Wicked Wednesday

What Counts as Authenticity?

John Brownstone with his hand over Kayla Lords mouth

The weird thing about putting your personal life on the internet is that there will always be people who know more about you than you do about them. It’s not something I dwell on. I know I’d still be banging away at my keyboard or turning on microphones even if I was all alone and no one paid any attention.

But it’s easy for others to believe they know you really well based on the bit of your life you choose to show. It’s also easy to tell yourself you put it all out there, that anything and everything is fair game.

But is it?

I don’t think so. While everything (including fiction written long ago) you see here is a part of who I am — reality, desires, fantasies, fears — like most of us, I keep things to myself, too.

Is anyone really an open book?

Weirdly, even as I can list all the things I don’t say, I think of myself as completely open, happy and ready to share whatever anyone wants to know.

Are we defined by what we say or what we don’t say?

I share my sex life, my mental health, my D/s relationship, my fears, my worries, and (some of) my opinions in every space I inhabit. You know if I love something or someone. You know if I got off or if I got scared. No matter which site of mine you go to, you know things that my family can’t even fathom about me.

But there are plenty of things I don’t say. Unmentioned thoughts and experiences.

I won’t complain about people who don’t understand boundaries or the inappropriate questions I get from readers or listeners (thankfully they’re rare). You won’t find me gossiping publicly about someone else’s drama. I’m not here to name and shame, give a hot take, or call anyone out. I have those opinions (BELIEVE ME), but that’s not how I choose to share my perspective.

Over time, I’ve even tempered what I share about my mental health. Not out of any sense of shame. I prefer to share what I experience rather than hide it. Why? Because I know that someone else will feel a little less alone because they’ll recognize themselves in my mental moments.

But I also hate to make temporary feelings permanent in a blog post. Being terrified that I’m fucking up my entire life because I didn’t respond to a tweet is a fleeting feeling. I’ll barely remember it a day after it happens. But writing about it as a blog post means that it’s up for debate and comment, that days later when I’ve forgotten about it and moved on, someone else will share a thought and remind me.

There are many things I desperately want to say. I want to be seen, in my pain and in my glory. But…sometimes the last thing I want to be seen as is the hot-mess I really am. The snarky bitch who doesn’t want to chat. The obsessive wreck who can fixate on a single worry (thank you anxiety and OCD) for hours.

I know that the people who really care about me are fine with whichever me shows up in a day. But if I know that the feeling will pass, do I really want to give it a place to live forever?

Sometimes I don’t have a choice. If I don’t write about the thing going on my head, I can’t move past it. Writing is my therapy and it’s how I process.

Sometimes I want comfort and commiseration. Rarely do I want advice (as an advice-giver, you’d think I’d be more open to this…I’m not).

So which makes me more authentic? The parts I share or the things I keep to myself?

To be clear, I don’t think anyone is required to share every thought or feeling they have. Frankly, social media could probably do with a few less shared thoughts and feelings. We get to keep things private, say them only where we feel safe (even if that’s just in our head). That’s a hill I’ll die on.

It’s not that things can’t be said or “shouldn’t” be said. It’s that we all get to keep a piece of ourselves to ourselves. John Brownstone, of course, gets to see all of my sides. Good, bad, ugly. Which is why he sometimes puts a hand on my knee and says, “Okaaaaaay” in the middle of a recording. He knows what the look on my face or the tone in my voice means, and he’s expecting me to go in a snarky, negative direction.

I get weirdly annoyed when he does it. He doesn’t realize that I’m very aware of all the eyes and ears on me. That there are things I feel comfortable saying in public and things I don’t. My self-control is impeccable in this one single situation.

I’ve spent most of my life trying to keep people happy with me. I want to be liked, and while I wish I didn’t, I care deeply about what people think about me — at least the people I deem important. It was self-preservation during childhood and now it’s what feels normal to me, even as I wish I could care a bit less than I do.

While I admire people who can say what they think, damn the consequences and the Twitter hate they might get, I also don’t understand it. It seems easier to keep certain things to myself and leave the internet yelling to others. I can sleep better, and my anxiety has less opportunity to flare up.

