Freedom to be me

“Raise a glass to freedom, Something they can never take away.”

~ Lin-Manuel Miranda (“The Story of Tonight” from “Hamilton”)

Freedom is a concept I‘ve taken for granted all my adult life. Even when I felt at my most constrained by marriage or parenthood I always knew deep down I had choices. I worked and had something of a disposable income, though there was a time when I had immense debt. But still I worked a way out of that and managed to pay every penny back. Trouble is you don’t always recognise you have those freedoms and you certainly don’t see the restraints others exist under.

Right now I am extremely lucky. After almost 40 years of work I was able to retire two years ago on a pension that I could just about live on. However, I live with a man who is also retired and has enough put away and so we can enjoy a pleasant lifestyle. We don’t have to worry about having enough food and can shop wherever we want. Our freedoms in other ways are somewhat curtailed right now, but more of that later. But food poverty, or indeed any poverty at all aren’t something we have to worry about.

Yesterday I read this blog post by Jack Monroe (she / they). If you don’t know who Jack is go and read about her here. Struggling to house, feed and clothe her son she accidentally became a food writer and campaigner. The gist of this article is the assumption that poor people could help themselves if they bought basic good and turned them into healthy meals rather than buying convenience products. But actually it is harder to do so than you imagine. Meat, fish and vegetables aren’t necessarily cheaper to buy than items with everything put together. What if you don’t have the electricity to cook or a kitchen to call your own. What if you can’t afford a bag of potatoes and the shop doesn’t sell them as single items.

I didn’t really intend to write about Jack Monroe in this post. But I was so struck by the forcefulness of her arguments that I felt I had to include how poverty prevents freedom. This is something I can identify with because if I hadn’t had a job when I got into debt my choices may have shrunk to where Jack was and to a certain extent still is. I haven’t however forgotten the fear of not having enough money to buy the contents of my food basket.

People are quick to offer advice to others about how they can solve whatever perceived problem they have. To cry that all lives matter and that only women have a cervix (or whatever bandwagon they have jumped on this week). Listening to the voices of those who feel un seen and unheard is much harder. Instead judging others and assuming they had a choice is the flavour of the day.

2020 will go down for me as one of immense learning. I have tried hard to listen and to learn. To understand that people don’t wake up one day and announce to the world ‘I think I’ll become transgender’. Instead such decisions come after years doubt, confusion and anxiety about personal identity. A lack of freedom to express who they really are. I don’t think I even thought about that much before this year and I know I have a lot to learn too. Nor did I really consider that my personal challenges will never be the same as those of someone who is discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or because their name sounds foreign.

Master and I have struggled these past few months because some of our personal freedom has been removed from us. He is particularly fed up that no concerts are taking place, that there is no theatre or cinema to visit and that art galleries have been closed for months. His personal fulfilment comes through those channels as well as the ability to travel. He loves to go to London, see a concert, have dinner and a drink and maybe stay in a hotel. But as frustrating as that is, we still know how lucky and privileged we are. We have a comfortable home filled with books, DVDs and CDs. Plus we have Netflix, YouTube and the internet. We have indulged in nice food and wine from our own home.

We are lucky because we start from a basis of privilege. Thought that doesn’t mean we can’t complain about the things we don’t like about our life right now. However it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn about the lives of others, nor speak up when assumptions are made about those lives. If you are told it is cheaper to buy potatoes in a tin than fresh believe them. If someone tells you that they are being misgendered, being hurt by the careless words of others or that they are more oppressed than you then listen and believe them. And don’t try to make it about you.

Where the power lies

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” 

~ Oscar Wilde

In this post or semi lockdown world we are struggling in many ways. Not in terms of our overall relationship, all is well there. But in terms of M/s. Most of the time I don’t feel particularly submissive or slave like and I don’t think he is feeling particularly dominant.

