Friday, June 10, 2011

"Feels right" or "familiar,comfortable dysfunction"

How many times have we fallen for someone who, according to all our friends and acquaintances, was "bad for us" and yet felt "so right"?
It happened to all of us at least once,right?
We were swept off our feet, completely enthralled by that person. We NEEDED to be with them. We CRAVED them. We forgiven them all their small (and sometimes not so small) shortcomings, we've put up with their "issues" when everyone around  was telling us to walk away.
It just felt so "right", we couldn't let them go, despite all the misery that they brought upon us.
And when it was all over, when some time passed and the dust have settled, we looked back and couldn't understand why we stayed in that relationship for as long as we did and what did we see in that person in the first place.
There is a theory about that.
Everything that is familiar makes us feel good. When we were growing up, whatever patterns our families had (whether good,bad or different) were all that we knew back then. Because we were just kids, we accepted those as norm-we just didn't know any different. We got used to those, managed to function within it's parameters. Even when the family situation wasn't at all great, we were used to it and it left an "imprint" in our subconscious.
As we go through life, meet people and select partners, we subconsciously revert to familiar patterns,because they are all we know. And, yes, they "feel right" for that very reason: familiarity.
We don't recognise it straight away (sometimes never). We meet a person and we are attracted to them, yet cannot explain why.
For example, my mother was extremely insecure, yet very controlling woman who constantly tried to manipulate people just to prove that she is the one in control. She was not at all a bad person: generous and giving and always helped others, but her pathological need for control overrode even her good deeds and traits.
Subconsciously, I am drawn to similar type: controlling,manipulative, yet deeply insecure.
People I get attracted to are usually the ones with some serious "baggage", however, outwardly, they appear to be in control of their lives, self-assured and managing just fine. Inevitably, it becomes apparent some time into the relationship that appearances are just that: smoke and mirrors. Their troubled souls come to light and then I really want to help them and it draws me in even further.
 The paradox of it is that they want my help, but then resent me for it. They use me to build themselves up, to heal, to get and feel better and then want nothing to do with me. I think that's because they don't want to face a reminder of their "weak times".
Lately, I've been looking inside myself, re-viewing and re-evaluating my relationships, past and present, in order to get a better understanding of myself and to be happier.
The pattern I've described above emerged and it is so clear, I can't believe I haven't seen it before.
My family, although outwardly happy, was deeply dysfunctional. My Dad was a womaniser and I've already described my Mom. They got married for all the wrong reasons (no, she wasn't pregnant).
They fought constantly and even got divorced once, only to get married again (to each other) 8 months later.
But it all "worked" somehow and it was all I knew as a kid, so it feels "familiar" and,thus, "right".
My last couple relationships are a testimony to that. Both women fit the pattern: they exuded authority, had constant need for control and manipulated others to get it. They both had serious issues with trust and intimacy. Both were deeply insecure. I was drawn to them like a moth to the flame. They felt "so right".
I have issues of my own, no doubt (as evident from my blog). I have problems with monogamy and commitment, I am insecure about levels of emotional "investment" of my partners, I need security of knowing that my partner "has my back", I have very strong, assertive personality that not everyone can stomach and, when hurt, I can say really mean things that cut to the bone.
I am definitely a "work in progress', as I slowly face my demons and work on correcting all these things.
I realised recently that until I do so, I will keep attracting certain kind of people (described above). And one of the reasons is that I don't "see" truly nice and kind people, they are "invisible" to me because that pattern (nice and kind) is not familiar and, thus, doesn't "feel right", so I bypass them, thinking that I am not attracted to them. Instead, I go for the ones that will use me.
I am changing it,though. And it IS working, I am happy to say.
 Just recently I received an email from someone I was very much attracted to (my "regular" type ) and all of a sudden, without any analysing or prompting, I "fell out of love" with her. Just like that.
 It had to do with the content of the email,the timing of it and the way it was worded, but it suddenly was all absolutely clear to me: manipulative behaviour, head games, inability to accept responsibility for one's actions. Funny enough, I wasn't even upset. I just sat there and thought about why I let it go for as long as I did. And I knew the answer: I fell in love with her because she "felt right" for all the wrong reasons and I was willing to put up with her "issues". But because I am slowly "re-booting" myself and changing the way I "see" people, this person no longer held any attraction to me. Smoke and mirrors were gone. So,yes, it is working.

