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Monday, July 14, 2014

C36, Sex Worker-led Orgs, Allies, Advocates - LINKS and VIDEO

I was interviewed earlier today by the lovely Cathy Reisenwitz and I was asked where folks who want to learn more about the struggle for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada can go. I named a few, but here is a more extensive list. This list is by no means exhaustive! If you have any further resources you'd like to share, please do so in the comments or email me at brazenlee@gmail.com and I will add them.

I've also added some links to sex worker orgs outside of Canada below, as well as some Twitter folks worth following. There are so many amazing and brave voices out there! You can also check out my blog's sidebar for more links.

Watch the interview here! (or click the "interviewed" link above to watch it on youtube)



IN CANADA

Information about legal challenges, Bill C36, and sex work laws in Canada


Watch the proceedings here, at CPAC, in multiple parts
(trigger warning: dehumanizing language, sexual violence)
http://www.cpac.ca/en/programs/in-committee-house-of-commons/

Pivot Legal Society - Vancouver
http://www.pivotlegal.org/sex_workers_rights


Sex Worker-Led and Run Organizations


POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work, Educate, Resist) - Ottawa
TONS of great information on C36
http://www.powerottawa.ca

PACE Society - Vancouver
http://www.pace-society.org/

Maggie's Toronto
maggiestoronto.ca

SPOC - Sex Professionals of Canada
http://www.spoc.ca

Stella - Montreal
http://chezstella.org/stella/en

Big Susie's - Hamilton
http://www.bigsusies.com/

Stepping Stone - Nova Scotia
http://www.steppingstonens.ca/

PEERS - Victoria
http://safersexwork.ca/

FIRST (Currently under construction)
http://www.firstadvocates.org/

SWAV (Sex Workers Alliance of Vancouver)
http://www.walnet.org/csis/groups/swav/index.html

Naked Truth
http://www.nakedtruth.ca/

Native Youth Sexual Health Network
http://nativeyouthsexualhealth.com

West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals.
http://www.wccsip.ca/

Other Canadian-focused Resources


Book - Selling Sex: Experience, advocacy, and research on sex work in Canada
http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=299173904


USA & INTERNATIONAL (also including Canada)

Organizations Run By and For Sex Workers


Maggie's Toronto has an extensive list of international links here

Big Susie's also has an extensive list here 

Sex Workers' Outreach Project
http://www.swopusa.org/

Scarlet Alliance - Australian Sex Workers' Association
http://www.scarletalliance.org.au

Best Policy Practices
http://www.bestpracticespolicy.org

Desiree Alliance (hosts a yearly conference on sex work)
http://www.desireealliance.org

HIPS
http://hips.org/

NSWP
http://www.nswp.org/

Workers, Former Workers, Advocates, and Allies


Noami Kwe - Fierce Indigenous Feminist
http://kwetoday.com

Melissa Gira Grant
http://postwhoreamerica.com

Kyle Kirkup
http://kylekirkup.ca/

Emi Koyama (breaks down the myths of trafficking data)
http://eminism.org/store/pdf-zn/trafficking_web.pdf

Frances Shaver
http://francesmshaver.ca/

Nikki Thomas - Former Executive Director of SPOC
http://www.msnikkithomas.com

Tits and Sass - One Big Service Piece
http://titsandsass.com

Everyday Abolition
everydayabolition.com

Molli Desi Devadasi
http://mollidesidevadasi.blogspot.ca

Red Umbrella Project - Amazing Podcast Series
http://www.redumbrellaproject.org

Anna Saini
http://www.annasaini.com

N'Jaila Rhee
Blasianbytch.com

Chris Bruckert (professor, link to publications)
https://socialsciences.uottawa.ca/crm/professor-profile?id=10&pageID=2


ON TWITTER

There are A LOT of great conversations happening on twitter right now (and there is more than ample misinformation, hand-wringing, name-calling, and triggering statements being made by anti-sexwork lobbying groups and individuals, so be warned):

Relevant hashtags

#C36
#C36Just
#sexwork
#NotYourRescueProject
#AfterBedford
#BedfordSCC
#CDNpoli (Due to a poster typo, #CNDpoli is also currently active)
#TOpoli
#lndont
#QuestionsForAmnesty (who recently called for decrim)
#ListenToSurvivors (started by SW abolitionists)

Active, Relevant, and/or Awesome Twitter Users (in no particular order)

@AmyLebovitch
@SexSafetySecure
@NYSHN
@AIDSLaw
@ElFeministo
@DouglasActivist
@CelineBisette
@GSHI_research
@kwetoday
@thatSabineGirl
@AntoniaZ
@CaroNewCastle
@FemWho
@SexWorkOutreach
@AudaciaRay
@PEERSVictoria
@Jess_Danforth
@CDNSWAlliance
@Tushy_Galore
@MaggiesToronto
@PhyreCracker
@BlasianBytch
@CathyReisenwitz
@FemmeiFest
@MolliDesi
@DarbyBPPP
@BrazenLee
@TracyQuanNYC
@ScarletAlliance
@MistressMatisse
@MelissaGira

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Husky and The Weekend Prisoner

The beginning is a bit fuzzy. I'm sketchy on the details. My stepdad, Greg, is there, or is somehow involved. He used to bring home many random dogs when I was younger. In between drunk binges, calling me names, fucking my mom loudly, being inappropriate with my friends and me, and being neglectful of me and his own daughter, there was usually a dog around, being added to the "ignore, mostly" list of things to do. So perhaps that's why I took the dog. To make him proud. To save it from Greg. To save it from my mom, who would certainly roll her eyes and begin plotting the creature's departure. Maybe I took it because they were always taken from me. One dog, brought to me - a gift! - as a little black and white puppy, weaned too early, cried all day, had burnt toast breath, and left urine/feces puddles literally all over the house, all day, was taken away quietly while I sat in my room. I never even had a chance to say goodbye. I'm not sure, or don't remember, what happened to him. I hope he was returned to his nursing mother, but I doubt it.

Maybe it was this fear of losing another dog, tied up outside of some random place, that prompted me to take him. I'm kneeling beside the dog, a young Husky, though not a puppy, with bushy hair and without the characteristic light blue Husky eyes. They're green, or maybe a light brown. I'm hugging, petting, talking to him. His tail wags wildly and he is excited. We're instantly in love! Greg factors in somehow, I think, cursing while smirking some fuckin' ole drunk bastard, he don't give a shit about this dog, Brazee, leaves him tied up here all the time. He's been out here for pretty near 3 days now. Re-assurance that the dog needs someone. Suspicion that greg is playing on my naiveté and kind nature towards animals. Regardless, it's raining, or maybe cold, so I unwrap the fabric leash from the thing it's tied to - a railing, perhaps - and take the dog, who is overjoyed to be coming with me.

And then we're at a circular post, in a city, the kind you see downtown, or on a campus, where folks put posters, flyers, notices, far away from the small East coast province where my interactions with Greg always occur. And we have no leash. I see three before me, suddenly, all broken in various ways. A small chain leash, the one from my Fetish Fantasy Series Compliance Kit, that has a special knob on the end, which fits into an ashtray, a duster, a toilet bowl cleaner, a dildo... but no hook to attach to the dog's collar. I cant remember the second. And the third, vaguely fake wood, with some sort of weird beading reminiscent of dollar store jewelry, which, while broken somehow, can be MacGyver'd into a functional leash. I grab this one. We head home.

And we're in my apartment. The same one I live in now, but more like it was when I moved in 9 or 10 years ago. And minus the windows. The dog runs in. He hasn't pooped on the floor yet. I'm so happy. So excited. Suddenly, I realized how unprepared I am. There's a litter box, I think, then slap myself mentally. What's a dog gonna do with a fucking litter box, dumbass? Dogs need to be walked. I look under the sink, opening the ill-fitting cupboard doors, seeing the old, ugly, dirty, white-patterned, sticky-tiled floors, and search for cat food. Cat treats. Hopefully the canned stuff. Though I haven't had a cat around for over 6 years, I find 2 half-empty bags of cat food. Oh, no. One of them is cat treats. I give him - the dog is a HE now - a handful. He doesn't eat. I set a bowl of the cat food down, thinking a dog would love cat food... the dogs on youtube do... ok, the dog in The Ultimate Dog Tease did... but he doesn't touch it. Wasn't he tied up for 3 days, outside, unfed? Unloved? Why isn't he eating? Suddenly I worry. I think about mom. You live on your own, mom's opinion doesn't matter. Maybe he needs to poop.

