Released from the Alcoholic loony bin onto an Unsuspecting Public

This update will be brief because I’m writing it at my mother’s house where I have been recuperating since my discharge from the hospital a few days ago, but, believe me, I have a tale to tell, and it will be told as soon as I get back to my apartment tomorrow.

I’ll save the lurid, horrific, and, at times, blackly comic details for the larger blog post, but these are the some of the basic facts: they kept me for six days and told me that if I kept trying to detox alone at home, I might have died, despite my relative youth.  They hooked me up to a heart monitor machine and, just lying in bed, my heat rate periodically rised to 170 (I shit you not).  The staff would freak, in their calm and professional way.  Then my blood pressure would go down to 90/60.  I’ve always had low blood pressure because I work out (when I’m not drunk) but that is pretty low.

My suite mate was a geriatric dilaudid (among other things) addict, which I guess is fine–I mean, who am I to judge, as we are in this fucked-up junkie boat together?–but she was also a crazy selfish mean delusional bitch who constantly imposed herself on every human being in her orbit, and you are going to be reading a LOT about her, believe me.

For the first two days, I had moments of extreme psychological distress for no apparent reason because I knew I was in a safe space.  My rational mind knew it was because my brain was fucked. Otherwise I was lucid (except for the zillion drugs they put me on) except that I kept having nightmares that Judge Judy was going to be my nurse and scream at me for being stupid and fucking up my life.  “Judgement for the Defendant!”  Who the fuck would be the defendant?  Bushmill’s Whiskey?  The poor nice girl who works at the gas station by my house, who always looked sadder and sadder every night when I came in to buy the same thing, my looks and coordination deteriorating?

I couldn’t drink or eat (both literally, and doctor’s orders), so my dehydrated mummy body was hydrated with about 3 bags of saline via IV daily.  Good thing I didn’t have to work (as if I could have), because I look like I spent a few weeks in a shooting gallery, and I don’t mean the gun range.

My brain is about 80% back and I want to write again.  I am wearing makeup and fixing my hair pretty again.  I had the strength to go buy my Mom nice presents for Mother’s Day, even though I had to sit down to rest a few times on the floor in Macy’s (nobody cared; it was a zoo). I can read again. I’m almost off the librium, and then I can re-start the Naltrexone.  Abe is waiting for me.  I visit him at the boarders every day.  I bring him a new toy every day until I get him home, tomorrow.  I learned he likes to play with wiffle balls.

I hired a housecleaner (not my usual one–I was too ashamed) and paid her double so that I don’t have to go home to my depressing apartment with a garbage bag I didn’t have the energy to run to the dumpster and a desk surrounded by a graveyard of empties and a few take-out boxes of food completely full because I couldn’t bring myself to eat even a single bite.  I mean, who the fuck can’t eat a slice of PIZZA? Your friendly neighborhood alcoholic, that’s who.  At least Bushmill’s has calories.

Oh, I lost 14 lbs.  At least something good came of this.  I’m a size 4 again.  My clients are gonna love it.

More tomorrow–the juicy details that should serve as a cautionary tale.

Oh, one other thing: I watched “The Lost Weekend.”  Scary as fuck, but it’s stood the test of time, and it is, without a doubt, the truest depiction of alcoholism on film I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen them all.  You can stream it on Amazon for cheap.  Not sure if it’s on netflix.  Highly recommended if you don’t think it’ll make you want to slit your wrists.

Such Was My Recklessness

When I decided to seek help about my drinking problem, I went to the campus counseling center and started meetings with a counselor there.   I didn’t see her for more than a few months, because I made the mistake of confiding to her that I was working weekends at my first dungeon (what can I say?  My secret job, and its attendant issues, seemed germane to my drinking), and that revelation had an immediate chilling effect on our relationship.  To my complete surprise, she judged me about it, in a very harsh and unprofessional (to my mind) fashion, and thereafter I felt her disapproval and suspicion in our conversations.  I felt uncomfortable with her (or, more accurately, I was acutely aware of her discomfort with me), and eventually decided to stop our sessions.

Which was fine.  I was no longer getting the full benefit of her expertise, and I wasn’t impressed with what perspective I was getting.  I felt that she was making a lot of assumptions about my personality and motivations that were not just unflattering but downright wrong.  For example, she told me that I was working at the dungeon because I wanted attention and validation from men.

She did give me one insight into my character that had previously eluded me and that I never would have come up with on my own, however.  I’ve never forgotten it.

I was talking about my drinking, and I said that the reckless drinking was really out of character for me, because in most other aspects of my life I was cautious, thoughtful, and risk-adverse.  Really!  I’m the opposite of impulsive.  I don’t act quickly or rashly.  I’m the sort of person who always wears a helmet, buckles up, drives the speed limit at all times, and doesn’t eat food that’s been left at room temperature for more than an hour.  I don’t often try new things, or make a trip to a new place, be it across town or out of the country, without detailed travel instructions or an itinerary.

“Margo,” she said, dead serious, looking at me over the tops of her glasses, “you are absolutely not risk-adverse.  At all.

I was incredulous: had I really done reckless things?  Moi?  Madame, surely you jest!

But after careful contemplation, I must admit that the record will show that I have taken risks, and put myself in situations, that were not just unnecessary, but dangerous and even potentially fatal.  I even mentioned it in the copy of one of my proSub ads–I cribbed a quote from de Sade, in which he asserted, as reason for his libertinism and depravity, that a man’s humanity is incomplete until he has had every experience.

And so I have pursued every experience.  My adult life has been characterized by the deliberate and relentless exploration of my sadomasochism, a journey of personal discovery that I ultimately prioritized in my life.  It is a serious business to me, and I approached it with the earnestness of a devoted scholar.  To see how far down the rabbit hole goes.

