Babysitter

Babysit my attention

I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts

I babysat young children when I was still a child myself

When I was a sex worker at age 20, I told my friends and family that I was a babysitter;

Both jobs require you to work late hours and pay cash

It was for less than a year, but the PTSD lasts a lifetime

I fell down a rabbit hole of sexual trauma

I was perfectly trained to be a professional rape victim from my real life experiences

There is no protection for sex workers

Clients violate any semblance of boundaries

I tried to shout ‘No!’ but only a soft ‘yes’ came out

Customer satisfaction was prioritized above protecting my body from harm

Every time I took an HIV test I was sure it would come back positive

Maybe if I had said ‘yes’ to the screening questions of ‘have you ever exchanged sex for money?’ some resources may have been offered from the public health worker- why was that the only question I said ‘no’ to?

The truth shall set you free

But I was trained by my family to rely on no one and nothing, to survive on sheer grit and ingenuity

Babysit my attention, inform and entertain me

Here and now, I sit in stillness and embrace the present in deep gratitude

Basement

If I were a guy

I wouldn’t have to choose which pregnancy lives and which dies
I wouldn’t have to lie
To keep my body balanced precariously over a precipice of shame
I wouldn’t have to remain silent about my pain
If I were a guy
I wouldn’t widen the depths of a woman’s trauma by asking her about the depths of her trauma
I wouldn’t judge a woman on the depth of her trauma
If I were a guy
Life would be simple and easy
You ask me about every fuck and every fetus, like it is your business
It is not your business
Do you really want to know about the countless rapes I’ve endured
Not just at the hands of guys
Girls and women, my own mother was the mother of all trauma
Do you want me to describe what it feels like to have your inside pried open and the most vulnerable part of you wounded, scraped raw as you sacrifice the new life you desired, the miracle at your core from another night as a whore
Left to wonder forever unknowing what might have been, who they might have been
It was enough for me to cut the ties
From guys I didn’t want in my life
I cheated on every last one of them, a string of infidelity leading to you
Why do you want to hear that, what would it do?
Maybe then you’d know who you married
But I’m trying to build a new life, live my best life, start anew with a clean slate, move with you to a new state
I don’t want to lie anymore, don’t want to hide anymore, but let me be myself or I’ll show you the door even though it will break me even more
Try as I might by inviting drama into my life, I am unbreakable
You try to crack me not knowing that I’ve been practicing for this my whole life
I’m sorry you are a part of my web of lies but let’s make the best of it I don’t want any more terrible surprises, even as I plant these words like a bomb under the floor.
Triggers are an invitation to see what is in the basement
My heart is in the basement but even our basement has a plant growing where the concrete is cracked
I’m trying to be that plant, don’t hold me back

Samurai

Before I knew how to love,

I freely offered up my heart

Blind shot in the dark
I was the one who dropped my heart on the floor
From my open hands
Not knowing that I had smashed through a door
Not knowing what I would gain
Not knowing what I could never lose
No one seemed to notice, no one intervened
As I set out on my own
Lifting the veil, stepping through the screen
It wasn’t easy
I made every possible mistake
Burning my fire to fulfill other people’s desires
I was able to do everything and anything,
Because I already felt dead
From the heartbreak which split and throbbed in my head
I flipped circus tricks in the strangest of beds
Unscripted, I drifted
I met so many people
I worshipped under unconventional steeples
Life is my book, my science, my art
It all started when I sacrificed my heart
Everyday I learn how to love more
Love myself, my life, my family
Love even the dregs of humanity
Those who have yet to wander away from themselves
Those who have yet to realize who they really are
Because they cling so tightly to their identity
I’m privileged to live like a Samurai; at once warrior, servant, and free

Labels

Labels

I was labeled cute

I was labeled sweet

I was labeled shy

My anxiety and depression went unrecognized, intentionally overlooked by those with the power to help me when I was a child. My social anxiety drove me to act as anyone but myself.

My parents had not accepted and confronted their own anxiety and depression, and they trained me to follow their approach to life: suppress your feelings, be only what others want you to be.

I was labeled smart.

I was labeled hard working.

I was responsible.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. I took responsibility for everyone else’s feelings. I took care of other children when I was still a child myself.

I was labeled a slut and a tramp by teenage girls.

I was labeled a tease by teenage boys.

I didn’t know how to say no, I didn’t know how to not lose myself in the desires of others.

Sometimes I was glad for the non-verbal language of physical affection, although I was just as incompetent at saying ‘no’ physically as I was verbally.

I was labeled an escort, a call girl, though I was just trying to make ends meet, girl.

I was labeled a graduate, with latin honors.

Though I worked as a prostitute, survived unnumbered abusive relationships, including the abusive relationship with myself, now they call me doctor.

What my patients don’t know is how much I’m still learning everyday- learning how to take care of myself as I ask them to take care of themselves.

In my daily practice of being my best self, I practice un-labeling through non-judgement.

Labels limit our minds.

Labels snap a stagnant picture from the moving scene, robbing us of the limitless possibilities of the present.

