I’m sitting in bed with 8 paws around me tonight taking a deep breath. It has been a big week. So, naturally, you’ll all hear why.
I met my friend L for lunch on Wednesday. I could tell she was nervous, about something…. Small talk didn’t roll off the tongue and her eyes were downcast. She proceeded to tell me that someone in my group of friends, who I had entrusted the information of my job to, had decided to tell another friend that hadn’t known.
I was naturally pretty disappointed, as my first nervous conversations with them involved very explicit instructions that if they wanted to talk to someone about it, they needed to ask me so I could speak to the newcomer first. So when I confronted the small group of girls that I had told about my job, I was shocked to hear that two of them had told others without asking me – one as long as a year ago. Two girls even lied to me about who they had told. Trying desperately to figure out who else could know so that I could damage control, I learnt that they all knew. Someone outside my circle of friends was told. It even went as far as one of the girls stalking down my work location. The only way she could have gotten this is by some pretty 007 methods, as I guard that information closely; and this was done by a friend that I’d known for 12 years. If that isn’t violating enough, it didn’t end there though; she decided that she would message another girl and tell her that she knew where I was.
I was beyond angry…. I was and still feel totally betrayed and heartbroken. I couldn’t believe that a 12 year friendship didn’t mean that I could trust someone. I hated that they made me second guess everyone in my life that I have trusted. I couldn’t believe that they had decided that it was their decision as to who knew my secret. But here is the hypocrisy…. After the first day I told those girls, they never asked a question of me. Instead of trying to understand how I was feeling by asking me questions, they pow wowed about it and based opinions upon their own uneducated perceptions. They told themselves it was because they were concerned about my safety, but never asked me how I was being safe. They either never gave me the opportunity to discuss it, or ignored me when I told them that I had researched safety aspects of the industry for over a month before starting. I spoke to working girls, ex working girls, brothels…. I researched surveys regarding the risk of sti’s in my industry, I researched the risk of violence, I left no stone unturned. And I chose this job because I discovered that what I thought the reality might be was far from the truth. I discovered a very lucrative industry with minimal risk and maximum return.
When we grow up we are taught that sex work is dirty. It’s for people with nowhere else to go for money. It’s for drug addicts. According to my friends, they thought it was for people of little self worth. Sound familiar? This stereotype of sex work has been popping up a lot for me lately, and I got sick of it. I am sick of it.
I love that it has given others that feeling that the world is at their feet, that they feel alive, that they finally have the reins rather than the bank or the ex.
I just got back from “How to Be Single” – I know, I can’t believe that a Rebel Wilson comedy flick might actually bring me perspective. But it did. It reminded me that at the end of the day, your life is your own. And I just don’t care what they think anymore. I don’t mean that in a “you fucking bitches, how dare you judge me, fine I don’t need you anyway” kind of don’t care – I just genuinely don’t care. People will form their own opinions with or without my education. Some will base it on media misconceptions. And I don’t blame them – after all, we’re brought up to look at this job in a certain light. But it is far from the reality of the job. At the end of the day, I’m not a push over – I am 100% comfortable with myself as a person and value myself. I have self worth in spades. I don’t need another person’s approval, I know that I am worth a lot despite my job, and probably even worth more in the future because of my job. I believe this because it has taught me more about self acceptance, self awareness and empathy than most learn in their entire life. It’s made me a better friend and a better person.
The reality of my job is that I wake up, check my phone, book in clients. I get dressed, go to work, alleviate someone’s loneliness for a period of time and am well paid for it. I come home, fix my books, cook dinner, chill with my housemates, cuddle my puppies and go to bed. I live a normal life.
When I was thinking about writing this blog, I was considering calling this job an altruistic job but that is not true. Altruism by definition involves giving yourself without receiving in return. And although I give a lot emotionally and physically to this job, there is reciprocation. It has given me financial freedom, the ability to study with minimal hindrance, a higher level of empathy for others, the ability to fill a spot of loneliness in someone’s life. It has given me a plethora of incredible friends that I know will be there forever if I need them. Friends that make no judgments, are not squeamish about any conversation and who will stick up for me no matter what. It has taught me which friends in my normal life are truly friends; who totally respects me and who I can tell anything to. Realising that now my life is totally and utterly in other people’s questionable hands is surprisingly a small price to pay for knowing that I have a select group of friends who will take my secrets to the grave and are by me because they know that my job does not dictate my health or me as a person. And it has given many of us working girls a lot more – a lot of workers talk about how sex work has empowered them in their life, has given them control financially and emotionally that they have never had before. I love that it has given others that feeling that the world is at their feet, that they feel alive, that they finally have the reins rather than the bank or the ex.
For me, I was broke. I had $250 and it was defer uni, sell my dogs or try something new. To the more shallow thinkers, this sounds like I was pushed into the job, that I was ‘turned’ to prostitution like some of my friends think…. But that is bullshit. I made a decision based upon research and decided that the monetary benefit of using my body for work was far healthier than the psychological shitstorm that came of not knowing if I could afford a $2.50 can of tomatoes.
If I could turn back time, I would make the same decision again.
Some of my friends want to talk more…. Some clearly don’t. Messages telling me that I can talk to them when I’m ready are a cop out…. Because I’m ready now. I will 100% defend this industry. I am more than happy to challenge societal ideals. I won’t allow them to make me feel any shame for this. I wont allow them to make me feel like my health, whether mentally or physically, is at risk. Because that attitude is not representative of the norm, it’s representative of the minority. There is no difference between the IV drug using hooker with her thumb out on the streets and Bob the plumber that is an alcoholic and beats his two kids. They’re both outside of the norm in their industries.
There will always be people who will struggle to deal with this information. It stems from being oblivious to a world that is very secretive. If only there was a switch I could flick that would light up a bulb over the head of every person that has ever worked or is working. You’d be in for the shock of your life. What about a client bulb? That would be even more of an eye opener. This is the oldest job in the world, and it is for a reason. If done correctly, can be extremely safe. It helps people. It is lucrative. It is legal where I live. In short, it has a massive place in our society behind closed doors.
So now I’m at the stage where I have a better idea of who is friend and who is both friend and foe…. and I guess knowledge is power, although it’s a shame I learnt about my frenemies in this way. I still love them, I am still their friends – I am able to forgive. But I unfortunately will never forget, and my trust is forever gone with them. But girls, if you are reading this, if you are forming opinions on me – don’t decide what is right or wrong unless you’ve immersed yourself in the people, the job, the psyche… make sure you’ve done your research before you preach to me. Because I will preach right back – I’m a stubborn bitch like that.