Friday, August 4, 2017
This video doesn't speak to my experience, but maybe you? I kicked my marijuana addiction, but I still don't have my connection/inclusion needs managed...maybe I do. It's getting better here in Japan, AND once I get to Cali, I pick it right back up along with the connections that I miss, but with a NEWFOUND and successful bond with the substance knowing I can stop for any number of weeks, months etc...Weed for me came/comes with connections...its not simple, its deep deep in the crevices of the no love zone, dare you travel down there?
Hari's animated video touches briefly on trauma and its pull towards addiction, but Gabor Mate focuses more on it in his talks and theories. I appreciate his approach as well, as he has also done medical work on the most at risk area of Vancouver for most of his career. Mate quotes Eckhart Tolle saying,"all addictions begin in pain, and END in pain." and I again have to say, that wasn't true for me. My dependence began as a love bonding, continued as a love replacement and then ended with triumph and surprise. I started using marijuana daily with a partner as many people start using harder substances in relationship. Its all a fun party til you can't turn the music down when you want to right? While my daily use with that boyfriend began as a fun time, I realized how wonderful of a painkiller it was when we I used it to sooth me during our breakup. I can still describe it as "a mother's nipple when I am crawling in the darkness crying like an infant." And once I had started using weed as a coping mechanism, I seemed to never be able to stop for nearly 20 years. From the age of 22 until 39 I probably smoked every day minus great efforts to abstain for 2.5 months 1 or 2 years in a row. The typical quitting streak was 2-3 weeks. I fully felt addicted because I could NOT STOP despite my greatest efforts. I had great connection with weed. I started my career in sex worker activism when Robyn Few got me higher than a kite in a roomful of prostitution activist stoners. With the enthusiasm of MaryJane AND Robyn Few together in a smoky room we planned the beginnings of Sex Workers Outreach Project on a national level and organized Desiree Alliance in its origin years. So then, why was I not able to quit? I had a boyfriend most recently 2 years ago who tried his hardest to shame and compel me into quitting. That was the worst. So here, I am threatened with losing this new relationship over cheating on our agreement that I wouldn't smoke unless I was nauseous and felt like I needed it medically when I had a stomach infection. But the teen rebel in me HATES any exterior control so she will always cheat despite the consequences. Interventions for someone else's good do not work unless the person is on board with seeing her usage as a problem. I remember 3 of my housemates were trying to get me to cut down smoking on my bong everyday. I managed to do it for them for about 3 weeks as well. And when I confessed that I had given up one of them said,"oh it wasn't for us that you were doing it, it was for YOU." HA HA. I did end up getting kicked out of that house for other reasons but it was quite the unideal disconnected human tragedy that would drive someone deeper into addictive behaviors not away from them. Some humans can be so stupid about their caring techniques. The connection of AA works as a community replacer for many people to finally "get clean," engage in mentoring relationships and have an endless global community that will support them dropping in without an appointment at ANY TIME OF THE DAY. That IS the opposite of addiction for them for sure. And to them addiction is a medical disease. The AA model would probably not work for me either. I can be a lone wolf probably due to my trauma history. "why do people use?" Gabor Mate says,"because they have deep emotional problems that they don't have the means to resolve on their own." And he also acknowledges that with right support, addicts need to learn to BE WITH THEIR PAIN not try to escape it. Perhaps, it wasn't until I defied the boundaries of possible and moved to Japan that I was also able to simultaneously defy my other impossibility which was abstain from using cannabis for months. I consider my addiction issues resolved even though I still use the substance. J does as well, even after going through a detox program saying that was "kicking was the worst experience. one of the worst of my life. i couldn't do it again..."
