Please and Denial

Last year I went to Peru to drink ayahuasca for the first time. It opened my eyes up to an entirely different way of seeing the world and imbued me with a sense of spirituality I had not known before. In a business where a gal sells her love by the hour, a higher sense of purpose can be hard to find. But I found just that and so much more.

Still it wasn’t enough. After 3 months of enlightenment, peace, love and all that shit, I was reverting back to bad habits and negative ways of thinking, So this summer I decided to go back to Peru, hoping to find more answers and insights to life at the bottom of a vomit bucket.

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I went with four girls this year, two fellow providers and two friends from last year’s ayahuasca retreat. Interestingly enough, of the two providers, one of them, Bellissa, was retiring from the business while the other, Scarlett Fever, was just getting her stilettos on for the first time. Me, I was floating somewhere in the middle.

No matter where we were in our career paths, I knew that ayahuasca was going to be key in preparing us for what was next. Bellissa wanted to know what was waiting for her after her retirement. Now that she had gracefully bowed out of the biz, what was she going to do next with her life? For Scarlett, who recently graduated from art school and decided to become a full-time courtesan under my tutelage, ayahuasca could help her understand how she was going to use her art and profession to become the best version of herself.

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Catching Scarlett Fever in Paris!

As for me, this past year pre-ayahuasca, I was working my fingers and pussy to the bone, staying up for 2 AM calls or jumping out of bed for a 5:30 AM visit. I was putting up with all kinds of shit, from golden showers to nipple torture, hustling left and right, and not entirely sure why I was doing it. Sure, I was a greedy bitch and the money was a big motivator, but I didn’t even have time to spend the money nor did I feel good about having it.

After I came back from my first retreat, I immediately made changes to my business model. I fired every client who disrespected me or left me feeling energetically drained. I stopped taking the odd-hour calls and thumbed my nose at same-day requests. I quit putting on dog-and-pony shows, stopped saying yes to everything just because, and increased my rates.

I decided I would do first what made me happy, spend time with the ones I love, then work around it. And you know what happened? I worked less, the demand swelled and my business increased. As soon as I genuinely stopped caring about the money, the love came pouring in.

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I quit playing into the review game, stopped hustling and started seeing fewer new people. I was at a comfortable place in my career where I could work when I wanted, be selective of who I saw, and not put my body through a three-ring circus every time. So I shifted all that energy instead into making connections with other providers and helping other girls get their start in the business. I was all about organizing provider get-togethers and mentwhoring new girls just getting their feet wet in the business. I put so much energy into working with other women that I completely forgot about one person—that wide-eyed southern child who moved to NYC two years ago with a bag full of dildos and pocketful of dreams

That girl was me.

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When I first moved to NYC in May 2014 on a psychedelic whim, I didn’t know anyone on my end of the business. Finding an apartment required pulling all the resources I had and cashing in all my favors. Not to mention one demanding as all hell tour to Chicago. Because I wasn’t Carmina Fucking Kai at the time. I was a newbie, and there were days that the phone wasn’t ringing.

In-demand or not, I was driven. I spent all that extra time burying myself in my writing, something I never had the luxury of pursuing because I was always so busy making ends meet. I set my sights high, on the many hopes and dreams I had of revolutionizing the industry. I started this blog, where I bared not just my tits and lady bits but my entire soul. I poured my heart and all my thoughts into every post, making this domain the public diary of a very kinky girl.

In the beginning, I kept up with this blog regularly, updating once a week, then every other week. But weeks turned into a month and a month turned into months. The girl who gets paid to put out wasn’t putting out where it counted, and it wasn’t for lack of material. I had so much material that I didn’t know where to start. I came up with reasons to not write: oh I’m too out there; it’s too dark; who wants to hear about my hippie dippie ayahuasca visions; why am I writing here when I should be saving this up for my book?

I made up excuses to not blog. And frankly I was getting complacent with where I was as a provider, opting for 140 character tweets that fed into my ego over 1400 word treatises on a hooker’s definition of life, which fueled my soul. I spent my time hanging out with other providers, convincing myself I was fulfilling my other dream of shaking up the industry and starting a women’s empowerment movement.

