Mid-month reflection

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I was planning on writing the next prompt for erotic journal challenge but I saw that some of the bloggers are playing catch up, and I saw a post about drafts that struck a chord…

I believe Girl on the Net brought up how we can sometimes let those drafts sit and become a scary thing to us. When we first jotted down those thoughts, they seemed fresh and like the best idea we’d ever had. Then later, when we go to look at them, they’ve become this monster. When did that idea turn scary and ugly? We may not remember what we wrote, but it still has the potential to blossom into this brilliant piece.

source: carathereon.com/2019/03/18/draft-folder-challenge

Right now the Eroticon meet and greet is happening. I’m following it on social media, I am hoping to go to the conference tomorrow but I am feeling all sorts of anxiety. I want to meet other anxious people who I know will be attending but my anxiety feels like a barrier to leaving my flat at the moment.

I feel like a broken record about my mental health. I don’t want to write about it all the time, but my mind is on my mind. My counselling course encourages a deeper questioning of myself. I feel content, or at least I thought I felt content. But I have to question myself, and I’m tired of questioning myself on top of general day-to-day life.

My recent experiences remind me of my first month in HOAD and how my first seminar was discussing the Allegory of the Cave. Everyone else in the seminar was a teenager who studied A-Level Philosophy. I was in my mid-thirties with little classic philosophy knowledge. I hadn’t heard the story but I knew the story. I thought about Ibsen’s Vildanden and how I had spoke about it a couple of years before in my college course; we had a task to explain one of our favourite books to a classmate. I picked Vildanden because I think a lie that provides comfort without harming others is not always a bad thing – and I am afraid of saying that out loud. It sounds manipulative.

When my class discussed Allegory of the Cave the lecturer asked, “If we know the truth, should we tell it to others?” Most of my class thought we should. I vehemently did not. But, you know, anxiety stopped me from speaking out loud (it was probably the first moment I realised that I was not comfortable in higher education, and I was not going to achieve my goals if I couldn’t overcome my anxiety). I think there are three considerations with telling the truth (which, to me, roll nicely into one):

  • It is your truth, or rather your perception of the truth. Remember that.
  • Why are you doing this? To soothe your conscience? To boost your ego?
  • Just because you have the knowledge, or the education, or the access to information do not assume others are ignorant.

In Vildanden Gregers believes that exposing the lie would lead everyone to feel happier. It doesn’t. When I read Vildanden I felt pity for Gregers, but also an annoyance; that he was so certain that his view of the world is the right one. I’d argue that it is akin to a saviour complex. And I think it correlates with privilege. It bothers me.

My reflection for my counselling course is doing the same thing. Except I’m my saviour, and although I’ve done good things for myself I am wondering if I should leave me alone for a while. I’m getting by, not well, but I’m managing. Why rock the boat?

First Love

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The erotic journal challenge today is all about first love. One of the suggestions is to write a letter to your younger self.

Dear N

Twenty years ago you met someone who is special to you. He always will be. Out of all the people in your life now, he is still around. You keep meaning to visit him more often but you’re too busy with a bunch of other things. Life on the whole is easier, and more fulfilling but the truth is that you still struggle a lot. It’s hard to believe there may be a point in the future where you don’t yearn for his approval, or want his attention. But there will be moments when you think of him and marvel at things you have both gone through. He is a strong tie to your life in the past – which is both a blessing and a curse. You still have to get a bit tipsy around him because he reminds you of the way you were. That hurts you, because you just think of teenage you and want to give her a big hug and tell her she is worthwhile.

He’ll do something that will upset you deeply. But, in your true style, you’ll be an ass about it rather than talk about how you feel. You’ll lose a couple of friends – and probably the two closest friends you’ve had in your life. But you’re not angry at them. You just feel vulnerable that they’ve seen your pain. It’ll take you a long time to realise that opening yourself to love is worth that pain. Right now you’re shielding yourself and it’s helping you cope so I have to give you that. But you have the potential to be so much more.

Eventually you forgive. You realise that you were two young insecure people who may have worked out if the timing was right. But it will never be right because of what you are about to experience. You may allude to moments in the past around him, and you’ll wonder if he thinks of you. Time weighs on your body and spirit, and you come to realise you were too hard on him. He did nothing wrong and the only reason you were hurt by him is because you cared but you didn’t show it. Or maybe you did.

The only time you’ll think of him is to share a nerdy or political joke. Or if something reminds you of him in passing and you feel like catching up. Or if there’s a story of your hometown in the news.

I’ll see you on the other side.

N

First Tour

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The ninth erotic journal challenge prompt is TV/film.

Well today marks three years since my first public blog post here. I am amazed I managed to kept this blog going for so long, and I love looking back to see how much I have experienced. Three years ago I was wondering what to do with my life after withdrawing from my undergraduate degree in HOAD. I built up so much hope on the idea that once I got to university I’d be able to reclaim the teenage freedom I never had. In fact, I felt more isolated than I did as a teenager and that is saying something! Luckily I was surrounded by great people who helped me believe in myself. Fast forward three years and I’ve got a Postgraduate Certificate in Inclusive Arts Practice, paid blogging work, a job in academia, an offer to do a Creative Writing Masters Degree and I am in the early stages of training to be a counsellor.

This prompt has brought a few memories back. Mainly surrounding the early 00s and, perhaps, what it all was about for me.

Suicide Girls: The First Tour really just encompasses that time in my life. I was living in my first flat, my friends were damn cool, life was fun and felt full of possibility. Suicide Girls: The First Tour feels like a snapshot of that time; a real moment of camaraderie (although the fetishisation of youth/subcultures is troubling for my adult brain now).

Also, interesting fact*. At this time Brighton was the UK city outside of London with the largest amount of Suicide Girls. I worked with one, studied with two and got my haircut by another.

* OK I might be wrong here. I seem to remember seeing a map back then. Though now I think about it, London probably had more.

Reading books

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The eighth erotic journal challenge prompt is reading.

I wrote about my favourite books a couple of years ago. It is really interesting that the subject came up again because (i)my partner bought a copy of the Tamas Galambos print last month, (ii)home and senses are things I have been reflecting on loads as part of this erotic journal challenge and (iii)my reflections in discovery touch on the first erotica I discovered and how off-putting it was!

This weekend I am going to Eroticon and I’ll get to spend time with some of the bloggers I like to read. Because since I started blogging more regularly blogs are the only things I read now (and my course textbooks).