It has taken me a very long time to be ready to write this, but because this is my way to be anonymous and to express at least some of the things that trouble me, I decided to write this. It’s not a justification, there isn’t one. I’m very sorry if it comes across as chaotic. I just can’t properly structure my thoughts.
Throughout my life, I’ve known that I’m an awful person. As a young teenager, my first girlfriend, the only one I ever truly loved, I sometimes think, couldn’t take the pressure of growing up as a lesbian in deeply conservative surroundings and took her own life. I could never show anyone how I truly felt, I couldn’t ever let anyone see the letter that she wrote me before she did it.
Perhaps that’s why I can’t maintain relationships. Or things never got far enough for my many deep flaws to show themselves. Since then, I’ve had dozens of relationships and too many brief flings to keep count. Every single relationship I’ve ever been in failed. There were several reasons, but a few came up time and time again. First of all, I’m a workaholic, and secondly, well, I have quite a tendency to cheat. I know that it’s bad and I really hate it about myself. But somehow, I can’t keep myself under control. I’m a lustful person, and I just can’t resist it. Lust has always been one of my greatest drives, alongside my ambition. And it’s destroyed so much. I don’t know why this is, but sometimes, I think that it is because I’m seen as pretty. It’s just too easy to get what I want.
Some people think that women like me must have tremendous self-control. I always work, never linger in bed, never eat sweets or fatty food, and countless more such things. But the truth is much simpler. I don’t care for many such things. And every idiot knows that it’s very easy to restrain yourself from eating something you don’t even like. I can’t stand being idle and I hate it when I’m too tired to work.
When I found myself an adult, moving out into the city, having only ever tasted so many things through the internet. Perhaps that’s why I find it easy to share things anonymously. But anyways, here I was. A young student, poor and naïve. I however always detested being poor. As a child, I often stole what I wanted to get what was forbidden to me. Later on, I wasn’t that stupid anymore.
No, I instead used what I had been lucky enough to get. I’ve always been quite close to our society’s twisted standards of beauty, being tall, thin, and having the right kind of face and hair. I knew that I was pretty, so I began to work as a model. At first, it was only for smaller local things as well as going to trade fairs to basically be living decoration at stands, but it quickly grew into more. I started doing shows and campaigns and have been on the cover of major magazines.
I could have become rich through that. I had the opportunity to be the face of major campaigns by serious fashion brands, but I didn’t dare to. I was afraid of my family finding out and them permanently casting me out. It was a thought I couldn’t deal with. So, I kept my profile relatively low. So people who knew me wouldn’t find out. My face wasn’t in the windows of local shops, but I did do shows and plenty of photoshoots. I was in magazines, but my family wouldn’t ever even look at those.
I had a decent enough income and was quite rich for a student. But it wasn’t enough for me. That’s always been one of my greatest flaws. It’s never enough or good enough. I always want more, to be better. When I moved abroad for my master’s, I found that I could still live comfortably, but my eternal flaw rose again. I wanted more and tuition was a pain. It was as a student in the UK that it began. I was in the middle of a research project and was spending all of my time on it.
And that led to another relationship crashing. I felt bad for a little while, but then, I started wondering. Why did I keep doing this to myself? I knew that I couldn’t maintain relationships. I knew that no one ever really loved me. They only ever loved my body or the me I projected. I’m not a good person. I’m selfish, I’m greedy, I’m disloyal, and above all, I’m ruthlessly ambitious.
I knew that I could never have a relationship that worked out. I just wasn’t cut out for it. For a while, I returned to what I always did when I was single, going out all the time for plenty of one night stands. When I woke up in another strange woman’s bed, I got thinking. Why was I going through all of this effort? I knew they wanted to sleep with me. I could always get someone. But still, it was stressful to have to go to bars and the like. And worse to someone like me, it actually wasn’t cheap. There also was the awkwardness of waking up and having to explain that I wasn’t interested in a relationship at all.
So, I spoke to a woman I had met a few times. I knew that she ran an escort agency for women. And, well, I asked her what it would take. We discussed a few things, and in the end, I reached a decision.
Two weeks later. I went on a date with a woman I didn’t know. She paid me for it. It felt wrong to me. I was incredibly nervous. But to be honest, it was fun. She had never been with a woman before, she wanted to try, but was too frightened to just ask someone out. Somehow, I managed to justify what I was doing even though there was this little voice in the back of my head telling me that it was all wrong.
I knew that I was bad, it was wrong. But somehow, I managed to overcome the feeling. I liked the money. It wasn’t as much as I would make while modeling, but I got it for doing what I would have done normally, only without being paid for it. Added to that, modeling might give quite a bit of money for the time spent, but it always depended on how many jobs there were. And I just didn’t have the desire to make it as a model.