I have to thank my lovely flatmate for helping me understand this and giving me inspiration. She made me see things from a different perspective and, by sharing her own life experiences, helped me take a fresh look at mine.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Professional vs. amateur

As I listen to clients talk and read reviews and posts on Adult Forum (NZ biggest online forum for WL's advertising,reviews,etc), the pattern is beginning to emerge. Most clients are somewhat confused about what  "good service" from a prostitute is and seem to have a very vague idea of what "professional" means in our line of work.
They talk a lot about "she seem to really love her job" and "she was so into it" and "true girlfriend experience".
But what does all this boil down to? What does it mean?
Let's step away from prostitution for a minute and picture a different scenario: you are in a restaurant. You are trying to decide on your main course and the waitress describes the fillet as "succulent, juicy,tender,melt-in-your mouth, premium beef". Sold? You bet! Then she delivers it with a smile and a couple minutes later comes back to inquire if it's cooked to your liking. Perfect dining experience, right?
Now let me tell you that the waitress is actually a vegan and she absolutely abhors that piece of meat and it would never pass her lips. However, she is a PROFESSIONAL. Waitressing is what she does for a living. Her personal likes and dislikes are left at the door when she comes to work.
She enhanced your dining experience by providing an ample description,serving the food with a smile and attending to your needs. That's what you're paying for. Do you really care about her personal preferences? Hell, no, and you are absolutely shouldn't.
Well, it is no different with prostitution. So many think it's an easy job. "What's the big deal?" they ask: you're getting paid to have fun. Those are usually the ones who never had to do it themselves: they have sex for pleasure,when the urge strikes. They all seen "Pretty woman" and picture that scenario in their heads.
Unfortunately, reality is far from it. Not every client who walks through the door looks like Richard Gere. In fact, most don't.
Enter unattractive ones with poor personal hygiene and body odor. Those with hair covering most of their body. Grossly overweight ones:when you need to pull back folds of fat to even see the penis. Older ones with shriveled balls. Not to mention intoxicated, violent,rude and obnoxious ones.
It's easy to "have fun" and "enjoy the job" with a reasonably attractive, nice, mild-mannered guy. Try to have same "fun" with the ones I've mentioned above.
This is a mark of true professional: we are consistent. Our faces don't give away anything. We smile and act like everything is great. We don't flinch. Even when it seems next to impossible to even find a comfortable position because of the person's size, we manage to do it and do it gracefully.
We know what the job is and we know how to do it.
Professionally speaking, GFE (girlfriend experience) means that WL will French kiss you,cuddle up with you and let you perform an oral sex on her. She will also make sure that all your needs are met and you came. You don't really want a "real" girlfriend experience, do you: the one that comes with all the bitching about the trash not being taken out and her headache and her not feeling like giving you oral and you coming too fast and not giving her enough foreplay,etc,etc..LOL.. No, you came into a house of prostitution because you have certain needs and, for one reason or the other, they cannot be fulfilled elsewhere.
I really appreciate it when the client is very clear about his expectations and specific things that he wants. It helps  make the experience so much better.
As a professional, I make sure that my client always receives a proper massage, oral sex and several different positions of intercourse. After so many years I have  very good time management skills and don't need to "watch the clock"-I can estimate the time without it.
I am well-versed on variety of subjects, but will never attempt to "milk the clock" by engaging a client in a discussion and "running out of time"-I view that as unprofessional.
I "buy" into client's fantasy and will definitely provide what feels like an 'authentic" experience. Why should you care whether or not I came or whether or not I like a particular technique? How is that relevant? As long as I've made you BELIEVE that I do, that's all that matters.
You came to me to live out your fantasy-so please enjoy it. I will not let my mood or my daily troubles affect your experience-I leave those at the door. I'm sure you get plenty of bitching at home/work/from your partner.
Case in point: few month ago,while at work, I received some rather unpleasant news. I actually had to run to the bathroom to throw up-it was pretty bad. My hands were shaking and I wasn't in a good head space. But I held it together. Brushed my teeth,took a shower and continued working. As it was a "private intro" place, I obviously was doing good at hiding my emotions,as I got booked. I remember going through the service and doing it "doggy style": I was making all the right noises,as,after so many years, it's on "auto-pilot" with me. At one point I looked down a saw a wet spot on the pillow-I realised I was crying. Client never saw it and he never knew-he was busy coming noisily. That's what true professionalism is, in my opinion.
I will tell you that I like you and find you interesting even if I don't. I will treat you like you're the best lover ever.
Side note: all that will come to an abrupt end if you attempt to treat me disrespectfully. Rude/obnoxious clients find out really quickly that I wield a very serious weapon: my sharp tongue. I can be very cutting. I can say things that will stay with you for the years to come and that will affect your performance in bed. Take my word for it: I have made grown men cry. I really have.

