Separating The Personal From The Professional
There is a general consensus that we must separate our personal and professional lives. So, what most of us do is have a work identity that is more staid and a personal one that may be wilder or more uninhibited. Keeping appropriate boundaries has always been an issue, albeit of the realm of pop psychology, so I question its importance, but I digress. Even though I am a sex worker, now, I have not always been, so although, I am,”out” as a whore, I am no stranger to being a private citizen. In addition, I have lived with disability for a long time, so I never thought I would be this forthright, but after my mother died and I stopped taking care of her, I had the first opportunity in my life to do this. I, actually have, only briefly worked in a traditional environment, and I have told you how much I despised it. Living with mental illness became so confining, I felt I had no rights, no freedom, and that I was either to be institutionalized or do something I have wanted to do since I was young. I grew tired of being treated like a ward of the state. Even my mother was sick of me going to school and hanging around taking care of her. I saw her point but still felt as if I had no way of using my own voice and body to truly do something passionate. Sex work is the most exciting, chaotic, and wonderful thing I have ever done, and I still adore it, but being this honest is scary. I have never been good at playing politics, censoring myself, or understanding workplace dynamics, though. This goes hand in hand with having mental illness. Most of us have a creative bent, and I am no exception. So, about three years ago, I jumped in the proverbial pool. I did a huge belly flop, if you will. I lost my relationship, my home, and for a few years, I couch-surfed, so I could find a safe place to do this. Now that I am more stable, it works better.
Getting back to the point of this post, though, blurring the boundaries is part and parcel of who I am and what I do. I love sex, men, and risk, so I am a sex worker. What I do, though, since I have a background in social services is use that education to attack those who go after us, and if you think porn is controversial from your side of it, you have no idea what it is like taking the criticisms I do. I would never do this, if I had to care for my mom or had any other obligations. This is tough as shit. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but I have to, because I feel very strongly about it. It is nothing to sneeze at that we have the right to love, hate, and think who and what we want, but the battle is rough. I have ended up on the floor crying and saying out loud, “no one loves me!” I hit myself in the face multiple times, because of the attacks on me. I am not trying to solicit your pity. I am trying to teach people by ignoring typical social mores that this brave new world of online sex is a perfect testing ground for Human Rights. In this very moment, I am fighting not just for my right to fuck who I want but for our rights to be creative, politically active, and to be free not only as women but men, as well.
Although, I have been verbally stoned, by people who say things like, “grow up,” “get a real job,” “you are too ugly to do this,” and often just outright, “I hate you.” I am like the soldier who gets up and faces down those whom he may kill or who may kill him. I am the same person. I am in the fray but online. That is not all. When I go out, people yell, “slut!” They call me a, “skank,” “kike,” and they even tell me to give up, and believe it or not, it is over nudity, sex, and cursing. Does this sound like fun to you? Orgasms notwithstanding, it ain’t always pretty. That is what I want, though. Whether you claim that I do it, because I come from an abusive family or you just think I am crazy, I did not grow up with clearly delineated rules, so how can I pretend to even know what they are? I cannot. The truth is, a lot of us did not grow up with them, and that is the point. We like to think that our lives are private, manageable, and normal, but there is no such thing. That is the truth. That is real. We try to behave as if it is not, but talk to any of your friends, and if they are willing to open up to you, they will tell you the trauma they suffered. They will speak about their parents drinking, fighting, and splitting up. They will tell you about the time they cut their wrists. They will talk about how lonely they are. They will, sometimes even say, they hate people.
Did you know that our right to privacy is not a strong one? Being, “out” as a whore or gay man is the same, and the reason we tell the truth is that, we learned through therapy, passing out from drinking or doing drugs and almost dying that life is messy, ridiculous, and insane. No one has it easy. No one does it perfectly, and I finally realized that to accept myself as fucked up is the only way I can be. It is not true that I am not ashamed. I am not, always, but I am human. The difference between me now and previously, though, is I am no longer hiding. I am no longer trying to lie to anyone, because that bullshit is not me. I cannot pretend, anymore that I come from a great family, because no one does, and there is nothing wrong with that. So, when I think of how to set proper limits, the best thing I do everyday is teach people that being ourselves is the only rule. We can fight, fuck, drink too much, do drugs, make up, get it wrong, and get the hell through it. That is what tolerance is. If you disagree with me, let me know, and I will gladly listen to your story, too. Chances are, we have more in common than not.