What a weird year
2021 was an odd year. After the strangeness of 2020, I think that I, like many others, thought things would get back to normal. Nope. We started with a second national lockdown and all the surreal events of the previous year continued. The world has changed, not just temporarily but permanently I think. I often feel you should never say never, but before there were things that I took for granted that I just can’t any more. The impossible sees possible, and the unlikely seems all too familiar these days.
What surprises me, is that it just doesn’t anymore. Things that would have got a shocked reaction previously, just seem like hurdles to jump or barriers I simply need to navigate now. It is almost as if to expect the unexpected is the norm. Something unexpected arises and we all just shrug it off – weird stuff just happens now. I don’t just mean this in terms of the freedoms and (un)certainties around COVID-19, although that certainly is part of it.
Living in Scotland, there has never been a return to what was before and things remain more restricted here than they do the other side of the border. Some of us have gone back to work, but many have not and never will. WFH has its own acronym – what more need I say. We have continued to wear face masks and test regularly for signs of infection, and most of us still don’t plan very far ahead. We have predominantly stayed at home, socialising in small groups and few seem to travel far.
There are pupils I teach every day who have never seen my face, nor I theirs. And if that doesn’t sum up how strange it all is, I actually feel lucky that they have seen me in person, and don’t merely know me as an avatar! I am sitting writing this, due to return to work in 2 days, and I can’t say with any confidence that I won’t be online rather than in person again. The expectation is that I will have all I need with me to be virtual if I need to be. Never say never ……
But beyond that, there is still a feeling that things are chaotic. Politically, it is a mess and BREXIT has brought shortages and changes that don’t make any real sense. Everything feels slow, as if people are operating in some sort of dream-time, and so when things don’t happen as they should, no one jumps up and down any more. It feels kind of passive, and as if people just don’t get it. There is a sense of apathy, and the fact that services are overstretched and can’t offer what they used to has become normal.
It is hard to give specific examples without revealing to much, but at work things have definitely changed. We term it as crazy, but stuff that just wouldn’t have happened is increasingly commonplace, and we are simply left to deal with it and find a workaround. Being part of an ‘essential service’ means that education, as an agency, has to respond, even if no one else will. We have never been a 24 hour service, but other agencies are looking to us to provide what we never have had to before. Shrug – what can you do?
So there is a feeling, for me, that I am operating on the very tip of something unsteady. I know that it might all crash at any moment, but instead of getting bogged down in that, I focus on the small things, and doing what I can to keep safe. I have found a new normal, I have found a way to cope and adapt and just shake off the feeling of uncertainty and instability and create my own bubble. This is a bubble that I pull others into, and I just have to hope that it doesn’t burst.
In the end, I think it boils down to control. There is a feeling that we have lost control. There is a feeling that those around us, who usually control things, no longer do. And there is a feeling that we are all careering along without very much to ground us. As people, what we usually do in this situation is look to control the bits we can. Unfortunately for some, this search for control and a grounding influence can lead to unhealthy behaviours, so the key is to find what works for you in a positive way.
I have made some mistakes along the way. I definitely bit off more than I could chew at work, and have been doing two jobs for the past year. This has taken its toll and it left me pretty exhausted by the end of the year. As a submissive, some areas of my life are already well controlled, and I should have leant more into this, instead of allowing my attention to move towards the things I was trying to control myself. I also threw myself into too many projects.
When I feel overwhelmed my brain works fast and I have loads of great ideas. I end up committing to too many of these, and this can lead to a sense of failure when I don’t have the time, energy or resources to make them work in the way that I want them to. I also didn’t spend enough time on myself, so that small areas of my life felt less organised that they might have. For example, my home laser treatments stopped and started, and my chest of drawers never got the clear out it so desperately needs!
These are just two very small things from the myriad of examples I could have chosen, but they make up part of a bigger picture. A feeling of loss of control and living with chaos. Being able to open a drawer and find what I need would make things so much easier. And it wouldn’t be hard to make it happen, but somewhere I have got lost in other things: in bigger projects, or in having my focus and attention in a different direction.
