Why I hung up my heels as an independent and embrace the brothel

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Melissa Mariposa

Let me preface this up front by saying all feelings, opinions, and views are about me and my life only — I do not judge any other provider for what they do or do not offer or how they feel about services or specific types of clients. These views are my own, for me, about my job, about my life. Not you or yours. You do what is right for you, and you own it.

The title pretty much sums up the content of the post, but I am asked almost daily — and usually not in the most positive way — why or “how” I could “give up” being “my own boss” and “independent” for the “terrible environment” of a brothel. There is almost always judgement and a completely negative attitude. I’ve had people laugh at the decision and outright mock it.

First off, if that’s you then you can fuck right off. It’s incredibly ironic to support me for being a sex worker as long as I’m doing it in a way you prefer vs what makes me happy. Second, I’m more my own boss than ever. I also have twice as much time, which has allowed me to finish several personal projects that were only crawling along. I have time to relax and pursue my interests instead of just working around the clock.

But let’s get to what this is really about. Why. Why did I go from a successful nationwide independent escorting business to building my brand inside of these walls? Continue reading

Courtesan Code of Ethics (Version I)

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Ever since the Expose a Bro scandal (google is your friend) several years ago I have had finishing this on my mind.  “Alexa” worked with many real providers to propose a code of ethics for the industry.  This never got finished, and this was never really published outside of an initial draft that was well received. The idea of a code of ethics isn’t really groundbreaking as most industries have them.  So why not us?  I am *happily* taking the feedback of other providers for future revisions of this piece, please respond on twitter with your suggestions, feedback, and ideas.

Courtesan Code of Ethics – Version I


Providing time is an occupation that is greatly misunderstood and generally looked down upon by society.  This, despite a long historical record of courtesans being among the most cherished and valued people in past civilizations.  One who undertakes becoming a courtesan as a primary profession or as an adjunct to another profession realises that s/he exposes the most personal of space to the client in exchange for financial or practical remuneration.   This close interaction requires a very high level of trust be established between the courtesan and the client, and it is critical that the client understand that s/he knows that s/he is dealing with someone who adheres to a strong code of ethics.

The courtesan should strive to accomplish these major goals:

  • Provide valuable, beneficial, safe, and enjoyable service to the client.
  • Ensure personal boundaries and health of either party are not compromised, that you maintain your dignity and integrity, and that you don’t compromise your own personal ethos.
  • Reflect positively upon the profession as a whole.

Voluntary subscription to a code of ethics has historically been one way to demonstrate the commitment to excellence in any profession.  Being a courtesan is a profession in which one should always be striving towards excellence, so a code of ethics is the next logical step towards that goal.

This code of ethics is predicated upon the following assumption of rights:

  • I reserve the right to screen clients to my personal satisfaction and standards and always personally determine who I will see and who I will not see, and under what conditions.
  • I reserve the right to set my own boundaries, and to have my clients to respect them at all times. I reserve the right to end a session without refund if a client does not respect my boundaries.
  • I reserve the right to refuse to see a client if the client refuses to accept my personal boundaries or engages in behaviour I deem unsafe, threatening, or illegal.
  • I reserve the right to determine how I use my personal attributes to make a living, and to be respected for the decisions that I make.
  • I reserve the right to serve only the clientele I am comfortable serving without judgement from clients or other providers.
  • I reserve the right to be treated as a human being, with full agency and all other rights due me, including the right to petition for redress under all relevant civil and criminal laws of my country.  I have every expectation that law enforcement agencies and the judicial system will treat me with the same dignity and respect they afford all other complainants.

Code of Ethics

General Conduct

  • I will enter and practice this profession of my own free will, under duress from no other party, while understanding the true nature of the work I’ll be doing.
  • I will exhibit a sincere commitment to providing a quality experience for the client. If the client is not having a good experience, I will work towards resolving that situation in any way I can to the satisfaction of the client without compromising my personal ethos, health, or safety in the process.
  • I will respect my clients as human beings and not treat them as anything less than how I expect to be treated.
  • I will respect my client’s physical, emotional, professional, ethical, and spiritual boundaries.
  • I will maintain and improve professional knowledge and competence, striving for excellence through regular assessment of personal and professional strengths and weaknesses and through continued education and training.