I remember studying Lisa Najavits "Seeking Safety" group therapy model as a possible model to adapt for a sex worker support group I wanted to start to support myself. This group therapy model was meant to support the "co-occuring disorder" of PTSD mental illness and drug use as a coping mechanism during trauma recovery. The problem was the Najavits group model didn't seem to understand sex work outside of a risky behavior or crime and we sex worker activists begged to differ. But, in our defiance we often covered up our wounds with more substance and more sex work, AND many of us transformed our sex work addictions into sex work ACTIVIST ADDICTIONS. The glory of the fight, the media attention, the sexy community that came out of the woodwork to join you...it all seemed like the best thing to do with your time and money. Until we discovered that we couldn't escape our trauma that way. It only multiplied in a roomful of hurt people, who often went through their current coping mechanisms of hurting the community that they were supposed to be so happy to have found. I knew that I was coping with marijuana for several reasons and soothing myself from post traumatic stress disorder triggers was definitely one of the main reasons I never saw myself ever becoming sober, especially during the escort years where sexual violence and more trauma was an all too often occurring tragic continuum that I lacked the ability to deal with.
Mate states that "all addictions originate in childhood trauma." and since I earlier gave the visual of sucking on a bong feeling like the equivalent to sucking on a mother's nipple when screaming in the darkness, I'm sure I can agree that there is a strong childhood, if not infantile wound that I am attending to. A wound that I can't even put into talk therapy rooms because it likely occurred before my brain could even form words. Gabor Mate also talks about ancestral trauma. He had grandparents who were survivors of the Holocaust in Hungary, during this time all Jewish babies were meant to have incessant crying "problems." I have been hearing we hold ancestral wounds in our bodies for 5 or more generations. Finding connections when the substance connection is no longer enough. It is the courage to dig into the wound with the bravery of self growth instead of the usual escape. The CONNECTION that I lacked was the strength to connect to my pain, explore it, excavate it, overcome it, heal...When did the pain of rejection that I so needed to medicate begin? I am still discovering the truth of these imprints, with and without the aid of natural and synthentic substances.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Friday, April 28, 2017
Don't become a sex worker if you like feeling worth something.
People will make it clear they don't value your life.
Men will say they care then be abusive.
Women will be jealous, worried you're sleeping with their dude, don't even think about dating one.
I stopped on this 📪 of a FB friend to comment recently because I remember making posts like this and feeling this way. Anger. Bitterness and Pain. Pain that I didn't want to ever admit I had in any overt way except that my posts were screaming to the world “Can you FUCKING feel my pain? Don't you fucking care about me?” because i knew they didn't. The tricky part about being the owner of the lips that speak this truth is that they are often super quick to spit venom at anyone who dares to call me them a victim, even though we are screaming from victim mode. Dont you dare point out my own pain to me. “I am NOT your fucking BAND AID solution, FUCK your band aid.” she will say and throw that shit to the ground even if it might have been useful. The words might vary but the meaning and reaction will be the same.
So i stay away usually. I learned the hard way that NO ONE LIKES UNSOLICITED ADVICE or coaching. EVEN if they are on Facebook asking for comments.
We recently observed another International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. My mentor and best friend Scarlot Harlot veteran sex worker activist referred to it as IDEVASW and I didnt even know what the acronym was. “oh is that what the kids are calling it these days? I didn't know. I'm out of the loop.” Annie Sprinkle and myself and I'm sure there are others both concur that we stay away because we have each been verbally attacked and traumatized by other sex workers at IDEVASW events. so now i avoid the whole scene. Sex workers are a highly traumatized community and it can be a volatile and fragile place to spend time for some. Mainly for those that have transgressed the violence with some method to survival and appear to be “happy hookers.” Happy hookers are not welcome at an event where the names of the dead and murdered are being read out loud. Happy hookers are not welcomed by the unhappy hookers. Sometimes they try and succeed in taking away your happiness. It can be a misdirected stab a thon where no one is spared. The attack can wound you so deep you have to seek therapy to heal from the violence you received as a result of attending an event intended for healing violence!