We have been released from the confines of our home and local area. But mostly there are few places we want to go. Theatres and music venues are clothed and they are the places that Master gets his inspiration and thrills. Reading, listening to music or theatre from the comfort of your home is ok. But it isn’t the same. We usually go into London frequently for this kind of cultural input, but there’s no point going when there is little to do there.

We can visit open spaces, but the weather last week was appalling. At the weekend we were both pretty stir crazy but lethargic at the same time. We haven’t had sex in a couple of weeks. I want to but we both lack whatever it takes to get us off.

But that doesn’t mean that we won’t get back to where we want and need to be. We’ve discussed it and are hoping that our holiday in a few weeks (supposed we manage to go) will help. Warm weather, a change of scene and the ability to feel in some way free again are what we need. We hope.

Our sex life is all about power. His over me. I know that to feel my submission these days I need us to be having sex or else I need to be bent over being spanked or hit with one of his wicked implements. This feels like a chicken and egg situation because I think that’s probably what he needs too. To feel his power, Master needs to conjure up the willpower for sex. Or perhaps I need to fall to my knees and offer to suck his cock. Whichever we are both struggling to feel like making it happen.

I’m not good at initiating sex, nor am I good at saying what I want. I am better at writing about it, knowing he will read. We’ve just spent two days apart, as I write this I am in a hotel with a view of the sea. It’s early, so I expect he is sleeping. Later though, we will be back together and I’d like to think that we will both feel his power and my submission soon.

Self doubt

needpix.com

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.”

Sylvia Plaith

I never used to have anything in my draft folder. Suddenly though I do. The thing is, I have stuff to say, some of it quite profound but somehow I can’t get the words right. Or I fear I have the words wrong. Increasingly I feel silenced by self doubt.

I constantly think back to pre-lockdown times when, it seems the world was young, bright and non judgemental. Of course it was never like that, but this past few months have made it seem so.

Blogging and Twitter

The community of sex bloggers has changed, just as the world outside has changed. Rather than be kind, understanding and tolerant to difference people have become defensive and intolerant. I’ve been blocked by so many people on Twitter I can hardly keep up. People talk of a conspiracy but do so while whispering to each other in the dark. This is not a world I can inhabit. I have to speak my mind and have to stand up for people I feel and who say they have been mocked and hurt.

There are huge issues to write about. But it is difficult to do so when you have a limited amount of knowledge of the topics. All you can do is learn about the issues and support those with that knowledge. Though I’d like to write something. In particular I’d like to express that making the issue about you rather than them is no defence.

All the time though, I feel I am walking on egg shells. Will I say or write something that is misconstrued. Will I like something said by someone on a list of unsafe people? All of these things swirl in my head as I try to write.

Life

But it isn’t just twitter or the blog. The judging of others is everywhere, take the wearing of masks or going out for an evening. I have no problem wearing a mask in a shop, but do not wish to wear one while walking in the park. I see no point and I want to breath the fresh air and don’t however see I should be judged for this. We have been out for drinks and a meal at a local pub. We chose carefully, we know the staff and are happy with the way things are managed. It’s table service and no one is getting close to anyone, but please don’t judge me for choosing to go there.

Next week I am taking my mum away to a hotel for a couple of days. She has become housebound over the months because it was unsafe to go out and there was no where to take her. She has brittle bones and needs to get out in the sun light. But going to a hotel feels to many like a risk too far. She asked to go but is now filled with her own self doubts. Will she manage to navigate the hotel, what should she take to wear etc.

Health

We have been thinking about my breast cancer recently and what would have happened if I had discovered my lump during this pandemic. As it was I prioritised work and moving house over seeing the doctor. How would I have managed attending appointments and even having surgery without the support of Master? It doesn’t bear thinking about. But what is clear to me is that I have over come cancer and so refuse to give in to worry. I want to and have to live my life in the way I see fit. That doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks but it doesn’t mean hiding away either.