Safe Space

I currently work in a high-pressure, male-dominated profession
This old school boys club is rough and tumble
Giant egos clash and bash one another
I try to stay below the fray
But they smash me anyway
They don’t care who they hurt
As long as they puff themselves up bigger and louder than all within earshot of their tantrum

I don’t buy into their bullshit
I want to pop their over-inflated egos with my sharp sewing needle
But I keep quiet, for my own safety and sanity
I’ve learned to keep my head down and keep moving forward,
Because I have better things to do than try to teach grown men how to act
They don’t know how to act and I’m not their mama

Despite my best efforts to keep calm, I get stressed out

when my narcissistic, masculine bosses maliciously razz me
They are too afraid to admit that they are afraid
They are too blinded by their vanity to see that fear is the motivator
Behind the furious spinning of their transparent webs of false perfection                                                  The only prey they catch is themselves
I used to be a black widow spider, I know their game
At least I know that I am afraid of imperfection, I don’t play

I also know that I will never be perfect, and I accept that as part of being human

Who are we fooling when we try to act like we are anything other than human?

What brings me peace in the midst of the psychological violence of the workday
Is that no matter how tense and dramatic the guys act, as long as we are at work
I will never have to see them naked, nor will they get to watch me undress
I will never have to please them sexually, talk dirty, or stick their dick in me anywhere

They do not know that I know what they want behind closed doors
They’d never suspect that I am a former sex-worker
Remembering my whore-rrific past soothes me in the pressure cooker of my present job

No matter how bad it gets, it can’t get worse than what I’ve already been through, right?

Special message of respect for the current working girls: I love you and feel a kinship to you stronger than I will ever feel for the over-privileged pricks who are my co-workers now. No matter how far up the career ladder I climb, I will always be by your side as your sister in heart and soul.

With a prayer for serenity and safety to all.

Finding Sukha

Sometimes I feel angry
I could blame my parents for the anger they passed down to me through their nature and their nurture
But they are only survivors of abuse and neglect themselves, victims of inter-generational psychological torture
I like to think that they were doing the best they knew how
With limited resources at the time
It was a different world back then;
There was little awareness and poor preparedness,
Less information and more isolation

Sometimes I feel sloppy
My movements get choppy
I crash, splash and make a mess
I only hope that I don’t take anyone down with me
When I slip and fall
Reminding me that in my haste, I don’t save time at all

Sometimes I feel on edge
I am irritable and my mind carves a ledge
Off of which I can easily slip
Into a hellish well
Of memories echoing back at me
Little things that seem big disproportionately when viewed at close range

Like the time an ex gave me condescending lip
When he proudly pronounced the word ‘dukkha’
Then judged me on how the Sanskrit word (not the concept, mind you) was unfamiliar to my vocabulary at the time

Dukkha is commonly translated as ‘suffering’, which is an important concept in Buddhism because the Buddhist path was designed to liberate people from suffering by helping them first overcome their desires/selfish cravings

I am all for liberation, but his elitist attitude was not resonating with me
That fool tried to school me on suffering like I’d never suffered a day in my life, when I’ve suffered every damn blessed day of my life

So I gave him a lesson in letting go of attachment by leaving him

I thought he could stand to benefit from the lesson and

I don’t need to take shit from a privileged prick about fancy words that I was too busy earning a living through sex work to have the time to learn from a text book

Books are hella expensive anyway

That’s why I gladly share my writing freely

Cuz I want it to reach people like me

People who were born into economic or emotional poverty

Through these simple words I string together

I humbly hope to help alleviate suffering in others

Perhaps it only helps alleviate my own suffering, but even that would be enough

I am a person, too

Also, writing feels like free therapy to me

I’ve still never been to actual therapy

I hear the prices are crazy

But I digress…I don’t have the energy to deal with fits of vanity

from spoiled boys who get off on looking down on me and the rest of the world

I think that instead of judging anyone who hasn’t heard the word ‘dukkha’
It would’ve served him better to find sukha
Sukha means ‘ease’

My point is this:
Everybody experiences dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness or stress) and hopefully sukha (happiness, ease, pleasure or bliss) in their lives
Everyone around the world attends the school of life; we are born, live and die in that classroom
But not everybody has access to the luxury of learning outside of their immediate human interactions
However that makes them no less educated than those who have the resources for recreational reading
At least in my book

So I’d tell that ex (if I could stomach the thought of communicating with him, which I presently don’t)
That if he thinks he is superior to others
Because he’s so well-read
Then maybe he should know
How to fit his ego back inside his head

With compassion, I recognize that fear of inadequacy lies at the root of his speaking boastfully

Here are some lessons that I’ve learned, and they aren’t in Sanskrit:
The ego inflates easily but deflates again eventually, and when the ego balloon gets stabbed by a needle it can be a long, hard fall down to the ground                                                                                                    Liberation from our egos and freedom from our desires is the ultimate gift
Money can buy a book but it can’t buy wisdom
Material wealth will get you inside the ivory tower but it won’t shelter you from suffering

Just look at my ex; he was rich in his wallet but impoverished in his heart-mind
Leaving him so that I could be poor but happy
Was a decision that put me at ease,
At ease like sukha

Sometimes I need a lesson in letting go too

Sometimes I find sukha