We're out and about. And now it's winter. Maybe late fall. I need to report to prison because I am doing weekends for something. Possibly drug-related. Ironic, since I am white, and don't sell, or really do, drugs at all anymore. Daniel, this hot guy who added me to facebook, is there, outside. I kiss him goodbye. Is he my boyfriend? Literally the kind of boyfriend I dream about. Beautiful, smart, political, feminist. Once inside the prison, I remember! THE DOG!! I left him outside. Tied up. HOW COULD I?? Somehow I have a cell phone. In prison. I frantically text my best friend, Yosef. It's not working. I want to call but I only have a texting plan on my phone. I go to the prison pay phone. Call him. No answer. Again. No answer. Again. Nothing. It's taking my quarters. 50¢ each time. I decide to go to the lobby area - WHY THE FUCK IS THERE A PRISON LOBBY AREA IN PRISON - to check if I can see the dog. What if I reach Yosef and the dog is gone? Purebred theft is a common occurrence these days. I make my way to a a large windowed room, and across from me, through another window and an adjacent door, I see him. Leashed. Waiting. Looking hopeful but uninterested in passersby.

Now it's Chicago, a place I've never been, and he's in front of a pizza place with lights and heating lamps and slices in the window, with me 2 windows over, in prison. Definitely winter. Fat snowflakes are falling on him. I want to cry. I tap the window to get the dog's attention. When he spots me, his face lights up. He gets up, wags his tail, and sticks his tongue out. I speak to him, futilely, through the glass. HI PUPPY!! IT'S OK. IT'S OK. I'M GONNA FIGURE SOMETHING OUT. HEWWWOOOOOO! How can he recognize me already? I only just found him. How does he already know my face through glass? I realize then, that there is a door directly beside me. Someone pulls it open from the other side, but lets it go, not coming in. I could just... walk out... I know that the door on the other side is open, somehow. I just know. I look up at the motion detector, and mistake it as a camera. There are no guards. No fences. No guns pointed at me. I could literally just walk out, not even in prison clothes, but in my biking shorts, sneakers, and t-shirt. I would freeze but I could save my dog.

But I don't. I can't. I am afraid. Shattered, I try Yosef again. Nothing. I venture over to the reception area - WHY THE FUCK IS THERE A PRISONER RECEPTION AREA IN PRISON - and it's sort of like a commissary, but looks more like Sephora store. Lots of expensive-looking makeup, flowers, perfumes, and accessories. I go to the lady behind the wall and ask: How much longer do I have? Because I left my dog outside. She is unfazed by this unbelievable stupidity, as if folks regularly leave theirs dogs tied up outside for entire weekend prison stints. Well, she begins to calculate, you've been here 39 hours so far, so... that's 3 days... plus the time interest that accrued from you being late... that's 7 more days. 

That doesn't add up. Or make sense. But my dog... someone is going to take him, like I took him. Is there any way I can make that time up next weekend? Or later? Can I just bring him home? Set some newspaper on the floor, a big dish of food, and come right back?? I will come right back. I come every weekend. I swear! I'm crying now. She is even less fazed. I don't even think she hears me. I remember that I forgot to give the dog water. Is that why he wouldn't eat?

I go back to the window, but there is no lobby. No easy phone access. No more cell phone for texting. This is prison. I can't see the dog. Why didn't I just walk out when I had the chance? He was right there. The door was RIGHT THERE for me to walk through.

I begin to plot my escape. There is a man, in a suit, maybe a lawyer, or a mobster, or a hitman, and we're in some gold-accented car in an underground garage. They know nothing about a dog, and no, I am not free to go, and no, they are not taking me to any pizza place.

AWAKE. Phone buzzing. It's Telus. My minutes and text plan have expired, please visit telus.com to recharge.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Healing Meals (with a bonus recipe)

I want to write about so many things: The recent mass shooting, a gendered hate crime; My dad's death; My ex (typical, so very typical); The windy, not-fucking-around weather tonight, which I adore; My first time in a sex club (which I promised - and I swear I will write about it soon). But I've decided to write about food, meals, and why I love cooking for people.

Despite our society's complicated and fucked up relationship with, and messages about, food, delicious meals usually make people happy. I'd venture to guess it always makes us happy, even if we feel guilty afterwards (an often unwarranted guilt, but no judgment - I understand completely - especially when the guilt surrounds the conditions of farm workers, animals, and food distribution). For me, cooking meals for friends, family, or even strangers is a big part of my self-care routine, and I generally have at least one friend at my table per week. Usually more when I'm lucky. I used to spend most of my money on weed. I quit smoking in January (yay!). I rarely drink. I don't do drugs often (and when I do it's with a client who pays for them). I don't spend money on shoes, purses, scarves, or even books (thanks library card and tablet).

I spend much of my disposable income on delicious food. I splurge on smoked cheese and fresh asparagus. I indulge in Shiitakes, Shanghai Bok, and okra. I check the flyers. I let what's on sale inspire me. I go to the grocery store 2-4 times per week, especially now that my bike is operational again (I go less often when I have to rely on transit). The colour of the produce section excites me. I get angry when stores like Sobeys (on the pricey side) have nothing but cellophane-wrapped cauliflower and packaged creminis, and sometimes I'll even drop my basket in protest and walk out, mumbling about crimes against nature. In the summer (well, some summers - sometimes my neighbour lovingly, selflessly does all of the work), I grow veggies and herbs, have an ever-expanding strawberry patch, and vocally encourage the green onions to reach, reach for that sun. In the morning, I'll fry eggs with a handful of fresh basil, parsley, dill, and oregano, and sprinkle some smoked gouda on it all. It's unbelievably delicious and simple. I wish I had a bread maker or better bread-making skills.

People often joke about adding love to food. But I take it seriously as an ingredient. I'm lucky: I'm blessed with what seems like an innate cooking ability, a finely tuned palate, and no lack of creativity. Aside from the palate, it's been a steady work in progress. A series of triumphs and disasters. Just watching my dad when I was younger, keeping things simple, marinading, sampling, and letting me help, taught me so much. Growing up with enough privilege to, at least for some of my life, access fresh, home-made food, has shaped me into a person who appreciates healthy, delicious meals. (Not having access, post-divorce, and having my food intake policed, created disordered eating, which is another blog post entirely.)

Sharing those meals with people, especially people I love, is one of my favourite things in the world. I love all of it: from initial inquiries about allergies and likes/dislikes, then planning, to shopping for the ingredients, to the last-minute substitutions (celery leaves replacing cilantro, for example). My poverty-honed skills of pairing new food with what's already on-hand, or working ONLY with what's on hand, has forced me to get creative while maintaining yumminess. I love setting the table, finding enough matching silverware and plates (not always possible, depending on the number of guests). I love the delight of drinking water or iced tea in a wine glass, of being fancy when I'm broke. I love to hear their praise, when they can smell my cooking from down the street. I love the looks on their faces when the meal turns out perfectly, or near-perfectly. The look of lush desire and appreciation when they try roasted rutabaga for the first time. The astonishment at how delicious Brussels sprouts can be. Glorious, halved, seasoned and roasted Brussels sprouts. One of my specialties and favourites. The curiosity of how I made that amazing tahini sauce (see below for recipe), and why the rice smells like popcorn (Basmati). The same look you might get when a lover massages your shoulders or kisses your neck. I love when they ask for seconds and I have more than enough to offer them. I love the laughter, conversation, and fun that occurs around the dinner table.

I simply adore trying new recipes, and succeeding, thus adding to my repertoire. Most recently it was quiche, a truly versatile, whatever-you-have-in-the-fridge budget-friendly dish (check out this amazing crust tutorial). I feel proud when I can vegan-ize, de-glutenize, de-lactose-ize, and still present something mouth-watering. A meal that my guests will dream about later, and talk about for years. I love knowing exactly what is on my plate, and what is going into my body. No artificial colourings, flavourings, or unpronounceable chemicals.