Its a difficult internal problem that i have long given up trying to solve. But this day as i was reading updates on my wall i stopped to comment because the old me still remembers what it feels like to be on the world's MOST HATED LIST. But perhaps it was all in my head. Not that the disregard to sex worker lives was imagined, just that the REALITY I CHOSE WAS TRULY IN MY HEAD. We create our own realities based on the stories we choose to tell ourselves on a daily basis, then we attract results and situations that reflect this inner truth. I didn't learn that was true until years later after I decided I was fed up with my results and committed to changing my focus, to changing the story echoing in my head. I commented,”Well what are the amazing and GREAT things that being a sex worker has showed you about the world and people?” i wrote in her comment stream. Offering a reframe...treading lightly, expecting a defensive punch in the jaw at any moment...this coming from the words of the compassionate lifecoach but mostly coming from the former sex worker who has also felt these same feelings not too many years ago. I was attempting to refocus her story.
“i'm not in the mood to be a happy hooker right now.” GOT IT. “i’m totally not being that, i just saw your post and stopped to show you some love.” she gave my comment a thumbs up.
And i sighed relief that she didn't hit too hard. This is what i feel whenever entering these spaces be them physical or online headspaces. I'm too sensitive to absorb these attacks because I'm not a front line soldier armed with my own quick ego defenses anymore, and because I've been unfairly and cruelly ripped down while singing on stage last year at an IDEVASW event last year, among other violence I've received from other community members. I'm not as tough as I used to be. Ive allowed myself to get soft and I've allowed myself to see the world and the people in it in more ways than are currently offered in the sex worker community.
This also brings different choices. And one of these choices is to avoid people and situations that are potentially volatile for my own protection. A part of me keeps some groups and pages on my notifications so i can check if anything has changed, but unfortunately the last time i tried to offer solidarity to sex workers on one of the red umbrella pages when backpage shut down someone ran up to me with a reactionary comment knife and i left it without argument so she could think she won that battle. But in truth what i didn't have the energy or desire to write in a place where she would ignite into an argument was that “All i said was “im in solidarity with you but i guess you wont allow me to do even that. arguing with other whores is neither a good use of your or my time so...im just going to let you think you’ve won even though you’ve done absolutely fucking nothing to solve the greater issue at hand in any way except temporarily stroke your ego.” i said nothing. And in this case silence equals non violence. Dysfunctional whores can suck it amongst themselves. They dont want me and i dont want them. Anti. Social. Just Me. Lone Warrior. Peace.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
What a perverse addiction it is....but we all NEED TO EAT. or at least that's why I always tell myself afterwards.
I needed a lil drugs....a lil money....and...a lil LOVE. And really the amounts indeed were just that. Little.
A lil drugs cuz the lack of money, a litl money cuz the lack of love. Just the basics in doses I tried to be in control of...If that is an addiction then I guess I'm just a basic neccesity junkie phening for another cure for my lonely cries aching for someone to hold me, kiss me sweetly. It could be so much worse. I'm so glad I am blessed to live and continue to give.
I came to you cuz my pockets were in need. You were the only one there willing to let me stay the night. Some-BODY to hold and receive my love. The love that I have been dying to give someone deserving. 7 days ago I purposely self destructively, self harmed myself in an effort to PURGE this man's evil and ugly connection to my beauty. I did it in a way that was somewhat risky and somewhat reckless but in a way that I knew would not be too dangerous.
It was an amazing high for about an hour. And then it was all downhill from there...
7 days it stayed in the muscle fibers of my body nasty chemicals infusing my pure heart full of LOVE THAT HE NEVER DESERVED. I sometimes asked myself why but I was able to finally analyze every aspect of why I went to him each time he called and i was able to FORGIVE MYSELF for having the desire to have my basic needs fulfilled. My tank was running on empty and he would offer to fill me up. Not a lot, just a little and then...always the inevitable disappointment. For 7 days I felt physical pain in my body which served as a reminder of the drug that I never shall put in my body again.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Crossing through ANY immigration system can be frightening, even if you think you have privileges. Officials have ONE NARROW LENS in the name of protecting their country and the right to search your body, car, baggage, read your love letters and your journal without a warrant, make fun of you, rip off your hijab, grab your pussy, yell, detain you for hours, move you to an immigration facility which will turn into days, months or decades as in Guantamo Bay... and even if you aren't found guilty, if you got this far in their punishment process every time you try to pass through or visit it will be the same hell...5, 10, 15 yrs later! Immigration never forgets. Always, always have a timed screen lock on your smartphone or it is open season search of all your emails and social media.