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Empower my ass!

It took a lot of bitch slaps from life over the last couple of months to realize that tweeting about drinks with girlfriends was doing shit to propel us forward. While I loved meeting other girls and making connections, I was losing sight of why I wanted to meet those girls to begin with. I was becoming a bourgie bitch who couldn’t tell a twat from a tweet.

So I organized a trip to Peru to take a step back and recalibrate, and in the process help other girls find themselves as well. When I came back, I became even more despondent and disillusioned. The big enlightenments I had last year were nowhere to be found. Instead I found myself pulling away from others, becoming more reclusive and less responsive to digital forms of communication. I thought, fuck, did I drink too much ayahuasca? Or not enough??

Not wanting to be a downer, I kept up appearances. And at first my provider cheerleader mentality was enough to convince me that everything was A-okay. I organized a road trip through California with some good friends—Keiki, Kaliyah and Scarlett, regularly met up with providers in New York and along my travels, and hosted get-togethers at my place in the city.

Still I felt a little empty and initially didn’t understand why. I started paying more attention to my feelings and how interactions with other people affected me. It suddenly dawned on me that for some time now, I was burying myself in work and social engagements to avoid dealing with my own thoughts and emotions. I was so hell-bent on insuring the happiness of others that I was neglecting myself.

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I was becoming the ultimate people pleaser. In spite of my “I don’t take shit from anybody” mentality, I was putting up with quite a bit of shit and not even realizing it. Somewhere along the way, I became so caught up on loving others that I forgot how to love myself. It dawned on me that I simply did not have enough love for myself. Last year’s ayahuasca taught me to have more respect for myself, which led me on a firing spree and made me more selective of who I saw for work. But in the love department, I wasn’t getting any from myself.

I gave it all to those I was close to and then was hurt or miffed when it wasn’t reciprocated in kind. At first I blamed others for my hurt feelings, instead of taking responsibility for putting myself in a position to be upset in the first place. No one was asking me to bare my soul or share my world with others. I did it all myself in an effort to seek the love, affection, and attention that I wasn’t giving myself.

This blog was never intended to be a big deal and it certainly wasn’t a marketing scheme as someone recently posited. It was first and foremost an exercise in expressing myself and secondly a way to connect with like-minded individuals. Once I made the connections, the objective of self-expression suddenly seemed less pressing.

In my mind, it seemed like, “Well now that I’ve connected with the people I want to, I can just tell them all my thoughts in person and not spend all this effort on keeping up with the blog.” The problem was that I still had so many thoughts I wasn’t sharing with anyone. When I’d find myself stuck in my head, I would sip (okay shoot!) scotch, get on a plane, or distract myself with the whims and woes of others, instead of confronting my own reality. It was easier to do that than write about what was on my mind.

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Thus I got myself into this big mental mess, shutting up instead of speaking out. It carried over into some of my relationships, in which I found ghosting to be the path of least resistance. If I wasn’t sure how I felt about being with someone, I shut down communication rather than express my complicated feelings. Having talked to my peers and patrons, it seems to be a common practice when lines get blurred.

My non-communication also took its toll on my blog. A few not-so-good things happened to me this year, and when I couldn’t figure out to put a positive spin on it (at the moment), I decided it wasn’t worth posting. I have several half-written blog entries that I didn’t publish because they were too dark, and who wants to read about an unhappy hooker?

The reality of life is that the world isn’t all peace, love and light. Sometimes it can be quite dark, but it’s the dark that makes you better understand and appreciate the light. This year’s ayahuasca put me in touch with some of the darkness of the world and within myself, which I needed to address—not sweep under the rug or numb with a whippet.

Now having written all this, and probably bored you all to tears, I feel in a much better place. The other day my friend and I went to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. When my man played “Vienna,” I teared up thinking of the New Orleans girl who, two years ago, sat on the windowsill of her brand-new Manhattan apartment every night staring out into the East River listening to that song, dreaming of all the ways she was going to change the world.

At what point did that courtesan with a conscience forget about that book she was going to write, the porn company she was going to start, or the sexual revolution she was going to pioneer? Well she didn’t forget; she just got a little distracted. And now it’s time to get back on track.

