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Saturday, August 22, 2015

DATE REVIEW: Handsome Racist Polyglot

I forgot to add a trigger/content warning for: anti-Black racist language.

After a convo with my friend tonight where he dropped the term "serial dater" I started thinking "hmmm. that sounds like me". It's not that I mean to, it's just that... a lot of my dates happen to be close together and happen in clusters, and they don't usually lead to LTRs (hence the still being single thing), so they're often one or two dates and then nothing. This then led me to think... I have a ton of funny date stories, and I think it would be fun to share them. Kind of like a REVIEW. SO let's begin.

I found him on POF. Unlike 99.999% of the 3-4 guys who message me per day, he actually read my profile and commented with something related to it. Nothing special, but I do have a "Read My Profile, Get A Response™" policy - even if it's just to say "thanks for trying out, but ya didn't make the team". So I answered. Even though his profile was... erm... how to say this politely? Shit.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gone, boy

http://www.technicaltextile.net/businessleads/ProductImages/6711_15_120.jpg
Girl meets boy online. They talk for a month, then text for another. Girl and boy have much in common. They make each other laugh. They text every day.

Girl meets boy offline. They have a great time, they laugh, they converse. Girl is sorry it has to end so soon, but she has plans that night. Boy asks girl to do this again. Of course she agrees. They continue to text every day, and send each other funny emails. Girl really likes boy, but isn't sure if he's into her romantically.

Girl meets boy for second date. They have lunch, they laugh, they have a good time. They go out for coffee, conversation, find more in common, then a movie. Boy holds girl's hand during the movie. Girl knows the attraction is mutual. They laugh laugh laugh. Boy holds girl's hand after the movie, on the way to the car, in the car, on the way to her place.

Girl finally kisses boy, and he enthusiastically kisses her back. For six hours, they kiss, laugh, talk, tease, and roll around in her bed, shirts off. Girl doesn't fuck boy, and boy doesn't even try. Girl feels a chemistry so intense it must be mutual. Boy's gaze never leaves hers, he swoons over her beauty, body, clothes, makeup, and his pants remain too tight. Boy caresses her face, kisses her softly, then passionately, and softly again. Sweetly, then hotly. Girl feels something is starting. Girl, despite knowing better, starts to feel hopeful.

Then boy must depart. He has a full-time job in the morning. Kids. A busy life. They kiss sweetly and he departs with a smile. Boy doesn't text that night. He doesn't ask "we will do this again, yes?"

Girl is not concerned at first. He's busy. He clearly likes her. But then boy stops answering all of her texts, and then it's two days before he answers any at all. Then three. Girl asks boy to meet. Boy is busy both days. Boy never follows up. Now it's been almost two weeks since that second date. The last message from girl was that she was feeling down due to an injury that's left her unable to work, exercise, or really do much of anything. Boy never responded. It's been three days.

Girl knows herself, so deletes his number. She wants to email boy and ask hey, what happened? Something has obviously changed with boy, and she really likes boy, and this really hurts. She thought he liked her too. She doesn't share her body that way otherwise. Girl is stuck at home, unable to do anything but think and endure narcotic-fuelled dreams and take clumsy showers and type 10 words per minute. Girl can't help but wonder: was he just using her for something to jerk off to later? Is boy just another cleverly-disguised pig interested in her boobs and nothing else? Did he fake that emotion? Did he meet someone else? Did she do or say something? Is he just hoping she'll go away so he doesn't have to let her down?

Girl is afraid of the answer, and the hope has died. The death of hope always makes girl cry. She knows better. Love just does not happen for her. Girl never gets the boy she wants.

Girl misses boy, and wonders how she could have been so wrong. Girl thought she and boy were friends, on their way to more. Girl feels like a fool, but she shouldn't. All evidence, and the boy, led her here.

Just pull the fucking bandage off, boy. Girl already knows you're gone.

Being Alone Forever - Literal Ways To Cope

Being single forever. Here's a "Being Forever Single" list of coping mechanisms. Google and Yahoo answers were not very helpful.

I know. It sounds dramatic. It sounds negative and cynical. It sounds self-defeating. Whiny. Silly. There are way worse things. Some people are happy with being single forever, or prefer it. I am not one of those people. I know it sounds like I need a void-filling man in my life. I don't. I enjoy my life (mostly). I am loved and cared for by so many people, and I love and care for them too. I have a pretty good family back home who love and miss me. There is no shortage of platonic love in my life. That wasn't always the case. I'm so grateful for it.

But romantic love, dating, finding dates, being in relationships: not something I excel at. I've tried it all:

Few Seconds

http://www.blastr.com/sites/blastr/files/Bt1hQBMIQAEuxiY.jpg















I love those few seconds
Pillow wet
Dreams fresh
Of kissing his lips
The promise of love
One single date
New and shiny
A sleepy smile

I love those few seconds
Before I remember
Tearing the seedling out
With assumptions
Old crusty wounds
Life of traumas
Self-doubt
Not even a full day's sun

I love those few seconds
Sun shines in
Birds sing out
Until it all floods back
Eyes swollen
Head sore
Crying the night before
He doesn't have those feelings anymore

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Consent to Harm, Part 2

Below is a link to an interview I gave to the CBC about consent and sex work. I'm not super thrilled about the title (I don't consider sex work harmful), and I'm not thrilled about how my self-esteem issues were sort of framed as connected to sex work - because sex work, and being able to independently lift myself out of poverty (and other aspects), dramatically increased my self-esteem. But given the raw data she had to work with, and level of honesty with which I spoke to the interviewer, I'm not surprised. I also don't think it was intentional. Those two criticisms aside, I'm VERY happy with the show in general. The anti-sex work academic at the end did get called a few names, though.

