It was about this time exactly last year that I was feeling this frantic and hopeless. So I try to tell myself that when I think that it is something that I cannot survive. Last year, I broke up with the same boyfriend, kicked him out from living with me without paying rent and subletted my apartment (to 3 crazies who ended up trashing it in less than one month) and decided that going to the brothel in Nevada would be the solution to the lack of income in LA. A true migrant sex worker. Migrating to the legal side of the fence for supposed safety and maybe some fortune, but none of which came to fruition..
Well. The same thing is happening this year. I was hoping that my life wouldn’t repeat itself exactly and that by one year later I would have been in a better place with my music or art career, but none of that has come to fruition really. It has to do mostly with the fact that I am the unpaid director of a non profit that does too much with its non existent or minimal budget. My latest project has me mentoring elderly street workers who are using crystal meth. Me being as open as I am with helping people I have drained myself with the trauma that is the daily reality of these women. One of them calls me nearly every two days with some emergency. “Some group of guys is doing drive by paintball and pellet gun shootings of the transgender workers in Skid Row and my girls keep getting assaulted”. One of them calls me in crisis every week, sometimes every night. I’ve had to stop answering my phone, but she still calls. She’s in the depths of a crystal meth induced psychosis so doesn’t always make sense. Her voice is going in and out because she’s done so much that she’s lost her voice. She has told me that she’s been raped at least twice in one month. “I’m out here working without condoms! I need you to come here and bring the girls condoms!!!” she says trying to manipulate me to care for her like so many others have done to me…but I won’t budge this time. I can’t. I am overwhelmed like a peace worker in war torn Africa trying to get a grip. I feel that Skid Row, sanity and self care are on the verge of being lost and that I could quickly become her. She is a ghost of who I could become if I just allow myself to give up or get engulfed in the flames further. I am the napalm drenched child screaming and crying about her burns running from the fire bombed jungle in Vietnam…
But I just asserted my boundaries with my codependent boyfriend and I am just burnt out on what I can do to help people. All I can do is refer people to other services. I am not a life saver. I am not an ambulance. I am NOT even a rape crisis counselor or a trained mental health worker even…but she wants me to play all of those roles and I can’t. I give her phone numbers and referrals and she doesn’t do anything with them. She only wants to keep banging on my door. This is the same thing that the ex-boyfriend did when I wouldn’t let him back in the house. He and the street worker that blows up my phone have the same mental ILLNESS called dependency disorder. I learned its traits at the conference and when it was totally laid out to me it made me feel so much better! I have cut both of them off, but they are still circling me like vultures on fire, still calling, still knocking…still crying for their mothers that abandon them.
A different member is a narcissist and has been abusing me unconsciously since we met. In her passive agressive snidy remarks she reveals to me (and the other genetic girl in SWOP-LA) that she feels that I have all this privilege as a genetic female and because I don’t know what its like to be kicked out of my house at 11 or chased around the house with a butcher knife by my stepfather who pimped me out as a boy that I could never understand her pain (neglecting whatever pain we may have felt or are feeling as sex workers, as children, as queers, etc. To her, the true narcissist, it is never releveant). She demanded that I pay her $80 parking ticket that she got when she came over my house to “plan” our last minute presentation, because her parking tickets are my responsibility because I asked her to present. We didn’t really plan anything. She did come over at 12:30am the night before our presenation and try to seduce me instead of plan for the presentation which didn’t work. When I opened the door at 12:30am, she did DEMAND that I park her car, as if I were some valet or something. She did almost sleep in on purpose and HIDE MY CELL PHONE ALARM so that we would be late for our presentation..She did say a load of insulting things to me as I also told her, like my ex boyfriend who asked me for money that I don’t have; money that I supposedly owe them to “get the fuck out of my house..” and she said,”I am NEVER doing anything for YOU or SWOP-LA again! That’s why you don’t have anyone helping you!” and that was the end. For her…and for me. I realized in that breath of hers something that I never would have noticed had she not been a bitch to me like that. Many many times because of rejection from pushing forward with SWOP’s agenda in LA I have felt suicidal because I felt unappreciated and trampled on, misunderstood and oppressed and usually after some other sex worker bitches me out of the blue I would feel that way again, but I stopped myself and finally noticed it was really and truly THEM and not me and that it was time for me to move on. I realized a lot at this conference that we went to…I was one of the planning members but I left that committee because of group planning marginalization issues and when I got to the website of the event, every single one of the planning organizations was hyperlinked, except SWOP-LA. I was not imagining marginalization, it was a fact. The white woman that planned the conferenece that had so effectively alpha femaled me out the door drove off in her $60,000 black Mercedes Benz with tinted windows. I wasn’t imagining that she was acting like a pill popping uppity privileged BEOTCH. She was. It stared me in the face and I asked myself why I was fighting so hard, and asked myself what it would take for me to not always have to fight everyone…and the answer became clear. I don’t have to fight everyone. I don’t have to pick the most unpopular cause and wonder why everyone hates me all the time…I don’t have to work for free any longer. I don’t have to take your abuses. I don’t need to be your therapist, your mother, your pimp…I don’t even think I want to be your whore for a while.