Us Canadians (and most North Americans) in large cities are ridiculously privileged in terms of pricing of, and access to, food. We waste more daily than most people in the world can ever dream of eating in a week. We let vegetables rot in the fridge while we order pizza. A lot of us don't appreciate what we have, and don't understand the real price of our cheap food. We're ignorant of the unfair and imbalanced food distribution system, and we pretend that other countries, who feed us, are poor. We just mindlessly consume goods, and call ourselves "consumers". We rage when the store is out of our favourite spinach dip, or when the price of apples, all the way from China, goes above $2.00/lb. It's all going to change soon, I suspect - by force, not choice. This is deserving of a whole other blog post, though.

So the next time I sit down to a meal, prepared with my own hands, farmed by an underpaid worker, or a local farmer, and trucked fifty or a million miles to reach me, surrounded by awesome people who love me, I'm going to stop and say a silent thanks, and constantly remind myself of the million blessings I'm lucky enough to have. And then, I will savour, bite by precious bite, the plate of love I set down in front of myself.

Now, for a recipe. I adapted this from my ex's recipe, and even he agrees: Mine is far superior in texture, taste, and simplicity.

Tahini Sauce (vegan, gluten- and soy-free)
This recipe requires a blender. A food processor or immersion blender *may* also work, but I've never tried either.
Measurements are not exact, and should be adjusted according to tastes, desired thickness, etc.
• 1/2 c. tahini (sesame seed) paste (usually found in the "ethnic", "Middle Eastern", or "Mediterranean" section of a supermarket, and widely available in most health food stores)
• 3/4 - 1 c. cold water (more or less, depending on desired thickness. The sauce will also thicken in the fridge)
• 3-4 med. sized cloves of fresh garlic - peeled. Either microplaned or roasted (or otherwise softened) and mashed. You want the garlic to be a paste. I strongly recommend not subbing the garlic for the jarred or powdered variety.
• 1/2 - 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 1-2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. black pepper
• 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
• 3-4 tbsp (or a small handful) of curly parsley - I leave the stems in, and just break it apart. The food processor will take care of it.
• Optional: 1 tbsp cilantro (or a few celery leaves) - I made the latest batch without cilantro, and it was as delicious as ever.
• Optional: 1 tbsp oil (olive, sunflower, grape seed, or other light tasting oil) - The tahini paste already has a lot of oil, so you don't really need it.

Stir the tahini paste well, making sure to blend the oily part with the paste. It's a bit messy and sticky. I sometimes lick the excess right off the jar after pouring it - tahini is too awesome to waste - and on its own is reminiscent of peanut butter. But if you want to be less gross than me, wipe the excess with your finger and lick that. Some of it will likely stick to the spoon and/or your finger. Try to not get in on the sides of the blender jar - it's hard to get off - and water won't work. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend on low, then high, until it's well pulverized - I usually use the "cream" or "liquidize" option. It should have a slight green tint. Taste, and add more of anything you feel is missing. If it's too thin, add more tahini paste. If it's too thick, add a bit more water, 1/4 c. at a time. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid, or a plastic food container. It will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days, but if you're like me, it won't last that long. I use it on rice, as a dip with pita chips and veggies, or even in a soup. I put it on anything and everything I can think of.

If you try this recipe, I'd love to know what you think - please post questions, results, thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finger Pointed

"Are you STD free?"
He says to me

"Why are you asking?"
I say, now worrying

"My girl has pain down there"
Cue unimpressed stare

I think maybe your fish-scented dick
Is making your girlfriend sick

"Yes I am, and my tests are regular"
Of course you blame the sex worker

Safer sex, I'm always insisting
Bareback, you're always persisting

The finger you point in my direction
Should be pointed at your erection

Covered everything, why do you think?
Condoms mask that suspicious stink



Monday, April 28, 2014

Name-calling, and other "radfem" faves!

TW: verbal abuse, whore-phobia, name-calling

Admittedly, I occasionally call anti-sexwork advocates names in my posts and my writing. I use words such as idiot (ableist, I've come to learn), asshole, jerk, stupid (also ableist), radscum (when dealing with so-called "radical feminists"), and probably other names that I can't think of at the moment. Full disclosure. I resort to childish, shitty behaviour sometimes too.

When I do this, it's generally in the middle of a rage stroke, while trying to have a "dialogue" with them, or while hearing some misinformation being propagated by folks who claim to be feminists, while simultaneously calling for the criminalization of sex work or clients (which is absolutely bad for women in the sex industry, and for victims of rape trafficking). It's usually because my attempts at being reasonable, fair, calm, and logical have failed, and the other person simply regurgitates the same old tired stereotypes of me, my friends/colleagues, and my work. I sometimes do this because I am angry and frustrated with OTHER WOMEN actively working to further stigmatize and oppress me and people like me, while at the same time calling me a liar, and presuming to understand my experience better than I do. We have enough to deal with under patriarchy from MEN, so women gleefully participating in it tends to piss me off.

On the other side, however, we have so-called "feminists" supposedly fighting for the rights of industry "survivors" (i.e. women, never men, who have exited the sex industry and who have faced abuse while engaged in it - folks who absolutely deserve justice and to be heard). They often say "why don't survivors voices matter?" or "why are you trying to silence survivors?" in response to sex workers calling for decriminalization of the trade, while silencing us, current workers, in the same breath. Instead of focusing their energy on the folks who are actually perpetrating said violence, and joining in calling for full decriminalization (which would make exiting more feasible, and accessing police help, hiring security, and working in groups - to increase safety, lower stigma, and make sex workers less vulnerable to predators - actually possible), they waste time derailing conversations and debates, and adding their loud - and often abusive - voices to the chorus of men and religious extremists who want to keep controlling women's bodies. And I focus on women not because we're the only ones in the industry, but because we're the only ones being targeted by this sector of society.

And sometimes - often, in fact - while claiming to be fighting for "women's rights", they resort to blatant abuse, stalking, sexism, whore-phobia, harassment, and name-calling, for no reason other than someone does sex work. In the past 48 hours alone, I've been called:

Bitch
Clueless Product Of Patriarchy
Cunt (A term I personally try to only use positively, but which, sadly, still has a seriously negative connotation in popular society)
Harpy (Ironic, given that a lot of these groups are aligned ideologically with the ultra right-wing conservative Harper Government)
Hoe (A term of endearment that some of my sex work friends often use with each other, but not appropriate for anyone not in the industry, or for anyone trying to abolish the industry/criminalize our clients)
Stupid
Stupid Bitch


Some other lovely names I've been called in the past, not in response to anything I said, but simply for advocating for the rights of workers, and asking for folks to not conflate trafficking and exited workers with workers still in the industry (y'know, those of us who still need to protect ourselves and earn a living?). Note: these are name I've been called by OTHER WOMEN who claim to be feminist or women's advocates. I would need an entire book to document the abuse from everyone else. In alphabetical order:
Cum Bucket
Disease-spreading Whore
Liar
Misogynist
Patriarchy Mouthpiece
Sexually Traumatized
Sperm Jar
Useless 
Waste Of Space


And I'm a (mostly) well-spoken cis-gendered white woman with quite a lot of privilege, so I cringe to think of the kind of abuse Trans women, or sex workers Of Colour face from this lot.

I didn't screen-grab everything, but here is a fairly typical sample from the past couple of days.


It's not all bad. Being a target for their abuse only ever increases my followers on twitter. It shows how weak their "argument" is, and how little respect they have for other women who've done nothing to harm them. 

Keep it up, "rad fems"! There is nothing radical or feminist about your tactics, and your ignorance is showing.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Missed

Tomorrow I'll resume
Getting through

But tonight
How I miss you

Inhaling your smell
Your soapy skin

Your brown eyes
The dimple on your chin

The one I poked
With my finger

To make you laugh
And your gaze linger

Kissing the scars
On your perfect thigh

Squeezing you
Hearing you sigh

The way your cock jumped
Every time we'd embrace

How you fucked me
Your beautiful face

I still feel my mouth
Nuzzling your neck

Whole days in bed
Our bodies erect

Two hour hugs
Your obsessive bathing

Your laugh, your voice
To hear you praying

That tingling feeling
I only feel with you

Your lips, those eyes
Feeling you tingle too

I know my only choice
Was to let you go

But tonight I can't ignore
That I miss you so



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Death Cards and Fear

I've finished praying to some Goddess with whom I'm scant acquainted. I've meditated for about ten minutes. I'm lying in bed, looking across the room to my clothes rack. I'm wondering what I have in all black. Years ago my entire wardrobe was black. I have many choices. Do my pantyhose have runs in them? Thigh-highs are absolutely out of the question, and likely don't fit me anymore. Should I bring the comfy cotton dress with the ruffles, and the little bolero? Would anyone notice the little hole in the front? Would it matter? Should I bring the fancy black dress with the beaded metallic center-strap? Should I wear heels? Is this important enough for that? Maybe those flowy black palazzo-type pants I got for $2 last summer, with the tag still on them, the shirt I used to wear to bartend, and some kind of black cardigan? I think of my ex when my phone beeps for the 13th time today.

