I arose this morning to a largely uneventful start. I woke up when my alarm sounded and I remembered to set the security system to “off” before I left the room. My day had largely been just like any other day, but with one minor detail: I didn’t check up on Facebook.
The difference in me, I felt, was almost immediately palpable. I was calm, mindful and present, and I was focused on my day and what I needed to do, rather than what anyone else was doing. I refreshed my WordPress reader (that’s such a naughty, compulsive habit!) and got on with my day. With nothing new to read, I’d just enjoy my morning tea whilst I listen to the birds. I didn’t take a picture of them, I didn’t write a status about it, I just sat still and I listened.
You’re probably wondering then, why all of this supercilious behaviour? What happened that was so important for me to up and leave this social media giant so sudden and unexpectedly?
Well you see, my darlings, this little lady has been living a lie. Not on our blog, never on our blog, but on social media. I mean, it has to do with our blog, but I haven’t lied on our blog. Please allow me to explain.
It all started with wanting to share my blog with my friends, my real-life friends. We all know a large part of what I write about here, and I’d never really been honest with my friends. Whilst I’d never really be honest with them, let me just be honest with you about what really makes our blog successful, so that you know that I’m not making this up as well:
Ladies and gentlemen, what you’re looking at is the popularity of the four key categories of our blog for the past 11 weeks. It’s a very rudamentary picture (lots of lines would be hard to read and very confusing to look at!) but it gives us some idea of what’s working, what’s not, and where we can improve. I highly advise any blogger to do something similar to help you find your strengths and weaknesses. Alas, I digress.
We all see that lovely, blue squiggly line up there, yes? What does the label tell you? Sex & BDSM, my friends, is why our blog is already growing in popularity. It’s not even about nudes and grossly overshared accounts of our private lives, this is purely from providing a sleek, informative, friendly, kinky blog. Gosh, now I really do feel all exposed!
When I started this journey, I wanted to be that person. I wanted to be that person that absolutely anybody can go to and talk to, about any frustrations or concerns or anxieties that they have about kink and BDSM. If you have something you’re worried about, email us. If it’s something we get asked a lot, we’ll even turn it into a blog post so that we can help you and other people, too. Please understand us from the bottom of our hearts: We want to help you.
But that ‘you’ also includes our real-life friends, and herein lies the problem.
Upon realising that I planned to come clean about our blog, my mother immediately implored me not to. People know that I blog, but they also believe that I just write about food and recipes. They believe that I write nice things, but they also know that I am very, very secretive about my domain.
I want to be open and honest about what I do, of course I do, it’s painful to live a lie. I’m always someone who promotes honesty and integrity and I want to be able to finally live my honest life no sooner than I can tell people what I really do. I don’t expect them to visit, and I most certainly won’t force them to, but I’d rather be able to be honest and be loved for my truth, rather than to be embraced for living a more comfortable lie.
For so long I have suffered in oh so many ways. I have watched gay and lesbian people come out and live their authentic lives, free to express themselves and to support one another. I have watched people talk freely about Fifty Shades Of Grey and attend Fifty Shades themed parties, all whilst having to stay relatively shtum myself. I have seen my brother create (sometimes controversial) paintings and artworks which, in my very personal opinion, are good, but probably won’t wind up making him rich or famous, and I’ve seen my mother proudly show off his work on the refrigerator door of the internet world: her Facebook wall. In all of this, I’ve felt silenced about my work, and it hurts.
You might face ridicule, people might call you a paedophile or whatever.
I almost balked at the idea. A paedophile? I understood her concerns, but what she was worried about was based on her own experiences, and that happened 26 years ago. Times have changed drastically since then.
It was 1995, or sometime around then. My mother had attended a local BDSM event and the media had turned up. Names were shared, faces identified and accusations made. The ones made against my mother and father, which damned be upon the person who dared to say such things, was that my parents were paedophiles. I come from a very loving, perfectly imperfect home. My parents had flaws and my parents struggled. The one thing that my parents never did and would never do, though, was put my brother or I at any risk of any harm. If they did anything, then they overwhelmingly did the opposite.
Still, if I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that you will always have and gain far more support if you live an honest and authentic life. Even if people don’t like your truth, people will still accept and support you for living it, and that was exactly what I had to do.
I took some time to deliberate my next course of action. I could ignore her words and come clean anyway, I could heed her advice, stay shtum and keep lying, or I could…. wait, what other option was there?
“If I can’t be honest, I might as well come off of Facebook. I don’t lie” I told Matt firmly. If I lie, then it’s to either protect myself from a potentially dangerous situation (I didn’t have any visitors to get back to that one time, I was just perturbed by my ex-neighbour’s kitchen knife embedded in the table) or get away from someone that I’d otherwise rather not be around. They’re never big lies, it’s only ever small, tactical white lies for my own physical or mental wellbeing. For me, continuing to pretend that I was anything other than who I really am was huge, and it would be detrimental.
So late at night and into the early hours, I drew up a list. I made a list of the pros and cons of leaving Facebook, and one for the pros and cons of staying.
I ran out of room for the pros of leaving:
- More time
- Honesty & integrity
- Able to be who I really am without Facebook censoring me
- I have more WordPress followers (335) than Facebook friends (29)
- No competing with my brother
- No need to try and impress in pics (I loved letting go of Instagram for this reason, too)
- Less envy
- Freedom from the over-used Facebook pages
Once I’d got all of my points down, I subtracted the cons from the pros, awarding one point for each point made. In the end, leaving versus staying worked out at 4 points to -2 and so, as one last point in my decision-making process, I dedactivated my Facebook account before I went to bed. I had to transfer page admin rights to Matt for Two Kinky Cooks before I could leave, but that really is a small matter. I removed Facebook, Instagram and Messenger from my phone as well, just so that I couldn’t be tempted.
There was no grandiose display or fond farewells. There was no multi-verse essay of self-deprecation on why I’m the biggest liar, and why I’m now so sorry. There wasn’t even a passive-aggressive post with a coloured background, a sort of enigmatic indication as to why I’d suddenly disappeared. I felt forced to lie, and instead of continuing to lie to the people that I so desperately wanted to be honest to and to support, I stuck to my values, typed in my password, and I quit. If they ask me for my truth in person, then I shall now take them aside and tell them that way instead.
This afternoon, I sat down at my computer to design and create our own business cards. I printed them onto white linen card stock, a choice that I’d made personally because I love linen card so much. With them cut out nicely and ready for use, I placed half a dozen into a zipped compartment in my phone case, ready to distribute when needed. I could still be out there and still be me, I just had to change my approach.
I don’t loathe my mother for what she said. I know why she said what she said, but I also can’t live my life in fear because of someone else’s anxiety. If I face ridicule and backlash then I will have to revaluate our blog, stick my tail between my legs and scarper back to safety. However, I would sooner rather take the chance of having to run back to safety than to hide from the world and pretend that I don’t exist at all.
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.Mark Twain