Nice and dramatic, very on-brand. Not a million miles away from the truth, though. I think this blog is bad for my mental health. I think it’s doing me more harm than good.
But this is a new thought, a revelation from a fortnight ago, on the first day of a week of annual leave in a time where my part of the country is in specified lockdown and I find it hard to leave the house at the best of times. So I had quite a lot of time on my hands. And oh boy am I an overthinker under normal circumstances, let alone whatever the fuck 2020 is.
The problem is that, no matter how long I have been writing erotica (20 years), or blogging (15 years), this persona, this body of work is dominated by the fact it was begun in earnest at the start of December 2016, just days before I met M.
And you know that story, I cannot help myself from telling it. The blog became the history of a love story and then a repetitive dissection of a broken heart, and I got through it with your compassion and support.
Only I didn’t. I learnt to paper over my hurt just enough to carry on existing; became better, kinder, more generous. I liked the person he had loved and strove to be her more often. I got a new job in an area I’d wanted to work in for years. But the shell was brittle and the contents moreso. The hurt spilled out. Autopsies on the rotting corpse of the relationship went on and on. After all, he hadn’t loved her enough to stay. She wasn’t kind enough to make up for her numerous failings. I thought I was working towards inner peace and happiness, but I only grew weaker, sadder, and so full of jealousy that existing in a place where we enthuse about sex – partnered and solo – became harder and harder to bear.
When M asked me to delete the photos of us from my blog, it was a gut punch, confirmation that he wanted to erase the evidence there had ever been an us in the first place. I complied because love; secretly saving the images because as much as I wanted to respect the person I still loved’s wishes, I wanted the tangible proof that I had once belonged to him even more.
Given how much I tortured myself reading and re-reading those posts over the years that followed, I can say now that I’ve had better ideas, and last week deleted his likeness for good, with only images of myself remaining, an island. Solitary.
It’s important to note that writers and diarists and their works have survived break ups, divorces, deaths. In fact, I wrote a lot in the direct aftermath of the split, 11 posts that November, more than any other month – of which 9 were fiction. Stories came tumbling out of me to spite the state of my life. There is little of my output in the past four years that I am not proud to put my name to. Also important is just how supported I felt at that time, as so much of the relationship had played out in that realm, where it wasn’t unseemly to talk at length about sex, or kink. I am grateful for that support. But in the past three years, my mental state has not improved, and the persona of Hannah and later Kate has become a burden. In seeking freedom through them, I have trapped myself, caused myself pain and distress; pursuit of happiness has left me numbed. I ought to let them go.
That means giving up twitter, too. Using social media shouldn’t make your heart sink, make you nervous. Unless you’re at Tory/Republican levels of reprehensible (delete as applicable). It’s not healthy to feel crushed by jealousy and anger in the presence of people you had mostly assumed were your friends (they are not your friends, this much is true). When you felt like you didn’t belong, it wasn’t imposter syndrome that would ease with time, it was because you never truly belonged there to begin with. And that’s OK. It’s nobody’s fault.
Of course back in March when I was already feeling overwhelmed by myself, my place and the world at large, I thought the best course of action was to renew site hosting for three years so I wouldn’t have to think about it and scrabble for passwords in a year’s time. Now I don’t know if I want Kate to exist for another 3 years; if I want to keep my work available, and in what form. How will that make me feel, will it do more harm than good? I know the waste of money would bother me but how important is my mental health vs some costs that were justified at the time and long departed from my bank account anyway?
And maybe I wouldn’t feel like this if the past year hadn’t been such unmitigated shit for other reasons. If I hadn’t been harassed for 12 months and left with a constant nagging paranoia that I couldn’t trust anyone. Maybe if I shut it all down, they’ll feel like they’ve won. Perhaps their jealousy will find another victim, or it could be that getting rid of me is enough. At this point, I don’t care.
I think I’m just done. The site can exist until 2023 rolls around and pass away peacefully in its sleep. I might change my mind and return. I might endure yet another name change and hope this is the one that fits me properly. I dunno. I’ll make a decision, I’ll choose. I have a thousand days to make my mind up, more or less. And the words will still exist, albeit in incorrectly named files on my external drive.
So maybe this isn’t goodbye, only au revoir. But as it stands, Kate is gone.