If you would like to make a donation, and you can please send a check or money order to: 5042 Wilshire Blvd #202, LA, 90036 you can still write a check to SWOP-LA as the bank account is still active, but the funding will go to helping me get my neccessities of life together as I have done all these years for so many others in the community…If YOU are reading this and can help me, please do.
I am barely surviving on a day to day basis. It is not safe for me to leave the house at this time because I have no money in the bank, no money in my wallet and half a tank of gas in my car. I also don’t have insurance right now. I need $150 to get that. My phone is on the verge of getting cancelled and there would go the internet. I thought at the last entry that I had lost internet, but apparently they don’t cut that off til they cut off the phone I found out. I also need new contact lenses but I can’t get them because I also don’t have money. I looked into getting a cheaper apartment which is 1/3 of the size of what I have now but the rental office said that they (like everyone) does a credit check AND a criminal background check that even having misdemeanors disqualifies you. I gave back the application and decided that the BEST and only thing for me to do at this point was to fight to stay where I am because I will never find a place like I have let alone any place because of my lack of credit and regular job. My property manager is down my throat because I am always late..but the apartment next door has had a FOR RENT sign in the window for 2 months now..
(2 days ago)
Today I woke up trying to think up of ways to bring income into my life…i had been signed up to be on “webcams gone wild” by my neighbor’s daughter who is almost my age. I had never really wanted to do webcam work for some reason, but now my only choice for money is to go back to agency escorting which I tried with all my might and will to leave. It seemed like I should be able to stop something that was bringing ill will and danger to my life. Kind of like kicking my boyfriend out. again. I believe that I SHOULD be able to find prosperity doing SOMETHING else besides agency work. And in my quest to find a “REAL” job, I decided that directing my organization IS a real job, and it is one of the only things that I can do right now with my background check as it is. I wonder if “escorting without a license” is truly better than prostitution at the end of the day..Sigh. I spend ALL damn day trolling the internet for money. There used to Craigslist as a last ditch effort for quick money, but now in their crack down they have blocked all my accounts, my credit card and my ads never get approved. It is impossible to advertise there. My self esteem goes down when things are slow and I have all these ads out. Well, not ads. just ad. i spent the little $80 I had on one internet advertising source and it didn’t produce even a return on my investment. I spent $125 on a different internet website and the same thing happened (Fuck Eros!) . I start to feel ugly. I start to feel fat. People call me fat and pregnant on the web chat. I quit working with webcams gone wild after 4 hours. It was like being in a peepshow with Beavis and Butthead.
It reminded me of my stripclub days. I have NO patiece for jack ass fucks anymore, especially when I took their money as a R.O.B agency bitch. I just can’t go back to taking all their abuse without getting paid very well. I can’t. I was online chatting with idiots for NOTHING. At least with escorting, you show up and you get paid, even if it’s just $20 that you have to be a bitch to collect, you usually get paid something “for your troubles.” But stripping and webcam is just like being meat on a stick rotating around (literally in my swivel chair) for them to pick at and then not compensate…
Niteflirt is much much better than anything else. They take a huge part of what we make and tax us for everything but it is very very sex positive for me. I get paid to watch porn and masturbate! How fun. Masturbation has helped to bring joy into my life where there is none. It is really the only thing keeping me alive spiritually and finnancially even if that is only $60 a day…People are calling me from my real pictures, seeing me on webcam with my stomach rolls out and all and they usually love it! I’m having lots of fun with it. Much different than the webcams gone wild site, which by it’s name is NO WONDER that I didn’t last. (I hate GGW and the entire concept of free titty flashing for horny Spring Break frat guys for free) I know what I like in sex work now and I know what I won’t tolerate for any longer than I have to. And that is primarily what this transition is about. When you are fed up with your working conditions, do you have the “privilege” to “just say NO?” to them? Last year, when I got kicked out of the brothel, I decided that I did. I went back to agency escorting work..gladly. That was a year ago, almost exactly.
I am a sex worker in transition..Living on less than $40 a day. Webcam money trickling in and nothing gets deposited on the weekends. I refuse to go back to agency work, have considered going back into a stripclub, but I can’t seem to think of options fast enough. I just applied for what I thought was the ideal job recruiting students for this art college in SF and they already responded with a rejection. I am on the verge of being kicked of my apartment…on the verge of being homeless. on the verge of losing everything that I worked for. Today my conservative sister suggested that I not quit agency escorting cold turkey if that was my main income..it was just so she could not “enable” me in letting me borrow rent money. LOL. Dear Corporate Asian Democrat Suburban Moms…help your sister out!