And besides, now they at least wanted more than just my body, they wanted my company. I told myself, what’s the different from getting gifts and getting my dinner paid and getting actual money? The gifts just were a bit larger, the restaurants a bit fancier. And now I wasn’t giving anyone any false hope.
I told myself so many things to make me believe that what I was doing was good. In a way, I loved the women I was sleeping with. I gave myself the feeling that I was helping them in at least some cases. I found myself with women I would never have met otherwise. And, to be honest, I liked the money and the sex.
But all the time, this doubt remained. Despite everything I told myself, I was a prostitute. In a way, it was better than being a model. I got a far greater proportion of the money that was being made (although, I still of course paid a little to the agency for taking care of quite a few things) and got to meet plenty of interesting women.
But there were dark sides. On several occasions, I was utterly terrified. I’ve had to use actual physical violence to protect myself from men. But not even that was the worst. No, that was the sheer shame. Everything I did was wrong, despite the little lies I could tell myself. I was only deceiving myself, I was treating myself as a commodity, as an object.
I might have said that I was helping women, but I wasn’t. I tried telling myself that it was just being plain regular old me. But it wasn’t. All I did was lie. Even more so than I had done before. But the very worst was a kind of alienation. Whenever I looked into the mirror, I no longer saw a person. I saw a tool. That was what my body was becoming to me. I had already had that feeling when I just worked as a model, but things only got worse and worse.
While I did this, there were other things I liked. I slept with some pretty powerful women. That’s always been something I’ve been drawn to. I just love success. I know that I could just go and write a tell-all memoir and get sued into oblivion while dragging down some pretty impressive careers. But that’s not what I want. In the end, we all were victims of the same problem. We were all put into this position because of patriarchy. Many of the women I was with couldn’t face the social consequences of being with a woman or they lacked the self-confidence for it. The whole idea of beauty standards had given many the idea that they were completely unloveable. But I didn’t do anything to really help them. I might have given the feeling that I cared, but in the end, they still had to pay for it. I only made things worse.
There sometimes was a kind of self-pity, I freely admit that. I’m far too selfish not to have that. But one thing that always killed that feeling was talking to women who were more traditional escorts. The kind that everyone thinks of when hearing the term. High-class and all that stuff that gets glorified. And I only saw a far deeper pain than I was experiencing.
At least I was with women. I wasn’t being hurt and humiliated. I met some sort of love. They never did. They were just pretty tools for the pleasure of men. I heard utterly awful stories. Of course, these women weren’t suffering like others were, who had been placed lower on the ladder that patriarchy has put up for us. But they still suffered. They felt horrible, they felt dehumanized.
And that helped me deny my own suffering. I told myself that I was different, that my life was different. It was, but still, I was losing touch with myself. Or rather, I had never really been in touch with myself. I was damaged. Perhaps it’s my upbringing, perhaps it’s my need for secrecy, but it’s hurting.
Doing this gave me one thing that I had missed. It gave me the feeling that I could be loved, that I could be worth something. Of course, all I said and did was a complete lie, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was this feeling, this one little pinprick of light and hope. It was false, I’ve always known that, but I needed the illusion. Every single night, it was like a compliment. Someone wanted me. But the truth is, everyone only ever wants the mask, never the truth.
And I still need it. I’m still unloveable, and I’ve only made things worse by all of my mistakes. I’m a terrible person, I’m selfish, I’m lustful, I’m disloyal. My only virtues are that I’m hard-working, relatively intelligent and am rather good at finding out what those around me want without them having to tell me. That’s all of it. I often feel like I’m not really capable of caring for others anymore. That I’m dead inside, that all that’s left is an endless series of masks.
I love women. I love my sisters in every possible way, but at the same time, I’m flawed. I’m a coward. And everything I’ve done only makes it harder to ever let the truth come out. If that ever happens, all my hope for a career is gone because of my stupid selfishness and greed.
Yes, I’ve become moderately wealthy. If I didn’t care about work, I could do nothing for the rest of my life and live in comfort. But I can’t. I won’t. I need work. I want to be adored, I want to be admired. And for one time, I don’t want to be admired for how I look. I want to be admired for my mind. Only, it’s broken. I’ve broken it.
There have only been a few things that were able to keep me going. The first is my career. I know that I keep going on about it, but it is the heart of my life. Secondly, there has been my love for my fellow woman. Every time I could do something, it was like a tiny point of light. Whether it was in bed or as a volunteer. I believe in creating a better world through sisterhood, it’s the only way we have. All others are only delusions.
The final thing keeping me going has been my daughter. I know that it sounds silly because she’s only been in my life for less than a year, but it feels good. It feels like I can really mean something for her and the moment that the adoption was finally done will never leave me.