Because isn’t that what it all boils down to, really?  Isn’t that what I was doing there, in all those dangerous places, with all those (potentially or overtly) dangerous people?  Isn’t that what I was doing when I went back, when I stayed, when I went deeper and still yet deeper?  Over and over again?  I started prodomming when I was desperate, vulnerable, and very isolated–it really was survival sex work–but why that, among the handful of desperate options (why did I perceive it as an option at all?)?   I did it for the (potentially) fast money and because the flexibility of the job fit my grad-student needs and lifestyle, but really, really, I did it because I was fascinated and I wanted to know, to explore that part of myself.   My clients were my teachers.  Even when I did not want them to be.   My lovers were also my teachers, including the dangerous one with the scalpel whom I loved best, and who cut my heart for five years.

I pursued every experience.  I sought them out online, on Fetlife, on Craigslist, in the dark corners of the internet, and I put up ads so that they could find me.  I took trains to meet strangers in parts of the country I’d never been to before.  I took airplanes.   I went to their houses, their dorm rooms and brownstones and walkup apartments, and a million hotel rooms in cities on three continents.   I got into their cars and climbed aboard their boats.  And they came to me, both in my home and in the fantastical rooms of the Studio and the other dungeons in which I worked.   They have needs and compulsions, too.

I gave a man the key to my house so that he could enter at the time of his choosing and take me God knows where, with God knows who.  I rode on the back of motorcycles drunk.  My boyfriend gave me drugs and I let him without knowing what they were or what they would do to me.   I let people lock me in cages, closets, hoods, and, (nearly) a barn.  I let them bind me with rope and suspend me from ceilings.  I let them put metal police restraints on me, cover me with a blanket, and take me for a car ride.  I let him throttle me with his hands, his leather belt, the terrycloth belt of a bathrobe.  I let strangers beat me with everything you could imagine, sometimes for money and sometimes for free.  I let a psychopath come to my house and put me in traction.  Such was my recklessness in pursuit of myself.

Such was my recklessness.

I still haven’t had every experience.  My humanity remains incomplete. I have come to understand that the rabbit hole is bottomless.   The obsessions cannot be quenched or exhausted.   Like a dying star, they change, grow, and expand outward, incinerating and enveloping you in their orbit.

If there is no end to it, do I stop?

What else is there?

(6) Murder Victim

      I’ve never told this story because I didn’t want to admit to being so reckless and unprofessional.  I did everything wrong in this session and put myself in great danger.  It was crazy, the sort of spectacularly bad judgement that, if displayed by one of my dungeon co-workers, would make me think that they were not cut out for this business and should not be allowed to do sessions in the dungeon at all. 

         I expect to receive criticism.

        It was the winter things were getting serious with the Mathematician.  Probably December 2012.   I was on call at the Studio when the Russian manager called me to tell me that I had a session.  A submissive session, meaning that I would be the submissive. 

        “Do I know him?  What does he want?”  I asked.

        “I know him.  He is good client.  Good tip,” she said.

        I refreshed my makeup and jumped in a cab.  There was no traffic.  I was there in 20 minutes. 

          “He’s waiting for you.  You can go in.”

           “Should I go talk to him?  What do I bring in?  What should I wear?”

         “You are fine as you are.  He does some bondage.  Little breath play.”  She looked at me and said, very deliberately: “I know him.  He’s fine.”

         And with that, I went in.  Sight unseen.

        I’m not going to spend the rest of the story enumerating the things I did wrong and explaining what a wise professional should have done instead.  All of that would detract from the narrative of the experience, which is what I really want to write about. 

         It was very dark in the room–he’d turned down the lights.   The client was a huge Asian man.   Huge is not an exaggeration; he was built like a Sumo wrestler.  He was wearing a dark suit (it had to have been custom made) and a bright white shirt.  He had long black hair in a braid, a short beard, and small, round glasses with gold wire frames.   I couldn’t tell his age.  40s, maybe.

         I introduced myself and asked him what he had in mind.  He told me to undress and sit on the bondage bed.  He was going to tie my legs together at the knees.

          I tried to read his energy and emotional state, but I wasn’t getting anything.  He was very calm.  He seemed sober, lucid.  He didn’t want to talk, didn’t have any questions for me.

         I stripped down to my bra and underpants and sat down on the bed.  I told him that my underwear stayed on and that there was no touching allowed between my legs. 

          He nodded.

         “Then what?  Are you going to hit me with something?”  He hadn’t brought any equipment that I could see, aside from the rope, but I had an eye on his leather belt.  

         He said that he would not hit me. 

         Then I let him kneel in front of me and tie my legs together above the knees.  I was glad that it was the knees and not the ankles, because it made my crotch less accessible.  

         What’s he going to do?  What’s he up to?  I asked myself.  I was curious.  I didn’t see where it was going, but I wasn’t scared.  I should have been scared, but I wasn’t.  

           He lifted up my ankles and put them down on the bed.  Now I was lying down, on my back. 

            Uh-oh, I thought.  The little lightbulb went off above my head.  I figured out what he was going to do: he was going to climb on top of me and try to snuggle or dry-hump my leg or something gross like that.  

           No.  Nothing so pedestrian.

            While he was standing over me, looking down into my face, he took both hands, wrapped them around my neck, and started to squeeze. 

           I didn’t freak out.  To this day, I wonder why I didn’t freak out.  I didn’t panic, didn’t try to pull his hands away.

           I didn’t resist.

            It’s a game.  It’s part of the session, I told myself.  He’ll let go in a minute.  Wait for it. 

           Famous last words, right?   Famous last words.  If I’d been capable of speaking them.  Which I wasn’t. 

            You have more than a minute before you pass out.  It’s only been a few seconds, I told myself. 

          (but then, in the back of my mind: how long can you afford to wait?)

            He let go and stood back up straight.  

            I didn’t whoop in breath or start coughing.  I didn’t try to get up.  I took deep breaths through my nose.  

           “You’re good,” he said.  Then he started strangling me again.  Longer, this time.  His hands were huge and very strong.  I could feel my heart start to pound, the way it does when you’re holding your breath under water, and my face started to feel numb. 

