"If someone isn't what others want them to be, then others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own." - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
This quote resonates with me lately and for good reason. A lot of people are opinionated and vocal about how they feel with regards to sex work and others are silent and brooding. What is it that makes this profession one of the most highly disrespected professions in the world?
A little background before we get into some of the finer details (so you know what angle I'm coming from). I started sex work when I was 18 years old back in 2007 with the advent of "Hot or Not" and the beginning of Facebook. Most of you guys probably don't even remember what Myspace was but back when I was a teenager and young adult, it was everything to me and my budding identity. I have always been savvy with the Internet and I am part of a generation that grew up with both sides of life before and after its arrival. So since an early age, I've used it to express myself and connect with other people, experiment with HTML, graphics, photography, and video effects, and most of all the image of myself I wanted to portray. Unfortunately, a lot of very sick and twisted people also use social media to prey on young people and I was one of those naive and curious teenage girls with very little sexual experience and innocent intentions. For more than three years of my early adulthood I learned the hard way about men and sex both online and offline. I truly believe this is why social media is so heavily censored now. There is great freedom when it comes to being able to express yourself with nudity and then there is a dark side where, like any other profession out there, people use other people for personal gain and exploitation. It's awful and heartbreaking, but it's also part of life.
Fast forward a decade later. I'm married now to the love of my life and I have three kids under four, a mortgage, and a life that by any other objective means appears "normal" except for one thing which for years I couldn't put my finger on. I was happy don't get me wrong, but I was unhappy at the same time. Something was missing. A dream was unlived. My heart was either permanently damaged or life just wasn't what I thought it would be. So when my husband went out of town for a month I began to wander online again once more just as naive as the first time. It was just an innocent hobby, a fun one at that, when I started chatting and getting to know other people online. Now as an adult entertainer a lot of things have changed regarding my choice to get online.
It's never been more clear to me now that this hobby is more of a business and a profession. It's complete with deadlines, taxes, customer service, and marketing. There are video editing programs with steep learning curves, photography and lighting skills that take time and practice to master, and multitasking on a very high and efficient level in order to cater to multiple needs simultaneously. Many people overlook the fact that like anything else in life, it does take a significant amount of effort and self-discipline to be consistent and work in this industry.
So naturally, after a while of working, I decided it was time to explain to my family where I got the money to purchase land by myself. At first, it started with only phone sex and sexting, text messages, and short little video clips. Hardly anything to laugh about but it was enough money for me to feel like I was contributing to the family income without having to put my kids in childcare or waste gasoline to and from the local hospital (I was an RN by trade). I was able to make myself feel a little better about life at the same time and get some time away from my kids and so-called "normal" life. At first my family was horrified and doubtful that I'd ever last long doing this for a "job" or anything close to making money. They laughed at me and turned a blind eye... "Oh she's just being crazy again." They were wrong!
Then I finally came to the decision to begin live webcam shows. I signed up for half a dozen websites, bought a laptop and Logitech webcam and signed on for the first time wearing nothing but my bra and panties. It was a good month or two before I landed on a site that I enjoyed interacting on the most. For me, while money is definitely part of the equation, so is my personal preference and comfort level online. I was able to start slow and move into things at my own pace and that was everything to me. The void was filling up quickly with wonderful conversations and new sexual experiences. I was even able to explore fetishes I didn't even know existed and came to find out I had a dominant side that was never fully expressed. I knew there was no other outlet for me to be myself within a committed marriage and feel like myself at the same time.
Things changed with my family after they found out from an email that I was physically on camera and not just on the phone. I don't know why this was such a big deal to them but the transition to real live video was too much for them to handle. When they found out that I enjoyed fetishes and other things that were repulsive to them, they refused to let me enter their home. To this very day, they don't allow me in their house and will only meet me (and their grandkids) outside of their city because of my CHOICES to work in this industry. They make a point of reminding me that this is my choice once a year when we all get together for the holidays outside of their home and blame me for the fact they can't see their grandkids. The guilt trip is enough to make anyone go mad, but I'm a very strong individual and I only do what I know is best for me and my little family of my own. I don't plan on quitting anytime soon.
There is so much stigma attached to working in any field related to sex and a lot of discrimination publicly regarding the fact that there are people that are forced to be sex slaves or work underground for a pimp or addicted to doing drugs. I don't want to ignore this reality of life but I also don't want my story to go untold, that this isn't always the case. I want to emphasize here that while that may be some people, being a sex worker can also be a CHOICE and I emphasize choice in a positive way. It has always been my choice to play online and express myself this way and it has always been something I've enjoyed doing. Those things haven't changed since the beginning of the internet and advent of cell phones with a camera attached to them. The only difference is now I am being paid for it. My body, my artistry, my personality and my life with anything and everything in between is now a product.
My only regret is that I didn't start my paid ventures in the adult industry sooner. It has liberated me in ways I can't even explain both financially and personally. While we all are entitled to our opinions, if only we could open our minds and hearts to the beautiful variety of human sexuality and ways of expressing ourselves. I don't plan on going back to the sheltered and repressed person I used to be. I am free now.