Archive for the 'immigrant rights' Category

22
Aug
16

I was actually a FREE INDEPENDENT URBAN OIRAN not an urban geisha!!


For the years from the time that I started this blog, I branded myself for many years as the “Urban Geisha,” an “Educated Whore Revolutionary.”  I knew even then, that I was nothing near a “real geisha” but I was fascinated with the idea that part of the geishas art, aside from enticing men was to learn instruments, dances and traditional arts, including the art of conversation.  I prided myself at being the Urban artist of conversation because in honest reflection, I was never really that great at sexual acts during my escort years. Unless of course, I was attracted to the client or sometimes a client would surprise me with his abilities which didn’t match my usual “type.” This is what I liked about prostitution. It allowed me to experience people I wouldn’t usually allow in and, they had a 50/50 chance of doing me right despite the attraction factor.  The majority of time, I was really being the “2pac of prostitution (activist/musician)” character and many of my clients were urban homies, non violent criminals, drug users and other exiles of society, like I was. We would do a bunch of lines until the sunrise and I would entertain them with my art of conversation while making money. Sex was maybe 25% of the SEX work that I did.  Drug users were my favorites because of the fact that sex wasn’t so much a big part of it but keeping their lonely heart company while playing a facade was. And this was my definition of urban geisha. The other part that made me adopt the geisha moniker was because I was of Japanese heritage and I had the PASS TO CLAIM rights to my ancestry in America that the political activist community fights so hard to own and protect according to whichever heritage you can say you are part of. I HAD THIS PASS AND KIMONO CLAD KATIE PERRY DIDN’T as far as I was concerned.  But, I was no different than any other displaced descendant of a home country than the Black African American who tries to remember Africa by wearing an emblem around his neck and changing his name to something more African. The reasons we do this in racist America are evident but often our efforts fall short of accuracy.   I actually wasn’t any different than a disrespectfully appropriating Katy Perry who was just taking something she thought was exotic (and geisha are indeed RARE and Mysterious, even to Japanese today) and beautiful and creating a show around it for your pop culture entertainment and for you to be attracted to.  But when white American people do it on stage though…!!

An apprentice Maiko giving the EVIL SIDE EYE at a performance in a Kyoto tourist show copyright MPassion 2016

Now that I’ve spent some time in Japan, in actual observance and research of the true Japan and its culture I can see that many foreigners wear kimonos and the Japanese people are renting them to them for profit, but also to SHARE their culture correctly. Most Japanese would probabaly be happy and proud that Katy Perry  were wearing kimono on a big U.S award show, except maybe for the fact that she is mixing a Chinese brocade neckline and high cut waist of a cheongsam with a Japanese kimono in her outfit. Hey, shes mixing BOTH OF MY ETHNICITIES! I should steal that dress from her! Did Katy wear white face and try to imitate a geisha, or is that what the media called it (because all kimono clad women are geisha apparently)? She was actually just a white foreigner appropriating Asian fashions and aesthetic, something that can be super controversial and oversimplified on both sides of racist America.  Tourists rent kimono 100s if not 500 times on a good busy day throughout Japan as part of their sightseeing activities. Most of the kimono clad tourists in Japan these days are not even white folks, they are Chinese from China or Taiwan, but the point being that Japanese are happy to share and teach their kimono NOT their geisha customs.  There are dressers in tourist shops who help foreigners put kimono on and they style all the accessories so the foreigner doesn’t fuck it up. It’s not a cheap Halloween costume by any means, and its usually very authentic.  It is meant to be completely respectful sharing for tourists of Japan, as well as a profitable business to be in.