            What if he doesn’t let go this time?

             He will.  He knows what he’s doing.  He’ll let go.

             But what if he DOESN’T?  Are you going to just let this guy kill you?

           He’ll let go, I told myself. 

             And he did.

             This time, I did whoop in air.   It hurt my throat. 

            I still didn’t call it off.   When he did it again, I was ready.

           That was the session: I was playing chicken with this man.  I was playing chicken with a complete stranger in a dungeon.  I was playing chicken with my life. 

             I saw spots.  I saw stars.  The blood rushing in my ears.

            I could really die here.  By accident, even, I thought. 

            He let go.

            I knew it, I thought.  I wonder if I was smiling.  He took a step back from the table and I rolled over onto my side, coughing.  My throat hurt, my windpipe hurt. 

            What does this person want?  I wondered.  What’s the point?  Does he want me to freak or cry?  Does he want me to have fun?  Or is his enjoyment not contingent on my reaction at all?

            He’d finally relaxed a little bit.  He had a small smile on his face.  

              He pulled a chair away from the wall and gestured for me to sit.

            I finally spoke: “I can’t do an hour of this.  It’s too much.”

           “Just a little more.  This is the last part,” he said, softly.

           “Let me finish getting my breath.”

           He waited.  Still calm.  

           I hopped off the bed and walked awkwardly over to the wooden chair.  I could only take tiny steps because of the way my legs were tied. 

           I had a seat.  Now I was looking at myself in the huge black mirror. 

            He tied my wrists to the spokes on the back.  I let him do it.  I knew he was going to.

            I was telling myself that it was just a game and he’d done this a million times before and I wasn’t in any real danger.  After all, if he wanted to kill me, I’d be dead by now.  

        Why did I tell myself that?   Was it some bullshit coping mechanism my brain was coming up with, a line of bullshit to deal with the real danger of the situation?  Why was I composed under all that pressure, that situation?  It was like when I took that beating from the Attorney, the worst beating of my life, when I safed out: I didn’t freak, I didn’t cry.  

          Is there something wrong with how I’m made up, that I wasn’t more scared than I was?  

          Is there something wrong with how I’m made up, that put me in that situation to begin with?

          Why did I sit in that chair?

           One more round.  Let’s cruise, big fella.

          I knew it was coming, and took a big breath of air before he cut it off, like I was a swimmer making a dive. 

           Down we went.

           You have about ninety seconds before you black out.  Less if you’re exerting yourself.  

           Ninety seconds is a long time to look at yourself in the mirror and think about what a stupid way to die this would be.  I mean, shit.  He could put my body under the bondage bed and walk out the dungeon door and be halfway to the airport before anyone even notices that I haven’t left the room yet.  I pictured the other girls in the locker room down the hall.  They’d give me a Darwin Award for this one, for sure. 

           What does he want?  I thought.

           He wants a dead girl.  

           I relaxed into it, still telling myself that everything was going to be fine.  My head was pounding.   The pressure behind my eyeballs.  

            He let go.

            That was it.  We were done.  The tension in the room evaporated.  The spell was broken.  His energy changed entirely.

             I collapsed back in the chair, staring up at the ceiling, wheezing.  He pulled out another chair and had a seat.  Then he pulled a handsome gold cigarette case out of his pocket.  He opened it and offered me one.

             “No, thanks,” I said.  

              “That was good.  You’re very good,” he said.  Whatever the fuck that meant.  

               Now he could talk.  I don’t remember most of what he said, but he did mention coming from Hong Kong.  Something about Obama.  Yup, just the usual post-session chit-chat.  

               He gave me $600, asked to use the restroom, and left.

               The rope was good rope.  We cleaned it with bleach and then added it to the collection.

               “Session okay, Margo?” the manager asked me.  “Did he take care of you?”

              What was I going to say?  That she should have fucking told me that the guy was going to choke me out?  Did she know that he was going to do that?  Did she tell me that he was a “good client” so that I wouldn’t panic?  Because I might be a masochist and a little batshit crazy, but if she told me on the telephone that a client wanted to choke me out,  I would not have hopped in a cab. 

            I went home.  

            I only told one other person.  I didn’t know how to tell anyone.  How do you explain that a client choked you, and you let it happen?  That I did a sub session without explicit negotiation?  What do you say?  How can I explain what happened in that room?  Was it really all that bad?  He left me safe and sound, didn’t he?  Not even a bruise. 

             I told Dahlia one day.  She had a bit of a morbid side.  

           “Wow, that sounds crazy,” she said.  Her eyes lit up.  “You must have felt like a murder victim.”
          

Visiting Heinrich: Argument, Snarking, Theatrics & Questionable Manhandling

   This is the continuation of my visit to see Heinrich.  I’d just shown up at his house with a potted plant and then hid in the bathroom to avoid awkwardness. 

    
   I was talking–probably more like jabbering, as I was nervous and self-conscious and he was standing there with an intense, morose look on his face–when he suddenly leaned in, grabbed my upper arms, and kissed me.

      Now, I don’t know the scientific name for this particular dude makeout-tactic, but I’m sure that every woman reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about.  In my mind, I think of it as The Swoop Kiss: you are engaged in dialogue, or watching something nearby, and a guy rushes in and plants one on you.  I think men think it’s dashing or something.  You see it a lot in movies. 

         It irritated me.  It made me a little angry because he was forcing a reaction, and, well, what am I supposed to do with this…?  If I kiss him back, it’s going to be interpreted as approval or encouragement of the behavior.  If I stop him, it’s taken as a rejection.  Why should I be put on the spot like this, and worry about hurting his feelings when he’s the one antagonizing the situation?

        And here’s something else: I hate it when men interrupt me or talk over me.  It’s a pet peeve of mine…a sore spot, actually.  It got to the point where I started calling men on it in seminar.  

