Posts Tagged ‘teacher

01
Jul
11

Whatever it is I am meant to be Doing Right Now, it can be an extreme challenge at times, but I think I feel like I am doing it.

In 2006, I graduated from UCLA with a Masters Degree.  I was in the home stretch of a period of the hardest academic and emotional work that I had done in my life.  Writing a 30 page Masters Inquiry thesis that you put together for almost an entire year, writing, revising and editing while simultaneously working as a first year teacher.  Phew.  I could not WAIT to cross the stage, get my paper and take off my cap and gown into my new freedom.  I wasn’t going to graduate and join the workin ranks of education, I was going to QUIT right after that semester and be HAPPY as HELL about it all!!  This move was to the disdain of a few, but I had proved to myself, my family (though they didn’t really notice) that I could achieve normal status and credibility in the normal world.  I had my first full time salaried job with benefits.  I was in charge of hundreds of students over the years.  I had successfully carved a path for myself, if I wanted to take it.  I had a great teaching career, a great apartment, security, paycheck…what was missing?  MY SOUL. That’s what.

I ACTUALLY SELL THEM FOR $50 + S&H http://www.facebook.com/asianprincessartifacts

It took me 3 years pursuing education and teaching and neglecting art making to realize that my soul consists not of teaching or serving the community, but it consists of MAKING AND SHOWING MY ART.  Singing, creating visual pieces, writing, speaking, performing…If all I wanted to do with my life was to be a teacher and die, I had achieved it.  It was the most difficult path in itself, as I chose to be placed in the most at risk schools in LA and SF.  I saw it as doing my time in the WAR AGAINST EDUCATION and I put in my time, I even got a short haircut.   Now it was time for me to return home away from that war and be an artist again.

I was determined now to travel the world as an artist and activist and fully experience life.  Also, I wanted to get my SEXY back which somehow along the way, I had lost in the name of achieving my normal status.  I worked hard like a good workaholic.  I woke up at 6am and went to bed at midnight.  Before I moved to LA for grad school, I was exactly what I am now: a full time artist and full time sex worker.  But, a part of me always wondered constantly WHY I never got the jobs I wanted, if I was only good at doing sex work jobs, if i was STUCK.  It seemed like the one of the things that I seem to excel in is SCHOOL.  I am an excellent student and a pretty damn good teacher, it seems.  I am great at school and I can teach YOU too to excel in school, but I am unsure whether that is really the key to success and happiness for all.  I did above the bare minimum, wayy beyond what was expected and more, which in any districts eyes was successful.  As long as you had your grades at the end of each semester, you’ve fulfilled your legal requirement.  It was the perfect job for someone who has trouble working under direct supervision of bosses.

SOLO SHOW SPONSORED BY THE MAKERS AND SMOKERS OF CRACK…

“Hellloooo?  You’re a prostitute!” a family member said recently,”Are we supposed to want to tell our friends that?” she said.  Well, I guess you can lie, or you can tell them, I’m an artist.  A singer.  A theatrical performer.  An organizer.  A writer.  A woman who makes the media include her voice by being interviewed for sex worker editorials all over the U.S: a media maker.  Maybe you can tell them I just had an interview published in a new South End Press anthology called “The Revolution Starts at Home.”  Maybe you could open your eyes and think of something good to say…

I love my LinkedIn profile actually.  I work on it a lot and update it.  I have created a name for Mariko Passion over the years and I have worked hard for every single achievement.  Hungry for more.  much much more.  I just realized that I have only had the Mariko Passion persona for LESS THAN five years.  I have to be proud of all the things I’ve done and gotten to do, as a direct result of my decision to be a WHORE/ARTIST!  There are so many people who are constantly cutting down the tall poppy.  It’s a constant battle!  But, I’ve found that my SSRIs are still doing their job and my moods are more stabilized than my income lately, and that has been a HUGE part of being able to RESIST criticism.  I asked my REAL friends to make themselves known to me and they seemed to emerge out of the darkness one by one.  I called a family meeting, asking essentially for more compassion and caring.  It turned into a barrage of bad news for me meeting, I thought but I think I can see some progress in our communication…