The way forward through writing

At the beginning I just wrote what I wanted, about what I wanted. I need to get back to that again. Some of the self doubt I had about this is moving away. I recognise that I have written about many topics a lot. I don’t plan to keep doing that. Instead I’m going to signpost my existing writing more effectively. Time has been spent learning about topics I knew little about. But there are also things I know quite a bit about and I need to express them here. There is knowledge to impart and education to provide. Plus of course I have an opinion on many things.

I also see that much of the feelings I’ve been expressing are associated with it being summer. Also, though because I’ve been in mourning. For lost friends (not literally), for a life put on hold during these long months.

Unusually we are off on holiday in September. I fancy that even though we’ll be away there will be more to write about. Anyway I can write about anything I choose. Just because this is a sex blog doesn’t mean I have to write about sex. But then I might.

Finding myself

“Who are you?
Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies?
Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them?
I have. I am fucking crazy.
But I am free.”
― Lana Del Rey

I started this blog when I was at the beginning of a journey. Funnily enough at the beginning I didn’t know if it would lead anywhere, nor where that place would be.

I didn’t wake up one day and think: I know what, I’ll become a sex blogger. But as someone with limited sexual experience at the age of 50, writing about my newfound experiences seemed to be worthwhile. What’s more, I am glad I did. Especially the times when I’ve written about my hopes and fears, my feelings. Even though I don’t dwell on past relationships, documenting them here has meant I have the opportunity to look back to see where I’ve come from.

Now though, I think I am there. I have arrived at the place, the life I wanted. I am living my own fantasy. Plus, for all I live in a 24/7 M/s relationship I am free of the invisible ties that seemed to keep me in an unhappy place for so long. In April I was at last divorced and so a process that began 30 years ago came to fruition. I knew a long time ago I had made a mistake in choosing my husband, but I stayed and saw the relationship through to its bitter end.

I saw my ex yesterday, I collected a letter from him. We stood outside our former marital home for 10 minutes or so. It was enough. I don’t miss much about the home and certainly nothing about my life with him. We had good times and have a son to show for our long marriage. But I’ve learned more in the past 8 years about sex and relationships than I did in the rest of my adult life.

This life, master and I have together isn’t perfect. Who’s is? I’m struggling a bit with my submission. some days I don’t think I want our relationship to be a power exchange. But then when I think things through I know that I need it. I rebel and push against it, but it keeps me safe. It stops me having to worry about making decisions. I worry that I don’t feel as aroused as I want to be (medication causes that I think). But I also know that once we touch, kiss or have sex I am me again. A sexual being, that craves the dominance he provides me with. He makes me feel fulfilled and free to be myself.

I’m at a crossroads here. I love my blog but am tired of it too. I want to write, but often can’t. It feels like time for a change in direction, but I don’t know what that means or where it might take me. There will definitely be a rebrand in the coming weeks, I’ve started to think about how the blog might look. What I’m less sure of is the content.

Thanks to LSBs meme Quote Quest and Lana Del Rey’s beautiful lyrics in her haunting song Ride for the inspiration for this post. Maybe using more quotes to inspire is the way forward?

Fear and Trust

This week is Sinful Sunday prompt weak, but I just don’t have anything movie related to share. So, I’ve decided to show an unseen photo and combine it with this week’s Quote Quest prompt.

Standing naked infront of a mirror. The image is black and white and was taken at a dungeon.

“Right on the edge of fear was where trust could grow.”

― Cherise Sinclair

There’s no doubt I’ve come a long way since I started this blog. There is no way I would have posted naked photos of myself online 8 years ago. Nor would I have posted my face on this blog. But somewhere along the line I began to trust myself and my audience with images like this. The fear that I would be found and outed receded and my confidence in my own body grew.

It helped of course to be with a man who loves to photograph me at my most vulnerable. He started to show images of me on his Tumblr blog (usually without my face back then) and would put them amongst other photos of what turned him on. This was a big thing for me. Because many of those other women were slimmer or younger than me. But here Master was, telling me and the world that I was as (if not more) appealing to him as them.

