A break, a rest, and a change of perspective
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Ok, so this is going to be long. Also, honest, so much so I feel a little apprehensive posting it. I wanted to write a post that explained my break and what has been going on with me since I have been away, and about how I will be operating in a slightly different way now I’m back. Mainly how I present myself for bookings, and my availability and correspondence.
Before the great disappearing act of 2017, I was pretty exhausted. I had taken on a few too many things and I was struggling to manage, and to be honest I was starting to not really enjoy doing this anymore. I found I always felt tired and drained and it was no longer something I looked forward too, no matter who I was meeting or what we were doing. I had began to feel quite unhappy, and definitely was displaying symptoms of burn out. For some reason it took me a while to accept that my intuition was saying “Stop”.
Despite what some may think, it takes quite a lot of time and effort to establish yourself in this industry, especially in London. In the beginning you may get enquiries but it is a long road to achieve the visibility that is required to attract enough regular enquiries from people you would actually want to see, people who you click with and are respectful and trustworthy. There is a lot of competition, a lot of ropes to learn and pitfalls to avoid, especially being independent and figuring it all out by yourself. I felt I had put a lot of time into this and built a solid group of lovely, regular clients who I not only enjoyed spending time with but that I could trust, and I also had the perfect apartment for incalls (which is super difficult to find, there is always something the matter with them). I have friends who did the same thing and took a break for a while, and they all complained when they returned about how hard it was to re-establish themselves, and felt they had to start again from the beginning. If I stopped for a break for too long, I was in danger of losing all of that, and so it felt like if I made that decision it would be a final exit. Then I remembered, “this isn’t your career!” This was meant to be a part time side venture, it wasn’t my sole source of income anymore, I had saved the money I had set out to, and been financially careful. There was no reason to carry on if I didn’t think it was in my best interests anymore, somehow I had built it into an obligation and got my priorities totally messed up. So I stopped, and spent a lovely year full of self care, self discovery and working my arse off at my actual career.
So when I started having the urge to return, I was slightly apprehensive, was I looking back through rose tinted specs? Was this just me being impulsive? Having a boring week? I carefully analysed my reasons and decided that before I would make any decisions I wanted to make sure I would not end up in the same place as last time. I worked out some of the things I felt had contributed to my dissatisfaction and one of the main reasons for that feeling was agreeing/partaking in to too many bookings. Also you’d be surprised at the amount of behind the scenes admin involved, maintaining social media, content creation, bookkeeping, advertising, screening, SEO, references and correspondence. Keeping on top of all this in a timely, organised manner was taking a lot of my time, and was a source of stress when it started to get out of hand and a source of guilt if I didn’t get back to people/missed their emails. I had too much on my plate as it was, and I forgot that as an introvert, it’s important for me to make sure I take adequate me-time so I can recharge. I definitely wasn’t doing this, I saw it as self indulgent instead of necessary self care that my body was telling me I urgently required.
I know I am tremendously lucky to have such a lovely bunch of clients that want to and make the time to try and see me regularly, especially with the seemingly infinite amount of gorgeous ladies floating around out there (honestly, if I was a bloke, I would be broke), but agreeing to meet up before I had thought about whether I actually had the energy and time to give was not a good idea, I was drinking too much alcohol and coffee in order to cover up my exhaustion and behave in a fun way and that was very bad for me. So going forward I promised myself that as much as I might want to see someone, or not let them down, this must not get in the way or affect my main priorities (career, relationships, self care & personal interests). So that is rule number one. Therefore, expect periods of silence and unavailability when I go under the radar to focus on whatever else I feel I need to, also I may not always be prompt when corresponding.
The second thing I decided was that I needed to drop a lot of the pressure I had allowed to surround bookings. I can sometimes lean towards being a bit of a people-pleaser, and I am definitely an over thinker. This can be a positive thing as it makes me a conscientious and considerate person, and also perceptive and intuitive, but I often found myself far too consumed worrying about my date having a good time. Worrying was my conversation interesting and engaging enough, was my company positive and lively enough, was I bringing enough energy, did they like what I was wearing… ad nauseam. I want to make clear that I still do wish for my clients to enjoy our dates, and it will always be a main priority, but at the same time I am also a human being who has lots going on her own life, and I think that those who have met me understand that, that is why they contacted me in the first place. The number one response I get when I ask what drew people to me was that they wanted a genuine connection with someone real and said they had felt that through my words, and a connection with a real person involves the sharing of more than just the most positive of emotions and experiences. I realised it was harsh (and kinda stupid) to be holding myself to these ridiculous standard of perfection that no one should be expecting of a real person.