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Recently, I tweeted “No longer seeking out new TER reviews. Rate hike soon! No new friends w/o A+ recommendationsz (sic, eek!) Last chance to get on my VIP list😉.” Well it’s true. I’m in the process of trimming my friendship tree while cultivating the branches that are strongest. Rate hike doesn’t apply if you got in on the ground floor, but if you’re looking for condo space higher up, there’ll be a premium I’m afraid😉. It’s time to bring back that dreamer of a harlot who believed she could do big things with a flick of her pen and a wave of her Hitachi.

There will be fewer tours and less non-work trips. This blog will get the attention it desperately deserves in the form of a makeover, a transition into a WOmanual on how to properly court a courtesan. The next series of blog posts will be titled “Coquetiquette.” We’ll go through the handbook from pre-screening to post-sesh follow-up, including how to properly introduce yourself, making the most of your time together, respecting boundaries, getting good references, and all that jazz. Now that I’m KonMari-ing the shit out of my Black Book, there will be no holds, hoes, or holes barred.

All the while I’ll be dreaming, writing and creating, because that’s what I came here to do! Of course I’ll continue to love, and maybe even learn how to self-love along the way. Like Manhattan construction and this blog, it’s always going to be a work in progress. Thanks for making it this far🙂.

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DMTease

A year and some change later, I am back in Peru! I am on my way to the Amazon jungle to find out what answers and truths await me this time at the bottom of a cup…or vomit bucket.

Back in April 2015, I wrote a trilogy of posts, Camp AyahuascaWild Earth Child, Pornographic Priestess, about my life-changing experience with ayahuasca. It was a year-long journey of healing, discovery, and transformation that started in the Andes and culminated in Lake Titicaca, where the next chapter is about to be written.

imageI won’t make excuses for the comatose state of my blog the last six months. I’ve simply been busy as fuck. Busy living, loving, laughing, and lighting my way around the world and back. I’ve had my big fuckups and deep dark spells here and there, but bruised as I am, this banana’s ripe for the picking!

Over the last month or so, I’ve started to hear my greater calling. It involves writing, it involves creating, and it involves a renegade redhead named Scarlett X, a protege I’m presently mentwhoring and who you all will soon get to know very well… She’s the flame to my kindling and we’re about to light this whole thing on fire!

Shit’s about to get hot, hotter than the Amazon! Which reminds me, got a plane to catch and I can’t miss it this time🙂

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Miss Scarlett & me🙂

A Year in the Life

I wrote my first blog post of 2015 sitting next to an open window in a New Orleans hotel room. Despite being January 2nd, it was 70 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. At the time, all I could see out the window were rowdy college football fans milling around in the streets, nursing their hangovers from the Sugar Bowl the night before.

Little did I know that if I gazed beyond the rambunctious red-shirted revelers, past the Vieux Carre, I would see that it was in fact a window into a world of opportunities and new experiences. And that upon closer look, that window was actually a French door, waiting to be pushed open into the fresh air and sunlight.

So in 2015 I did just that. I pushed that door wide open and set forth to explore the planet, understand its inhabitants, and discover my place in this world. This past year I have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams, conquered fears beyond my imagination, and began a path of healing to become the strongest, realest, and most conscious woman I can be.

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From the French Quarter to the Financial District, from the Playa to Portugal, from Esalen to England, it’s been one hell of a trek around the planet and back. I climbed mountains, dived in caves, and discovered somewhere in between that love exists in the most unexpected places. I found my spirituality at the bottom of a vomit bucket in the Sacred Valley of Peru. I kissed dolphins, fished for piranhas, and lived every week like it was Shark Week—or at least one week quite literally!

Every day was a new trial, a chance to try something different and learn from it. Living life in a constant state of experimentation and exploration taught me to abandon any fear, to have an open heart and an open mind, and to let nothing in but love, light, and truth. Every now and then, I allowed the darkness to permeate, as it did back in November, but I chased it away every time with my own brand of sunshine. Some of those times I needed help, which I learned was okay to admit, because we all need a little help sometimes.