       I pulled my head back.  My arms were held stiffly at my sides.

      “Heinrich, come on,” I said. 

      He stopped and looked down at me.  I didn’t have my shoes on, so he was taller than I was.  He was still holding my upper arms.

      “What…?   What, hmm?”  he asked, but apparently it was a rhetorical question, because he didn’t wait for me to answer.  Instead, he kissed me again.

       I did something I’ve never done before: I bit his mouth.  I did it without thinking, and I did it fast.  I gave him quite a nip. I was surprised at myself.

        He stepped back and raised one of his hands to his mouth.  His forehead was all bunched up, surprised.  “Margo!  What was that?”

        “You know better than that.  What’s the matter with you?”

      “Ah! So you do not like for me to kiss you.  Yes?  You do not like me, when I am gentle to you.  You only like it when I hurt you.  That is what I am useful for, yes?”

         Oh, well, call the poor man a WHAAAMBULANCE!  I thought.

         “Of course!  Of course!  What else are you good for, Heinrich?”  I yelled at him.  

          …and, in doing so, I made an error.  His grasp of English is very good, and while he understands the spoken word quite well, he doesn’t always “get” sarcasm.  He doesn’t recognize it.

          So, I guess he took me seriously.  

          There was a little snarky back-and-forth.  I pointed out that his lip was red and slightly swollen where I bit him.  I said that it looked really butch and he ought to tell all the people at work that he got in a fight with a geriatric Jewish French professor.  He shot back that that if I’d traveled all this way to enjoy his sexual expertise I’d done myself a disservice by not telling him that and giving him the time to think up something really special.  

            Oh, I know, I know all about it, I am a professional, after all, I said in a jeering tone of voice, yeah, not my proudest moment, I cringe remembering it now, so unbecoming of me: I don’t know how many times I had to explain to clients who rolled in off the street that there was no way I could execute some 3-ring circus of a session if I only had five minutes to plan it out and get ready! 

             I was actually hurt, but I didn’t want to show it, and I was angry, too, and upset and surprised that things had gotten ugly.  I’d never seen Heinrich in a temper before is when he had the Friend-Zone Meltdown on Skype, so this was a new experience.  I know that friends have fights sometimes, but I’d never had one with him before.  

         I should have called time out, and sat down in another room.  I should have said, we are getting off to a bad start here, let’s start over.  But I didn’t, and he didn’t either.  I wonder why?

       “Well, Margo, if that is what you want of me, I will do my best,” he said.  He was smiling, but it was a bitter smile, like the smile you have when you tell your neighbor that OF COURSE you don’t mind if their son practices the drums in the garage every Sunday morning. 

           “I have no doubt of it!  When did you have in mind?  I have to say, when I got here, you didn’t seem too keen on dinner,” I said.

         And with that, he grabbed me, turned me around, and threw me over his desk.

         Now, I have had sex, and been beaten, on a few desks in my day.  Very handy pieces of furniture, desks.  I’m a fan.

          However, I had never been treated to the full, operatic surface-clearing gesture that always accompanies these scenes in cinema.  You know, where the papers flutter and the books fall off the edge and the guy shoves the phone off the desk to make room.

          Heinrich swiped over a pile of catalogs and a jar full of pens, which went flying, and knocked over the desk lamp.  I tried to catch it, but by the time I saw it start to fall, it was too late: it went right over the edge.  I heard something break (that shit looked expensive, too.  Isn’t it amazing how expensive lamps are?), and then the light binked a few times and went out.

         “Oh shit!” I said.

           And then I laughed. 

          You never, ever want to laugh at a man in a tense sexual situation.  Men don’t take it well, as the ghosts of many murdered girlfriends and sex workers could easily tell you.  I was laughing at  the murdered lamp, but he didn’t know that.  He thought that I could have been laughing at anything

            He grabbed my hair in his fist and got between my knees and gave my head a little shake.  “Is this better for you?  You like this, yes?”

        His face was up close to mine.  I was a bit taller than him, because I was sitting (mostly) on the desk.  

        “Do not bite me again,” he said, and pulled my hair back.  He had an impressive handful.  It hurt.  I didn’t care at all. 

        “Go ahead and try it.  Try it and see!”

         It was pretty interesting, watching Heinrich do the calculus in his head for that decision.  I’m not sure what I would have done it his position.  Quite a risk, there, either way.  He almost went for it.  His face came in, and I’m sure it wasn’t a feint…but then he thought better of it, and pulled back.

        “Think I’d bite your mouth off?”
         He swore under his breath, reached across his body with his left hand, grabbed my arm, and and flipped me over.  I fell off the desk a little and got my feet on the floor.  I’d have bruises on the backs and front of my thighs the next day, from where the edge of the desk dug into my flesh.  He didn’t let go of my hair.

         “What should I do with that mouth?  Should I put a cage on it, like an angry dog?”

           “There’s nothing to bite facing this direction,” I told him.  

           The situation was fucked up and ridiculous, and the interesting thing was that I was not afraid, even though everything had the potential to be dangerous for me…dangerous for both of us, really.  We were pushing each other instead of communicating, I had no idea what he was thinking, whatever the hell was happening could not even be called a spontaneous BDSM scene.  It was the sort of situation where people could do and say things they don’t mean and really regret later.  

           …and I wasn’t scared.  I’d felt considerably more anxious when I was hiding in his bathroom. 

           CONCLUSION TOMORROW.  I want to be sure he’s comfortable with it.
      

Sneaky Margo Continues to Scheme

      The people at one of the sex worker ad malls I advertise at are being total dickheads.  I hope that they’re busting balls because a DA is rattling their cage or subpoenaing credit card statements, because this is getting silly.  

       I can no longer pass as a teenager.  In fact, I can no longer pass as an undergraduate.  There are porn actresses younger than me who are marketing themselves as MILFS.  Nothing about my ad suggests that I am particularly young–I don’t even lie about my age.