Somehow, in the days before I left, there was an interesting client, a crack addict who pretty much shall I say SPONSORED my trip to San Francisco so I could run my one woman show there for the week.  I did get an honorarium from the Sex Workers Art Festival but I was set to leave to Chicago to do my comedy improv training and I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to get the money for that.  If it was meant to happen, it would happen.  And it DID.  All in the nick of time and as if it were somehow fated by a higher power.  Here comes a crackhead who wants to drop a bunch of money on me so that I can now purchase my plane tickets and maybe some hotel nights on the next leg of my tour!  Thank you Crack Cocaine!  Thank you U.S government for making it!  This is why I love Michelle Tea’s book RENT GIRL so much.  I can really relate to the sex work in it.  It’s not Tracy Quan’s Manhattan or Jetsetting Call girl, though I can relate to some of those types of clients as well, it was gritty grimy indoor rent girl prostitution w/ drug addicts and the often other misfits of society.  they call me for companionship and I oblige, but only for a high price.  With this crackhead, I was counting the minutes on my phone clock tick tick away.  I was sooo bored.  I wasn’t smoking crack.  I was texting my friends trying to entertain myself during this jail sentence like silent escort session.  He was pretty non functional because he was so high, but that didn’t stop me from brining him back to reality when the time was up to collect my hourly fee.  I stayed for 3 hours and could have stayed for more but I was literally going CRAZY of boredom and wanted to run out into the streets and just inhale the clean outdoor air as I left.  I didn’t feel like I was a loser, I felt like I was a WINNER!  Just in the nick of time, as a lot of things like this in my life happen to be. I now had enough money to do my San Francisco tour stop and not have to worry about working that week while I performed in the festival and I would be able to buy my plane tickets to Chicago and NYC.  Blessings.  Someone needs to show these guys a “good” time. LOL.  I cross paths with these parasites who don’t have any money.  Just drugs and usually a bunch of lies.  When I got back to LA, I hit up this same crackhead client.  He didn’t have any cash this time, just a gold necklace with diamonds that seemed like a real piece of expensive jewelry but I wasn’t in the business of pawning jewelry.  I do barter for product but only for tips.  Unless I am sure of the value of what I am bartering.  I’ve made this mistake tooo many times in my life.  I went to the garage to get some cash out of S’s car.  He drove a really nice, clean and new SUV.  A 50K car for sure.  I had no sympathy for him.  I decided the torture of being his companion was only worth it for lots of cash and if he didn’t have any of that, I was leaving.  Maybe the necklace was worth a lot of money, I just didn’t want to do it for anything less than a pile of money.  Sorry.  I gave him his necklace back and stayed around for 30 more minutes in exchange for $140 I found in his car.  Thanks for sponsoring my tour earlier, cracker jack, call me when you have more MONEY.  He let me sketch him and take these pictures.  His poses weren’t as good this time though.   I didn’t tell him I was going to blog about it though.  I don’t have to, in my opinion.  My experiences and blog posts are MINE.  If you recognize yourself, GOOD.  If you don’t like what you read you can request to have me change it, but it might make things worse.  Our interaction creates a REACTION in me that I have to express creatively.  I cannot keep all of these juicy experiences to myself.  It is what fuels my fire.

 My life is ART, ART is my life.

When I was in Chicago and NYC I filled my days with training, performance and viewing other artist’s work.  Scheming about bringing my show to Chicago and NYC.  Networking and connecting with people.  Posting up backpage ads and trying to make enough money to keep eating and travelling.  It works perfectly sometimes.  It’s difficult at times but when it works so well, it is really really nice.  Its been FIVE YEARS since I graduated, quit teaching and decided i would pursue my art full time.  I got sidetracked for THREE YEARS while running SWOP-LA full time and doing art/performance only part time, but now that SWOP-LA is no longer in the picture, it is a blessing in disguise and I have only my art to dedicate myself to.  It is what I was supposed to be doing in the first place.  I think I just got scared and tried to do something practical, like direct a non profit.  But, according to some, I FAILED.  LOL.  Thanks for your words and hallucination of friendship and support BITCHES.  Now I can go back to making ART.

CRACK makes you act STRANGE!

he tried to give me this Gold and Diamond necklace as collateral for an overnight date. LOL. Do i look like a PAWN SHOP?

this is him looking kind of normal, but he would POSE for at least 15 seconds in these wonderfully contorted facial expressions over and over throughout his session

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.

DSC02121

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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