This evening I have been thinking about moving forward, about what that has meant in my life. What it has meant to me and what it has meant to others, and what was meant by some of the actions and reactions involved in the way my moving on has been received. I am thinking now of things that have been unspoken, but nonetheless said, and how painful some of that has been.
There is the conviction, from both within and without, that you can never BE anything but a whore. This is another aspect of this whole mess that belies the notion of prostitution as ordinary work – there is no other form of occupation in my awareness where a person is expected, like a visitor to the Hotel California, to check in but never leave. How odd would it seem to tell a teacher, at the end of their first days work, that no other occupational reality was open to them? How nutsy a suggestion would that be?
But I did push past expectations, both of society and my own, and I did manage to leave – but have I moved on? At what point can we be said to have ‘moved on’ when all of our lives are spent in the moving?
Since this is a road without end I think it best to view it from a different perspective. Maybe from an aerial view, or perhaps it’s better to stop viewing it as a road at all. This life is not a liner thing; this is a multidimensional reality, and I am happy on most of its levels.
But that moving on, if I think of it as a road, is best depicted as rubble-strewn and dotted with obstacles – and those obstacles stood like monoliths and were best expressed by the attitudes of others. Anybody who ever called me a whore, with a nod to my past history, rolled one of those rocks into the road. Their obstructions said one thing clearly: they said ‘you cannot move on’.
So that was the attitude, and I have often run up against it. ‘Get back there now you, into your shiny little whore box, and how dare you even imagine you have a right to any other place to be?’
When you run into an old client while doing your shopping, when a sexually abused friend tells you that, by comparison, your experience was ‘not really abuse’, when the man you’re in love with opens his mouth in drink and lets your past plop down into his family’s lap and some of them turn on you like vipers – when all of these and thousand other things happen you are again reminded that you have no right to move on, because the likes of you should stay in your place.
Thankfully there is a way to move on that has nothing to do with going forward, but rather going inwards, and the distance between yourself and prostitution will never feel wider than it will once you have mastered that knack – because going inwards creates the awareness that you were unlucky, you were exploited, but these are foreign impositions, not part of who we actually ARE - and when we understand that we’ll understand that we were never whores in the first place.
Nothing in the fabric of any woman marks her out as a prostitute. Only outside impositions have left their print upon her. The impediments others strew before us do not register so much for the woman who is looking inwards for her answers. She sees those impediments, she senses them, but they are not so offensive when her innermost-self tells her so clearly what nonsense they constitute. And so I am happy to report that my ‘moving on’ days are over, because it is so much more productive and more pleasurable to keep on moving in.
Much love to all my fellow survivors (((hugs)))