Through bodies intertwined, I have peeled back the fleshy layers of human sexuality and uncovered fantasies and desires of men and women alike. Through hearts, minds, souls unwound I feel I’ve traversed the full gamut of human experience in just a short time—one calendar year, one solar revolution of time, a mere fragment when we consider just how old this planet is.

It’s not easy, it’s sometimes lonely, it’s a tilt-a-whirl of every emotion and achievement in human existence, but it’s called living. And I’ve never been more grateful for that breath of life that lets me do what I do, day in day out.

The lessons I’ve learned this year have been immeasurable, each one imbuing me with a deeper understanding of the world, its denizens, and myself. Every interaction, every encounter, every being, every frustration, every disappointment, and every victory was to get me to where I was meant to be, which is exactly where I am today.

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I learned that every living being we touch, every rock, crystal, tree, plant, animal and human being has been placed in our path for a reason, to learn from, to teach, to understand a little bit more about ourselves and the reality that surrounds us. That reality is that we are all connected, and we are all creating by the minute.

Having loved so deeply, I learned that love can be accessed anywhere because we carry it inside of us and that amount contained within our beating hearts is as limitless as the cosmos.

Having spent so much time on the road, I learned that home can be any place because we build it around us with the tools we carry on our backs, the temporary structures of our temporary physical existence.

I learned that truth is a known feeling, a remembering of knowledge from existence and experience, and that music is the soluble medium that allows it to flow in every direction. We’re not all going to share the same truths or taste in music, but the important thing is that we give each other the opportunity to express ourselves and be our own conductors.

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I learned that there are doors opening all the time. Sometimes you just need to find the right key and jiggle a bit to make it work. I realized that sometimes our wildest dreams are within reach if we simply extend our arms and pluck them off the tree, like a fig waiting to be devoured in a Sylvia Plath novel. But if we wait too long, those figs will go bad before we have a chance to pick them.

This year, this sweet ’16, those figs are starting to ripen and it’s harvest time. Some of those figs might not be ready for another few seasons, like having babies or opening a Peruvian hostel called The Alpaca Backpacka. Others, like my creative and professional pursuits, are ready to be eaten. It’s just a matter of which one to bite into first.

2016 will also be a year of KonMari-ing the shit out of my life, getting rid of everything superfluous and only hanging onto something if it “sparks joy.” While the KonMari method was written about how to de-clutter actual, physical space, I believe the concepts apply to life in general, from not giving a fuck about what others think to avoiding emotional attachments to the unnecessary.

I spent a lot of 2015 hanging on to friendships and relationships that did not bring me joy—only self-doubt and insecurity. Some of these were connections made from my previous life, which I kept not because they made me happy, but because they were nostalgic reminders of the girl I once was. Others I hung onto because I yearned to receive a fraction of the love I was giving forth and doubted that I could find a bigger kind of love elsewhere.

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Until I met the love of my life at the bottom of the ocean😉

It took me some time to realize that those relationships were toxic and reinforced a sense of self-loathing I thought I had overcome. Love may be infinite, but our time and energy is limited, and it is important to save those resources for those who have the heart to respond in kind.

Like unhealthy friendships, I’ll check some things at the door to 2016. There will be no more self-criticism. No expectations, no judgment, and no fucking complaints! Expectations will no longer be mistaken for goals, when goals are actually INTENT. And I’ll live every day with greater intent as I grow into the woman I’m supposed to become.

While some things are better left behind in 2015, others I take with me into the New Year. Compassion, communication, and a deeper appreciation of this world—my proudest works of the previous year—will carry over in 2016. I will continue to learn from others and see life through different eyes. I’ll keep breaking down barriers that prevent us from expressing what we truly think and feel. And I’ll carry on with my travels, my own form of continuing education in which the world is my classroom and we are all teachers and pupils.

A heartfelt thank you to my fellow warriors, my beacons of light who’ve guided me on many a dark night, my teachers who’ve opened my mind to new concepts, my role models who’ve given me something to aspire to, and my beloved friends and family who’ve shown me that I am not alone.