Business Practices

  • I will not use bait and switch tactics to lure clients under false assumptions or pretenses.  I will not advertise as an unrealistic age for my visual appearance.  If my photos do not accurately represent me, I will not use them.
  • I will respect my client’s confidentiality, and not, under any circumstances, divulge the names or other identifying features of my clients.
  • My email practices are secure and the content of our emails will always be professional in nature.
  • I will not defraud or cheat a client in any way.
  • I will advertise myself honestly and not misrepresent what I am prepared to do or the skills that I have.
  • I will plainly state my expectations on my web site(s) and not engage in unfair attempts to upcharge or upsell clients.  The price listed on the website is the price the client can expect to pay.
  • I will not submit false information about clients to blacklists and similar reporting venues.
  • I will recognise that there is a wide variance in acceptable behaviour and identity, strive to accept those variations in my clients, and accommodate those variances when they do not conflict with my own personal ethos or skill levels.

Safety and Health

  • I will use appropriate safe practices at all time.
  • I will not practice my trade if I am sick or ill without disclosing my illness(es) to my client before any personal contact.
  • I will not entertain clients if I am physically or emotionally impaired to the point where I cannot ensure my safety, the safety of my client, and meet my client’s expectations.
  • I will not entertain clients if I am unable to provide a top tier experience.
  • I will not entertain clients who engage in illegal activities, nor will I engage in illegal activities with clients.

Respect for the Profession

  • I will not advocate or condone anything non-consensual/involuntary or anything involving minors, and will report the existence of such behaviour to appropriate authorities immediately should I discover it.
  • I will not take advantage of or manipulate clients or other providers in any way for personal gain.
  • I will not sell my reference or provide any kind of references for clients I did not actually see.
  • I do not judge other women for who they choose to see or not see.
  • I do not judge other women for how they spend their money, or what gifts they receive.
  • I do not judge how other women run their business.
  • If asked, I will provide honest, legitimate advice and information to those who inquire about working in this profession.
  • I strive to be a true lady, and will conduct myself as such at all times.
  • I am honest, sincere, professional, and value discretion above all else.

How to transform your space into your boudoir…and why

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Nashville Escort Missy Mariposa

I wanted to do something a little different with this one.  While I do not release photos, my boudoirs are always known as a thing of wonder and testimonials to that have been given, so I’m not jerking my own dick here (I promise). I set out to offer the comforts and amenities of a luxury spa, but with a more personal touch.  From aromatherapy, to a mobile charging station (complete with four charger types to match your brand of choice), a literal carousel of toiletries, cold pressed juice, infused water…and we’re only talking about the space, not the person behind it.  Oh the luxuries that await you inside!  You may be asking why bother?   I’m actually going to start with why and end with how.  So stay awhile, and listen…and then discuss on twitter when all is said and done!
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Perspective — the one sided nature of “reviewing”

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While in the midst of working on a tongue in cheek-ish guide/thought piece on “how to write a review your provider won’t cringe when she reads” the opportunity for this popped up when I got a review that, well.  It sure didn’t make me cringe.  I will eventually link you the review in question, but we’re gonna chat for awhile first…so be patient, kick back, and enjoy the read.
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He told me he was dying…

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This is the hardest thing I’ve ever written and one of the hardest days of my professional life — possibly my real life too.  The two aren’t so different anyway are they?  One is merely an extension of the other.  Missy and my actual self aren’t the same, but we aren’t so different either.  I have found that people want a genuine experience with a genuine human being who is having a genuinely good time with them.  Someone interactive and involved, someone responsive.  To provide that you have to be honest, and inject large pieces of yourself into the job (did you think I was going to say genuine again?) and be real, no matter what.  That’s an entirely different entry though, isn’t it?  How about this one first?

When I opened the email, it was a day like any other.  Sun shining, hot weather, a name I had seen before about a year or so ago.  A few attempts to set up travel visits past, but schedules that could never match up.  Stars that never align.  Disappointing, but not uncommon.  I travel a lot, I’m busy, they’re busy.  Last email to read before I was going to head out for some exercise and grocery shopping but stopped me dead in my tracks instead.

The email starts out like any other:

Hi there!  I hope you are doing well.  We tried to set a 4 hour appointment some time back for you to visit me in my city, and I was hoping we could agree on a date sometime in September, October or even November.

He goes on to refresh my memory (though my memory is so good I already knew exactly who he was and remembered our previous exchange) and tell me a bit about himself and our (many) common interest.  In fact, this is why I was so disappointed in the first place — him and I had so much in common, I knew we’d have a lasting and ongoing arrangement where we both had an amazing time.  But it never lined up.  Seemed like it was finally about to, so I read on.

I was given six months to live well, about six months ago, but thanks to a new treatment I’ve tried I’m feeling much better!  I only mention this because illness has left me unable to drive, and I would like to have you come to a hotel close to my location if possible.  I really hope we can connect – you seem to be such a fascinating person!

