Waking Up

Last night I had two dreams
In the first
I dreamt that I was sleeping
My mom came into my bedroom and molested me
The way she did
As usual I felt horrified, humiliated, furious, violated, suffocated
I tried to shake her off but she was still bigger than me
Even after all these years

In my struggle to escape
I woke up
In my own house at last
At least I didn’t wake up to the living nightmare
Of my childhood

Eventually I fell back asleep
And dreamt of an angry man
He thought that I was the cause of his anger
Though I knew that his anger went far beyond me
I tried to hide
To make myself smaller and more silent than I already am

But I was not small or silent enough
He found me and shot me with a gun
Many times in my body and my head
But I kept right on breathing
And felt once again relieved
To wake up alone                                                                                                                           Instead of wake up to the living nightmare                                                                                         Of my adult relationships with men

When I wake up alone                                                                                                                          I wake up to peace                                                                                                                                 I wake up to infinite potential                                                                                                                  I wake up free to be myself                                                                                                                  I am just now learning                                                                                                                  Who I am

Talking

‘They’re talking to me’ he said, staring me down with a glint in his eye, squinting a little, as if trying to give himself x-ray vision in order to see through my training bra
I was a budding adolescent, barely thirteen
He was referring to the two growing humps of my chest, of course

That was the first time I learned of my newfound ability
To turn the heads of men
Whether I wanted to or not

When I was a bit older,
And my breasts had grown considerably larger
I charged them rent
By using my body to make a living
Enough to get by and then some

I heard what every Tom, Dick and Harry
Had to say about my boobs
And the rest of my visible anatomy, for that matter

All the while I never stopped to listen
To what my breasts were trying to tell me
But here is what I hear them say now:

I am sacred                                                                                                                                                  I am powerful
I am deserving of respect

Autobiographical Poem

Would you believe me if I told you the truth about my life?
Since infancy I learned to please everyone around me in order to survive.
An apt learner, I adjusted quickly to the demands of my life, put on me by my family, they didn’t realize
The repercussions of neglect and abuse, a vicious pairing that left me clinging,
their shouts and silence ringing in my ears,
Afraid to sleep at night, the threat was always near.
I fought for my life by appeasing them all those long years.
I cried so much, I thought I would run out of tears.
I didn’t know how to stop my alarm bells from sounding,
sending my heart pounding,
I didn’t know any other way to be.
I automatically tried to please others, I had no idea how to begin to be me.
After I moved away from home and the violence left my life, I still felt afraid of everyone around me, so I continued to act obligingly, and that’s how I naturally attracted danger, letting myself get physically near people who harmed me.
Although old enough to stand on my own two feet, I continued to yield effortlessly to the desires of others, the way I had learned to do since infancy.
My mind screamed ‘No!’ while my mouth said ‘Yes’
to request after request, I got undressed.
It lead me under many covers.
The men were violators to me, but to them I was a lover.
And that is how I became a whore: by being a combination of pretty, people-pleasing and poor.
Tired of being broke,
I figured that since my whole life seemed a cruel joke,
And I was chained to an invisible yoke,
I might as well make some money,
No need to be both raped and hungry.
I excelled at being a prostitute
For that job, I was astute!
To some, it may sound insane,
But I was a natural at it because the pattern of pleasing others was deeply ingrained in my brain.

Being a working girl was a lot like my life already, except now I received cash in exchange for having sex when I didn’t want to, with people that I didn’t want to (I never want to have sex because it re-triggers trauma in my body).
I earned enough to pay my bills, save for the future and donate to charity for children on the other side of the world
So that they could get an education and have enough to eat.
I wanted to help them out of poverty, the way I wish someone would have done for me.
I must admit I wasn’t good at business and often gave my body away for free.
If you don’t get the cash up front, you’re never going to get paid.
Once a man has you behind closed doors, even if you signed up for just a hand job, if he wants it, he’ll get laid.
Because what are you going to do? Call the cops? Fight him off? Report the rape?

One day, in a moment of clarity, after I had some money squirreled away and I had grown tired of putting myself in danger, of feeling uncomfortable in my body, of worrying about getting HIV or violently murdered by disturbed men, I quit my job.

I stopped. I walked away from that world lucky to still have my life. At times I’ve been tempted to return to it because of the livable wage, but knowing that I would get violated again and put my health at risk, I resist.

And I persist. Now I rely on my mind to make money.
I still struggle to speak my truth, but I’ve come a long way, honey.
On the road to better living, I wrote this poem in the spirit of giving.
I want to give hope to women who can relate.
I want to say,
‘You are not alone, you are strong and you are great!’
I want to break the cycle of abuse that robs us
of our voices and our choices.
I want to help people avoid becoming a sex worker, get out of sex work, and I want to make sex work safer, with legal rights and social resources!
I want to prevent suffering.
I want to speak out about the horrendous experiences that lead to sex work, and the horrendous experiences that sex work leads to.
I want children to have happy childhoods.
I want to use my life for good.
I want more people to feel safe to share what happened to them by first sharing what happened to me.
I want all beings, everywhere, to be happy, healthy and free.

Breaking the Record

Breaking the Record

My broken-record mind is stuck on the belief that
It is my job to make people happy
And if I fail to do so, I will be harmed and possibly killed
This leads me to spend my hard-earned money
Directly or indirectly for the cause of making people happy
And to spend my time doing things that I hope will make people happy
And my actions are dedicated to making people happy
And my words are carefully selected to make people happy
And when it comes to men
I put my body at great risk
In the name of making them happy
Despite all my efforts
I remain alone and afraid
Exhausted and depleted
With no time, money or peace of mind
And I am not happy
And the people in my life are not happy
And it frees me to know that I could never make anyone but myself happy
And whether they know it or not,
Other people’s happiness can only come from within
It never had anything to do with me
And I begin to sit still
And I begin to listen
And I begin to rest and relax
And I begin to be happy
My inner-happiness seed is still under the soil
But I feel the water and the sun
My growing has begun
Although people may not yet see it
I feel it
I heal it
I heal it by breaking the broken record more
I smash it to pieces and throw it out my door
I don’t need that old tune anymore
It was becoming a bore
I need to soar
To the beat of a new song
To dance all day long
It goes like this;
I can do anything, including what scares me
I can do the things that I never thought I could do
The power was always been within me to choose
I just didn’t know it
But now I know it forevermore
And I want you to know
That you have the same power
To heal yourself
It is always within you
What broken record do you need to break more
So that you are free from it
And your spirit song can soar?