A better mood

There’s not much to say but I want to get it written down, partly to underline it, partly in for if/when it stops being true.

My mood these days seems to be a lot better than it used to be.

I’m generally in a better mood overall and, when temper (or anxiety, tension) flares up, I notice it as something I am doing, and I can lift myself out of it.

There’s no “objective” reason why my mood should be better: my work situation is still as precarious; family worries just as uncertain.

The only thing that has changed is that I’ve been doing “Christian” things long enough for some of them to start growing into habits — or not habits, better than habits, “favourites”. I don’t float around in a cloud of holiness but I pray most days, I read scripture most days, almost every day I’m on my Christian twitter and/or reading the Christian blogs I follow, when with my wife or my son I push myself to love them and attend to them.

My old habits and lusts are still around (although it’s a long time since I’ve looked at any real porn).

I feel like I’m settling in to a new home, a new way of being.

We

It’s easy to say “I am a Christian” (online at least, using a pseudonym and not showing my face) but am I really? How would anyone (apart from God) tell?

I thought I would look at the Nicene Creed and check how I felt about each of the statements (I quote the Creed in full below).

The first question mark to hit me came with the very first word:

We believe in one God,

Who is “we”?

When last summer I was at the Eucharist service at Abbey Town, as part of the congregation, we recited the similar Apostles’ Creed. Then, the “we” was “we, the congregation”.

The rest of the time, I am just I, there is no “we”.

I could just replace that “we” with “I” — and I think I read that some versions of the Creed do use “I” instead of “we” — but that feels like a cop-out.

Does it matter than I am alone and not part of a community? I have a hunch that it does. Why? What would I get out of it? (not that it’s going to happen any time soon)

  • I think having somewhere where I could “live out” — or better, “share in”, so that somewhere involves interacting with other people — /being/ a Christian, would help me “be” a Christian when I’m in private. I don’t necessarily mean being “called to account”. I mean more like practising or developing a habit of thinking, acting, living in a certain way.
  • It would be nice to find friends IRL like the friends I’ve found online.
  • Ritual confession, spoken out loud, … would be horrible … but probably in a good way.

There are obvious downsides to latching on to a particular community. Equally, if I as an outsider can just choose any “community” as if from a supermarket shelf, in what sense is it really a community, and in what sense am I really becoming part of it?

Perhaps community is something I have to find in a more profound sense, or even create.

Do you use a Creed like this?

Does yours have “We” or “I”?

The Nicene Creed

I looked on the Wikipedia, where there are several versions of the Nicene Creed. This one is the (an?) Ecumenical version taken from the 1979 Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Idea for dealing with temptation

I have put all the concrete details in the first section below on “the object”.

** the object

I found a website called Little Women that sells bras (and matching panties) for ladies with smaller busts. Cup sizes go down to AAA, even for larger band sizes.

(I found this linked from a blog post called “How to wear bras when you don’t have breasts” — aimed not just and even not mainly at crossdressers.)

It is clearly a sensible site aimed at sensible ladies. The designs are nice: similar to the kinds of designs I look for at Marks & Spencers.

So this raised the exciting prospect of finding a bra that would really fit me, really support my tiny breasts. There is a page full of (about 30) bras in “my size” (I would be a 38AAA). A few are nice but my favourite is the “Sheer Lace” bra (and I would get matching briefs in size 12).

** the yearning

The “object” of temptation, then, is the thing I want, together with what I want to do with it: e.g., a bar of chocolate, and eating the bar of chocolate.

I would go back to this website again and again, in bored moments, or when my work suddenly felt a bit hard. I would imagine over and over the whole process: choosing my favourites, making an order, having, enjoying. I would plot how to time an order to co-incide with my wife being away. I would think about the money and start to feel guilty, …

So each visit to the website would end up fairly emotional and I would end up fairly keyed up. It was a kind of pulling in both directions.

I realised that eventually I would succumb: an opportunity would arise suddenly, and I would plunge, grab the opportunity before it disappered.