Let’s stop there for a moment and analyse, shall we?  “Hey, I tried to set up an appointment before and couldn’t.  Now I’m dying and would like to but let’s not focus on the dying part, in fact I’ve only mentioned it hoping you could accommodate that I can no longer drive. ”

Holy. Fucking. Shit.  Someone dying has made it something of a goal to meet me before doing so.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t honoured…because I was.  I felt privileged, touched, unworthy.  To me, this is as big of a choice as when someone wants to lose their virginity.  In my mind, there was no question.  Within 20 minutes I had responded with any available dates I could muster for a six hour each way drive, within three hours we had set something up, and I was in his hotel room in under a week.

But, as usual, I am getting way ahead of myself again.  Let’s go back to those days leading up to this, because they’re important.  I pushed the visit back a day from the original plan, as I wanted to make sure I was truly ready for this.  I am well known and specialise at being someone’s first…but being someone’s last?  This was new territory for me.  I had to prepare.

When we think about providing, the physical strain is obvious — the wear and tear on your body, the secrets and lies, the double life, the risk of rape and death that we all try not to talk about…we know those things all too well, but we don’t talk about the psychological drains very much.  I don’t mean the stereotypically obvious things civvies think of — the number of people, or the “things” we “have” to do…those aren’t necessarily draining — but rather the emotional toll of becoming part of someone’s journey.  I suppose becoming part of someone’s life doesn’t sound too draining, when you put the idea out there simply like that.  But when you become part of someone’s life, even in the smallest way, you become part of them the same way they become part of you and your journey.  We are shaped by the hands we pass through, for better or for worse.

Not to say everyone is a life changing memorable experience, but they are not few and far between either.  Many come through and aside from comfort, their only desire is to be heard.  Their wife doesn’t hear them, their family doesn’t hear them, their friends don’t hear them, a therapist doesn’t care.  So we talk.  We talk and talk until their words fill the walls and start piling up into the corners.  We talk about their parents, their time in high school, college, the wife, the kids, the job, the problems….I have had visitors come and spend their entire session talking, only to have to extend to complete what they initially showed up for.  I would have never believed this was a ‘thing’ if not for Veronica Monet’s book that I read as a green little girl the day after I saw my first visitor.  I have widows who have wept, 30 year old virgins profusely thank me, but never did I think I would add “a dying man” to the list of people who’s lives I’ve touched.

Veronica also wrote briefly about a terminally ill visitor she had in a completely different situation.  I remember thinking that I had no idea what I could or would do if someone ever came to me and said they were dying.  To know that I was the last person they touch, tasted, felt in such a special way.  To know that maybe even as they died a memory of that would flash in their mind.  I always worried it would be too much.  I thought it would be awkward.  Perhaps all this is just me, and my gift/curse of a near flawless photographic memory (right down to dates and times).  I couldn’t tell you.  The only thing I can tell you is this:  I will never forget a single minute of the drive there, the visit, or the drive back.  Written on fire by stone.  Not only have I become part of someone’s life and journey, I am now also a part of their inevitable (and extremely untimely and unfair) death.  Of course death is inevitable for all of us, and everyone we know will die someday…but when you have a ticking clock in front of you, regardless of how well someone is doing, you know it is actual impending doom.  I have a great certainty that when the one year anniversary of the visit and of this entry rolls around, without some huge miracle, the person it’s about will not be here to re-read it.  The anger I feel at that is incalculable.  It boils inside of me, fills my throat, and tightens my chest.  But I’m ahead of myself again.

I wanted to write this whole thing by dictation on the drive back…and some of this admittedly did come from my 927 word text file of dictated notes.  But it is over a week later, and what I really needed was time to process this all and get my thoughts in order.  I find it to be a little hard to write eloquently with dictation.  Everything flows and sounds amazing in my head, and if I write it down that’s basically how it comes out.  But when I go to speak notes?  My mind goes totally blank and I bumble and stumble and fumble with the words and the flow and how I want it to sound.  I think the only way for me to be truly effective with dictation would be something that could simply read and extract the thoughts directly from my mind and put them onto paper.  Right now for instance, I am literally just thinking out loud in my head and typing it.  That’s how I write, I sit down and fire off those beautiful, eloquent (albeit sometimes very long) sentences.  But if I dictate, the thoughts are formed up into neat little sentences, but the mouth just can’t connect to deliver them.  Given how verbose and “well spoken” I am in real life, I have no idea what this hang up or stage fright or loss of flow with dictation could possibly be. I hear creative thoughts in my head nonstop but if I try to dictate them?  Gone.  At least I can write.  I know some people sit down to write and blank out the same way I do when I dictate.  So at least there’s that.  I’d rather be able to write than speak because my mind moves faster than my mouth, but my hands can at least keep up with my mind.  When I learned how to type, I made it a goal to be proficient.  I knew this would be the only way I could ever write fast enough to get all of the thoughts out of my head and onto the page.  Before I had art, I had writing and in the end will always come back to writing.