GEISHA ARE NOT PROSTITUTES and this was the biggest mistake I and other foreigners (mostly men who wish they were) make. They might get together with one wealthy client who becomes her sponsor/partner but mostly they are true entertainers, who are definitely erotic objects of desire but whose austerity around sexual partners makes her that much MORE attractive to seekers.  An Urban geisha might be similar to a true burlesque entertainer who could climb a 50 foot pole and do gymnastics tricks to entertain in a g string and feather costume but who also never really had sex with those they entertain. Certainly that was NOT what I was trying to do. i was turning TRICKS. Having quick and dirty sex for profit and I saw my HUSTLING (business street and survival savvy) also as part of MY ART.  The other part of my art came into play through writing my blog, speaking my activist truth, performing songs from the Whore Revolution.  THAT WAS ALL MY GEISHA-NESS, as I saw it then.  I only recently learned about the OIRAN, the kimono white faced entertainers that resembled the geisha in many ways except they were FLASHIER and THEY HAD SEX! Now THAT was more MARIKO PASSION for certainly. To my pleasant surprise, the Oiran traditional shoes were 8” platforms that required a male assistant to walk, which I would often recruit a random “escort” to help me not eat shit in heels on concrete. I regularly performed in 6” platforms in those days and I even had some “taka geta” (tall wooden slippers) of my own that I just threw away before I came to Japan but had owned since I was in my 20s before I even knew about Oiran (unconscious cultural memory!).  In Japan, there are regular parades celebrating the Oiran Dochu and Edo period costumes without shame around the association with prostitution because many of the Oiran and Geisha at the time were sold by poverty stricken parents who had no choice for survival. The sad truth behind these parades is that they do not reference the truth of the women who lived these lives of sexual slavery, yes I really called it that.

Real Oiran of Edo…not ideal working conditions

Movie set at Toei Kyoto studio park copyright Mpassion2016

Yoshiwara Dori Pleasure District

The Oiran lived in a gated area, and they were not allowed to leave except to view cherry blossoms once a year. The photos that I’ve seen show them behind wooden bars over the windows. Many of them died of venereal diseases and were wrapped in straw and dumped in unmarked graves at the Buddhist temple Jokan Ji. Jokanji temple has the spirits of 25,000 Edo era sex workers buried there. i have plans to visit and report on it in a future blog.  The Japanese government is known for the war crime of making Korean women into sex slaves for the Japanese soldiers, but what is also not said alongside the comfort women stories is that Karayuki San were the Japanese women who were indentured sex workers that were sent to other countries to service Japanese soldiers and other races of men overseas. I believe that karayuki san were also used for a short time to serve U.S military soldiers during their occupation in government sanctioned brothels as well. Many feminists in Korea and the U.S demanded the Japanese government apologize to the Korean comfort women, which occurred just in January of this year, 2016 but really, the Japanese should have to apologize and give reparations to the Karyukisans as well, but that would probably never happen as it was hard enough to get the apology and reparations to the Korean women. The government did actually put an end to the pleasure quarters of the Edo era, probably much in the same way that the sexual woodblock Ukiyoe prints became outlawed and banned so did the Oiran houses.  The mizu shobai, or sex industry of course never died in Japan, it just changed form.
But there is ALWAYS  MUCH BEAUTY in the darkness, darkness and light, yin and yang, just like in African slavery there were rich cultural traditions that survived and remained as a result of the struggle, oppression and captivity.  If you are not allowed to leave an area and can’t choose the amount or safety of your clients or you will be punished with death or a beat down, you are or were a sexual slave.

I owned shoes like these in my 20s!! Quickie Insta Oiran Portrait at Toiei Kyoto Park 2016

I did an Oiran portrait at a Kyoto amusement park and I was excited and am excited still about looking into getting involved in participating in the parades in April 2017 but in reading more about the truth of the lives of the women and girls I wanted to ALSO be sure not to gloss over the facts, the way the Japanese government and many people who are fans of Oiran Dochu do so often. Having lived the beautiful struggle of a FREE and INDEPENDENT URBAN OIRAN for years, you can see just by scrolling through my escort entries that my life was no parade, but it wasnt slavery, and I suffered and struggled through some of it but there was much JOY, TRIUMPHS, LESSONS AND PLEASURE TOO. Music, art, activism and community WERE the things that I loved in sex work, FUCK THE SEX.  Perhaps this was also the attitude of the Oiran and they poured their PASSION and life force into their arts in spite of it all.

