What I Know About Myself

Over the past several months (maybe even years) I’ve learned a lot about myself. Discovering kink has a way of doing that to you.

When anxiety and depression hit, much of it made me question if I was the person I thought I was. Every definitive thought I had about myself was followed with a “But what about when…” Because for every belief I have of myself, I also have at least one example when that wasn’t completely true. Throw in a dash of anxiety and depression, and at some point, I stopped trusting myself.

How can I be a relatively well-adjusted, healthy human being if I lie to myself?

That was the question I kept asking over and over again. The complications and the paradoxes I saw within myself felt like half-truths and misunderstandings. I wondered if I knew myself at all.

I’m not lying to myself. I’m much more complicated than I wanted to admit.

Almost every night I write in a journal as a way to empty my mind of the day’s clutter. It’s the last thing I do before bed.

Last night, in a spurt of self-realization, I wrote a list of things I know about myself, and I wanted to share it. Why? Because the idea of pretending to be any one thing is exhausting. I am who I am, contradictions and all. We all are.

I think I understand myself a little bit better…

I want certainty but know little of that exists — and I accept that (mostly).

I want structure and routine until it feels stifling.

I love having goals and working toward them except when I’m exhausted.

Taking a break for a weekend or a week doesn’t make me lazy.

I don’t want to be around people except for the ones I like or the ones who intrigue me.

I’m a writer – even on the days I don’t write. 

Not every project in my life requires a deadline.

I’m still anxious, nervous, SCARED most of the time but if I can think about things rationally, I’ll be okay.

Sometimes I need to say, “Fuck the routine” and do something different.

Sometimes I will be low energy and out of sorts – it’s not a crisis when this happens.

If I go into a manic phase and then a depressed one, I can recover from it. My recovery rate has been 100 percent so far.

I’m a dreamer and it’s okay to include the small, silly luxuries in my dreams. They don’t make me materialistic. That’s just my babygirl showing.

Part of my thought process is to come up with a million ideas or solutions. I need to let myself do that and then, do nothing if none of them feel right. The answer will come to me in its own time. I simply need to trust the cosmic process.

I’m a mess.

Because I see the “other side” of nearly any situation, it’s hard to take an opinionated stand. I don’t have to do that with everything, and when I do, I only need to believe it for myself.

Kindness and respect matter to me. A lot of people will disappoint me (they already do). I can remember that’s a reflection of them, not me.

I’m strong.

I’m no nonsense.

I want to be cuddled, coddled, and spoiled.

I need to prove I can do things on my own.

I like control and doing things my own way.

My way works for me, and that’s all that matters.

I can be lead – but only by someone I trust and respect.

I’m both impatient and infinitely patient.

My kids are becoming good people and I helped in some mysterious way.

I have strong opinions.

I give the benefit of the doubt, just in case.

I listen to my intuition.

I overthink things.

I procrastinate all the time.

I get shit done.

I need to trust in myself more because I get shit done.

I’m a writer who’s making a decent living at it.

I want to be more financially successful but not at the expense of my mental health.

I hate teams.

I’m good at teamwork.

I am starting to not care that people who know my real name don’t know about my personal and professional successes.

I still care that the people who do know about those successes don’t know my real name.

I have the ability to share what I’ve learned and my experience in a clear way that people relate to.

I produce a podcast people like.

People trust me with their secrets. I am honored and humbled. I’m worthy of their trust.

I will continue to be worthy of people’s trust.

I never forget that I might be wrong.

I refuse to believe I know everything.

Others have more to teach me than I have to teach them, even if they don’t realize it.

I hate drama and bullshit.

I adore gossip and secrets.

I’m nosy.

I don’t care.

I’m loud and silly.

I think too much and don’t want to talk.

I love sharing ideas.

I have plenty of questions.

I just want to listen.

My resting bitch face is intimidating.

My smile is huge.

I both love and hate my body.

If any of these things sound like affirmations it’s because they are, kind of. I’ve spent so long questioning myself, doubting myself, and wondering who I really am. The problem was that I thought I could only be one thing or do things onea certain way, when in reality, people are much more complicated than that. No one else has to relate or agree with a thing I’ve written. This isn’t for that. I’ve already affirmed these things are true, except when they’re not.

But at least I have a better idea of what is true about myself.

