So I had someone in a Q&A ask me “Knowing about your past how does your husband sleep with you?” My smart ass answer ” With one eye open”… But really think about what she was saying. “How can your husband sleep with you when the world knows you were used in the sex industry?” “You aren’t worthy of stable, loving home because I disapprove of your past” In a world where half the people committing these acts you so strongly disapprove of, get off with “boys will be boys” mentality but all the moral consequence is dumped on the woman. How very 1918! First I smile and say “God Bless” I then move on to address the shaming of survivors of trafficking and exploitation.
I am so much bigger than my past. I always was. This is exactly why we call ourselves “Shame Eaters”. Because we have survived the most dehumanizing, shameful and emotionally damaging experiences, both at the hands of others and our own actions, to learn that we don’t need to live in shame.
Shame feeds the traumatic bonds that can keep women enslaved. Fear of shame is crippling. Fear of how society will treat you. Fear that you’re somehow crazy. Fear that the world will only ever see you as “Damaged Goods”. Fear that you will always be sexualized. Fear that no-one will see who you really are inside. Fear of leaving. Fear of staying.
You see by the time I got out I was dead inside. I was emotionally, mentally and physically done. I felt like my body should have just stopped already. When I saw my last client I was so broken that when he left and I was alive, I lost it. I realized I had been hoping someone else would do what I didn’t have the strength to do myself. I felt like a complete waste of skin who couldn’t even get herself killed properly. I felt dirty, hallow and completely alone. If I died I truly believe no one would notice. Well at least until I started to smell. But at that very moment. I felt God stay my hand as I pulled a vodka bottle and Percocet from my bag to finish what I hoped client would have done. I felt that it was over. Whatever lesson I needed to learn was finished. And that lesson was in shame. I had to experience soul-crushing shame and find my way back in order to be able to help others who aren’t strong enough to do it alone. I knew that from that moment on I was free. Free to be that hand in the darkness, that ear that will listen and the heart that will understand.
I tell you this. You cannot shame me any more than I have done myself. Good luck if that’s your goal. You see I have a mission. I will stand up and take the public shaming for those who aren’t able to do it for themselves. I will openly confront these stereotypes. I will be a force for change in the sex industry. And I will not allow your small hearts and small minds hurt me or steer me off course. I will pray for you and those you care about so you can go on living in a world where you are never faced with impossible choices. And I will continue to focus on giving those women better choices so they can rise up and leave your kind in their dust.