What used to be the Yoshiwara Dori of the Edo Era is now Soaplands (kinda like massage parlors but soapier and mostly only for Japanese clients not foreigners). the women are free sex workers NOT and I say this too, NOT SEX SLAVES. They freely come and go to work, have families, test themselves and have safe sex so they don’t have the same UNHAPPY ENDING as the OIRAN of Edo did.

08
Jul
16

EVAPORATE like clouds over Mt.Fuji

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Rising up from za water eburi 15 minetsu!

 My family reunion has completed to my relief and I am now able to eat healthy vegetarian foods and travel Japan on my own agenda once again. My mom who seems to live to antagonize me is off on her own to visit her hometown where she has promised to get her family record showing my Japanese lineage which is required to apply for a Nikkei Heritage visa.  This is an amazing program that allows people of up to 3rd generation Japanese ancestry to stay and work in Japan with the same rights as any other Japanese citizen. An employment sponsor is not even needed to apply for this visa in contrast to other Japanese visas and if I had my own family they also would be able to move here for up to 3 years!  While the Nikkei Heritage Visa program is packaged to look like a way for people to regain knowledge of their culture and language, the true intention of the Japanese government in creating the program was to get cheaper labor from Peru and Brazil where there are many 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese children of immigrants.

The existence of this is yet another miracle that has landed in my path for me after arriving in Japan (this info discovered via meeting the right local people who have been super helpful and encouraging).  

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one of these girls is not a legal Japanese citizen….YET

I had planned to try to work illegally as a tourist as people often have to do to stay in the U.S. and other countries but it didn’t take much applying to some jobs and reading some wanted ads that i saw that I was up against a big obstacle not having the correct visa to work in Japan.  I had somewhat of a lead to work as a hostess in an empty and tiny karaoke bar in Roppongi Tokyo but I knew that that was never going to support my survival as every time the owner called me in to meet or work it would have no customers and 3 bored ladies sitting at the bar. A familiar scene from my stripclub working days.  I have evolved past having to do jobs that disintegrate my brain cells staring at a wall for an employer’s sake but I knew I was an undocumented worker and wasn’t in a position to be too picky.  Reverting back to a mind numbing sex work job was not something I wanted to do ever again, illegal citizen or not.  I had successfully done two Tantra sessions with two different clients in Tokyo already so I knew that there were other better options for me.The U.S greatly prospers off of the backs of the labor of undocumented citizens so it seems to be somewhat easier to jump through loopholes and get paid in cash to make your income in the states.  Even surviving off of an illegal sole proprietorship like selling CDs or food out of a shopping cart is an option that many undocumented folks have used to not only survive but prosper in the U.S. Illegal food vending is never done in Japan. Even buskers don’t get tipped in hats but can only sell CDs instead because no one gets tipped in Japan!  In my worst fears of moving to Japan, I imagined having to beg for change using my singing bowl like a monk.  Luckily, it’s not going to come to that for me but I really had no idea how I would survive here just that I had many skills, a couple college degrees, strong will and great hope for the best. Things have indeed manifested miraculously for me since I got here so naturally I am not worried at all about whether I will successfully attain my heritage visa.  It shall be done!

