If you are any kind of sex worker, whether it be a dominatrix, a cam-girl, a stripper, or any other title that seems relevant you’ll probably understand the struggle of living a topsy-turvy lifestyle. The nature and timing of our work can be highly inconsistent and often our sleeping patterns are erratic at best. I have tried to explain this to family and friends over the years and still await the day when they don’t raise an eyebrow, smirk or give some micro-expression to indicate that they haven’t understood.
For example, say you have a phone chat with a client at 10 pm and a text conversation at 11pm. Your sites may need updating so no doubt while waiting you’ll be editing and uploading content – the same as you would if you were a Youtube influencer most likely, except we have a more varied work style with different facets to it. You do your calls and texts and then think about winding down for the evening, but then a customer asks if you are available at 12:30, so you stay up and may ending up working longer. Sex workers of any kind may end up working till 2, 3 or 4am, or perhaps even later. Once you have removed your make-up, brushed your teeth, put on your PJ’s and all the little routines that help you get into the mode for sleep, you are half convinced you can hear the birds start to sing outside. Of course, you are unable to fall asleep right away. Your brain has been in the creative zone all evening and it’s impossible to tell it that it needs to stop because it’s time to sleep. Unfortunately, our brains do not work like that and it takes a couple of hours to shut down, like a dodgy version of Windows, so often we may rise at a time that is unusual to others. I suspect many can relate to sleepily rising at midday or later and stumbling to the kitchen for a coffee only to hear sarcastic chirrups of “Good evening.”
Well-meaning individuals may issue unwanted advice on ‘how to correct your sleep pattern or get up earlier.’ They might say things like, “What you need is a good brisk work nice and early,” or “Try getting up at 6am to reset your sleep cycle.” Sometimes I think about saying, “Ok so you are suggesting that I simply either don’t stay up, do my job and earn money or that I function on less sleep than my body needs just so I can fit in and conform with what society has brainwashed you into believing is normal.”
After all, if we were shift workers in a factory, would there still be that undercurrent of sarcasm? Would you still be seen as an anomaly or an eccentric for living a work lifestyle that is unconventional?
It’s taken a little under 200 years to persuade society that this rigid stance is ‘normal.’ It was the American labour unions that introduced the 9-5 working day back in the 1800’s. Henry Ford then pushed this narrative in the 1920’s making it the norm and it was accepted across the nations. I am sure that most shift workers understand and feel the struggles of working odd hours, but some careers are probably accepted more than others. If your peers see you leaving the house to work in a factory that is one thing, but if you work at 3am from home, they tend to thank it’s not really work and you should just get up like everyone else. They might not directly say it, but the unhelpful advice suggests they think differently.
I’ve always wished I could just plug myself in to a sleep unit once I had finished everything I need to do. In theory, the sleep unit would switch your brain waves into sleep mode and simultaneously recharge your body and mind. Sadly, this technology does not yet exist and so we rely on a circadian rhythm that does not fit into our lifestyle. Perhaps in years to come, an Elon Musk type will transform the way we sleep and our descendants will happily plug themselves in at night and muse over how primitive we were using our own natural sleep rhythms, rather than technology. Perhaps it’s a concept that might come with its own pitfalls and risks of abuse, but right now it sounds pretty blissful and I look forward to the day when somehow, I may spring out of bed feeling fully recharged and full of limitless energy.
In the meantime, let’s keep fighting for the right to be different. Whatever you think your difference is in life, accept it, love it, protect, stand by it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
A cat will live by it’s own rules, be more cat.