I Did It! Step One

Well, I signed up for Rania and Don’s practitioner training. The first part happens this weekend. I bought myself a himalayan rock salt lamp to celebrate. It’s pleasing pink glow on my table/writing desk is a symbol of the positive changes I am making in my life. I still haven’t figured out how to wiggle out of my lease, but I have had some friends give me valuable advice on the subject. I’m biding my time, looking online at places occasionally, and trusting that all will work out in the end.

I saw Josh last night, and we spent much of today together. Almost a year of being in each other’s lives and it still feels positively magical. My friend Ra, who did a shamanic healing session with me last week, said that he feels strongly that my story will have a happy ending… which is only fitting considering I have given happy endings to so many (hardy har). I am taking his advice with Josh and am just focusing on the here and now and on how wonderful it is to be with him. No freaking out about The Future or whywouldanyonewannabewithahooker or any of that drivel. Just be present with this wonderful person right now, and let the rest sort itself out. I firmly believe that once I transition to being a tantric practitioner, I will be in a stronger place to make my feelings known. In the meantime, I truly don’t think he’s going anywhere. He is very loving with me and I with him. No harm in taking the slow, steady path.

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A Ritual of Devotion

I have been thinking a great deal about ritual lately, especially within the context of intimate relationships and sexual work. In our culture, we have disconnected the heart from the genitals, the sacred from the body, to our detriment. As I think about the beautiful gift that I have been given with this deep love for Josh, and how our connection has helped me open to the divine and to heal many inner wounds, I want to do something concrete to express my gratitude.

The last time I was in Victoria, I stumbled upon an info sheet about the ritual of foot washing. The services advertised were based on the Christian tradition and were offered by a pastor. The point of the ritual is one of service and humility, of offering yourself to another with respect and devotion. Although I have deep issues with Christianity, there are parts of it that inspire me, and this ritual is one of those things.

In the context of a relationship, I believe that mutual service and honouring the divine within each other is so important. It is fraught in this culture of gender inequality and dissatisfaction within relationships to approach your beloved with a spirit of service and humility. Still, I think this is necessary in many ways for true intimacy and devotion to blossom. I used to think a lot, back when I was still caught up in the cycle of unfulfilling and abusive/dysfunctional relationships, how nice it would be if both people could approach the other with that spirit of service. Indeed, if both people look out for one another, no one is left wanting.

My relationship with Josh is a revelation to me in that respect. This is the first relationship that has lasted more than a few months in which I feel truly honoured and respected. I know that he is interested in doing things that make me happy, and he has approached me time and again from a place of service and devotion. I want to do the same, and I want to honour him in a ritual sense. I know it seems a little strange, but I want to do this.

When he comes back, I am going to invite him over for a ritual. I will cook him dinner, and after I have fed him, or perhaps before, I will wash his feet in a ritual bath with essential oils and give him a massage. I will take this time to tell him how much he means to me and how he has enriched my life, and how thankful I am to him for his gift of gentleness and sweetness and strength. I will tell him that I have decided to stop keeping my emotions close to my chest like a card sharp and am ready to express them to the people closest to me. Like him. I want him to know how much he means to me, even if I risk rejection in the process. Because what is life without a little risk, right?