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smelled like sweat and funk in the visitation room so by day2 i came prepared

NO WEED IN JAPAN

Before leaving for Japan, friends had told me that getting weed was near impossible and that if I did eventually find it, it would be $70 per gram, over 4 times the price I pay in the U.S.  This was the source of much anxiety as I was smoking more than ever in the stressful months leading to my move to Japan. I had been a daily user of cannabis for about 20 years prior to now. I left LA and flew to Seattle where it had been recreationally legal since about 2014. I continued my habit but knew that my days of access were numbered. I had a bit of a mental breakdown and walked into a dispensary in tears and incorrigible fear of my future move only to be relieved by Mary Jane as my usual medicine when I felt this way.  I had tried to cut back to prepare my mind at this time but there was so much anxiety in coming to Japan for me that i found it so hard to be stronger than my then current dependence.  If you look back in this blog, you can see that Mary Jane has been a way for me to sooth my PTSD, depression and anxiety for years but most times admittedly its been a recreational drug not really a medicine which is often debated by pro mj advocates.  I flew to Alaska and Vancouver Canada where it was also legal. It was in Vancouver that I was held for an hour in this passage thru to Tokyo because 3 years ago in 2013, I had been caught with a small pipe driving thru the border in which the Canadian government detained me for 4 hrs, read my journal out loud to me, examined parts of my FB and this blog and searched my car and person. I was searched and held for about 3 more hours on the U.S side, my little pipe confiscated and I was again traumatized by the treatment of state authorities for doing something minor and clearly harmless to others. So I know all about the detriments of marijuana dependence and it has indeed affected my life in punitive ways. I did make it to Tokyo this time on a rescheduled flight with no charge due to their reexamination of my 2013 case in 2016 which caused me to miss my flight to Tokyo. I wasnt even planning to visit Vancouver but ironically because there were no more flights to Japan I was able to see Vancouver for the first time since I was not admitted trying to visit before. I made sure to visit a legal dispensary there and get enough edibles to knock me out on my upcoming flight.  I also snuck in a few (10?) odorless candies hidden in some real sweet smelling candies because my dependence told me despite all that I had been thru with Canadian immigration I probably wasn’t strong enough to be sober in Japan yet.  I was willing to risk it because it was such a personal amount.  Therefore, I have even identified as an addict because I have never been able to not use for longer than 2 months in 20 years and my repeated risk taking for the substance is a classic definition of an addict straight from any drug addiction pamphlet you can find.

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The US bombed the original castles and destroyed the Japanese economy by making the hemp crop used to make rope and parachute cords illegal and couching it into an anti drug campaign that Japanese believe is justified to this day

Today Japan has some of the strictest anti-cannabis laws in the world.  Punishment for possession is a maximum 5 years behind bars and illicit growers face 7-year sentences. Annually around 2000 people fall foul of these laws – their names splashed on the nightly news and their careers ruined forever. The same prohibition that dishes out these punishments also bans research into medical marijuana, forcing Japanese scientists overseas to conduct their studies.” 

It was actually the US that made cannabis illegal in Japan creating the Cannabis Control Act in 1948 in an attempt to further handicap the Japanese economy and military because it was in abundant use, widely grown to make sturdy rope and parchute cords for the military. I saw full of the workers who built the samurai castles in Japan and they were wearing probably hemp rope sandals and possibly using hemp rope to build the amazing castles in Japan destroyed by bombs of the US during WWII.

Our initial 20 minute visit was pretty bleak. V had been scared to think by the prosecutor that she was going to go to Japanese prison for a long long time.  It was an emotional visit so I felt an urgent need to put out a youtube video to try fo get some US politicians who would advocate for V, a CA medical marijuana patient and US citizen so she wouldn’t have to go to Japanese prison! There had to be something we could do to help, wasn’t serving 2 months punishment enough for the Japanese government, not to mention holding detainees is an expense to any government! Her friend Lady Y and I didn’t think the Japanese government would waste their money on someone who had personal cannabis not intent to sell but then I thought of Guantamo Bay and how our government has held prisoners there for almost a decade without a trial. So the worst is always possible as well as the best.

The next day she had spoken to a more upbeat prosecutor who talked about deporting her, letting her make phone calls, use her laptop and even smoke a cigarette in his car! This was a 360 change from the day before. We also drove to speak to her lawyer and he had said he thinks she will 99% be deported.

