The Child Who Knew Too Much

So, another Catholic priest has been arrested after police investigated an online child pornography ring in Sydney. The FBI has just freed 105 children from a child prostitution ring in the US. There is an increase in sexual abuse of indigenous kids in rural and outback Australia. Every day there seems to be more and more reports of children being sexually molested by people in positions of power, by priests, by neighbours, teachers, uncles, fathers – you name it.

Studies say children who have been sexually abused can experience depression, anxiety, guilt, fear, sexual dysfunction, withdrawal, and acting out. They can suffer from sleep disturbances, eating problems, and non-participation in school and social activities. Some kids stop trying at life. Other kids try too hard.

Adult victims of child abuse can suffer from high levels of anxiety which can result in alcoholism, drug abuse, anxiety attacks, borderline personality disorders, insomnia and depression. Victims can go on to engage in high risk sexual behaviour, including prostitution.

Let me tell you what happened to me. I became extremely depressed as a child, but was unable to articulate what had happened until I was 12. The disclosure was not met with a great deal of acceptance by my family. As a teenager, I began to display borderline tendencies and started to cut myself. I developed bulimia. Simultaneously, I became an over-achiever at school, committing myself to several extra-curricular activities at once in an effort to occupy my mind until I burned out at 17 and almost failed Seventh Form.

Outside of working in the sex industry, which you all know about, I would occasionally have indiscriminate and sometimes unsafe sex with random men and women. It’s actually quite amazing that I didn’t catch a sexually transmitted infection. That behaviour, together with the borderline traits and obsessive compulsive tendencies continued well into my adulthood, and still exist in much less severity to this day.

My parents live with an undisclosed sense of guilt that they couldn’t prevent the abuse from happening to me. We can’t really talk about it, simply because I don’t want them to feel that I’m making them responsible, and they don’t really know what to say. My brothers are the same.

My self worth and value is rooted firmly in my sexual attractiveness. I tend to use sex as a bargaining tool; as a weapon; as my armour. I have been working to offset this for a number of years. It’s hard, but I’m much, much better than I was.

Today at rehearsal, there were some child rape jokes thrown around. I am not angry at those who perpetrated these jokes because it occurred in a context that is difficult to explain. Needless to say, I had to walk out of rehearsal because it broke my head. And finally cemented home a realisation:

I will never get over being sexually molested as a child.

I have healed immensely and have worked very, very hard to not let that trauma impede on my everyday life. I am a very functional member of society, and my experiences have provided me with a very thick skin most of the time. I do not dwell on it, or cast myself as a victim in life’s drama. But it’s there. All the time, whether I acknowledge it or not. Today it’s very much at the forefront of my mind. And it hurts.

Child abuse destroys lives. It’s a topic that is drowning in shame and outrage and guilt and pain and it has to stop. Of course, it never will, because humans can be cruel and sadistic and nasty and apathetic of what impact their actions can have on others, so we have to be prepared to nurture and comfort and support and help heal those who have suffered this horrible, horrible experience.

My love and my heart goes out to all survivors of child sexual abuse. I’m feeling your pain right now because it is also my own.


Sexy Bitch

I recently posted on my Facebook wall that I’ve never been asked out on a date by a man. I’ve been asked out twice by women and I’ve asked guys out on dates (albeit a “I’ve got tickets to this thing, do you wanna come too” type dealie), and I’ve gone on a woefully small amount of dates (most of which were disastrous), but I’ve never actually been courted by a man. Most of my relationships with men have consisted of: we meet, we flirt, pretty soon after we have sex and then boom! We’re together. Our getting-to-know-each-other time has been spent in the bedroom.

After posting this confession I received a slew of messages from men who told me that I was sexy and exciting and beautiful and that they’d love to do things to me and I should be asked out often. One was an old friend who wanted to make me feel better (and it was lovely and appreciated), others were old boyfriends who should know better. It may be that I’m old, suspicious and cynical, but they all seemed to be saying the same thing: “I want to root you. Doesn’t that make you feel good about yourself?”

Now look, sex is great. I love sex. I love talking about it, thinking about it and I love doing it. I get better at it and love it more the older I get. I appreciate that some people find me sexy – of all the hang ups I have about myself, that’s one thing that I know I’ve got going on. I’m also fascinated with sexuality from a context that is purely academic. I’m intrigued by human psychosexual behaviour; what makes people prefer certain types of sex, why people have sex that they don’t enjoy, why people don’t tell their partners how to do them the way they like, etc etc.

But, you know what? There’s more to me than that. I like being sexy, but I also like cross-stitch and gardening and cats and obsessively cleaning things and reading and spiritual existentialism and dream interpretation and mowing the lawns and all sorts of unsexy stuff.

I read this article recently on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl phenomenon. You know the one, the girl who is epitomised by Zooey Deschanel in those revolting movies about the uptight guy who is loosened up by the kooky artist/photographer/yoga instructor who teaches him how to be free with her infectious smile and her nauseating sense of whimsy. Yeah, well I’m not her, but the author made a point that these girls (not women, girls) so judiciously represented in these movies and television shows by the likes of Ms Deschanel (whose whimsical face I’d like to slap, quite frankly) are so two dimensional in their kookiness that they’re no longer human. Therefore the men who are attracted to the real world version of these women are shocked to discover that their dream girl is actually a real person with real needs and real problems.

