Why do so many Transwomen experiment with sex work ?

Anyone that knows me knows that I have had my demons in the past and made bad decisions which have affected those who were close to me. I’m not proud of that, but with the promises I’ve made to myself for 2019, I’m working to make sure they don’t happen again. (or happen less, I am human after all)

Yes, the legs are mine !

Reminiscing this weekend, I was thinking about my brief time as a sex worker and found myself asking if this was something I regretted or not. More than that, I came to realise that a lot of my trans friends have all been sex workers, so I thought I’d ask three of my closest friends about their feelings and experiences from that time.

Speaking to Rae* she remembers her time with mixed feelings. “It was a means to an end for me. I can’t really say much more about it than that” she says. “Unemployed, without access to health insurance, I couldn’t afford the HRT I was desperate for, so something had to change and that something was me”. “Looking back on it, I think it was a case of two wrongs making a right. Nature gave me the wrong body, which I had to correct through the wrong of sex work to become the right me”. Curious, I ask her how long she did it for and how she rationalised doing it. “I only did it for 4 years, to get myself through college and to the point of surgery. I then moved and put it all behind me.” Rationalising it was easy. Each months HRT was either so many BJs, or a mix of HJs, Anal and pumping or any other combination. Rent was the same, but after my HRT which was always my first priority. Anything above that went into my escape fund for my new life.” Now in a better place, I ask her “Do you regret it ?” to which she replies, “that’s a complicated question to answer. I don’t regret becoming me, overall I am in a much better place. But I do regret how I had to make it happen. With so much negative judgement about being a sex worker, I try to keep the fact that I did it to myself which can make me anxious sometimes or bring about a panic attack anticipating that someone has found out. I sometime hear co-workers in the kitchen complaining about the routine of their jobs, or how much they hate it. Well guess what buttercup, there’s always someone worse off than you who would trade lives in an instant, I know I did, so how about some gratitude ?”

Krissy* is a little different. “At university, my cocaine addiction ran up a $70k debt which my dealer eventually called in. First it was him, then his friends and eventually anyone and everyone. His girlfriend was the worst, she didn’t mind spending his money, just as long as she had me to degrade myself with him and his friends. She kinda used me as a shield. Whatever I ended up doing, it didn’t really add to the emotional pain that I was suffering from my dysphoria. The only thing that took it away was the cocaine.” So what got you out ? I ask. “Well, I’m not really out of it, I still work as a cam girl, posting videos of myself and doing live videos for paying clients. I’ve kind of swapped one addiction for another. Attention. Its almost like I need the adoration to validate me as a woman. I realise that sounds crap and will offend feminists and probably even some Trans people, but for me and lots of other CIS women doing it, that’s our fucked up truth and I’m not ashamed to own it. For now at least. I realise there will come a time where I will become too old for my vanity, but the way I figure it, I’ll be able to look back at the pictures with no regrets, knowing that I (eventually) managed to build the kinda life for myself that all those self help sites promise and promote. I just got there a different way. So what ?”

Claire* has a similar story. “I wanted to explore my sexuality and a number of women at the massage studio were working as escorts in London, so I thought why not me ? I was already exploring my gender and sexuality seemed a natural progression.” So it was just a one off for you ? I ask. “Oh no, I did about 6 years, maybe a little longer if you count the odd times I did it after I stopped working at the studio.”

Curious, I ask why. “It was strange, each time I did it, the sensation was like a ratchet, the next time had to be more extreme, more painful, more degrading, whatever. I wanted to explore my limits and the people I did it with were just tools to help me do it.” When I ask if she considers herself kinky, she straight out laughs at me. “Sweety, people like me don’t call ourselves kinky, that’s a label for the slap and tickle for couples who shop at Ann Summers !!!” So what then ? What do you call yourself ? “I guess a professional. I had my playlist of what constituted safe, sane and consensual. Safewords and more. Like a contract, so maybe I should call myself self-employed !” What made you stop I ask ? “Two things, I had a regular who used to cut and brand me in our scenes, which although I’ve managed to cover up with tattoo’s since, have left me with an anxiety complex and having to cut myself as a kind of replacement for intimacy.” And the second ? “I went for a no limits weekend scene with a couple in Sunderland and came round 4 days later in a hotel room in Middlesbrough not really knowing what had happened. “ Those two things made me realise I needed a way out.

