Who did your tits? – practically every doctor client in New Orleans
I love my tits, and I know I’m not alone in that; of all my features, they probably get more compliments and other commentary than any other part of my anatomy (including my hair). But neither I nor genetics nor the gods can take credit for them; the responsible parties were my bank account and an unusually-gifted plastic surgeon whom I silently bless every time someone bestows praise upon what Matisse is pleased to call my “jaw-dropping rack”. And the reason I’m mentioning that now is that it was sixteen years ago today when Grace went, in her words, from “having the only tits in the house to having the smallest”. Yes, today is my tits’ Sweet 16! And though I’m not quite as overwhelmed with them as I was when I first opened my eyes to see them there, I still occasionally catch myself in the mirror and say something like, “Wow, these really are pretty spectacular!” Please excuse the slight – OK, not so slight – vanity, dear reader; you’ve got to recall that I was quite plain in my formative years, and was extremely flat-chested for considerably longer than that. So I hope y’all can forgive me for looking for any excuse to display them, and for occasional jokes like, “Hi, I’m Maggie McNeill and these are my tits.” I’m not really that full of myself, except when I am. Those of you who have never been fortunate enough to see them in all their glory up close and personal will just have to content yourself with a few pictures, at least until you make it out to Seattle and book an appointment. And I promise, I won’t say much more about them after today. Not in the blog, anyhow.
Read Full Post »
Last week was so incredibly busy I’m amazed I was able to keep up with everything I had to do. I knew at the beginning that it would be busy work-wise because I had a solid schedule of appointments, but I had no way of knowing that on Wednesday the pigs would barge into the lives of Seattle sex workers, uprooting one of our major advertising venues and shitting all over our reputations to the press. Of course, the excuse was “sex trafficking”; Korean sex workers in the area were denied agency, claimed to be “trafficked”, and a number of their clients, bookers and other associates were arrested. Naturally, nobody has seen any of these supposed “victims” or been allowed to talk to them, but the sheriff of King County nonetheless felt qualified to say that the members of SWOP were “delusional” for saying that advertising boards help us to build communities and screen clients. Because obviously, his magical swine-o-vision allows him to see into our lives despite the fact that he was too afraid to allow us into his press conference. But whatever he hoped to achieve by this ham-fisted attempt to shut us up was a failure; by Wednesday night, over 12 hours before his press conference, I had already appeared on not one but TWO local news broadcasts to give our viewpoint, and the sheriff and other officials were flustered and annoyed by several reporters asking them about us and our concerns. Furthermore, when the conference let out we were waiting, and most of the reporters got statements from us (as I detailed in Friday’s column). We’ve had several emergency meetings since Wednesday (the first mere hours after the seizure, ’cause we don’t work 9-5, y’all) and plenty more conversations via email and text; I think I’ve received as many text messages in the past week as I would in a typical month. As a kind of side-effect of all this, I’m even more out now than I was before; on Saturday my pedicurist told me, “I saw you on TV!” But while I’ve been hailed as a badass in my community for saying “I am a prostitute” on TV while standing in a courthouse full of cops, the truth is that I’m really just plain stubborn. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a bunch of morally-retarded thugs tell me how to conduct my life or what motivations for sex I’m allowed to have, and I’ll be thrice-damned if I sit by and let credulous ignoramuses slander my sisters and endanger all our livelihoods. I may not be able to win against the colossal machine of prohibition, but by Aphrodite I’m going to go down fighting. And even if they crush me, I’m not going to suffer in silence.
Read Full Post »
Then, I was inspired;
Now, I’m sad and tired. – Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar
This has been a year of dramatic change in my life, and to a slightly lesser extent in this blog, and so I’m sure most of you won’t be surprised when this column breaks the tradition of New Year’s Eve columns that I maintained for five years. In the past, I would write a thorough synopsis of the year’s events, with copious links to the columns in question; this year, I’m afraid that I have neither the time nor the energy for such an exhaustive reiteration. Whereas I used to prepare non-news columns weeks in advance, now I’m lucky if I’m two days ahead; most of the time it’s only one, and sometimes I hit “schedule” just hours (and in a few cases, mere minutes) before press time. The main reason for this is that my life is a lot busier now: rather than living in semi-retirement on a ranch in the country with an estranged husband and a minimum of face-to-face interaction with others beside Grace, I’m now back to work full time in Seattle with a girlfriend recovering from a severe motorcycle accident, and I have to make a specific effort to get the time and privacy I need to write. That’s why I haven’t managed to get another book out; I’ve only barely managed to keep the blog going, and I can’t recall a time when I was so continually exhausted yet so unable to obtain adequate rest and recuperation. On top of that I’m almost six years older now than when I started – I’ve gone from not-much-past-forty to nearly-fifty in calendar years, and I couldn’t even estimate how much I’ve aged experientially. Barely anything about my life is the same now as it was two Decembers past, and even my self has changed to a point that would cause the Maggie of 2010 to reel in shock. I spend hours every day processing my thoughts, feelings and newly-acquired knowledge, and yet the sheer volume and gravity of the stuff I have to process precludes my getting it all done anytime soon. But if there’s one thing I know with certainty, it’s this: my commitment to the cause of sex worker rights is greater than it has ever been, and if anything it will only increase in the year to come.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Diary, tagged activism, anecdote, holidays on December 21, 2015 |
2 Comments »
And so we wind down toward the end of another year; this will be the last diary column of 2015, and a number of the others will be very short. See, I really AM learning to relax a little. Tomorrow Grace arrives for a Christmas visit, and she’ll be here until January 3rd; that’ll be even more relaxing, because I really do miss her terribly and having her here (even for a little while) will be a great comfort.