I am very grateful that the CBC is talking about these issues without framing sex work as inherently exploitative, and I love that they centred the voices of a cash-poor sex worker (me), a BDSM and sex educator (Andrea Zanin), and of a sex work positive professor (Brenda Cossman).

I'm mostly just pleased with how non-rambly I sound. She took some pretty disjointed talking and made it coherent! Have a listen over here at my website, risqueforte.com. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sweet Kale Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe)

My friend introduced me to this awesome bagged salad, and I got kind of hooked. The problem is that it's $4-5 in the store, and I'm REALLY not a fan of bagged salads - I've read too many stories of nasty bacteria, I don't know where the food's been, and they almost always have this faint mildew-y smell. My friend is also lactose intolerant, and had (falsely) assumed that the poppy seed dressing in the bag contained dairy.

When I realized that the small stringy things inside the salad weren't bean sprouts - which have a super short fridge lifespan - and were actually broccoli stalk slivers, I decided to try making it myself.

And aside from missing the chicory (listed on the bag), I've done a great job at re-creating it, including the dressing - which is not only dairy-free, but VEGAN. Here's how I make it:

SWEET KALE SALAD with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing (Ho-made version)

SALAD
1 1/2 to 2 c. of washed, dried kale, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup finely shredded green cabbage (napa might work well also)
1/4 cup red cabbage - adds a bit of colour in place of the missing chicory
4-5 fresh Brussels sprouts, cut into approx. 2 mm slices
1/3 - 1/2 c. broccoli stems, cut into tiny julienne slivers (roughly 2-3 mm wide, and 1 to 2" long)

1/4 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
1/8 c. dried cranberries

Toss together except for the seeds and berries. Keeps for me (undressed) in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week. Adjust any of the above measurements to your liking.

DRESSING
1/3 c. white sugar
1/2 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 tsp. grated onion
3/4 c. canola (or other light tasting) oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1-2 tbsp. orange juice

In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, orange juice, mustard and onion and process for 20 seconds. Add oil and blend for another 20 seconds, or until it's all smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Store in a glass jar for a week or more (it probably won't last that long).

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Add seeds and cranberries on top. I also add some toasted almond slivers when I have them on hand.

ENJOY!!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie

FREE SPEECH™ FOR ALL*!!!

Disclaimer:
*(Unless you're a Muslim protesting against rampant Islamophobia
Unless you're a woman wearing a hijab
Unless you're a Black person irate with constant police harassment
Unless you're Indigenous and fighting colonialism or claiming ancestral land
Unless you're critical of white supremacy
Unless you're stating uncomfortable truths
Unless you're Palestinian
Unless you're South American
Unless you suffer from mental illness
Unless you're homeless
Unless you're on welfare
Unless you're a rape victim without 5 or more co-accusers
Unless you're a woman speaking about sexism
Unless you want birth control and legal abortion
Unless you're a sex worker demanding rights
Unless you're Trans
Unless you're calling bullshit on the mainstream media
Unless you're critical of Israeli and American war crimes
Unless you're a scientist talking about climate change and fossil fuel
Unless you're a journalist or an ally speaking about any or all of the above

THEN you're a barbarian, subjugated, a thug, a savage, a race traitor, a "social justice warrior", a terrorist, an illegal, a dangerous psychopath, a drain on the system, gaming the system, a lying regretful slut, a frigid feminazi, a promiscuous baby-killing whore, a stupid damaged victim, a delusional weirdo, a left-wing nutjob, an anti-semitic freedom-hater, an environmental terrorist, a brainwashed sympathizer, an Other, one of Them™, one of Those People™ and free speech does not apply to you. Note: there are no refunds on Free Speech™)
https://twitter.com/sallykohn/status/546701181310218240

#JeSuisVraimentAnnoyedRightNow that this outrage, sympathy, calls for "free speech" and outpouring of white/mainstream/acceptable grief only seem to make headlines when white people die or mourn (or, to a lesser extent, rich/famous people, and police). I'm even more annoyed when people are so hellbent on protecting the "freedoms" of racist media, when most of the media, and you who support it, could not care less about the "freedoms" of the millions of people white/Western nations pretend to be "liberating" by bombing them back to bronze-age oblivion, and stealing their resources while everyone is distracted. Where is the fucking outrage when Israel kills thousands of Palestinians, and uproots homes almost daily, on land they stole? Where are the vigils when millions of Syrians are made refugees? Where is the goddamned empathy for the HUNDREDS of Black people who are killed every year by police who are in turn "punished" with paid vacations and 500K interview spots? Where are the faces of the THOUSANDS of missing, murdered Indigenous women, and the news stories about systemic racist colonialism fuelling that epidemic?

I don't give a shit if you're sitting back smugly thinking "All of those listed above should have free speech too! I fight for free speech for everyone. Even those I don't agree with! Even hate speech!" Really? What the Nazis and extremist Hutus did was "free speech" - and it fostered a climate that allowed the killings of MILLIONS to take place, mostly legally. We think, now, that the Nazi Holocaust was atrocious - and it was - but people who thought that back then, who fought in the ghettos, were widely considered terrorists. Traitors. We think that because we've memorialized past atrocities, that we've moved beyond "all of that" - that we're better than that now - but even worse atrocities persist today, all over the world. And when the victims of the current crimes fight back, we trip all over ourselves to call them barbaric killers, when most times, they're defending themselves against Western aggressors.

