If I Wasn't a Sex Worker (and other Alt Universes)

I was asked by one of my friends, Creatrix Tiara, what I would be doing in an alternative universe. Alternative universes always fascinated me, the idea that one step in a different direction could have changed your life in so many subtle and major ways. I thought I'd write about a few ways in which my life would've been very different if I had just gone in a different direction.

Reflecting on my life, I realize that the famous Anais Nin quote, "and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom," is incredibly true for me. My independent life after 18 has been almost entirely sculpted by moments where I was confronted with a choice- stick with what I knew, or go on a wild adventure. And even though it was scary, and unknown, and I had no reason to believe it would be better or even safe, I would take the plunge, over and over again, because to not dare was more soulsucking than to try and fail.

Content warning: some of these projections involve mental health issues, suicide, violence, and other trauma.


If I hadn't been hospitalized
One of the biggest things I think about is what my life would've been like if I hadn't been hospitalized as a teenager. It's hard to say, honestly- I was an impulsive teen and felt a driving desire to self destruct, so I might've ended up doing myself lasting harm had I not ended up in care. Or I might've ended up staying in high school, trying to focus on my studies, doing reasonably well (though I think I would have continued to be told that I would be brilliant if I applied myself), and probably gotten more into art classes. There was a girl I had a huge crush on in my art class. I probably would've pined over her for a while. I don't know if I would've started the school's gay straight alliance, though, I probably would've kept my head down a bit more. Likely I would've gone to college to study something that would excite me but would also never get me a job, I would've gotten into debt, and I'd be working some office gig to make ends meet.

If I stayed in Massachusetts
I honestly think that if I had stayed in MA I would've fallen apart. I had a couple of amazing supportive friends, but I lived far away from them, was barely scraping by financially, and felt incredibly isolated. If I hadn't had someone from the internet send me money for a plane ticket out, I might've bought a gun. It was pretty bad. I mean that's worst case scenario stuff, granted- maybe I'd have done some volunteering, maybe I'd have spent more time in the Pit (hell I might've ended up running into N way back then, which still kinda blows my mind), maybe I'd have become a writer. But I doubt it. I was so closed up and anxious and sad. I feel pretty sure that I would've wrapped up into myself until there was nothing left. I also suspect my relationship with my parents would've been irreparably broken. 

If I hadn't become a sex worker
If I had not decided to answer that ad to become a prodomme, I would've likely continued to work at Hot Topic. Maybe I'd have become management. Maybe I'd have ended up moving through the ranks. I still wouldn't have made enough to afford my own place, or, in all likelihood, even a room in a place, so I would've stayed living with my grandmother, up in the hills, without a car. I suspect I would've continued to feel awkward in my body, allowing myself to be cajoled into sex I didn't want to have with men I didn't like, because I felt at that time like sex was what I had to offer as a person. It was the only intimacy I felt comfortable with. There are a lot of things that sex work impacted in my life that was not great, but when it comes to understanding boundaries and the value of my labour, sex work saved me.

If I didn't move to London
I was asked if I wanted to move to London by a man I had been dating for a month. I had a nice place in Oakland to live with friends I really liked,  a social group I was beginning to really fit into, a car... I was doing ok. But a trip to London, one of my dream places, was something I couldn't pass up- how often does one get the chance to move to another country? If I hadn't taken him up on it, I'm sure I would've settled into a regular job, continued to go to Burning Man campouts, and maybe ended up on the board at Mission Control. I would've likely continued with my livejournal rather than having this blog. Maybe I'd have met more folks in the sex positive community and become a sex educator. I doubt I would've ended up escorting if I had stayed in the States, and perhaps that, alone, would've made it easier for me to find jobs outside of sex work. That said, I also might've gotten into porn faster!

If I hadn't left my abusive relationship
At this time, I would've been married to a man who once tried to throw me down a flight of stairs when I said that I was upset with him fucking a couple at a sex party without checking in. I made a lot of excuses for him back then, and I expect I would've continued to- that he just needed to get into therapy, that he needed a better job, that my boundaries were too strict and I needed to let him do whatever (and whomever) he wanted and then maybe he wouldn't be so mad at me. My libido, which was slowly dying in that relationship, would have probably faltered entirely. I would have continued to do escorting because that would've felt like the one place where I could have sex without him breathing down my neck- but who knows? Maybe he would've limited me from doing that too. I don't know if he would've moved here, or if I would've moved there, but I think our toxic relationship would've poisoned me. As much as it saddened me to say goodbye to my hope to live in London again, I think that relationship would've destroyed me. It's already taken a lot of work to recover, and that was only after a couple years.

God, that all sounds sort of dire, huh? I mean maybe things would've all been for the better, but even now, looking back, I think I made the best decisions for me that I could've. And the life I have now has made all of it worthwhile- all the stress, all the loneliness, all the pain. The person I am now makes me happy to be in this universe. At least most of the time!


Categories: ah youth, best of, boundaries, breakups, community, compare/contrast, depression, london, personal, reflection

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