undo some of these behaviours. They feel far too deep routed for me to be able to untangle them from who I am without them.
Monday brought me my first, ‘well that’s a #SoSS post’ moment when I read The Therapist by Karin at theswingshift. This week saw me starting to share some of my experiences with mental health, part of which details how I never quite succeeded in sticking with therapy. That isn’t because I don’t value it though, I absolutely do, especially when as Kinksters we find an understanding and supportive therapist. I don’t know Karin personally, only through the post I’ve read on her blog, that didn’t stop me thoroughly touched though at her thoughts on finding and visiting a therapist.
Mental health and the support people receive when they are affected by less than stellar mental health is a subject close to my heart, but not one I ever write about in any detail. I sometimes make a passing comment about how I need to be careful when it comes to my mental well being, but no more than that.
The reason I don’t write about it isn’t because I’m ashamed and I don’t think suffering with mental health issues makes me less awesome, my reasons for not writing about it are twofold. My first experiences with opening up about how I felt didn’t encourage me to discuss things further, and secondly I’m aware my struggles aren’t as bad as others, so I sometimes feel my story isn’t as important to share.