Thanks to regression therapy and flashbacks I’ve managed to piece a lot of it back together which has helped me get better, or at least mentally more able to manage my anxiety, but without that “oh shit” moment” I don’t know what would have happened.”

Given that, I’m surprised when I ask her about what she has learned about that weekend that she just tells me, in a matter of fact style that absolutely scares the hell out of me, so instead, I ask her if she has any regrets. “None at all about doing it.” she says. “Or even what I did”. “Maybe just the trust that I put in other people, but even then I learnt a lot about human nature”

I’m grateful to all three women (I’ve changed their names) for sharing their experiences with me, which are different to mine. My reason for doing it was simple. Money. We all have to live in the material world after all and like Madonna says, I am a material girl. As for regrets, absolutely. I wish I had never come anywhere near that life, because society doesn’t need another reason to judge me unfavourably.

I just wish society would show sex workers the same kind of respect and equality they deserve. More than that, I guess as a former sex worker myself, I would say that if you’re thinking about doing it, have some respect for yourself and think carefully about it. In these days of social media, it can stay with you forever, in a very different, more public and personal way than it did in my day. All of which make the mental recovery harder.

Love always

Kendra

Top five foundation mistakes – are you making them ?

love foundationWe love hearing from you girls, either when you come into the salon, or via email.  So we were thrilled when friend of the store Erin got in touch recently, saying she was having trouble with her foundation.  Although I’ve blogged before about the importance of primer – in this post, I just wanted to concentrate on the top five mistakes we see trans women making when they’re applying foundation.

1.    Choosing the wrong nuance

All makeup artists are of the opinion that foundation should be in the same tone as your natural complexion. To determine the perfect tone for your skin apply a line of each of the 3 or 4 colors that seem closest to your complexion to your jawline and choose the one that blends most invisibly.

2.    Applying foundation with force

If you enforce too much pressure on your sponge or applicator you will not get a better coverage. All you will accomplish by rubbing too hard is reddening of the skin and an uneven distribution of the foundation. For a better effect use your fingertips and apply the foundation with light circular motions.

3.    Applying foundation with insufficient light

If the room is too bright or too dark you will not be able to see properly and cover all of your face evenly. When you go outside, the daylight will make your mistakes visible. Our advice is to create your makeup in the same light in which you will be wearing it.

4.    You are applying more than is needed

If you are trying to cover up some defect, you should know that masking it over with foundation has the reverse effect. Spread the foundation in an even layer over your whole face; do not pile it in one area, because this will attract attention to this area.  Your skin needs air, so in this case “the less, the better” is the rule to go by. Otherwise you may be mistaken for a clown.

5. You have not prepared the skin before applying foundation

Primer is so important – so so important !! YOU HAVE TO PREP YOUR SKIN ladies !!. Then you have to hydrate it with a moisturizing lotion. You can begin applying foundation once the moisturizer is completely absorbed.

Would love to know what your top tips are for foundation – do you have a favourite ?  Or maybe a brush you like to use for a flawless finish – why not pop me a line ?

Joanna

What does it mean to be female ?

When I was asked this myself recently, I had to admit the question made me stop and think. Really think. Being Transgender you might expect my answer to reflect my dysphoria, but as a woman I know my femininity is worth more than that. I don’t think I could sum it up in a single word or an expression.

Being Transgender doesn’t invalidate my answer to the question. Sure, there are TERFs who may disagree, but so what ? Sometimes, shock horror, society (and the law) disagrees with them too and you don’t see many of them beating themselves up over it, or changing their opinion.

So what does being a woman, a Transgender woman mean to me ?

It means I know that I am more than just my gender. I’m aware of the obstacles life is going to throw my way and prejudices people will have about me. I can trust my own ability to overcome these too, even if I don’t immediately know how to. I don’t need to do it all on my own either, because I have the confidence and self-awareness to know when to ask for help.

I’m not afraid to show my feelings either, because, hey, we all have them and I’m not afraid to be true to mine. They’re my truths, which reflect my kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, a willingness to be vulnerable, and authenticity. They help ground me and be true to myself.

As a woman, I know that my strength and value is built on these feelings which give me a kind of confident humility in all that I do. Backed up by my faith in God and passion for loving and helping others, this confident humility means I stay centred, without being arrogant.

Being a Transgender woman, I know that femininity is more than a biological or social construct. It’s about being human and recognizing the complexity of diversity that comes with being human. As a Transgender woman, I’ve had to take responsibility for my life, what I want for my life and how society will see me in a far more fundamental way than most others. I have gone beyond any fears or prejudices to define my own womanhood.