Since arriving in Japan, things have been anundant for me friendship and career wise. Ive landed some Tantra clients, made lots of friends, realized my dream of living and working in Japan, am doing better financially than I ever have in my life before because I got an overseas freelance writing gig, so somehow the need to medicate disappeared. Fears and anxiety evaporated like clouds over Mt. Fuji. I was even able to endure a family reunion without numbing myself because any of their opinions would also evaporate like clouds over Mt.Fuji and seem so minor to all the miracles Id already manifested here. I was no longer addicted and I had broken thru the fear and economic glass ceiling and opinions and judgments of my bio family that had held me down for so long in the U.S. Helping advocate for Victoria whom Id never met off of Facebook seemed like my karmic duty as a fellow sex worker and stoner. I knew that it could have easily been me in Japanese jail for something like that so any time and expense required to work on this was given easily for a fellow comrade.。。。Rising up from za water eburi 15 minetsu!

01
Jun
11

This show must b blessed! (All the whores haven’t burned alive at the SF Sexworkerfest2011)

I hate when i get too busy to post. In the headquarters of the San Francisco sex worker fest. Pre show work mode madness. I have had to miss out 2 cool fun festival events so far. Last night was the opening party and St. James Infirmary benefit. Tonight was the roaming Hookerfest projecting movies in various locations in SF. I got to see old friend/activists who all congregate around Scarlot Harlot..

reading and inculcating my brain of 9 pages of script lines at my favorite SF eatery Chows in the Castro (bread pudding and ginger ice cream?)

I feel like I am on some crazy scavenger hunt like reality show (Work for P Diddy?) where everything that can go wrong will go wrong and you are left to make the best of what you have to work with and very very little time to get it done. Somehow, the DVD I burned for the my theatre show, burned all alias files instead of original files so I had to get my neighbor to give my friend, who happened to be traveling to SF the morning after I arrived for a non sex worker festival reason. With my harddrives in her car, heading past Magic Mountain, one hour outside of LA…her 21 year old friend’s car…BREAKS DOWN! Because they were 21, they couldn’t rent a car so I had to scramble on craigslist to find a rideshare ride to pick up the hard drive. Someone who does regular trips up and down the coast agreed to do it for $75. This meant I would have my harddrive in my hands by evening time. It was probably going to be okay, but I still made the driver of my drives text me every 3 hours just to make sure they hadn’t crashed.

NO MORE BIG DISASTERS. I apparently survived judgment day. Too busy to put dry ice in my shoes but I thought it was a fun idea.

Overall, things during the week went smoothly. I came and did my first long theatre run of my solo show “Modern Day Asian Sex Slavery: the musical.” I felt like it was a big success. Well, let me qualify that, it was a big success to me. Not a white middle class privileged version of success. I didn’t have a line around the corner or 100s of people there. I didn’t sell out shows or make lots of money. I did work very little to bring in the 15-20 heads that showed up to pay $15-20 each night for the Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival and that was a success to me (more a success of the festival and Carol Leigh’s hard work). I saw LOTS of very important people in my life come out to support. I got a great editorial piece in the SF Weekly about it the night of the show. This was a huge success to me considering that even in sex worker savvy San Francisco, an Asian sex worker speaking directly about the perception of Asian sex work is still mostly absent in the media and mainstream communities. When Gavin Newsom orders raids on massage parlors, my Asian American SF State UC Berkeley City College sisters are actually nodding their heads in approval thinking that they are saving victims.

I had a political and artistic interpretation to communicate and I did that with a very targeted audience which was mostly empathetic to the cause. I’m positive that my show and working with me made an impact on two young interns at the CSC who happened to also be women of Asian descent, one just home from college to volunteer and learn! This definition of success is how I have always done my sex worker and artistic activism, because the mainstream definition has not always been an option for me and I have had to reshape it accordingly in order to keep having the motivation to believe that my work ALWAYS makes a difference in the lives of SOME people out there. It is how I motivate myself to continue to try. I don’t do it for the money or because it is a popular cause, that’s for sure.