      Well, the ad mall wants a scan of my ID to verify that I am of legal age.  

       They ain’t getting it.  Fuck them.   It took me over two hours to photoshop my ID to change EVERYTHING.  What a waste of time.

         I know other sex workers who buy fake IDs online and scan those.  I would have done that, but I don’t have time.   It’s almost Monday.  

        What a pain in the ass. 

                           *                          *                            *         

 I reserved the hotel room for Monday afternoon.  I can’t believe how affordable hotels are here compared to New York.   I got the best place in town on an Expedia special for $50 and it’s right by a bus line, so I won’t have to pedal my ass across town in the freezing cold with a bunch of BDSM gear strapped in a backpack.  

        I’m going to miss half a day of work at my office monkey job, so I hope this client doesn’t flake out on me.  If he does, it’s going to be an expensive mistake on my part.  I guess I could stay in the room and post my Google Voice phone number on the ads, but my experiences with guys who JUST WANT TO COME OVER AND HAVE A SESSION RIGHT NOW!!! are generally not good.  It lost me a lot of business, because that’s how a lot of clients operate–something happens unexpectedly and they get the afternoon off work or their wife decides to go see a show in the evening, and all of a sudden they have a 3-hour block of time to kill, and what better way to spend it than getting your balls stomped on by a Backpage dominatrix?  It makes perfect sense, right?

         There are problems, though, with last-minute bookings: less or no time to screen, which just isn’t worth it to me.  At night, they’re drunk and impulsive.  Some of them don’t have the money on them and don’t yet realize that the ATM isn’t going to give them any more until midnight.  

         I’m going to do it.  Unless he flakes, in which case I’ll be cooling my heels in a useless hotel room (and possibly live-blogging).

         Now I need to hand-wash a dress and some nice lingerie so that I’ll have something nice to wear on Monday.  

         It will be fine.  The worst that could happen is that I’ll be out four hours of wages and the cost of a hotel room…so, $100.  The payoff would be $450 and the client sounds serious.  That’s worth the risk.  Isn’t it?

What I Did to My Birds

       The hardest part of completely changing my life practically overnight was parting with my birds.  I lost most of my furniture because I couldn’t sell it in time and I couldn’t afford to store it.  The shipping company lost two big boxes of clothes that constituted half my wardrobe (thank God I had the good sense to pack my best suits and business clothes in my carry-on), for which I was compensated $200, which barely covered the cost of one of my dinner-date with Fortinbras dresses.  I lost my wrought iron bedframe, which was all tricked out for bondage sexytimes (but, it was the bed on which I cavorted with Drs. Cockatoo Fraud and my Housecall-making Ex, so maybe it’s good that it’s gone).  I even lost my desk, because it was too big to fit into the storage unit.  I loved that hugeass desk.  It was huge and heavy and beat to hell.  That desk was through the wars with me.  It was the first piece of furniture I bought when I moved to the East Coast for school.  I’m typing this on a piece of shit I bought off Craiglist for $20 which is only nominally better than a TV tray.  

       All in all, between the stuff that I had to sell and the stuff that I had to abandon and the stuff that was lost by the shipping company, I lost more than half of my property.  The only thing that remains entirely intact is my library.   I kept almost every book.

       None of it hurt me like giving up my birds.

       I have had many dreams and nightmares about my birds, and my deceased Parrot.  They play heavily symbolic roles in my dreams.  (2 links..click both if interested) 

        My analyst says that my birds represent my heart. 

        I contacted my avian vet and arranged to have them boarded.  One reason I’m so broke right now is because it cost me a fucking fortune, but I knew that I could trust this place.  They feed the birds top-quality pellets and change the toys and clean the cages multiple times per day and let them out to fly in a special room every few days (flying is very good for birds’ souls and emotional health.  When Parrot fledged for the first time under my care, she immediately became more confident and curious).  

      But….I couldn’t give them up.

        The last week I was in New York, I took my birds almost everywhere with me.  I just wanted to be close to them.  I put them into their travel cages and brought them with me to the Studio.  The other dommes loved them.  We fed them apple slices.  I bought them so many toys.  I was with them whenever I wasn’t in a session.  I’d never bring Parrot to work because she was shy and timid, but my other birds are very comfortable as long as they’re together in their flock, especially if they see me around them. 

        At night, after my shift ended, I’d walk home with them.  Yeah, I walked around Manhattan carrying a birdcage, like a crazy person.   The traffic noises would make them vocalize.  They loved to check out the pigeons.  They looked up at the sky a lot, which kinda broke my heart, to tell you the truth.   They are meant to be flying in the sky.  I tried to give them the best quality of life that I could and be sensitive to their needs and respectful of them, but the fact is that almost all pet hookbilled birds (parrots) not kept in an aviary environment are essentially being locked up in prison. Even if it’s a relatively cushy minimum-security prison like they have in Norway, it’s still a prison, and the bird can’t live like a bird and do birdy things.  

       I wheeled their cage into my bedroom at night so that I could be with them.  I let them out to fly and they’d hop around my desk or hang out on the curtain rod.  I took them out and held them, one by one, to say goodbye to them.

        Every day, I’d call the Vet and say that I was bringing my birds in after work.  And every day, I put it off, because I wanted one more day with them.  One more day.  One more night so I wasn’t alone in my apartment with its ever-growing content of movers’ boxes.  

      I put it off for an entire week.  In the end, I had to ask for help.  My English Domme friend from the Studio, Betsy, came to me literally 4 hours before I had to get on the airplane.  She helped me put my luggage into the cab and held my hand while I leaked tears and hugged the bird cage with my other arm.  My hair got into the cage and the birds nibbled at it.  

         I felt badly for crying because my birds are sensitive and they know when I am upset and it makes them scared, just like little children.  I always tried not to let the birds see me when I was furious or really sad.  I hate that Parrot saw the Surgeon when he came over that last time. 

