“Gun shy? What the fuck do YOU mean, gun shy?”

Posted: February 26, 2010 in Blogging, Sex Work

As many of you may have well noticed, the over all mood of my blogging has changed a lot since I moved.  I don’t write so much about sex work, or sex workers, or how being involved in any or all of that boils down on the proverbial brow anymore.  I took a huge and deliberate step back from all that when I sacked the old empire and moved over here because the whole ball of wax?  The defending and the fighting and the bullshit and the lies and all that other crap had just become way too ugly for me…and I generally sort of like ugly, I generally sort of see conflict as a necessary component of human life, growth and development.  But it had, in oh so many ways, simply become too much.  I needed to get the hell away.  So I did.

My status as a sex worker, and even an activist, has changed as well.  I’m only involved in one aspect of the biz these days, and that would be porn.  It’s always been my favorite, and what I most enjoyed doing- so I continue to do so.  I’ve not been to a sex workers event or even a sex worker friendly event in quite some time.  It’s not that those things are no longer important- to me or in the big picture- but once again, I needed to step away.  I needed some time away because the hard cold truth of it all is I was starting to feel used.  Over worked and under appreciated.  Sure enough, everything I ever said or did I said or did because I wanted to, because I thought it to be important, because I thought maybe, just maybe, change might happen.  As it stands, I am still owed money I never expect to see for engagements I was asked to, writings I have done, and things of that nature.  And that is not even what pisses me off…or not even pisses me off, but left me feeling so tired.  What got to me, what beat me down, aside from all the fighting and bullshit, was feeling like I ended up being the in case of emergency break glass heavy hitter – the thing people talked long and hard about including and informing and only did so when they wanted blood spilled.   The thing that was let off the leash to cause mayhem but when, and only when, it was decided mayhem was in order.  All sorts of ground level work was all done and decided before my proverbial phone ever rang.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love me some mayhem from time to time, but there is a hell of a lot more to me than that…

And you know, that rubbed me the wrong way.  I have also noted, since I sacked the Empire and Set up in this dive- a great many people who loved to break the glass and set me loose on…whatever…. well, they are gone now.  Others are still around, folk like Jill, Hexy,  Aspasia & Ernest…folk I knew and figured were solid.  Others?  Not so much.  Which says a lot- mostly about how I was right.  You know, I hate being right about that kind of shit, but oddly enough to date?  Well, rarely am I proven wrong.   So much of the world, including those that would generally fall into the associates and allies section, really are all about “what have you done for me lately”…

Which is why I am, though I am certainly feelin’ it , hesitant to write a rant about sex work and sex workers.  Sure, it is shit I certainly think needs to be said, but even though I am absolutely locked and loaded to rant on, part of me…that jaded nihilistic cynical part…is like “why the fuck bother?  Go on back to your other shit, write about Ivan and Jax, write about the Scary Southerners, write about CoX and Cyber Goth and hell, even work- those things that you enjoy- but don’t bother jumping back into that fuckin’ snakes nest.  It ain’t worth it. 

I kinda hate that feeling, you know?

  1. rootietoot says:

    Being used kinda stinks. Maybe one day you’ll get back into it, your advocacy and passion are things I’ve admired. But yeah, being used, not being rewarded (not even a pat on the back or *promised* renumeration??) it wears a body down. I’ve been there, taking a long break and refocusing your energies is important and necessary. They’ll either realize what they had with you, and miss it… or they won’t, and if they don’t, then they didn’t need you as much as they thought and you’re better off where you are now.

  2. Roy Kay says:

    If you were denied promise compensation from a university, it could be that some bureaucrat with an ax to grind has decided to do so intentionally. It might not hurt to have your attorney send them a letter. (In Ohio, you can sue for collections costs as well.) That might have the double advantage of getting your money and exposing harassment.

    But otherwise? You did need the break and I am glad you are taking it. I don’t share all your interests, but I don’t share all of anybody’s interests. (I am not sure that Jane would want me to have too much of an interest in quilting anyway.) I am glad you are still blogging.

  3. hexy says:

    We burn out on activism and being out and vocal just as much as we do on actual sex work. Everyone’s got their limits, and everyone has their point where they go “Fuck it. Not worth it anymore/right now.” Knowing when to back away and take time for yourself is a valuable skill.

    We’re still here, we still want to hear what you have to say. And I don’t think you’ll stay away from activism and out-and-vocal forever. The great thing is that there’s this huge grey area, where you can make the occasional post, have the occasional rant, wave the occasional banner or attend the occasional event… then go back to your stepped-back self-preserving position. It ain’t a binary. You don’t have to be super-activist or no-activist. You can just be Ren, and sometimes Ren has Thoughts On Things 🙂

    When you get to it, when you want to post it… I’ll be stoked to read it. Until then, goggles and gaming.

