It's Not Going to Stop

Sometimes, it is hard to be a girl in America. No, it is always hard to be a girl in America. It is harder still to be the kind of girl America hates. Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard I pummel my bloodied fists at the people who tell me that I'm wrong, bad, loathsome, ugly, worthless, some of those blows inevitably get through. And I sit here tonight with bruises on my face and neck, just wishing that it would stop, even for a short minute.

I cannot do sex work right now.

My body and I are at war with each other, my mind refusing to believe or accept that it's changed in the way that it has. I don't need to be profound or original to explain all of you who were raised female that specific kind of body hatred that comes with being a Girl in America. It's that special kind of loathing we only reserve only for ourselves. Sometimes we direct it outwards, placing judgment and a narrowed eye at someone who literally embodies what we fear, but it is always about us in the end. It is always about how, every day, we are told we are not enough; not thin, pretty, rich, stylish, smart, resourceful, selfless, beautiful, elegant enough to exist. After all, their riches, their success, their sense of self worth is made from our shame. I shouldn't need to tell you who they are.

Becoming a feminist was both the best and the worst thing I ever did for my body. Finally knowing that being imperfect is ok, beautiful even, was one of my life's eminent lessons. Feminism told me to fuck those societal beauty standards and to express myself however I saw fit. For that, I am eternally grateful to feminism and the feminist role models who brought me down this path. Feminism, however, did not provide me with all the tools I needed to undo these decades of self-hate. But don't hear me wrong: it is not feminism's fault that we don't know how to tell ourselves that we are worthy of love and desire. It is not feminism's fault that we get pummeled, sometimes to death, by those big angry fists. I get that we are all still learning how to exist in this world, and I am among those who have committed themselves to the long hard fight.

Sometimes I lose. Sometimes my body betrays me in ways that make me feel worthless, ugly, unloveable. Sex work is the act of making people think that you are worth enough to be paid. Sex work is about convincing a client that you are beautiful, elegant, sexual and eager to please them. Sex work is about convincing your client that you are hot shit. At the moment, however, I feel like hot shit in the most disgustingly literal sense. These days, compliments bounce off of me like raindrops never soak a duck; they slick the skin and then disappear. The feeling is an ephemeral caress that floats away nearly the instant after its appearance.

I hate that I am so damaged. I hate that I have to fight the feeling to hate myself every day. I want to love my body. I want to love every roll, dimple and pucker. I want the capacity love it if it were twice or half its current size. I want little things like a pound or five not to send me into a veritable panic of body shock. I want it to be ok that I now have two chins in pictures instead of one, that my belly sticks out more than it used to, that I am bigger than I used to be. I hate that such a small thing can make me withdraw from people, friends, and lovers. I hate that it means I can't bear to sell my body, that today, I couldn't even imagine telling a client that I am worth their hard-earned money.

For this, I am sorry. I am sorry that I don't have lurid and exciting tales to tell you. I am sorry that this is affecting my ability to do this thing that I have grown to occasionally enjoy. Mostly, I am sorry that I continue to be so hard on myself and that I have let this affect my life in negative ways. I promise you and myself that I will continue to work diligently and attempt to make peace with the new bits of flesh that have found their way to various parts of my body. I promise that I won't stop shielding myself from the blows and punching back when I can.

I will not lose this fight; you are my witness.


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