What I give a shit about is that you don't recognize that hate speech today - directed at all of those listed above - especially Brown, Black, Muslim, and Indigenous people - who are, right now, being slaughtered, starved, uprooted, stolen - all around the world, in various ways, with overwhelming support of the so-called "civilized free world". That means it's WORKING, and you're buying into the hate speech. The proof is in your overwhelmingly immediate willingness to homogenize ALL Muslims into the "terrorist" group, to think (even subconsciously) that ALL Black people are angry, violent, and lazy, to never even notice that - despite our pathologically violent tendencies, our propensity towards serial killing (95%=white males), child molestation, rape, and hoarding of wealth - white people are never lumped into one big, evil group. #NotAllWhitePeople, right?! How dare anyone make generalizations about us?

https://twitter.com/JamilahLemieux/status/552820830242361344
 No one deserves to die over a racist cartoon. It's fucking ridiculous that this needs to be spelled out for people. But more importantly, no one deserves to die because they are the wrong colour, are poor, are sitting on some oil, looked at a cop the wrong way, crossed an imaginary line in the desert, have sex for money, and on and on and on. The former is an incredibly rare occurrence. The latter is commonplace. Every. Single. Day. Accepted. Excused. Justified. Joked about.

You #JeSuisCharlie people never step the fuck up for that, and then get mad when people under constant attack actually fight back. If you really care about life, justice, and peace as you claim to during your widely-broadcast-on-loop candlelight vigils for racist assholes who - no, did not deserve to die, but - are some of the victims least deserving of sympathy - then what stops you from extending that care, that compassion, that heartache, to all of those vilified, generalized, othered, occupied, criminalized, victimized people listed above? When are you going to step up for them? When are you going to make a point to pay attention, to seek out their stories, to make THEM the priority in your articles, tweets, news feeds, and never-ending news cycles? 

Because "they", those we white/rich/assimilated/powerful people call Others, are the most deserving of our empathy and compassion - and suffer the most from our lack thereof - not the assholes fanning the flames of racism and Islamophobia.

#JeNeSuisPasCharlie
(#IAmNotCharlie)

THANKS to tweeters:
@sallykohn
@JamilahLemieux

And to MIC for posting the article containing them:
http://mic.com/articles/107926/one-tweet-perfectly-sums-up-the-big-problem-with-how-we-talk-about-terrorism?utm_source=policymicTBLR&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's Been A Year

It's been a really interesting/difficult/joyful year for me, and for lots of my close friends too. I'm just going to jump right into a point form list.

The Bad
1. My Dad passed away this year. He was the first person in my life to ever die. It's been difficult in ways I'd never imagined. It's also been good in the sense that he was suffering from ALS, and enduring a slow, painful process which was tantamount to waiting for death. The realization that he's gone, and the tears, come in waves, always unexpectedly and inconveniently. In addition, his wife disrespected his funeral wishes, made it all about HER loss, and more than likely withheld any inheritance he wanted me to have. I always thought I would feel his presence after he died. Sadly, I do not. Not being able to be there with him, due to pressures from a really nasty government worker, and a total lack of funds, was extremely stressful and frustrating.

2. After more than 4 years of emotional, verbal, and (at least a few instances of) physical abuse, I finally ended things with my former-client-turned-lover. I still refer to him as my ex, though we were never officially a couple. Despite my having ended it, I tried, more than once, to get him back into my arms. Luckily, he ignored my attempts for just long enough. Despite that, I do still miss him, and have come to realize that perhaps I always will. Despite it all, and how our relationship often crossed over into obsession, I loved him deeply, madly, and I fear I will never again feel such electricity from the touch of another.

3. My health issues have gotten worse. I have constant back pain that prevents me from standing or walking for long (or even moderate) periods of time, and my knee pain has gotten worse. I still bike everywhere, but a big reason for that is the difficulty I have when walking. My diet has been a typical depressed person's diet this year: sporadic, largely unhealthy, and occasionally excessive. To top that off, I got extremely sick in February (after getting the flu shot - which always coincides with my rare instance of extreme illness). I've also come to realize that my new family doctor is horrible. She constantly pushes expensive treatments on me, which I've consistently refused (like the $500 Gardasil "vaccine"), and she's completely ignorant about the realities of cash poor folks. I've yet to find a new doctor, as it took me 13 years to find this one.

4. Bill C-36, aka "The Pickton Model" passed into law, criminalizing sex work in Canada. My white privilege has always insulated me from the realities of being deemed a victim/less-than-human/criminal-by-nature/unworthy of protection by government and law enforcement, and largely, society. It's been INCREDIBLY sad to realize that, as a sex worker, I'm seen as disposable trash, rather than a functioning, intelligent woman capable of making decisions about my own life and body. I've felt the stigma extra hard this year, in terms of dating too.

5. Which brings me to dating. In a foolish attempt to distract my broken heart, I tried in vain to date this year. I met an awesome guy early in the year, and royally screwed that up with my jealousy, insecurity, and by comparing him to my ex. In the summer, I met a guy who I thought was awesome, and whom I grew to really like as a friend, and he did a complete 180˚ after I slept with him. I'm pretty sure he was either a sociopath, a misogynist, or a nasty combination of the two. I gave up on dating after that experience, as I felt that my instincts had been compromised.

