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About time, I say.

This article* has opened up a lot of my misgivings in talking about my sexwork as another service I offer.

In talking about sexwork, the first thing people imagine is something like Pretty Woman, the next thing people imagine, almost simultaneously is a woman on the corner who is doing it to feed some sort of drug or alcohol habit.  I am neither of these things.  If anything, I am a person who is more closely tied to a courtesan of the Medieval Ages.  I know and learn many different skills (besides bedroom or sexual skills) and have a broad range of knowledge in a variety of topics, because I want to be a companion for the time I am asked to share with someone.

If I could get more people to understand this work by seeing past the Julia Roberts or the innumerable faces arrested for doing these acts on public streets, I would want them to think of it more along the lines of Inara Serra of Firefly; but we diverge into fantasy so seldom in real life.  Where her clients were mostly affluent, rich, upper class, I am interested in the working man, the ones who are working day-in, day-out and do all the usual day to day grind and need a respite.  For an hour, for a night, for as long as they have need of me.

Can I be those other two examples?  Sure.  That goes without saying.  Part of the work entails becoming a blank canvas, something the other person can draw on, can imagine what they need onto me, without touching into that core sense of who I really am, because they don’t need to see that part of me, they need to see what they WANT to see.  Sometimes that isn’t pretty, or even appealing to me.  But it’s not about me.  It’s about the intimacy that is created with a fictive person, with someone who isn’t really there.

A therapist is someone who is there, but it’s like the trope of the disembodied voice that parrots back to us what we say, because sometimes we need to hear it from something outside ourselves in order to really get at whatever it is that’s troubling us.  So much of that ability to just give back and gently prod more from a client revolves around remembering that who you are isn’t more important than who is before you, that takes a willingness to look deep into yourself, to see that part of you that you don’t like at all, and still be okay with who you are.  There is so much power to be gained from that process. . .

I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of this topic, and I will definitely be exploring and expounding on it, as I continue to talk things out and tease out the ideas in my head.  Right now, it’s one very large ball of knots and twists, but I’m a patient sort and I like unraveling, in so many ways.

*The original author of the article, Stanley Siegel has been summarily fired from his column (after inexplicable censoring of this article and others), and would appreciate your support.

Defining my practice in terms of my culture, or not.

So, as I prepare to moderate (at least, I hope it’s me moderating as opposed to presenting, though I’m prepared for that possibility) the People of Color Caucus at Pantheacon, I recognize that it is forcing me to look at my own practice and how I work within the contexts of the cultures I am, and cultures I am working with.

My Fearsome Foursome™ are Aztec, Celtic, Hindu, and Norse (why yes, I put them in alphabetical order, not order of importance) and I have been made aware (more than once, by each of them in turn) that I can’t hide behind the argument that I get a pass because I am a PoC (Pagan of Color).  If anything, I am compelled to work harder because I can’t be lazy about my practice and about recognizing its origins in my own work and the work of those who belong to the cultures I am drawing from.

Even the fact that I am Mexican (with Indian, Italian, and Spanish heritages feeding it) doesn’t let me slack off on the Aztec side.  I am pushed (and currently gathering resources) to learn Nahuatl, to study what my Matron wants me to study, to research and correct the erroneous information about Aztec practices that perpetuates the New Age talk out there.  I’m the gnashing of teeth you hear miles away whenever someone starts talking about the “Mayan Apocalypse” because first: they ran out of room on the stone, if you look at it, you can tell, there’s an end to how many days they would be able to fit on it.  Second, why would an ancient civilization attach itself to Christian terminology?  Yes, in Mayan, Aztec, and Incan mythos there is talk of ending the worlds, but not leaving them obliterated, but to recreate them.  The end of the Mayan Sun Calendar is the assumed destruction of the current world and the recognized beginning of a new one, one they assumed would be an attempt by the g*ds of their pantheon to make something better.  /endrant

No, really, it was an issue with space.  Think about it, someone had to lug that thing!

And this truth was costing you 300$ two years ago at some cheap Hilton conference room!

 

In working the Hindu pantheon, and my being in Sharanya as an initiate means I have to make sure that I work closely with current organizations that are working on issues like the AIDS epidemic amongst sex workers, freedoms for trans/alternate gender expressing people (which some worshippers are, as part of their worship) because it is part of my path as a genderqueer Spirit sexworker.

Working with the Celt and Norse though; that creates a kettle of fish I have to try and fry sometimes.   It makes it difficult for me to feel like I connect sometimes, despite what Odin and the Morrighan tell me (which is that I’m doing just fine) but this ties into my feeling of not achieving enough and thus overachieving to make up for the self-doubt.  So when it comes to these, I tend to take the path of an academic, I read a lot of reconstructionist works, because I have friends who are big in recon and because that academia is important to learning about civilizations, not necessarily to do their rites as they’ve been discovered (except when requested, I have a format, it works for me) but to acknowledge the work being done there.  To support it when I can by buying a book on a part of it that interests me (runes, ogam, and cultural/historical findings), and collecting all these tiny facts and resources for when someone might have need of them.

But I still feel like I don’t do enough.   I think of all my issues, this one ties into my cultural background the most.  I don’t feel I do enough, I’m a workhorse (my maternal family were ranch hands, it’s in the blood to work hard is what my Mama would say when I was up late studying) and sometimes, I push too far or too hard and wonder why I’ve been knocked on my ass. . . it’s still hard for me to deal with knowing that I do enough.  One of these days, I will know that I have.  This is part of that learning.

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