Oh Canada asks me,"Have you ever been in trouble with us before?" and I wanted to say,"No." and just catch my connecting flight but I reluctantly tell the truth and missed my flight to Japan. The white guy waiting next to me said he had an incident 15 years ago. We both watched the woman from Canadian immigration yell at the wife to "answer for herself!" instead of having her husband answer/interpret for her.
Luckily, I’ve never been convicted of a DUI, because having a DUI, among other crimes, such as drug addiction or possession of a controlled substance convictions for sure will render you inadmissable to the Great Land of the Beaver. If you have an addiction but never went to a mandated treatment program (another good reason to seek non conventional solutions to addiction like ayahuasca) and never got arrested for it, then you can try your luck at the border.
I did try to drive across the border with a weed pipe in my car thinking that is was not a big deal. It was one of the biggest deals of my life. They searched my car, my person, detained me for close to 10 hours, read my journal out loud to me while laughing, and scrolled through my Facebook posts. It was pretty horrifying. I made it through the ordeal but the next day the PTSD kicked in and I could not stop crying. It was New Year’s Eve and I had made it back to Seattle, having to find strength to “celebrate.” The very first thing I did of course was drive to a dealer’s house to medicate my instability and pain. I am a white American female. NO exceptions were made for little supposedly privileged me. I don’t even need to imagine the pain that these 1000s of detainees, i can take myself back to that place quite easily. But for me, I was just on a little road trip, thinking it would be cool to drive from Seattle to Canada for just a night and visit a friend. I’d get some weed when I got across the border but I didn’t want to spend the extra money for a pipe.
The stakes are much higher for most of the people being held. They are fearing instant deportations, life ruin, family separation, life shattering consequences. Syrian refugees seeking peace in America after escaping war, losing their families, after months upon YEARS of waiting though the current vetting process that is already in place, will be turned away after all that waiting and hoping. "We don't want 'em here." One of the Iranian born victims of Trumps policy had her flight rerouted to a different country and was stranded. “I am broken, I never thought I could cry for so long.” The reason that the ban is on all Muslim majority countries, according to a CNN clip i just saw, was that he was seeking to create a “religious test” for 90 days. It is not related to “the lessons from 9/11” as Trump states because the countries where the terrorists of the WTC were from Egypt, U.A.E, and Saudi Arabia which are not listed on the banned countries list. This is the disgusting version 2017 Executive Order 9066.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Breaking Bad, episode 12. Of course, it's doomed love, and one of them is shown as being manipulative to everyone else around her, and then of course one of them dies as fate's punishment for her junkie sins, but the relationship is depicted as very real and very sweet, making a little of the point I was making about trust in a criminalized world in this post.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I haven't written in this blog in so long, that instead of writing an extended essay, I'll warm myself up by going over several short items in the next week or so.
1) A&E's "The Cleaner", currently the most offensive show on television re: the drug war. The main character, William Banks, played by Benjamin Bratt, is heroicized for "extreme intervention" on drug users which includes a) breaking and entering into their homes, b) kidnapping them, c) hacking into freezing their financial accounts, to name just a few of the invasive crimes the character is shown committing, actions paid for by their families or friends. The vast majority of these users are adults, which means their families have no legal power over them. If a character committed crimes like these against any other group of people, the audience could hardly be expected to have sympathy for them, but somehow the fact that these people are drug users justifies these acts to most viewers.
