One of my biggest fears since I started exploring my kink is that I am neglecting my “vanilla” friends. As time has gone on and I have become more immersed in my kink life, it is a fear that has become something of a reality, and one that I'm not particularly happy with.
So when someone said to me today that they thought I was not spending as much time with other friends as I used to, it touched a very raw nerve indeed. So raw, in fact that I spent most of the afternoon in the office fighting tears, mostly unsuccessfully.
You see, the thing is, it's true.
I have neglected friends over the past 18 months. Some friends who I may have naturally grown less close to anyway, some who don't deserve my neglect. It's inevitable that friendships change over the years. I'm of an age where a lot of my friends are (as I so delicately put it) sprogging up. I have never been particularly interested in having children, though I think the majority of my friends' kids are wonderful, so that was something that was without doubt going to change the nature of some of my friendships. When you have children, no matter how much people warn you beforehand, your life changes irrevocably. That's not to say that I love those friends any less, but the amount of time we are able to spend together now is of course less than before.
So some changes in these relationships were always going to happen. The more unforgivable thing, though, is those friends where our bond would have had less reason for changing and it's me that has changed it. Friendships that I have let die a little over the past few months. Phone calls not returned as quickly as they should be. Letters and emails prioritised below kinky letters and emails. Weekends where I might have seen them given over to kinky activities. Being in their neighbourhood on trips and selfishly not wanting to give up an hour of fun to go visiting... All with the excuse that we were growing apart anyway. But were we? Or have I just forced us apart?
I was talking to Emma Jane about this earlier today. She wisely said that it's a problem that a lot of us coming into Kinky World have, and that all we can do is share ourselves out as much as we can. We can't be perfect. She talks a lot of sense, that girl. The trouble is, while I know I can't be perfect, it doesn't stop me trying and it sure as hell doesn't stop me from beating myself up when I inevitably fail. I mean, who the hell am I to treat people who are supposed to mean something to me in such a manner? What did they ever do to deserve me ignoring them, neglecting them, taking weeks to respond to them, never making time for them. Nothing, of course.
So I know it's silly of me to dwell on this, and it's indulgent and crass to have a pity party about it, but I'm afraid that's the lie of the land right now. I need a little pity party, I need to berate myself, and I need to figure out what the hell to do about it. Somewhere out there, there's an ideal balance. If anyone finds it, for goodness sake, let me know.