SWOP Seattle held several events to commemorate the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers; the vigil itself was the most meaningful to me, because as I wrote on the day itself I have never attended one before. The attendance was very good despite the cold and rain, and we walked across Pioneer Square under red umbrellas, with volunteers (including me) reading the names and ages of all the sex workers who died by violence in 2015, while everyone else repeated them in chorus. It was very powerful and moving, and I plan to attend every year while I’m here. But for the next couple of weeks, all the group activities I’ll attend will be with my friends and loved ones, and that is just fine with me.
Read Full Post »
Last week, I was pleased to have Tara Burns stay with me again; she was only in Seattle for two nights, and was here the second one. She’s truly an amazing woman and an amazing activist, and I’m glad she feels comfortable asking to stay here when she passes through (a request for which the answer will always be “yes”). We probably should’ve had someone take a picture while she was here, but I really don’t have the photo bug and I often forget that I can and/or should take a picture of something until after the chance is passed. If I were less honest I might represent that as a personal rebellion against the urge to overdocument which is so common in the modern West, but the truth is it just doesn’t usually cross my mind unless somebody says “You ought to take a picture of this.” Or unless I happen to think I look especially alluring at the moment.
This week, on the other hand, has been dominated by things that haven’t happened yet. I’ve had several long phone calls to plan projects which won’t actually happen until the late winter (including Seattle’s Annual Sexwork Symposium [SASS], which Savannah Sly asked me to help with). This week is our December 17th vigil, accompanied by several associated events (such as a panel discussion in which I’m participating on Saturday). Of course I’ve also been busy buying Christmas presents and otherwise helping Santa, and Grace will be arriving a week from today and staying through January 3rd. Add to that juggling Jae’s various rehab appointments (of which there can be as many as 7 per week) and my professional dates, and writing this blog, and you begin to understand why I haven’t managed to finish either of the two books I’m trying to write. However, longtime readers who have expressed concern for my health will be glad to know that I’m making time for myself too; I’m trying to go to dinner with a friend at least once per week, and even (gasp!) relaxing alone for a few hours once or twice a week. I’m still not very good at it yet; my brain never stops unless something forces it to, and the number of things I’ve found that can accomplish that is very small indeed. But one has to start somewhere, and as I’ve explained in the past I have help. And maybe one day I’ll actually figure out how to create a schedule that I don’t have to force downtime into.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Diary, tagged activism, anecdote, holidays on December 8, 2015 |
3 Comments »
Back in the long-ago and far-off days of two years ago, my schedule was so regular and predictable that I was always a month ahead on most of my columns, and several days out on the news columns. I devoted every Tuesday to outside-the-blog work like “Mind-witness Testimony“, the Cato Unbound series which appeared two years ago this month, and the preparation of Ladies of the Night. When I began to plan my book tour in the spring of last year, I got even more ambitious and prepared my columns for fully two months out; after my return home late that summer I quickly stabilized it at a month out again. And now I’m pleased when I manage to be two days ahead for a little while. You know what else I used to plan in advance? Meals. Because Matt travels so much for his job and the nearest full-sized grocery store is 20 miles from my ranch in Oklahoma, I actually planned my meals a month in advance; now I usually have no idea what I’m going to eat (or often, even where or when) until I actually set out to prepare or buy it. See, I’m actually kind of a homebody; I like things to be predictable and planned and comfortable. I like to eat at regular times and do things in a reasonably-regular fashion, and I don’t much like surprises. And maybe someday I’ll be able to live that lifestyle again, at least in the weeks when I’m not traveling; maybe after the house is finished and I have my retirement income figured out and preparations for taking care of my loved ones set in stone, maybe then I can get back to some degree of regularity…though I suspect the days of Phileas Fogg-like clockwork predictability are gone forever. Well, at least I usually have many of my work appointments and most of my social and other appointments planned a few days to a week out; I know Grace will be arriving for her Christmas visit two weeks from today, and I’m involved in planning some things that won’t take place for over two months yet. And who knows? If I try very hard, I might even manage to do another book sometime.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Diary, tagged anecdote on November 24, 2015 |
3 Comments »
While you were reading last week’s diary column, I was out in the rain looking at a new car. The good news is that once again Grace employed her mojo to find me a great deal, and I’m really quite pleased with it (especially since it didn’t cost all the money the insurance company gave me for the Hyundai). Speaking of Grace, I’ve bought her an airline ticket to come up to Seattle for Christmas; I’m really rather excited about that, since I haven’t seen her since early August and I’m looking forward to introducing her to all of my friends here. More good news: after all this time I’m finally beginning to get control of my schedule again, and I may soon have the time and motivation to get back to work on my next two books. Other projects are on the way, but for right now I’m just enjoying the more languid pace of my personal life and the increasing pace of my professional one; the opposite situation was not one I care to repeat anytime soon.
Read Full Post »