** the temptation

The last time this happened, I noticed it start, noticed that shift of attention. I managed to focus my attention on that “shifting”, before “it” had managed to attach my attention onto the yearning (it seemed to me that the shifting attention “wakes up” the yearning, which then goes and seeks out the object).

This new “thing” that un-snicked my attention from whatever I was doing and took it to wake up the yearning, this thing I thought was the “temptation”.

I imagined it as a bluey-greeny glassy sheen. Now that I’d noticed it, it seemed to stand between me and the yearning and the object; first as a kind of sentinel, then I thought of them wrapping like layers — ( temptation ( yearning ( object ))).

Now that I’d pulled the temptation into the field, in its own right, I felt “protected” in a way from the yearning. It also occurred to me that the yearning was protected from me: I could think about being tempted (and about resisting temptation) without getting into the emotional maelstrom.

I could hold the bluey-greeny glassy sheen itself up to investigation: why have you popped up now? Instead of letting you lead me where you will — perhaps you are a sign or a symptom of something else. Perhaps I should have an apple or go for a walk, park this work and do something else.

** effects

So that is what I have been doing. Sometimes just noticing it tug on my attention is enough. Sometimes I can sense its pull is stronger. I am starting to think about “managing” temptation — have a bar of chocolate now so I don’t end up gorging myself tomorrow.

I like the idea that it can protect the object of temptation from me — especially if the thing I’m tempted to do is something like a sharp remark or a lustful look.

A “bluey-greeny glassy sheen” is definitely how I imagined it, and it has a kind of presence of its own. I’ll use it as a kind of internal alarm signal: am I hungry? Tired? Do I need some fresh air? A clear head? Perhaps it will turn out to be down to just sensual rhythms like these.

God put it in front of my eyes

** current status

My wife has been away for a while — a fortnight perhaps — looking after her mother, who had had a fall and is recovering. It wasn’t supposed to be a fortnight, but these things have to be given the time they take.

Back here at the homestead our son is anxious — because of the age he is, because of his school work, worried about his grandmother, worried about his mother (who is working hard). I focus on keeping the household ticking over — food, cleaning, bedtimes — somewhat to the detriment of my work — which creates anxieties of its own. And then my wife calls every evening to “offload” after a day’s caring (and a day’s well-wishers and fecklessness from sister).

I have been going to the office some days, and even travelling locally for business. I think every one of those days I’ve slipped into panties and bra first thing. A rush of relief as I feel their magic wrap around me, and a background signal of comfort and reassurance through the day. That must sound so pathetic.

I would take my bra off at the office or in a meeting with a client, or at home. I have stayed away one night (son is 16) and gloriously panties and bra were first thing on in morning and last thing off at night.

One day late last week I mislaid my office key. Not elsewhere in the building, not in an “other” bag/coat/pocket, not in the wash.

An extra thing to do; an extra quantum of anxiety; a reminder of how anxious and frazzled I already was; a guilty prod that my dressing up probably makes me even more frazzled and absent-minded.

** meanwhile

When I learnt my wife would be away I ordered Thomas Keating’s “Open Heart, Open Mind” (recommended by Lisa) and I’ve been dipping into that (it is very rich); I’ve found time to post the review of “Wearing God”; I’ve started reading Lisa Notes and Messy Marriage again; I’ve finally joined Facebook, so I can join a reading group (run by Beth) on 1 Samuel.

** the cross

With a new week coming up, I remembered the cross necklace I bought (and haven’t worn for ages). I thought about wearing it under my shirt to work. Monday morning in the shower I started to feel a tension: bra and panties OR cross necklace. To wear both seemed very wrong and even mad.

As the seconds ticked away towards getting dressed the tension and the internal debate mounted. Not just intellectual debate but emotional tension and real uncertainty. I get the chance to dress up so rarely, I can wear the cross anytime (completely unobtrusive under my shirt). I didn’t want to set up a “panties = bad, cross = good” thing. I managed to talk myself into into by talking about making a decision and sticking to it, self-control, self-discipline: can I rely on myself to make a decision and carry it out, or am I always at the mercy of erupting desires?