          In the end, I just couldn’t do it.  I know it was my responsibility, but I couldn’t.  I guess I am a coward.  I did not want to cry in front of the receptionist and make people uncomfortable. 

         Betsy took the birds in and turned them over for me.  

         The stupid taxi driver kept trying to talk to me and ask me about my birds.  He was one of those really talkative taxi drivers.  I didn’t want to talk to him.  I just wanted to be alone.  I was quiet and he would just keep talking and asking me questions. 

        Betsy came back to the cab and said, “It’s done, Bird.  They’re fine.”

        She held my hand all the way back to her apartment.

        Then, I went straight to the airport. 

        

Communique from Hicksville

     Life sucks, guys.  It sucks donkey balls.  I’ve been unemployed for almost two weeks and it’s already started to affect my self-esteem.  This is the first time since I was 16 years old that I don’t have ANY job.

      I applied for four positions today.  I have two resumes: the smart one for the office and teaching jobs, where I list all of my academic experience and time spent on data management teams; and the “I-am-not-overqualifed-and-will-not-make-trouble” resume for waitress jobs.  I haven’t worked in a restaurant since I was an undergraduate and I hated it then, but at least it’s cash money at the end of the night, and right now, it’s any port in a storm.  I actually applied for a research project today: a medical manufacturer is testing a new waterproof material for body casts and is hiring people to wear a cast on their leg for 5 days and fill out a workbook detailing their experiences with said cast.  It pays $700 and I would have to use crutches to get around.  If they call me back, you can bet your ass I’ll be blogging that one.

       At night, I check local Backpage and sex worker ad malls.  This is bad.  It is bad for me to do.  I intentionally left New York for a while and went someplace where there would be no opportunity for backsliding.  I did it on purpose because I knew that if I stayed in New York I’d be back on Eros Guide as soon as my money ran out, and I just couldn’t keep living like that anymore–not if I wanted to stay sober and change my life in a way that I could be happy in.  I had to go someplace “safe,” and protect myself from myself, and that’s what I did.

          There are no commercial dungeons here and the fetish section of Backpage has a grand total of four ads on it.  I am pretty sure that the dommes are actually fetish-friendly escorts (nothing wrong with that, of course).  They are wearing bikinis and tacky lingerie.  This is not New York-style domination.  

            The only sex work that I see in this town is working in a strip club (not going to happen) or escorting (too terrifying).  So, I’m safe.  

            Safe, stranded in hicksville, unemployed, and almost broke.  Trying to get a job as a paid guinea pig for a medical company who makes casts.  Fuck. My. Life.

             On the upside, I found an AA meeting in town where smoking is not allowed, and for this, I am grateful. 

             The final chapter of my Escape From New York is forthcoming.  It’s hard to write because it was so painful.  I still can’t believe that I did it–that I changed my life so completely, and so suddenly–but it had to be done.  For my mental health, it had to be done. 

             I talked to one of my domme friends in Brooklyn this morning.  She asked me if I was going to get back in the Biz when I returned to New York.

             The truth is, I honestly don’t know.  Several of my regular independent clients, like Fortinbras and Mr. Wolf, say that they would love to see me again when I return.  I could grandfather those guys in.  Lord knows I’ll probably need the money.   If I keep doing it, I’m going to have to radically change my business model, for my own sanity and peace of mind.  Definitely no more commercial dungeons.  

               But will I even want to work in the industry again, after a few months off?  So far, to tell you the truth, I miss a few of my favorite guys, and I definitely miss the fast money (the money is sex work is almost never easy, but it is fast, and I am going to have a very hard time getting used to money being slow again), but when I was on the airplane and thinking that I would not have to look at any more masturbating wackadoodles or boundaries-pushing assholes or clients out of their mind on coke and booze for a while, I was actually pretty relieved.  

              I dream about the Studio almost every night.  Some of the dreams are not good and all of them are weird.  I honestly think I might have some PTSD.  

               I marooned myself in Hicksville to save myself from myself, and now I’m sitting at this shitty little desk dumbing down my resume and C.V. because education is kryptonite to these anti-intellectual motherfuckers and I’m applying to jobs like “lab assistant” and “High School Substitute Teacher” and looking at Escort backpage ads asking myself “Would it really be that bad?  I have given a million free blowjobs.  If I got paid for it, what would be the harm?  Would God strike me dead with a lightening bolt or something?  Is it really any worse, or any weirder than, say, pretending to be a coked-out Englishman’s mom and bringing him to the doctor for a sex-change operation?”  Most of my property (what remains of it, anyway) and my birds are back in New York and people pray in the AA meetings here (which is their right, but boy do I miss my Atheist AA) and crosstalk is allowed and encouraged and there are lots of old geezers who have been sober for 40 years complaining about how AA has changed.  It drives me nuts when they do that.  Hey Gramps: you don’t own it.

          My friend Drug Monkey says that I’m just going through a rough patch right now and things are actually looking up in my life because I made an important change, but I don’t know if I see it.  I feel lonely and discouraged.  I know I am being hard on myself because two weeks of being unemployed really isn’t a very long time.

           The music in all the stores and restaurants is Country Western and the same Classic Rawk that the Baby Boomers have been listening to for the last fifty years.  Jesus Christ, guys, could you shake it up a little?  How many times can you listen to the same fuckin songs?  Put the Pink Floyd down, man.  I’m only half your age and I’ve already overdosed on this shit.   Good lord. 

            And with that, I’m off to AA.  TWO meetings tonight, TWO.

            Things will get better.

             And I will not–WILL NOT–put an ad up on Backpage.

Fortinbras Returns

     My favorite client, Fortinbras, is coming back to town, and he wants to book me for an overnight.  I have never done an overnight session before.  I’ve had three serious inquiries, but the clients were such that I just could not bear to be around them for that length of time, even if they were submissive and one of them wanted to sleep all tied up in a sleeping bag underneath my bed.

