I spent a fair number of hours this week researching work as a cam girl. No joke. I have joked about it in the past but I took it on this week, seriously enough that I read more than a handful of articles about the benefits, the risks and how to get started. I’d be good at it. I know I would. I even found myself thinking it would be the way to satisfy my desire to be in front of a camera, even if I never get modeling bookings, and would give me an excuse to wear makeup and dress up, a pleasure I’ve only just discovered in my forties. I’m not a gorgeous woman. I’m not a voluptuous woman. I’m not a young woman. I have cellulite and perineal scar tissue. But I’m open, sensual, adventurous, and understand humans are horny, lonely and complicated. I’m okay with all that. Guaranteed I’d make some money. It would most certainly be an adventure. It would be fodder for writing. And it would be a big fuck finger to the establishment’s idea of how a middle aged, middle class, educated mother like me “should” make money.
It’s not the risk of a father of one of my children’s classmates seeing me in a wig that put the fantasy in its place. That’s not insignificant but, c’mon, you see me in here? Well you’re in here too asshole. It was the risk, however low, of my children learning about it that put it on the shelf. Furthermore, I have a man I’m very attached to. Many do this work attached to someone real. But it would be very hard to play the game of attracting “whales” and letting myself lyingly be whoever a customer wanted me to be, while my gaze and my body only want to be dressing up for one person.
But one of the other factors that made me shut down the idea was reading that use of social media is a huge necessity in attracting and maintaining a fan base. Engaging with the crowded manhole of the public domain through the internet is apparently essential to making money.
And I just won’t do it.
Maybe I just don’t like crowds. Maybe I just don’t like the narcissism that the Interwebs encourage in society. Maybe I just don’t like competition. On some level these are all truths.
But maybe what’s more primal to me than anything is that I’m just fundamentally built for a quieter little life. I’m not a simple person. But I’m not built for complexity or survival in a mob. I feel nausea in malls more often than not. I can’t stand that we need password managers to hold all 40 passwords we “need” on a regular basis. I get overwhelmed with the complexity of modern day society. I am not titillated by Filene’s basement style sales. I do not get a rush when entering a crowd and merging into it. I will step off a path clogged with runners fixated on what I consider to be the great mirage and let them all whir past me. Even if it means missing out on my chance to win a little piece of the pie. Especially when “the win” isn’t deeply valuable to me.
Was I born this way? Or taught to be this way? As long as I’ve been self aware, I’ve never liked competition. My sister used to win every game we played. Some of the time she cheated (smart girl that she was). I honed my “I don’t care if I win or lose” skill. Easy breezy. Losing doesn’t bother me! It’s just a game. Odds are stacked against me so why get into it? Plus, strategy has never been my forte. Environmental factors certainly solidified any genetic predispositions. My choices and reactions to many things are explicit derivatives of this anti-competitive foundation. I never played sports and never ran for anything. When I see a beautiful woman walk down the street my knee jerk reaction is to tell myself to sew up my pussy, buttress my heart, and graciously offer to step down as my guy’s woman. He deserves better than me. I should just step out of the way because, after all, who am I compared to that. When I think about competing with thousands of submissions to “Modern Love”, for example, I shut down and pick up a good book instead of facing the work required to have my submission be good enough to stand out. I am decidedly not turned on by competition. Have I made this clear? I can’t help it. I yearn for simplicity, for my own life to be like a golden little core of self containment. The way I feel in yoga. I am minimalist and tidy by nature. I have always, on some level, been happiest walking the crowds as an observer. A silent moving part amongst the buzz, who could see it all with clear but distant eyes. I don’t want to compete. And I don’t want to fight for what I could have. What goes into fighting most fights runs counter to my temperament.
I have tried to reckon with my worry that this all stems from a fear of failure that must be tackled or, maybe worse, an inclination towards laziness. But laziness is different from a philosophical approach to how much energy is or is not worth expending in this crazy ass world we’ve created. And a fear of failure, admittedly very real, may be justified in the over saturated online marketplace that today’s humans thrash around in. Ultimately I believe that my reactions to all this come from the fact I’m just not built to spin this way. It would be amazing to earn $4000 a week via a modern version of the oldest profession. It would be validating to have a piece of writing be accepted into Cosmopolitan or a photograph bought for someone’s living room. It would be amazing to have readership of this blog be in the thousands without having to buy followers. I’d love to be recognized as an older face worth gracing an advertisement.
But I just won't do what needs to be done to position myself there in front of the mobs of Homo sapiens all trying to vie for the same thing. There is very little related to recognition that really matters to me. Not because I’m lazy. But actually because I have perspective. And sanity.
I’m ok on the sidelines. I’m happy with the idea of earning my keep and using the money to enjoy a lovely latte, a dreamy eco-cabin that my children and I could escape to to make memories and play UNO, or a long naked rest with the man I share that intimate part of myself with. My arena need not be the arena with everyone else. It doesn’t need the internet to any intensive degree for the most part. Much less social media. Or a thousand “How To” blogs on my “to read” list. My arena needs to be the arena within my own soul. My not-so simple soul. Full of love. Full of creativity. Full of challenges. To this I toast to nursing. The very profession I hate on so many levels. But it offers the chance to earn a keep without having to compete for money. I’m grateful for that, though how I will use it is yet to be determined. The goal needs to be to earn a living, without losing my sanity, while offering me the space to enjoy life, process life, share life. And to enjoy the micro-successes that I hope I’ll have, on my own terms, in my own way. If I get booked for a gig, get a like on a photo that I might post on an Instagram account that I might start, earn an accepted submission for an erotic story I might submit…that’s like extra sun on my face. But I won’t work too hard for all of that in the rat race with my face in a computer or a phone every day, participating in a society gone mad over stuff. A quiet little life full of life is enough.