But what do all these pieces and parts mean?

Yes, it’s understandable to keep a bit of your life to yourself. No one gets to demand that you share every thought you have. But is that negated by my reasoning behind it? That I’d rather avoid conflict? Do I really need to be gunning for a fight? Should I become that person who has zero fucks to give and says the first thing that comes to my mind, even if it’s unkind? All in the name of “truth” and “authenticity?”

Gawd, I hope not.

I love the work I do. I love being Kayla Lords — this is the most me I’ve ever been. My greatest treasure is the community that I’ve helped build and support — here, at Loving BDSM, and beyond. While I recognize that opinions differ, I don’t see the need to add a negative voice in an already negative world.

I hope that the things I say matter much more than the things I don’t say.

Welcome to Wicked Wednesday! The topic this week is about things that are unmentionable. This is where my head went. Pardon the stream of consciousness flow here. And no, I’m not looking for advice about how to share my opinion online or whether I should give more hot takes. I’m always going to do what feels most genuine and true to me, and keeping those things (mainly) to myself is who I am.

Also, I hope no one interprets the header image as me being told to be quiet. I liked the visual, and John Brownstone likes any reason to get me in that position.

Click the button for more thoughts on the topic, smutty or otherwise.

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About the author

Kayla Lords

I am an erotic author, sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, an opinionated marketer, and speaker. 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 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!

12 Comments

  • Sooo…

    I have no idea what a “hot take” is.

    (Which is probably not relevant in the overarching message you’re trying to get across here, I’m sure. But still.)

    I am all about not adding negativity to the universe though. And the only drama I’m interested in is performed on a stage.

    • “Hot take” is social media jargon for giving a fiery opinion of something, usually before all the facts are out and based on the first bit of information one gets about a topic.

      And I agree. I’ve had enough drama in my life, and I have zero interest in participating in more of it or adding to it.

  • I am a very transparent person. Most times that it exhibited through my social media. I have been through so much as far a trauma and loss that i began to share my grief journey and mental health struggles openly. I can say it had helped others open up also…but

    as I prepare to turn 40 in a few months I am realizing that there are some things i am allowed to keep to myself…and it doesn’t make me any less authentic. What I DO share is totally truth and authentic…and what i dont share is authentic…it just authentically for those in my inner circle.

    I believe you share in wisdom what you are comfortable with. Sometimes the world gets entitled and believes they have a right to every jot and tittle of your life not so….

    Ive learned to be selectively transparent (transparent about what I decide to share with the world) because not everyone our here in this vast universe has your best interest at heart.

    Think Beyonce, Lol. You only know what she wants you to know, but the parts of her life she does let you in on are totally transparent full on in your face .

    Also, thanks for addressing my poly/monogamous question online yesterday. Im learning alot from you and I appreciate very much.

  • I too think there is no need to add negativity to the world – when I get bad things thrown my way I try to be even better, even nicer – to balance it out – karma.
    You do a great job of being Kayla Lords – and as I have said before I see you guys as educators and that is such an important thing to do x

  • Like May said, you do a good job of being Kayla. I love everything you share and like you I share as openly as I can, because if I can help one person out there, I am happy. But, I also share for myself, because writing has always been my way of working through things.

    Rebel xox

  • I’ve especially enjoyed reading about your reasoning for sharing some things and keeping quiet about others. I’m still figuring out where my own balance in this is (and what can go into a tweet but not into a blog post and vice versa), and I hope to eventually find a set of ground rules for myself that I can spell out as clearly as you’ve spelled out yours (even if just to myself).

    • It definitely takes time and practice (as do most things) and I’m constantly evolving as a blogger, so those personal rules sometimes shift and change. 🙂

  • I appreciate the look into your thought process here. I think this line cannot be said enough:

    “It’s not that things can’t be said or “shouldn’t” be said. It’s that we all get to keep a piece of ourselves to ourselves.”

    I am an oversharer at the best of times, but I often remind myself that it’s ok to keep some of me for myself.

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