But it’s not enough. Nothing ever is. I keep fleeing the truth, I keep hiding myself in the arms of strangers. I don’t know how to escape myself, I don’t know how to turn my life around. All I know is that this way, I’m only making things worse. I will be quitting soon, I’m going to stop my modeling work anyways because I’m an old hag now, and I’m in the process of building up my own lab. It’s time to start life.
I however fear that I’ll never be able to really leave this behind. In some ways, I’ve been damaged. I fear that my capacity to love, to truly love, is even more gone than it was before. This feeling remains, the feeling that all that matters about me is my appearance and my little act. I don’t matter as a person and I never have. That’s what my heart is telling me and what’s eating me up.
It is the worst kind of damage ‘working’ as an escort does. Just like being a model, it reduces you to being just a body and perhaps a fake personality. Worst of all, it’s not really work. Work gives something, it provides meaning, while these things only give money. Not that I mind having money, I am quite a decadent person, but it’s not what’s most important.
Instead of giving meaning, it reduces meaning. It made me worse in every way. I wasn’t forced into anything or exploited like so many women are. I was lucky, I guess. Or it could just be the privilege following privilege that’s the story of my life. I’m what people want, tall, pretty, white, well-educated, higher class, and all those things. I’m what my dates liked to show off with, to spend time with.
I hesitate to call what I did prostitution. Not just because of the horrible meaning of that word, but also because I believe that it diminishes the horror that so many women have gone through. I’ve not been raped, I’ve not been abused. I’ve never had to endure the touch of someone I loathe. What I did, what I’ve been through, it’s nothing compared to that.
But, despite that, I hate myself. I find myself a loathsome person, someone who doesn’t care for anything but herself and her own greed. I’m quitting. That’s one of the freedoms that privilege gives me. I can just quit. I can close this chapter and leave it behind. There isn’t anyone to force me to stay. At the same time, I can’t ever leave it behind. I’ve met so many amazing women, I’ve heard so many stories, I’ve learned so much, at a price.
In my heart, I’m dead. Or close to it. I’ll quit being an escort, but that doesn’t change my fundamental issues. I’m sorry that this has become such a rambling piece, I just had to write this, although I don’t quite know why.
14 thoughts on “Confessions of Shame”
That was a pretty gutsy thing to write.
Yeah, what you did/do was/is prostitution. You sell your body for money. Just because you haven’t been beaten, raped. etc, doesn’t make it any less so.
‘… I can just quit. I can close this chapter and leave it behind…’ … so said every addict, ever. It’s never that simple, is it?
I hope you can find a way through all this.There’s good stuff in you. I can ‘see’ it through your words, but the hard, painful stuff probably masks so much of it. And, you’re not going to be able to do it on your own. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to let someone in. The trick is making sure it’s the right someone and for the right reason.
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Thank you very much for your comment. It has really helped me. I’m afraid that sometimes I don’t have a lot of choice in what I write. It just comes flowing out. I had to write about it to be able to actually gather my thoughts, because this is a serious struggle for me.
Quitting never is simple, but I like to pretend that I can do it. It mostly worked with cocaine, but this is much more like an addiction. It really reaches to some of my most fundamental flaws.
Letting anyone in is quite a problem, to be honest. I don’t have family I can talk with about things like this. I mean, they don’t even know that I’m a lesbian. They wouldn’t want to see me anymore if they knew even the slightest bit about what I’ve done. One big problem about my life is that there isn’t really anyone who knows all sides of me and the risk is just too great. So, for now, my only option is writing anonymously.
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Did you ever consider therapy? Having someone to talk to who is bound to secrecy might help you.
This is a very vulnerable thing to share with us.
Am I correct in remembering that you mentioned once you came from a third world country, and immigrated to Germany? I’m so sorry if I got this wrong.
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Personally, I’m from the Netherlands but have lived in the UK and Germany. My daughter however came here as a refugee.
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Thank you so much for not being offended by that level of a personal question. I was just thinking about how often people who grew up not having very much, need wealth and possessions to feel secure, because they know what it’s like to be without. My maternal grandfather grew up during the Great Depression and I think it’s pretty obvious he’s spent his life acquiring things at least in part to make up for a childhood of deprivation.
If you were my sister or aunt in real life, I’d hate having you think of yourself as a bad person. If there were something you were doing that you didn’t like, I’d want to know what needs you were meeting by doing that behavior, and what needs and ideals you were failing to meet by doing it, which were making you not want to do it anymore. Then I’d try to help you come up with a more effective and less costly strategy for meeting the needs you had been meeting by doing what you were doing.
