Upon the horns of an existential crisis

Such has been my excitement with all the new things occurring in my life recently, I have, in my writing here, been dipping a little too much into the sexual elements of my relationship with Audrey. I do apologize. It is so easy to be carried away by such titillations. There is more to life than that covered by a blanket is there not?

Audrey and I seem to be doing what many couples do, recently. We have fallen into certain routines. On a certain night now we go for dinner and take in a film. I go to Audrey’s home to help clean one day and she will come to do the same on another day. We have taken to eating dinner at more or less the same time every evening. And there is more. Toothbrushes in certain arrangements and so on.

I ask myself sometimes if the inadvertent freedom my ex-husband afforded me by leaving has now been compromised by some deep need for the mundane and routine. Despite our not being a conventional man-woman couple I wonder, are we at risk of becoming tediously everyday?

To friends I suppose the answer to that question would be a resounding no. A previously stable, safe woman in a conventional marriage coming together with an established spinster would appear to be exotic to them. In the wider world though, Audrey and I are merely a couple who do the things any couple will do day-to-day.

Perhaps I am expecting too much. After all, neither Audrey nor I are the sort to jump from a bridge on the end of one of those elasticated rope things or dance in some street parade in swimsuits. Heaven help the populace if we did. Perhaps we are, despite certain exotic proclivities, middle-class and conventional at the root.

What I am asking myself here if I am honest is do I feel there should be more, or do I really have exactly what it is that will make me happy already?

There are many clichés about the grass being greener on the other side of the hill and all that, I know.

When one takes the great step, or is pushed as was my case, into a new life seething with possibilities, how does one know when happiness has been arrived at?

Am I there now? It does feel that way most of the time. Is there more I may have denied myself by settling into this comfortable, domestic situation? Would paddling a canoe down the Amazon satisfy some deep need or would it just be a delusion of happiness because it’s something I think I should be doing?

I mean when I sit down in my new favourite armchair, comfortable in my birthday suit, to enjoy a nice cup of tea and a good book, in the knowledge that there sits beside me a friend who never demands anything of me other than to be a friend in return, I ask myself, ‘do I really need more?’

Until next we meet,

Kate

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A Valentines Day to remember

Valentines Day has come and gone. My fervent wish is that all of you who read this enjoyed the day with someone precious if such a person is in your life.

If I may beg your indulgence I would like to tell you, briefly I promise, of how I spent my Valentines Day.

On the evening of February thirteenth Audrey and I spent some time preparing food we had bought during the day as well as shopping alone for gifts and meeting later for tea.

Audrey stayed over at my house and in the morning of the fourteenth, after wishing each other a happy Valentines Day, we exchanged gifts.

Audrey had bought me the prettiest pair of earrings and a matching necklace, a novel that I had mentioned once and never expected her to have remembered much less bought, and a thing she called ‘a toy’. I am certain I don’t need to go into the gory details. Suffice to say it did precisely what it said on the box, much to our delight. 🙂

I searched high and low to find a bracelet she had described having bought once in Tuscany, and having subsequently lost some years ago. It wasn’t the exact one of course but it bore an uncanny resemblance to the one she showed me in an old photo. You know me well enough, I’m sure, to realise I am not sufficiently daring to have ventured into one of those so-called ‘adult shops’ to buy as racy an item as Audrey surprised me with. I did, however, purchase a quantity of food items, cream and such, that one may make intimate use of. And of that, I shall say no more. Oh yes and I also bought a boxed set of DVDs of Audrey’s namesake, the glorious Audrey Hepburn’s films. If that sentence made any grammatical sense then I am the long lost niece of a displaced Parisian goat herder.

We enjoyed the laziest of lazy days together. From morning to night we stayed in bed, talking, sleeping, reading, eating, and enjoying our various gifts. We only emerged to use the bathroom when necessary. It was decadent and altogether more bohemian than anything I could have ever imagined. It was also the most relaxing, joyous day, and the first Valentines Day I have ever celebrated. It was so much more special for that.

Thus far we have enjoyed watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday on the, frankly, obscenely over-large, television that I bought last week. Greedy devil that I am I had the chance to enjoy the company of two Audreys all at once. And there are more still to watch. We have quite the weekend planned.

Until next we meet,

Kate

A new sort of freedom

It is so inspiring to hear and to read how others have faced difficulties in their lives.

As an adult living in the world, even one as isolated as I had been, one knows that nothing you experience is gone through by you alone. So many others are going through similar things each day. And still, it is such an easy thing to suffer in seclusion.

