The End: Part IV

        I moved home.   It had to be done.  There was nowhere else I could go–I didn’t have the financial reserves to support myself for long without doing sex work.  

        I also did it because I knew that the proximity of my family and the people from my old life would force me to be accountable, or at least instill enough fear of getting caught in me to make me behave.  I mean, what am I going to do, sneak out of my mother’s house on the pretext of visiting a friend, go do a professional BDSM session in a hotel room, and then come back with my leather clothes and stuff in a duffel bag?  Answer client emails at the breakfast table?  Come on!

          At least, that’s what I thought.  

          I’m going on three weeks of being an unemployed loser.  This morning I applied for a job teaching the ACT and SAT to High School Seniors.  Then I applied for a job as a “Feline Attendant” at the local SPCA.  I am not too proud to clean litter boxes.  Once you’ve hung a guy upside down from the ceiling and penetrated his urethra with an electrified sound, changing litter and feeding kitties their de-worming medication is positively pedestrian. 

            My mother wants me to go see a career counselor who knows much more about the local economy than I do these days.  I’ll do it if she wants me to because it is very important to keep peace in the household, but my problem with that is that I am not looking for a “career” in this town.  I do not want to live here for more than a few months.   I can look for a career later.  I have to get out of education anyway.   Right now, I just need a stupid JOB that will keep me busy during the day and allow me to sock away a little cash.  

          Emphasis on “a little.”

         I charged between $20 and $80/hour for tutoring in NYC.  The community college job paid peanuts but at least it helped me keep one foot in the regular world and filled up the gap in my resume.  Data management and law office secretarial positions here pay $10-$12/hour.  I have not worked for that little money since I was an undergraduate.  My last school worked the research assistants like beasts of burden, but at least we got free tuition out of it.  

          I am stuck here until I make the money to leave again.  

         I did this to myself on purpose.  This was my design. 

         I am already establishing a routine here.  My mother gets up at 6.  At 7, her little dog comes into my room (“my room!” At my age!) and serenades me with an awful squeak toy.  I get up, I take a shower, I drink two cans of Diet Pespi, and then I tackle the job ads.  I apply to at least two jobs a day.  I could do more, but some of them require cover letters, which means I have to do research into whatever company or industry or office I’m applying to in order to write a competitive letter.  

         I check my bank balance.  It’s looking bad.

         I go to AA.  My mother takes me, or I ride a bike.  I’ve spent enough time in the local rooms now to be able to identify which ones are the crazies and which ones have their shit more or less together.  There is a woman about my age who runs the Tuesday night meeting.  I like her.  I think I might approach her to be AA friends.  

          I apply for Medicaid.  

          I clean up after myself as much as possible.  I volunteer to do chores.  I try to be inconspicuous.  I don’t want to be an imposition.  I don’t want to wear out my welcome. 

           I’ve been out to lunch a few times with my mother and her friends, which is excruciatingly embarrassing.  They all want to know why I came back.  What I want to say is Don’t ask if you don’t want to know, but what I really say is, “I needed a break,” which is not really a lie. 

           I write when I feel up to it.  It passes the time.  

           I go to my brother’s for dinner.  His freezer is full of ducks he’s blown out of the sky.  He shows me an unusually fine specimen that he’s taking to the taxidermist.  We grill ducks. 

            My mother told my Uncle that I have a drinking problem.  This is the only thing that she has done so far that pisses me off.  My Uncle is a very judgmental man.  I do not think that he will like me so much from now on.

            I water the garden.  I collect tomatoes.  

            At night I look at the ads on Backpage and Eros.  I am older than a lot of the women, but I’m also better-looking and more sophisticated.  Their photos are all bathroom selfies with bad lighting.  I think about what my Russian manager would say about these awful photographs.  Compared to them, I would be a classy hoe.  Hell, I could be the classiest hoe in town!  

           Too dangerous.  Smaller community.  People know me here.  This was my design.  It’s why I came back.  Accountability. 

           I left New York to get away from that field of work and the entire double-life craziness.   The last six months of it was pretty unpleasant (with a few exceptions).  Why on earth would I even want to consider it now?

           It’s not easy money, but it is fast money.  

           And life is sad and boring, and I was certainly never bored when I was zipping uptown to meet a new client with my bag o’ swag on my zap.  Nope, not bored then, not even a little.  In fact, I was usually wishing I had a drink in order to curb the anxiety that this client might FINALLY be the client who was going to rape me and leave my body under the bed.  And I wasn’t bored when I walked out with $400, either.

              But…no more sessions that are so bizarre that they give me PTSD.  No babysitting cokeheads at 3 AM.   No more schoolgirl outfits.  No more masturbating wackadoodles.  I have not seen a naked stranger in three weeks.  WOW that is sort sort of record.

           I just have to wait it out.  Things will get better.  If nothing else, maybe I should go down to the local Democratic Party office and offer to volunteer until I get a job.  Anything to keep me busy.  Idle hands, and all that.

           Cause the phone isn’t ringing. 

The End (Part III)

    First, I want to say that I read everyone’s very kind and supportive comments about my blog and my decision to quit at the dungeon, and I appreciate every one of them.  I meant to reply to them each individually, because I found them touching, but I was too emotional to do it right away.  I will try to finish that soon.

