The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. — Alice Walker
My last post garnered interesting feedback.
A literature professor and writer thought it the best articulation of my work to date, and suggested I submit for publication. I revised it and did, but I have no expectations the final revision sans the f-bombs will make it beyond this blog.
A female friend called me yesterday, and told me that it deeply resonated with her. “All women are sex workers in one way or another,” she said. Women go through various degrees of objectification and navigating sexual politics in life and the world, the institutional stuff that protocols can’t address. A recently published study discovered that women who are considered pretty make better grades than those who considered less attractive, no matter their academic achievements. Women who are considered pretty also make more money. The list goes on and on. (Attractiveness is also a marker for men and pay, but men have other compensatory advantages to bring with them. The attractiveness marker for women is a much louder and more strident note.)
In hashing out these two conversations this morning, with another friend, he said: “guys are always looking at a woman and thinking about fucking her, not fucking her, what she looks like, while the woman is trying to be professional. It’s not fair, and it’s tough.” This, from a former CEO of a publicly listed company. While this reveals a great deal about him, it illustrates how the world works too often.
No this is not man bashing day. No, I don’t reduce the world to the evil men with penises versus the sainted women. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and I like to think of myself as much more even handed than that.
Man bashing and female victimization aren’t where I live, for I am self-determined.
If I focus on the statistics and the studies, I am letting something out there grab my power from me.
The out there doesn’t define me: my inner life and evolving Consciousness do.
My faith is in a Greater Power, not statistics.
On that journey, guess what, I am allowed to vent on my blog, in a way that I find helps me during a tough work week.
We all have them.
And in writing a rant, I might actually hit gold.
But this post is generated from the entirely unpleasant and unwelcome “feedback” I received from a friend, who felt that my rant had given him license to rant about several things — this after admitting he didn’t read my post that carefully. (So why bother responding? If you haven’t bothered reading, what is the game, here?)
We had an email back and forth, none of which I found pleasant, because I sincerely believe it had less to do with me than him.
I learned a couple of things from that back and forth, as I move forward in my writing career: 1) someone won’t read your stuff, and then offer over 2,000 words on why it sucked, instead of dealing with the substance, or even asking a question or two about what something meant in the rant’s center. Asking questions is good; 2) good intentions need to be honored, respected, and treasured for their intentions, but they are simply “good intentions” and the road to hell is paved with them; 3) everyone’s at a different level of their psycho-spiritual development, sex work triggers a whole lot of responses, and especially on this particular topic, best to offer some objective insights and scholarly opinions, then let the rest fall.
I value my peace, and sometimes that means letting off some steam, and letting go. And that’s okay, because I’m human.
Some of what I’ve discovered about myself since that back and forth, which may not have been palpable in the rant, was that I am completely okay with this work and my clients. Shame is no longer part of my life story, I own myself, my inherent dignity, and my self-love. This position having been hard won: nothing outside of myself defines me. My dignity and strength and purpose come from my spiritual center.
My story is that I am a writer, and the sex work has been an important part of my life story, which, as a writer I will not bury. Nor do I think anyone should have to bury any part of their story because the world tells them it’s shameful.
This other stuff is just work. That’s it. And that was the point. A tough work week. No etiquette rule books. I get to rant. It’s my blog. And from the other feedback I received, it spoke to folks.
I realized, too, after this back and forth, that other women may be victimized by their experiences. There are a couple of feminists that go on and on about female victimization in sex work, and I now understand they have a right to that. I don’t think it serves them well, or other women. And it’s not a story I choose, because it’s too crippling, and interferes with bigger life projects. But I cannot deny them their feelings or experiences, that’s not my place.
So let’s be clear about that last entry, in case my self-described rant was poorly executed:
I have an amazing life. I am a service provider in an industry where there are no rule books, and there’s a whole lot of mystification about what goes on. I have been doing this long enough to have some wonderful clients and supportive relationships anchored in mutual trust, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy work, or that some men don’t need to have boundaries drawn, given the nature of the business. This is business in which boundaries are blurred for many reasons, and there are no rule books for how to treat workers.
I make more money than working retail, babysitting, or housecleaning. I have great flexibility to do as I like.
But make no mistake, this is tough work. And I have a right to express that on my blog. And in that revelation, as my girlfriend told me, “you said what needs to said” in other words, the post touched on things that many women feel just moving through the world.
The deeper reality is this, and what the first parts of that rant implied but didn’t express: moving beyond ourselves as bodies to an understanding of our Divinity, our sacred selves. As long as we see the world as bodies, work labels, gender labels, educational credentials, income labels, race labels, we are missing the point. The point is we are Consciousness unfolding, the universe knowing itself, and respecting the path of all people (and creatures) and granting them their inherent dignity.
This is the fundamental truth that underlies all the other narratives, and why I am completely okay with what supports me at this place in time.
Everything changes. Quickly. Nothing is forever.
Living in my peace doesn’t mean it’s not difficult work, and doesn’t mean I won’t have a self-indulgent meltdown.
I am entitled.
If you can’t deal with it, then please don’t contact me if the only time you’ve bothered to read (or not read) my writing and respond is when I am ranting about sex work. That gesture speaks volumes. I have written poetry, written on gardening, written on love and meditation. Written on life.
Yeah, no response to gardening. No response to a hike in a hills. But a rant on sex work, lettur rip with the opinions.
Not once did I hear from my friend about how beautifully I express my love for another, my love for the Divine, or how much they enjoyed my flower pictures and gardening entries. No, what I get is a crappy email about how they can’t bother reading the entry carefully, but I need to get out of this business, because I’ve become a shrill bitch who can only go on about “the patriarchy, the patriarchy, the patriarchy,” and I need to come back in a thousand years as another species.
So yes, I learned a great deal, thank you
Moving forward, I know that a good audience depends on allowing people the room and space to speak their peace and explore their feelings on a given day, without running in and jumping all over them with unsolicited advice, without a seeming whit about who I have presented myself in these entries.
Unsolicited advice, that’s a hard nut to crack. But when you’re in love with yourself, you worry less about trying to fix other people.
And I give my friend that failure. Because life is short and precious, best that we all just embrace our preciousness and the moment while we have it — and let the rest fall.
If you read my previous entry, I thank you. And I hope this has clarified anything that my rant’s noise may have obscured.
Not because I lack confidence, but because I have both confidence and clarity.