But we’re never gonna survive, unless we get a little…

I must be home.  No sooner inside the door than the cat is running, trying to escape this hell — and as I close the door behind me, she begins to wail.  I don’t blame her; I only wish I had the power to rescue her, to get her someplace safe and loving.

The second thing I hear is the Girl-Child coughing.  Getting stoned, as always, and her hacking and choking is immediately joined by an unfamiliar voice doing the same… it doesn’t sound like any of the usual strange men she brings around, so she’s either picked up someone entirely new, or it’s just a guy she hasn’t had around often, but either way, there are always men, always strangers to me, always invading what ought to be (and never is) a safe space, what ought to be (and never is) my home.  Her Boy-Toy starts up with his thundering bass stutter, “I-I-I-I-I-don’t, I don’t, I do-ooooooooooo-n’t, I-I-I-I-I-I-don’t really think that’s the right kind of, the right kind of, you-y-y-y-you know that’s really the, you know that’s really, really the wrong kind of…” I try to tune him out, but his low voice carries so disgustingly well that it’s difficult to ignore — until the train approaches, and for 5 minutes or more, my thoughts’ cohesion is torn apart by the two-toned whistle, notes spaced in fourths for the most effective waring full of dissonance: diabolis in musica

Someone’s gone in to shower now, squeaking the poorly-installed faucets, dropping things into the tub — though that’s not hard to do, with the random items left in all the wrong places, all you really have to do is step into the room to knock something over.  I’ve heard Boy-Toy and Girl-Child coughing and chatting the whole time, so it’s either Stoner Dude or the new guest in the bathroom.  It should be me, but I’m scared to go out there, not knowing what men will be looking, what unwelcome eyes will cast their lewd and filthy gaze on me as I make my way through — and if I put myself in the tub I’ll have far less auditory insulation.  It’s bad enough knowing I won’t have the luxury of sleep for a few more hours in my own bedroom, but bathing is something I do in order to relax, and I could not bathe without becoming much more tense and tight and ready to explode.  This writing keeps my focus on something, on anything at all, so that I can barely cope with the flood of unpleasant input that is crashing at my consciousness like storm waves against already-worn levees.

Tonight was incredible.  I’d forgotten just how fucking nervous I get when I step up to the mic!  I’m fairly sure it doesn’t much show to most of those watching, just as many of my intense emotions are not immediately obvious.  I don’t know many people who can walk up to a close friend, and speak in a flat, matter-of-fact voice, and say “I’m out of my fucking mind right now, I’m having a really bad panic attack and I can’t hold on much longer,” in the same tone as might be used for passing along word that “the weather was awfully cold last night for as warm as the day has been.”  That’s what I do, though, and I recognize that I’m not always taken seriously because of it.

Right now, actually, I’m not doing particularly well.  I’m alone in my bed, and I’ve spent the evening surrounded by so many incredibly amazing and beautiful people, many of whom I would dearly love to take me into their beds.  It’s really damn depressing to realize that even the extremely rare sexual encounters I have are never very fulfilling, and that even as I’m trying to enjoy those beautiful and rare moments (it was about 470 days between the last two, the second within the last couple of weeks) I’m unable to let them be good fun, because I don’t know when I’ll have anything happen again.  It’s like trying to appreciate a modest meal given when nearly dead from starvation, without any complaint, and the most gracious of smiles and attempting to be sincere in my expressions of gratitude, knowing I cannot ask for more to eat.  It hurts, and it pisses me off.  “Beggars can’t be choosers,” we’re all told, and I certainly feel like a beggar when it comes to having sex.  There’s always an undercurrent of thought telling me I should be grateful I got anything at all, even if it wasn’t what I wanted, and even if much of it was what I didn’t want… because at least a few bits were good, and at least I had something instead of nothing for a change.

I don’t know how to change that.  I don’t know how to get myself to a place where even “not the sex I want but sex nonetheless” is more than a chance occurrence once every year or so, and “the sex I want, when I need it, so I can keep myself happy and healthy” is such a laughably ridiculous dream that I don’t dare let myself dream it.  It’s too much pain to fill myself with that lie.  Except… I do dream it; I’ve had more sex dreams in the past 6 months than I can count in the last decade before.  I’ve also had more nightmares jolt me awake than in the entire rest of my life, but I suppose that’s what comes of living in a space that’s never safe, a house where I cannot count on more than 5 minutes of silence before some other sound slams into my stomach, before more heard hurting hurls against my head.

They’re fucking now, I think.  Mostly I hear him — deep grunts, low moans, interjected with coughs as punctuation.  I want to throw up.  I don’t have nearly enough food in me to actually puke.  Now her lungs explode, deep and wet and phlegm-filled but entirely pointless.  The caterwauling starts again outside my door, though I’m the only one who hears.  It’s incredible how much more aware one can be of one’s surrounding when freed of constant intoxication!  She’s clawing at the Girl-Child’s door now.  The latch is loose enough (shoddy installation yet again) that the door rattles and thumps against its frame as she scrabbles frantically to be noticed, to be allowed to pass through.  Hopefully Stoner Dude has left his door open — he seems to have been much better at that lately — but her litter box is in his room, and even if it’s not cleaned or emptied, it’s better than being stuck in the rest of the house, unable to make it there so she can go.  She does throw up around the house fairly regularly, I realize — I’m not sure if she’s eating stuff they’ve left around, or if there’s something else wrong beyond that, but I’ve long since stopped being the one to clean up the orange puddles of puke.  I leave that (in theory) for her stoner-owner… the guy who gives minimal care when he’s forced into doing so.