 (I crashed at Mr. Wolf’s once because it was late and we were both exhausted and, frankly, I was lonely and so was he and he offered and I just felt like doing it.  I like Mr. Wolf, even if he did say something offensive on or last Dinner-and-Kinkfest date: “Usually, I don’t want to spend time with sex workers outside of the session, but I really enjoy spending time with you and talking with you and going places with you.  You’re special.  Most girls on (internet sex worker advertising board) are not like you.”  Well, Mr. Wolf, I know you meant that as a compliment, but fuck you very much for insulting other sex workers and by the way, I hate it when men ‘compliment’ me by comparing me favorably to other women.  It’s offensive!  But whatevs.)

      My relationship with Fortinbras has gone well.  After the confusion and mini-freakout last summer, I have done a good job of maintaining my emotional boundaries with him.  I remain attracted to him and I enjoy him very much, and I can tell that this makes him feel good.  He puts effort into keeping in touch with me as he travels, which is most of the time.  His emails are flirtatious, but he also tries to impress me or show off his intellect a bit (not difficult, given that his IQ is in the stratosphere).  He also seems to enjoy cultivating my taste and introducing me to artistical things.  He takes me out in public with him whenever he’s in town. 

      This is not normal client behavior. 

     Fortinbras is getting some of his emotional needs met by me. Not many–he has a very busy career, a family he adores, tons of shit to do.  But, I make him feel good.  Among other things, he intuits that I would be there for free, had we met in the outside world and not on a sex-worker bullition board.  I think he finds this exciting and flattering. 

      I think that he is going to ask me to be his mistress.  I could be wrong, but I’ve been through this before, and all the signs are there.

      He has a good head on his shoulders–he’s not going to fall in love with me, he’s not going to do anything to jeopardize his career or his family.  He’s not going to get jealous of me, or territorial.  I think that all he wants is complete and consistent sexual access, and he wants to be given priority over the other men (clients) in my life.  He wants me to be available to him when he wants to see me.

       These are the issues: 

       —  There are worse things in life than being the professional girlfriend of a super rich guy I’m sexually attracted to.  But, I’ve done this before, and I know that while it can be fun, it is not exactly fulfilling. I am still working, and still there for him.  It is not a mutual partnership.  

      — I slept much better at night knowing that I enjoyed the protection of a powerful man.  The Surgeon did not regularly give me money or support me once our relationship became personal, but he did save my ass on more than one occasion, and it was a huge comfort to me just to know that at least the money was there if I ever hit a crisis. 

      –Fortinbras does not know that I work in a commercial dungeon.  He is an open-minded dude with a non-judgmental attitude towards sex, but I get the feeling that there is no fucking way he would tolerate that.  In fact, if he knew that I was working at the Studio, it might be an automatic deal-breaker.

         On the other hand, I really need an excuse to quit.
      
       — If I do this, I need to decide exactly what it is that I want to get out of this arrangement.  The energy that I spend on him is energy that will not be spent finding a real relationship, and I’m not getting any younger.  I deserve to be compensated.  Gifts are nice, but my landlord doesn’t take Kiki de Montparnasse.

       The last year was pretty awful for me.  It would be nice to start having some fun again.  Fortinbras is fun.

       But then, to quote one of my AA friends: “You need to stop having fun, and start being happy.”

      If anyone has thoughts or advice please comment or email me privately: piecesofmargo@gmail.com.

      P.S.  Thank God he’s been out of town for a few months–I’ve managed to lose most of the weight I gained when I relapsed and I look much better.  Whew. 

Omitting the Crucial Fact

      On Thursday the nice doctor is going to tell me if I have damaged my brain, liver, and kidneys.  

       Yesterday during one of the intake interviews at rehab, I was asked how I make a living.  I omitted the fact that I work as a prodomme.  

        I don’t know if I made the right decision.  

        On one hand, the cat’s out of the bag: I checked myself into a rehab program and my family knows about it.  So do my close friends.  So do my 8 blog readers.  My college doesn’t know, but I chalk that up to being a completely irrelevant member of the faculty (though I did find a letter from HR in my mailbox yesterday and almost had a heart attack.  Fortunately, it was just spam).  I could teach in a gorilla outfit and they would not give a fuck as long as I turned in the grades. 

       Additionally, I am paying about 30% of my yearly income to gain access to a bunch of professionals.  Common sense dictates that the more they know about me, the more they will be better able to help me.  Neglecting to tell them that I work in a high-stress, quasi-legal job  with a lot of people who routinely drink and use drugs is a pretty serious omission.  

         But, to quote the Mathematician, our favorite philandering borrower of his neighbor’s Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo, “It is true that I omitted the crucial fact, but I was worried that you would be mad.”  (gee, you think?)

        You see, other than my analyst (and, I suppose, the Surgeon), I have told exactly one other health care professional about my Secret Job…and it was a bad experience.

        It was a drug and alcohol counselor at the school where I attended my Ph.D. program.  I went there when I decided that I had a problem.  I had a few sessions with her and then told her that I worked as a prodomme.  It seemed topically relevant.

         It angered her.

          She told me that I was doing it for attention and to receive the validation of males, that I was dating the Surgeon because he gave me money for textbooks (HA!) instead of doing the responsible thing and taking out a student loan, that I was not a real feminist, and that I was throwing all other women under the bus by letting men think that all women are sex objects for sale.

         Can you believe it?  Can you?  I was completely vulnerable and turned to this woman for help.  The state probably pays this woman with a Master’s degree $75,000 a year!  

         In retrospect, I should have reported her and formally complained, but I was worried that if I made a report, I’d have to say exactly what it was that made her so angry, and I didn’t want my Secret Job on any official record. 

       Which brings me to another reason I didn’t tell the people at Rehab my entire employment status: if it’s on the record, it’s on the record.  Other people would be able to see it.  Insurance companies.  Lawyers.   What happens if I get married one day and have a kid, and then divorce and have the guy claim that my history as a sex worker makes me an unfit parent?  Some of the dommes at the Studio are mothers.  Every one of them I’ve talked to about it expresses concern that the state could try to take their children away.