The Good, YAY!
1. My instincts hadn't been compromised, though! There was this one (initial) red flag with that guy. I ignored it because I liked him. Looking back on it I see that there were SO MANY clues. I cried for a day and moved on, smarter and more aware. Giving the dating a rest was actually great for me. It gave me time to mourn my dad, my ex, my excellent health, and just learn to be alone again. It helped me take online dating not at all seriously, and see the humour in the ridiculousness of men who date online. Also good: the above-mentioned awesome guy, with whom I royally screwed up, is also the first guy to send a dozen roses to my door, and we've started talking again recently. There's also an online dating podcast in the works.

2. If I hadn't wanted to segue from dating, this would have been number 1 on the good list: I QUIT SMOKING WEED! In January. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. I've been a pothead since I was 17, and at least 5 of those years were chronic. I tried last year to quit, and succeeded for a few months, but eventually went back to it. I'm not sure how I did it, other than simply being broke and having to go home to be with my dad, where smoking was not an option. I've smoked twice since quitting (which, for me, resets the clock, but doesn't negate the accomplishment): in July on my friend's birthday, and a couple of weeks ago while drinking whiskey. I don't even really crave it anymore. Ideally, I'd be able to hang out with chronic smokers again, but I'm not quite there yet. Thanks Gabor Mate for saying "never take your sobriety for granted". It's also New Year's Eve, so I *may* partake this evening if it's on offer. I'm as yet undecided.

3. I did my very first on-stage, paid, reading-poetry-in-public gig. It was great. I was nervous. It also forced me to put together a small book of poetry, and I've sold quite a few of them. Buy one here.

4. My writing got a lot of attention this year. After writing "An Open Letter to Anti-Sexwork Activists", it got shared widely, and my blog views increased rather dramatically (for my standards). The views are up to almost 15,000 now. I've gotten SO many messages from people thanking me, saying I inspire them, and complimenting my writing.

5. I was asked by kick-ass former sex worker and activist KweToday (check out her website and amazing writing) to speak to a prison abolition group (LOVE to Safe Space London!) about the criminalization of sex work. Getting paid to speak about something I'm super passionate about is amazing. I'm not super experienced at presenting things, but I think it went fairly well despite that.

6. I was approached by Cathy Reisenwitz who does the Sex & The State series, about being interviewed about sex work, consent, and C36. While I wish I could go back, listen harder, and answer questions better, it was a great conversation, and I'm so thankful to her for facilitating it.

7. Art- and design-wise: I made some money doing custom portrait illustrations, and made MANY folks very happy with them. Hand-made art fell off my list, largely, but I had a burst of creativity in the summer. I made a bunch of amazing posters, logos, social media art, too! See some samples of my art at risqueforte.com.

8. I saw A Tribe Called Red live! AND I saw The Roots! AND TV on the Radio! Three of my favourite bands. AMAZING SHOWS!!! (TV on the Radio was the least awesome of the three).

9. I got to spend time with my Mom, Aunt, Niece, Stepdad, Dad, Stepmom, and some of my mom's wonderful friends. They live in a different province, and I don't get home super-often. I also re-connected with the father of an ex-friend, who used to be buddies with my dad back in high school. He showed up at the funeral, and it was amazing to see him, hug him, and share some laughs (and a few tears).

10. I got closer to my closest friends, and spent time with new ones. I'm incredibly blessed to know so many wonderful people. I am loved and I love so many people.

11. My cooking skills got seriously upgraded this year.

12. I was interviewed by the CBC for the Ideas show a few weeks ago. The show will air in January, and has since become a 2-parter! I spoke about sex work, consent, exploitation, and all kinds of things I actually hope don't make it onto the air (a lot of it makes me sound like a stereotypical damaged hooker). But overall, the interviewer was great, and it went well. I am super excited.

13. While it was technically late in 2013, I was also interviewed by Vice's Sarah Ratchford about sex work, and the laws we previously had in Canada - which are infinitely worse now.

14. I feel like I'm just bragging at this point.

15. I had my first client session with a female client earlier this year. It was amazing. Living the dream.

16. There was actually so much wonderful stuff happening this year, I'm fairly certain I forgot important parts.

17. OH. MY. GOD! The most important good thing: My ex, who I had been missing extra hard that day, texted me the day before Christmas Eve (and a couple of weeks earlier). I IGNORED HIM, and didn't even cry about it once. VICTORY!!!!!

18. Finally (hopefully this is the last edit), towards the end of 2014, a guy whom I'd dated several years ago, who ended things in a pretty abrupt and unpleasant way due to my sex worker status, apologized. A real, genuine, no-excuses apology. I've always missed him and thought of him (mostly fondly) over the years, and I was always sad that he had so easily cut me off when we'd also become friends. We recently re-connected over a "sorry" dinner, and have been in touch ever since. It's so wonderful to have his presence in my life again (no, we aren't dating - but there may be some make-outs in our future). Regardless of the attraction we still have for each other, I'm hoping to build on a friendship with him more than anything else.

Overall, the year started off quite rough, but has forced me to really look inwards, which resulted in a lot of clarity. A lot of said clarity is just accepting that I'm kind of floating right now, and coming to accept that reality. I've been happier than I've been in years, and also lower than I've ever been. Mostly happier, though.

Happy New Year everyone. None of that "New Year, New Me" bullshit here. Just a flipping of my calendar. Tomorrow. Evening. After I awake from my hangover.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dear Dad

Opposite of my dad. He hated The Simpsons.
I loved him anyways!
As happens sometimes, thoughts of you keep me awake at night. It's 7AM now, and I've been trying, in vain, to sleep since 4AM. You've been gone just over six months, and I miss you. Sleep isn't something I normally have trouble with, but it's been an occasional challenge in 2014. This has been a year. I realized late in 2013 that you had very little time left. I was more concerned with my lover at the time, and I still cry about losing him more often than you. The crying is less frequent now, in November. Finally. It's not a constant feature in my emotional repertoire.

