Working as an escort for almost two years has taught me more about life than any other job or school teacher has. The most valuable life lessons are often taught through unexpected circumstances, and that is what being an escort did for me. Being an escort taught me that you will always fail if you do not have a strong foundation in life. You must respect and love yourself first before achieving any amount of success. When you create something for yourself you must take full responsibility for failure, and understand that both failure and success are up to you. Like many new escorts, I never earned enough money to feel financially secure. Finding my new niche in sex work was a new euphoric feeling of productivity, success and control over my life. Compared to my past miserable jobs waitressing for $100 a night, sex work seemed like a forbidden loophole that only badasses had the guts to do. Following the pack would only produce average results I thought, but trusting myself enough to carve my own path could be monumental. So with that I seamlessly entered sex work full time. The cash kept coming in as I woke with a fresh spark of motivation each day. I vowed to never get too comfortable in this lifestyle and that although draining and potentially dangerous for new escorts, this work was truly easy and I had no business complaining. Complaining would mean that I was entitled and ungrateful! With me chasing that money high 24/7 I slowly allowed my boundaries to be crossed by clients,  sent ridiculous text rants to clients who flaked at the last minute, and would shudder at the idea of anyone touching me.
But then I thought, so what? I had financial goals to hit! Who cares if I'm angry and bitter all the time. I am still making money like never before and it is the best feeling! You have to make sacrifices to be successful, right? So sacrifice is what I did. Like a pack animal I trudged along ignoring my needs, boundaries, and peace for two and a half months until… the inevitable happened. The dreaded crash of burnout. I crashed and burned for a week in my apartment watching Netflix and all the while wired with anxiety. “What do I do with myself now?” I thought. I was placing all of my energy into this new found career that made everything in the world seem possible for once, what was wrong with that? But sitting alone on my couch without the excitement of my new life distracting me, the dark thoughts resurfaced.

“Is this all I have in life?”
“You are weak, alone and selfish.”
“Who am I?”

The thoughts gnawed at me and planted little seeds of shame and self hatred around mind. I didn’t have friends to go out with, a hobby to enjoy, or any general interest in anything outside of sex work. I cared about no one and wanted no one to care about me. My head reeled with these self sabotaging ideas, making work that much more appealing. Then once the boredom became almost unbearable four or five days later, I would throw myself back into work at full speed. Proving my fear wrong that if I stopped working I would lose my magic touch. As I rode out my days giddy with success from another month, those same negative feelings returned. The bitterness, the minuscule patience with clients, the constant drinking, the pathetically sparse eating habits, the constant go-go-go mentality. It was all again slowing me down. The feelings a little stronger and sharper each time. It was like a soft bruise getting kicked again before it could heal. So just like the month before, I collapsed in burnout all over again. I was using the excitement of my new career to distract me from older problems that I never acknowledged, because nothing in my life ever seemed worth caring about. Sex work gave me something to cherish, but it also created a flimsy facade of arrogance mistaken for confidence that was dwindling away. I was miserable because I did not know how to love or take care of myself. Hell I didn’t even think it was my responsibility to gain control over my life, or that it was even a big deal. My sudden success gave me a taste of pride and responsibility that I did not want to throw away. I realized that if I failed, it was by my doing.

