Women in the sex industry have to wear a lot of armor it seems. We have to protect ourselves, somehow, in our physically unprotected environments. There is a world of people that want to penetrate the sex worker in intimate ways without almost any actual intimacy. It creates an internal hardness that is, from what I can tell, unavoidable. The extremes, right? A nun may consider herself all-giving and emotionally vulnerable to anyone in need, but we must keep something for ourselves. We have to. She keeps her body for herslef. I have kept my love, my sweetness and, consequently, it has left me swinging exhaustively at everything around me, without discrimination.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for a soldier who goes to war – trained to be mechanical, to be screamed at and not feel, to be given orders and fulfill them, whatever it takes. The point is to not be penetrated, but to be the one who penetrates – to end a life, or worse, to torture it into submission. They wear armor and dodge all manner of weapons, and when it’s all over, they re-enter a world of home life and complicated fights that require delicate maneuvering, soothing and sympathy. Back to a world where you are rewarded for sharing your feelings, not for pushing them down.
Being a sex worker, thankfully, is not that extreme, but it has been similar for me, on the feeling level. I look inside myself and find solid layers where I have bit down hard on experiences and crystalized an anger that has helped me avoid dealing with any real pain in my life, for the purpose of moving ahead. Survival is the goal, but for what? This experience of anger and indifference has helped me deflect any potential harm to my soft underbelly. But back in the world of of home life and complicated fights that require delicate maneuvering and sympathy – this world where I am rewarded for sharing my feelings, my armor has crippled me. “Potential harm” has become everything, where there may be no harm intended at all, and often, it is not. I am constantly faced with the threat of losing everything that has become important to me, of breaking the precious and delicate things, if I don’t shed my armor. I allowed myself to be trained and programmed, screaming and swinging, but potential harms are now potential happinesses, and I threaten to sabotage any potential happiness just to get back what is familiar so I don’t have to feel anything… at all.
As I dig my fingers into the cracks of my own self-made mask, I find the nerves just as exposed as I left them – one year ago, five years ago, ten years ago… twenty years ago. And I find now that real weakness is the inability to love and be loved. All this feeling may leave me exposed and crying, at times, but it has also released a carefree laughter, corrected my perceptive vision and fills me with intense compassion, especially for self-protected people – male and female, prostitute, non-prostitute, hell… non-porn. It also makes me grateful to be able to feel… anything… at all.
Then again, maybe I’m just a cold Aquarian still learning how to be human. I have met a lot of Aquarian females in the sex industries and I find there is a tendency to be overly efficient at emotional compartmentalization. Makes me think there are probably just as many Aquarian hitmen and women. Mmm…. guns…. Oops! Did I say that??
(Oh! I conducted my first interview this past Sunday with the lively and adorable Bobbi Starr! It will be ready by next week!! Very cool…eh?)
– Julie Meadows