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This most recent sabbatical from my life of sin has been a much-needed opportunity to recalibrate, rebalance, and hit the “reset” button. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the profession, the glitz of New York City, and the allure of a jet-setting lifestyle. But every time I return to my roots, I am reminded of two things:

One, that I am still a kid and I am not above sneaking joint hits in my parents’ house or playing Settlers of Catan while baked. Secondly, none of that shit is forever, only love endures. And I am so blessed to know love, in its many different forms—love that can travel anywhere on this planet and doesn’t involve checked luggage, baggage fees, or visas. Wherever I go in 2016, there it will be too.

As I finish this blog entry, I’m staring out the window once again, this time facing the Cascade Mountain Range. Just prior to wrapping up this post, I wrapped up a joint, which I sealed with my intentions for the New Year (and carefully concealed from my parents). I take a big inhale, and as I breathe deeply out the window, I smile knowing that just on the other side of Mount Hood is a world ready to be further explored.

Though I’m here in the Pacific Northwest, the southern girl in me would like to say, happy New Year y’all!

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Pictures at a Sexhibition

It’s Thanksgiving, and I’m alone in Paris channeling my inner drunk expat writer. In fact, I’m staying in the same hotel where Oscar Wilde spent his last days, though I have no plans to get quite that Wilde just yet. My best friend left this morning for the states, and I decided to spend a few extra days in Europe to seek out my own Tropic of Cancer adventure.

In my early 20s—because I am now a grown-ass 26-year-old—I became enamored with the poets, painters, and prostitutes of Paris in the 19th and early 20th century. I was fascinated with the artists of the Belle Époque and Roaring Twenties and would have given my left tit to have a threeway with Henry and June Miller, be one of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s naked French girls, or lez out on Simone de Beauvoir. (Fun fact: I once made a profile on a lifestyle website with the username Anais_Sin!)

When I first saw Midnight in Paris, I nearly came in my pants halfway through the film. In my mind, I was jerking off pretending I was Owen Wilson as he danced with Josephine Baker, sang along with Cole Porter, and partied with the Fitzgeralds. Two weeks later I went to Paris for the first time, where I crashed with my cousin, who lived in the suburbs, for 10 days. A 21-year-old on a backpacker’s budget, I roamed the city streets, drank cheap wine by the carafe, and filled up on doner kebabs while sitting by the Seine.

Shakespeare and Co., 2010

Shakespeare and Co., August 2010

I was broke in Paris, and I loved every minute of it. As I perused the books at Shakespeare and Company, I thought, what would it take to write a book that would one day end up on the shelves here, alongside all The Greats? Unlike the writers I idolized, I was not tortured, had minimal life experiences to boast of, and never dealt with addiction, alcoholism, or depression. What did I know about the world, pain and suffering, or the human condition? They say, “Write about what you know,” but how could I write when I knew nothing?

What a difference five years makes.

This time when I came back to Paris, of the poets, painters, and prostitutes I mentioned earlier, I had become two of the three. And I had done some serious living in the last few years. So much so that lately, I have no idea where to even begin when I put pen to paper. Writing this blog used to be so simple when life was easy and I stuck to topics like dildos and anal sex. But the longer I do what I do for a living, the more people I meet, and the deeper I delve into my relationships, the more complicated life gets and my thoughts become.

Yesterday I went to the Musee d’Orsay here in Paris to see an exhibition entitled “Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910.” It’s an examination of how artists of that era were so fascinated by the people involved in prostitution that they constantly sought ways to portray that world in all its glory and gloom. Each painting that I looked at told a different story.

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Most photos are from NOT Paris…this one’s Hong Kong🙂

There were the hardened streetwalkers in tattered petticoats, struggling to make ends meet when their meager salaries as seamstresses or maids weren’t enough to buy food. You had the brothel girls, who lived and worked together under the supervision of a madam or pimp. These ladies would put on nightly shows for their clientele, who came not just for the sex but also for the entertainment. Then you had the demi-monde, the divas of high-end prostitution. They were the beautiful, educated well-spoken arm candy of their high society patrons and served as proof of the men’s wealth and virility.

