Life Is So Strange.

Beware – touchy-feely words below:

I had a thought today about how funny this world is – it started from a song lyric spinning around in my head.

“Can’t forget that I’m golden.”

That idea is a major part of success in my experience – to remember my worth, and to understand how much I really deserve. There are a few things in my life that have helped me understand my own value.

The first one was transitioning. Before this, I couldn’t see a future for myself. I couldn’t see a reason to do anything, to build anything, to work on myself. Before this, there was only distraction. I would spend entire days behind a keyboard trying in vain just to escape reality. I was a sad person who learned to act happy when required.

The second thing that helped me understand my worth was escorting. I had already been living as a woman for several years at this point. I had a future now – I had a reason to build up instead of escape. I had to find a home within myself before I could do anything meaningful with my existence. In this career, I have taught myself real skills. Marketing, writing, advertising, customer service, bookkeeping, traveling, web development, photography. I’m a Jill-of-all-trades, sure. And I could stand to improve in all these skills. The point though, is that that I run a business in which I enrich the lives of others directly. I have been told repeatedly, “I don’t know what I would have done without you.” and, “Since meeting you I am so happy, and I smile all the time for no reason other than I know you.” Do you know what that does to a person’s self-esteem?

It’s jet fuel.

I hope you, reader, have found your own fuel. Whether it’s your kids, your career, or whatever. And maybe if you’re running low you can have some of mine.

Supporting my friends is the one of the most satisfying parts of this work. I’ll be your cheerleader, your confidant, and your rock if you need one.

Okay, enough feels. The song mentioned above was “Fukk Sleep” by A$AP Rocky.

Letter to Bri

I originally wrote this in 2015, in an effort to vent feelings about the murder of a young trans woman in a nearby neighborhood:

Dear Bri,

I drove by your house tonight after work and thought about you. I know I shouldn’t have. It’s creepy as fuck, and nothing good would come of it. I guess I was hoping I’d suddenly understand, that the proximity would allow me to see *what* and *why*, and help me to deal with this. Besides, it’s virtually in my neighborhood, and I couldn’t resist.

Maybe seeing the place you last stood would allow me to stop thinking about you. You were on my mind all day, and my work suffered as a result. I told lots of people about you this morning. They all gasped and said, “How horrible!” but I don’t know if they cried like I did. I don’t even understand how I can be grieving for you when we haven’t even met. Just who the hell do I think I am? I don’t think I’m allowed to feel this way.

Maybe it’s because I stopped going to that support group and sitting in a circle with the rest of those people. I felt like I didn’t need them anymore. I had my friends and family as support. I didn’t drop out completely though. I stayed active on the internet, giving encouragement where I could and siphoning perspective from others. This ( http://lexiecannes.com/2015/02/15/trans-woman-murdered-in-ohio-another-tortured-on-video-then-killed-in-brazil) is where I learned about what happened between you and your father.

Maybe I wish I’d known you. Maybe we would have become friends. Maybe you would have been elsewhere on Friday night. Maybe I feel like we’re the same person.

I know this isn’t about me. It’s about you and your friends and family. But I had to get this out. I feel selfish for it, but I don’t know that I had a choice.

For reasons I don’t understand, I know I’ll never forget you. Rest in peace Bri.

-M

Compassion and the State of the Industry

If you’re not a frequent customer then you may not be aware of the new legislation that our leaders just signed. It’s called FOSTA/SESTA, and while I’m not writing this to explain to you what it entails (read about it here), I do want to make my beloved clients and friends aware of what it does.

It has a profoundly chilling effect on advertising and communication for providers. Some sex workers rely very heavily on websites to reach and screen potential clients, as well as social media like Twitter. This means that some of us will be making significantly less contact with both clients and other providers. This in turn has a few effects:

  1. Some men and women will be more likely to make an exception for a new client because her options are limited and she needs to pay her rent and feed her family.
  2. She will be less able to screen out a client who poses a physical threat to her. I consider myself extremely privileged, in that I have another source of income. However, some of my friends and colleagues are not as stable and I fear for their well-being.
  3. Some workers may be forced onto streets and into bars as a last resort. This multiplies the risk of violence and victimization.

If you read the Wikipedia link above, you may be asking, “But Marissa, what’s so wrong with ending sex trafficking? That sounds like a hell I’d never wish on anybody.” You’re right, it is an unspeakably awful thing that needs to be erased from our society. There’s just one problem. What I do and what sex traffickers do are two entirely separate things. I love what I do. I do it for fun and power and love of my clients and friends. I’m not hurting anybody – in fact I heal wounds and lift spirits, and motivate positive change.  At the time of this writing, the Wikipedia page says the laws “clarify the country’s sex trafficking law to make it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking.” What I (and untold thousands of other men and women) do isn’t trafficking in the slightest, yet it’s rocking the entire foundation upon which we work and live.

And because it’s so unspeakable and taboo, it shuts down any conversation regarding the actual effects of the law. Freedom of speech issues aside (a phrase I never thought I’d write), it has an effect that will be detrimental to your favorite guy or girl. No politician in his right mind would vote NO on a sex trafficking bill. I don’t blame them. I can imagine the smear campaigns that would result. They want to keep their jobs too, and they’re not afraid to put a big dent in free speech – or to hurt the providers they themselves frequent – to do that.

If you take anything from this article, let it be this: Treat your providers with compassion. We’re hurting right now.