23 Things I Wish I'd Known: #20: Have an Emergency Plan
At age 22, I started stripping. For the next fifteen years I worked off and on as a dominatrix, porn actress, and escort.
Now I’m 49.
Here are 23 things I know now that I wished I’d known then:
#20 Have an Emergency Plan
One significant emotional hazard of sex work is that even ordinary setbacks and screw-ups, like locking yourself out of your car or losing your phone, can result in outsized repercussions. Planning for an emergency necessarily means contemplating upsetting possibilities, and that’s never fun. However, the only thing worse than some bad thing unexpected happening is that sinking feeling that comes from knowing we didn’t prepare for it when we could have. We owe it to ourselves to set contingencies in place, just in case.
It’s a powerful exercise to go through in your mind what you would need to do if something goes wrong: keys, cash, emergency phone numbers. What’s your plan in case you get robbed or misplace all of your vital necessities? No money, no bus pass, no car keys? What’s your plan to get home and get in the front door? Is your phone, with all that client info and hot selfies, backed up and locked? Do you have your support people’s phone numbers memorized? Nothing is worse than being stranded somewhere, and realizing even if you do borrow a phone, you’re unable to call anyone.
One of the main points of my book, Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry is that we can only truly thrive in sex work when we understand, weigh, and make conscious decisions about the risks we take.
Obviously, there’s no way we can mitigate every danger; no matter how well we prepare, disasters do happen. However, you owe it to yourself to look squarely at the hazards of the profession and make clear-headed, reality-based choices.
Practical concerns are very important. Just as critical, however, is an emergency emotional care package. Set aside something extra for yourself for those no-good-very-bad days, because in sex work, no matter how much we might like the job, they are inevitable.
Maybe it’s a $50 bill tucked away somewhere to book a spa session. Or a birthday note from your best friend telling you how special you are. A Pinterest page filled with inspirational quotes or otter videos is free, and comes in handy when we need to be reminded that life doesn’t have to be all that bad. Tuck away your get-out-of-hell-free card now, because when that down day comes and you’re desperate for someone to do something thoughtful to make you feel better, someone already has—it’s you.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself—
Thriving in Sex Work is available now as a paperback and in ebook format.
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