I suppose I just wish that when I spoke it was as mystifying and enchanting as when I wrote.  I get many compliments for both, but I personally prefer my written communication — though I am a bit “colder” or matter of fact through the written word, and VERY in warm person — the energy I have when I speak is different…exuberant, full of life, outgoing. People are always amazed by my energy and my positivity, despite the numerous “hard knocks” I have taken.  We aren’t given more than we can handle, and if we don’t try to handle what we were given what is the point in rising each day?  I am frequently called an inspiration, but I hate the label.  I think you can be inspired by anything and that everything is inspiring.  If the fact I get up more than I get knock down inspires you, great.  But I just don’t know any other way to live life.

I don’t want to say  too much about the specific details visit itself, but of course it is important to the story…it is the reason for the story isn’t it?  However that time, those magic hours frozen in memory are mine (and his) to cherish.  They were wonderful, they were too brief.  I hope we can have more, but I don’t know that another encounter is in the cards.  The idea that I will soon be the only person to hold that memory, those hours is both a heavy load and a privilege.

I was nervous, the closer I got.  The numbers on the signs got lower and lower and I bit my lip.  I wondered…what he would look like, how sick he would be.  Six months to live six months ago does not sound like the most promising physical shape.  I worried if he would be frail, if he would be bald, if he would “look sick”.  I worried he might be in a wheelchair, though I figure (hoped?) he would mention anything that seriously wrong.  He was up front about his inability to drive, and generally a nice person and straight shooter so mostly I just didn’t know what to expect and my mind raced with every possibility.

I arrived a bit late, mostly because I crossed a time zone line that neither of us had remembered I would be crossing.  Easy way to lose an hour fast.  Whoops.  But I made it.  I was immediately disheartened when he opened the door.  He was young.  Way too young.  Not even grey yet.  Healthy looking and strong.  You’d never know if you passed him on the street, or bumped into him at the store.  We talked, for a long while.  About everything.  Not everything, almost everything. Not dying…not yet.  We talked quite a bit about gaming, which is to be expected. Any time someone has “a lot of common interests” with me, it usually means “nerd shit”.  We nerded out over one franchise in particular.  I had the cold thought that he may not make it to the launch but was able to push it out of my mind until the drive home.

My focus for the visit was to try and have some of the best conversation (as for whatever reason, I am often told I am quite interesting/different/unique/bohemian/artistic/thought provoking/mind blowing…this list could go on for at least a page of the smoke people blow up my ass when the reality is I’m just honest, straight forward, I don’t play games, and I care about people over money) and to give him the best sensual experience I could. I made sure to have everything to make my skin as soft as possible…and ask anyone who has seen me, it truly is “impossibly soft”.  Your skin is your biggest and usually most neglected organ.  For me?  It’s my most cherished.  I made sure I smelled and tasted “heavenly” and “intoxicating”.  I knew that every single minute of this would be recorded in his mind, in such an important way.  My makeup was flawless, done with precision that morning and set with a fixture spray. My hair was on point, using a spray bottle every hour along the drive to keep each tendril in place frizz free.  Every single detail mattered.  Perfection doesn’t exist, in large quantities…but in short doses it absolutely can.  Moments can be perfect, evenings can be perfect, brief encounters can be perfect.  I aim to hit it out of the park each and every time, but of course (as perfection does NOT exist in large quantities) that’s not possible.  I’d like to think I do pretty well given my testimonials and reviews but it’s not my judgement call to make.  All I can do is give everything I have, and then give some more.  If I had to self review I’d put it like this:  Physically, I’d say I was pretty much “all there” and the experience was “flat out awesome”.  The rest of the visit I guess “went well, but could have gone better” with the end being much better than the beginning.  That’s not to call the beginning bad…just difficult.  Not even difficult…rough?  Awkward?  Scary?  Maybe a bit of all of those.