A lot of young girls enter this profession thinking that it'll be "easy money". Most of them don't make it-they can't handle the reality of it. It's all fun and games until they have a "bad" client or even just a very unpleasant one.

As professionals, we do not judge. We really don't. You can reveal your dirtiest fantasies-most of the time we'll go with it with a straight face.
 Everyone has their own "limits", of course. Once, when I was working in Vegas, I got a call to a penthouse suite in Treasure Island (remains my favorite hotel ). The gentlemann was very nicely dressed and well-mannered. He asked me to sit down and have a quick chat. He placed an envelope on the coffee table. He told me there is $10K in it. He explained that he is into serious BDSM and if I am to take the booking, some minor bones would be broken (mine). I declined. He said that he understands and saw me to the door. Yes, I would love dearly to make $10K in one go, but that was well beyond my personal "limits".

So next time you visit a working girl, make it easy for both of you: tell her exactly what you want and then just "go with the flow" and let her make it happen. Let her do her job. She is a professional.

Self-image struggles

This remains to be a very sensitive topic,as we all, at one time or another, struggled with the way we look.
This one is going to be pretty hard to write- that's why I've been putting it off. But I promised myself that I'll be honest and so I shall be.
It all started when I was very young. My Mom would constantly tell me to "suck my stomach in" (I've always had a bit of a pot belly), to "stand up straight",etc.
Physical attractiveness was very important-back then Russian culture was all about "getting married", and to find a husband you'd have to be attractive, of course.
Still, it wasn't much of an issue until I was about 11-12 (Russian fifth grade). That's when the girls started noticing boys and boys started paying attention to us.
I've decided I could do with loosing  few kilos and to achieve that have completely cut  bread out of my diet (Russians are very big on bread-they eat it with everything AND on it's own).
It worked and: to this day, I don't really eat much bread and don't crave it, either.
I've never been really overweight, but there were few patches in my life when I was a bit "chunky"
But it wasn't until I moved to US when the quest to be thin (which equals "beautiful" in there) really began in earnest.
I was constantly on one diet or another: they would work for a while, but then I'd slip back into my "old ways" and gain the weight back.
I remember one time , when I was working as a waitress in Tropicana Hotel, one of the line cooks said something about my "fat ass". He only did it because he was overwhelmed with three dozen tickets hanging from the pass, not because my ass really was "fat", but it stuck with me.
I've joined Jenny Craig and in 3 months lost about 20 pounds. I was very proud of myself and I've kept the weight off for 6-8 months, I think.
But you can't seriously live on those pre-packaged meals forever.
Besides, I really do love and appreciate food: I truly enjoy combination of the flavours,textures,the presentation. My Dad used to be a great cook and I probably got that appreciation of food from him.
Trouble is, the food doesn't always love me back (but I always forgive it :). What I mean is I would love to  enjoy a nice rich meal every day, but if I do that, it will go straight to my hips,tummy and all the other places-yip, I gain weight quite easily.
So I always had to keep a balance between how much (and what) I eat and how many calories I burn.
Lucky for me, I absolutely hate to sit/lay around: I love to move and walk. It is not a struggle for me to go for a brisk one hour walk daily. So the balance is not that hard to maintain-I just have to be mindful of it.
My affair with bulimia started when I was in my twenties. I saw a movie depicting a woman suffering from it.
It seemed like an easy way around eating whatever you want whenever you want to. Throwing up was not a problem for me: when I was growing up in Russia, food poisoning was not uncommon and I've had it a dozen or so times.  My mom always had me drink tepid water to a point where I could drink no more and  put two fingers down my throat to induce vomiting-that was her way of "clearing up" the food poisoning. It works,actually, as you clear out your stomach completely and there is no offending food left in there.
So I was no stranger to the technique.
I started doing it when I felt that I needed to loose some weight or when I knew I've eaten too much at any one meal. But I wasn't doing it on a regular basis-just occasionally.
Then, when I was in my late thirties ( and married to my last husband), I started doing it systematically.
I've gained some weight (not that much, really, but it bothered me). Looking back at it now, I realise that I was trying to make myself happy and "in control", as I was unhappy in general and couldn't really understand why.
Looking thin always made me feel good and getting to be that way made me feel disciplined.
Frenchy, my flatmate (who seen number of shrinks  for the past few years and is quite adept at explaining things) gave me the theory behind this type of behaviour.
We all have "fault lines/trenches" (like an earthquake kind). They are the behaviours that we developed throughout our lifetime. Whether it's self-harming, bulimia,anorexia,excessive drinking or drug use: they all have to do with the way we've dealt with situations one time or another and,whether wrong or right, they got us through those situations. In time, we stopped those behaviours, but they are still there, entrenched in our brain,laying under the surface.
When unpleasant,stressful events happen in out lives, we are slowly pushed towards those "faults". It doesn't happen straight away: we keep telling ourselves that we're alright, that we can handle situations, but we are, in fact, sliding down. Depending on how much is happening and how bad it is, we are steadily loosing ground.
And then one last thing (it doesn't even have to be something big) tips us over.
The reason we go back to those behaviours is because our subconscious remembers it as a way of "handling" stress without going out of our minds.
For example, people who self-harm, don't do it because they want to cut themselves:it helps them relieve the pressure, take the pain from the inside, where they can't control it, to the outside, where they are very much in charge.
Bulimia is similar: you don't throw up because you want to do just that. You do it because it's the way to maintain control of something (your weight).  For me it is also a way to purge all the hurts that I might have: it feels like everything just leaves my body and, yes, it provides relieve (however temporary) from the "emotional overload".
It worked so often for me in the past, that it is definitely "entrenched": when something really unpleasant and hurtful happens, I just feel like vomiting, without even inducing it, because my brain remembers it as a way to feel better and deal with the turmoil.
Usually there are warning signs, way before you get to the point where you "pushed in the fault"-you just need to know what they are and recognise them and,instead of fighting alone, get some help. It could be as simple as a conversation with your friend or even stranger. Talking things out, hearing yourself say them out loud often gives you a fresh perspective or simply lets a bit of pressure out.
Having someone help you doesn't mean that you failed-it just means that you're not in it alone.