Just looking at the breadth and popularity of the exhibition, it is evident that society as a whole, not just these painters, is mystified and intrigued with the world of companionship for hire. I constantly find myself fascinated by the stories of the people I have met in this industry, from the providers to the clients. Who are these people? Why have they chosen to enter such a socially stigmatized world? Why take on so many risks, from the legal ramifications to the health hazards to the sheer possibility of being professionally ruined should one be outed?

The obvious answer is that we are sexually driven beings and that desire will never go away no matter how committed we are to another person or how much society tells us that it’s wrong. But there is a deeper component to it. It is that we are inherently lonely beings with a strong need to connect with other humans, and sex is the ultimate form of making a human connection.

And yes, as humans, we simply love to fuck.

Who me??

Who me??

I had my own reasons for getting into this business, from financial to sexual. When I first got out of grad school, I had several job offers but ultimately rejected all of them and decided to do this for a living instead. Unlike any other job, this one offered me independence, autonomy, and freedom of movement and travel (ironically while being able to pay off the student loans for a degree I was no longer using). It allowed me to dictate my rates and determine the kind of clientele I wanted to see. And it gave me the material and experience that I thought would finally be worth writing about.

I am the modern-day demi-mondaine, and instead of a Parisian villa, I live in a New York City high rise. I am compensated to entertain, enthrall, engage, enlighten, and excite. It’s my job to read others, anticipate needs, and be completely immersed in the moment. Because I am young, well-traveled, well-spoken, well-educated, and, well, really fucking good at what I do, I can command a premium in Manhattan and beyond.

I cater to a side of humanity that few will openly acknowledge yet has been prevalent since the dawn of man. My work was described in late 19th-century France as a “necessary evil” to satisfy “men’s brutal passions.” These days it’s more like a “much needed release to keep marriages intact and jobs afloat.” I am a data collector of sexual fantasies and desires in very much the same way I used to perform field research in public health, only I am paid better these days. (What does THAT say about society’s values?)

But it is by no means an easy living. Society does not look favorably upon my kind. We are harlots, homewreckers, and hustling hussies. In more puritanical times, they might have burned us at the stake. Now they talk about us on the Internet and assign us numerical ratings. We keep our alter egos hidden from most of the world, including our family and loved ones. For self-preservation, we can never reveal too much of ourselves.

Like just how many sandwiches I ate at afternoon tea...

Like just how many sandwiches I ate at afternoon tea…

There are days I think back to simpler times, before words like “infidelity,” “polyamory,” and “double-headed dildo” became a regular part of my vernacular. I ponder being in love, having babies, and all the naughty things that a girl in my line of work should never think about. I dream of lazy Sunday afternoons in bed, late night pillow talks, stolen kisses atop Ferris wheels, and karaoke duets.

But my world is all clandestine encounters, hidden identities, and euphemistic wordplay. It’s one big game of cloak and daggers that a non-cloak and daggers kind of person like me has to play. In my mind, the biggest drawback remains the secrecy and illegitimacy of the profession. And I’m not even talking about the legal or financial side of it. I’m talking about the challenges of being the perpetual Other Woman, Society’s Dirty Little Secret.

As such, I will never meet your friends, children, or colleagues. We’ll never go on public outings in your hometown. If I see you in the streets happenstance, I am to ignore you and keep walking. I am not supposed to reveal having romantic feelings for anyone, because what good will that do when emotional self-preservation keeps me in business?

I can’t talk about my work to family, because even though they sort of know, they certainly don’t want to hear about it. And I fear that many of my civilian friends and relatives resent me for my lifestyle and ability to travel, especially given the nature of my work, so I keep my distance.

All of that got me feeling blue lately, to the point that I spent a few days last week cloistered in my apartment in solitude. Then the bombings in Paris happened and blue turned into black as I moped over the state of the world. Not to mention my friend and I had plans to go there the following week.

After much back and forth, we decided to go ahead with the trip. As a former New Orleanian who survived Katrina and a handful of other hurricanes and now lives in lower Manhattan, I’ve never shied away from areas of devastation. What I’ve come to find is that in the aftermath of disaster, those are the places where you will witness the goodness of mankind and the sense of community that often gets lost in the daily shuffle. Being in Paris has been a shining example of this.

