This week I was talking with someone who suggested that I might be overthinking things on this blog. About that, there is no doubt. I overthink everything.
But I’m doing this thing right now where I’m trying to practice radical acceptance, of myself and of others. This sounds sort of woo-woo, but what it means is that, when I see something about myself that I don’t like, instead of beating myself up about it, I try to sit with it, understand it, give it a hug. When someone else does something I don’t like, I don’t try to pretend it doesn’t bother me, but I also try not to take it too personally. Both of these things are really hard to do, and I “fail” all the time. But it’s a very good process for me to go through. It’s been extraordinarily helpful in embracing my sexuality.
And I think I need to apply this acceptance to the overthinking, as well, as ridiculously circular and meta as that may be. The analysis may seem overwrought and torturous, but it’s actually quite freeing for me.
The way I explained it to this person was this: imagine you’re a little kid who thinks there’s a monster in your closet. If your mom just said, “there’s no monster, go back to sleep!” then you wouldn’t be able to sleep. You’d lie awake and worry about the monster, and the longer you lay there, the bigger and scarier it would get. But if she brought you over to the closet, turned on the light, and showed you that the only things in your closet were clothes and toys, then you’d be ok. You could sleep, knowing that nothing was going to hurt you.
I think that what I’m doing on this blog is kinda like that. There actually was a creature in my closet, but it wasn’t a monster after all! Or maybe it’s one of those Jim Henson monsters – a bit weird and maybe it seems sort of grotesque, but it’s not going to hurt me and it really just wants to be my friend. However, in order to be its friend, I need to turn on the closet light and really look at it for a while.
So for instance, I wrote that post about whether or not I identified as “submissive.” I’ve been thinking of myself that way for a while, but it still felt weird and uncomfortable to say. Now, I honestly don’t think labels are all that important, even in the context of kinky dating, because everyone attaches such different meanings to them. But the fact that this word – a word that I did think referred to me – made me uncomfortable seemed important. So I wrote a post where I took the word, and turned it over in my hand, and tried to examine all the ways it made me feel uncomfortable. And having done that, I was able to say, “well, you know, these things do make me feel a bit squicky, but even despite that, the word ‘submissive’ does still feel like an accurate word to describe myself.” And that brings me a step closer to becoming friends with the creature.
Of course, you can take this too far. You can spend so much time examining the creature that you forget the purpose of the exercise, which was to make friends with it. (And, uh, go out and have fun, sexy adventures with it? This metaphor just got a little weird.) But I think as long as you keep your eyes on the goal, which for me is the ability to be myself and express my sexuality without shame, it can be a really good exercise.