Over an hour now I’ve been writing.  I hate this.  I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have anything meaningful to express.  The only fucking reason I’m doing this is because I don’t want to have the third night in a row of music blasting, music that I can’t really sleep to and noise that I don’t enjoy because at least it’s my own choice of pain, at least I can take some fucked-up satisfaction in knowing that my harm is self-chosen and self-inflicted instead of having everything about my suffering decided my someone else.

I’m nearly at the point of taking some Benadryl.  I did that last night, after attempting to use alcohol for the same purpose and wasting $7 in the process.  I also wanted to be awake and functional by about 9:30 in the morning, and instead only got out of bed by about 2 in the afternoon.  If I take a pill to put me to sleep now, I won’t be out the door before about 4 tomorrow.  Makes it hard to be certain I’ll make it to something special I’d hoped to attend tomorrow night.  This is why I often don’t make it out to awesome events with people I know and love — because I can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t function, and I slowly but surely lose my shit completely.

It’s time. Posting this after a proofread, taking the pill, and going to sleep.

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I don’t feel guilty no matter what they’re telling me. I won’t be shamed, or buy into their misery!

It’s always interesting for me to get that “fly on the wall” view of a situation — especially when I am both that “fly” and an active participant.  It’s a unique experience to be able to hear a person’s genuine feelings on a topic, the things they won’t generally speak except among friendly ears…

Like the time I’d gone with a friend to check out a 12-step program, to see if it was something that might benefit me, and later I had briefly mentioned something about that type of program in front of my roommates and their friends — and pushed myself to stay through the stomach-turning onslaught of hatred and insults which followed, knowing that they had no idea they were speaking against me with their vitriol.

I’m reminded of this today because of an unpleasant encounter with a couple of friends on Facebook this morning — comments on a link I shared related to sex work and workers’ rights quickly devolved into name-calling and personal attacks, and I barely had time to type a few words in an attempt to moderate the discussion before the bickering had gotten really ugly.  I think at least one of the participants was much like the group of folks ranting about 12-step programs who didn’t know the impact on their audience — so I’d like to potentially help clear things up.

I have, on multiple occasions, knowingly exchanged sex for goods, services, and/or money.I have had more than one relationship which was based primarily around that exchange.  I have no guilt about doing so, and if another opportunity presented itself for a similar relationship, and I felt comfortable with the situation, I would not hesitate to do it all over again.

I have learned essential life skills through these exchanges — I’ve had practice in understanding, defining, and enforcing personal boundaries.  I’ve gotten better at asking for what I want — and more importantly, being able to acknowledge that I have desires, and that my desires are legitimate and worthy of being fulfilled.  I’ve learned how to articulate myself more clearly, how to check in and make sure that I have understood what other people mean and that my own words are interpreted correctly.  I’ve gotten better at handling rejection — whether that’s being told “no, you can’t have that” or “get the hell out of my life, I don’t ever want to see you again,” the skills for coping are much the same, differing only in degree.

I know of easily half a dozen good friends — just off the top of my head– who have supported themselves financially through sex work, both “legal” and “illegal” kinds, though the laws change so often and arbitrarily that those little boxes are rarely useful for anything other than persecuting those who don’t see the world as you do.  Because these are good friends, and because the current laws (and public attitudes) are what they are, I’m not going to rattle off a list of names; to “out” my friends is to endanger their well-being, and possibly even their lives.  Kitty Stryker could tell you a thing or two about that.

So yeah, if I take offense to being told that to “refer to hookers as ‘lady'” is “pushing it,” or that a non-paying client isn’t stupid, or to hear insults to sex workers casually dismissed as “just a viewpoint,” there’s a reason.  I don’t generally respond well when I’m insulted along with many of my friends, colleagues, and respected leaders — and I don’t care whether those insults come from pure ignorance or intentional malevolence… my response will be the same.  Either shut your mouth and leave, or expect to see me gone.  I won’t tolerate that kind of hate.

One of my daily affirmations is a reminder to purge my life of that negative influence: Every moment today is priceless. I will not waste my time with anyone who does not find value in my company. Anyone who cannot respect me for all of who I am, and all of what I choose to do, does not value me or my company, and has no place in my life and deserves not a moment of my time.

We’re just bones and a name — we all go out the way we came.

Got word a few hours ago, from someone just sharing the latest gossip, that a friend killed himself a week ago.

It always surprises me when someone comes up with that excited tone — “Hey, did you hear?!” — when they have no immediate connection to the subject of their gossip… and this time it was “Did you hear? That one guy committed suicide sometime recently!”

The details followed quickly: a guess at the number of pills swallowed, briefly touching on the difficulties he’d been having before he was gone, a couple other items of little or no consequence to the person delivering the news, and I had to cut her off–

“His name was Phrohawk.”

She hadn’t even been sure who it was that died, had thought it was someone else entirely — just spreading the gossip around.  It took a repetition of his name from me before she even realized whose death she was delivering word of…

I got a couple text messages from him a week ago.  Probably just before he died.  At the time, I thought it sounded like a farewell, but I was deep in my own pain and I didn’t respond — I knew that I would have sent back snark and venom, and I couldn’t do that to a friend who was hurting as well.  Now I can’t send him any message at all… at least not one that I know he’ll see.

What I can do instead, though, is to leave these words and hope somehow, somewhere… that they reach him:

“The angels all are weeping at your feet now, my friend.

I’ll miss you.

Rest well, and may you find the peace which eluded you in this life.

for Phrohawk — poet, artist, inspiration, and friend.”

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