I don’t think you have to punish yourself with guilt or shame. I think that’s a patriarchal thing, to decide who the bad guys are and then hurt them because they’re bad and they deserve it. I don’t think that really helps anybody, especially not the supposed “bad” person. The whole good guy/bad guy dichotomy is not one of my favorite things. It’s not what you are (selfish, greedy, the other words you used), it’s what you do and why you do it, and people can choose to do all kinds of things. I think self-blame just leads to depression, and it’s better for people to figure out why they do what they do, and what effects it has on themselves and others, so they can decide if they want to keep doing it.
I’m sorry if this is too much advice for a situation I barely know anything about. I just feel bad seeing you beat up on yourself, and it’s what I’d tell somebody in my own family.💗
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Thank you very much for your kind comment. Growing up in materially difficult situations can indeed make things much harder, but in my experience, people from ‘better’ backgrounds (I’m upper middle class for instance). Of course, many things were forbidden and there was a kind of religiously based frugality, but still.
I guess that you’re right about good and bad people. It’s something I try to tell myself, but the indoctrination is so deep. As a child, I used to think that I would be going to hell because I wasn’t chosen to believe in God. Later, I managed to shake that off but the feeling of being a bad person remains. Funnily enough, that also is what makes it easier to do things seen as bad. I’m bad already anyways.
I don’t know why exactly I do what I do, I think it’s mostly just a desire for love and intimacy. I’ll however have to think more about who I really am.
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This was a brave thing to write and share! I want to give you some helpful thoughts but don’t know where to start.
Perhaps with the “bad person” thing. For someone to be bad, they’d have to enjoy inflicting hurt on others. So that’s not you at all. Having flaws, weaknesses, addictions, lust, a never satisfied desire for more, those things don’t make you a bad person.
Something that stood out to me was your shame in working as an escort. It struck me that it was really just a coping mechanism, a way to fill this hole inside you that makes you unhappy. The behavior related to it looks a lot like addiction. You don’t need to be ashamed of who you are or what you’ve done in your efforts to cope with depression and pain. You are human, imperfect as the rest of us. However, you are particularly hard on yourself! As my therapist would say, “Stop beating yourself up!”
Lots of people suck at relationships. In a way, every relationship that anyone has eventually fails until they find the right person. I think you are absolutely capable of feeling love and having a relationship, but you have a lot of issues that you need to work on first.
As someone who has been in therapy for over 20 years (bipolar), I beg you to find a therapist who can help you sort through all these feelings. I know 100% that having a good therapist will help you become the version of you that can be happy and find a loving, healthy relationship.
If you won’t see a therapist, then I’d recommend at least getting a bunch of self-help books that will lead you on a path to understanding yourself and how you became the way you are, then finding compassion for yourself and eventually the healing purpose in your life going forward.
You can love, just look at your daughter! There is good in you. Pain can make people do stupid/shameful/self-destructive things. I’ve certainly been there. But as you learn to understand and have compassion for yourself, you will find ways to work through the pain that don’t make you feel ashamed.
I hope this was at least a bit helpful. It was a rambling mess, but my heart hurt reading your post.
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From a similar heart to your heart, you are good and worthy. I know what keeping sch fundamental secrets can do to a person. Sending you love, acceptance and solidarity ❤️❤️
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Thank you for sharing, and I hear you.
Good women friends of mine work as escorts (for women and men), and see no shame in it. I see no shame in it. It’s not intrinsically ‘shameful’.
Find a therapist if you can’t talk to your family. Model healthy self-reflection for your daughter, it’s important. Show her how to tackle issues, and seek out professional guidance.
Good luck! Women are indeed awesome, lovable, powerful, sexy, fun, and smart… and guess what? You’re one of them! Enjoy
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I looked into the legal brothels here – and , grrrl, am i depressed now.
Cos 1 of them specialises in Eastern Europeans ( mostly Rus} – which is my background. I feel like i belong to a prostituted woman – class now
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Those legal brothels are one of the things I’m deeply opposed to. They’re just legal rape centres, only, they get publicly applauded. And such ‘specialisation’ only strengthens the point. The traffickers and slavemasters focus on those women who are the most vulnerable and seek to make those ethnic groups exotic for their rapist-consumers.
the difference between what u do & what male-servicing ones do is crucial:
You provide an erotic service
They provide an “outlet for misogyny’ service
One of the biggest lies males ever tell us is ~ that we’re Sex Objects for them. Whereas men don’t actually do ` eros. They only do rape & dominance
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You could phrase it like that yes. What I’ve heard from women who are escorts for men is that they experience completely different things. From me, things like companionship and a listening ear actually are the most important. And, of course, there are quite a few women who are opening up to themselves about preferring women and basically need someone to help discover that side of themselves. But still, it feels awful to profit from that.