I get up. Come out to the laptop. It's cold. I'm naked. But I have to write.

The next plane ticket I buy, to go back home, will probably be one-way. My dad is now losing his ability to speak. His throat muscles are weakening. This is not a good sign. His wife tells me he's comfortable, his pain is being managed with morphine, constantly exhausted, still smiling sometimes, but becoming increasingly tired of this disease. THIS FUCKING DISEASE he shouts sometimes, though I suppose he's unable to do that now. So unlike him to shout at anything other than the ASSHOLE REFS on the hockey games, always making dick calls, calls he would have never made when he was a ref. I love hearing him shout at them. I love hearing him, even when it's racist and sexist. When we talk now, via Skype, he struggles to speak, I struggle to hear, so I mostly prattle on. About projects I'm working on, Downton Abbey, about the weather. We are Canadian after all. I thank him again for the MICROPLANER, the kitchen tool from heaven, which he gifted to me recently, and which I use at least weekly.

His wife has come in with her bowl of dinner. He can barely manage supplement beverages now. She comes to help translate, thankfully, because I feel so bad asking him to repeat himself. I tell them I have to show them something. I go to the table and bring over the vase with the dozen long stem roses New Guy sent me. My stepmom coos. Dad smiles. She asks who they're from, and I say a guy I've been seeing. I tell them how wonderful he is, how we met (Okcupid, ha). They don't need to know I'm filled with doubt, and that it's not working out with him. Dad looks happy. Like, even though he maybe doesn't believe a man could love a fat woman, that maybe I found someone who will love me some day anyways. It doesn't matter to me if it's not true. I want him to think it is. I want him to think that I'm happy. I want him to know that I will be OK, even though I don't  believe it myself.

Currently, I don't. My life is stagnant. I vacillate daily between joy and pain. I laugh and cry all at once. I spend my time thinking about my ex, the love of my life, still wishing that he would be my real, legit, everyone-knows-about-us-even-his-friends-whom-I-never-met boyfriend. I worry about my friends, a lot of whom are also struggling. I think about New Guy, how things have changed, and how I contributed. I think about money and work, and how scarce both are. I think of how excited I was to be in this city when I was 21. I think about sex work, the government, the morality police who will never leave us be. I wonder what happened. I wonder how long this cheap apartment I'm so lucky to have will be mine. I could be evicted any time, and then what? I can't afford the normal rent in this city. I wonder how and when I will overcome the constant hatred I face daily simply because I am fat, and I never have an idea. I hide from people now. I wonder when and why I stopped making beautiful art, and started focusing on finding a man to complete me. A man who does not exist. Completeness coming from within, a truth of which I am well aware. I wonder what will happen when the man I've tried my whole life to replace is no longer physically here. I wonder how I will survive this life.

The bank called today, with some pre-recorded mess about my overdraft, and how my account needs to be in the positive every 30 days, as per the regulations. That means I need to deposit at least $743. I laugh, and hang up before I hear the entire recording.

I knew that I would experience the actual death of someone I love, one day. It's never happened before, aside from a few cats. I'm scared. I'm scared of what it's going to be like without him, even though we've never really been close. Even though he wasn't perfect, and hurt me so many times, and left scars on my heart. I'm scared of what my relationship with my stepmom will look like. I'm scared of practical matters like estates, wills, and the ginormous book and vinyl collection I know I'll inherit. What can someone who may not even be able to have a welfare cheque deposited when the bank suspends her account do with a thousand pounds of her dad's most precious possessions 2,000 KM away?

But it's another kind of death, too. I've been letting a lot of negative things go since last year. Drugs and excessive drinking, never really my thing anyhow. Unpaid casual sex. More recently, weed, which was really my thing. The man I love who doesn't love me back. I'm scared that, in my grief, I will go back to all of it. I'm afraid I will get drunk, smoke a joint, let him back into my bed, and spiral back down into deep depression, obsession, and self-harm. I'm scared that I will never be enough for me. I'm scared to be me, a whore, a passionate, loving, vulnerable, broken person, whose glued-on pieces are easily pried off and crushed into dust. I'm scared that I will be alone, single, unloved forever. I'm scared that my amazing friends and family won't be enough, that wanting the thing that almost all humans want, the thing that my Libra heart wants most, romantic love, will elude me forever. I'm afraid of drowning in my own tears.

I'm afraid that, when my dad is gone, which I feel in my bones will be very soon, I will be lost. I'm afraid of myself. Mostly, I'm afraid of the future, the shitty, greedy, polluted world we've all created, and how it is hellbent on destroying poor, fat, opinionated, feminist whores like me, and I'm afraid that one day, I will let it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Social Media Break-up

In a rather impulsive move yesterday, I decided to abruptly end a new romance when I sensed The (former) New Guy's feelings weren't anywhere near as intense as mine. Jumping into something, and then wanting insta-love, so soon after a break-up, was a bad decision on my part. Telling him I felt jealous, even more so. This is not what I wanted at all. I wanted friendship first. I failed. I don't know if hurt more then, or now. I fooled myself into thinking I could be myself, totally, and still have him. That my insecurities, fears, and need for more wouldn't be a turn-off.  I still don't know if I did the right thing, but his silence suggests YES. One thing I do know is to trust my instincts.

And so, when I can't handle the pain, I have to write sappy shit.

Social Media Break-up

I thanked you
Sunshine-in-the-dark
Then I clicked
Scrolled
Unfriended

Not sure if I meant it
When I said it

Almost-bleeding on Facebook
With my still-broken heart

I know that I felt it
When you left it

Jealous and unsure
Confused and insecure

I read and re-read
The words I said

Then read them again some more

Hoping for a reaction
Or something more

I blocked you
Then stalked you

Analyzing every tweet
Hoping they're about me

That would mean
I wasn't totally wrong
That this wanting
Wasn't mine alone

No men like you came before
I doubt they will again

You're soft and strong
Some kind of feminist

So sexy and smart
No-pressure cuddles
Beautiful and mysterious
Grabbing my heart

For your arms around me
I still long

Then I spoke too much
And another was in your mentions
Where I'd never been at all
Your absence on all platforms
Telling a story of another's bed

Too broken right now to deal
With the shortest of distance
And your other lovers
Already bored with me

Hoping for a text
A phone call
Cross-border grandiosity
Something to indicate
That I am totally wrong

Blocking you
From multiple accounts
To help with my self-control

Wishing for more
When I knew better all along

Friday, April 4, 2014

Loveable Hashtags

Some hashtags that have made my week! Some of these are much older than a week, and I am just really late finding and/or posting them:

#WhitePeopleEquivalents - Started by the always on-point Black Girl Dangerous
#CancelWhiteSupremacy - I used this today on Facebook, not realizing it's already been in use for a while. We really do need to cancel white supremacy!
#NotYourMascot  /  #Not4Sale  /  #ChangeTheName - Surrounding the campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins'
#Decolonize
#MuslimSexEd - Brilliance, sheer brilliance.

ALSOOOOO…. I found this today. I was working on a post (mostly with a friend in mind) about the possible stages white folks can expect to encounter when we begin doing anti-racism activism and allyship, but now, I may just abandon it, because as usual, a way-smarter-than-me Person of Colour has already said it all. Check out the rest of tumblr too, and read it ALL.

http://racismschool.tumblr.com

It's 4:00AM and I'm soooo tired. I'll update this post tomorrow! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Processing / Lessons

I'm trying to process why I'm so emotional/sad/stressed today. Writing, and figuring out the lessons to be learned, always helps me get to my cores. This is just my own personal stuff…

EDIT: I realize, upon re-reading this, that most of the LESSONS LEARNED are really just PRESCRIPTIONS which I hope I can follow.