Although it wasn’t just emotional standards, I found that I had started to fixate far too much on my physical appearance too, it was consuming far too much of my time and thoughts in a very unhealthy way. A big part of advertising as a provider today is your social media presence, and although I’m not fond of it, I found that having an account on at least one platform was a pretty mandatory part of operating. Not only is it a way to connect people to you, people who find your website first find that having a social media account to back it up reassures them that you are genuine, and not just someone who has paid a copywriter to construct a persona. Also, I’ve been told that it helped people feel like they got to see me in a more informal way, see my candid photos, my thoughts on things, a glimpse into my day to day. Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are the main choices, but I couldn’t face maintaining three different platforms so I settled on just Twitter. I was soon involved in what is affectionately termed “heaux twitter”, and as much as I enjoyed interacting with other SWs, I found that the exposure to hundreds of beautiful photos caused quite a bit of body anxiety in me. My feed was literally awash with absolutely gorgeous females, who were (as much as I tried not to think of it like that) my competition, so it was hard to not compare yourself, and forget that behind each great photo are often many not so flattering ones. Also, as much as I try to vet prospective clients on what it they’re seeking, and filter out ones that are obviously just looking for sex with a beautiful fantasy, I know that for almost everyone I have met that my appearance being of a certain standard has been extremely important. I know it is definitely not the main reason they wished to meet me, but it’s pretty up there. As I do not show my face, there is often the phenomenon of people projecting their idea of the perfect face hiding behind the blur, and I often found myself very worried about meeting those standards, even with the validation and compliments of the majority, it can be all be eaten away by one thoughtless comment by person who didn’t read my site properly and was expecting someone in their early 20s, dressed in in heels and a bandage dress, or someone with with no tattoos! It would create a lot of anxiety for me, and a new unhealthy fixation on my appearance and catering to other people’s aesthetics.
This has been the main issue I have contended with when deciding to come back, as it is a hard thing to avoid absorbing (and don’t even get me started on review culture! That’s another blog post in itself). Women are told constantly that their value is measured by their youth and beauty in mainstream society, never mind when they are involved in an industry where your literal value is significantly calculated on your ability to be young and beautiful (although there are many other factors; ethnicity, gender identity, class, nationality, disabilities. It’s actually termed the whorearchy, a term that tries to encompass the different “levels” of sex workers, if you want to look it up, there is a good thread here). Couple this with the stigma and alienation that comes almost part and parcel with being a sex worker (of any type), and without considerable hard work, a good support network and constant honest self awareness and reflection, these negative ideas can unwillingly permeate your sense of self and worth, and the social media exposure just magnifies it, especially when it requires such a heavy focus on your physical form. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, it really did a number on me, as not only are you trying to cater to other peoples beauty standards, you are trying to attain standards that are often completely unattainable. Never mind what an unhealthy and distorted way of valuing yourself this is. I realised that this had quite a bit to do with me feeling “burnt out” I didn’t feel as good about myself as my self esteem and image had become warped by focusing too much on factors that used to feel relatively unimportant. I used to value myself based on things I had achieved, and qualities like my resilience, curiosity, kindness, and open mind. I liked my body, I liked my face, I had never felt the need to look like a Victoria Secret model as there was no need to, it wasn’t my job to be beautiful, but then there I was, despairing about whole host of minor physical imperfections like they represented who I really was. I was shocked and quite upset upon realisation of this, as it showed that despite my best attempts my well being had been negatively impacted by this work, which was a promise I had made to myself that I would not let happen. So going forward, I am keeping this in mind, and that is part of the reason why I am back on a “see how it goes” basis, if I feel that mind-set beginning to come back, then I will step back for good.
Also, this means I will be adopting a more authentic presentation for meetings. I was spending much more time on my hair and makeup than I would usually, and it was because I had begun to feel so insecure, not good! I felt it was required for me to look a certain way, and that the conventional, mainstream idea of what is considered attractive (the one that is prized and most sought after in this industry) was the only way to be. Besides adopting a “Sadie” hair and makeup style, I found I acquired a section of “Sadie clothes” in my wardrobe, and to be honest they were clothes I kind of disliked, ones I would never wear unless it was for a booking. When I bought them I wasn’t buying them for me, it was like I was choosing clothes for another person. A much more feminine, conservative look, think Kate Middleton! Putting on clothes that I had chosen only to gain the approval of someone else, really didn’t help me get into the mindset of going on an authentic date, it made it feel like work, which is why it had begun to feel so draining, and which is really the antithesis of I want this to feel like, I understand some providers feel a sense of fun or even protection in a persona, but I felt it was a very tiring facade to maintain, and so this is the reason why I will no longer be doing that. The way I have gone on here, if we met you would probably be surprised that I am actually dressed very normally, I will just look more casual and understated. It isn’t like I am an outlandish dresser, quite the opposite! But it is something I was doing that needed to change, as the reasons behind it were not good for me. I feel very vulnerable posting this, but I hope it helps you understand me a little better, where I have been during this last year and where I am at now. Which is a much happier place, and I hope it helps you understand why I may not be available very much anymore, no longer offer incalls, and look a little more natural, but I will also be a lot more relaxed, comfortable and happy, and therefore better company.