It’s surprising what a wrench it was, not to step into my beloved “Nude Rose” bra & panties, but my silver cross necklace was the first thing on that morning.

The magic relief feeling I get when I put on this little cross is exactly the same as when I put on my nice lingerie. Exactly. It was when the lady put it on me in the cathedral shop. It is every time. The similarity between the effects is the main reason I think it’s appropriate to go into my dressing up here. It recalls Shannon Eldridge’s remarks in the Fantasy Fallacy that sexual fantasies and “perversions” are kind of inarticulate or confused yearnings after Jesus’ truer love.

Once the deed had been done I feel quite calm and happy and at peace.

** bus stop

Mooching about at the bus stop (there’s a 15 minute window during which the bus might appear) my eyes dropped to the grass by the side of the road. There, just where my eyes fell, was my office key. I couldn’t help laughing. I couldn’t help thinking God had put it there, right in front of my eyes, as a little thank you.

That was yesterday. My little silver cross necklace was first thing on today as well.

“Wearing God” by Lauren F. Winner

Book details

Wearing God
Lauren F. Winner
2015
Harper Collins

Overview

I liked this book a lot. It was just right for me in two ways:

  1. I had spent 2015 reading the Psalms (two complete reads through, some learnings, some favouritings). I was (and still am) interested in learning more about the Psalms and all the different ways of talking about God. I looked around for books but many seemed far too academic. I came across Wearing God by chance on (or via) Lisa Notes. It’s about metaphors for God in the Old and New Testaments, and about how they can help us think about God and enrich our relationship with God.
  2. I had just come out of a bleak couple of months (see Two Pivots: Pivot 1 & Pivot 2). I found this book soothing and cheering — occasionally in that weird Christian way that mixes comfort with challenge.

Wearing God was a nice mix of “learnedness” and practicality. There’s a Further Reading section which has a few books I’ll look up:

Wearing God was my bedtime reading and I remember at least two occasions when it seemed to speak directly to the problems of my day:

  • Our son has had glandular fever and/or anxiety syndrome and we have taken him out of school. It is very difficult trying to coax him to study without tripping him into panic, biting my tongue when he’s surly and always being positive and loving. After one especially bad evening of this I found myself starting in on the chapter on God as labouring woman: the unavoidable suffering and pangs God goes through to bring humanity to the light. I could see myself suffering like God there, and God suffering like me.
  • The chapter on God’s laughter (which I didn’t much like, as God’s laughter seemed often to be about putting women in their place) spoke to my weaknesses. I forget the details now, but I’d spent some time in the evening browsing either lingerie or porn on my phone and ended up annoyed at myself, and slightly exasperated. Lieing in bed next to my wife the reading I remember that night was of Sara’s later laughter, laughing at herself and her situation. So I was able to laugh at myself, which seems better than being angry or exasperated, as laughter seemed to open a way to the “long view”, to hope.

God as clothing

After noticing that Wearing God had spoken to me so often — which was a surprise: I was expecting an interesting book on metaphor — I then became sursprised that the first chapter, on God as clothing, hadn’t spoken to me. So I read the chapter again, this time listening out carefully.

LW mentions God making clothes for Adam and Eve when they leave the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:21) but the main metaphor is of people being clothed in God, or clothed in Christ (e.g., Galatians 3:27).

LW mentions the normal attraction of dressing up (p. 38 “… every time we change into a different kind of clothing, we can play at being a different kind of self”), she says she finds “the notion of God as clothing endlessly suggestive” (p. 37), she even says “To understand Christ as clothing is to understand a certain holy gender-bending” (p. 49). But, all her clothing examples are decidedly “appropriate”. The “gender-bending” is really about /women/ wearing androgynous utilitarian clothing.

LW asks what would it mean to imaging God as a warm winter coat, as a cardigan sweater: “What does it mean to imagine God as a warm winter coat? As a handmade bespoke suit? As a beloved cardigan sweater, purchased in Galway on your honeymoon …?” (p. 37).