And, by the way, as much as I loved this song back in the day, now I relate in a whole new way…


About the author

Kayla Lords

I am a sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, international speaker, kink educator, and all-around kinky woman. You can find me online sharing my innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, teaching other bloggers how to make money writing about sex, and helping kinksters have happy healthy BDSM relationships. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom and business partner, John Brownstone. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!


  • wow I LOVE this!
    I have always struggled to define myself. Reading this I realize maybe it’s because I’ve thought it needed to be a static definition. I am more a dynamic variable.

  • Good article, Kayla.
    Amazing list. I think women in particular often need to take time on a quarterly basis and make up such a list. I would bet a few items change from time to time.

    Having been a subject of gossip and the fish bowl life of a well known family where I was brought up, I have a strong dislike of either concept, and a whole lot of empathy for Mrs. Michelle Obama and her daughters.

    It’s very difficult to be a child in those kinds of places. Or an adult much of the time. It’s probably the reason I also prefer to not be a social gadfly. Part of my freedom as an adult is to choose my relationships and limit physical social interactions.

    I think my bullshit detector is very high too. Part of living in that fishbowl.

    I understand completely why this kind of list is important, but hard to write. I have such a terrible time writing about my various soft skills, gifts and talents that don’t have a direct connection to my career and academic life that I am horrible at self promotion, even if it’s part of a resume.

    My first thought ALWAYS in engaging in the torture of resume writing is, “Can’t they understand between my education, work and volunteering what kind of person I am? Why in the hell do I need to tell them this? They can possibly be that stupid!”
    Well, one hopes that’s the case…still hate that aspect of selling myself. If I’m ever published in fiction, it’s going to be hellish doing publicity and tours.

    Likewise, as writers and authors we get caught up in the complexity of other people’s perceptions. No matter the subject.

    Six years ago, when I was updating CV and resume to prefer for a leap up the corporate ladder, my spouse actually had to help me make this type of personal list. Its a very difficult thing for me to do.

    In some aspect, it’s terrifying. It’s not about being capable. It’s about seeing oneself, perhaps as others do. Interestingly enough, he couldn’t comprehend why I can’t talk or write about myself that way. Something to do with how males are taught boasting and masculinity? I’m not sure.

    I find making such a list similiar to having teeth pulled. It’s hard to understand why it matters. I would do anything but sit down and focus on me, and my “qualities” as my female relations might describe them.

    The list my husband made stayed on my home bulletin board until last year when the decision had to be made that I wouldn’t be returning to work for medical reasons. I tossed it away, and my spouse was furious, because he felt as if I was tossing away a part of myself. Perhaps I was. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but obviously he had. He retrieved the list. It’s in my desk drawer. Perhaps I’ll put it up some day again.

    Structure: I understand how people often have a great need for structure. Some people need a high level of structure to function at their optimum. I have three grown sons who do much better with a high level of structure than without. One child was “done” with summer school holidays after a month off. That’s how much structure he needs. Now he provides most of it himself because as a young adult he knows a great deal more about what he needs.

    Often, inherent in structure is a great deal of learned and engaged discipline ( to be a musician, artist, writer, Doctor, or scientist) that can only benefit the abilities of the person in mention. It helps us stretch and grow as human beings. We also need break time to refuel.

    From my lifelong engagement with education, discipline and structure, as an adult, I am often the person engaged in administrative and organizational tasks for our family. My spouse is often the one disengaging me from too much structure for what I consider “play time”, which might be private couple play or just fun activities.

    I was smothered with structure/discipline/constant to do lists from morning till night since I was a preschooler, so I have a tendency towards wanting to choose which structures I engage in, and which I will not tolerate. To me, that is a sense of freedom. I still have difficulty feeling worthy of free time. My spouse has threatened to tie me to a bed so I will rest, or a chair so I will draw. I don’t think it’s a permission issue. More like a workaholic issue.

    Play: If there’s something I suck at overall, it’s play. As a child I thought most kids “played” while engaging in team sports, dance or choir school, or performing a role in a musical or play. Other kinds of play time for me was limited to school recess. Or free reading. My brain soaked up academics, theatre lines and music like a sponge.

    I ditched Girl Scouts for baseball, basketball, and hockey because as long as I hit/threw the ball/puck or caught it, no one cared who I was, who my parents were, how my audition went, or if I made the youth symphony. I got to be normal for once. I didn’t know there was this other whole aspect of play that was childhood. I made sure my children knew and enjoyed their childhood as much as possible.

