"Sex sells", but my body is not for sale...
One bright sunny Saturday my band performed on Connie's Ric Rac outdoor stage at the Italian Market Festival... I wore the tightest little black dress that I have ever put on. It was surprisingly comfortable- Rather than worrying over what I was wearing, it made me forget I was wearing anything at all. I never would have guessed that could be such a comforting sensation.
Then only minutes after I got off stage, I felt a buzz in my pocket... This email was a response to a Craig's List ad I posted in Korea, offering speech therapy and English tutoring services. It arrived 28 days after I left Korea:
Hi, It's John here. I am 36 years old white Belgium male in a relation. I am IT Manger in Seoul. I am living in Gangnam. I am handsome, good looking and nice guy. I am looking for 1 regular nice educated discret girl for sex meetings to improve my sex skills. I can take care of you. What would you say about 300.000 won for meeting ? What sex do you like ? When you have time ? Can't wait. Regards, John
The moment I read it, I remembered what I was wearing and felt a little dirty.
As I had sang on stage, I had watched a mother and baby girl dance to my music. I saw the little red head bounce on her chubby baby leg kicked forward, as I felt my legs doing the same. I felt her mimic me; our mirror neurons firing together. I wondered... What am I selling? Why do people pay more attention when I let myself be comfortable and dance without thinking? It is so embarrassing... and liberating.
But it is what I have to do... Because I am the front woman. I have to pull in attention for the amazing musicians who play with me. They have studied and practiced so many years, and they are so good at what they do! Sometimes, I have to play the clown... Even if I am in a miniskirt and high heels.
Sex. That's what it is... It triggers something in the brain, the part of us that is still animal.
I used to really look down on Hollywood actresses who posed naked for Playboy and the like... But given my experiences thus far, I think I would love to have nude drawings of myself. When will I ever be more ready for commemorating my body in artwork? So, who am I to judge?
But something always elbows me in the back... Reminds me that it was not how my parents raised me.
So... Instead I use clip-art from the internet; mostly vintage drawings of pinup girls. Just a suggestion of sex. It is cute. It is also the perfect expression of how I and many of my female artist friends feel about exposing our minds and hearts through music... and other mediums. We may not know how to show perfectly what we feel, but we feel naked nonetheless. Even in how we imagine we have been misunderstood, we mourn bearing our souls.
...It is okay. People hear what they relate to in their own lives. They do not know our secrets- unless we share them...
This past month has been an anniversary of the year since I checked myself into Friend's Hospital. It was painful. I really felt alone. I lost almost everything... and I am still recovering.
Victor reminds me that this is a time to celebrate how much better everything is now than then... For me, it is a reminder of how much happier I was before I knew anything was wrong... Ignorance was bliss- Before I had to start making a lot of changes. Yes, everything was worse then, especially for my loved ones. But it was familiar. New has been hard. My entire world changed.
My friend from group therapy tells me, "It doesn't bother me when I think of the time I checked myself into a hospital... I'm glad I did it. It saved my life. I think of it as the day I took responsibility for my happiness."
Despite my efforts to think of each day as any other day, my mind has been busy with white noise in the background... of everything that it wants to complain about; of all the different disappointments it feels, about all the accusations it wants to make... and while my hands want to start throwing dishes, I apologize for crying at the breakfast table instead.
...In Korea at night, in the brightly lit streets of Seoul lined with bars I was approached several times and asked to attend private room parties with rich businessmen. They would not come out and say they were trying to pimp me. They knew just enough English to tell me I would have a "choice".
I will admit... I was curious. Not about prostituting myself- Just about what sorts of women felt this was an option worth taking. Did they feel they had no other opportunities? Did they feel empowered by fleecing men with their flesh? What went through their minds when they touched...
On the same evening that this happened, I walked down the same street and bought a sweet bun from a woman pushing a cart. One dollar per sweet bun, and that is the only thing she sells. I thought about how long her days must be... How many sweet buns she must have to sell to take care of her family. If she was my age, with my body; would she be selling something other than sweet buns?
When I talked to a local friend, he explained, "It is a fantasy. They call it riding a white horse."
White horse... Hardly seems a flattering depiction. All I could do was laugh and say, "Funny, many American men have a similar fantasy for Asian women. I guess I get to fulfill both."
It is interesting to finally consider myself anyone's fantasy. In the past, I never thought of myself as being particularly attractive. The last few years of putting myself at the center of attention changed all that...
I watched myself bloom... Rather than losing myself in fear, I found myself in victory. I shed my insecurities and admitted that it was work to be healthy and learn new skills. I set my mind to doing a little practice each day, letting the process happen in its own time.
I am excited to be a musician! I am grateful the muse sings to me, despite it driving me mad some times. It is a gift that gives me the incredible privilege to invite talented musicians- who have trained long hard years for opportunities -to perform. I am not selling my body, but I will use sex to solicit those visceral sensations that attract attention.
Music is more than entertainment. It is healing and soothing. It is a willful brainwashing of the heart and soul... To help us remember that we all feel, no matter what is happening in our lives. We all have the potential for pain and progress... for happiness and deliverance. It is all relative. If I can help others forget themselves for a moment and love... just love- Then I will deserve the following I seek.