I haven’t done an #SoSS for some time so in keeping with my resolve to blog more regularly again in 2019 here is my post. As in the past my #SoSS this week revolves around a theme that has caught my attention or been on my mind as I’ve been reading.
The theme revolves around becoming aware of and attending to ones needs and desires.
Hard Work and Rewards (?)
I should start by saying that I was surprised and grateful for the feedback to my post A necessary cushion? for #WickedWednesday last week. The post concerned some recent developments in the companionate relationship I am exploring in company with CM. In particular I found the remarks by E L Byrne of Longitude and Lustitude, about her own “Platonic Romantic” relationships very intriguing. She mentions the hard work that goes into such relationships as well as the rewards.
CM and I did some more hard work on Friday and it has been clarified that intimate, creative, caring and special though our relationship is, it is definitely not going to be a sexual or kink partnership. With Friday’s clarification I now need to consider where I go to from here (if anywhere) in terms of my sexual and kink needs and desires.
The simplest option is to maintain the status quo.
While CM doesn’t want a sexual or kink relationship he is not threatened by the prospect of me seeking this elsewhere. The question will be if I am prepared to do so – can I be bothered, is it that important just now, and perhaps, is there another way?
I regard him as a significant person in my life, someone I want to have around for a very long time. I trust him and I am deeply emotionally involved with him. While I am more than capable of getting myself off on a very regular basis my companionship with CM fulfills my need for touch and caring interaction. He has done so from the first time we discussed the possibility of spending time together. Recently we have reached a point of physical intimacy that feels very comfortable and loving. We are interested in each other, have ideas and interests in common, and enjoy each others company in person and via technology. Except when his depression is riding him, we manage to catch up in person every 3 weeks or so, and text each other almost every day, with a phone call maybe every 10 days.
Our photography play dates have not been as frequent as I’d like, and this has been a source of some frustration for me, since our creative interactions have been one of the cornerstones of our connection from day one. Difficulties arise because I work organically and intuitively – in his words “I go off like a rocket!” whereas he likes to plan and this is making timing and co-creation difficult when our respective living and mental health issues are also involved.
My longstanding creative playmate Sara, has been caught up in a whole bunch of troublesome situations leaving her neither time nor inclination to get her camera out. Therefore given that my own creativity is reemerging I need to consider whether I can take some responsibility for the photography side of things in the new year, especially with Molly Moore’s FebruaryPhotoFest2019 coming up. An added complication has been the need for base photographs for my drawings, especially as I now want to move on to full body images.
While I have been spending time in the studio, I’ve also been letting a lot of other things slide including my blogging, as I’ve struggled with my own mental health and emerging financial/housing issues.
Self Care/Solo Amory (?)
Therefore I read with a great deal of interest the blog post: Self-care: am I dating myself? by Quin Rhodes of On Queer Street. In this post Quin explores the idea of having ones self as primary partner. As I understand it she is putting forward the idea of a form of radical self-care and self love referred to as solo – amory.
Quin writes about treating oneself as you would a close friend, offering kindness rather than criticism, support rather than undermining, vocal, positive self talk rather than negative inner monologues. I’m not sure how readily I could do this. It seems hard.
Like many others with mental health issues I find it difficult to trust myself, certainly hard to love myself and all too easy to act out and vocalise self loathing, no matter how confident and outgoing I may appear to others. I have a tendency to rely on others, (including CM) for support and affirmation, and this has landed me in some toxic situations in the past. While my companionate relationship with CM breaks with previous sexual patterns, and I’ve been able to accept that it’s not a repudiation of me as a person, it doesn’t change the need to seek love and assurance outside myself. That I am aware of this is irrelevant, I still struggle with both anxiety and depression. Knowing how easy it is to spend all day scrunched up on one end of the couch, socially isolated, eating non-meals and playing computer games or reading porn, I found Quin’s discussion intriguing and thought provoking.