    To me, music has always been that aspect of my life that engaged discipline and structure with “play”. I emphasized this word because most people don’t have that perspective. I was happy and joyful, full of deep feeling, often happiness, engaged with the beauty of creation itself. It’s it’s own kind of high. Unfortunately, this kind of play definition doesn’t often translate well to daily social interactions.

    Playing make believe, flirting, role playing, getting to know people or other “let’s pretend” kind of aspects of adult initimate relationships, or group interaction activities I’m terrible at. Seriously. Like REALLY bad at. I have a tendency towards bluntness, pragmatism, and the long picture. Work Teams don’t like that. People find it weird. Must be part of my bullshit detector.

    Especially if I’m not up to pretending I’m a super extrovert that work day. Usually I feign a migraine which will eventually become a reality so I don’t have to be “on”. Or, I’m the one counting points, or something background. Please, giant ego coworkers, the stage is yours! Go win gold stars and points! Kiss ass or anything else with the boss! Make a name for yourself.

    Facts, figures, administration, organizational structure, I am a genius. I can even alphabetize, read and write in four languages. I have a partial instrumental and vocal music degree. I am thought to be a good teacher and mentor. I am disgustingly efficient, well pressed and dressed, and always on time to work, meetings, life. I am ethical, moral, work towards being unbiased, treat every one equally, respectfully, and take my job seriously. In essence, I’m over educated and boring. I’m okay with that. After decades under the social microscope, I am absolutely delighted with boring.

    The Office politics baffle me, unless I put it though the lens of an opera or musical theatre play…I think I’ve witnessed more amateur dramatics in offices than on stage. ?
    Team playing drives me up a tree, particularly in management structure, where “team” is more like being on the tv show “Survivor”. I’m fine with leading a team with clear structure and goals. Please make me the coordinator. Don’t make me a real part of the team. You will not like the outcome. I won’t massage your statistics or anything else.

    I actually hate team outings days. Once, long ago, One of these stupid things happened to be surprise! skydiving, which my boss knew I had asthma and a fear of heights. He was a manipulating bastard, and he still made my promotion contingent on getting in that plane and jumping. I refused, went home early, and fired up the resume machine (aka husband). Two weeks of hellish office politics later, I had a new job.

    Dating and making adult friends was an absolute nightmare, particularly if a person believed they knew me from an article I wrote, performance, or a speech I gave. Or my family.

    It still is difficult and I’m over 40. Basically, my years of public performance covered up the fact that I’m an introvert. Not just an introvert. I have what’s known as extreme shyness. I found it actually is a personality thing in the last few months. I just thought I was weird. I’ve always wondered if that’s why my super extroverted musician/singing/acting parents put me through so many things. I also learned that it can be developed over time as a defense mechanism to extreme external stimuli. Ah, now that I can believe.

    It’s like this for me: No lines, no stage, no music, no lights, no stage makeup, no other actors/musicians/conference leaders to guide me, and my anxiety goes through the roof. I can see the “audience”, often a foot away or less, and it’s terrifying. Now imagine a crowded social gathering, or speed dating. Or a bar.
    I’m usually counting the moments until I can leave. Unless there’s a good band playing. Then I can focus on the music, ignoring everyone abd everything else.

    My extreme shyness also means I have personal space issues. Shaking hands is a great initial greeting. No hugs or kisses. Please don’t invade my personal space. I don’t know you. And if I meet you again, even for coffee, it will take time for me to ‘warm up’. You need a sexual hookup, I probably have a friend who would be interested. If you try to grope me, I will land you on your ass so fast your head will spin, courtesy of moves my male hockey team buddies taught me. Even if it was your mistake. Yes, that’s happened too. During one of those stupid team outings.

    I didn’t need a wingman/woman. I needed an entire protective squad, complete with cue cards so I didn’t freak out, or make a complete fool of myself. I’m the woman in the corner seat of the bar, people watching, trying to understand the intimacies of a mating dance that I have no script for. I could never figure out how two people across a crowded room suddenly found eyeballed each other, chatted easily, danced, and they went home together, or picked up two more people.

    Before I married, and was approached by a man or woman who expected me to have a witty comeback, be a drinking buddy, or somehow mistaken me for a sexually available/ aggressive character portrayal that they saw, or a friend sang praises about, or a friend decided I need to meet someone, always, always ended up in a disaster. No one understood. Not even me.