Lying in bed about ten minutes ago, I was outlining in my head what I would write to you. Why not say everything I wouldn't say when you were still alive? I could tell you that I'm angry more than I'm sad. That every thought of you is invaded by thoughts of Michelle. Do you know that your wife more than likely changed your will without your knowledge or consent? Do you know that she refused to let me come and stay with you before you died, with no reason given other than "there are lots of people coming in and out of the house"? Who fucking says that to the daughter of a dying man? What kind of spineless daughter just accepts it? She knew it would be impossible for me to drive the 30 minutes (without a car) to your village home every day if I was staying in the city, and she knew I couldn't afford the plane ticket for a short trip. Do you know she went full Catholic for your funeral, against your explicit wishes, and that only her family got to speak? Do you know that she placed a photo of BOTH of you next to your urn, as if it was a funeral for her marriage and not for you? Do you know that seemed happy behind her forced tears?

Do you know that my worries over material things like money and wills makes me feel angry with myself? Do you know that I am so angry with you for letting her - whom I've decided doesn't deserve (or, realistically, want) the title "stepmom" - push me out of your life? I mean, literally. She literally threw me out of the house, her house, that you and I had moved into when I was 16, after you married her, because I couldn't find a job. I'm so angry that you didn't realize, in the twenty years you were together, that she resented me, that she never wanted me around, and that after you married her, I ceased to be a real part of your life. It was all about the two of you. You, the older sweet man who fucked up his second (though, as far as she knows, first) marriage, and the sweet, naive-acting young wife who Never Wanted Children, and your lives together. Bike trips together. Dinners together. Plans together. Without me. Always without me. There was no room for a messed-up teenager who really just needed to be accepted and welcomed and loved. After mom sent me to live with you, and you married Michelle, I lost any semblance of home. I was on my own. I wasn't ready. I understand why you did it, without even realizing, but I'm still heartbroken that you chose her over me. Anyone who truly loved you, would have never required such a choice. And I'm angry that you never noticed, and let her manipulate and control you. It's an act, Dad. Her sweet, childlike innocence, is all a carefully crafted act, and she controlled you with it. Tears like a vise. If you saw it, you ignored it.

Feeling angry towards you was something I never expected to feel after you died. My whole life's narrative was something akin to "I was actually happy when my parents divorced", and I think I was. It was obviously not a happy marriage. You were angry, and mean, and cold, and at 8 years old, I was happy to get away from you and your constant frowning on all of my flaws - physical, academic, and otherwise. I now wonder how much of that was a result of you not being happy in your life. Of not wanting kids when Mom told you I was coming? She was careful to tell me that my birth overjoyed you, but I know it wasn't your plan at that moment. And while I dearly love my stepdad, and my niece, whose presence in my life would vanish if you and Mom had stayed together, I find myself wondering how my life would have been different if you hadn't acted like a giant asshole and cheated on Mom? If you'd just treated her with love and respect, and had a reasonably happy life together, would I have been able to choose to have you more present in my life? Would we have lived in the same house, that you both so lovingly renovated, for numerous years, in the same town, with the same kids around me, my friends, as so many people get to do, rather than being uprooted literally every year to some new place Mom could afford? Would Mom not worrying about child support, and paying the rent, and finding comfort with other men, have made her hound me less about my food intake? Would you both have been happier, more available, more loving? Would her not marrying my stepdad mean that she wouldn't have to get drunk every night (a tradition that lives to this day)? Would Mom and I have been able to mourn your death together, and share any properties and savings you'd accrued during your lifetime? Would the privilege of ownership, of homes, and property, mean that I would have been cared for just a bit longer, rather than being thrown from both nests for different reasons? Would I have felt like a daughter, rather than a burden? Would I not be so poor now, if I hadn't been forced into a useless college program (and it's accompanying student loan debt) I didn't really want to go to in the first place? I had no job, and Michelle was clear "I can't accept you here anymore". I had no other choice.

I know it happened the way it did, and that the experiences have shaped who I am. But damn it, I'm angry that you married too young, when you just wanted to fuck other women, and then after fucking that up married a woman who still resents me and your love for me, who got every. Single. Possession you have (either due to her malice, your indifference, or both), and who got to enjoy more years living with you than I did.

I'm not only angry, though. I'm also sorry. Sorry for all of those times you wanted to be with me, right after mom had married Geoff, after that horrible year spent living with you in that horrible city when Mom was too poor to keep me, and I just couldn't be bothered. I was hurt. I was traumatized, and had been abandoned in a place where I was miserable, where I was abused and harassed by peers all day, every day. You reminded me of that almost-entirely horrible time. If I had known that you'd be re-marrying a few years later, and would vanish into your new life, I would have been there for every dinner, watched every boring show, gone on every exhausting bike ride (I love biking now!), gone to every cheesy clogging class, listened to every record you played, and read every book you placed in front of me (Michelle is withholding your records and books, too, which is the one thing of yours she KNOWS you wanted me to have - please Dad, haunt this greedy, selfish bitch, I implore you). I'm sorry for not caring during those years. I'm sorry for not saying this outside of a moment of anger one time in college. I'm sorry for not spending every moment I could with you, for making you feel like I didn't care, for being afraid of you sometimes, for not realizing how much you loved me while you were still available. I'm sorry for avoiding you for the last few years of your life because your racist ideas clashed with my activist tendencies - I'd give anything to angrily explain to your disagreeing ears one more time why mosques shouldn't be bombed, why Stephen Harper is an asshole, and why Oprah isn't racist against white kids in South Africa.