I enjoy being a woman, and I enjoy being the woman I am becoming. I especially enjoy challenging the notion that I can be put in a box. I am training to be a hair stylist and an activist for my community. I want to be married and have many children, all the while maintaining my identities as child of God, a daughter, a sister, and a good friend. But I don’t think that any of this makes me a more special kind of woman or better than any other woman; it’s just MY womanhood. And though it may need some work, for the most part, and until further notice, I love it.

What does being a woman mean to you ?

Be true to yourselves

Kendra

Transgender FAQ (The WTF ones)

Giving talks on any subject can be a difficult proposition, particularly one as potentially misunderstood (or even divisive for some people) as Transgender Equality.  Throw in having any kind of social media profile, where people can add comments to your wall, or message you directly and the opportunity for some truly jaw dropping moments seems to exponentially increase .   Here are some of my “favourites” from 2018 so far…..

Talks and Presentations

  1. Why should I believe there are more than two genders ?  Reply – What do you get from only believing there are two ?
  2. What does Trans stand for ? Reply – I don’t think its an abbreviation, but if it is I would imagine it stands for Respect, Diversity and Equality.
  3. Surely Trans women aren’t real women ? I’m with the Turds on this.  Reply – I think you mean TERFS, but I get your point.
  4. Why should you be able to use the Women’s toilet ?  Reply  – Because it will save me having to pee or poop over your shoes here.  Please excuse me, I REALLY need to go !!!!
  5. You say Trans people are statistically more likely to commit suicide than any other marginalised group, but I’ve known 5 people who’ve committed suicide and none of them were Trans what do you say about that ? Reply – I’m sorry for your statistically anomalous losses.
  6. Can you get me Paris Lees phone number ? Reply – No, sorry, maybe you could email her agent ?
  7. Do you have to buy special makeup for men ?  Reply – Not unless men want it as a present.  Otherwise I just buy and use the same as you do.
  8. So, you’re a Tranny ? Reply – No, you’re confusing me for a Ford Transit Van, but when I wear white, I can understand how you might think that.
  9. Do you watch Orange is the New Black ?  Reply – yes, but only the ones with Laverne Cox in, otherwise I find it’s not true to life for me.
  10. Turn out for tonight’s talk has been lower than we expected so we can’t afford to pay you, would you like a free row of tickets for the raffle instead ?  Reply – That’s really kind of you, but gambling is a demerit in Buddhism, so I’ll have to respectfully pass.
  11. What have LGBT people ever done for me ?  Reply – We’ve given you the word “F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S “ daghlingk and a standard for it to live up to.
  12. Are your parents disappointed with how you’ve turned out ? Reply, I don’t know, since I outed myself to them, they’ve passed away so arguing with them about it has become a lot harder.
(I do get invited back though.  Sometimes)

Social Media

  1. Do you like Dick ? Reply – I don’t know anyone called Richard, sorry.  I’m sure if I met him and got to know him, I might.
  2. Are you gay ? Reply- Yes, In England gay is just another word for happy though.  Are you ?
  3. Will you marry me ? Reply – No. Never in a million years, because I’m a once in a lifetime woman.
  4. Do you do Cam work ? Reply -No, I am a makeup artist and cannot manufacture any form of mechanical timing or actuation device.
  5. Are you flirting with me ? Reply – No.  Just NO
  6. Can I have your number ? Reply – yes 5.
  7. Do you know Farrah Mills, can you get me her number ? Reply, no, we’re friends and I couldn’t do that to her.
  8. Can I call you Cindy ? Reply – no, I like my name just fine thankyou.
  9. Do you like S&M ? Reply, Yes, their bras aren’t just any bras, they’re M&S Bras.  I wouldn’t buy any others.
  10. Didn’t I hire you as an escort once in London ? Reply – Probably not, I don’t do impersonations of cars from the 1980s.
  11. Would you like to see my cock ? Reply, no, I’m a vegetarian, Poultry has no interest for me.
  12. If I sent you underwear would you wear it and then return it unwashed ?  Reply, no No NO NO NO !!!! Ewwww !!!
  13. Show me your tits.  Reply – Sorry, I don’t have any pets, feathered or otherwise.
  14. How much for sex ?  Reply – more than you can afford since it would cost me my dignity.
  15. Can I cum round ?  Reply – Corners ?!??!?
(funny how when you report these, they are seen not to violate “Community Standards” – what community ?!!?!!)
Would love to know what your own experiences have been !! Drop a comment and join in !!!
Love always

5 minutes a day…..