New Developments

I have taken some time off this month. It was necessary for me to avoid burnout and to make some changes to my life. I’ve been practicing yoga almost daily now, and getting back into weight training and regular meditation practice.
I am continuing on a path of inner spiritual work. I am shedding my past skin in many ways, transforming from the terrified woman with the walls up to the soft and open lover of life who allows herself to be seen. With time, these transformations are less scary to me and more exciting.
I have also connected with some amazing people lately. I connected with a lovely couple who are both Tantric massage practitioners and sacred sex workers. We have developed a friendship with the possibility of play. I am very grateful for their presence in my life and look forward to spending more time with them.
Also, I recently attended two workshops by a sexological bodyworker I know. About four years ago, I was his client. He helped me heal from some trauma in our first session, and in our second session, he gave me extreme pleasure. I was a different person then, still married, starting to recognize my erotic needs as important.
When I arrived at the workshop, he didn’t recognize me. We had a good laugh about that, and we talked about work. I told him that I am currently working in the sex industry and that I am planning to study sexological bodywork. I said, truly, that he inspired me with his work.
Now, he and his partner have expressed interest in playing with me. I am deeply honoured by their interest, and I would like to explore with them. I have given a ‘maybe’ at this point.
The thing is, I love playing sexually with different people, but since I’ve become a sex worker, this has taken a back seat to other desires. These two beautiful couples are deeply attractive to me erotically, and being with them could promise to be very transformational and exciting indeed. Still, I feel some anxiety, because I want to solidify the relationship with Josh first. We still haven’t ‘defined our relationship’ and I am finding now that I want to have that conversation more than ever.
He is away this week on business, and I think of him often, and with such an abundance of passionate love. He has had such a profound impact on me and I am overflowing with gratitude to him for his presence in my life. The fear has taken a back seat now to this wonderful feeling of gratitude and happiness. I am finding that now, more than ever, I want my own partner. I want stability along with passion. I want to do the work necessary to sustain a long-term relationship. I am abandoning those notions that I, as a sex worker, cannot have lasting love. I am still a wonderful person to be with, regardless of what I do for a living. Exclusive access to my pussy is far from the only thing of value that can be offered. How about kindness, warmth, understanding, support? I can offer everything to a partner except sexual exclusivity, which is not the most realistic thing to promise, and it is not something that Josh has indicated is of upmost importance to him anyway. I am feeling empowered to be true to my feelings and frame what I have to give in a positive, rather than considering my love to be a burden that I ought to offer to no one.

Conversations With my Lover on Sex Work

It is still a somewhat awkward topic at times, and I find myself not disclosing every work story when I am with Josh. I don’t want to worry him, and I don’t want to bog him down with information about all my clients and experiences. A couple weeks ago, I was visiting him, and we were having coffee on the table in the common area of his apartment building, and the conversation flowed in a way that made the topic easy to address.

He mentioned that he has an issue with people who claim to be ‘sexual healers’. This led to a discussion on how one can never be a ‘healer’ but rather a facilitator for someone to go through the healing process themselves. The person may provide something that helps the person heal, but they are not responsible for the healing.

My heart beat faster as I took a sip of my black coffee. Now was my chance to take a risk, be vulnerable, and share my personal experiences with my lover. It would either bring us closer, or he would have an issue with it and it would push us apart.

I told him the story of the young man I worked with who was terrified to have sex after his long-term girlfriend consistently belittled him in bed. I told Josh about how I held this man and comforted him before guiding him through the experience of pleasuring me, and how after the session was done, he was completely ecstatic that he was able to have pleasurable sex again.

Josh looked at me in a way that showed me that he really got it. His eyes lit up and were full of admiration. “That’s awesome,” he said, and my heart swelled with happiness. My work had not made me unloveable. Quite the opposite.

I told him another story about a man who hired me to pleasure his girlfriend. She wanted the experience, but was terrified. I gave her a full-body massage and talked her through the experience, giving her a full vulva massage and an internal massage. The session ended with her asking her boyfriend to watch me and take notes for future reference.

Josh suggested that we watch The Sessions together, the movie about the sex surrogate who works with the man who was crippled by polio and who spent most of his life in an iron lung. The next weekend, we watched the movie together and cuddled the whole time. I found it very moving, even though I would have preferred that they had given the surrogate more air time and explored her life more deeply. The poet with polio was the character who got the most air time, and he was a fascinating character, and the connection between him and the surrogate was very touching. It was also nice to see a sex worker portrayed as having a healthy marriage, even though it was not explored in great detail.

I am so blessed to have found someone like Josh. He is the man I used to imagine myself finding, and, over time, grew to believe did not exist, at least not for me. He deeply respects women and is very spiritual.