Until recently I did not know that communities of such wonderful people existed as exist in blogs and naturism and the homosexual community. Had I stopped to think about it at all I would have thought that such groups would have been exclusive of one another, not mixing except in the rarest of confluences.

As I was raised, being naked except for the purpose of bathing or changing clothes, was a perversion. Going naked was something only very strange people on the fringes of society, in pagan cults, would do. What a delight to find that those who live in the simple beauty of nakedness are the same as any other people, perhaps with an extra glimmer of enlightenment.

The topic of homosexuality was never raised within my family nor with my ex-husband. Only in literature did I glimpse one gender’s attraction to another of the same gender. In the sort of literature I read however, such attraction was romanticised to the point of being hidden beneath all the fairy dust and flowery prose. It was not presented as something that could actually happen.

If my ex-husband was watching the news and an item reported anything about homosexuals, he would rail against it as ‘those filthy perverts’ airing dirty laundry in public, as if such behaviour were the stuff of animals and not humans. I would quietly agree, not really having an opinion of my own.

How different one’s life can be in the shortest span of time.

Now that I exist within the blogging, the naturism, and the homosexual communities, albeit on the outer fringes, I appreciate the support and more than that, the friendliness of the wonderful people I have found and who have found me.

I am not one to join clubs or organisations and despite that I have been accepted.

Thank you so very much. All of you who have written or just silently read, you have touched my heart.

Until next we meet,

Kate

changing labels?

Oh dear, it seems I am caught in a flurry of labels and none seem to fit, quite.

Not so very long ago, and for a long time before that, my label was a very firm ‘housewife’. I am aware how archaic that sounds nowadays but that is what I was known as. I was a wife and I stayed largely in my husband’s home, ergo, housewife.

As I have mentioned before it was not an especially pleasant situation but it was all I knew for as long as I could remember so had I settled into, as people do, and stayed there until I was wrenched out of it, unceremoniously and swiftly, having been ‘traded-in on a newer model’ as the saying goes.

Within a short time I was no longer the settled housewife, albeit in a very deep rut, but a single woman rendered directionless by circumstance.

Life carried on and a situation came about in which I was to spend a great deal of my day naked about the house. And so I was suddenly a nudist or a naturist, a label to replace housewife.

Then I found that life had provided me with emotional and physical joy and comfort in the arms of a dear friend. Next I am wearing the additional label, lesbian.

From a housewife to a lesbian nudist almost overnight. How does such a thing happen?

Perhaps I am being a little over-dramatic about all this. After all, nobody has actually come out and called me that, I suppose I’m just over-aware of how labels are attached to people now.

If you were to ask me, ‘who are you?, I would answer I am a divorced woman of a certain age who is discovering a fresh life.

Am I being silly to be so wary of labels?

For me, going naked about the house is not a statement of any sort. It’s something I more or less fell into in the presence of one (Audrey) who did it. I find it comfortable and so I continue to do it.

Joining Audrey in my bed or hers to share intimate physical enjoyments does not preclude, in my mind at least, the possibility that I may one day meet a man with whom I could enjoy a relationship, physical or not.

Having said that I will not label myself as ‘bisexual’ either. So much has happened so quickly that frankly, I don’t know which way I favour. The physical relations I had with my ex-husband were never anything I enjoyed. I don’t believe it was because of a tendency in me toward women, more likely it was a lack of any sort of physical attraction or skill in either of us, he or me. Had I been with a man to whom I felt attracted it may well have been different and my foray into the sapphic may never have occurred.

The fact that my first ever orgasm was delivered by a woman (Audrey) does not necessarily prove that I have a proclivity toward the homosexual, though I suspect it may well be so. Should a man have delivered me to the heights of climax would I have never drifted? I can’t really say.

Oh dear, this has all gotten rather more complicated than I had set out for it to be.

I suppose to boil it all down, I was labeled as a housewife for many years and I am afraid, I suppose, of being labeled once more, this time as a nudist and a lesbian.

As a friend I care as deeply as one may for Audrey. As a lover I also care deeply. I wish to take nothing away from the relationship we have come to know in what is really only the last month, the physical aspect at least.

I have no desire to be an example to anyone. I am grasping in the dark to find my way as so many doubtless do. I do suspect however, that Audrey and the naked thing will persist and flourish. I so delight in it.

I imagined for a long time that I would be a housewife forever so all I can say is, we shall see.