Fifty percent of the people I would consider “close” in my life have already died.  I’m not even 30.  They run the gamut — suicide and heroin are tied for number one, with cancer coming in close behind catching up fast.  Accidents of course too, and elderly relatives — my grandparents were in their late 70s when I was born, so there was never an expectation they would be spending long in my adult life, if any time at all.  We talked about my own experiences with death, starting in childhood with my best friend and ranging right up through last year.  But most important, in my mind, was 2013.  2013 was the year three of my friends began to have issues with brain cancer.  Two came out of remission and one was very surprisingly and suddenly taken within months despite the fact they had ran marathons regularly, and had never even taken a headache pill until they were in their 20s, let alone had any actual illnesses.  Out of the three, one is still with us and doing well.  This person has been called a miracle time and time again and continues to defy every single odd.  The others, not so lucky.  When the pillar of health wastes away in front of your eyes in less than a year, it really wakes you up and forces you to evaluate your own life (which I did, and made many positive changes).  It’s truly the year I would say the “charity deal” began to really matter to me — real charity, outreach work, doing something that matters….not handing money to faceless companies who have CEOs making 250,000+ a year to do what?  Nothing.  We are here for such a short period, but the impact we leave can be long lasting…longer than the life we even lived.  James Dean has been dead 60 years to the day and his image is still known (his estate reports $5 million a year in earnings).  Marilyn Monroe is a similar case.  Paul Walker will be, but as he was a truly altruistic and good human being (I encourage you to read up on the work he did during his life) it is my hope his estate will not simply exploit his name for gain and handing money to the charity of the week, but will continue doing real hands on work much like Paul.  But the thing is, you don’t have to be a celebrity to make a lasting impact (it just makes it easier).  The work you do, and the seeds you plant can grow and blossom into positive change and progress for your community.  It takes one person to get something started, and others to keep it going.  You can be that one person.  And you don’t need notoriety for your work.  The fact that you did the work can just be good enough.

As we spoke more and more, and he became more candid about his illness and the reality I was reminded of the optimism by the early AIDS patients and the medicine trials that they did adding weeks to months was a gift — not small, not insignificant…a gift.  He was calm, soft spoken, resigned.  Maybe resigned isn’t the right word, but rather accepting.  He seemed wistful for a different path, while still at peace with the one he was on.  I mentioned that if it were me I would be angry, unquestionably angry.  He said that he wasn’t angry at all, and looking back I think it was an open door for him to elaborate but I was scared…so I didn’t walk through it.  I don’t know how you could not be angry at the situation, I can’t imagine and almost don’t want to imagine the plethora of the emotions one goes through instead of anger in that situation.  I know I will have to face it some day, but I was too scared for it to be that day.  I wonder if I should have walked through the door.

Time is no man’s friend.  The dying have a different relationship with time and money than the rest. To us, time is money and money is important — the paramount of happiness, to success, to pride.  We show it off with cars, jewelry, designer this and that.  But to them?  To them time = death and that clock is counting down to zero in front of their eyes.  Every minute slept away is time gone.  Fuck money, how do I buy more time?  Anything for more time, any amount of money for any amount of time.  Time is truly the currency that matters the most in life, money just blinds us.  We see “things”, status, wealth, and “comfort” as important…but at what cost do those things truly come?  When you are dying, what will matter more?   The things you did in and especially for this world or the size of your house, the brand of your car? It’s a simple answer really, but our society and culture has practically brainwashed us with “needing” the latest and greatest this and brand brand brand is everything.  Phones are a great example.  How many people who truly can’t afford it spend hundreds of dollars on the latest and greatest phone only to trade it in six months later on the next latest and greatest because they just have to have it.  Why?  What drives this “need” for the “best” of everything, especially expensive phones?  This feature and that feature and this many inches.  Need need need.  And not just phones of course.  It’s all a trap.  Designed to get us to spend more time working to fill their pockets so they have time to enjoy their lives.  In the end, it all comes down to time.  He got it, he’s another one of those “without cellphone” people like me, so he sees it from the perspective I do.  Someone still on the outside watching the world become enveloped with instant gratification, clickbait, the loss of social and typing skills.  Someone who still values real life, real communication, and real experiences.  I’ll talk about the no phone thing in another entry at some point.

The biggest question I have gotten from anyone who knows/knew I was doing this was, “Why is a dying man hiring you”.  Good question, and one I had wondered myself.  I didn’t have the balls to ask until the very end, as I was driving.  The answer was honestly a standard client response.  Wife takes life sustaining medication, her drive ruined, marriage still happy in spite of this.  He simply did not want to die without the experience again — one last time — for which no one could honestly blame him.

Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well.  And yet at the same time everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number in reality.  How many times do you actually have sex each year?  100?  More?  Less?  How many times will you have sex again in your life?  That number is probably frighteningly small when you quantify it in such a manner.  So let’s talk for a moment about memories.  For most people, memories start vivid and fade with only a few precious moments remaining vivid through ones entire life.  How many more times will you be able to tap into a special afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without the memory?  Perhaps four, maybe five times times?  Six?  Ten?  Perhaps not even that.  This is why I call my memory a blessing and a curse — I can remember the smell of the grass at my grandparents from when I was 3, the smell of the alley between the row homes I lived in at 4, the exact time on the clock when I lost my virginity, how his eyes looked, every single detail…but at the same time, there are moments that you truly do not wish to remember in such a way.  The loss of my best friend during elementary school, a moment I would consider the loss of innocent and childhood.  Can you be innocent after you experience death for the first time?  I was taught young that life was fleeting and that every moment truly had to be cherished.  How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?  20? Maybe 200?  500?  You don’t know, neither do I.  And no matter how much money, power, or status you have it is truly our one commonality.  And yet it all seems limitless until the day comes and that limit is hit.  Ticket comes up and it’s time to cash in your chips.

If you have the ‘privilege’ of dying slowly, versus dying in a tragic sudden way, you are afforded the cursed luxury of being able to prepare your exit and perhaps even do it on your own terms.  At the same time, dying suddenly or in your sleep at least affords the gift of a lack of suffering (in most cases, and to our knowledge) and perhaps a lack of fear and anxiety over the topic (though many spend too much of our time living fretting about dying).  Is there a better, superior way way to die?  I suppose that’s a very personal question with a different answer for each and every single person who reads this.  Some may prefer a quick accident, dying in their sleep…but others may like the time to prepare, and see it as it’s own special unique journey.  Just another phase of life, the ending of a chapter.  They write journals, document everything, heal old wounds, close old doors, and pass peacefully in their own time.

Almost human, but I’ll never be the same

After I dropped him off, I was faced with six hours alone in my truck (which is more like my best friend these days…almost 30k miles since February) to think, reflect, dictate (poorly), and dwell.  I began to think about my own life.  I have lived a lot more than most people for the amount of time I have been alive.  I do not say that arrogantly, or lightly.  I wouldn’t consider my past “damaged”, but rather “interesting” and “colourful”.  Not in a legal/illegal sense or anything that exciting…but just the transpiring of events and everything I have gotten myself into and out of successfully.

Music is incredibly important to my life, and to those memories.  Putting music on loop sometimes for hours at a time, is one of the best things for me to process an event.  I flipped through my satellite radio doing exactly that.  When a song that made me process, and think about the visit would come on I left it on for the hour the radio would allow.

And as I drove by was struck by many more memories than usual though my own life, my houses, the places I’ve been.  I often think while I drive but it’s not very often that I think about the past so much, it’s the future, my plans, the present situations in my life, the things I want to do.  It’s not very often that I dwell in the past, as I find it a useless activity.  The past shapes us and changes us, but it does not define us.  It does not need to haunt us day in and day out sticking it’s head out of closets and shouting “Boo!” just when we thought we were safe.  But here I was, thinking back over my life as I was listening to different music live music from my pre-teen through teenage years.  I didn’t have traditionalist parents so I grew up on Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Goo Goo Dolls, Live, Metallica, everything my classmates weren’t allowed to listen to and paid me $5 per tape to bootleg.  I labelled them innocently.  Mandy Moore, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys.

Two memories pounded the doors more than any others.  It started when this came on the radio and I was immediately flooded with nostalgia and a peaceful moment I hadn’t thought about in years.  I was in Maryland that year, it was spring.  I was almost a teenager, but not quite.  It was a big stadium festival in DC, no one could believe my parents let me go unattended but I was 13 going on 21.  The weather had held out, despite predictions of rain all day, but it was clouding up.  They had delayed the band playing for a bit, but they were finally on stage and playing as it was seemingly going to stay nice for a little while longer.  Just as the first verse of Jumper starts, the sky opens up and the tears of heaven pour down all of our faces.  Tarps and umbrellas appeared like magic, from nowhere.  Everyone crowded underneath, huddled close.  We were all strangers, but in that moment a family.  We sang in one voice, one body, in this beautiful warm summer storm and despite the depressing nature of that song we were just peacefully melancholy.  It was a good preface before the hypothermia and extreme beating in the pit I took during RATM (worked out to be one of their last shows too…), but that’s another story for another time.