Musings on Openness, Risk, and Whole-heartedness

I’ve been on a conscious path of self-improvement lately. Now, with the new options that I have as a whore, I have more money and time for such things. First, I threw myself into activism, wanting to create positive change in the world. Now, I have been scaling that back just a little. I’ve started seeing a therapist to help me deal with the emotional residue from my marriage, the things I didn’t have the time or resources to deal with three years ago. I’ve gone back to practicing yoga regularly, and I am in the process of reorganizing my home to be more of a temple, with the help of my friend Ra, who has been an amazing support to me over the last six months.

The last few weeks have been difficult, but also full of wonderful surprises. I am doing my best to focus on the positives and see the lessons I can learn.

I recently started a romantic relationship with a woman from the community I have admired from afar for a long time. We dated very briefly, and I loved every moment I spent with her. She decided to end the romantic relationship a couple weeks ago, because she wanted to focus on a former lover she still has feelings for. I understand where she is coming from, but of course it hurt. Mere hours after she broke things off with me, I had a big falling out with a very close friend when I read something he said to me as judgmental and mildly whorephobic. I know he isn’t whorephobic, but I had just had someone break up with me hours before, so I was in an emotional state. Losing him as a friend so suddenly was heartbreaking, even moreso than losing the romantic and sexual connection I had with this wonderful woman. With her, at least I know I still have her friendship.

All of this has me thinking about life, love, relationships with others and with myself. I don’t know exactly what went wrong with my friend, but I have been soul-searching. I know there have been times that I have been insensitive, self-absorbed, unreliable. I also think that I’m pretty awesome in other ways. Bottom line, we can’t read another person’s mind. I haven’t contacted him since because I don’t want to force myself where I am not wanted. I would, of course, welcome a dialogue, but I will not push for one.

Josh and I still have a strong connection, and we see each other regularly. I still feel paralyzed when it comes to expressing my true feelings for him. I know that I have to get over it and just talk to him, and I have started in little ways to open up, but it’s hard. I am wondering why this is so hard for me. I am working on a practice of meditation where I focus on love without grasping, without expectations. When we try to control another person, we stifle them and the relationship suffers. Love at its best is unconditional. I am working towards being able to love without expecting anything in return, without grasping for guarantees of devotion, safeguards against hurt. Those safeguards are illusions anyway. Hurt is inevitable, and it isn’t the end of the world. I have been hurt before, and I have grown from it and created some art in the process. We break and mend many times in our lives. I need to be ok with breaking open, with my heart being free to love without fear, despite all that there is to fear. Stakes are high in love because there is so much to gain.

This weekend, my cat went missing. She is an indoor cat, and somehow she managed to sneak outside. I was distraught, missing her terribly and worrying. I looked for her, before texting Ra and Josh about the situation. Ra came over immediately, and went looking for her while I curled up in a ball in my bed and cried, praying for her safe return. Extreme? Perhaps, but I love my cat and I have a somewhat irrational fear of bad things happening to her. When I was a teenager just getting off the street, I lived in a house with a lot of cats. My roommates psychotic boyfriend poisoned them on Christmas Eve and they died in my arms. Before that, my first cat got sick after having her kittens when I was eight. She died in my bedroom, and I was afraid of her sickness and went to sleep with my parents, leaving her to die alone. I have always felt guilty about that. So yeah, I was beside myself crying.

When Josh got my text, he was over to help me look for her within twenty minutes. We walked through my neighborhood calling her and trying to lure her out with food. No luck. We sat in my backyard for a while, and he hugged me and reassured me, encouraged me to not beat myself up for her disappearance. He took me back to his place and fed me dinner. After dark, we went back to my place and started looking for my cat again. We interacted with six different neighborhood cats (and fed them treats) before finally finding her. She had been in my neighbor’s backyard hiding. She was damp (my neighbor is an eccentric woman who zealously waters her garden) but unharmed. I have such gratitude for the people in my life who are here for me when things go wrong.

Before we found my cat, I told Josh that the past few weeks had been really difficult, what with my friend’s departure and all. “If you want to go away, please wait a week or two” I said. “Don’t do it now, I don’t think I can handle it.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. I breathed a sigh of relief and hugged him for a long time. Bob Marley once said that everyone ends up hurting you, you just have to find the ones worth suffering for. If anyone is worth suffering for, it is definitely Josh.