I ask, what would it mean to imagine wearing God as a strappy satin nightie?

What would it mean for LW — a woman — to imagine God as a strappy satin nightie?

What would it mean for me — a man — to imagine God as a strappy satin nightie?

As an elegant blouse and long swishy skirt with white stockings and frilly French knickers underneath?

As a dainty bra that fits me — a man — just right?

Perhaps these imaginings seem repulsive or sacreligeous. Why?

Perhaps “God as clothing” shouldn’t be “sexy” clothing. I think there’s room for investigation there generally — but I do sometimes use dressing up as a kind of sex toy and I can see anything in that direction is not appropriate.

But I don’t always use dressing up like that. Sometimes (more often I think, after all there are more convenient sex toys) I dress up because … well,

Why /do/ I dress up?

Why /would/ I want to imagine God in these ways?

When we “imagine God as a cardigan sweater”, what are we doing? We are thinking about how the features a cardigan sweater is /supposed/ to have, what wearing a cardigan sweater is /supposed/ to be like, might apply to God. So, comfort, warmth, organic, traditional, familiar in some way, and so on.

God as a strappy satin nightie

I wear my nightie when I’m staying away on business. After the day’s work I get back to the hotel, I tie up loose ends, I respond to outstanding emails, I have dinner. When I get back to my room after dinner I immediately undress and change into my nightie, and then I relax. I tidy things away and set things out for the morning, I read or listen to music (often wearing a sweater on top of the nightie, so the nightie is like loungewear or even a dress). Hotel rooms are always too hot for boy pyjamas or a t-shirt, so I sleep in the nightie. I enjoy feeling the straps over my shoulders, and the soft cool material by my skin.

The fact that I like to dress up is the most secret thing in my whole life — ever since I started when I was a small boy. I can only wear something like this behind a locked door and closed curtains. So, wearing something like this /means/: I am in a private space, I am safe, no-one will come and get me, no-one will tell me to explain myself. Free from danger, I am free — in such a tiny way — (I won’t say “to be myself” that is nonsense). Sometimes I do bad things, sometimes I don’t. It’s a silly childish spell.

God — or at least Jesus — shelters me. To feel him near me is a beautiful luxurious feeling. I don’t need to explain myself to him — and if I don’t need to explain myself to him, why would I need to explain myself to anyone else? Jesus near me means I am safe: I even used to say to myself sometimes “You are safe: Jesus loves you.”

God as a dainty bra

For present purposes there are two types of bra: padded and un-padded. I have one of each, with matching knickers. I wear them in different circumstances.

The padded bra I always wear with the matching knickers. They are a glamorous, silky set. Because the padded bra affects my silhouette so much I can only wear them in private, as with the nightie. If my wife and son are away together for a few days I’ll spend all my time at home dressed just in these bra & panties, maybe with tights, and just a shirt or a dressing gown. I’ll work, I’ll iron and cook and clean, and I’ll feel light and free.

The unpadded bra I wear, mostly with the matching knickers, when I am out and about in some town away on business: shopping, eating at a restaurant in the evening.

It’s especially nice if they can be first things on in the morning (like this morning! ^^). In the morning after my shower I feel all clean and fresh and somehow climbing into special nice bra & panties enhances, encapsulates and preserves that feeling.

I have only started wearing bras very recently (March 2013 I bought my first bra). It feels like being gently hugged, embraced. I’d like to find a bra that would really fit my tiny breasts. It feels very intimate and tender, especially if I know I am wearing matching bra and panties. And if I am wearing out and about, it is a special secret that sometimes makes me blush.

Because these clothes are a treat for me, the bras I wear are dainty and pretty. Wearing something special and nice that close to me makes me feel that I am special and nice — like the nice ladies who wear these clothes in the catalogues. (I don’t mean special as in “better” than anybody else, I mean something more like “treasured”). I am always conscious that I am wearing a bra, so it is always reminding me of all this.