1. Dramarama on Facebook. I tried to defend a friend, who was feeling shitty about a super offensive fat-phobic meme a friend of hers had shared, and I've been getting attacked/unfriended/talked about/snarked on ever since. LESSON LEARNED: Be more patient, less swear-y, and take several deep breaths before calling out oppressive bullshit. Talk to ignorant fuckwads the same way I would talk to someone I care about. It's more effective. Don't call them ignorant fuckwads. BONUS LESSON LEARNED: Defensiveness is almost always a sign that I did something wrong. Always be honest with myself about how I contribute to a situation. And don't involve my friend in said drama in an attempt to be manipulative and skew her opinion of her other friends just because they hurt my feelings.

2. My ex. I was still holding on to him. I was foolish enough to think *maybe* he would stop actively trying to hurt me. So I've REALLY let him go, for the 35,876th time. It's hard. I still love him, and imagine I always will. It wasn't all bad. It's the good times, some very recent, that make letting go so difficult. Understandably, he doesn't believe that I am DONE. He knows I love him, and will use this against me. I'm afraid that I will take him back. I'm afraid that I'm not strong enough, and will never meet anyone who lights my fire like he did. LESSON LEARNED: Just dump them the moment they disrespect/insult/degrade me, ignore my boundaries, and act like oppressive, judgmental fuckheads, no matter how much I like them.  BONUS LESSON LEARNED: NEVER, ever, ever date a client. EVER. If he had remained a client, the sex would have remained mediocre and I would be A LOT richer than I am today. SUPER EXTRA BONUS LESSON LEARNED: Though I recently defended "settling" in a painful recent blog post, don't fucking settle for a man who is ashamed of me and keeps me completely hidden from the rest of his life. And don't judge others who do settle, because that was me.

3. My dad. It's becoming more difficult for him to speak, so our conversations are short and infrequent. His ALS has progressed quite far. I feel like the worst daughter ever for not being there, but I don't think I am wanted/I would feel like an extra burden to my stepmom. I'm already over $700 in debt to friends who've paid for my recent plane tickets, and I just can't afford one right now without asking them for more money. I'm also still recovering from a cold, so being around him could literally mean death, his condition is that bad. That he is number 3 on this list isn't necessarily indicative of my level of caring, but makes me feel worse nonetheless. LESSON LEARNED: Love and people are fleeting. Don't take them for granted. Spend more time with people I love. Don't stress myself to the point of sickness. Health is fleeting too.

4. Oppression. Fat phobia, racism, sexism, misogyny, ableism, the ways I am sometimes complicit in all of it, and the amount of time and energy other people spent to get me to this point, and the ways it seems so fucking hopeless sometimes, are getting me down today. I often wish I could just not give a shit, and just be a good American white person who enjoys football, nationalism, and making money, but I can't. LESSON LEARNED: It's a process of learning that will never end, and that doesn't mean I stop trying. Be more focused in my activism. Like that time I targeted the YMCA and they actually changed some fat-shaming wording directed at young kids, and apologized. That worked. Do more of that. Never ignore the defensiveness bat signal. Think harder. Be thankful that patient people are still willing to educate me.

5. Responsibilities? I'm being featured in a sex workers' poetry event in May, and I'm not sure I have enough material to fill up twenty minutes. I was supposed to send a bio last year and still haven't. I have 3 or 4 years of un-filed taxes, and I don't even think about my student loan debts anymore, except when I do. My credit is shit. If I ever get evicted from my miraculously cheap apartment, I will be screwed - no job, bad credit, no income. I'm poor most of the time. I should be looking for a "job" job, but the rejection is no longer bearable. I lack focus. I have a client project I should be working on RIGHT NOW as I write this. LESSON LEARNED: Too late. The lesson here hasn't been learned yet. My 20 year old self could have benefited. All I got is get up every day and try. And spend less time on Facebook. Learn from other people's mistakes. Write every day, or at least once per week. Revisit this at a later date. There's always a lesson.

6. Jealousy. I met this wonderful guy recently whom I've been talking to for several months. The timing, being fresh out of a break-up, is horrible. So far, he's been super amazing, and until a few days ago, I wasn't obsessing (as I would normally do when I'm recently single). I like him a lot, and he seems to feel the same way. Then I saw his recently updated OKcupid profile (I only logged on to see that Mozilla warning), and my heart kind of sank. But why? We're not exclusive, nor have we discussed that, nor would I necessarily want that. I'm not monogamous, but I am monogamish: I tend to prefer seeing one main squeeze, while retaining the freedom to see clients, and possibly have the occasional drunken fling, and I want the people I date to have that same freedom. I guess it hurt because, while I consciously decided to stop with online dating for a while, I'm pretty happy seeing him when I can, and don't really have any interest in seeing other guys, and he obviously is still actively looking. Which is OK, and doesn't mean he doesn't like me, or that things won't progress one day, or that I am not special. LESSON LEARNED: Just tell him how I feel (I will, I swear). Don't jump into something I'm not ready for because he's awesome and I'm lonely. Don't make the same demands, mistakes, and choices I made before. Get to know him better, and just enjoy spending time with a beautiful, intelligent human being. Don't take online dating seriously. Remember that jealousy is normal, and a reflection of my own insecurities and fears. Don't let it ruin what's becoming a lovely friendship. Don't obsess, over think it, or rush to label it. That's the way I used to do things, and that hasn't worked for me so far.

7. Health. My knees are fucked. I don't know if I can continue cycling. I'm afraid to even try, because I know how depressed I'll be if I can't bike. My diet has gone mostly to shit this past week, and exercise is so difficult with this constant pain. I miss exercising. I miss biking 40KM per day. I miss being more flexible, sweating daily, feeling my heart pump faster, and having an attitude of "I can do whatever the fuck I want". I no longer feel this way. I want to get back there. A lot of the pain/issues I'm having started when I found out about my dad's condition. I also ended two friendships last year, with folks I was really close to, and it's around this time that I got a huge kidney stone and took painkillers for several months. That, and the really drawn-out treatment, coupled with a super intense and demanding government-issued "job coach", caused me enormous amounts of stress. LESSON LEARNED: Stress kills. SEE A THERAPIST, or consider some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy, not cock and ball torture - which in itself can be quite therapeutic), stress/anger management classes. Move my body, every day, without exception, even if I just go get a coffee. Eat better. Eat less. Continue with the prayers. Start meditating. Find a doctor better suited to me. Make those phone calls.

Some good habits I've been forming:

1. Gratitude. I've been praying almost daily, not to a catholic male God, but to God, The Goddess, Allah (just in case), the moon, the sun, the universe. It's more just a way to get my feelings out, and to put out what I hope to get back. I am thankful for every day, even the shitty ones, like today. I am thankful for my life, my friends, family, talents, intelligence, good looks, awareness, vast privilege, and having enough money to splurge on hamburgers once in a while. However, I tend to skip this process on days when I'm sick, low energy, or sad, and I think on those days, it's MOST important.

2. Sobriety. I quit smoking weed back in January. I'm going to say January 1st, which sounds about right. That's over 3 months. I am so proud of myself. I initially stopped due to lack of funds, and not wanting to spend my grocery money on trees. But then even after I had some extra cash, the urge didn't really return. I've had ample opportunities, and a couple of moments where I considered it, but I've resisted. I'm not going to take it for granted. I keep reminding myself that while it's easy right now, it may not always be. I've already bowed out of my friend's annual 420 bash for this year, and I won't allow myself even one toke. I'm also refraining from other mood-altering substances, and while I have splurged slightly more on alcohol in the past few months, it's not the crutch that it once was. Alcohol brings its own problems, namely uncontrollable desires for weed, fast food, and empty sex, all of which leave me feeling awful the next day. I am so thankful every single day that I am sober.

3. Being honest/Saying no. I'm a pretty honest person, but when it comes to those difficult conversations with people I really like/love, and don't want to hurt, my habit has always been avoidance rather than confrontation. I recently decided to send a long, painful letter to someone I've been friends with for years, because I just wasn't interested in pursuing a friendship with her, and avoiding her/making up excuses was just super shitty and unfair. And just now, I told a friend whom I've avoided all week, that I'm not feeling anything beyond a friend vibe between us, or outside of a sex work context, after he said he'd like to have some sexy times together. It's what I would want from people, even though yes, it hurts initially. I hate being led on, so I'm making a sincere effort not to do that to others. I've also started limiting my time with friends whom, while I love them dearly, drain me with their never-ending problems, complaints, and self-absorption. Trying to find a balance has been difficult, but also liberating.

