I know that some of you have thanked me recently for giving you more of our life, and really, thankyou, because this feels like a two-way street. I give you more of what you want to see, and in return, I feel listened to. Isn’t the WordPress community amazing?
But today, today is one of those days. Today is one of those days that I’m going to share, really share. I’m going to scream into the void, and hope that somebody out there hears me.
Yesterday, I woke at 8AM. 8AM is not unreasonable on my “day off”, or at least that is, my day off from blogging. Almost as soon as I’d gotten up, there was a knock on the door. Whilst I was still asleep, our neighbour had asked Matt to accept a parcel for him, and now he’d come down to collect it. After telling him that the courier had knocked on his door and left before Matt had a chance to speak to him, our neighbour proceeded to bemoan his ex-partner to me, a woman. I’ve edited the image for privacy reasons and taken out the audio, but take a look at this short clip which I decided to share to show you all what I deal with. This is how I, a woman, get spoken to about other women, by my neighbour. Women that he has dated, impregnated and dumped. Women who I don’t personally know and who have absolutely zilch to do with me. Women who, five years ago, he had me in court to convince the judge that he is really a harmless nice man who got kicked and bitten by a woman who had had more than a gutsful of him. It’s hardly a way to start your day, is it?
After this delightful conversation, I made out that my mother was collecting me to go dog-walking (she wasn’t, not until 2pm). Once back inside, I set about cleaning the what-will-be shrimp tank, in our bedroom. That was when the phone rang.
“Your brother is coming too, so we’ll be a little bit later, just after two.”
“Okay, no problem. See you later” I chuckled. Bless her, it wouldn’t worry me nearly so much, not now that it’s allowed.
After finishing off the shrimp tank, I set about checking for any results for our survey. Nothing.
I was flummoxed.
This matters to me so much because, to be honest, I really am at a bit of a crossroads with our blog. First, on the direction the blog needs to take, and secondly, on who should run it.
Recently, some of our readers have been quite approving of Matt’s involvement in the blog, and that’s really touching. What I am aware of though, is how much of the blog is Matt, and how much of the blog is me. Matt’s main involvement is TMI Tuesdays, and compared to our Helen Writes section, our TMI Tuesday posts are hardly read. Add to that, then politically, Matt and me are pretty different people. We’re both pretty liberal, but he is quite a bit further left than I. For that reason, I realise that many of the opinion pieces that I write are entirely my own views.
When it comes to what to write about though, I look at our stats with a dizzying confusion as to what to do next. Here is just a glance at our top three most read posts from this year:
What’s Your Kink? Sensory Deprivation, 772 views
Evidently, the kinky stuff needs to stay, But what else? What beyond that? This is why I created my survey. I get good feedback on our snack tasting posts, but the stats tank in comparison to my posts on sex & BDSM. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about now, let’s take a look at this pie chart:
What you’re looking at is the percentage of views on each of these topics since January. As you can see, despite things not related to sex and BDSM being within my top three most read posts, sex & BDSM makes up more than 60% of our readership. I was once told that is because most of my posts are about that topic, and yet, nearly two in three of our posts don’t have anything to do with these topics at all. The truth is simple: sex sells.
But I don’t want to be about only sex. I don’t want to do more sex stuff to become more popular, that’s not what I’m about. When I started my blog, I had no intention of becoming another OnlyFans girl (no offense meant to those who use OnlyFans, it’s just not something for me). What I wanted to do, was to create somewhere to show that kinky people can be normal people, too. I wanted to show that we can talk about normal stuff, do normal stuff, be normal people, and in a way, I feel as though I have achieved that, but I need to know what else you want to see. What more can we bring you to keep this blog going for years to come?
As someone who has lead on multiple occasions in my life, feedback is one of the most important things you can have. Just to give you one such example of me leading here, I can remember a time in a science class when we had to make a tower to hold a pile of books, using two sheets of paper and two small pieces of sticky tape. We weren’t allowed to copy any other team and so as such, each idea was different. There were all sorts of ideas, mostly just round tubes of some form and one with two square pillars which nearly beat us for the prize. Nobody on my team was really engaging in the project until I came up with the idea of folding our paper into a concertina effect to give it strength and individuality, and then rolling it into tubes like a lot of our competition. Lo and behold, triangular shapes really paid off and it outdone our toughest rivals by about 3 books, thereby winning us the bag of Haribo to share. On another, we had to make a capsule and parachute so that when an egg is tossed into the air, it descends safely and doesn’t crack the egg. All kinds of elaborate parachute patterns ensued, but guess which clever cookie thought to pad out the egg?