Please forgive the rambling. I hope it hasn’t all sounded too dreadfully clinical. I’m trying to get at something elusive.

Until next we meet,

Kate

‘coming out’ to friends. The expected and surprising.

As mentioned on the third  of this month when I wrote about the deeply embarrassing occasion of my having answered my front door naked to friends, Audrey and I invited our dearest friends to visit on Sunday night last.

Tea and biscuits were laid on, plainly too many biscuits but biscuits are such a comfort in times of high tension I find.

I had invited friends for tea at eight and by half-past we were all there.

We, Audrey and I, had discussed how best to approach our delicate matter and we resolved to first mention the topic of our nudism at home, then the fact that I did not indeed have a man friend, and then to drop the largest of packages, our romantic relationship.

The matter of our home nudism ruffled barely any feathers at all which was a surprise. Slightly embarrassed tittering and open-mouthed amazement greeted that announcement. Anne asked how it worked and why. Ruby, our eldest friend admitted, with a scarlet face, that she too goes about her house naked, since her husband Robert passed four years ago. The consensus was that nobody was fussed as long as they were not expected to participate. I assured them it was a choice, not a requirement and that we would not expose them to the embarrassment of being clothed while we went bare. It would be our own activity. We did add that if they wished to join us we would not object. All naked or none, that was our final consensus.

The next tricky thing was to extricate myself from the lie about my non-existent male friend. I found the only way was to tell them directly. I told them the truth, that I was naked at home and I had been expecting Audrey with whom I go naked at home. Having taken my home nudity in their stride it didn’t seem a bridge too far to encompass my answering the door naked to Audrey. There was some discussion about my having created a male friend but it was good-natured. We laughed. Antonia did ask if I had been seeing someone. The other were expectant and the moment had come. It was uncomfortable. I had no idea what their reaction would be to the news of Audrey and me.

I looked at Audrey. She was as quiet as the grave and slightly pale. She just nodded a very slight nod to me and a tiny smile.

My memory of precisely how it went is blurred. Audrey told me after that it came as a flurry followed by silence, a long silence. I can only recall the long silence.

Apparently I just came out with it, no pun intended, and said that Audrey had been a comfort since my marriage had collapsed and that we had found our feelings went deeper than either had expected. I said I did not know if it was a deep and abiding love but there are deep feelings that we have expressed emotionally and physically. I said that were are not ashamed of it and that we both felt our friends deserved to know. I said if they did not wish to be our friends anymore that I would understand but I would be saddened and disappointed. That was all I said, Audrey told me, and then the silence fell.

Clarissa said something under her breath that sounded like ‘disgusting’, stood and left. The silence deepened.

Ruby broke the silence when she said ‘well, good for you’. She said she’d never been tempted by another woman but that her thinking was that love is rare and she doesn’t think it matters where it comes from. The others just murmured and nodded their agreement. Anne began to cry and stood and hugged both Audrey and me. She kept saying ‘so brave, so brave’. Joan just said she understood but her husband would not so she just wouldn’t tell him. Then she smiled and laughed a nervous laugh. Antonia’s face was serious and she just nodded.

Michelle had been very quiet and was last to speak. She hesitated a lot and ummed and aahed. Then she seemed to gain a little strength, I could see it happen. She told us then that she since her divorce eleven years ago she had been having a relationship with her neighbour, Noelene. We all gaped at her, even Audrey and me. Michelle was the last one any of us would have expected to be involved with a woman. She spends so much time surrounded by male friends, at tennis and at parties. She has even been seen about town with a man, Geoffrey, at dinners and at drinks parties. Geoffrey is gay, Michelle told us. A dark horse, Michelle.

We have none of us heard from Clarissa since she walked out on Sunday night. I suppose she must be struggling to understand. Perhaps not. Perhaps she just can’t accept such a thing. She is a dear friend and I miss her awfully. Perhaps in time.

Audrey and I asked Michelle and Noelene for dinner on Tuesday evening. It was delightful. We spent the whole time exchanging stories and we promised each other that we would keep our knowledge of each others’ relationships between us and our little circle of friends.

Ruby visited on Monday. We all went naked. Now our little band of home nudists numbers three. I did ask Michelle and Noelene about it but they are quite conservative in their own way so they said no. Never mind. It is a very personal thing to do and I have no intention of becoming some sort of evangelist for nudism.

In the end, apart from Clarissa, our friendships have not altered at all; they have all deepened still further if anything. We have discovered things about each other we had never suspected and we are all carrying on as ever. We do exchange pointed glances, our little group, when we lunch, sometimes. But they are good-natured, cheeky glances, and that is rather fun.