And so on Thanksgiving Day today, I chose to stay in Paris, a city that has imbued me with the positivity and light that had momentarily faded in one of my darker hours, when I foolishly thought it would be the other way around. Standing by the Eiffel Tower, lit up in the colors of the French flag, with a searchlight spinning around the top—as if to say either “We’re watching you, ISIS!” or “We’re looking out for you, friends”—I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the strength of humanity.

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When living in a city where it’s off to the races every day, it’s easy to get caught up in our own selfish agendas and an “every man for himself” mentality. But then something like the Paris bombings happen, and we realize just how important it is to look out for each other and to have positive human contact, whether it’s a friendly smile, a firm hug, or a passionate lovemaking session. When I had been feeling down and out about my own affairs the past week, it was because I was having a hard time detaching from my negative thoughts. Attachment to negative thinking is an extremely difficult thing to shake, which is why we live in a Xanax/Prozac Nation. If we let those thoughts permeate, it leads to acts of contempt and subsequently hatred.

Beyond being in Paris, what helped me get over my funk was communicating with my friends and loved ones, and getting rid of my negativity by letting it out. I was unhappy with where things were with a couple of my friends, so I had some serious conversations that were incredibly difficult but ended up salvaging our friendships. As a wise man once told me, shit’s only weird when you don’t talk about it, so I followed that advice and talked about it. It then occurred to me, why don’t people talk about shit more often? Why do we just ignore things when they’re so blatant, like a fart in an elevator that no one acknowledges? Instead it just creates a bunch of finger pointing and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. No, how about we all just agree to talk about shit that upsets us and everyone promise to not overreact?

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Big smiles on the London Eye

In the same way, it’s important to communicate our feelings when we feel them strongly for someone. Yes, there’s the chance that person won’t reciprocate, but there’s also the possibility that it’ll bring the two of you closer. And if someone can’t love you back the way you love him or her, then at least you know so you can consider how much time to spend with that person.

Like a massive orgasm that you’ve been sitting on for a week, everything just feels so much better when you let it out. It’s why I started this blog and why I try to be vocal about my thoughts (among other things!). Holding onto bad thoughts creates resentment and unhappiness.

[Now keep in mind that there’s a diplomatic way to speak your mind and a dick way to do it. I won’t get into that now because we’ll be here all day. But if you really want to know how to delicately tell your wife that her blow job skills need improvement or that your boyfriend’s oral skills leave a lot to be desired, you know where to find me.]

When I look at those unhappy hookers in the paintings at the Orsay Museum, it occurs to me that perhaps one of the reasons they’re so miserable is that they had limited means of self-expression. Even though they could harness power and wealth using their sexuality, they probably felt deeply isolated from society and their loved ones.

I also notice that the ones who do seem happy are the more up-market ladies, the bourgie bitches and diva demi-mondaine, who had no problems laying it all out and were generally more accepted members of society. I realize as well that my recent blues spell coincided with my longest period of silence on this blog, which I suppose is due punishment for slacking off.

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Definitely slacking off here

It’s funny, they say that writers create their best work during their most tortured periods. During my recent phase of turmoil, all I wanted to do was sleep, eat my weight in chips and salsa, and then go on a 6-mile guilt-run. Turns out the tortured writer thing is a total lie.

Being a tormented soul is not a criterion for writing; having experience and knowledge is. After my first Paris trip five years ago, I discovered that the best way to know about life is to live it. What I’ve learned is that living ain’t easy, no matter what line of work you’re in. It only gets more complicated with age, but luckily we’re also better equipped to deal with life’s complexities the older we are.

Becoming a year older this past week and entering my second year in this business this month, I’ve figured out that hooker years should really be calculated like dog years. One year in the life of a normal person is like the equivalent of 5 years in the life of a courtesan. It’s a hard and fast living, from the physical demands to the intense social interactions to the struggle for societal acceptance. It offers the promise of abundance in life experiences at the potential expense of rapid aging and emotional burnout.

On the other hand, my work has brought me in touch with people I probably never would have crossed paths with in real life. I’ve had the great joy of forming meaningful connections to those who live in completely different worlds yet share a similar world view. It has allowed me the opportunity to explore new corners of this planet on my own and with others.