I know you loved me. I know you married Michelle because you wanted to be happy, to be loved, when Mom was long gone, and I was so far away. I know you didn't mean to leave me behind, or decimate my self-esteem, or possibly almost-molest me that one time when you were drunk (yes, I remember that, though I doubt you do). I know you did the best you could, and grew up in a less permissive era, where men don't date fat women (and tell their young daughters that), show their emotions, or choose bachelorhood for a little while longer. I know that you learned from your father (an abusive cheater), and your mother (an abusive controller), and tried to be a great Dad despite that.

And mostly, you were. I'm sorry I didn't tell you that more often. I'm sorry I didn't realize it sooner. I'm sorry I didn't achieve more in your lifetime. I'm sorry that you died worrying about me, and the state of my life. I'm sorry I didn't push my way into that house in the end, despite what Michelle said. You are my Dad. I should have been there. I will certainly die regretting being so weak in that moment.

I miss you Dad. I love you. I wish I felt your presence around me. I don't. I thought I would, but I never do while awake.

Please feel free to haunt my dreams more often.

Love,
Your Darling Dotter

November 24, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Use Once And Discard (Illusory Magic)

Magic is fleeting. Sometimes it's an illusion, and not magic at all. Sometimes it is an elaborate ruse designed to feel like magic, employed by evil people to extract some of your essence from you.

I didn't see this one coming. I never anticipated that, after a month of constant texting, late night conversations, a seemingly incredible connection, renewed hope that maybe, maybe, there was an awesome "just a lonely" guy in the world who wanted to share some awesomeness with someone like me. I wouldn't have guessed that after the best first date of my life, filled with plans and ideas, and the next day with proclamations (from him) that this was definitely something with long-term potential, that something would change in an instant. I would have never predicted that after his seeking re-assurance that he was special, that I liked him as much as he did, after his wanting to know if he could be with me, that a mere 7 hours after him saying "I miss you, I can't wait to see you again tomorrow", I would have woken up, aglow with the flicker of new romance, to a long text message explaining that he was too busy to keep seeing me, and it was best to end it now, that I am a wonderful woman, and would find someone amazing one day. I would have never guessed, after all of that, after feeling hopeful about finding love for the first time in years, after his constant expressions of desire, his wanting to know me, him becoming a friend, him making plans with me, after sharing an incredible night together, with him swooning over my body, staring into my eyes for hours, and saying, over and over again, how much more amazing I was in person, with him swooning all through the next 2 days, excited to see me again, that I would be unceremoniously dumped via text.

Even more unexpected was the coldness he displayed when I pressed him for a real answer, when I asked, rightly so, what the hell had changed, literally overnight, in the less than 8 hours since we'd spoken, excited to be re-united. How someone who seemed so sweet, so vulnerable, who seemed to need a lot of re-assurance, finally, after I refused to accept the lie of I Don't Have The Time, called me clingy. Seeking male approval. High maintenance. When, if anyone was being clingy, it was him. After so many talks about feminism, and misogyny, and how hard it is for women, especially one marginalized in the ways I am, to finally learn to love ourselves. After that, and when I exhibit anger, sadness, tears when I feel confused, and manipulated, that I am seeking validation. That I've "slept with countless men" so why do I have feelings now? That it was only one date, when we both knew it was more than that. That it is somehow OK to speak/act like he wanted to marry me one day, do a 180 overnight, with no real explanation, but that my crying over it was somehow gauche or indicative of a lack of self-esteem. That using and manipulating a kind, generous, sincere woman was OK, and that he is still a feminist because he's "volunteering at a women's shelter" in the fall.

No. Treating women like disposable objects, manipulating them, lying to them, to what? Get some sex? Making assumptions about their sex lives because they're sex workers (when, really, you should be HIRING a sex worker, rather than playing with people's emotions), shaming them for being sexual, and for having genuine emotions, when YOU are the one 100% in the wrong is not feminist. It's a manifestation of misogyny.

No man, whether I cry over him or not, even after "one date" can ever again make me feel guilty or worthless. Wanting love and romance, being vulnerable and open and honest about it, expressing my feelings, and not being ashamed of my sexuality or my past doesn't make me weak, insecure, or lacking in self-love. You, sir, who felt the need to play with my emotions, when all I gave you was my raw, unedited self, are the one who needs to work on your self-love. Not me. All I did wrong was have hope, and believe what were clearly a bunch of well-crafted lies, and spend half a day crying about it over wine. All I did was believe it, because damn it, I deserve a little sweetness in my life, especially this year. Because I miss someone who I thought was my friend, because I am sad that what promised to be a beautiful relationship is over, is what makes me human. It may have taken me 30+ years, and I may have used sex as validation in the past (but really, who doesn't), and I may have stayed with an abusive fuck for 4 years because I know what's out there for a woman like me, and settling for scraps is a valid option for survival, but none of that means I don't have self-esteem. I have it, loads of it, and it's a perfect companion to my self-awareness, something which you, lying, delusional manipulator with your feces breath and limp dick (yes, I am mean when I'm angry), have not an ounce of.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

8 Years

Some magic has occurred!

But first!

8 years. On and off. It started 8 years ago.

8 years ago, roughly, is when I first signed up for a popular online dating site.