    Every time a friend felt the need to bring someone over to meet me, disaster struck. Star Trek klaxons would ring in my head and I turned into a human Popsicle. You might as well bring the hand truck and take me to the steam room, because I wasn’t going to thaw.
    Nor was I breathing very well. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak properly (I stuttered), spilled drinks, tripped over my feet/furniture or said something abundantly stupid. It was awful. And unending outside of the academic and musical areas of my life where I excelled.

    I finally got family and friends to understand that though I loved dancing and listening to live music, I was perfectly happy just to enjoy the outing without a date, a hookup, and more often than not I was the designated driver. I wasn’t a lesbian. I wasn’t asexual. I was perfectly happy just being in my element of song and dance, since I hadn’t intended to “find someone”. Every attempt had been disastrous. Finally, they let me be.

    And wonders of wonders, something amazing happened.
    My second husband and I found out a mutual interest in each other by sheer accident. We worked hard to discover each other in a series of emails and personal recommendations from others before we even met in person, only knowing each other via an online working relationship for an arts magazine.

    We asked questions about everything, including any kind of bad experiences, and how we interacted with other people. When I first read how BDSM meet and greet/interview should go, I was astonished, it had been so similiar, except the intensively probing sexual interest questions.

    He understood me on the first try. He worked with someone male who has similiar issues. Think of it as online matchmaking without the other people and the social pressures involved. No sex either.

    No pressure meant if I wasn’t up to dealing with something or a weird crowd of people, I didn’t go, or I left early. I didn’t have to go through multiple levels of diplomacy and tact to say, “I’m freaked out. Your guy friend is staring at me like I’m a steak dinner, with extra potatoes and I don’t even know him. Please find him someone else to stare at.” Neither males nor females in my world took that kind of comment kindly.

    Compared to what my friends had insulted I try, it was unromantic in many, many ways, but it worked. I was delighted to meet him for the first time and we’ve been together exploring and discovering ever since. Had that not happened in that manner, I’d still be single.

    That kind of “gift” of extreme shyness I never need to write down. It’s still a part of me. Due to my years of public performance, I can appear to be a super extrovert in public. My spouse knows that “Sparkle Pretty” extroverted performance character quite well, but he prefers who I really am day to day.

    I’m the girl in the study lounge at university or at the library, or at home, sitting on the couch, surrounded by stacks of books, drawing pads, two pillows barricading me in, a hot beverage, laptop/iPad next to me, my eyeglasses on and my comfortable clothes. You won’t hear a peep out of me. I even got locked in the library stacks once during my university years and had to sleep there overnight.
    “Uh, Hi, Mom. I’m still at the Library. Yeah, I know it’s midnight. Uh, well, about that. You see, I’m sort of locked in…” I had to get a letter from the Head Librarian, stating that she had unwittingly locked me in the Archives Room so my mother would believe me.
    True story. They’ll be telling that one at my funeral.

    I don’t like the “gift” of extreme shyness, but it doesn’t seem to disappear, so I’ve learned to live with it. I give the extroverted performance of my life every time I’ve given speeches, lectures or had to work a room. Once I’m buried in my subject, into the teaching part of the speech, I switch gears, and it’s a blessing. The blessing at this point is that fact that only my spouse and children know what a complete wreck I am on the inside.
    It’s sheer determination and a lot of work that gets me through. And the cold sweat trickling down my spine.

    I would absolutely suck at being a Little or a Baby Girl or at public submissive play. I’m sure there is a submissive persona somewhere, but it’s really tough finding her. Kayla, I admire you and others who are able to embrace that aspect of who they are.
    It’s not a role that I can understand easily, or feel comfortably enough to get there. It borders on the divide between social expectations (help! SOS! ) and feeling completely out of place or character for me (you want me to what in public ? Why?).

    Not because I don’t love my partner, don’t trust him or don’t have those tendencies, but because it like the sky diving as team building event I spoke of earlier. I’m far too hyperaware of space around me, people in the same space, my partners expectations, people’s gazes and reactions, the buzz of talk.

    It’s uncomfortable at best, and nightmarish at its worst (see Human Popsicle). As I understand it, a split focus in kink play is a very bad idea under any kind of circumstances. That issue seems unlikely to change, no matter where I am outside my home or in a private home gathering.

    I can only keep working on education/discussion, and private trial and error.

    I am full of admiration for people who can be/play with other people or personas in that manner that you do, Kayla, JohnBrownstone.
    And write about this kind of kink relationship. And teach.
    I enjoy learning from both you and John Brownstone.
    PS: spoiling is a very cool concept I was unaware of until my current spouse. I like it !

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