Inner Conflicts

I am not always crazy about the work that I do. I mean, it gives me a chance to help people work through their sexual issues, which is great fun. I get to have all kinds of fun, new, interesting sexual experiences. That is awesome. I am independent, financially and sexually, which is amazing. Since I got into this industry, I’ve been able to do a lot of charitable work in the community, because of having more time and more money. When I was waiting tables six days a week working double shifts, I would not have had the energy. I’ve taken art classes. All in all, it’s been positive.

My conflicts come from how my work is viewed from the outside. I worry about things that seem unfair. I know I have sex for money, but the sex I have with my lovers remain deeply meaningful, perhaps even more so than before. When I am with Josh, I feel at excess of gratitude at being able to feel so much pleasure, and to connect with this wonderful person.

When it comes down to it, fast sex, like what I have at work, is easy for me. There is very little emotional risk. I am able to be giving and nurturing while being protected by a facade of glitzy outfits, bubbly persona, and even a fake name. With them, I don’t have to talk about my history, how I used to struggle with depression, how I became involved in abusive relationships, the times I used to self-mutilate, how I exhibited signs of PTSD while I was married because of the dynamics of our relationship. Being able to give to others, to see them in their flawed, human state with their pain and dysfunction, and still care for them and wish them well, does not mean that one is comfortable being viewed in that light by another. I know I am not.

After the Cabaret, when I cried in front of Josh for the first time, I was mortified. I felt like I had violated some sort of code, and made myself utterly undesirable. Of course, it didn’t seem to change anything on his end, and on mine, it made me realize how deeply I want a close, loving romantic relationship. When I am honest with myself, I know that I have always wanted that. Josh met my deep need for kindness and gentleness, as well as my need for genuine passion.

He is aware of my work, but sometimes I wonder if he is in some denial about it. Or if the work will be an impediment to my finding a serious relationship. I didn’t think I wanted one, but now, with Josh, I find that I do. Very deeply. An unconventional serious relationship where I can keep doing this work until I can transition into a different career, something more along the lines of Sexological Bodyworker or Sex Therapist. A serious relationship where he can have other lovers on the side and I can too, but we remain committed emotionally to each other. We are both holding each other at arm’s length, both shy after having been burned in past relationships. I wonder lately how much I mean to him. Does he love me, or am I just his hot sex girl that he will drop the moment he finds a more ‘serious’ partner? I sense that there is something real between us, but it is hard for me to believe that.

I know that there are sex workers out there who have successful relationships. Kitty Stryker, Souixie Q, Annie Sprinkle, Carol Queen. I know that the insights I have from being a sex worker have made me a more desirable partner in many ways. I understand the hidden vulnerabilities of men in a way that other women don’t, because men tell a sex worker things that they are unlikely to share with a lover. I know a lot about sex, which is awesome. Still, I keep wondering what makes me so special as to be worth the stigma of partnering with a whore, not to mention the potential legal issues. I get so angry that my profession is not considered just a job, like any other. Like massage therapy, or talk therapy.

At the bottom of all of this is my intense fear of being hurt, of truly committing to another person and opening up the door to all sorts of potential pain. Still, I want to be open to love, so I will continue on the path and try to keep an open mind and heart as things progress.

Changes

I have become one of five organizers for a local movement/protest march against victim blaming and slut shaming. I am reluctant to write too many identifying details until I have passed the hurdle of becoming completely out about my work, so forgive my vagueness in this post.

I decided to take on a fundraiser event for the march and related events, because we have no money. I have never organized an event like this before, so the last few weeks have been stressful to say the least! It was a smashing success, though. Not as lucrative as I would have liked, but very inspiring how the community came together and made this magical night happen.

I met some amazing people, including the fabulous drag queen who hosted the event. This person is an inspiring performer and a powerful activist in the LGBT community. Over the week leading up to the event, we got to know each other very well, and have developed a connection of mutual respect. I owe the success of the event largely to them.