This is what I promised myself recently: an active breaking of old patterns and habits, and time to get to know myself better.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Slippery Slope

I thought I was ok, but I was still hanging on. I'm not ok. I will be. But I'm not yet.

"Don't love me" he said tonight. I immediately knew, for certain... I've been fooling myself. Patting myself prematurely on the back for moving on so fast. For not obsessing over the new guy, who's wonderful and beautiful and someone I would normally obsess over. For being happy. For being sober. When he was my addiction all along.

I don't know if he realizes what that means, to stop loving him. I don't know if I know.

It's time for me to re-define love. The romantic kind. I want it to be about friendship and fun and sex and being ourselves, together, not longing and fear and obsessive lust and pretending we're other people. I want to stop thinking of it as a movie. As a drama where I'm the heroine.

I want to stop this negative, never-ending cycle of bliss/pain, bliss/pain, bliss/pain, bli…

I want to stop aching for his body, smell, touch, attention. I want to stop crying. Not because he asks me to, but because I don't need his approval anymore. Because I remember, when it counts, that anyone who asks you to stop crying, anyone who first pays you, then judges you for letting others pay you, isn't your friend who loves you. I want to stop crying because he doesn't believe that I love him. Maybe he's right and I never did love him. Maybe I was just feeding my ego monster.

I want to be free again. Not again. I want to escape the longing for the first time. I've never yet been free of it. I've never been enough for me, and I want to know how that feels.

And I will be. I'm just not as close to freedom as I'd let myself believe. I want to stop obsessing about being loved, forever, and just love, now, any chance I get. Myself. My lovers. The new guy. Future new guys. My friends and family. My life.

I want to take time and just be me again.

It's a slippery slope when you're hanging on, and your sweat and tears are dripping onto the dirt below, and one day you have to let go.

(Now. To think of a suitable pseudonym for New Guy)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I can't quit you, sex work

While I've officially "retired", I'm filled with sadness when I say "former sex worker". In response, I've changed my bio back to sex worker. Period. I don't want to be a former sex worker. I want to keep working, to have enough to pay rent, phone, and groceries, safe in the knowledge that I won't be monitored, or arrested, or investigated, unless someone actively calls the police on me (which, if you're not hurting anyone, seems a gross waste of resources). I want to be able to advertise, screen, get that extra little bit of magical cash, and be able to go out for a single beer, and not have to worry about bus fare to get home with. I want to be able to buy fruits and veggies, not just live on the boxed, processed food that comes from the food bank.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Note To Brokenhearted Self



Following the trend (meaning respecting my own active choice to change my usual patterns of behaviour) of NOT resorting to the same ole same ole methods of dealing with a breakup (relying on intoxicants like weed and booze, eating too much, not eating enough, eating only junk food, not sleeping enough, sleeping too much, ignoring tasks, allowing depression to fester, having empty sex with random strangers from craigslist, hiding indoors, feeling unlovable, telling myself I will be alone forever, etc.), I'd like to remind myself of another old crutch that would be best to avoid right now: ONLINE DATING, especially on Plenty Of Fish. When I'm feeling sad, and missing a person I loved for several years, trying to find someone to fill that space left by my departed lover is ineffective. And given the rampant fuckwittery, fat-phobia, sexism, and Nice Guy™ syndrome prevalent on dating sites, when I'm feeling not super awesome, it can make me feel slightly shitty about myself, and absolutely hopeless that I will ever meet a decent partner. Plus coming back time and time again to an empty inbox is disheartening. I'm going to step away.

I've been doing well in the other areas. I've been getting out more (including out of my comfort zone), and not drinking to excess while I am out; eating healthy food (mostly), fairly regularly; drinking lots of water, even more than my usual 3L per day; spending time with friends; forcing myself to smile; reminding myself that while I was responsible for the fight that went down, our relationship was EXTREMELY problematic, and not what I imagine for myself in the long term. I'm especially proud of myself for resisting the urge to smoke weed (my favourite vice): last night, swimming outdoors in a heated pool (in -20˚ Canada winter, AWESOME) I even found half of a joint along the pool's edge, and I left it there. I'm tired of masking my pain and never really dealing with it.

The pain is slowly starting to heal, though I miss my lover terribly and still pray nightly that everything will return to the way it was, though I know in my heart that it won't - and clinging to his "I miss you too" message is futile and foolish, and doesn't indicate any change - of course he misses me too. I even feel a sense of relief on occasion, as though I can just be myself again, all poly and imperfect and sexy, and I'm seeing a tiny sliver of light at the end of the tunnel in my mind. I also keep reminding myself that my pain, anger, and inability to channel it positively have contributed to a lot of the stress in my life.

But today I found myself updating my POF profile, and after reading SEVERAL profiles with "no BBW" type statements in them, I feel a bit down and cynical. But my brain was all "HEY! There's a reason you feel shitty, and this is it. You're not ready for a new love yet. You're not ready or strong enough to be sifting through these jerks' profiles yet. Give yourself time to heal, do the things you love, ON YOUR OWN, and when the time is right, you'll meet the feminist future husband of your dreams".

My brain also said: "And Vikings. You can binge-watch Vikings as an escape, but remember, though you miss his smell and his body, you are NOT Lagertha and Raghnar, except maybe for the fighting and his cheating. Try not to eat too much spinach dip while doing so, though."

Thanks, Brain.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Watch Your Words (poem)

(scroll down for poem)

I just had a horrible Skype chat with what is now my ex lover. He just Skype dumped me. And I don't blame him at all. I acted selfishly, immature, and was verbally abusive a few days ago, when he was here, specifically to visit me from 8 hours away, for the week. I basically asked him to leave me if he wasn't willing to add me to Facebook, "LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE DO!". It wasn't until he was literally walking out the door (being unwilling to do that), with all of his bags, that I realized how little Facebook matters. What matters is him, not having a picture perfect relationship. I chased after him, literally, but he ran. It's been a few days of uncertainty, and not hearing from him, until today. We chatted earlier, and while he was still obviously angry, I was hopeful that he might forgive me. It's clear now that he won't, that I hurt him even more deeply than I imagined, and that our relationship is over. "Watch your words" he told me, over and over. I pray that I never forget his sage advice.


I'm totally devastated, and just popped a gravol (which I'm told by the package, and my mom, causes sleepiness) so that I can stop sobbing violently and maybe get some sleep, though I have zero interest in waking up tomorrow to this hell I created. I don't handle break-ups well, even with casual flings. He is the only man I can honestly say I've ever loved really deeply, from the moment I first met him and felt that spark, to now, four and a half years later. And now he's gone. I hate myself at the moment, and realize that the only joyful escape I had in my (currently) stressful life of poverty, ailing father, increasingly shitty health, lack of employment, and the recent abandonment of my income (and identity) as a sex worker (thanks police and radscum), is gone, and it is ALL MY FAULT. Because I can't control my emotions. Because I like drama. Because I project my insecurities and make stupid demands. I don't really know how I will ever move on from this. It feels crushing and hopeless right now. Knowing that I caused someone I love so much pain, so much heartbreak, and to doubt himself, is literally making it difficult to breathe. I would cut my own finger off if it would take his pain away. If only it were so easy.


Earlier today, I went to a writing group, and I really enjoyed myself. It was a beautiful day, filled with sun, words, and promise. I was still hopeful that he would forgive me, somehow. I didn't cry once in public, though I came close. How stupid that seems now. I managed to finish a poem about him that I'd started a few days earlier when there was nothing else to do but write and sob. The only solace I can take in extreme heartache is the level of writing I sometimes produce. I just sent it to him in a vain attempt to get him to come over, to forgive me, to love me again, to let me see his perfect, beautiful face, to just hold me one more time, but it's too late. He's gone. And while I will pray for his return, I would have done the same if he'd treated me that way.


I'd also like to note that I am not religious, but I do believe in a divine energy, and it's to that which I pray.


