A10

Touring is like living in a pressure cooker for a period of time. You are under a great amount of stress, in unfamiliar surroundings, and are connecting intensely with multiple people per day for weeks on end. You lose yourself in your work, in every sense – scrutinising every part of your hustle like an insect under the microscope, writing and rewriting 10 ads per day just to see snare the interest of as many lustful men as possible. You spend hours in front of the mirror. You know what you look like from every angle, as you put on makeup, as you smear it on the pillows later mid-fuck. You know exactly what faces to pull at what precise moment to get the results that you want. You always get what you want.

I fly into the tropical mining town mid-afternoon, the smoke from the various bush-fires mixing in with the clouds and giving the illusion of the horizon being slightly higher than it should be. I’m suddenly overcome with the feeling of drowning and I can’t seem to shake it off. I love this place, it reminds me of when I was a preppy 18 year old living a bit further down the coast. That was a long time ago now. I checked into the apartment that my best friend and I had rented for the week and we got straight to work, posting ads, booking in clients and taking turns screaming the house down as the other one stifled their giggles in the next room. When we were done and showered, whatever poor sod had booked us booted from the room as soon as their time was up, we reconvened on the balcony, coffee and cigarette in hand. The warm sun feels so good I get goosebumps.

Sometimes we manage to con them into booking us both, and I bind them with rope while she uses them as an ashtray, or flogs their arse with a thick leather strap. I love those sessions, the intensity and perfume of the room, the sound of a grown man squealing and begging like a fat, balding baby. I’m wired from the energy, my pupils large as I seduce my victim into drinking my piss or fucking himself with my strap-on. We stuff our asses into their faces and kiss each other on the mouth, more for our pleasure than theirs.

I use the term ‘lose myself’ because that’s exactly what it feels like. For weeks after I get home and unpack, I can’t seem to recall what it is that I’m supposed to be doing with my time. I walk around my apartment aimlessly, half reading books and spending all day on my computer until I collapse exhausted on my bed. When I am away I become whatever that person needs at the time – girlfriend, confidant, therapist, slut. I do this so often and become so many different people, even my accent and mannerism changes for a time.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it, I enjoy it perhaps too much that I give myself over completely until my mind and body are in such a state that I have to be nursed back to fullness. I still haven’t learned how to balance myself and my work, I’m not even sure that I want to.

Things I wish my doctor had told me about anxiety.

  1. Memory loss is a bitch. Say goodbye to passwords, PIN numbers, names, plotlines of your favorite books and movies, appointments and dates. You had better write that shit down otherwise you’re going to be standing on a street corner in Prahran crying because you don’t know how to get home and can’t remember your PIN number to get into your phone. You’re going to lose wallets, handbags, clothes and really important shit, so have backups for everything.
  2. Sometimes everything will set it off, sometimes nothing will. It’s like that surprise you never wanted and there is no point spending months trying to avoid situations that ‘might’ set it off because SURPRISE you’ll just start having palpitations on your couch watching Netflix instead.
  3. Medication is also a bitch, and doctors hate prescribing benzo’s. You’ll have to go on anti-depressants which SURPRISE makes your anxiety worse and triggers your old eating disorder, which means as a bonus you’ll have to be put on anti-psychotics so you can actually sleep and eat. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE GOING TO HAVE SHITTY SIDE EFFECTS.
  4. You’re going to be tired. Like, REALLY tired for no good reason and no amount of sleeping will fix that. Oh, you want to go to the shops or out for coffee? LOLLLL you’ll last 5 minutes before you turn into a cranky bitch and need a nap. Take the nap, trust me.
  5. Self care is a very real thing and is going to turn into a full time job. You’re going to have to be realistic about your limits and don’t worry about what anybody else thinks because pushing yourself past what you can handle is going to mean you’re going to have a breakdown a lot sooner.
  6. Say goodbye to your sex drive. Scrunch it up and throw it out the window and replace it with guilt over not being good enough for your partner. There. Much better.
  7. You know how coffee used to be your best friend? Yeah well imagine that best friend slept with your boyfriend, drove a screwdriver into your thigh and stole your car. It hates you now and anything caffeinated is not even close to worth it.
  8. Neurotypical people aren’t going to get it, so just do you and refer to #5 because your health is going to have to come first for a little while. You’ll get through it though, you are a badass and you’ve got this.

 

Clickbait Ethics and Sex workers in the media

If you have picked up a newspaper or flicked through Netflix or even scrolled down your Facebook feed in you will be inundated by photos of disembodied fishnet-clad legs in red high heels, coupled with loaded headlines that make me want to reach through my computer screen and throttle whoever is writing this trash.

We get it, you hate us.
 