I stepped down as director of Sex Workers Outreach Project-LA, the chapter that I founded. SWOP-LA was made possible because I worked 3x a week til the crack of dawn as an agency girl in LA hustling and being an outlaw cowgirl in the Wild West of LA..but because of all the trauma that I have experienced throughout because of being an agency girl AND all the residual trauma of holding the PTSD and the personality disorder abuse of all the sex workers that I have “mentored” over the 2.5 years that I ran SWOP-LA for no pay has finally gotten to me. If I don’t do agency escort work, I cannot run SWOP-LA because I am counting coins in a jar so that I can buy toilet paper for my house. Therefore, I am just as bad off as some of the girls on Skid Row: my immediate survival needs are the most prominent before activism and before any other screaming crying sex worker that is NOT myself. The girls I mentor have their groceries delivered every week and they have $800 in SSI to pay their rent. I don’t.
I AM SO BURNT TO CRISP OUT that I think I don’t want to get into a helping profession for at least 6 months…It’s hard not to be so hopeless but there you have it..I’m not sure why life has to be so fucking hard. Yes, this blog will become a book. I just have to get out of this mess first.
I Facebooked about dim sum as my only comfort food when I haven’t been able to leave the house unless I make money, not being able to buy the necessities of life like prescription contact lenses and toilet paper… Making $250 on the only call that you’ve had in over 7 days doesn’t really leave you a disposable income to buy dim sum but I need to do it anyway. It’s the one thing that is keeping me sane I believe: medical marijuana and comfort foods which hurt my survival budget but are also part of it. To the girls on the Row, it has to do with buying crystal meth so they can get well enough to “have the guts” to work on the streets. When I was 23 I swallowed a rock of meth in the desert and sent myself to the Emergency Room dehydrated and psychotic. They had to hold me down to put IV needles in my neck because my veins were too restricted..After working with so many drug users, I can see how easy it was for them to get the way they did, and I can see how much easier it is for them to stay where they are because the fight to stay alive and well has become so so much harder. There is a tempation to go there, but I’m not sure that I can. If I REALLY wanted to lose everything FAST, I’d just start heading to Skid Row and buying drugs to waste my life and sorrows away. How many people in any given city are doing that right now? Heroin addiction takes 3 days apparently..but like the women that I work with who both do not have teeth because of decades of crystal meth use, some drugs can tie you down for what seems like ever. I feel that agency sex work/sex work income is my current drug addiction and I am shaking and withdrawing hoping something will come along to ease my pain.
In the wake of my burnout, I realize that I have created oppressions by being a whore revolutionary activist (not that I will ever stop as an activist, just as a non profit director). I chose to work with THE most marginalized sex work population in LA and in a way I took on their plight, but the sad things is no other healthy human has the capability to truly do that because some of these women and men need professional help, and because their boundaries have been violated so many times they only know how to violate the boundaries of others in order for them to stay dependent and keep that healthy person attached, until they too become ill and are dragged to the gutter alongside them. And believe me folks, I am in NO WAY SAYING I AM healthy all the time! I have PTSD just like them, and in fact am signing up for FREE therapy at the local Rape Crisis Center (the advice that I gave to the one that actually got raped, I ended up taking) so I can deal with the triggering that is happening to me as a survivor myself dealing with all the trauma of all the other survivors in my community. I decided to flee the burning house. But I am burned and in pain still.
I have been here before, on the verge of transition. I knew what this would be like before I did it because transitioning out of stripclub stripping was the same way. I just never wanted it to come. I might never have quit my boyfriend, SWOP-LA or agency escorting if I didn’t make the “choice” to not do things that will kill me anymore. Does God support those choices that I made? I wonder if more doors don’t open for me like these people who are so jealous of all that they think I have..This other sex worker writes on my wall that I can’t possibly be doing survival sex work and eat dim sum. But she has NO IDEA how hard it gets for me to sometimes balance survival and sanity. No Idea. She brags about her social work experience and argues with ANOTHER sex worker activist about whether or not I can use the word survival sex to describe my experience because SHE has WORKED WITH SURVIVAL SEX WORKERS. I replied that what we think of as survival is sometimes more stable than [we] “privileged, educated so called middle class” workers with cars and internet access. But I do not have steady income and the neccesities of life (groceries, toilet paper, medication) covered so, in this case, cutting off my Skid Row girls because they were demanding of me more time and resources than I had because they regularly exhaust their own was not happening for me any longer. I can’t believe this social worker hadn’t learned that it is the most appropriate to let the person USE THE WORDS THAT THEY USE TO DESCRIBE THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE AND HONOR THAT. Whether they say that they are “trading sex for drugs or shelter” or doing “sex work.” Sex work doesn’t describe their experience, she says like she knows best which is sort of her type A personality that I have grown to know in activism through our years together in it. Only someone like her would write this on someone else’s Facebook wall. I even pulled the white privilege card to fend them off. [White]Ladies, [White]Ladies, [White]Ladies…When you are done deconstructing what words I can use to describe my experience, look up and give me a nod, okay..?
But truly because of the work I did with SWOP-LA have completely reconsidered certain notions of class and privilege because DRUG ADDICTION, POVERTY and AIDS can strip all of that away quicker than a white man in Skid Row can pick up a shiny quarter that dropped in a puddle of Hep C infected blood on the ground…