Quin begins by writing about how she forces herself to get out of the house every day, because otherwise her depression has won. When I was in the UK and Europe last year, I clocked up substantial amounts of walking time, out and about most days from early morning to early evening. I was generally happy in my own company. I had a number of meals in private homes, restaurants and cafes, sometimes with fellow bloggers, occasionally with hosts, but usually by myself, and often with a book and a wine, a circumstance Quin herself finds cause to celebrate as an instance of her own self-dating. Frequently I experienced a sense of occasion but I did not regard it as dating myself or even self care. It was, quite simply part of the indulgence of an unforgettable rare travel experience.
However, since I returned home – with the exception of playdates with CM I’ve needed to force myself to be sociable. I could count my walking days on the fingers of one hand, again mostly in the company of CM; and up until last week I’d reverted to a state of mind that made it difficult to go out into the back garden except to hang clothes on the line.* Reading Quin’s post has made me wonder if I need to pay attention to self-care again, especially when I engage in self-abusive, neglectful behaviors and unhealthy eating practices when my anxiety and depression is spiking.
I don’t know if the post will ultimately change my behaviour but it’s certainly given me an alternative way to re-frame my thinking. Thanks Quinn.
Body Self Acceptance and Putting it out there
The importance of re-framing negative thoughts and attitudes (our own and others) underpins the idea of body positivity and self acceptance. For many of us it’s an ongoing struggle despite how politically aware we are and how we believe we should behave and think. Still it came as a shock to read Molly Moore’s commentary on her full body photograph in her #MasturbationMonday post Mirrored last week and to realise that someone who seems so at home in her sensuality and is such a role model, also has to fight that battle. It’s a beautiful photo from an angle we rarely see – so make a point of looking and commenting on it. And while you are thinking on that maybe (re)read E L Byrne’s older post Body Image, Let’s Talk.
Self Discovery Through Femdom (?)
One of the things I decided on when I returned from overseas was the need to enter into therapy to address unresolved relationship issues from the past. While I’m not yet able to organise this, the concepts of dating myself, solo poly and self-care may provide me with a way to steer myself in the right general direction in the meantime. Last year I attended several kink events and workshops, and identified some kinks and BDSM practices that resonated with me, including Sensory Play. I also fantasized at length about what I would like to do (consensually) to and with CM., while slowly recognising that this was and is not likely to occur.
Reading Floss’s January 6th post [Kink] Self Discovery Through Femdom, reminded me of my fantasies as well as Ryan and my own small ventures into the realms of what she refers to as Sensual Femdom. Floss writes in some detail about her own journey of self discovery through Sensual Femdom during her encounters with Bakji. Her observations are evocative and make me wonder if it’s time for me to consider other kink encounters, or more self-practices that push my (fairly lazy) masturbation and kink activities further. Her post also makes me wonder whether my current pre-occupation with drawing myself wearing the Hare mask I bought in Barcelona is something more than the creative puzzle and psychological/mythic self revelation I presently believe it to be.
It’s no secret that I find modelling for CM arousing, but I wonder whether my creativity might now be feeding into my desire to explore aspects of kink and vice versa. Floss mentions her interest in needle play and while it wasn’t something on my kink wish list, from a creative/aesthetic POV I’m intrigued. And since I don’t have a kink play partner I may just have to try it on myself…
The whole sensory area is one which appeals to me greatly, so I also read the post by Lascivious Lucy Sensory Deprivation, and have decided after reading her description of the experience I would like to try a flotation tank.
*Spending time in the garden was a huge hurdle after Mum died – I made the garden for her and it was fast becoming a jungle before I went overseas because I simply did not want to go out there. During my absence overseas the garden was tended and tidied up by my supportive petcarer, but to my shame I let it go between November and early January. The recent extremely hot weather in my area forced me to water plants before they died, and last week saw me weeding paths while the hoses were in action fearful that I would return inside and forget that the water was running. The following day I returned and weeded some more, having seen the difference twenty minutes work achieved.