So because I’m some kind of emotional masochist, I’ve been keeping track of all of the sex worker stories over the last month just to see if things have gotten better in terms of representation in the media (it hasn’t). This tirade of quality journalism kicked off with a heartwarming, well thought out and articulate… wait, never mind. The Independent published This literal garbage fire, titled “Pregnant women are being legally pimped out for sex – this is the lowest form of capitalism”

 

As a sex worker who works under legalisation, I think I rolled my eyes so hard that they detached from the back of my skull. That one line managed to strip this sub-contractor of her agency and misinform the public on the safety of having penetrative sex while pregnant. I know plenty of pregnant workers, and honestly? They make bank. What I don’t understand is that the article clearly has a bias against how capitalism works, and yet demonises those who have found a way to make the best of a shitty system. What other industry can circumvent class, education and disability like the sex industry?

 

Read the rest of the article here…

Dichotomy of being seen

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Because of how I choose to make the best of my life under capitalism, my mere existence is both utterly invisible and simultaneously hyper-visible.

Invisible in the sense that a large majority of the general population refuse to acknowledge that I am a real person with a wealth of experience and knowledge and varied interests outside of my current profession.

Invisible in the sense that the government, banks, landlords and anyone that I have to deal with on a corporate level refuse to see my labor as valid.

Invisible in the sense that I can’t tell anybody what I do out of fear of judgement or even physical violence.

Invisible in the sense that most people deem my personal relationships as a joke (because nobody could actually love a hooker, right?)

 

And yet…

Depictions of me are the subject of TV shows, movies, books – as either a perpetual victim or some hyper-erotic seductress, usually killed off or used as shock factor.

My peers and I are plastered all over the news at every opportunity as the butt of a joke or scandal.

Fashion trends follow sex worker culture in an attempt to seem ‘edgy’.

The word ‘whore’ is the ultimate insult and is bandied about regularly by most people.

 

So where does that leave me? A caricature of a human, a pair of disembodied legs of the side of an article? A headline ‘hooker left dead in gutter’? Some sob story or punchline used as clickbait? Being laughed at on The Project?

 

It leaves me unable to get a loan or pay my taxes correctly. It leaves me unable to get appropriate medical care or police attention if I need it. It leaves me at the center of attention in social situations like some kind of circus freak because everyone wants to hear stories about my apparently ‘glamorous’ or ‘interesting’ life, but unable to make real connections with people because they oversexualize every aspect of my personality. It leaves me with crippling anxiety because I have to heavily promote myself to get work, but I don’t want to leave the house out of fear of being recognized.

But please, tell me more about how you wish you had my life.

Insta-brat

There is a growing trend among white women, which is kind of pissing me off for a multitude of reasons.

You know the kind.

The 20-something yoga pant wearing, smoothie-bowl and inspirational-quote posting fanatics who talk about nothing except the benefits of coconut oil and living at ‘a higher vibration’.

At first I thought this crowd was my people, because I had a few interactions that were extremely positive and encouraged open discussion around things like masturbation, self-care, mental illness and body image. Which I’m totally down for.

What I wasn’t down for was the eventual slut-shaming when anything other than monogamy was discussed, or even worse the concept of casual sex with multiple partners. What’s that? You ‘let’ your partner watch pornography?? HOW DAMAGING!!!1

Sex is sacred, the body is a temple, blah blah blah. I get it, your pseudo-elitism is based on Christian morality and everyone else is doing it wrong except for you.

So unfortunately my sexuality/relationship coaching business has fallen to the wayside for now, as I am a little disenchanted with the group of people that I thought I would be working with.

Am I just being a brat? Probably.

Do I have a million other ideas that I can chase that won’t make me roll my eyes everytime I hear the word ‘yoni’?

Ugghhhhhh yes.

Moratorium of Self

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Some people pay a higher price for living authentically.

For the last couple of months now, I have been going through an identity crisis of sorts. Redefining what success looks like to me has been a huge part of it, as well as what I want to be doing in moving forward from here. All aspects of my life have come under scrutiny – my career, my relationship, my values and my goals; what I thought I wanted and what makes me happy isn’t quite lining up.

What makes your life…well…yours? Unequivocally, brilliantly yours?

What have you had to compromise in order to get there?

For me, it was barely a choice. The second that I took my life into my own hands instead of letting others lead me like a fucking showpony, most people opted out. Other people wanted to harm me. Yet I persisted because it gave me the joy and freedom that I had been searching for.

Now I look at the career plan that I have been working on for the majority of this year and I have reservations. What are my motivations? Security? Ego? Compassion? Yes it ticks all of the boxes, but it doesn’t excite me. But maybe I’ve grown so attached to my core identity that I am feeling challenged in evolving and expanding.

Maybe.

Or maybe I just feel like I’m slowly losing grip of the freedoms that I fought so hard for.

L’art pour l’art

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“In Silence” – Chiharu Shiota 

 

A debate that I have been having with several of my friends over the last few weeks regarding the responsibility of the artist, and the term ‘art for art’s sake’. (It generally devolves into us yelling obscenities at each other and getting drunk on the cheapest red wine we can find, but I promise there is some actual intellect in there somewhere).