For almost ten months that crash and burn cycle repeated itself until one day I decided I was done. It took almost a year of mental agony for me to accept that I needed to make a change in order to fix my inner turmoil. I had surpassed my annual financial goal so taking time off didn't feel so gut wrenching. Also at that point, I had gained more footing and experience in sex work and realized that my go-go-go mindset was no longer necessary. I knew how to get clients at least six days a week and had built a healthy savings account. Like anything you do for awhile, you get used to it and it loses the initial excitement. A perfectly normal human response, but completely unacceptable to me. I felt like I was losing my edge and my new found sense of purpose. What was hiding under that weak facade? I knew it was painful, scared and streaked with shame. I found myself going to dark places as I got ready for dates, crying every night to “Mirror” by Lil’ Wayne feeling like an empty shell of a person, drinking and feeling guilty about it, firing clients left and right without a shred of remorse. Like a pulsating migraine, I could no longer ignore the problems that began long before escort career. My problems were taking over a career I prided myself over for creating and I had to lay them to rest. I had no sense of who I was or how to love myself, no direction or passion to challenge myself with. I lived in a protective state of paralysis believing that nothing was worth trying because nothing mattered. I sat miserably in my bedroom asking myself, "What do I want in life?" "Who even am I?” “Why am I so cold and heartless?" The answer was simple, I had no idea. I was so clueless on how to love and nurture myself that even the euphoria of sex work no longer lifted my wilted spirit. I hated myself even more. If being an escort lost its sparkle, I couldn’t even fathom what else could make me feel that alive again. Everything suddenly felt out of reach. I felt trapped, vulnerable and powerless. I was proudly perched at the top thinking I had it all just a few months ago, but now was falling flat on my face with only my precious money for comfort. I felt stupid for becoming so materialistic and hated myself for it. This wasn’t the little girl who scoffed at girly things and told everyone that she just wants to help people when she grows up. I could not believe I had become such a cold and selfish person.

After my realization to quit sex work, I planned my last date of the year and purposely wore all white to represent my new beginnings. Then I spent the next two months doing absolutely nothing and to my own horror, grew somewhat comfortable with it. I ignored my constant worries over falling victim to laziness and losing my hustler mentality forever. As I continued to embrace my new reality and let go of my past escort persona, the boredom stopped feeling so threatening. Instead of counting every quarter I spent, I started spending money on leisure activities just because I wanted to. Instead of ignoring the books I wanted to read, I enjoyed them. My drinking had dwindled down to once a week and I was regaining control over my life. As the weeks past I felt a prick of strength inside. I stopped avoiding my family and started bonding with them, not itching to escape their presence the entire time. I had moved into the most perfect apartment in the most perfect city, and even rekindled a friendship with someone! I felt carefree and lighter than ever. With all of my new found positivity, the same unanswered questions still loomed over me. What my future had in store was still a mysterty to me, but no longer attached with such intense anxiety. My view of the world started to shift, too. No longer did the world seem ruthless and full of dangerous people wanting to hurt me, but open and full of possibilities. It was up to me to choose what I wanted to do next. I was grounded for once and my steel coat of emotional armor had fallen away. I sometimes miss that old armor, but now realize that it wasn’t as tough as I thought it was. Before my decision to sit alone with myself for two months, I was constantly ridden with anxiety and clinging to work for some feeble drop of power. I was quick to react to people because being present felt too intimidating, I did not look people in the eyes, and some clients would sense my lack of confidence and take advantage of me more times than I'd like to admit.

After two months of solace and self acceptance, I decided to go back to sex work. I had a photoshoot done for my new ads, I became more patient and trusting with clients, wore more sophisticated outfits on dates, and even unapologetically raised my rates! Before my break from work I always gave in to bargainers. Higher rates meant less clients in my mind, and I needed that constant stimulation to escape my crippled reality. I no longer felt so desperate to see people, I actually trusted that everything would work out okay. If I got a last minute call late at night, I wouldn't go because I wanted a good nights rest. I stopped being a slave to my job and focused on protecting my own needs. As a result, I became more engaged and relaxed with my clients. My icy heart was thawing and I naturally attracted and kept better clients.  I liked this new version of me. This new me understood that I deserved respect and felt sorry for anyone who couldn’t return the favor, not swallowed by shame like before. Once my monthly money goal is met I allow myself to slow down. Slow and steady wins the race I realized, and my desired success is not a sprint.. In conclusion, my journey as a high end escort taught me so many lessons that I otherwise might never have learned. Most of us independent escorts are leaders who go against the grain because, why should we always listen to other people? As a leader you carry more responsibility, which can seem daunting at first but is also incredibly rewarding. Realizing that I had the responsibility to resolve my turmoil for the sake of my future, was one of the most humbling and valuable life lessons I have ever learned. For whatever is built on a weak foundation will inevitably fall. I now value my boundaries between life and work to this day, have actual hobbies that I enjoy, value my health and see my future goals as a real estate investor right in front of me. In life remember that how you do one thing, is how you do everything. Beat down that door you have refused to open, and you will discover an entire new realm of possibilities that you may have otherwise let pass you by.

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