I often wonder what experiences like that youth today will have.  I feel that things like concerts, authentic performances with instruments and vocalists, are going the way of the dinosaur.  What chances will they have to tie together as a group, as a generation?  Instagram is not an experience, neither is twitter, or facebook, or vine, or youtube.  We need experiences, as human beings.  Experiences that put us in touch with the commonality of the human soul are essential to our human experience.  We often have these moments at memorials for the dead as well, but I’m a firm believer that having joyous ones in addition to the mournful ones, are equally important.

As I drove the miles stretched like a rubber band and at a moment the drive felt like it couldn’t get any longer, I was given the gift of this song.  Many may remember it from Twister (it plays on the radio after a chase), which is likely where I heard it the first time as well.  But I truly remember this song for being on the tape for the soundtrack (I had a tape player until 2005, don’t hate) and I listened to it until it wore out.  Literally, broke.  I knew exactly how many seconds to rewind to the beginning.  As a teenager, I looped this song for literal hours of running, driving, and coding.  In fact, the subtitle of this section is a line from that song.  The other one I like is, “Is it pain that makes you real?” because I’ve always been fascinated with how much pain (physical and emotional) affects us as human beings.  For some, pain strengthens the reality of the human experience…for others they can’t take it and seek a release from it in drugs, alcohol, or suicide.  It is a double edged sword that is an inspiration and a pleasure to some, but nothing but disaster from others.  And running from pain is the worst.  You think you can stay one step ahead of it, but the reality is that it’s already one step of you.  Not only that but it fills your bones, and infects your blood until it completely consumes you as a punishment for not dealing with it in the first place.

The flow of traffic was about 80, maybe 85, and I was reminded of a time before the gas price hike.  Before the era of trucks passing trucks on the interstate holding up traffic.  I’ve been driving since I was fourteen years old (shh) and I dated a guy who lived about three hours from me in NYC.  Many late night drives just like this one were had — since I turned 18, I’ve averaged 50-70,000 miles a year anytime I am not living abroad.  Pacing truckers, sandwiching between them at times struggling to keep up in my crimson shitbeater was the story of my life that year.  When gas was cheap, truckers sped more than anyone on the road.  My mom always told me if I wanted to pace myself right for a drive, just follow a trucker.  That was true for a few years, but it stopped as gas prices rose and rose.   Now that they’re low again, I’m seeing a resurgence of this.  I much prefer it to the truck going 66 insisting he needs to pass the truck in front of him going 65 whilst climbing a hill.

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to play the game when it came out if he didn’t make it to launch, which is soon now.  Why should he get to play it and not me?  Any time I know someone ‘better’ than myself is dying I wonder about the fairness of it all.  Why them and not me?  The anger comes back and fills me.  It tightens everything inside of me and I feel my throat close.  I am always angry when someone is dying, or dies.  They say there are seven stages but I pretty much go right from being sad, to angry, to accepting it happened but still always being angry.  I become breathless with it when I think of the person I referred to earlier, the pillar of health who did everything textbook right in his entire life stolen before 30.  High school sweetheart widowed and perfectly timed child left behind.  To say I’m not still infuriated, even two years later, would be an absolute lie.  To say I am not angry each and every time I think about the fact this man is dying so young and so senselessly when he still has so much to give to this world — he is a brilliant man with brilliant ideas.  It is truly a loss for all of us, and to not be angry over that would honestly be a travesty.

I stopped at a Petro for a water bottle and some gas, and when I was coming out of the washroom I noticed a sign.  Live well, enjoy life.  I climbed back into my truck for the last leg of my journey, both physically and emotionally spend from the weight of the day:  A six hour drive, a magic four hours, the weight of nostalgia and the evaluation of my own years on this earth, the pain of an untreated hernia all pressing upon me during the return leg of my six hour drive.  A couple people asked me, well why didn’t you just fly?  I hate flying.  I don’t have to wait in security because I’m awesome, but I still hate flying.  I still do it about 30 times a year, but it comes with its own anxiety and hassle with a plethora of different worries, concerns, and preparations.  If I can reasonably drive, I will.  Besides, it was much cheaper for him to compensate me for my time and milage vs a last minute plane ticket roundtrip for the same day.  I did not want to nickel and dime him, regardless of whether he had 10,000 to his name or 10,000,000.  And instead of having flying anxiety during this trip home, I was able to relax in my vehicle comfortably taking breaks when I wanted to and being able to be alone to process.  I wouldn’t have traded that drive home for anything in the world.  This time to digest, to process was invaluable.