This way of defining success comes from my time as a teacher with ‘at risk’ high school students. I had to find value in the short one on one, interpersonal relationships that I sometimes had with my students. There were many students that I would form a bond with and suddenly after 3 weeks or 2 months they would disappear. They may have dropped out, been shot, transferred to another school, kicked out, sent to juvenile detention, etc. Was your impact on this student successful? Yes. The social justice school of Education cohort that I was taught in would say yes. I still live in the neighborhood that I once taught in, and am now adult friends with several of my former students. To me, one of the marks of a good teacher is how much current and former students keep up with them outside of class. This is how I was mentored by the teachers models (professors) that I had. Social justice education/outreach is about interpersonal impact and often transient but significant teachable moments. White middle class education and success means getting a diploma and a “good” job.

I made this show a friendship test of sorts. This was a big artistic milestone in my life and my 35th birthday and you kind of needed to be there for this or say something about it, if we were really friends. I understand people are busy but it was a 4 day run and I at least expected a text message or Facebook message excuse. If I heard nothing, then I felt that the bond that I had with those that I had invited could not be that strong. I have been recently grappling with figuring out who my real friends and support network really were, since my asthma attack at Dinah Shore. I have been grappling with the meaning of Facebook friends and status updates, I have been arguing with the members of SWOP-LA. (which I recently cut all ties to).

I have begun taking St.Johns Wort (SJW) for “mood stabilizing” and it has really made extremely difficult and tense situations seem lucid and manageable. I am the newest victim to big Pharma because of the asthma medication that I need seems to think charging folks $180 for a months supply is fair. (considering millions of people need it in order to breathe, insurance does not cover it, and no generic version is available). I am resistant to being dependent on any prescription medications that are not herbal. My counselor suggested that I consider taking anti-depressant pharmaceuticals and I went as far as the intake appointment and paid $15 for it. It went nowhere because I was disqualified for being a counseling client elsewhere even though the place that I currently went had no psychiatric services available. Counselors and therapists are pseudo monogamous relationships. If you cheat on your mental health professional because you simply need more support, you need to keep it on the DL. The SJW caps I take most afternoons seem to be doing the trick. In the pits of my recent depression, I felt that not even cannabis was helping. I was willing to try new things, but hoped that I could try less harmful or expensive things first and they would work. SJW is supposed to inhibit the effectiveness of your other medications, particularly the ones that use your liver somehow. I noticed that my edibles did not fuck me up the way they used to! I noticed that my alcohol tolerance was MUCH higher. Mostly I noticed that the need to burst into tears or be apathetic or be overly self critical seemed to quiet down.  The potency of the words of others and any criticism seemed to just glide past me, especially if I had already processed it to be false or unfounded.

Our minds and bodies are connected. My physical health is often determined by my mental health. My body cannot lie.

first pimpstress, madam, child trafficker of her own people, legendary high class courtesanMy kindergarten friend/prom date Jon did the spot light for me (he has stepped up to help with tech stuff at other musical productions of mine in high school too!) and my 9th grade boyfriend/FIRST sexual partner was there too! My sister and her partner came, my dad came out to TWO shows and lots other friends and fellow activists as well.  A non English speaking Chinese man looking for a underground gambling hall also gave his $15 donation to see my show though he probably couldn’t understand it! The new Center for Sex and Culture space was a squatted in unleased building used for Chinese born Chinese gambling circuits complete w/ a piss trough and brothel rooms! He was like a relic from the Gold Rush days offering his support for my revitalized legacy!
Eventually the show is going to portray Madam Ah Toy, the legendary Gold Rush era madam, the first Chinese/American whore revolutionary. This guy kind of reminded me that San Francisco’s Chinese immigration history, including its history in “sex trafficking and slavery” includes the historical account of Madam Ah Toy, notorious and respected Chinese prostitute that somehow managed to have white privilege in ways that even other white women and even male Chinese (coolies) did not.