But what really got us there?
Well, not me on my own, that’s for sure. What really got us there was me coming up with an idea that kickstarted the team, and then one of my team members having a “what about…” moment. By working as a team, we won together, I just had to give my teams a gentle nudge.
But I want you to be part of my team.
I want you to help me make this blog work for you, and this is why feedback matters so much to me.
I want you to tell me the stuff you want to read, the stuff that will interest you, the stuff that will have you coming back for more. Whether it’s factual, opinions, tips and tricks, stories, reviews. I don’t care, please, just tell me.
I’ve already decided that next week when I renew my plan, the plugins are going. I paid £240 for the Business plan and to be honest, it was one of the worst decisions that I ever made. A lot of plugins aren’t free to use. There’s a basic service, but to really benefit from them, you need to pay even more than your plan on top. That’s fine if you’re a business, but I’m an individual with a limited income, and I need to get real about my individuality. I love WordPress and I love blogging, but I need to be realistic about what I can actually afford. When I’m dipping into the red zones of my bank acount on a periodic basis because of the charge for this plugin or that, things aren’t quite so realistic anymore.
But what about everything else? This is what I need to know.
I thought only last night about starting a series of “A Walk Down Memory Lane” posts for you, because some of you have wanted to know me beyond the kinky, and I’m really humbled by that. I want to take you right back to the beginning and share with you some of the best times, the funny times, the special memories and the scariest days. From the care-free days on camping rallies, right up to the two times in my life when I thought the world was ending!
But will they be read, really? This is my problem. Is it something my Twisties want to read?
For a moment, I thought about my blogging life overall. Is this something that I can keep doing? That I want to keep doing? Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a blogger person? I shook off the thought. Life without blogging would make me a mere housewife, the very idea was horrendous.
After checking up on the survey yesterday, it was time to go dog walking. It was good to see my brother again and with a gentle breeze, it looked to be a pleasant afternoon.
“Sis, do you want to sit in the front seat? I just know how you are with your travel thing. I know you need air.” Bless him, he’s so considerate.
The short trip to the park was largely uneventful, and as we bailed out and began to walk it was quite surprising how busy the park had become once more. Kids ran with kites. People sat under a gazebo with a picnic, even the ice cream van had a socially-distanced queue.
“I need to take a walk” Mum said, nodding towards the toilet block, “are you guys alright?”
“Yeah, no worries,” I replied, taking a hold of the dog leads from her, “we’ll keep a gentle stroll and we’ll see you in a moment.”
What I forgot is that around my mother, Hugo completely ignores me. If “Nanny” leaves the group, Hugo is on a mission until he finds her again. Hugo loves Nanny!
So as “Nanny” left the pack, so too did Hugo.
“Oi! Hugo! Here!” I shouted, he ignored me. Time to give chase.
Mindful of the families around us, I chased after him as he approached them. I knew he wouldn’t bite anyone, but he can be exuberant around small children, especially when he hasn’t been exercised. That was my biggest concern, I didn’t want him to bowl some poor kid over, especially as he’d be horse-sized up to them.
“Get back over there, you little sod!” I growled through gritted teeth, more for the parents’ ears than for his. Over my shoulder, I saw my mother rejoin us.
As we walked, we talked and caught up. It was good to be able to walk and talk again, to be able to breathe again, finally, without having to worry so much about the restrictions on social distancing and meeting up. Here in North Bristol, coronavirus cases are still very low.
“Next time, get a lurcher” my brother teased.
“Nah, Matt doesn’t like them. You can’t get down and rough play with them like you can with Hugo, they’re a little bit delicate. He can take it, and he gives it, too” I said, nodding towards Hugo. If there’s one of my greatest pleasures in life, it’s being able to roughhouse with my dog. He has wonderful bite inhibition and knows what’s not allowed. Mouthing us? Fine, but anyone else is a no-no, and any biting or nipping begets him serious trouble.
“What? What dogs does he like?”