Everything tumbled around in my head, like rocks in a cardboard box and maybe some pieces of broken glass and metal debris.  I knew I had to take away something meaningful from this experience, and do more than just write about it, or stew on it.  I have two very large life projects that I was able to truly think out and get firm plans for.  I have charity projects for the winter that are now planned, and ready to be funded (I’ve added a karma jar to my boudoir, but Amazon gift cards are still BEYOND useful for these!).  I knew this opportunity had to be used to better me as a human being, and further me in life.  To take anything less away from it would be a true insult to him.  For him, I may have been the last.  But the experience with him was an awakening, and only a beginning for me.  Instead of being angry about the loss of such an amazing human soul, I am using the energy to make positive changes in my life, the lives of those around me, and hopefully the world (even in the smallest way).

As I finally pulled on my road, slowly rolling towards my driveway my favourite Rozalla song came on (hey, the 80s had some real gems!) and I understood.  I understood, in that moment, why a dying man chose me to be his last.  The song was a beautiful reminder that I am a person who lives life without fear of judgement, who lives life by their own standards not what other people “expect” or want, who dedicates themselves to nothing but the betterment of themselves and others, who creates and outputs more than they take in any situation possible, and who is always moving forward no matter what and is ready to carry others with them.  If you are not strong enough to make it on your own, I will carry you — no questions, we will make it together.  I was reminded that while I may not be a great person, or a perfect person I am truly free.  I am not consumed by the pursuit for money or things, but rather the human experience and sharing it with you.  And I would not trade that for anything in the world.

Discuss this on twitter be @ replying here

*Blows off four years of dust*

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Hello everyone!  Welcome back.  Comments are off, because I expect responses on twitter these days.  Gone are the days of comments and guestbooks and compartmentalised venues of conversation.  Now (for better or for worse) we have the more public arena of social media to discuss the things we’ve read.  I’m sure I’ll write on the age of narcissism at some point (but not now)

For now, we will talk a little about my goals for the resuscitated and improved version of this blog:

  1. Entries on “industry related” topics, social observation/issues
  2. Guest entries on a multitude of topics.  It could be industry related, a social observation/social justice issue, a walks of life piece (ask my privately for more details on writing one of these).  Please tweet me if you wish to write an entry and I will DM you.
  3. Weekly updates in either something of the above, or something where I just muse about bullshit for awhile.  We’ll see

Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.

The reference ribbon project

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Keep Women Safe - Give References!

A lot of people have been asking why I started a reference ribbon project when reference are so commonplace in the United States.  Well, first that’s not really true but it’s also not related!  The reason for the reference ribbon campaign starting was twofold.

I was living in Vancouver at the time where screening is a lot less prominent (and for many, non-existent) due to the legality of the profession1.  As you can imagine it makes the safety issue significantly higher.  Unfortunately some clients are accustomed to have to provide little to no information, and despite the safety issues, are resistent to screening mostly citing privacy. Being from the US, I was accustomed to screening and still wanted to while in Canada.  My screening options there was considered by some on message boards as “ridiculous”2.

One of the screening methods I offered that seemed to be a nice middle ground however, was references.  In Vancouver it was more of a “community” with several forums where providers and hobbyists mingled [[While we have that here in the US, I’ve never seen any as tight knit and laid back]].  The problem with references actually, were a few of the women.  They didn’t want to “share clients”, or they got outright jealous.  I thought that was downright childish, and made that public knowledge.  I wanted the other ladies in our community to know that they never had to afraid to ask me for a reference, even if some providers weren’t so friendly.  I decided maybe some kind of “ribbon” would be the way to go and went to work.  While working on it, the second reason came to light, and is a lot more somber.  Two providers died mysteriously (less than six months apart) and both cases are unsolved3.  This hit home for a lot of hobbyists and providers, as the first was known well by a few.  It was then I uploaded my little one page site and banner, and launched the campaign.

I started to see the ribbon pop up on sites all over, women all over the US and Canada I had never heard of.  I had wanted to expand it and create a listing sooner, but the time just wasn’t there.  I have finally done that – and while it’s nothing fancy at least it’s growing!  I am shocked, pleased, and touched that my little campaign has reached so far and I hope that it continues to grow and help women stay safe.

  1. more grey area, less cared about by police – victimless crime, bigger fish to fry, etc al []
  2. though most were fine with it and I never had any in person complaints – I was actually quite successful there and still have demand that makes me want to go back and that’s another entry! []
  3. I am not at all saying they were murdered by clients, but the possibility is there and a very sobering thought []