Social media has made it so easy to compare ourselves to others. We see perfection splashed across our feeds every day. Whether it’s beautiful women with poreless skin in designer lingerie or a snap of hundred-dollar bills spread out on white sheets in a luxury hotel… It’s so easy to look at these posts, and compare yourself and end up feeling less-than.
Comparison is exaggerated in sex work because our advertisements and social media accounts reflect personas rather than our true selves. Think about it: social media is a marketing tool. When a professional sex worker posts on Twitter, they want to post their best foot forward and appear as though they have it all together. A post about new sexy lingerie is going to be far more enticing to a potential client than a whinge about how their rent overdue and their boyfriend is annoying the living daylights out of them. What we don’t see on social media is the late nights, the endless piles of laundry, the problematic and pushy clients, the impact of stigma, and the difficulty of juggling personal relationships with work-life. Social media is not a look at reality. In sex work, social media is a glamorous look at a life we wish to portray to potential clients.
Making steps to stop the comparison game is so important because comparison can have a massive negative impact on your mental health. So, let’s talk about how to stop comparing ourselves to others.
So often we let other peoples’ success diminish our own light. We shrink ourselves down because we believe other people are better, more successful, more beautiful, more talented, and more deserving than us. Compared to others, we think we’re not worthy.
Reality check: no one is better than anyone else.
Everyone is unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses. You can’t compare one person with another, because everyone is different. Sex work is NOT a competition; it’s a community. We need to work together to lift each other up, rather than competing and bringing each other down. When we cultivate a positive environment, we can focus more on WORK and making bank.
As cheesy as it may sound, you need to tell yourself how great you are. Look back at the work you used to do and see the changes. Think about the steps you have taken to build a business you are proud of. When I think back to the sex worker I was eight years ago, I have come a heck of a long way.
A few weeks ago, I was at brunch with a friend discussing business. I asked my friend whether she had booked any overnights lately. Overnight bookings are something I’ve never been able to get a handle on. I will do one or two here or there, but I have never had a constant stream of extended bookings like some escorts seem to. I was reflecting on this with my friend and pondering how I could encourage more extended bookings. Then, my friend asked, “Do you even want overnight bookings, though?” This instantly made me laugh because the answer is a big fat NO.
Let me get this clear: I am NOT a lady of the night. If anything, I’m a lady of the day. My ideal booking is a couple of hours in the morning, so I can get it out of the way and have a guilt-free afternoon nap. I’m not a night-owl by any stretch of the imagination. I prefer to be in bed by 9pm, snuggled up with my partner and fur children. For me, overnight bookings are HARD and they require a lot of mental strength and amping myself up.
So, when my friend asked if I really wanted overnight bookings, I HAD to laugh because it was obvious that I was getting swept up in the comparison game. I was scrolling through Twitter and seeing photos of other escorts in glamorous hotels with sprawling breakfast platters. I was comparing my 1-hour bookings to these posts and feeling less-than, even though I KNOW that overnight bookings are not suited to my lifestyle or personality.
This is an example of why it is so important to disconnect and focus on what YOU truly want. If you haven’t already, take some time out to think about your goals. What do you want to achieve as a sex worker? What do you want to achieve outside of sex work? Who is your dream client? What is your ideal booking? How much money do you want to make? What do you plan do to with the money you earn? How can you work towards these goals?
When I take a step back from the comparison game and answer these questions, it’s easy for me to see that I don’t need overnight bookings. I am meeting my financial goals, I get to be in bed by my preferred time of 9pm, and I don’t have to deal with a snoring client all night. What’s not to love?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: social media is not reality. Anybody can post anything on the internet, and they do. Just because someone is posting that Mr X got them a Cartier bracelet doesn’t mean Mr X actually got them a Cartier bracelet. It’s important to remember that escort personas are just that: PERSONAS. Escort personas are made up. They are fictional characters. When we create these characters, we present the best version of ourselves to clients. Comparing yourself to the highlight reel of someone else’s fictional escort persona is especially pointless because that escort probably doesn’t even live the life her social media portrays.
When you’re feeling like this, you need to step away from the internet, turn off your phone and take a break (for a minute, an hour, a day, a week – whatever you can manage). Do something just for YOU – don’t Tweet about it, don’t photograph it, don’t tell a client about it. Keep it for yourself, and remind yourself that you are a valuable and important person.
Photo by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: I cannot, and do not, speak for all sex workers. I speak from my experience of working in a legal brothel and as an independent escort in Australia. Where possible I try to be inclusive. However, I can’t relay every experience of sex work – especially if I haven’t experienced it myself.
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