I also performed at the event. I did drag, and burlesque, for the first time in two years. Josh agreed to be my burlesque co-star. My number involves a reenactment of the Pygmalian myth with the genders reversed, and he agreed to be my statue. Yay!

I took him on a little shopping trip to a sex shop on Davie Street, one that specialized in mens fetish wear. He seemed to enjoy the day, and we found him a beautiful leather jockstrap that showcases his generous endowment, and I found a pair of leather gauntlets for my drag persona. Afterwards, we went out for beer and wings. With him, things feel so good and right. We flow together, we get each other’s jokes, and we can talk about deep topics. The sex has always been deeply passionate, but now, it seems to have gone to the next level, passion mixed with tenderness.

Pierre had, before that, offered to donate a course to the fundraiser, which was very generous. He had also told me I should consider coming clean about my relationship with him to Josh. As I sat at the bar with Josh, looking at him and being amazed that I could have found someone so beautiful inside and out, I realized that I didn’t have it in me to tell him. I don’t feel as close to Pierre. We don’t flow the same way. I realized that I felt too much pressure with two regular lovers, plus being a sex worker and an activist and an artist. I felt torn in too many directions, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue my relationship with Pierre. Despite the positives in our relationship, it felt like time to step back.

Later, I emailed Pierre and asked him to be incognito at the benefit. I told him I didn’t want our relationship to be public knowledge. He told me that he would respect my wishes, which he did. The event was an amazing experience for me. I loved performing, and seeing all those people come out in support of the cause. And to know that this event would not have happened except for my hard work and resources.

Still, there was stress in the evening as I watched Pierre drink tequila, sitting with Josh. I hoped they were doing ok, that everything would not come crashing down. Nothing happened, but by the end of the evening, I knew I couldn’t date both of them any longer. I had to choose. And my heart wanted Josh. Pierre got up at one point to talk about his class, and he said some things that were insensitive to the transgender population, which was a big part of the crowd, not to mention a big part of my community. I was embarrassed, but what could I do after he had donated so generously? So I smiled graciously and thanked him. I was quite relieved when he left.

That night, I slept over at Josh’s place. It was lovely and comforting and exciting to be with him. The next night, we decided to stay in and watch a movie and order pizza and drink beer. It was the perfect post-fundraiser activity. After that, he offered me a pot cookie. Usually pot cookies make me horny, but that night, it was different. Pot cookies apparently do not agree with me when mixed with beer and post-event exhaustion. We went to bed and started kissing and making out. I was sore and chafed from the six hour session earlier that day, and feeling vulnerable after the emotionally charged night before. We agreed to hold off on sex because clearly I needed time to recover. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by feelings of panic and intense fear. I realized again how much I am falling for Josh and how much I don’t want to lose him. I tried to stop the tears, but pretty soon, I was crying. Josh was amazing. He held me and comforted me. I realized that with him, I am getting the gentleness I have always wanted, but didn’t have a lot of in my relationships with men in the past. Particularly my ex-husband, who would often yell at me when I expressed uncomfortable emotions. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him it wasn’t something I was ready to talk about. I apologized for being a fucking mess and him having to see me like that, but he just kept holding me and telling me that it was ok, that there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

The next evening, I went to Pierre’s house and ended our romantic relationship. It was pretty low-key, although he did say a lot of other transphobic stuff, which upset me, but I was too tired to challenge. I hate that I didn’t challenge it, but I didn’t. I felt deflated, scared, tired, angry. I went home and spent the night in blissful solitude with my broody thoughts.

I have been questioning how capable I am at polyamory at this time in my life. I know I naturally flow that way, and it can take many forms, but having more than one partner that I see on a regular basis seemed exceptionally fragmenting and disorienting. Especially when my job involves sexual interactions with a variety of people. I think that I am naturally inclined to polyamory, but that I lack the time and the will to commit to a primary-type relationship with more than one person at a time. Satellite romances, on the other hand, are just fine in my book! And these things can change with time.