                     *                                *                               * 

     I was an emotional wreck my last week at the Studio…but not, for the most part, in a bad way.  I was grieving.  For better or for worse (mostly for worse, but hey, it wasn’t all bad), the Studio had become a pretty big part of my life.  In a way, it became a sort of addiction.  It has a very unhealthy organizational culture–the most unfriendly dungeon I’ve worked in by a longshot–and there is a constant revolving door of crazy psycho bitches and dommes with Queen Bee personalities.  The clients, as readers will know, are all over the map.  The Studio is a zoo.  I might as well have worked in Arkham Asylum for two and a half years. 

       At the same time, it didn’t feel real to me.  It felt like living and working in a movie set.  It felt like it existed outside of the City, outside of society…hell, outside of planet earth.  When I was there, nobody knew where I was, or who I was.  I was off the grid every bit as much as the clients who would come in for appointments.  Paradoxically, the isolation made me feel safe.  Life in the Studio is in a sort of suspended animation; it’s static.  The cast of characters and the specific scenarios change, but it’s all variations on the same theme. The drama and craziness disgusted me at times–some of those women acted like being a lady was beneath them, I swear–but some of it was also very entertaining.  The job was dangerous and emotionally traumatic at times, but, I must say, it was never boring.  

       But, it became toxic to me.  

       If I had to put a date on it, I’d say that I started to wear out–to change–shortly after my Ex, the Surgeon, made his House Call last Fall.  

       He showed up unannounced, slammed the door in my face when I tried to close it, and sexually assaulted me.  I didn’t write about it on this blog because it was too personal and also because I was afraid of him and his lawyers.  I was also very confused.  It’s really a mind-fuck to come to terms with the fact that someone who said that he loved you could do that to you. 

       I thought that I shook it off in a few weeks.  I hired a lawyer and talked about what happened in therapy and I wrote it all down.  I thought that I processed it.  I didn’t have nightmares about it or anything.  I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal.  It’s certainly not the worst thing that’s happened to me in my life.  It’s not even the worst thing that he’s done to me.  That’s what I was telling myself.  It was fast.  He was out of my apartment in fifteen minutes, twenty tops.

       Anyway, maybe I didn’t get over it at quickly as I thought I did.  After a few months, I started having a lot of weird, bad feelings about it, and intrusive thoughts.  The quality of my life deteriorated and I started to isolate more–never a good idea for an alcoholic.  I also used to have at least a few casual boyfriends at any given time.  Internet dating and fucking for sport were my primary recreational pastimes for years, even after I (mostly) stopped drinking.  I had a lot of fun with it.  But after the House Call, I really shut down, I didn’t even try, except for that sailor I picked up during Fleet Week.  I’ve never dated so little in my adult life.  I’d be crazy to deny that there wasn’t a connection between that and what the Surgeon did to me. 

         Anyway, I digress.  My point is that my emotional health wasn’t very good, and I was mentally weak and vulnerable, and my life was becoming increasingly less well-rounded.  Then I put myself in the surreal pressure-cooker sanitarium that is the Studio, and, yeah, I started to feel sick and unhappy.  And angry if someone tried to push my boundaries or pull some sort of a fast one on me.  

        When I told the Russian manager that I was burned out and I decided (just like that!) I needed to quit there, I immediately felt better.

        Then I started to feel sad, but it was a normal, healthy sort of sad.  Like I said, it was grieving.  I’ve been doing this off and on since 2008.  That’s a lot of experience. 

         I had five more shifts, one of them the double shift I described in “Burning Out.”  It was a lucrative week for me–I went out with a bang, doing between two and five sessions per shift.  A lot of my regulars came in to see me.  Many of them expressed relief or approval at the fact that I was moving on.  One of them, a Math professor who must be at least 105 years old, gave me an extra $100 and said, “You are excellent, but, for your sake, I am glad that I will never see you here again.”  I’m still deciding how to feel about that.  It sort of pissed me off, to tell you the truth.

       Over the course of three days, I gradually cleaned out my locker.  I kept the best lingerie and my most expensive fetish gear, the leather dresses and steel-boned corsets that cost hundreds of dollars.  I kept the shoes.  The rest of it, I sold or gave away.  If you have a session at the Studio this month, chances are that the domme is going to be wearing a piece of my gear, because I had a LOT of stuff.  A LOT of stuff. 

       I made personalized goodbye cards to give to the women there whom I liked and cared about.  I also gave them little gifts.  They threw me a goodbye party.  I got a very nice, but bizarre, card signed by everyone in the dungeon.  I sort of want to frame it and hang it on the wall, but I don’t know how I’d explain it to company.

       It was a difficult week.  Change is difficult and painful, even good change.  I’d work the day shift at the Studio and then come home and pack up my property into cardboard boxes.  

       Some of the boxes were going into storage.  

       Some were going to UPS to be shipped across the country.

       It was killing me to do it, but I understood this much very well: if I was going to take a break from the Biz, I’d have to leave New York to do it.  In New York, there is too much opportunity for backsliding.  I needed to focus on my health, my sobriety, and my emotional well-being…and I wanted to get away from the Surgeon for a little while.

       I had to get out of town.

       To Be Continued.