       The last reason that I didn’t tell them is that I’m going to be in a cohort.  The “I Flunked Out of Life Class of 2014,” Fall Semester.  It’s co-ed.  My experience has been that if some men find out you’re a sex worker (not all men, just some, don’t get defensive), they immediately objectify you and use it as an excuse to treat you poorly.  I spend enough energy emotionally managing drunk guys and chester molesters at work.  I don’t need to do it at rehab. 

      (On the other hand, I’m sure that the rehab is full of degenerates who did degenerate things when they were using, like sell grandma’s TV set for heroin.  I am positively a goody two shoes in some of the rougher AA meetings.)

        I hope I’ve made the right decision.

                              *                           *                         *

       Oh, and a quick complaint: I saw a new potential client the other day.  I didn’t like him much.  He was sort of a jerk.  He asked me if I would undress if he gave me more money.  I thought about it and decided that no, I didn’t want to be topless around this guy.  I make decisions about nudity on a case-by-case basis.

      “Nope, sorry.  I don’t think that I can do that,” I said.

      He stared at me and blinked a few times, as if I’d just said something completely unreasonable. 

      “Why not?” he asked.  “Why won’t you?”

       What is wrong with some of these men and their empathy deficit?  They can’t all be sociopaths; they’re too many of them.  Good god, it must be nice to go through life without having to consider any situation of exchange from another person’s point of view.  Any human being who was not a completely self-centered moron should be able to understand why a person might want to keep their clothes on in front of a stranger they just met.

        “Because I don’t feel like it,” I explained calmly. 

        “Why not?”  Like a little kid!  And he had nice clothes and a briefcase and a company keychain!  Someone HIRED this dude!  He passed a job interview!

        “I just don’t like it,” I  said.

       “But isn’t that what you’re here for?”  The self-absorption knows no bounds.

       “Let me ask you something,” I said.  “Why do so many men completely ignore any sexual boundary they find invalid?”

        He looked puzzled, like a dimwitted student trying to make sense out of Being and Nothingness.

        “Uh, can I meet someone else?”

        Yes, I think that would be best. 

Eight Days Clean

Read More

    I’m about to fly back to New York.  I’ve cleaned up as much of the wreckage as I could long-distance, but it’s time to go back and do the rest in person.  

     My mind is working all right again and my energy levels are up, and I suppose that I could start to write about the ten days of events that led to me walking out of my office on campus, taking a cab to JFK, and flying several thousand miles to my mother’s house with nothing but my handbag, my laptop, and a copy of Harper’s that, incidentally, I was incapable of reading.  

     Oh, I tried to read it.  It was a long flight.  But I was entering my second week of bad insomnia, and I was experiencing mild auditory hallucinations.  So I’d pick an article, read a paragraph or two, and then give up and just blink owlishly at the text.  

       Yes, I could start to write more about that flight and the ten that that preceded it, and maybe I should do it while the memory and the trauma are still fresh…but I just don’t think that I have the emotional fortitude right now. 

      I crashed and burned, my friends.  See this lawyer here, who is apparently standing in front of the Gates of Hell?   I crashed and burned like the cars in the background. 

lk

       After a half-dozen pitiful relapse-failures over the course of the last few years, I have finally had a relapse worthy of the name (actually, I don’t think that “relapse” is a very accurate word in this case, as it suggests returning to a previous condition.  This was worse than any of my previous conditions). 

        The good news is that I still have my teaching jobs.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I think the fact that we had four snow days in the month of January has something to do with it–it was impossible for me to fuck it up if I didn’t have to be in class.  

      The bills were all paid up by the time I got on the airplane.  I worked a lot since the New Year.  A lot.  In retrospect, this is probably the last thing I should have done once my emotional health started to deteriorate, because once it started to go, it unraveled very quickly. 

      I gave up keeping track of all the sessions I was doing.  Usually I’m good about keeping records…but it started to get depressing.

      My last week there, before the cab ride to JFK, I had twelve appointments at the Studio.  Two of them were fine.  The other ten were an All-Star lineup of psychopaths and degenerates.  In my entire career, I have never had a string of bad clients like that, one after the other. I won’t name names, but I’ve written about a few of them in the pages of this blog.  I am not blaming them for my drinking; I only bring them up to impress on you how this contributed to the overall hellishness of the situation into which I’d delivered myself.  My time spent working is about all I remember clearly from the latter end of January, because I don’t drink around clients and I don’t drink before class (I am a professional, after all. HA!).

      When combined with my savings, I have enough money to enroll in a rehab program.  It’s outpatient, so I’ll be able to work at my teaching jobs.  

      Today is eight days clean.  I’ll be starting the rehab with a clear mind (well, sort of), which will hopefully give me a head start.

      I’d ask you to wish me luck, but–and I hope this doesn’t come across as hubris–for the first time since I knew I wanted to stop drinking, I don’t feel like I need it.  I am done.  D-O-N-E. 

      I remember standing outside of an AA meeting right around the time I managed to get 90 days together.  I was talking with this guy, a middle-aged jazz musician.  He had long red hair and a ZZ Top beard.  I still run into him from time to time. 

      “Don’t go back out, kid,” he said.  “It only gets worse.  Believe me.  I’ve done the research.” 

       He wasn’t kidding. 

     P.S.  All is not lost–I’ve come back to life enough to get some of my sense of humor restored!  Check out the special Valentine I sent to the Mathematician, aka Dr. Cheating McLiarpants!  

       It’s actually not a valentine card…it’s a magnet I bought at a store.  A magnet for the fridge.  That’s all I sent him: this magnet in an envelope.  Anonymously.  To his work.  No return address.  

         Oh, I wish I could be there when he opens it.

Thanks for Nothing, Asshole