“He’d love an American Bulldog but I’ve already ruled that one out” I said, matter-of factly. Having been bitten by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Pit Bull Terrier in 2012, so ‘bully breeds’ are off. I don’t trust them, and the very last thing you need as a dog owner is to be fearful of your dog. If you don’t trust your dog, how can anyone else?
“Sis, if you get get a Bull, I won’t let you anywhere near Mum’s house with it. You’d never be able to manage it if you can’t even control a Jackie!”
I was aghast, and I felt attacked. Last week, I was praised in our local park for Hugo’s excellent recall, and now this from my own brother. Hugo is talented and he is trained, it’s just that all of his training seems to disappear the moment Nanny’s around.
Almost immediately, my mother snapped him back. My brother apologised, but to be honest, his apology was more towards her, not me. I walked from a distance from the pack from there on. As I veered away from the group, I had to send a quick message to Matt. I was angry, and there was only really one person who I could talk to, who really knew me, who understood what I was dealing with. Later on in our conversation, I let him in:
Worst part? I wandered off to the other side of the pool and she hasn’t even followed me or called to make sure I’m okay. I’m doing what I do though and taking my sweet ass time. We’ll move when I’m good and ready 😉
She knows what I’m like, and when I’m hacked off with someone, I can be a bit uncooperative. Some people call it passive-aggressive, but my Dad taught me how to use these little tricks we call ‘power play’. Power play isn’t about winning, but it is about being listened to, respected and understood. My Mum calls me “the pitbull”, and it’s for a good reason. If I’m upset, I don’t let it go until I’m satisfied with the outcome. I don’t accept a half-assed “sorry”, especially not from grown-ups who can and should strive to do better. I also need to hear what you plan to do better, just as I would give you.
To his credit, my brother did eventually apologise to me and he opened up to me about some of the problems that he was facing. As we walked, I advised him to consider writing in a journal. It’s advice I’d give to anyone and everyone and was even recently recommended by Radio 1 DJ Greg James. When I first started journalling, I started off with a very negative attitude. Now, my journal has become like the air that I breathe – I just couldn’t imagine my life without it!
On the way home, I received a missed call and a voicemail. When I traced the number back, it was SimpliSafe, our home security provider. I knew that I’d renamed the keypad the night before, but surely that hadn’t triggered a security warning?
Nope. It turns out, they’d tried to process the payment for our plan, and with £3.64 to my skint ass til Tuesday, the direct debit had bounced – Thankyou to our landlord for the wonderful little surprise at the beginning of the month because without it, this never would have happened. Instead, we’re now out of debt, and back into it again for 24 hours. Matt gets paid tomorrow, but it’s still one more frustration that we didn’t need and an added £8 insufficient funds bill on top. It’s not much, but it is annoying, I haven’t had one of those in years!
By nightfall, I decided to stay up and watch some Youtube videos for a while. I wasn’t really depressed, but I was hacked off with the day I’d had. As I opened Youtube, I noticed a comment on my notifications feed:
@Elena S stop acting entitled nobody cares if your from uk you little shit.
Oof, not something I wanted or needed to read to round up my day. The comment thread had been ridiculous and petty enough already, with me casually commenting on a video and mentioning a personalised gemstone bracelet that I have and another commenter responding to me, pointing out that they had the same bracelet from Hot Topic. If you didn’t know already, there are no Hot Topic stores in the UK and so naturally I did what needed to be done and called them out on their shit. When the conversation got tiresome and quite obvious that the initial commenter was struggling to keep up their story, I closed it down and wished them well. The problem with trolls is that trolls defend trolls, and if you act like a damned adult around a troll, then the trolls come out in force.
So before I slept, I did what I perhaps should have done much sooner and with one swipe, I disabled notifications to replies on comments that I had left for others. I’ve had some good conversations, but comment sections can sometimes be full of some truly awful people.
I tried to cry myself to sleep until I realised that some ASMR was what I really needed. I needed to feel comforted, I needed to feel safe and I needed to feel secure. Even if I felt safe next to Matt, I didn’t feel safe within myself. Who am I? What am I? Can I even do this anymore?
I wrote “Screaming Into The Void” because this is what it feels like. It’s almost journal-esque, a sharing with you of the things that I’ve been dealing with, the stresses that I’ve been contending with, a chance for you to see the other side of me. I don’t expect help and I don’t even expect a reply. But if you like this post, please let me know because at the very least, I’ll at least know that my screams were heard.