Single mother, artist, sex worker.
14th June 2020
Today I woke up a little tender.
Tender from the new tattoo that we did last night, and from the day that came before that. Every Saturday my son stays with his father and every Saturday my world feels like it falls apart a little, however much I need space. When he’s here I yearn to take long baths, workout, and take time to write, or devise. And then he leaves and the first thing I want to do is have a drink. I become lost.
Lockdown means having nothing but time to reflect. Being a single mother makes that last statement irrelevant. So when he is gone, those are the days I struggle. But Sundays, they are always good, because the time alone is finite. I happily fill the hours reading papers that espouse absolute bullshit that has nothing to do with my life like making the most of your garden, the top 20 books to read during your spare time whilst lounging on a new vegan eco friendly sofa, online pilates for £50 a pop, and did we mention how to entertain your children with your lovely garden?
I’ll probably never have a house, or a garden. I’m a self employed single mother. Working class. Sex worker. Artist. See that house getting further away? But the home I live in with my son is beautiful, and I love it. And thanks to Covid and my sudden entitlement to benefits, I can afford the rent without leaning on complicated relationships with men or sex work. I have done both for over a decade. Two years of therapy and a non transactional loving relationship later, I might be done with the sex work. I don’t know if I have that choice long-term.
I’ve painted all my walls, reorganised things, deep cleaned, made an art cupboard. I got another cat. My son and I go for long cycles and hold dance parties anywhere in the house. He is happy. So am I.
My boyfriend went home after lunch because he has a broken rib which hurts, and because we had an argument. Or rather, he did a shitty thing he got defensive about and then felt bad, and I didn’t want him moping around giving me the extra emotional labour of making him feel better about the thing he did to me. Whilst also doing the domestic labour of cleaning his dishes, laundering the bedclothes from last night, and getting ready for my son to come home etc etc. The most useful thing I learned in therapy was boundaries, and the most difficult part of lockdown is boundaries.
It’s harder to think in a straight line. I’m glad of the rest.
I am not thinking about all my cancelled tours, paid research and development projects, the lost momentum or whether my fledgling career as an artist is over. I am not thinking about whether there is more shame in benefits or sex work. I’m not thinking about whether I can afford the presents I just got him for his birthday on Tuesday. That can all wait.