Guest Post by Anonymous
I am glad I made my kids' lunches before I went to bed.
Sometime during the night, the joints in my hands and knees stiffened up and became very painful.
I hobbled to the bathroom hoping I would wake up feeling better.
This is the nature of my existence - I am at the mercy of chronic, debilitating pain.
Will today be excruciating? Or will I launch into a week where I think “It's going into remission!”
I have high hopes of healing my autoimmune issues and working full-time again one day. I would be a workaholic if it weren't for my kids and my disability. I'm just that kind of person. I love to work.
As it is, I get federal disability benefits. My income will decrease substantially as each of my children turns 18. I will receive a little over $600 a month to live on when my nest is empty.
Before I was approved for disability,we struggled. I couldn't afford rent, food, or car. With my health issues and the food allergies we share amongst us, I really had no choice. I had to find work.
As you can imagine, there weren't too many jobs available to me under the circumstances. So, I started working for myself.
Today, between my disability income and my self-employment income, I am able to make ends meet. I feed my kids healthy, organic, whole foods. I run and re-fuel a vehicle. We have a roof over our heads and a song in our souls. Life is good.
On days when I am well enough, I work in the sex industry.
On a square note...SKILLS! I gots skillz coming out the yin-yang. I could enter the square workforce in the good-paying industry of communications. I could go back to front-line support work - less pay but more intrinsic rewards.
If only I could consistently make deadlines or commit to shifts.
Unfortunately, making deadlines and committing to shifts are not options for me. I can only work when I'm well and that's something I can't predict. My last employer told me straight out, “Come back when you're not sick anymore.” I pray for that day to come.
If this sounds to you like the lament of an exploited, trafficked victim of the patriarchy; you are mistaken. True, I have no other work options than sex industry work. But, it may surprise you to learn that I love what I do.
I would lose myself if my whole life consisted of mothering and being in pain without work to break the tedium and colleagues to banter with.
In fact, my work brings real comfort to people. My work heals people. Healing people in turn heals me. Since returning to the workforce in this industry, my health has improved.
Physically, I have less pain on bad days and enjoy more good days. Emotionally, sex industry work enables me to retain my dignity and optimism.
On days when I cannot work, there is no one to tell me I'm fired. There is no one emailing and texting me about their campaign as I struggle through my mom duties between my naps.
There is no shame of calling in sick...again. There is no self-hatred. I do not lie in my bed second-guessing my reason for existence.
Thanks to sex industry work, my children do not live in desolate poverty. I do not feel like I am failing as a parent. I do not beat myself up for being unable to provide for my family. I provide for my family.
Thanks to sex industry work, I have fellowship. I have respite from the daily struggle. There is laughter with other adults. There is kindness, support, understanding, and acceptance from a community that envelops me with honesty and compassion.
Will you say that I should live in poverty with my children and turn away from work you consider distasteful or sinful? Will you say that I should do other self-employment...find a way...anything but sex work? Will you discount my story saying I suffer from low intelligence, am privileged, or I am an exception to the rule?
This is what I say...
I am grateful for sex industry work. I am a fan of my clients. I am a good provider for my family. In this area of my life, my disability does not entirely constrain me.
Let my story be your epiphany...
I am not degraded, exploited, nor oppressed by sex work. I am empowered, energized, and enabled by sex work.
The sex industry serves people with disabilities on both sides of the exchange. Please think about that before lobbying for my demise.