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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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Silent Condonation

I had a most unpleasant exchange with a stranger online today. It started off sweetly, as a thank you for my activism around Palestine, about which I'm pretty vocal. He expressed gratitude that non-Muslims like myself cared deeply about the issue and spoke out about it. I initially thought he was another person of an almost identical name who started a support group for fat folks, which opened the subject of dating fat women. By the end of this conversation, I was in tears.

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.

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.

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, 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.

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)

GO BUY THE SHIRT HERE: http://laughingsquid.com/f-u-pay-me-t-shirt-by-mike-monteiro/



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

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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arakna (no spider relation)

Your eyelashes curl around my heart
The lightest rain falls through the hole above

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Smaller ≠ Healthier

Consider this your first warning: Those of you, well-intentioned though you may be, who constantly hate on your own bodies for being too fat, and who always compliment me when you think I've lost weight... well... you all SERIOUSLY trigger me. And I have had enough.

Milk and Lemon

A warm head wave and tingles
Precursor to tears
Remembering my original inspiration
To banish you from thought
Or feebly attempt, with words
Unable to wade through
You, of complicated layers
Of money and intimacy
Of soulful stares
Raging passion
Rosewater pudding
Refusing to hear no
English lessons, barriers
Uncovered, pushing in
Control and manipulation lurk
Conspicuously behind beauty and joy
Stroking my face lovingly
Stabbing me thrice
When I let my heart forget
Those times twice
And how I ached
Last night in your warm arms
Holding in tears and swarms
Of deep, father-nanna-fears
Baby, I like you, but...
Eyes deep
Knowing better
Caring less
Longing still for your body
Your kisses
Your conditional love
You who wishes me bald
Black haired and youthful
Me who wants you
Exactly as you are
If only mutual
We are beautiful together
Painful and imbalanced