Note to A&E--not since fanatical first drug czar Harry J Anslinger of the 40s and 50s has the state of simply *being* a drug user been a crime. (Anslinger instituted an extralegal edict that allowed people to be stopped and searched for track marks and detained indefinitely if any were found. A lot of creative body parts used to inject at this time in order to evade the arm search, ha...(If you'd like a vivid description of this era, you can find it in Burroughs' _Junky_..) Anslinger, ironically and hypocritically enough, became a user of illegally procured morphine later in his life to treat pain from angina and an enlarged prostate gland, and distributed this drug to his friends. We also have Anslinger to blame for most of
the hysteria and misinformation about marijuana in the middle of the last century and its criminalization in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, through the use of racism and lies about its supposed violent effects.
What's most chilling is that "The Cleaner" is based on a real life "extreme interventionist", Warren Boyd,whose methods were similar and who also avoided prosecution for them--beyond that, he's lionized in the special A&E does on him and admired by many law enforcement officials. He's actually co-producer of the show, so one can't argue that the station is misrepresenting him--it obviously has his stamp of approval. In the interview I link, he claims he doesn't break the law, yet in A&E's special on him--which I didn't have the stomach to watch to completion, but even a few minutes of watching revealed this much--he himself proudly relates that he held a heroin user hostage in his house by threat of physical violence. And even in the interview, though I doubt he realizes what he's admitting, he says he's not beyond the use of fraud. He also claims he participates in "The Cleaner" to lend it authenticity--so I can't quite believe his methods are drastically different from what the show portrays Banks doing.
A dramatic and totally unrealistic gimmick that the show uses in almost every episode is to have the drug user Banks is "helping" overdose right in front of him, so he can resuscitate them. Not only is this an instance of laughably overly convenient timing, it doesn't make any sense--these are habituated users with high tolerance, so why is it that they suddenly miscalculate their doses as soon as Banks is around? Of course, this perpetuates the fiction that any drug user is one step away from death at any time, regardless of any harm reduction methods used or the user's experience,justifying any violation of their person because the drug user's situation is an immediate life or death one. It also glosses over the fact that so many of the dangers of drug abuse are born from criminalization itself--such as the fact that overdose is often due to the unreliable and changeable purity of black market product.
This is doubly disappointing to me because Benjamin Bratt is one of the few mixed race actors successfully working in TV and film today--and actually a very accomplished actor in all the other roles I've seen him in. In fact, according to Wikipedia, "Bratt has been a strong supporter and board member of San Francisco Bay Area's Friendship House Association of American Indians and Native American Health Center for years". Doubtless the fact that he's playing a character who oppresses another marginalized group is totally lost on him.
The show perpetuates the idea that drug users are somehow a special category of human being, whose rights are null and void. Despite the fact that the show purports to be about redemption and compassion, in reality it is an example of the same attitude that has allowed ultra right wing drug warriors such as Newt Gingrich and others, to suggest the death penalty for drug dealers. "People who are dealing crack and dealing heroin have zero social value and should be put to death," said one politician, expressing the core of this attitude quite well. Dealers and users have no social value like other people do, so why bother with going through the pretense of pretending we have rights? This without any consideration of the extenuating circumstances, the poverty, that has so many people depend on the black market to survive--that poverty which is itself often a result of right wing policies.
Warren Boyd praises "Intervention", another A&E show, and I'm looking forward to dissecting that show for you as well--a reality show where real life addicts are manipulated and violated.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
So, this country music video, affiliated with this organization, tries to get those slavering, sick, depraved men who are into porn and strip clubs to "maintain their self-control" by reminding them that the stripper or porn starlet they are watching is "somebody's daughter/somebody's child/somebody's pride and joy/somebody loves her for who she is inside/she has a mother and father/she's somebody's daughter.../ when her beauty is defiled I demean us both.."
Bitch offers some weak second waveish criticism here:
This is actually only one of several music videos made for SomebodysDaughter.org, offering “freedom from the crushing grip of porn.” Are strip clubs and pornography frequently problematic? Yes. If it’s ruining your family life should you seek counsel and remedy? Well yeah. Are there better ways to address it than imagining her mom and dad at her college graduation/birthday party/dance recital? And reinforcing images of all women as “our little girls all grown up?” Oh yeah! This video adds to some recent conversations on the prevalence of porn in society, and while I'm pretty uncomfortable with most porn and strip clubs, if the Somebody's Daughter campaign is all about casting men as sexual perverts for liking porn and women in the sex industry as a dependent innocents, then I doubt it's adding anything new or progressive as far as curbing the more harmful aspects of pornography and "gentleman's clubs"....though I have to give them some credit, this is by far one of the unsexiest videos I’ve ever watched.