Without being indelicate I must spill the beans on one thing, following that Sunday night dinner Audrey and I did enjoy quite the time after we had gone to bed. It seems our unburdening released a sort of genie from its bottle. I shall say no more about that at the risk of embarrassing myself, and you. Suffice to say the evening had not run out of surprises.

I am so pleased that everything is out in the open. Life in my little Monet house and out and about has become so much more breezy and carefree.

Until next we meet,

Kate.

The bare truth

One’s body is almost always covered in life. From the baptismal dress to the swimsuit to the twin set to stockings and veils and everything between.

For all of my life it was impressed on me by all those I knew that dressing in a proper way at all times, whether in the home or outside of it, is the right way to live.

Of late I have seen that dressing is not always something necessary or desirable at all, at home at least.

I read and hear and see so much nowadays of so many people for whom their bodies are a constant and obsessive focus. If I’m honest, my body was never something I thought about especially. Dressing adequately for whatever occasion or situation in which I found myself was usual and what I wore, as long as it fit properly, was never anything more than a necessity. What it contained didn’t cross my mind.

And so, alone yesterday at home while Audrey was out, I stood naked in front of my full-length mirror.

From the top of my head all the way down to my feet I scrutinized every inch of my body.

It would require many pages and a patience in you, reading this, that I would not expect and so, this is a potted version of what I saw.

Hair of an indeterminate shade of brown, naturally curled, unremarkable. My face, lightly lined in a way one would expect for someone of my, some would say middle, age. My blue-grey eyes have a shine and an enquiring look, perhaps only because I was examining them when I was looking. My lips are neither especially full or thin, in between, average. When they smile they soften my eyes and lately, they have been smiling quite a bit. I have a rounded chin. It doesn’t jut out like a film star nor is it undershot. It shows a determination I had never noticed. My nose is small, rounded though not bulbous. One would have to say average too. Ears, a little long but shaped in a pleasing way.

My shoulders are slightly narrow though not especially so. Arms, well, what can be said about arms? They could do with some ‘toning’ I believe it’s called now but that is about all I can say about them.

Breasts. I have always been blessed, if that can be said, with full breasts and large-ish nipples, at least compared to Audrey’s which are my only basis for comparison. They are softer than they once were though not too pendulous. Time will turn them southward no doubt. For now they are as one would expect. I am told they swell in a pleasing manner, if Audrey’s none-too-unbiased opinion is to be believed.

My tummy is not that of a girl anymore. It protrudes a little, though it does not appear particularly large. I suppose you could say it is the tummy of a person who enjoys what she eats but she doesn’t enjoyed it too much. It is comfortable and not overly distended. My doctor has not yet remarked on it and don’t they like to remark when a person reaches a certain age?

I have what are sometimes termed ‘child-bearing hips’ though no child ever tested the veracity of the epithet. They are round and fleshy. Not much more can be said really.

My pubic hair, I do not shave it or otherwise tend it as is the apparent trend nowadays, is dark and unremarkable. It covers what it normally covers and nothing protrudes to be seen outside the thatch of hair. I have not felt the need to examine further, certainly not in a mirror, though I have learned not to say never with such things.

I have solid legs, strong but lacking in tone as I mentioned earlier with my arms. Audrey is encouraging me to begin a regular walking regime and when the weather becomes a little less hostile, I certainly shall. We shall walk together, in the hills and the forest. My thighs meet where they once stood apart. Perhaps exercise will help with this. My knees are unremarkable, they are simply knees. My calves and shins likewise. My feet are short and a little wide and shaped in a pleasant way. I have a pronounced arch which I am told is helpful though I have no idea why.

Behind me, as far as I can see, my back is straight with a slight hunch though not pronounced. My bottom is as round as my hips and though generous, it is not excessively large.

Gazing for so long at myself in a mirror began as highly uncomfortable. After a while it became less so and after a time I quite enjoyed looking. It wasn’t what I expected nor was it particularly surprising. Being the first time I had done it at all, it felt as though I were meeting someone familiar after a long time apart.

I feel less self-conscious now. When Audrey looks at me I don’t wonder anymore what she is seeing. Now I know. I may no longer be the girl I once was but I do now feel comfortable with how I appear. Perhaps in the summer I may visit one of those places with Audrey where one can go about outside unclothed. Let’s see shall we?

Until next we meet,

Kate.