  4. What got to me, what beat me down, aside from all the fighting and bullshit, was feeling like I ended up being the in case of emergency break glass heavy hitter – the thing people talked long and hard about including and informing and only did so when they wanted blood spilled. The thing that was let off the leash to cause mayhem but when, and only when, it was decided mayhem was in order.

    Sort of seeing echoes in that of Jax & Ivan, or possibly Nadia – the whole “thing to be let off the leash” bit. Write what you know, I guess…

    It seems to me there are so many stories in activism of people who are used for what they give the Cause, then the Cause kinda forgets to give back (I recall there was a lot of talk about how the Democratic Party uses women that way at election time around the U.S. Presidential Election), and somehow leaders on all sides never spot the problem with that (which is that eventually you end up with no more grassroots activists…) It makes me angry to see people treated that way.

    Also, everything that Hexy said.

    • Ren says:


      Being the proverbial “Black Hat” is a role I have found myself in a whole lot throughout my life, and not often by choice, it just seems to play out that way. I’m, well, aggressive- something that is not generally seen OPENLY out of a female- and this it is often regarded as unusual and thusly- how do shall I say- used to various peoples advantage. Sometimes I do not mind this- other times I most certainly do.

  5. dead_Vladimir says:

    It always sucks to be behind a bit of glass that says break in case of emergency

  6. sneeky bunny says:

    I enjoy your writing, what ever the topic. I followed you from the now sacked and burned Empire, and can see why you have come to feel the need to step back a bit. Constant conflict is draining, and warrior though you are, that is not your whole identity. Maybe, after all that you have on your plate right now is dealt with, and you have some time to regenerate, you’ll step back into the fray with renewed purpose and a perspective that will keep it more balanced, and keep the users out of the equation. If you end up feeling that that chapter of your life is closed, then I look forward to more of your writing on other topics. Saaaaaay…….smurfs for example. Yes, smurfs. Write about smurfs. 🙂

  7. Ernest Greene says:

    Activism burnout is the inevitable result of the dynamic in which five people do all the work while fifty peopel gripe about how it should have been done without pitching in themselves. Been there plenty, starting about forty years ago.

    I’ve had my activist periods and my periods of self-concern. I could never have sustained the former if I hadn’t taken time out for the latter.

    I love a good fight, but not every day.

    Besides, it’s nice to see you enjoy yourself. A bit grim, that business of dealing with the Evil Dead 24/7.

    And I know what you mean about the break glass thing. Whenever somebody needs something particularly unpleasant, I get the call. Gee, Ernest’s a pretty unpleasant guy. This ought to be right up his alley.

    Okay, well, once in a whiile they could say thanks for the unpleasant shit they send our way.

    • Ren says:

      Or at least buy us black cowboy hats!

      • Ernest Greene says:

        Already got one, a genuine Air Cav stetson with crossed sabers and a label inside that says “Hell no it ain’t yours, so put it back!”

        As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s an object of lustful envy back home.

  8. Dan Dusk says:

    Can’t say much more than everyone else in regards to being an ICE-man. Include being an emergency services dispatcher/911 calltaker, there must be something wrong with me.

    I enjoy your writing and followed you from the first empire. Talk about what you want. It’s your place.

    First rule of emergency servies: Take care of yourself so you’ll be able to take care of others.

  9. Gaina says:

    You’ve worked hard for the things you believe in, but you must have breaks to do what makes you happy and relaxed.

    I think it’s similar to working with children with learning disabilities. I adored my little voluntary job but it was very emotionally draining and there comes a point where you must step away for a little while for the sake of the people you’re trying to help as much as your own sanity. Nobody says you can’t go back to it but you need to give yourself that space to relax and recharge your passion for it first.

  10. Right on! Chiming in with Hexy and Ernest, activism isn’t a 24/7 job, it’s a 60/7 job at least, especially when you’re passionate about it. I had my own little breakdown last summer if you’ll remember, though that wasn’t activism related but other stuff. Still I need to just step back, reorganize on my own terms, CHILL and then get back in the game.

    And, like you said, it’s times like this where the truth of friendships and associations come out. I actually like these times, helps cull the herd.

    You know I’ll always be around. 🙂

  11. Amber Rhea says:

    Boy oh boy do I know what you mean about activism! Too damn true.

  12. Ren,
    Glad that you are putting yourself first and doing what feels right for you; I haven’t been reading, but only because I haven’t been reading *any* blogs. I’m trying to get back to it.

  13. rachel cervantes says:

    I’ve never fit neatly into any category, Ren, but I still read here. I don’t post often, but i still peek in.

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