The phrase ‘art for art’s sake’ has always bothered me, for a few reasons: firstly, apart from embodying everything that is pretentious about the art world, it removes the responsibility of the artist as an influence on modern culture. This seems to be a eurocentric privilege in which we can distance ourselves from the consequence of what we create, not shedding light on anything important because there is nothing really of consequence that affects us. The link that is forged between the creator and the creation is cast away, and therefore connection to others is rendered impossible.

What is the purpose of art if not connection?

To fill in spare time and make something aesthetically pleasing but with no message or meaning? To me, that is not art.

“…what does all art do? does it not praise? glorify? select? highlight? By doing all this it strengthens or weakens certain valuations….Art is the great stimulus to life: how could one understand it as purposeless, as aimless, as l’art pour l’art?” – Friedrich Nietzsche

In many African cultures art is considered a highly functional medium in which to express ideas, lament on political climate and events, pass stories through generations, transcribe philosophy and project emotion. In fact most indigenous cultures use art as a functional mode of storytelling. It is rarely pretty for the sake of being pretty.

Think about your favorite artist, of any medium: if they used their influence to spread a message of hate or intolerance, or worse still, apathy – what effect would that have on modern culture? We would suddenly have a mass increase in disengagement and apathy that would spill over into politics, have a real life effect on real people that don’t get a say in it.

Oh…wait.

In the process of creating something out of nothing we accept a certain amount of responsibility, as anyone with influence must be held accountable. So create by all means, please, create – but be wary that people are watching and listening. Make it count.

Diary of a touring escort

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Dear diary,

Back on tour, again to a city that is beautifully tropical … and about 50 years behind the rest of the world in terms of social change (well maybe not the US at the moment, but that’s another story). Obviously recent world events have brought bubbling to the surface everybody’s fears and opinions, myself included, and I find myself getting into conversations with clients that I usually wouldn’t, usually initiated by them. I have begun to realize how lucky I am to have surrounded myself with wonderful people who are accepting and educated and kind. I have also come to realize that by surrounding myself with people who only share similar interests and opinions to myself, I am ill-equipped to have difficult conversations with people who don’t. I have been rendered speechless so many times this tour by the rampant homophobia, blatant racism and misogyny that I have come across in the clients that I am spending time with. My favorite so far is the wonderful man who hired myself and my friend for a ‘lesbian double’, wanted a strap-on service, and yet was extremely vocal about his hatred and disgust of p**fs.

I just….can’t…wrap my head around that one. I can smell the repressed sexuality from here.

ANYWAY, my point was that the lives of ‘high-class escorts’ aren’t all cash stacks and jet-setting. Here have been some of the highlights.

  1. Endless loads of washing towels and lingerie.
  2. Being woken up to housekeeping knocking every morning at 9am, after going to bed at 4am.
  3. Epic shaving rash and frizzy hair from the humidity.
  4. Fielding phone calls from some of the stupidest men in existence.
  5. Getting creative with writing ads 3-4 times a day, knowing that nobody actually reads them.
  6. Living off coffee and microwave meals.
  7. Pretending not to want to punch people in the face when they spout racist/sexist/whorephobic views.
  8. Taking shitty selfies for social media.
  9. Hand-washing dildos and butt plugs.
  10. My moods swinging wildly from homesickness to elation and freedom, then back again every 5 minutes.
  11. Messing up my sleep schedule so monumentally that it’s going to take me a month to get back to normal.

 

(It’s not all bad though, it has its moments where I feel like an absolute baller; staying in a luxury apartment drinking champagne and dancing around in my underwear with my best friend while we earn thousands of dollars is pretty damn cool.)

#livingthedream

Love letter to my anxiety.

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I know you.

You have always been with me, I feel you in my chest and in my stomach every day, sending butterflies through my body and making my head spin just to remind me of your presence.

When I was five, you taught me to be scared in situations that were scary. I would feel you pumping my heart and telling me to run when I was in danger.

I know you.

When I was seven, you taught me to make myself invisible as I moved through countless schools and social circles, to try and protect me from the bullies. It worked (most of the time).

When I was twelve you taught me the value of hard work, by making me afraid of failure you instilled in me a drive to succeed and learn, to do better and be better. It worked.

I know you.

When I was fourteen you taught me to shield my heart so it wouldn’t be broken, you saw me cry and promised me that it wouldn’t be so easy for them the next time. And it wasn’t.

When I was sixteen you taught me to be wary of crowds, and I learnt to love peace and solitude.

I know you.

When I was twenty you taught me the value of slowing down, forcing me to take time for myself (you still remind me of this from time to time) and reevaluate what is most important.

You have been the overprotective parent, teaching me values and beliefs that I carry with me to this day, shielding me from what you saw as danger. Because of you I am strong, hardworking, patient and kind, and while I still need the reminder to slow down every once in a while, you can’t protect me forever. I’m no longer the little girl that needs to run. There will always be danger, and vulnerability is growth.

I love you, I accept you, and I know you.

But you have served your purpose, and it is time for me to let you go.