God holds and supports me. I am always aware of Him and I can always feel his presence. Knowing Jesus loves me makes me feel special and treasured (I don’t need to feel “strong”: I feel “strong” all the time. It’s easy to pull myself together, to fight, to get to bed early, to exercise, to eat properly).

The “secret” side feels relevant too. I love Jesus, I love reading the Bible and these Christian books. Because of today’s cultural environment, I feel I have to keep all that secret too (although my wife has started saying it is a “matter of time” before I “turn into a Christian”).

Shame

poem.crop

Yesterday I did something that made me feel so ashamed. Far too ashamed to give any details here (and I don’t want to be tempted to “explain it away”). In the immediate aftermath I was full of disgust at myself. Of course I have done things like this before. Of course I will do things like this again. A sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even the word “sin” seems to pretty it up — encapsulate and tidy away the revulsion I feel.

[I should say, nobody was hurt or even inconvenienced by what I did. Probably (hopefully!) nobody even noticed.]

In bed at night I found this poem.

Quite shocking to read by chance something that is so close to how I feel.

The first two verses felt very true, as I ruefully remembered the morning. How much I’d like to forget what I’d done, or wall off temptation far away.

When I read “O my saviour, who my refuge art”, I suddenly thought of taking these things I’d done — that day, still fresh and close in my memory — and showing them to Jesus. That felt horrible, and I felt even more ashamed.

But the lines after that didn’t feel quite right. I don’t really want Jesus to be a wall inside me. I want him to be a kind of better temptation. I want to learn to turn to him instead of following my baser urges.

I don’t want to be divided from my sin — so my sin can carry on doing its own thing without troubling me? Isn’t that worse?

I have to own my sin, own these horrid things I do. I have to find a way to give them up somehow to God or Jesus. What a weird kind of offering. I don’t know what to do with it.

I forgot to pray that night. I forgot to ask for forgiveness. Will try to remember tonight.

Psalm verses: a bedtime prayer

As with the morningtime verses. These are all (I think) the verses from the Psalms about sleep and nighttime, as well as some other verses that feel nice to me for a bedtime prayer.

Lieing in bed, waiting for the anxieties of the day to recede. I silently say a prayer to myself. If I pray still anxious from the day, the prayer can sometimes not turn out right, and just turns into an anxious ramble. Praying can hekp me calm down, but not always. Praying psalm verses might be better.

What does help is a kind of wordless imagining. Two images especially — although not really “images” as they’re not really visual.

I feel myself, my body, sinking into God, and God filling my body. This is purely sensual — feeling my body heavy and peaceful — and the God narrative makes it extra relaxing and reassuring. I hand my body over to God.

I feel Jesus folding His arms around me, beaming His love into me. This has a sensual component too, but mainly it helps me put my work/life worries away and be happy for going to sleep.

  Seeking refuge
41:4 … “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
24:1a The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you;
62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
  Finding shelter
4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
77.6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search
28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.
52:8 I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
  Amen
92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; [2] to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.
30:5 Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
143:8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
17:15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
26:6 I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD,
  Amen

Psalm verses: a morningtime prayer

Some verses from the Psalms that mention the morning (I think all apart from two: 30:5 and 92:1. These two verses mention morning and nightime together, and I think they will go best with the bedtime verses).

I think each verse is nice on its own, but I have arranged them into a kind of prayer.

  Fanfare
98:5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
98:7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
108:2 Awake, O harp and lyre! Awake the dawn!
  Hello God
8:1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
5:3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
  Hello Me
2:6 “… I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
3:5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
130:18 … I awake, and I am still with you.
  Prayer
56:12 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. [13] For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. [16] Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. [17] Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
  Amen
26:11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. [12] My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.
118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
  Amen

Two pivots. Pivot 2: up (I hope)

*** Jan 2016: London again

January 2016 I was down in London again, this time to meet an exciting potential new client.

(although the meeting went well, it doesn’t look like we will work together: they were ostensibly looking for a specialist contractor, but they were really looking for a new in-house generalist. We’ll see.)

