Friday, August 1, 2008

It's Not The Number Of Hats...

Writing and blogging at so many sites, having so many projects, it's an awesome mind-f*** some days. Who am I? Where am I? OK, so I always know who I am; but let's be honest, I have a life, duties and several gigs outside of being Gracie Passette.

Gracie is not a persona; but once a sex worker, even if not always a sex worker, you'll either always have a double-life issue or end up simply denying your past. I can't, won't, do the latter; but often I have to compartmentalize my own life into "sex worker" and "non sex worker".

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that much of my life is spent censoring those experiences for the safety of myself and others. Most of my energy, however, is spent trying to diffuse the essence of me into palatable chunks for others ~ and trying to find peace with that.

My thoughts, attitudes and beliefs have been shaped by my experiences, naturally. But unnaturally, I am often unable to defend my passionate stance with evidence because it would be troublesome. It makes for a weak argument, even a weak conversation; so on those occasions I avoid such conversations.

Such muzzling is a choice to protect those in my circle who could be hurt because of my actions. Such consideration & respect for others has little reward other than the self-knowledge that I've taken one for the team. Such love and respect, however, feels disrespectful to myself. I know why I do it; but chafe at the notion that I should have to. Murder and violence are more acceptable than any intimate transaction I've ever had, personal or professional. And I find that more horrific than I can express today (without getting too far astray).

Sometimes I envy those who have one blog/site/project. All the sides of themselves (that they care to share) are in one place; mine are compartmentalized into an array of blogs/sites/projects. It's not just the marketer in me (who, because she's been busy marketing, has had little time to post her thoughts on the process) which arranged things that way; the anthropologist in me knows that such organization is needed for those who are far more able (or willing) to compartmentalize themselves that way.

While I cannot separate my thoughts on human sexuality from my politics, my feminism from my spirituality, my business smarts from my knowledge of what is human in society, many folks prefer such things.

Cult of Gracie started because some regular columnists at Sex Kitten were less than comfortable discussing politics &/or religion at the site. Fearing my strident and opinionated views would be the only views presented & therefore somehow (mistakenly) attributed to "all Sex Kittens", I moved them to their own home. People in the adult industry don't want to dig through erotica, sex how-tos, and personal narratives regarding sex to get to the marketing tips ~ even though such discussion could very well help their business. (Conversely, the people who read erotica, sex how-tos, and personal narratives regarding sex, would be wise to know how their consumer rights are diminished, threatened, and their minds, perhaps, manipulated.) Etc. etc. etc. (And when I work for/with other groups, my own personal views may need to be expressed elsewhere so that I am not appearing to speak for the group ~ or become a space hog with my constant blitherings.)

Because others desire such compartmentalization, even the ability to be linked to by others is affected. Many who link to this blog or to Marketing Whore would not, could not, link to Sex Kitten. Which really is rather absurd when you realize that all the sites have credibility simply because of who I am, what I've done, what I've learned from my experiences, and, most definitely, the opinions I've gleaned from synthesizing it all. But the fact remains: People prefer things neatly compartmentalized.

These are all very practical choices. Choices, like those to remain silent to protect family & friends from bad things & thoughts, I consciously made. But there are days...

Days when I loathe it all. Loathe myself for doing it.

It's not (just) the number of hats vs. time (for that is worth mentioning), but the dilution or diffusion of myself which I despise.

I am not, nor ever will be, as simple as any blog header or columnist profile may suggest.

And my professional Gracie Passette resume isn't even all of me.

When I think of this, I tell myself that many people have the same problem ~ to some degree or other. And just when you'd think that would end my pity party...

It only makes it worse.

I see how women especially live lives in tiny little boxes, keeping or presenting neat & clean versions of themselves to protect and serve others, never really being able to show all their sides ~ letting them reflect upon themselves and upon their own inner light as one big sparkling, multifaceted diamond.

My aversion to such dimming-down of women was largely a part of why I started SK; we shouldn't have to hide/repress/deny the reality of our sexual selves ~ not to be a good daughter, wife, mommy, employee, consumer, or citizen. We are who we are ~ every last bit of it. And we should not have to deny ourselves that.

On days like today, I feel that I am doing just that. I can call it "practical", "considerate", "savvy", "appropriate", or whatever else I like... But I still feel like a hypocrite.

It's not the number of hats I own or even wear; it's that I don't acknowledge them all. Each remains cloistered in a place, a costume, a situation... Relegated, not celebrated.

There are enough valid constraints to me being who I am. Just being a woman in this country which, while it celebrates its self-proclaimed liberation of women in Iraq, denies me & my sisters adequate health access, fundamental rights to control our own bodies, and true equality should be enough to make me stand up and scream, "I am who I am! Every last bit of me!"

But instead, I find myself folding, compartmentalizing, dividing, diluting, diffusing myself... When does trying to stay neat & tidy for the sake of others go from practical & considerate to undermining & abusive?

If I cannot wear all my hats at the same time (to try to do so would be spiteful and as uncomfortable as it is impractical), how do I manage to show them all off?

Or is this all rather like asking how to be a polite activist.

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