My blogging, too, was affected. It has felt a bit stop and start. I haven’t felt as grounded in it this past year and I think I have felt more like I was operating in my own little stream than I did previously. I have never had gaps in posting like I did this year, but at points my creativity just seemed to have left me. I felt too tired to shape a piece of writing or I would sit there and wait, but nothing suitable seemed to come. I should have engaged more with others but I didn’t feel quite like I fitted in. Catch 22!
The SWC is another thing that I had great plans for but I didn’t get the time to put them into place. Having a life which is very online based has been a great help to us this past while and we weren’t left feeling like we were missing out socially like some people did. We have a brilliant community there ready and waiting, but many of the projects we discussed and planned just didn’t seem to come to fruition. Again, this was down to other things taking priority and us allowing them to.
But amidst the instability and uncertainty, there were also lots of new beginnings. We had a taste of living just the two of us when our youngest left for uni, and this really opened things up in terms of our D/s play, and the way we are able to interact. It isn’t just that we have more time, but also the fact that we have the place to ourselves. We can talk without being overheard. We can facetime kinky friends. We can make plans for The SWC. We can also play when we want to, slink around wearing very little, and really take things out of the bedroom and into other areas of our lives.
While family will still come and go for a number of years to come, this is still the home address for most of them, we will have these periods of time alone to play with on a regular basis. This means that we can step things up in terms of the regularity, as well as the type of activities we do. We are looking forward to exploring this and continuing with the focus areas we have identified in terms of play, and in terms of some of the protocols we use.
Last year also saw us begin to explore play with others. We had began this the year before but have been able to be more creative in terms of how we use the opportunities we have. While meeting up face to face is always going to be the preferred option, using online methods has proved pretty effective. Again, this is something that we hope to take into 2022 as a focus, as it allows us to tick quite a few of the kinky boxes we both share.
I began my Feeling Good page as a response to turning 50, but my focus on feeling good has grown in a number of ways. Over the past two years I have embraced the principles of hygge, changed my diet, and become quite focussed on wellness. I have spent a lot of time on food blogs and wellness blogs and have expanded the sorts of things I make myself. I have always been quite crafty, but our home has been a space that has been really safe to invest in, and that has been something that has brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction.
I am not sure which direction this will take in the year to come, but I know that I keep adding to the idea of feeling good in a variety of different ways. Despite the way the outside world feels, or the mistakes I have made, I feel pretty good in myself. I feel strong and adaptable and resourceful. I feel pretty healthy and as if I have energy to invest into the things that matter to me, so this is something that I think will continue to grow and change shape over the course of the year.
Relationships are another area where I have invested time and will continue to do so. Being the mother of adults has been a new experience, and although I haven’t always been able to do the things I would have liked to due to the current circumstances, I have found ways to connect with those who matter. New friendships have formed, and old ones have died away, and that feels ok. We have a really active group of members over at The SWC at the moment and building friendships with them is also something I want to invest in.
Being part of a community has been beneficial to us in so many ways and I want to focus on putting more back into what we started, and what others have helped us to build upon. HL and I still need to talk and firm up our plans, but we have thrown around a few different ideas for projects and things we would like to do with the club, and I am excited at the thought of what that might mean. I have always felt I had to split time between there and here, as there is such an overlap, but I feel like things tick along ok here pretty much now, so I can turn my attentions to making more of that space.
Now I have written all of this down it seems a lot, especially as when I started I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. But I have always said that writing helps me to process and often gives me clarity of thought as I go. So this is something that will definitely continue into 2022, and I am really glad about that. I love my blog, and I am grateful to those of you read along and support me. I sometimes wish that I could have more overlap in terms of the other projects in my life and make this a more eclectic part of me, but for good reason that is not something I can do right now. But, never say never!