After the meeting I was going to spend a couple of nights with my mother-in-law (who is 90: fairly healthy, but I generally stay over if I’m anywhere near).

I’d been in this slough of despond for two months. I wanted to pivot up again. I didn’t set myself any targets — other than performing well at the meeting, and having a nice time with my M-i-L — but I wanted this short stay away to swing me up again, into most of all a stronger more positive outlook.

I felt so done in I wanted to pamper myself. On the way down I was wearing knickers and I changed into a bra on the train. The first thing I did after checking in to my hotel was to go shopping: a new bra & panty set from Marks & Spencers, and three pairs of knickers from Boux Avenue. I even went out for dinner still wearing my bra under my shirt.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound too good, but I had an early night, and in terms of pampering it worked very well. I was confident and relaxed with the potential client, and visit with M-i-L also went well.

Staying with M-i-L for a few days was also a very good opportunity to ponder on my work generally, and to prepare for my upswing.

I was expecting to be trying out all my new knickers while I was there but as it turned out I was too tense waiting to hear from this company.

*** Now

That was a couple of weeks ago. How is the upswing going?

I think the pivot idea was a good one and the upswing is happening. Realising to myself that it is not all about me and my own bad habits was important. My wife, and our son, and the state of my business are all affecting me. This swing is not just “up” but also “out”: as well as them affecting me, I can affect them.

So I am going to write more about my Real Life here — including my work (no maths I promise). Apologies in advance for some dreary blog posts.

I will probably write more about dressing up too. Not just out of bravado or angst. It is part of me and it does comfort me (and I just enjoy it). When I leave this behind it will have to be done right and for the right reasons.

Other news:

  • Porn doesn’t seem to be a problem at the moment — in that I rarely look at it.
  • After returning from London I started reading “Wearing God” by Lauren F. Winner, and I’ve just finished it. It is a lovely book and it was just what I needed to read. I am sure it helped me pull myself together again. I’ll post a review shortly. After reading it I have started praying regularly again.

Two pivots. Pivot 1: down

“Pivot” might be my word for 2016 — or at least for part of it.

*** Nov 2015

Beginning of November last year was a sudden strong down pivot.

I was in London for a few days at a conference for work, staying at a hotel. In September and October I was full of the joys of holiness. I had finished my second read-through of the Psalms, and I was looking forward to spending these London evenings praying, reading Christian blogs, and choosing Psalms for a little booklet.

It didn’t work out like that. On the train down I wore my favourite white bra & panties. After checking into my hotel I went out shopping. I went to Debenhams and bought their J by Jasper Conran Purple satin long nightdress, and then I went to Ann Summers and bought their satin & lace Lena teddy.

The conference was exciting and inspiring but also challenging and tiring (I wasn’t presenting but I did a lot of high-level mingling and networking). I spent the evening dressed up in the teddy rolling around with myself, and I slept snugged up in the nightie.

I can’t pretend I didn’t enjoy it either.

The whole thing was like a holiday for me (apart from the weather).

However, once back home, I soon fell into a kind of despair — that things would never change, apart from getting worse.

I should stress this despair was not just (or even primarily) about too much dressing up. There are three elephants haunting this blog that I haven’t much mentioned so far:

  • My work is very precarious (I’m a self-employed computer programmer/statistician). I have been very lucky so far, but over the last year or so I have become increasingly conscious of the need to give my business a solid foundation.
  • In the autumn of 2014, and into 2015, our son had a series of minor illnesses, culminating in an attack of something like glandular fever, and followed by an extended period of intense fatigue — from which which he’s still recovering. His school was far from supportive and we are now teaching him at home (he’s 15).
  • In the spring of 2015 my wife’s closest uncle died. This was very upsetting for her. She was also his executor, and spent a fair amount of time wrapping up his estate. This had various impacts on the family, her work and her health.

*** Christmas 2015

We had a very quiet and tender Christmas looking after each other.

I read a nice little book about Christmas Carols. I seem to enjoy being in this space, at any level.

*** Next

Pivot 2: up

  •  

  •  

  • My Twitter timeline

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.