"Watch Your Words" (Formerly "Regret Hope Prayer")


Tears fall, enough to come ashore

Aching for your touch once more

I find myself doing the hurting
Not the first time, for certain

Regret overwhelms my mind
Wising I'd been more kind

Praying I open the door to find
You, or a machine which travels time

Please God, let me go back one day
Please God, bring him back to me
Please God, I swear I will change
My mind, sometimes deranged

You, the first to capture my heart
Right from the very start

Cash exchanged, bodies entwine
Already imagining you as mine

Your face ignited a spark
Your absences felt so stark

Your breath illuminated the dark
A beautiful, imperfect lark

Oh please God, I'll do anything
Oh please God, hear my prayers
Oh please God, make him see
And remember that he loves me

And then finally, one day you did
Opened your heart and dove right in

To my turbulent ocean head
To my warm, magical bed

Where for hours we would lay
An abundance to kiss and touch and say

The pain of four years melted away
Knowing this time you would stay

Please dear God, don't you hear me?
Please dear God, I can't stand this pain
Please dear God, I feel broken inside
In permanent sleep I think to hide

Endless laughs, ecstasies and sighs
Kisses, hugs, and passionate cries

Your perfect, beautiful face
With my fingers I would trace

Your brown, perfect skin and scars
Your black hairs, soft and sparse

Would consume me for days, hours
Soaking and engorging my flowers

OH MY GOD, I need him back
OH MY GOD, make him love me again
OH MY GOD, I will do anything and more
To kiss his lips like I did before

But hateful, thoughtless words I hurled
Fears, doubts, and hurts unfurled

Three days visiting me
Fighting my insecurities

Stubbornness, crying, ultimatums
Tests failed, with no make-ups

In the direction of my love
I spit venom until he did run

OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?
OH GOD HOW CAN I MOVE ON?
OH GOD WHY DID I SCREAM?
And tell the love of my life to leave?

I didn't realize until he closed the door
That nothing matters from before

I didn't realize until after him I ran
How much I hurt this passionate man

Desperately chasing him, completely in vain
Knowing for sure he would get away

Walking back home defeated, my world crashed down
My sobs and pounding heart, the only sounds

Please God please, I need refuge from my guilt
Please God please, I need some relief
Please God please, I need some lesson to learn
If my love is never to return

Maybe you need counselling, Jenn said
Let's go to anger management, best friend

Desperate to learn from this mistake
Taken for granted, both hearts will break

Learn to cherish the sweetness that comes
No matter where it springs from

Appreciate the imperfect that comes into your life
Even if you don't become his wife

Thank you God, though my heart is still breaking
Thank you God, you accept my fair-weather devotion
Thank you God, though I tempted my own fate
And realized he was always the one, only too late.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Undesirability Blues (or, In Defense Of Settling)

I've suffered, for most of my life, from what the Brilliant Loree Erickson refers to as "Undesirability Blues*": That is the perpetual single-hood, lack of sex or intimacy, unpleasant social interactions, and limited-to-no romantic prospects that comes with being very far removed from the mainstream norm or ideal of beauty. It's something that goes way beyond the daily oppression and microaggressions that we all, but especially those who are female, disabled, of Colour, fat, bald, etc., have to deal with. You know what I mean: The constant visuals of "beauty" (white and thin) to which we're supposed to aspire, which resemble no one, ever; the never-ending stream of weight-loss ads, constantly conflating weight and health, in every platform imaginable; the "health" movement, which has room to depict only the most abled of bodies; the constant and pervasive ads whose sole intention is to point out non-existent flaws which make you hate your body, in order to sell a superfluous product that no one really needs.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Victory for sex workers in Canada.

Below is a clip with Chanelle Gallant of Maggies, speaking to CTV news about the Supreme Court of Canada's historical, unanimous ruling today on the Bedford case. While Chanelle nails the interview, and answers the questions directly and succinctly, it's interesting to note that the anchor keeps asking the same question, in what seems to be an attempt to skew the conversation towards the conflation of human trafficking and sex work (not the same thing). This is a popular tactic used by "radical feminists", religious groups, and "moral" conservatives as an argument against sex workers' rights.

Excerpt:

CTV news anchor: "But what about those who would be exploited by pimps, even gangs… those vulnerable women… who is stepping in to protect them?"

Chanelle Gallant: "This is exactly who that's a win for. It is, in fact, exactly those women who are being most harmed by these laws, and so, as a feminist, this is an incredible win for women's equality"

Anchor: "But doesn't the business get bigger and as the business gets bigger and is legitimized, isn't there room for more exploitation?"

Chanelle: "You know, we have hundreds of pages of evidence, and frankly we have a mortality rate that shows us that these laws were what, in fact, was directly contributing to the exploitation and violence against sex workers, and finally, finally, now sex workers will be able to take incredibly basic safety measures that they were prohibited from taking, under these laws."

Anchor (looking increasingly irritated): "Right. Ok. What about sex rings? The sole goal of these things is to exploit young women. How do we get at those?"

Chanelle: "Again, […] now we've got a situation where we can actually shed light on the industry, where workers who are in situations of danger, or harm, or exploitation have OPTIONS. There were no options under criminalization. Workers had to deal with whatever conditions they were under, and sometimes those conditions were terrible… sometimes they were great, but where they were terrible, there was just nowhere to go, and now, finally, we'll have a situation where sex workers are in a situation where they can take basic safety precautions and be more protected."

At which point the anchor proceeds to bring in the white guy from the "non-partisan Christian group", who doesn't represent or speak for sex workers, to add his "moral", Christian point of view. Chanelle addressed that, too!

Check out the full video here

The fight isn't over! For more info on the Bedford case and the ruling, check out Maggie's Toronto, Pivot Legal Society, and of course, twitter (if I missed any important hashtags or links, please comment below):
# SCC
#Bedford
#SexWork

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why I Won't Be Offering My Sex Worker Expertise (for free)

Today, once again, as happens on average once per month, I was asked by a friend something resembling the following: "Hey! A good friend of mine wants to write a play/book/movie script, and they want to include a sex worker as a character, but they don't know any sex workers, so I was wondering if you could talk to them? They can't pay you, cause they're an artist/grad student/activist, though."

A few years back, when I first started doing sex work, I was flattered that people wanted to hear what I had to say, even though at the time I had very little experience. (I even did an interview with a popular online US magazine, and not only did the reporter never follow-up, I don't think they even ever wrote an article. I suspect it was because I didn't find sex work "exploitative", a question she asked repeatedly. If one was written, I never found it, and was certainly never told about it.) I was just happy to give my opinion.

I've learned a lot since then. I've learned that most "art" made about sex work, without sex workers, is, in my opinion, stereotypical, exploitative, ridiculous bullshit (at least what I've seen in the past - I tend to avoid mainstream depictions now). Even if the "artist" has consulted with "sex workers", one or two people are not representative of an entire industry that spans the globe. And I've noticed that folks outside of sex work almost always want to show the so-called "other" side of sex work - which is the side the sex work abolitionists stand on, where trafficking and sex work are conflated, which is seriously harmful to sex workers and actually has nothing to do with keeping us safe. I've also noticed a serious trend in the past two years of EVERYONE wanting to talk/write about sex work. The thing is, at least with escorting, which is the type of sex work I do, I feel like you can't really understand the nuanced layers unless you do it, or are deeply involved in a sex work community (and even then, I'm highly doubtful). And even after I started doing sex work, I still retained all sorts of negative stereotypes of other sex workers. It wasn't until I met a community of awesome pros that I discovered we're not all sad, damaged drug addicts who hate doing this work (of course, I've also since learned there is nothing wrong with being sad, damaged, or an addict and I know some incredibly rad people who would identify as such).

And it always seems so suspect to me, folks wanting to write about something they know nothing or little about, and I have some rhetorical questions for you, folks who want to use my (and others') experiences for their own gain without offering anything in return:

1. Why do you, who has no experience in sex work, who doesn't even know ONE sex worker, want to use this as your subject?

2. What stereotypes of sex work are you harbouring (we all have them, don't even)? How will these affect your representations?

3. What, if anything, have you ever done to help sex workers? Be it in an individual capacity (like letting a friend use your apartment for an incall), or in a broader sense like handing out leaflets at a sex worker rights rally. What have YOU done to make my (and my SW cousins) work less stigmatized, safer, and better understood?

4. Why should a sex worker help you?

5. What does sex work mean to you?

6. Have you done your research? Have you checked out sex worker blogs? Videos? Zines? Sex worker voices abound on the internet, you just have to look for them. (I will post some links below)

7. How will you be profiting off of this? Do you feel that profiting off of someone's experience, without compensating them, is exploitative?

8. Will you be accountable to the voices you used in your research? What will this accountability look like?

9. Why aren't you propping up the voices of sex workers, instead of becoming yet another person speaking for us, without us?

10. How does your privilege (racial, class, educational, gender, sexuality, ability, etc.) influence your opinion of sex work, and which "types" of sex workers you reach out to?