Sex Goddess Photography by Christian Callaghan

Sex Goddess
Photography by Christian Callaghan

As I mentioned above, I’m not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I’m a Sexy Psycho “Real” Woman and I teach men how to free their sexuality and I’m always looking hot and booby and curvy and I’m always strong and in control and slightly dangerous and I’ve lived – really lived – an audacious life outside of the norm. I’m the woman who intimidates men (and their mothers) and I’m the best fuck they’ve ever had.

Okay. I’ll buy that. I’ll wear it even, ’cause it’s true.

To a point.

I also do other stuff. I grieve when a friend dies. I cry at sad movies. I like receiving flowers. I’m nice to people, I snort when I laugh, I use big words because I’m well-read, and pictures of baby animals make me gooey. I fart, I belch, I pick my nose with a tissue, I get pimples on my butt, I have to regularly wax my moustache, I get ingrowns on my bikini line and I have wrinkles. I am a real person who would like to be wooed not just because there might be sex at the end of the night, but also because I’m lovely and interesting and good to know. I’m a little tired of being the novelty, the ex hooker with a million mental health issues and a gay dad. It’s not a sensation to be oohed and aahed at, it’s the life I have lived. It is mine and it exists beyond the scope of others’ entertainment.

Now, I’m aware that I may sound a little like a hypocrite, as I have bared my internal naughty bits for the world to see on numerous occasions. I can see how that could be interpreted as some sensationalist attention-seeking “look at me and how fucked up yet awesome I am” palaver. Yes, I totally agree, but please understand that my intention is to show the human being behind the sensation. Because there is one there. There’s a heart behind the tits, and a brain connected to the mouth, and I’ll stop before I say anything weird about my vagina.

Somewhere out there is a man (or woman) who has the balls (or tits) to see this and appreciate it. Not just for me, but for all the manic pixie dream girls, and the sexy psycho “real” women, and the quiet studious nerd ladies, and even the misunderstood emo goth girls – no capitals because we’re all real people. The capitalised archetypes only belong in really bad romcom movies.

So yeah, I’ll teach you a thing or two in the bedroom, but only if you’ve taken the time to discover my favourite colour, among many other things.

Photography by Christopher Bryant

Photography by Christopher Bryant

Keep It Together Through The Arse Pain

Disclaimer! The following post mentions my bottom and poop a lot. If you don’t want to read about my bottom or poop, you’re missing out.

Two weeks ago
Two days ago I had a haemmorhoidectomy, which is a very simple surgical procedure to remove one’s haemmorhoids. It may be a simple procedure, but it’s brutal: it involves cutting the haemmorhoid out – not banding it, not asking it politely to leave, cutting.

The pain is indescribable. It’s a stinging pain that no matter how many painkillers I take, it never quite goes away. As I remarked to my housemate this morning, it’s like toothache of the arse. Haemmorhoids themselves are bad enough, the pain of a bad outbreak affects all other areas of the body, radiating out from the core. It hurts to cough, to laugh, to sit, to run. This pain is like a bad haemmorhoid outbreak times fifty. I have twice woken up at 3am sobbing from that intense hurt that I can’t get away from. Breaking wind is a mixture of sharp stabby mc ow ow and blessed relief. I am totally terrified to poop. I have even considered not eating because frankly, dying is preferable to pooping right now. I pooped this morning and almost passed out from the agony. It felt like the creature from Alien was trying to escape out my arse. I sobbed very loudly for a good 40 minutes afterward.

The point of this very graphic and personal treatise on the state of my behind is that I will be bed-bound for at least a week, possibly as long as a month, and this will afford me a great deal of time to reflect on things. Let it begin.

I went back to work today after two weeks of the most excrutiating pain I have ever experienced. I fully intended to use those two weeks to do some internal self-improvement, to spring clean the inside of my head. I kinda did, but not through any deliberate thought processes. My head did it all by itself.

That’s the thing about pain. It’s very focusing. I was totally and completely present the entire time because no matter how many Endone I took, the pain was demanding my attention, insisting that I stay in my body, not deviate from experiencing every twinge, stab, and wrench of agony. I wrote this on my Facebook wall just after surgery:

I have never before experienced a pain like this: thick, oozing and faithful, roiling slowly along the cracked floor of my reception chamber, making its insidious presence felt, allowing no respite. It is constant. Steadfast. It has laid its anchors down and it’s here to stay.

Poetic, huh?

I’m rambling a lot, but what I’ve discovered is that I’m capable of withstanding just about anything, be it physical or mental pain, trauma, needles, the indignity of passing out on the toilet, a broken heart, loneliness, rejection, weight gain, getting older, stubbing my toe, not knowing the right thing to say to a friend in need, being wrong, succeeding, failing … you name it. It hurts. It all hurts. But it hasn’t killed me yet, and as Neil Finn says, everything is good for you if it doesn’t kill you.

Pain is one of our greatest fears next to death. And yet pain can teach us so much. It doesn’t mean we have to like it, but it’s not pointless.