Back when I was severely bulimic, I had a "system": I would eat something for breakfast (if I felt it was too much, I would "get rid of it", but I mostly I kept the breakfast in). Then I'd have something healthy for lunch: a salad. And then whatever was eaten for dinner would "go out" almost straight away.
The problem that goes hand-in-hand with bulimia is binging. It comes from realisation that you will throw up everything anyway, why not indulge in more "forbidden" staff (rich chocolate cakes,ice-cream,etc). And so you continue eating.
At the time I was married to my forth husband and, although I've engaged in those behaviours every day, he never noticed (shows you how much attention he paid and how much he cared :/)
Problem with loosing weight using "bulimia method" is that you get trapped: you're afraid that if you stop vomiting you'll gain the weight back and so you continue on, to give yourself a bit extra "room" for weight gain. The cycle never stops, though.
I did stop, on my own accord, and managed to maintain the balance between the food I consume and exercise.
I relapse from time to time, usually during emotional turmoil, but I always get back on track.
I am actually quite proud of myself: I know I have numerous issues and shortcomings, but I am able to "manage" those on daily basis. I heal myself continually and try to bring that better self to my friends and my partner. I wake up every morning and do things I have to do to find my best self;unfortunately, some days it works better than others. But at least I try.
Bulimia was actually one of the things that brought me and one of my ex's together: she was struggling with self-image issues for years,decades, really and it was beginning to affect her personal and professional life.
She wouldn't tell me about it for a long time and then, one night, when we were both drinking,she kept steering the conversation that way, but,ultimately, made me talk about it first. Then, when I told her all about my dealings with it, she told me her story.
Although typical, hers was really sad: from early childhood she was called "fat" by her father and kept gaining weight up until her mid-twenties, when she has decided that bulimia was the answer. She was at it for a long time and her long-term partner has tried to help her to overcome it. Virginia (the partner) succeeded partially: Sara stopped throwing up everything she ate, but emotional damage was still there. It festered and was one of the reasons for a breakdown of their relationship.
Deep-seeded insecurity combined with the need for constant control and narcissism is a very tough mixture to deal with.
I tried very hard to help Sara and I couldn't, either.
Her next relationship went bust for much the same reasons.
Bulimia is a very tricky disease: it sneaks up on you. You keep thinking that you'd just do it "for a while", to get rid of those extra 3 kg's.. Before you know it, you're trapped and stopping is not so easy.
It is, along with anorexia, one of the most common and wide spread diseases. You can die from it (your heart fails) and it can definitely do some serious damage to your body.
A lot of actresses/models are affected (whether or not they admit it)-the pressure to look thin is just too much. A lot of them honestly admitted to it-Portia Di Rossi wrote a very inspiring book about her struggles with the disease.
There is no sure way to deal with: it is up to each individual to decide what's important and what their priorities are.