I’m feeling a bit under the weather with the flu, and with my body unable to do much my mind set to wandering. It revisited a question a friend asked me recently:
“If you could talk to your past self, what would you council him?”
The question was about a very specific situation, but it kind of set my mind adrift… So here are some things I really wished I had figured out a decade ago.
- I really am poly. It’s not a preference or a relationship choice, it’s who I am. I could choose to live monogamously but that wouldn’t make me a monogamous person any more than taking a vow of celibacy would make me asexual.
- I can’t save anyone and it’s not my job to try. This was a hard one. I needed to be needed and it lead me to search out the wrong people.
- The kink community is my home. It took me a long time to seek contact with the local community, and I really wished I had done it earlier. For the first time I feel fully accepted and not like a space alien trying to blend in.
- My worth is not determined by who will and will not fuck me. It’s most definitely not determined by my body count. I will not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m most definitely some people’s single malt… and isn’t that a lot better really?
- I don’t need to change myself to be more appealing to potential partners. If they don’t like me for who I am, I should just accept that and move on. I have tried this in the past, but the best it will ever get you is someone who is lukewarm about being with a fake version of you. It’s exhausting, frustrating and dishonest to the other person.
- Sex does not equal penetration. I’ve had lovely and intense sexual experiences where my penis came nowhere near a vagina and saying that doesn’t count as sex is ridiculous.
- Most people don’t care about my crooked teeth. For some people they even add character. Some people might dislike them enough to pass on being with you… see earlier point about tea and single malt.
- Most people don’t care about my height. Yes some women prefer men to be taller, but a lot don’t care. And if someone will pass on dating me based on height we probably weren’t a great match to begin with.
- Good relationships feel peaceful and wholesome. If your relationship is a roller coaster ride of high highs and deep lows it probably isn’t healthy. That doesn’t mean a good relationship doesn’t have bad times and drama, but the overall vibe should be one of safety.
- I am not failing at life. A lot of the things I struggle with are a direct result of ADHD and childhood trauma. They are not my personal failings that I could get over by just working a bit harder.
- Be brave. It’s OK to always be scared, it’s part of who I am. Just don’t let the fear stop you.
- Open up and be vulnerable. I prided myself on my ability to compartmentalise, that I never showed my full hand. But that’s a lonely life. Showing what’s underneath takes trust and courage, but it is so worth it.
- I am a slut and that is OK. It does not equal being a womaniser. I like sex, I crave intimacy and connection. Good sex is amazing and doesn’t need to only happen within a relationship.
- I can easily perform Dominance, but it’s not who I am. This might need some explaining, since I can in fact be very dominant. I noticed though that it was a role I could fulfil, I could slip it on like a coat but only when I was feeling strong and confident. I am always a sadist and a Daddy though, even at the lowest of times which makes sense since both those things are at the core of who I am.
- I am a sadist and that does not make me a monster. My own darkness used to scare me, thinking I was just one slip away from really harming someone. Honestly that was just me being dramatic though. Yes, I deeply love causing pain but only if I know that the other person enjoys it on some deep level.
- It’s OK to say no. If saying no adversely affects your relationship with someone was it really that good to begin with?
- Be true to yourself. This one I’m still working on. I am not bad, evil or depraved for being me. I don’t need to show my full self to everybody, but there is never any reason for me to be ashamed of who I am.
- My body is fine the way it is. No I don’t look like a male model, and that’s fine; I don’t want to live the kind of lifestyle that would be needed for it. Exercise is fun and good for me, but don’t get hung up on aesthetics. I don’t need a six-pack to be sexy and attractive.
- Love does not need to be earned. If someone only loves you when you do enough for them and you’re constantly scared of losing them if you don’t work hard enough, that’s not a healthy relationship.
- I am not lazy. This is probably the most harmful lie I’ve been told in my life and it sunk in deep. I work hard, but struggle with executive dysfunction. Some times it takes an epic effort to get started on a small task.
- It’s OK to make things easier for myself. Directly related to the previous one. Doing things the hard way is not a badge of pride. Making do without the proper equipment was something my dad prided himself on, but I don’t need to follow his lead.
So, this is a somewhat random list and I’m sure I’ve missed some points. I hope that in 10 years time I’ll be able to write something similar and look back on all the things I wished I had known in my 40s instead of in my 50s.