8 years (with a lot of lapsed years in between) of (in no particular order):
• Sexual harassment
• Being fooled by men my intuition screamed about
• Being fooled by men who seemed genuine
• Unending comments about my body, in two varieties: negative and fetishistic
• One word messages
• Fake photos not correlating with real life people
• Unsolicited and amateurish penis portraits
• Requests for casual sex, disguised as new-age quasi-Buddhist-free-love-and-incense-spirit-quests spoken as Love Is Beautiful Let's Share It Sweet Sister
• Racists!
• Sexists!
• Misogynists!
• Bait and switch
• Dieting tips!
• Occasional threats!
• Thinking I'll be impressed you figured out my hooker name, yet are not willing to pay me
• Manipulation
• LIES. ALL THE LIES
• Stalkers
• Epic fuckery
• Douchebagery
• Lessons
• Rejection, going both ways

Mentioned only because it all makes the magic so much sweeter. A thoughtful, coherent, initial contact, initiated by him. Weeks of texting, talking, laughing - easy. No rushing. No questions about bra size. No sexual innuendos. Not one. Brain quest. Familiarizing. Discussions of feminism, racism, activism. The stuff of my heart. Laughter. Ease. Comfort. Excitement. Smiles. Constant smiles. Zero doubts. Zero red flags.

And then we finally met. A first date, evident in the first 10 minutes. Traditional enough to pick up the tab, but progressive enough to understand patriarchy and the value of sex work, minus the judgment or disgust. The comfort of new friendship, and the excitement of romance stirring over coffee. Contentment and thankfulness barely contained. Almost spilling out into happy tears as it's written. Flirting! Compassion about bodily aches and limitations. Masks left at home, or somewhere else. Fruity beers and delicious salad. Jokes. Laughter. Disbelief. After so much hurt, disappointment, and heartache, this? For me? Finally?

(image found here. If anyone knows who the artist is, please comment or let me know!)


Wonderful conversation. Comfortable silence. Absent of usual doubts. Confident that this isn't a long, sweet dream. A real date. With a real, feminist, body-positive, sex work-positive, Palestine/Indigenous/human-rights supporting man. Of exactly my physical type. Brown eyes, skin, hair, and stubble. Shining eyes. Smiling eyes. Mouth spouting brilliance and humour and desire. Charmingly awkward. A plan unfolding almost exactly as I wished it. Dreams manifested.

My place. A bit of wine. Games. Jokes. Talking. So much talking. Friendship. Curious about each other. A request to move closer. Feet on my legs. Hands touching. Pulled slowly, closer to me. Finally a kiss, quickly upgraded to horizontal cuddles in my bed. No problem with the fan. Laughter! Questions, endless. Arms around torsos. Aloe Blacc. Ideas for romance-enhancing apps. Zero pressure. More than we'd planned sexually. No fear of disappearance or hurt. Expressions of desire. Talks of future encounters. Request for mouthwash met with enthusiastic compliance. Mouth on my nipples. Permission to go down requested, not caring about a lack of showering. Amazing oral. Touching. Kissing, cuddling. A surprisingly dirty mouth while fucking me perfectly from behind. Perfect fit. Eyes on eyes. Endless cuddles. Sweetest of dreams. Sadness that Dad will never meet him. Stories shared. Jokes. Laughter.

Coffee fetched in the afternoon, enjoyed over bagels. A return to cuddles. Dirty talk and fucking. Orgasms. A sex drive to match my own, completely undetectable before last night. Unbelievable oral. Giggles. Expressions of hope, that many more such days will ensue. A reluctant goodbye. Follow-up texts. Laughter. Smiles. Friendship. Acceptance of my true, dirty self, so far.

8 years! 8 years ago: this is what I had in mind, why I signed up. 8 years ago I might have rejected it. 8 years ago I was not who I am now. 8 years ago I didn't know what ridiculousness was out there for a woman like me.

8 years later, wrapped in magic. Feeling so fucking grateful and aglow. I know what's out there. This is special.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seduction Instruction

In a most particular order
Not one step shorter
Start it off with a stellar vernacular
Show me you're spectacular
Let your feminism shine
Ask me about mine
Honestly state your intentions
Disclose any infections
Accidentally graze my finger
Allow your gaze to linger
On my eyes, not my chest
Ask me what I like best
Assure me you're a cunnilinguist
Offer to demonstrate on my pinkest
When you can't stand the electricity
Request permission to kiss me
Start with my lips, move to my lobe
Stiffen as I unbutton my robe
Flick my nipples with your tongue
From your shorts you will have sprung
Ask me to lie down, remove my pants
Swipe my folds lightly with your hands
When I'm engorged, lick my clit
Maintain a swirling motion, just for a bit
Until my entire body is shaking
And your balls are aching
Bring your dick up to my lips
Unwrap a condom as I lick the tip
Roll it on and get in position
On top of or behind me, and push slowly in
Until my I push back and moan fervently
Then fuck me faster, harder, urgently
Until you holler and expand inside
Awaiting more, our time we'll bide






Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sobriety, Celibacy, Self

Sunday night, while enjoying a bad outdoor movie with a few really lovely friends, the subject of celibacy arose. My friend, a Scorpio, said she said was enjoying it, and, being a Scorp, was able to turn it on and off. I was envious! I quipped "ha. Mine isn't really by choice. I would love to be getting laid!". And everyone laughed. Aside from a few words about my ex and getting over that breakup, that's all I really said on the subject.

