As we happily looked at these pictures with Goat immediately after shooting them, it occurred to me:
You know who will really love these pictures? My mom. My mom will love these pictures.
Goat laughed with raised eyebrows, disbelieving. Your mom?!?
Yes. My mom who sent me an email insistently permitting me to get all the sleep I want after reading things like this and this here in my blog. My mom, who at seventy is more than fifteen years older than Goat (who spent many years as a kinky San Franciscan), managed to both shock and delight him just by knowing about my work as a pornographer and sex worker, and by not only accepting it, but actively supporting it and APPRECIATING it.
Although my mom always preferred a Douglas Fir to a Noble Fir for Christmas, those are wooden and yarn ornaments she picked out and I grew up with on our tree. The colors, the real and recognizable guy, the happiness, the upskirt-y flirtatiousness, the old-fashioned warmth, the exuberant joy articulated in my limbs and eyebrows and arches of my feet, the legs I know she considers an asset to be proud of . . . my nostalgia and appreciation and preference for and unashamed knowledge of how to do a lot of these things was inherited from and shaped by my mom. And my job capitalizing on them? There aren’t a lot of people lucky enough to have a mom who not only tolerates that, but is proud of it. She is exceptional, and because of the security (and other privileges, I realize) that has always provided me, I get to be exceptional too.
Delia and I spent Christmas alone and working (and fucking, trying to get pregnant) a little bit rather than spending time with my family (including my mom). I know it bugged my sister and my mom, but they do what they can to tolerate my dis-ease with being around people and high-pressure social situations and being on the road in thick scary drunken holiday traffic. Even though we weren’t with them, I was very aware this holiday season of how extraordinarily fortunate I am to know I am loved and supported by my family without reservation.
I have always known my whole entire life that I was/am loved by my parents (AND my mom’s parents/my grandparents). I was always fed, clothed and cared for, and I’m pretty sure that in the first eighteen years of my life not a single day went by that I was with family that I didn’t hear “I love you” from at least one person: my mom, my dad, my stepdad, my sister, my grandma, my grandpa (and on top of that I had a few close friends & their moms who loved me and told me so, and I got to tell them, too). My mom and dad and the rest of them love(d) me unconditionally, and I have known that absolutely from the beginning of my life, and know it EVEN MORE today. A big part of 2014 for me was reflecting on how much and well and exceptionally luckily I’ve been loved in my life compared to other people who deserve(d) it just as much or more, and who I am and/or should/want to be as a result of it, and the extent to which one can be addicted to love and possibly build up an entitled tolerance to it.
My mom’s support and pride in me (and other people she loves) has always been defiantly counter-culture in a lot of important ways. My mom who is one of those not-a-feminists (and hates the word) and has fond memories of the fifties and would sometimes, I hate to say it, demand that I “PUT SOME GODDAMNED MAKEUP ON BEFORE YOU LEAVE THIS HOUSE” when I was in junior high, is in other ways exceedingly rebellious.
Knowing how anxious and concerned my mom is, it’s a powerful testament to her love for me/us that she is able to restrain and suppress the anxious thoughts and questions she no doubt has when she looks at my blog (understanding it’s one of the few yet best ways to know what’s going on with me since I hate talking on the phone and spend so little time with her or anybody besides Delia), and probably fears for my life (I know she worries about what risks we might be taking with sex and sex work, and has to consciously tamp a lot of that anxiety down) and mental health. I’m sure she’s questioning the wisdom of our trying to get pregnant, and has done a superb job of not once bugging me to ask about it (and didn’t even spill the beans to my sister), managing to create and respect complicated, sticky, inherently-imperfect boundaries between us and around my own privacy that the majority of regular people wouldn’t understand and couldn’t navigate (she’s never, for example, tried to turn my blog into a dialogue between us, and has only left a comment ONCE that I can remember, offering condolences on a relationship that ended), and she has never made me feel guilty for reflecting on and posting things here that might make her feel like less-than an awesome maternal shero. But she IS an awesome maternal shero in so many many ways, and there are hundreds of thousands of sex workers and just regular civilian folks who I’ll bet would give anything to know they could tell their mom anything and still be unwaveringly loved and have her be proud the way I can.
Many years ago my mom told me that when people in my small hometown where she still lives asked about me (like former piano students and their parents, classmates, etc.), she stopped trying to lie about what I do and felt much happier just telling them the truth. That she felt good about it and stopped worrying that it would reflect on her poorly as a parent. Which is awesome, because it should only reflect positively on her as a parent – I wouldn’t be blessed with the extraordinary freedom I enjoy doing stigmatized work that isolates so many people, or the skills, attributes, or resources to do it profitably and well, if it weren’t for my mom.
And if anybody thinks it’s weird that she comes here to my site and quietly checks out what we’re up to (but still discloses it to me so not doing it sneakily) which includes seeing my wife’s and my spunky genitals, I will tell you what she tells me when she comes over and I warn her that my sheets aren’t as clean as I’d like them to be for her, and that the brown spot on them is JUST CHOCOLATE, she hugs me and says, “YOU CAME OUT OF ME, DAUGHTER . . . there isn’t a single thing on your sheets that can bother me.”