As well as giving me the chance to goof around outdoors, the recent snow also gave me a chance to do some thinking about a whole range of things.  It’s great fun to let your mind wander around like this sometimes.  While it’s not exactly meditation, for me, I can find it even more restful than sleeping and certainly more enjoyable !

One of my recent daydreams had me wondering.  You know we’re always racing from one thing to another, what would we do with more time ?  If you’re anything like me, probably more running ! But isn’t it crazy that the less time something takes to do, the less likely we are to do it ?

So girl, its time to put down that mobile phone, abandon the Facebook status update and dare I say it step away from the cake………. (I know, I can’t believe I typed that either)  Instead, why not try one or more than these quick routes to a better day and happiness ?

BreathingBreathe. That’s right, just breathe !  The best thing about these five minutes is that you can literally do it anywhere, office, home (there’s even one girl in the salon that does it in the ladies – she gets embarrassed)  You don’t need to “do the pose”, sitting cross legged with your thumb on your fingers, just comfortable !

Close your left nostril with your left thumb and breathe only through your right nostril and let the energy flow through you.  You’re looking to keep a regular rhythm with your breathing and keep your breaths in and out the same length.  I also prefer to close my eyes closed personally, but beware, I’ve heard ladies snoring a couple minutes in when they do this ! Just settle into your rhythm and enjoy for five minutes.  Heaven !

Balance

Find your balance.

This is my personal favourite 5 minute exercise.  Ok, so you don’t have to stand on a mound, looking like the cross between a figure four and a belly dancer, but studies have shown that simply standing on one foot for 5 minutes can have a positive effect on your core strength and joint stability.  I know what you’re thinking though – are you having a laugh ?

The simple answer is NO ladies !

Try standing on each foot for a couple of minutes to get a real benefit in your core – if nothing else, you’ll learn to wobble evenly !

Doodle (or colour in)

Doodle.png#YNotbU recently bought the Authentic image modelling agency and their Creative Director Amanda is an AMAAAAZING doodler, but even if you aren’t as talented as Amanda, there’s still a great mental benefit to doodling and colouring in.

Just listen to Amanda’s advice “Don’t let a perceived lack of talent stop you – get some pencils and a pad and just create your own masterpiece. Whatever you do will be an original so don’t forget to sign it !”

Doodling isn’t just a way to keep yourself occupied in a dull meeting either, studies have shown it can help improve your memory and ability to retain information, improve focus, reduce stress and help you think more creatively. Dedicate a few minutes a day to doodling and see where the blank page takes you…. I’d love to see what you create !

warm upGetting back to an exercise theme though, I want to talk to you about probably the most important 5 minutes of your workout.  The 5 minute warm up before and the 5 minute warm down afterwards.  Follow this simple routine at the start and end of your workout and thank me later !

 

  • Upper body and arm stretch: Clasp hands together, plans facing outwards, push arms up above the head. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Tricep stretch: Raise right arm, bend it backwards so right hand is in middle of back and use other hand to gently pull elbow towards left side until you feel a strict. Hold 30 seconds and repeat on other arm.
  • Standing cat cow: Feet hip-width apart, legs slightly bent, lean forwards and place your hands on thighs just above knee. Round your back so head and shoulders are curved forwards. Then arch your back so your chest is open and shoulders back.
    Shoulder shrugs: Shrug shoulders up and down 10 times.
  • Upper trap stretch: Lean your head to one side so your ear is towards shoulder. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on other side.
  • Calf stretch: Bending your left knee in a lunge shape, place your right leg straight out behind you, heel on the floor. Place hands on kitchen side and stretch into right calf for 30 secs. Repeat on left side.
  • Hamstring stretch: Bend your left knee and place your right leg straight in front of you. Sit into the left leg tilting your bum towards the sky. Keep your right foot flat on the floor for 15 secs, then lift toes towards sky for 15 to increase stretch. Repeat on left leg.
  • Glute stretch: You can hold the kitchen side for support if you need to here. From standing, bend you left leg slightly and lift you right leg up and place your right ankle just above left knee. Sit into it and try and for 30 seconds, Repeat on left.
  • Quad stretch: Standing on your left leg, feet hip-width apart, take your right ankle in your right hand, keeping your knees together. Tilt your pelvis forwards to increase the stretch and don’t lock out your standing knee. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat on left side.