07
Apr
11

Modern Day Asian Sex Slavery: the musical

COMING SOON TO SAN FRANCISCO MAY 22-28 2011!  www.sexworkerfest.com

 

30
Aug
09

ode to M.I.A

I’m trying to stay hopeful everyday

I’m wondering what the point of communicating at all is, if everyone is always misunderstanding me and each other constantly.

If I am supposed to not be bothered by words and what other people think about me, then what is the point of interacting with other humans in the first place?

So many people just say shit JUST to say something. Even as the words are leaving their mouths they don’t care about what they say. They just want to talk talk talk about everyone else to make themselves feel better.

If people really do not want to know “What’s on your mind?” or “How Are you?” because if you tell them how you hurt, how you feel, how you struggle…they do not care.

And if you’ve made them uncomfortable by your TMI (too much information) then it is your problem.

If you overreact, it’s your fault.

M.I.A is being honored as both an artist and activist.  That’s amazing news to me.  She is the only Asian woman in the mainstream pop world of substance that has broken any ground with major political views.  Okay, Tila Tequila really helped us with bisexual visibility and bisexual “reality” but this shit is bigger, deeper and stronger than anything ELSE on MTV these days.

18
Aug
09

a call to the community..answered?

I have a new roommate.  She recently turned 18 and ran away to my house.  4 years ago she was in my 9th grade classroom and since I have remained in touch with those kids who have remained in touch with me, P and I were able to support each other in this time of mutual crisis.  She just left a 1 BR apartment shared with 2 families and 3 or 4 kids under 13.  Being in a living room all to herself is probably a luxury.  She has 2 jobs (that actually PAY the rent) and a high school diploma which is already worlds ahead of what my ex-boyfriend came into the equation with.  I have kept in touch with her peripherally through text message updates and perhaps annual outings.  She and I had a connection since she was a 9th grader because within a week of meeting me, she told me she was bisexual and that she wanted to be a stripper.  I NEVER told her that I was a sex worker, or that I had spent 3 years as a stripper and never revealed to her or any of my students that I had done sex work.  I gave her a book.
Lily Burana’s  “Strip City” books_feature-11413because it was comprehensive rights based, realistic and entertaining, and, my dad had given it to me, so it seemed appropriate.  Knowledge is power for everyone, especially those that have the intention of getting into the sex industry at a young age.  She never did become a teen prostitute, or an unwed mother or chola gangstress.  She was always  a leader, a cheerleader, a model undocumented student citizen who would probably never on her own be able to afford college as long as she would have to pay International student tuition for her college educaiton and have no access to Federal Student Aid…

We are not romantically involved in any way.  In fact, it’s been quite interesting for me all this week.  In the same week that I had re-entered the high school classroom, this time as an unpaid volunteer and tutored a few students she called me wanting to move out of her house.  Since I am on the verge of not paying my rent next month, it could NOT have come at a better time.  It would be refreshing to live here and have the other person PAY RENT for once.  Really Refreshing.

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Mommy Fiercest, Nina Hartley and me! 3 generations of sex worker leadership (okay, me and Mommy are only 5 years apart, but I think I aged like 20 years running SWOP-LA

In the week of my big meltdown, another Phoenix rose from the ashes that was SWOP-LA.  She goes by Mommy Fiercest and I met her doing outreach in Mexico City at the AIDS International madness conference.  I don’t remember of course, because that conference would bring EASILY 100 individuals to your booth EACH DAY.  She joined SWOP-LA and has slowly been participating in various events with me as I drove myself to burn out..The handover was simple and beautiful.  Like a president changing office.  Ha.  Almost.  But it’s really been quite smooth and i am so relieved to hand over the keys.  It will be a true measure of my success if she takes it makes it bigger than I did.  Or if we get some grant money to pay people to make it bigger and more present than I ever could self funding it with my prostitution.