11. Have you reached out to a diverse group of sex workers? (Of colour, poor, Indigenous, street-working, indoor-working, fat, trans, survival, etc.). If not, why not?

I'd suggest that ANYONE who wants to solicit unpaid help from sex workers (or any stigmatized or oppressed group) should ask themselves these or similar questions first.

If you're a researcher/artist/writer, etc., who would like to speak with me about my experiences or thoughts on sex work, and who is NOT a sex worker, you can hire me as a consultant. My rates are very reasonable. Email me.

If you would like to educate yourself about sex work, sex worker issues, sex worker rights movements (and I highly suggest you do, because this is a very historic moment for sex work, and this stuff matters to A LOT OF US), please start with some of the links below (or see the sidebar of this blog). If you don't care to educate yourself about the group whose experiences you want to use for your benefit, perhaps this isn't the subject matter for you.

• Maggies - (If you're planning to approach them in search of sex workers, you might want to read this note to researchers first!)

Born Whore

Tits and Sass!

Nikki Thomas

Olive Seraphim

Native Youth Sexual Health Network

POWER

Scarlet Alliance

Sex Worker Fest

Every Ho I know Says So (video)

That should get you started. I'd also suggest seeking out the voices of workers of colour in particular. Race, class, ability, body size, etc., all affect our individual experiences of sex work. There is no one voice. Sex workers are varied and diverse, and so are our stories. OUR STORIES. You aren't automatically entitled to hear and/or manipulate them, and/or make them your own. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fucking Quotes

I just want to complain because I am in a shitty mood and that's what this blog is for. Expletives, self-loathing, other-loathing, and rambling anger follow.

"You've still got it!" - Every married, sexist, cheating, ass-hat on my social media, ever.

"You're so beautiful, I want to chat you up" - Every interesting dude who always chooses another woman, ever.

"I love your boobs" - Every dehumanizing, entitled, deluded into thinking they're original, client/date/stranger, ever.

"You're awesome!" - My friends and some of my exes.

"I love your house, and your body, and your friends, and your curtains, and your bed, and your hair, and your coffee, and your chili. But I can't love you, you're broken" - A man I currently love.

"Dating? Let's just hang out" - Every self-shaming, fetishizing, closet fatty lover EVER.

"I'm like… the hottest woman here. I'm interesting, funny, awkward, charming. Why am I getting no attention?" - Arrogant Me.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Today was a good day

My right nostril is burning.

I'm still inhaling deeply, occasionally plugging my left nostril, occasionally pulling my right nostril out. The amount of powder I got doesn't compare to the amount of powder I was secretly hoping to get. I'm thankful that I got some at all. But I wish I had a bit more.

I'm all kinds of high. High on energy, connection, alcohol, movement, weed, coke, creativity. I seldom go out. And I seldom get fucked up anymore, except on love. I seldom drink to excess, drink alcohol of questionable content that is likely rancid (or acrid, or vinegar, or whatever you call old rotted wine), do lines off my table, mostly naked, with a married intoxicated man, and smoke not one joint (with the client), but two (right now). Partaking of his lines, my weed, and my crappy wine that a neighbour I fooled around with one drunken night gave me. I seldom talk about drugs, and clients, and doing drugs with clients, lest I appear to be a drug-using hooker stereotype. And I feel so good.

Jazz plays on my laptop. The most amazing trumpet hops excitedly along! Being with my client was a bit blank tonight. I found myself throwing my head back just to disconnect from him and the constant commentary about my body (e.g. "oh, you're sooo sexy", "you look so hot"). Maybe I was weird because I am high, drunk, more hyper than he's used to. Coke makes the honesty want to come spilling out, all over the table. I also feel like I'm tiring of this work, of this connection-selling, this outpouring of myself for money, (of course, it's The Quintet, live at Massey Hall, playing right now!), of sharing my sexual energy with folks I can't really be myself with.

But then, I still have so much fun, especially with this client. The only regular who ever brings lines, which I never even want to do. He often asks if he can pay me the next day. I agree, and he always does, plus hefty interest, and does so in a very clandestine fashion, terrified some Italian guy that he might know is going to see him with me, and of course everyone he might know around here knows I'm a whore (in his mind). He's also often drunk, high, or both, and doesn't get hard, except for very brief erectile interludes. He's not annoying about it, nor does he expect miracles, but he often doesn't "come", and I can't help but feel a bit bad. A bit like a bad whore, mostly ignoring his flaccid penis because it holds zero interest for me. He still enjoys himself immensely. But instead of leaving relieved (and I know the relief of the fading-coke-gasm),...

I FOUND A BEER! I remembered that I bought it for fish batter! HAHA!

...he left wishing he'd ejaculated all over my boobs or stomach and seems to have left questioning what he perceives as his "manhood" somewhat for being unable to do so. But he also left happy that I put on a thong for him and let him give me wegdies, saw him for under $200, that I was genuinely happy to see him, that I faked two orgasms (which hopefully didn't seem fake to him), that I covered him in my cum, pulled myself open for him to eat me, that I kissed his lips, neck, and body, with real enthusiasm, because I really wanted to, that I squatted my flower over his face, squishing around with a finger, stopping to taste it, smiling, smiling, smiling, because I know he'll leave gently and sweetly and because he will likely keep coming back, and because I really do like him and can be most like myself with him than with any other client. In other jobs, it's OK to disconnect from clients, but my job (as I decided to market it) is to put clients at ease and build these intimate moments for us. He's hot, fun, sweet... just fucking wasted all the time. It's still the easiest gig I have. When he's not high or drunk, he has a really lovely erection that I'm lucky to get fucked with, and not for a long time, either. And when he has an orgasm, he's done. Gone. My favorite kind of client. He always says "I love this body, eh? I loooooove you, eh?". I'm flattered. To illustrate this, I tell him I cried once when he said he wasn't coming back, when he had a bout of "I'm a bad boy". I love him too, though I would never say it, because it's not a love that would ever lead to anything other than him paying me to love him.

"Ahhhh. I can't do this!" he says very lightheartedly, collapsing on my stomach. And he leaves as usual, giving me a small last line before he does, his last one. That makes 2 lines in total for me, and I can't stress enough how bad that wine was. I'm so happy to have found a beer in this rare, blissful, drunken state.

And a gorgeous lady hip hop artist, who I've been a fan of for years, put me on her guestlist today, and I got to meet her, bask in her glory, and see a really fucking wicked show.

Today was a good day.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Imperfect tools

Many years ago, I can't even remember when anymore, I made a conscious decision to stop looking at people in public.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A day like this... (re-read after I'm gone)

It will be a day like this. When someone I fooled myself into falling in love with two years before tells me they moved out of the city a week ago, and I realize they never said goodbye. When another boy I like seems to have lost interest after an amazing night together. When the constant barrage of NO FAT CHICKS messages override the tenuous self-love messages I spoke of earlier.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What is given... (can be taken away)

So. I met the perfect guy for me. Yay! He's everything I've imagined for myself, and then some. He is attentive, thoughtful, honest, polyamorous, affectionate, sexy, very handsome, generous, sweet, and romantic, among other amazing attributes. He's the kind of guy who will drive almost an hour after work just to give you a foot massage, even though he just got off work himself.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Struggling
With addiction
To a green plant
To a handsome man
To sweet white granules
To invisible white granules
To my own stubborn idealism

Monday, November 28, 2011

Exclusionary marketing and sexual spaces

I'm not sure where to begin, but there is something to be said about exclusion in the marketing of sexual spaces and events in Toronto. It's the pole posters I always see for Northbound's fetish parties, and the website's events photos.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pure Pleasure (Potentially NSFW)

Smitten. I'm all over him. When he comes in, looking so cute and casual, in yet another ATHENS t-shirt (he seems to have an endless supply in varying styles and colors), I want to ravage him. I want his clothes off, and my mouth and hands all over his big, soft body. I want his little black hairs tickling my nose. But I say hi, hug him, kiss him slowly and ask if he'd like a beverage. It's not just about sex with us, so we chill, smoke some weed and he tells me of our city's news on the sofa. Then his arm is out, and I'm nestled in him, and our hands start playing with each other. His fingers trace my arms, palms and shoulders, mine trace his. I brush my face against his, and his hands start touching my face, neck, hair, ears and lips. I look at him, looking down at me, and my skin starts to tingle.