 

So let’s get going girls AND Don’t forge to tell me how you get on !

 

Madds

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Press release – YnotbU acquires Authentic Image Model Agency

YnotbU is excited to announce the successful conclusion of several months negotiation between YNotbU and the Authentic Image Model Agency, which sees them join our @TransMakeupandBeautyAdvice brand.

Commenting on the acquisition, Amanda Pearson, Creative Director of Altered Image stated “On behalf of Altered Image, I can’t say enough how thrilled we are at this next stage of our business development.  We’re excited to be working with the YNotbU team and the opportunities being part of the @TransMakeupandBeautyAdvice brand presents us.  Now we have secured this deal for our agency, we can’t wait to get started on our shared vision, the coming years projects and our own USA expansion.  In particular, I wanted to thank Gemma Atkinson of @YNotbU for being the inspiration behind this deal and making us feel so welcome.”

Echoing Amanda’s sentiment, Joanna Darrell stated “It’s a real privilege to be able to welcome Authentic Image to our family.  The girls energy and passion for what they do has been so much fun to experience during these conversations and their ideas for what we can achieve together has created a real buzz among the team.  In addition to recognising and thanking Gemma for her efforts on this project, I’d like to extend my personal thanks to Kim Lewis, former Managing Director of Altered Image, without whom this deal simply would not have happened.  The values, ethics and behaviours she has strove for throughout her career and instilled in her team are not just what attracted us initially, but what make it such a good fit for both organisations moving forward.  Even though she is stepping down and retiring, I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting 2018 for us all !!!”

The acquisition completes formally at the end of March.

For more information, please contact YNotbU and Authentic Image via our usual communication channels.

Things to avoid before you sleep

Getting enough sleep and a good nights rest actually takes a lot more effort and preparation than going to bed early enough in the evening. I know it might seem like too much of a hassle, especially when it comes at the wrong wnd of the day, but arranging your days activities so that you slow down mentally during the evening can really pay dividends for a good nights sleep.

Let me walk you through the things that I do……………….

First things first, I’ve made sure my bedroom is ready for sleep. It’s the second most important thing I do there (on occasions) I’ve purchased a tempur style mattress which is soooooo comfortable, I just love going to sleep now, rather than fall asleep on the sofa in front of a tv playing to itself. Next, I set the alarm clock on my phone and LEAVE IT DOWNSTAIRS on charge. That way, I get a good rest without distraction and more importantly, can’t hit snooze when it goes off, for 10 more minutes. If I want longer in bed, I set the alarm for later. Simples.

Making sure I only sleep in bed (and, you know) is important because it associates bed with a place where I’m relaxed and ready for rest. If I use it as a sofa for watching tv, or taking my laptop to bed to work on a couple of bits of work, then it just becomes like any other room in the house. Think about it, the Kitchen is for cooking, you wouldn’t do that in bed would you ?

During the day, I make sure I get all the stressful or strenuous activities out of the way early on. As keen as I am on fitness and exercise regimes, I don’t personally exercise too late in the day (after 20:00 for example) as I find that exercising later than this will often leave my adrenalin levels high, which makes it hard to sleep.

At home, before I go to bed, I don’t drink coffee (So I make sure I don’t have Joanna round, who’s permanently wired for it) I’ll also not drink any alcohol or wine. I just make a bottle of my favourite Lemon water and take it to bed with me, just in case I wake up thirsty. I also don’t rely on anything like milky drinks, or sleeping pills. When I’m tired, I go to bed, its as simple as that !

When I’m in bed, rather than watch TV, I’ll tend to read my kindle for half an hour or so. Something nice and simple, not too stimulating, but one of those books you can just mush into, pick up and drop when you want and just enjoy the moment. I’m actually reading a book about Sardinia at the moment, planning my next holiday ! lots of relaxing photos of lovely beaches and pleasant landscapes. Perfect !

Then, last but my no means least, I always wear an eye mask and ear plugs in bed. I just find it darkens the room for me and creates a silence that is restful. I don’t need any apps to play running water (makes me want to pee) wind chimes (makes me stay awake listening for the next bong) or walks through a forest with a flute (gives me a headache) I just need ot make sure I go to sleep tired.

What are your tips for going to sleep and getting a good nights rest ? I’d love for you to share them with me !

Hugs

Madds

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