A brief tale of a mortified woman

Until very recently, if pressed to describe me, friends would have had me as one of the quietest of quiet mice.

What kind of woman is Kate?, you might have asked. Quiet, polite, shrinking, modest, might have been the reply.

One thing you could always have relied on me for was to be transparent in a room. I would have brought you tea but you would not have noticed me at all. If you spoke to me my conversation would have been as bland as a water cracker, immediately forgotten.

You will have noticed great changes since the time I began this diary of sorts. Things have happened. Things never happened to me before. I was not the sort of person things happened to and certainly not the sort to have made things happen.

Then your friend became one to drastically make over her house, then a nudist, albeit only in the home, behind closed doors, and just slightly later, a woman who enjoys the intimate company of another woman.

How does a person effect such a dramatic change in life? Shock, I think. Shock at being left, stranded like an orphan abandoned on a busy street in a strange town. One either adapts to the changes or remains frozen in place. With the encouragement of friends I began to adapt, and it has been an awakening as if I’d been in a coma for many years.

Now, to the point of what I sat here to write.

Dramatic change can be a wonderful thing, it has been for me in every way. However, dramatic change can lead a person to forget oneself in the onrush of enthusiasm. And so it was for me last evening.

At home baking biscuits and enjoying a nice, hot cup of tea and a book, the phone rang. It was Audrey. She was at home and wishful of company. Naturally I invited her over to mine. It was just before seven. Audrey lives barely ten minutes from me by car and she’d said she would be right over. So, I prepared a surprise for her.

Fifteen minutes passed and my doorbell rang. I went to the door and flung it open to give Audrey an eyeful of my naked body.

You’re ahead of me I know. Of course it wasn’t Audrey, was it? No, it was my little gang of five, sans Audrey.

Are you picturing it? Myself, stood naked for no apparent reason, with a smile on my face, and a huddle of women, open-mouthed, on my doorstep.

What did I do? I more or less cried out “be right back” and slammed the door in their faces. Then I ran for my bedroom, took hold of my bathrobe, slipped on my slippers and went back to the door, and opened it.

There were my friends, looking embarrassed for me and looking everywhere except at me. And Audrey had just joined the group, unaware of what had just occurred, obviously, from the expression on her face.

I asked them inside and while they were hanging up their coats and scarves I went off to the kitchen to put on the kettle for tea. Audrey followed me. She whispered, “what’s going on?” and I told her. She did her best not to laugh out loud but she couldn’t hide the glee from her face.

To her credit she finished making the tea and getting out the biscuits to serve to our friends whilst I went back to my bedroom to dress more appropriately.

How does one explain such an action? I mean, even to friends you’ve known for years, how does one explain?

Well, I explained as a person does in my culture and situation and state of high arousal, I lied, and I did it badly. Instead of being mature and open to my closest of friends, illuminating my affair with Audrey with confidence and brio, letting the chips fall where they may, I told them I’d been seeing a man and it was he I’d been expecting to arrive at the door.

After a short few moments of tittering along with mutterings of “oh”, “oh”, and oooh!”, the questions began. Could I save it from becoming more complicated? Yes, I could. Did I? No, I did not. I compounded the lie with another and another until I’d created an entire character of a man who did not exist, and with whom I was sufficiently intimate to throw open my front door in the dead of winter, at night, in the altogether.

I suppose had we been Continental, or younger, Audrey or I would have spoken up sooner. We would have risked friendships for the sake of honesty. Women from our backgrounds do not, however, take such risks, not easily and not without a great deal of thought and discussion at any rate.

And so I endured the few hours of probing and innuendo until they left.

When they were gone I cried. Audrey is not one to cry easily so she sat, stone-faced, in the armchair, facing me.

Not long after we went to bed, without a word, and held each other. There were no kisses or play, only the sound of each other’s breathing in the dark.

I think I realized last night that I do feel for Audrey and perhaps this isn’t a fling. We seem to have become a couple of sorts.

This pretense with our friends can’t go on, it’s too painful and it’s become ridiculous. I’ve spoken with Audrey at breakfast and we’ve decided to take the risk, to tell our friends. We’ll invite them for dinner tonight, our dearest friends, and after, over tea, we shall uncover our secret.

I hope by the end we have some friends remaining. It must be done though. For years in a loveless marriage I never let on, never said anything to my friends. I shan’t be doing that again. What they do with it when they know is up to them.

One needs love in one’s life and to express it freely. That I have learned and I am learning.

Wish me luck.

Until next we meet,

Kate.