I wish i could just go home but I’m not ready to go home yet. Oh, but London! This city takes so much more than it gives!

 

With going home it’s complicated, I don’t know how to be around my family anymore. If I try to talk about what happened, then it is me making a problem. Now so many years later where I come to understand more about what happened, then there is the feeling that my grandparents are too old to hear what I have to say, or it is too disturbing for them. I suppose I can go home when my grandparents are dead, maybe that sounds like a harsh thing to say but that’s when I will feel that it is all over, that I am finally free.

 

My house I have there, I bought it before the crash. I will be paying that mortgage until I am 65! But back then I was able to get a mortgage to buy a house without any deposit or savings. I didn’t even have a permanent job, my contract for the job I had at that time was only for 6 months. The person who stood as my Guarantor, it’s not like they had anything much either. That house, it was the first time I ever had a place to myself, where I didn’t have to do anything for anyone else. Having that space, it meant I was able to find myself. It’s not a big place but I had a lot of good times there.

I laughed a lot and I think that is in the energy of the house, I want to be able to share that with others.

 

In the last ten years if I counted, I’ve had more than 40 jobs. All of them casual, and a lot of those I got fired from for being unreliable. It’s not so easy to be reliable for these jobs where you don’t know from one day to the next if there will be work, or where it will be.

 

Regular work, I tell you one thing, with my clients’ they are not always nice, often they can be disgusting or difficult, but I can deal with that. But they don’t yell at me. In my straight jobs, those situations where I was the ‘free’ worker, I never had a situation where they didn’t yell at me. This was the price of having a job, that they are actually allowed to yell at me, to bully me and tell me what to do. I am supposed to act as if I am grateful for the job and the opportunity for them to treat me like shit.

 

The thing is that if you want to look for a new job, there’s no time! You spend every single hour working or resting after being exhausted from working. So when you are truly wrung out and can’t bear to go to that job anymore, then usually you have to quit before you can find the time to look for another.

 

Really the only thing I like about sex work is being able to organise my own time. That I don’t have to go and spend 8 hours a day five days a week in some job, that is with out even counting all of the travelling back and forth. it costs money to go to work, to pay for transport, for food, for all of that time. At least with sex work I can decide to go somewhere else or decide not to go, as long as I have the money for the rent that is.

 

Housing, it’s so expensive just to have a roof to live under, how can it fucking cost so much? Most of my life, that is once I left my family home, I lived in collectively with others. Apart from the money I believe in the politics of that. I like the company, that we can be there and support each other, that we can make food together, be a group of friends. Except it’s not always like that, there is the work of it. Because in living together there is always the division of chores, of cooking, cleaning, organising the buying food, of peace keeping, of cleaning up other peoples mess. And if you are for some reason not able to do that work, then you are seen as somehow less part of the group, less contributing to the house. There is a certain amount of work required to count as ‘belonging properly’ in a collective house.

 

Living alone, sometimes people just need to be alone, to have a space for themselves. Sometimes is is necessary to find your own space just to be able to think and figure things out!

 

Feeling ready to go into past trauma, to fall apart, sometimes it takes years to be ready, and then there is the question of how to function, how to survive when that is happening.

I realised I was telling the same fragments of stories over and over again to friends, and I was aware that there were gaps, things I was not telling or where I didn’t even know what happened. I wanted to know my own story and to try to make sense of that. I was tired of being angry all of the time, I know there are plenty of reasons to be angry but I wanted to understand where that anger was coming from, and to be able to know when I was angry what that was really about.

 

Except to have this space, to live alone, I have to work so much and have clients in my house all of the time.

 

They are always asking questions, so many questions, they want to know all about you, that you should tell them all of your secrets, so they can know you. They ask if you are ill, are you on drugs, what happened in your past that brought you to doing this for a job? They want their own perfect picture of the ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’. If you were really sick they wouldn’t notice it.

 

That’s the thing with sex work, it’s isolating. If you are not part of that visible sex workers community, then how do you find other sex workers?

 

Activism in this sex worker scene, OMG. I’m afraid I can’t even go into those spaces anymore, because there is so much policing of what other people say. I have enough anxiety as it is without wondering if I will accidentally do or say the wrong thing. I wonder about that. How is it that in these open political spaces, which are suppose to be inclusive, that so many times it is someone with a university degree telling others how to speak? Or always those with English as a first language picking over every single word that is said? Where is the space to make mistakes and learn? Where is the room to actually find out what we need to know? I’m sick of it!

 

I try to offer myself to go past isolation, to be there to support. I got approached by a couple of women back home who want to start some sort of sex workers project, because right now there isn’t anything. What they are doing is part of another HIV organisation. I need to think about that, to think about what I want to do. I don’t want to go there and position myself as a boss or a leader. I want to go there and show them some ways of how to do it and then go away again!

 

It’s been such a long time since I had sex in my own language, to fuck in the language that is my mother tongue, to hear the words of what we will do with each other or to say the names of parts of the body, I almost forgot how it feels. It’s been years.

 

Now in my life on all levels, I can’t deal with peoples stupid questions and bigotry anymore, I got too tired for that. I can’t deal with anymore of other people asking me if I really want to do this kind of work, or suggesting that if we really want to be together I should change, or saying they will struggle how to tell their friends about me. Fuck it. Now if some one wants to be in my life, friends, lovers, family, whoever, then they have to accept that this is what i do for a job, this and all of the other things they might wish to make ‘respectable’, no! I won’t tolerate that anymore.

 

Freedom? What is that? I have never been free. What does that even look like? I have always had to make money, to do what I am told, to find the ways to have basic things. That is not freedom. Everyone one has the right to housing, to have food, shelter, health care, because that is what it takes to live! And everybody has the right to live!

Stories of Resistance

Call For Participation

Over the next 10 months, ‘Resilient and Resisting’ will be holding a number of events, workshops, group discussions, and investigative visits to archives.

If you have lived experience at any intersection of: queer, kink, sex work, survivorship, or disability, you are welcome to make a submission, contribute to a discussion, or be part of a visit.