(But thanks for the bit about how casting women in the sex industry as dependent innocents isn't progressive, Bitch magazine.)
What I really think we need to talk about in reference to this video is the question it raises, a question that opponents of sex worker's rights & decriminalization of sex work often ask, a question they ask as if it's the ultimate question and all debate can be defused by it:
"What if your daughter wanted to be a prostitute too?"
[Or stripper, or porn actress, or phone sex operator, sex cam worker, etc etc etc, insert relevant branch of sex work in the right spot...]
I think it's important to face the melodrama and taboo evoked by this question head on. Though perhaps my opinion might not matter that much, because I'm not planning on having children, I say, "If my daughter wanted to work in the same profession I do, I hope I could be proud of her and respect her choices."
The question posits workers in the sex industry as passive victims of objectification, rather than skilled artisans controlling the way they are viewed. It implies that any work that has to do with sex is shameful and victimizing, not a part of "who she[you] is [are] inside", as the country video puts it. That no mother *could* be proud of a skillful sex worker daughter, or be anything but horrified, ashamed, and deeply concerned. That sex work could never be seen as a respectable profession. And that has much more to do with this society's view of sex than with what actually takes place in the sex industry.
(Furthermore, it is not a universal view, but culturally specific, as demonstrated by the fact that geishas, Japanese sex workers/entertainers/artists, were honored and mothers put their daughters through a several year apprenticeship in the exacting art so that they could continue the family name within the trade--which was obviously viewed as a positive outcome.)
The fact that my mother isn't proud of all the work I do, not just the more wholesome activism, but my escorting, does disappoint me. I understand the cultural context, the prejudices that have been passed down to her, behind her view of my working as being a horrible fate that's befallen me, and I don't blame her entirely, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. As I write in my interview in Alexa of The Real Princess Diaries' My First Professional Sex project:
They know. My mother prays for me. She thinks it’s a symptom of a mental disorder, as does my father. The one time I was arrested, my father wrote a letter to the DA calling me a heroin addicted mentally ill prostitute who should not be allowed to leave the court room, who should be sent to jail or drug treatment immediately. He wrote a pathos ridden paragraph about how every day they worry I might contract HIV (although I practice safer sex than the vast majority of the general population–I practice safer sex than *he* does.) I always wondered why he was dumb enough to send that letter to the DA–not my lawyer or the judge–why he was dumb enough to think the DA could possibly have my interests, rather than the goal of a conviction in mind.
I know my father did it because he thought it would help, but with good intentions like that, who needs malevolence? I haven’t spoken to him since. I don’t *blame* my parents–there’s a huge cultural divide there, they are Russian and come from a culture with totally different values. But sometimes I do long for a mother who would be proud of me, like the depictions I see of Carol Leigh/Scarlot Harlot’s relationship with her mom.
So, yes, as Carol Leigh/Scarlet Harlot's mother's support attests--her mother appears in many of her video documentaries about her sex work and sex worker's rights activism, standing firm in her approval of what her daughter does in interviews--there is a way for parents to move beyond prejudice in their view of their child's sex work. But that's not the reality for the vast majority of us. In fact, most of us don't even bother to come out to their parents b/c of the overwhelming disapproval, pity, and anguish we're (justifiably) sure we'll experience--most of the time I wish I hadn't been dumb enough to come out to my mother and brother, who then told my father. Some of us internalize our parents' and this culture's whorophobia and sadly, are even ashamed of ourselves sometimes.
I'd love to hear any comments about this touchy subject I've brought up. The less silence there is around it, the less prostitution abolitionists can use the question of parents and children to silence debate about sex work in general.