Lee aged 28

I had a really hard time with not being able to access my usual distractions.  I couldn’t go out and have sex, I couldn’t go to the gym. All the things I ascribed to my identity as a sex worker and the things that I used to make myself feel valuable, which was sex, going to the gym and looking attractive I couldn’t do any of them.

So had to start looking at myself as someone aside from sex. I was a sex worker for 8 years, a lot of it was healthy and I had healthy boundaries, but a lot of it was tied up with me trying to take agency over an assault that happened to me as a kid.  I had the sex work taken away from me, it was suspended by Covid.  I paid my bills with my body, I paid my rent with my body, everything I had used my body for, its whole purpose, had been taken away from me. I had very little resources at the beginning of it all, for the first 3 months it was shock, universal worldwide shock.  I played lots of video games – Mario cart, I watched crap TV, I cooked a lot, I was very insular, I slept a lot. 

To be honest though, not being able to do my sex work was the worst of it and the best of it. The creative work I got done wasn’t being fueled by this survival mechanism, it was healthy and new.  It was really interesting having to identify as someone who was not sexual anymore and actually identify as a victim of sexual assault but without the tools I used.   I haven’t had sex for a year and half now and I’m taking agency over that, I was using sex but I was being used by it. I mean no one can take from me what I freely give but it was a crutch. 

I got loads of creative work done, a bunch of poems, I’ve been writing music and going back to music was lovely.  I was classically trained in piano and flute, I’m not good with music theory but I loved sitting at the piano and finding chords as I went along, chords that felt like what I was feeling, it was really nice.  It didn’t always sound good, but sometimes, something would just click and I would just be a different animal.

I’m very grateful for Covid as I would have still been doing sex work, it’s difficult to take yourself away from the ease of money, I could work three hours and have the rent paid. I would travel and anywhere I went I would have new clients so I would go on working holidays, Edinburgh,  New York, LA  they were  holiday’s but I was working.  I was putting myself at the mercy of other people really, hoping they wouldn’t harm me.  Sex terrifies me now, I guess the way an alcoholic would be terrified of alcohol, it was just self-harm a lot of the time.

It’s so weird now everything is slowly churning back again, it’s like what the fuck has all that been about! How did that all happen?

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