After I said it, in between words and laughs, that inner voice started chirping. Really? If you want to get laid, get laid, girl. And I thought... this IS my choice. I could be having sex every night if I wanted to. Every day too. I decided last year (or was it two or three years ago?) that my casual sex days were over. Paid sex or sex in the context of a relationship (whatever form that relationship might take) was the only kind of sex I wanted to have. At the time, I was buying into myths about female sexuality and self-worth, and thought that if I did this, I would be more loveable, more dateable, and sought after by mass hoards of men. I was doing this for the perceived benefit at the time, not because I actually wanted to give up sex.

It didn't work out that way, however. Almost every guy I've dated or slept with in that time, and there were only a few (in fairness, "a few" to me generally means "a lot" to others), lost interest, either after we had sex, or because we weren't having sex. My plan to attract love by withholding access to my body failed. Eventually, I poured all of my sexual energy into my ex. And it was great for a while. Part of why I miss him so much is that sexually, things got really intense for us in the end.

But then he did something relatively minor, given our history, and I ended it. And so I went from someone who used to have sex with a few people per month, including, and sometimes in addition to, clients, to someone who had a lot of mostly monogamous sex, to someone who now goes months without sex. I do have the odd sexual experience with one of my very few regular clients (who aren't regular anymore), but it never involves fucking, intimacy, or anything nearing satisfaction, for reasons including: wants handjob only, is annoying and self-obsessed, and coke dick. Also, paid sex and free sex are very different things for me.

And as I lamented this to my friends on Sunday, it occurred to me. NO. I did this for a reason. I grew so tired of, and dissatisfied with, fleeting sexual encounters. I could have sex if I wanted to. Craigslist is full of men who would be at my door within 30 minutes, some of them even bringing all manner of drink, drug, and/or food, at my request. I've gone that route, numerous times. A few of them were shits and giggles fun. But they were never satisfying, even on the rare occasions someone figured out how to make me come (or bothered to even try). It's too easy. It's not exciting anymore. It leaves me feeling the way a drinking or coke binge leaves me feeling the next day: sad, empty, and immature. I want that high school feeling, where things progressed from awkward hand-holding, to kissing, to heavy petting, to tops off, etc. I want the sexual energy to build up. I want to capture the electricity of it all, with someone I like and respect and actually enjoy spending time with outside of bed.

Don't get me wrong: I don't regret most of those encounters. All of my experiences have shaped who I am, and will provide great fodder for when I finally get around to writing my memoirs. But NOT engaging in those types of encounters has had effects on me I didn't realize until recently. It's reminded me that I don't need empty sex to be happy. It's brought me in line with the sex lives of almost everyone I know. It's given me the desire to get closer to my friends, to the people who love me and want to be in my life. It's made the times I DO have sex much more exciting. It's forced me to question my identity, a big part of which was asserting my female freedom through promiscuous sex. It's made me love myself even more. While it's sometimes painful to abstain, until I find someone I consider worthy of sharing in my body/love/life, I'd just rather not. I've gone this long without it now.

Speaking of identities... This has been a transformative year for me. I've given up several addictions, the most difficult being weed. I've been a chronic pothead since I was 18. My weed addiction has, in minor and major ways, negatively affected my life since then. And in January of this year, I quit. It's been over 8 months now (with the exception of one joint during my friend's drunken birthday party), and I don't really miss it. Gabor Maté says to never take your sobriety for granted. And I don't. On the rare occasions when I find myself thinking about smoking, I gently guide my mind away to my art, writing, friends, cooking, or riding my bike. And I remind myself that it might not always be that easy. Avoiding triggering people, places, where I'll be encouraged to smoke, is essential for me now, and has been surprisingly easy to do.

While drinking has never been a problem for me, it's another substance I've drastically cut down on. Drinking is one activity that makes me crave pot, drugs, and casual sex, and I know myself well enough to know when I am strong enough to partake in it. I still have drinks on occasions, like my friend's birthday, but it, too, makes me feel like crap, and being drunk now requires two days of healing and sleep. My body just doesn't want it anymore.

My ex was an addiction. I was hooked on the highs and lows of his love/abuse. I was hooked on his beauty, his erection, his perceived exoticness. And I let him go. I've had a few weak moments, and asked him back to my bed. Luckily, he refused. I still miss him. I still cry at least twice a week. I still worry that my body will never tingle that way again. But ultimately, I give thanks that he is out of my life.

My dad died in May, and I was afraid that I would retreat to all of these addictions. But I haven't. Not one of them. It's been a few months now. It's become clear that any inheritance my dad wanted me to have isn't coming my way, thanks to my stepmom. I'm still not OK with that. I'm still not OK with my Dad being gone. I'm still messed up over a lot of verbal and emotional abuse I've endured in my lifetime. I'm still angry, sad, and afraid sometimes. But I am still sober.

I've had to deal with so much in the past few years, but this year in particular. Not being able to care for my dad was the hardest thing. Letting go of the fantasy of being with my ex forever broke my heart. It's slowly mending. I guess the point of this post is to be kind with myself, and to remind myself that I am strong enough get through really stressful times, can live a mostly sober life, and still have a great time. I'm still enthused about the occasional mushroom trip on the beach, or the occasional white line after a party, or getting drunk a few times per year, but these things no longer occupy prominent space in my mind.

I'm single, celibate, sober, and getting stronger every day. I prayed for this. I meditated on this. I fought for this. It's brought a lot of demons to the surface, ready to be slain. I'm proud of myself, and honestly, I never thought I'd get here.

(I might even try to give up coffee next. Then junk food. BABY STEPS.)

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.

Reasonable Facsimile
Photo credit http://humus101.com/EN/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/tahini-sauce.jpg

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.