I am back to unplugging the laptop and webcamming with callers in private in my room.   P shows no interest in sex work and in the last 4 years that I have known her has tamed down quite a bit as far as her outward sexuality as she has gotten older.  You would think that that would be the first place that the average undocumented female worker would go.  But I guess that’s my warped perception.  So how do you change over from being a open whore in your face artist back to a reserved responsible adult role model trying to educate a young person.  You don’t.  Why?  Because she is 18 now and she’s not my student, she’s my roomate!

We have a very pure relationship actually.  I tried to be very compartmentalized while I was a teacher.  I was very serious about my work.  I ran a Gay-Straight Alliance in a South Central and it went over fine for the most part, no fear.  I never would imagine being attracted to my students nor did I talk to them in detail about my personal life.  That was the golden boundary for most teachers to stay sane: your personal life, especially sex life is to be ignored as if it did not exist.  You don’t need to go there with them.  period.  Just smile and say you are a virgin.  and leave it at that.  In fact, when I was teaching, I politically chose to identify as GAY and be the GAY TEACHER because I wanted to appear somewhat off limits, and “asexual” to most students, especially the young men I was trying to teach about sexism, homophobia and misogyny.   I didn’t even like the word BISEXUAL because it had the word SEXUAL in it every time you uttered it, and that, suprisingly is NOT my main objective every moment with everybody, despite the whore that I know that I am.  When teaching high school, I felt and perhaps still feel that the more ASEXUAL you are the MORE POWER YOU HAVE.  Not like creepy or like the asexual chemistry teacher who was too unattractive and unkempt even to hire a provider type of way, but asexual in a secret file but still there way, like with most politicians, but not as hypocritical.   Because unlike with adult men, SEXUALITY is NOT a bargaining chip that wins you access or privileges.  With your young male students, its the other way around and I wasn’t interested in abusing my power with anyone in ways that it had been abused with me.   With young male students, the power dynamic of sexual advantage is very much there for them already with the girls that they are actually or just talking about “deflowering” or making babies with.  As a female adult in their lives, I had the thankful advantage of being exempt from that realm of teen sex drama, because I had already gone through it once, thank you.

I brought a student in to the office for repeatedly calling me “sexy” instead of my name and used his harassment, and other student’s essays about homophobia and date rape as the basis of my Master’s inquiry paper.  In some strange way, escorting has just been this ongoing and continuous exploration of male privilege and where the seeds of that first begin to grow.  It is something that I have probably been exploring my whole healing life…

So living with P these days, being an all out urban geisha and web cam mistress during the day in my home office, it’s been interesting.  I have to learn to recompartmentalize again.  I am fortunate that I have found amazing women to help me in my struggle, to answer the call to lead without having to be nagged or pushed to do so.  I am old enough to be her parent, who would have had her when I was 17 and was now struggling to support us with my dying sex work jobs.  But instead she is helping me.  In ways that my partner could not even do after 2 years.  Crazy isn’t it?  And this happens to me because I am that overcaring mentor and open door give you my cell phone number type of teacher sometimes.  It paid off this time.

A university singing/speaking gig was cancelled in new york.  That would have given me a $1000 to pay rent AND travel and visit friends I haven’t seen, have some paid art R&R inspiration alone time…but NO.  CANCELLED.  So I started to work on generating new material to send all the other campuses that I haven’t even started to talk to yet.  I got that gig from this blog, I think.  I haven’t even really begun any publicity on myself as a touring artist.  I guess running SWOP and being in the relationship for the last 2 years were more than enough for me to deal with.  But I guess I had to do all that.  I’ve been thinking so much about my life process lately…

I have been finding hope and value working in the adult school classroom because students are motivated, diligent, QUIET, and there is no lesson planning.  You are proctoring, mentoring, managing and motivating.  That’s the job.  Lots of correcting and filing.  It’s everything that being a day school teacher is minus the hard parts.  It even pays more.  So I’ve been excited to report to my therapist taht things are looking up.  I even showed up on time for the first time in 5 weeks today.




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