March 3rd came and went in Los Angeles and the director that took over after me has just told me that she is stepping down from running SWOP-LA. It’s not a huge shocker. The organization had been in slow decline for 4 months prior to her telling me. On March 3rd I gave it the old SWOP-LA try for a second and spent a day and a half squawking around like a chicken on fire trying to plan some awareness event in LA for this date. And just like it felt when I was the director of SWOP-LA, I was the sole person who was breaking their necks for this cause that no one seemed to give a shit about in Los Angeles. I KNOW that that isn’t true, but on a community organization scale, I often feel like I have failed to build a sex worker community in any way, even after trying very hard for 3 years straight. I feel that I, as a sex worker had been accepted into certain communities but none of the members of the other spaces would ever be seen supporting anything that was solely for the sex worker rights movement. SWOP-LA was the organization that I founded, based on the dream that I could make sex workers rights have a presence in LA. But as the last March 3rd ended my desire to pour energy into a wide expanse of apathy like throwing a roll of toilet paper into the ocean…I remembered that I left TEACHING before I left directorship of SWOP-LA. I left TEACHING so that I could be a SINGER and a PERFORMANCE ARTIST. And then I got sidetracked into running SWOP-LA for 3 years. Performing on the side. But now, finally, for the first time since before I came to LA, I am an ARTIST again. I get to pour my time and energy (AND MONEY) into developing new creative work and furthering my career as a singer and as a performance and even visual artist. And THIS is what I use my Master’s Degree for. (Even though I used it in running a non profit as well). THIS IS WHY I DO SEX WORK. (to sing). (to be an artist). I used to use a lot of my income to run SWOP-LA, or to invest in my presence at conferences and travel and such. But now that I am without credit cards for the most part nowadays, I’m broke a lot. I have to take lots of risks. I could possibly live an easier life as a high school teacher (pending background check!!) Agency work is getting tiring. I have a 18 year old “bodyguard” now. I would call him my driver, but he doesn’t drive. Even the agency is slow. They’re telling me I owe them $750. I’m not going to pay them. They can sue me. I was giving them 67% of all the show fees, but apparently I didn’t account for the fact that if the show fee is below $250 they collect 80%, and on every first show there is $10 fee collected. (which makes your percentage NOT the unfair 67% it was to begin with, but almost 80%). I have no plans to pay them. I never agreed to those terms on paper so they don’t have shit. Plus I FIGHT FOR MY SEX WORKER RIGHTS. They don’t know this. I’m going to work until that money becomes the issue that will fire me. My boss acts like I’m the only one she can call, and business has been bad that I’m on call 7 days a week it seems. She doesn’t want to lose me.
I am not running a non profit. There is nowhere in Los Angeles for sex workers to find community. LA will not become like San Francisco anytime soon. I do not have the energy or desire to endure the mission alone. This is what I’ve become instead…I watch this video and know that I am doing the right thing…It also reminds me of how much I can accomplish when I am single. I am clearly evolving as an artist. This song was written and performed by me. I have practiced with a pianist 2 hours a week since the start of 2010 and it has helped me have the confidence to totally pull off something like this with grace. I sing a lot of Blues songs lately. It suits my voice. I did this song at a soul funk open mic poetry event called Indigo Lounge. The current president of the NAACP was there and she was a minister with her other church going friends were in the house. It was entirely fitting to sing the Billie Holiday song! I’m sure they were totally overwhelmed inside! The next poem I did was about EDUCATION and the one after that was about Asian families and relationships (Ms.wong)..
I look at this video and feel like I am finally going in the right direction…defriending all negative influences and unsupportive friends and lovers along the way…ONLY LOVE..my disposable income has all gone to piano rehearsals and Krav Maga training. Both of these have been the source of inspriation and happiness for me in times when I should be broken down and blue.