Keep believing

Keep believing

This week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt is: Don’t Stop Believin. But, because I’m such a positive person, I’ve decided my post will be entitled Keep Believing.

I love our community and the way is sticks together and supports each other. Of course we are all different, from our relationships, gender and sexual preferences politics and our take on life. But in the main that doesn’t prevent us from coming together when we need to. I’m especially looking forward to Eroticon at the end of next week and meeting up with friends as well as new people. Putting faces to names is always great fun as is discussing the topics we write about face to face. That includes when a drink or two has been consumed.

But recently there have been undercurrents of unhappiness that not everyone is kind and understanding towards everyone’s differences. So much so that last week a tiny event caused a storm. I’m not going to go into that whole thing, but Rosie wrote a fabulous piece that sums up events. She also includes some very useful links in her post. That should be the end of things, except I’m left with a bad feeling.

Free speech

Indeed for me it isn’t the direct responses to any post. As a writer I can write what I want here and people can read or not. They can also comment, or not. It is rare I don’t publish a comment so if you don’t like what I say I’m not censuring. But it isn’t on blog posts where most disagreement takes place. Instead it is on twitter, often without the subject being part of the conversation.

I’d be the first to admit I struggle to understand the desires and needs of people who are very different to me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t read their perspective with interest. I often don’t comment because I don’t believe I am the right person to do so. I am a middle aged CIS heterosexual woman who doesn’t fancy other women. Nor do I understand how it is to realise you are bi sexual or gay, much less non binary. But I do respect other people’s experiences and love to read about them.

Content warnings

Thankfully I have never suffered physical abuse (though I increasingly see my ex as emotionally abusive). I recently started reading a very well written book that turns out to be all about physical, emotional and financial abuse. I’m finding it difficult to read even though I want to. I’m not triggered, as I’ve never experienced the things that are happening in the book. But it is uncomfortable. I first wrote about content warnings in this post. It was a stupid thing that triggered me, but it did get me thinking and that in my book is a good thing. Since then, when I see one I do consider whether I want to read on. My experience shows that these things can creep up on you.

For me one of the worst things about the episode has been that people describe others as snowflakes or use the term Boomer in a derogatory way. These are things I hate. I’m a Boomer myself and don’t want myself lumped together with people others determined as bigots. Nor do I like millennials called snowflakes since my son is one and I believe him to be sensitive and thoughtful partly because I brought him up that way.

Social media etiquette

Twitter can be an evil and upsetting place. But it can also be a place of support and encouragement. As members of the sex blogging community, we could easily be set upon by trolls who don’t understand or care for our point of view. But instead we choose to attack each other. Personally I want a kinder community than that.

And I will keep believing that is the community we all want. One that is kind, that respects individual difference and people’s desire to be referred to in the way they feel appropriate. A community that acknowledges mistakes and then moves on. Otherwise we are no better than those who would attack us for having the audacity to write about sex or kink. Finally, if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face even after a drink, then don’t say it on twitter.

Checking in to social media

This is a photo of my left breast. I am proud to be able to show it here.

From time to time I post on facebook a lot. Checking in to bars and restaurants, announcing my departure for and arrival on holiday. Posting daily holiday snaps, often of churches and historical buildings. Friends and family expect this stuff of me. They pull my leg about the number of trips we take and my brothers expect the churches etc. (mainly so they can wind me up). Recently though I have been quieter. For one thing, we have been to fewer interesting places. But mainly it is because I don’t write about breast cancer there.

All of the people who need to know about my recent diagnosis do so. But I feel guilty that I haven’t told some people. For one I couldn’t cope with telling people who aren’t close or I don’t know well. Others it just felt wrong sending a message to give them that information. Last week I felt tempted to write an end of treatment general message, I felt happy and wanted to share. But it would have caused something of a storm, so I didn’t.

There is one place on Facebook I can go to though and that is the Breast Cancer Facebook Group I have joined.

Checking in, support and sharing experiences

Shortly after I had my mastectomy I searched facebook for Breast Cancer related groups and found one that is UK based. Posts now pop up on my timeline on a daily basis. It is very friendly and supportive. It contains practical resources about equipment, lingerie, insurance etc. But respects that there are many types of breast cancer and that everyone’s journey is different. It is a place for people who have or have had breast cancer, but excludes family and partners. This is for a good reason as everyone needs a safe space. Like me, many haven’t told family and friends and are unable to express themselves elsewhere.

As people will know, I couldn’t post the image above on Facebook. Not that I would since I don’t want my family, friends, ex work colleagues and acquaintances to see my bare tit. But anyway photos of breasts are banned so it would get removed quickly and no doubt I would be suspended from the site too. Thank goodness though I can show photos on twitter, though of course that is my secret account and I am not followed there by vanilla friends. We are allowed though, to show mastectomy photos on the breast cancer facebook page.

This is how I know that my mastectomy scar looks similar to others who have had one that is skin sparing. It is also how I know that the red skin I have from radiotherapy is about right and doesn’t warrant a medical opinion. The page has helped me understand the treatment plans that occur for different types of cancer and recognise mine is on a par. This is reassuring stuff.

Doom and gloom

Checking in to the breast cancer page though, can be a bit depressing. There are people of all ages from young women often with little children to those in their 70s and 80s and often have other illnesses. Many people are calm even when frightened about their diagnosis but others are full of panic and anxiety. People don’t read and take account of what has already been said and so the same questions are asked time and again. The journey of diagnosis and treatment are frightening and this is a safe place for people to express their fears. Sadly too, some people have recurrence, or secondaries at diagnosis. There are those for whom this is a palliative journey and that is really sad.

I’m not sure how long I will stay a member of this group. I may already have taken most of what I need. However it is a useful place to go and to know you are amongst others that understand what you have been through. I am lucky that I have a supportive partner, friends and family I can talk to as well as a whole community of sex bloggers. I have my twitter account to post pictures to and rant on if I wish.

This experience with breast cancer has made me think about what I place in the public domain though. Whether it is here on my blog, on my @MPB twitter account or on facebook. That is probably for the best.

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February Photofest

Blogging A-Z 2018: T and U

First day back from holiday and suddenly yesterday I had lost my blogging mojo. The discovery that I am shadow banned on Twitter just added to my apathy.

Twitter

Somehow over the past couple of years I have become more and more engaged with Twitter as a social media platform. I find myself going there when I wake and again many times during the day. My posts auto tweet and during the day a couple of older posts appear. Some days I tweet quite a bit, engaging with others and other times not.

I have no way of knowing whether this behaviour alone has led to Twitter taking against me or if it is the photos. After all, the photo below, which appeared as part of my post on Sunday is pretty graphic. But since Twitter don’t admit shadow banning is even a thing, all I can do is surmise. Still it will make my SoSS all the more pertinent this week.

Undertake

Finally I am in a position to realise my objectives. At last, after more than 4 years of talking about selling my house and moving on from my marriage it is in touching distance.

Now, the hard work must be undertaken. What to throw away, what to put into storage, what to take with me. Master has cleared out a lot of clutter, but there is still work to be done. Also, he is planning some building work, so I can’t take all of my belongings straight there. Plus there is the emotional attachment I have to this house, I have lived here for 27 years. We moved here when my son was a baby of just 5 months and so there are lots of memories here.

But now is the time to move on and to create a new home, one with Master. We will both need to adapt to our new life and to make room for each other. But it will mean we can be together and can start to plan some new plans and work on those outcomes. It also means I am going to resign my job soon and take a breather. The next few months will be emotional, but interesting and fun too.