This morning I woke early, another sleepless night, I woke many times, but because I have been working I was exhausted and soon fell back asleep, only to be woken again and again by nightmares of things past, things I should get over – rationally but rational isn’t always enough to calm these monsters.
So I got up, took my medicine, forced myself to eat even though I am never hungry in the morning and took my walk on the farm. Its cold again, wet and unpleasant, and as I sloshed through mud and wet grass, I came to an old discarded walnut grove.
I stood there and lit a cigarette, my first of the day and still half asleep my mind wandered. A friend of mine sent me an email last night telling me that she is thinking of prostitution and wanted to tell me about her reasons and how she’d prepared herself to do so. I despair at this, really I do, but what do I tell her? She is destitute, like I was when I took the profession, I felt I had no choice either, would I have now? No, I think I wouldn’t but how do I advise her? I asked her to consider this and what it would make of her, how she could never wash that out, that stain is permanent.
She will of course do it, the allure of money and the safety it brings is too much to look past when you have nothing, no one to help and support you and for young women its hard to argue with the kind of money on offer. Everything in life has its costs, some we think are worth it, at the time, some we will live to regret, some may even kill us, in one way or another. It’s not just the job, it’s what goes with it, you sell far more than your body, and to get that security you have to spin the wheel every time you take a stranger into your bed. I like to think I am a good judge of character but I have been in hospital enough times to know that mistakes are made and sometimes those mistakes can be fatal, at this point I could reel off a stream of names who where not so lucky, but what’s the point of that.
I was staring at an old tree, ancient and well past it’s usefulness, its been left there to fall apart quietly in the damp. That tree was once fruitful, providing massive harvests of nuts for its owner and I noticed the tree looked like a human body, its branches like arms its roots like legs it looked slender and feminine. At the base a small patch of moss gave me an impression of pubic hair exactly at the point where the roots made legs.
An epiphany crept its way into my conscious mind, that tree is like me, like her and all of us, it had its time as a young desirable organism, used for its fertility and now that it is old, broken and past its youth it is discarded, alone and left to rot out its final drawn out twilight years alone. It was used, valued, admired and now its on its way to fall back into the soil, it’s elements returning to the fertility of the soil, as we are destined to.
There is no god, no luck, not a divine intervening hand that will reward it or us for our past usefulness or present woe. Life just is, it’s not cold, it’s not warm, we see what we see, when we want to see it and we colour our own world. Those of us that can, or dare, or persevere, we make of what we are what we can, in our youth we are useful, nourishing, a delicacy worth the price, and in our old age we linger and sag in the cold.
We kid ourselves that we are immortal, that we are of a divine linage, in our individuality and nothing will end that – but there is age, I will wrinkle and sag like that tree, I will not be so appealing in years to come, people will not be stopped by my beauty, not be moved by it, I will fade into redundancy as younger, prettier girls mature and take my place in the endless cycle of life. This is not cold, fatalistic, cruel or any such thing it just is, we are transient creatures, our beauty peaks, our bodies have an apex then we decline in those areas. When those things pass we need to have other abilities to keep us or like the tree we are past useful to this world.
I have padded my nest, I will have what I need to be comfortable in my elder age, but I did that by selling my youth, my desirability, the beauty and allure that I was fortunate enough to have been given by nature. I am an entertainment, even in my writing, I entertain minds who I know even less than I knew my clients, and I influence some, this is something I have no control over but I also draw them like I drew men, to make of me what they would, to fantasise, project onto. But this skill I have added to myself, something that I can now turn to when I give up the skin trade.
I wish I could change her mind, it sickens me that she might end like I did, burnt both in spirit and in heart, excesses take their toll on us, maybe not physically but inside yes. And this woman has a mind, every bit as keen as mine, though still lovely, still hopeful, full of life, not jaded and forced to mentaly age beyond her years, though harden might be closer to what I mean.
Those of us that have, by virtue of our lineage – or genes – attractiveness, can of course use that to our advantage, we can sell our beauty, become an exclusive entertainment, be part of the mad shop of want, that’s what I did, I sold what I was given, nature provided that to me to win out over other women in the hunt for a mate. When I was destitute I used that to survive, it marred me but I am at my most desirable now, still, and it seems nothing to me. To me value was not so much beauty but intelligence so I honed that too, but still as part of entrapment.
Now I have something I can use other than my femininity and having been shown that it is as valuable I have become aware of choice, I can choose another path, so I will.
I am tough, this was a gift to me, but I see weakness and fragility everywhere, I tried to change that by relaying my path to recovery but I have to admit that I can only do so much, if I could project what was and is inside me, then maybe I could have made people shake off their fears and hurts and live life. But I am an entertainment, Close the window on my story and I am gone, you are left to your story and it is far more real to you than I am, as I am when I close yours. I am not such a writer as I can make people really understand what it is to feel what I am feeling and not make a mess of it.
So the way forward is this, be all you can, this life is finite and it is all you have, all you will ever have, be weak and you will reap the cold loneliness of weakness, be strong and you will make something wonderful of yourself. Life is tough, life is not the precursor to heaven or hell, life is heaven and hell, and in no small way we create this for ourselves.
The things you deny yourself are of your own making, you set the barriers, you draw your line in the sand, if you want more then take more, that’s the meaning of life, its yours to make of it all you can. Blaming others is futile, hating yourself is far worse again, you are your won ally, you are the vehicle of your road through life and the more you push and believe in yourself the further down this path you will go.
If you want to be a toy you will be the toy of others, if you want to hide from life you will, if you have the courage and determination to survive yourself then it will be a difficult journey but a rewarding one in the end, take this gift of life and through struggle, trial and error you will forge something wonderful, or you can languish like that tree and rot into the soil never having achieved anything but self doubt and self loathing. Be fruitful with your life, I can honestly say that this is all there is to life – choose or don’t choose, life will continue after you, your task is to make your own joys.
Is this sad? Is this depressing? Is this a fatalist thing I am saying, no, the opposite – to me anyway. As I said I am hard, I prefer to be blunt, and with myself I am blunt, often I find that either I don’t express myself well enough or those who read this just don’t get it. Irony, wit, sarcasm and wisdom only make sense to those that can read and comprehend, and I am not convinced that in a place where a picture with a witty sentence printed on it is seen as wisdom that I will ever make myself understood but to a hand full of people who have lived enough of life to understand. Who can look between words and lines and see what I am saying.
Over and over I post things and I am reminded of the saying – ‘can’t see the forrest for the trees’. I have found here people who ‘get’ life, the rest this is the same kind of entertainment as Facebook and tv, switch off – get a dose of laughter or emotion and return to the banality that is easy to live with. I have to wonder, is it me then? Should people question themselves, their lives and their beliefs like I do? Who knows, and ultimately it’s not the real issue, I do what I do because I am compelled to, and it has been rewarding for me to do it, what others do is entirely their own business.
There are always options in life, this took me a long time to work out, life is hope, struggle brings both hurdles but also victories, some small some significant, and occasionally an epiphany will light the way for you.
I’m leaving the orchard, I have a life to build and I’ll be damned if I let anything stand in the way of it, I suggest you do the same, even when its as painful and uncomfortable as it’s been for me, because the rewards are so much greater than the words on a screen.