Since my mastectomy my confidence has taken a knock. It might seem that I am happy with my naked body, but I do prefer my old one. However I believe it is right to show myself as I am now. To promote body positivity for people like me who are now disfigured. To show that there is life after a diagnosis of breast cancer. But mostly to show that it is still possible to be a sexual human being loved and desired.

In this photo though, I am hiding myself a little. The position of my hands and phone mean that you have to look carefully to see I only have one boob. I wonder why I took the photo in this way. I was feeling happy and proud that morning, the photo is one of several I took in March in the Hoxton Dungeon. So, there’s no reason to hide. It does give a hint though as to the way I live my life now. I could go out without a bra on, but it feels weird and I am fearful people would notice.

I want nice lingerie but it’s difficult to find, I want bras from the Knicker Fairy. But I am not sure they are suitable, so I am going to try one or more which have pockets for people to add more padding. You see, even if you can see that what’s inside the bra is false it might still make me feel good. I want to show myself with pride and to feel good in the process. Watch this space for the end results.

Endings and Beginnings

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour

What a fabulous idea for a meme. The lovely LSB has launched Quote Quest and this is the very first quote.

Endings

I guess the trouble with endings is that you can’t always work out when something is finished or ended. Take relationships. It’s only in looking back that I can measure (approximately) when I knew my marriage was over. There are several contenders. You see, I’d been going through the motions for years but there was a day when I decided that there had to be more to life. The first time I met S and decided to embark on a relationship with him. The day that my ex found out about S. More likely the day S had finished with me and I didn’t beg my husband to take me back.

2018 was a massive year of endings. I helped my mum move into a more suitable home, packed up my own belongings and moved in with Master. I resigned my job and left that then developed breast cancer, which felt at the time an ending to my life as an attractive woman.

Beginnings

But actually all those endings brought with them beginnings. My mum’s move has helped develop and nurture my relationship with the elder of my two brothers. We have to work together to keep her safe and we have to speak to each other to prevent her playing us off against each other.

I’ve been back to the house I lived in for 27 years and it is no longer home. I have no feelings about it and now look on Masters house as home. That did take a long time, probably 18 months. I felt I was a visiter, but now we’ve begun to decorate and buy new things that are ours I feel more secure.

The house move and the injection of cash that went with it meant I could stop working. I’m conscious I have some dependency on Master but am learning to park that in a very tiny corner of my brain. My money is invested and I have an income. Plus, I also have my apartment in France. So, there really is very little for me to worry about on that score. Not working opened up some amazing opportunities. So in the past two years I’ve had time to go to galleries and museums. To attend concerts and learn about classical music. I’ve travelled extensively and last year for the first time ever was away from home on holiday for 5 straight weeks. The best part of not working though is not feeling tired and stressed all the time. Indeed, I didn’t know I was tired until I wasn’t any more.

This year has been weird. But the enforced time at home has brought with it some silver linings. I have plants in pots and I have my tomato plants. Plus, I have plans for growing more things. I’ve almost finished my cross stitch that has taken 5 years and I have a new one that I’m determined to complete in a fraction of the time. I’ve stepped up my French online lessons and am on the lookout for resources to help with my comprehension of spoken French. I am hopeful of the opportunity to practice in real life by September.

Taking a negative and making it into a positive

I can’t pretend that I haven’t struggled these past months. We should be in Spain right now. My weight hasn’t increased but I’ve lost the momentum for weight loss. The surgery I thought I’d have at this autumn is now a distant hope. In fact I am wondering if it would be worth the effort. Breast reconstruction is big stuff. The surgery lasts at least 8 hours and the recovery is long.

I’ve grown used to my body as it is. I’d rather have two boobs but it isn’t the end of the world. I have my health and my partner loves me as I am.

I’m looking forward to a future when we aren’t all fearful of stepping outside the door. I want to eat in a restaurant again and stay in a hotel. Coronavirus is something I will be very glad to see the back of. But as I said at the beginning we probably won’t know when we are living normally again until we are. I’m pretty sure it will happen and I know we’ll look back on this year and hopefully embrace the beginnings it allows us to have.