23 Things I Wish I'd Known: #9: The People Who Get You Are EVERYTHING
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:
#9: The people who get you — your highs, your lows, and all your mixed-up middles — are everything.
When I was 22, I would have killed for my friends and lovers – gone to prison for them, had their babies, given them my very last dime. But here’s the thing. I can count on the fingers of one hand those people that I still feel that way about today.
Last week I wrote about letting go of the people who no longer fit into your life. Just as important is cultivating the friends who show all the way up. The important piece of this lesson is figuring out is who really gets you. That’s the part that can take some time to really learn and trust.
As sex workers, it’s not always easy to make friends in the biz, and the friends who aren’t sometimes don’t understand what we go through. So it’s really important to identify those friends who:
are there for you, no matter what.
lift you up on those days you’re feeling really down.
you can trust to respond right away in emergencies.
don’t try to talk you into quitting the biz when something bad happens.
support your choice to leave the biz if that’s what’s right for you.
are genuinely happy for you when something good happens. (Research has shown that says that the ability to be genuinely happy for the other person is one of the most important factors in a successful long-term relationship, even more important than handling adversity well together.)
It’s okay to have friends in your life who don’t meet these core needs—not everyone needs to be your BFF in order to hang out and have fun. Just make sure that the people who have your loyalty earn it. Ask yourself: How do I feel around this person? How do I act—can I be my genuine self? Can I talk candidly about my sex work experiences, or do I need to shade my truth? Do I walk away from this person feeling joyful and uplifted, or disappointed and drained?
The people who love and support you just as you are—they are priceless. Do not take them for granted. Make time for them. Tell them you love them. Show your gratitude in ways that are meaningful to you— physical affection, the gift of your attention, attending special events, giving thoughtful presents. Be there for them when they need you most.
These are the folks who will get you through the hard times and be there to celebrate your triumphs. Everyone else is just a life lesson.
I talk all about making friends in the sex industry in my new book, Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, now available in ebook and paperback!
Until next time-- be sweet to yourself--
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