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Macau!

So on this Thanksgiving Day, I will not play the part of unhappy hooker or contentious courtesan. The moments of solitude, the social fuckups (or ho pas!), the failed friendships, and the botched romances are life casualties that everyone goes through—they just happen a lot in my line of work. But that’s okay, because bad decisions make good stories, and boy will I have one hell of an anthology by the time this is all over.

Now that THAT’s over, time to go commune with the ghost of Oscar Wilde. Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!

From London with Love

I’m back, and how I’ve missed this blog!

Made it to London, where I’m chasing my anglophilia and celebrating my 26th birthday with the beautiful Melissa Davis! There will be plenty of rumination, reflections, and revelations to follow in the coming days, but in the meantime, Indian food and the London Eye awaits.

More to come very soon…

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To Orgy as a Verb

The beauty of the English language is that pretty much any word can be made into a verb. Just look at “fist” for example. How amazing is it that once you turn that innocuous four-letter word from a noun into a verb, the context changes so dramatically? I once dated an English major-turned-bartender who, in absence of something to cheers to, would raise his glass and say, “To fist as a verb!”

After a string of sexcapades and misadventures in the world of swing clubs and sex parties, a friend and I came up with our own verb play—“to orgy” as a verb. Now there are words when used as a verb, like “summer” (for example, “I’m John Lennon, and I summer in Ibiza with my friend Brian Epstein.”), that imply that you’ve made it, whatever IT is. Then there are words like “orgy” which, when used as a verb, suggest that you just stepped out of a 1970s porno chic flick.

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What I love about throwing the word “orgy” around all willy-nilly is that it has such a polarizing effect on people. To see what I’m talking about, try this social experiment: at your next cocktail party, take an informal survey by asking each person you talk to, “Do you orgy?”

Some may throw their white wine spritzer in your face and storm off, while others will step out from behind the potted plant where they’ve been hiding and ask, “Did someone say orgy?”

Orgies, as you may or may not realize, are a much more common occurrence than my mother would have you believe. Why they could be taking place at any given moment, in your very own neighborhood! Perhaps there’s one going on right now in your neighbor’s house, or in the unmarked building across the street from your apartment!

Now I’m not here to discuss the ins and outs (ha!) or the physical logistics of orgies. That is why God created porn and Google. I’m here to discuss the psychology behind grouplove and tackle one of my favorite questions about anything, “What does it all mean?”

Normies of the world may protest in horror that having that many nuts in one’s bag of trail mix is ungodly, but if you think about it, orgies actually began as divine rituals in the Greek and Hellenistic religions. These days, I’m not so sure if there’s anything spiritual about a blowbang, aside from the getting on one’s knees part, but there is something profound about why some people choose to perform such intimate acts in such a communal fashion.

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On the surface, it’s all about the hedonism, the sheer perversion of being with multiple partners at a time—something so different from what society tells us is right. But didn’t the group thing come about before sexual monogamy?

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have been highly experimental creatures, leading to growth and evolution over time. Today the spirit remains the same, as we continue to try new things, venture onto strange lands, and put all kinds of foreign shit into our bodies to see what makes us look, feel, and fuck better.

When we have these parties, or “ceremonies” as a girlfriend of mine calls them, we’re exploring our sexualities in a hyperbolized setting. It’s like we’re mad scientists in a research lab, throwing all kinds of variables into the formula. Or a chef playing around with different ingredients to make that perfect pot of gumbo.

Let’s be honest here, there is not a single person in a relationship that hasn’t thought about sleeping with someone besides his or her significant other, even if it was a celebrity. Now what if we were given a free pass to do just that, to explore our sexual desires with our partner’s full knowledge and consent? It’s what happens on a nightly basis at swing clubs and sex parties across the globe.

At these events, most of the attendees are couples and sometimes threesomes or moresomes, with smatterings of single men and women (the so-called “unicorns”) here and there. I have attended as both a partner and a free agent. Going with a significant other can be a precarious situation but it can also be a great bonding experience.

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It’s a bonding moment when you can help your partner realize his or her deepest fantasies in a fun, safe, and consensual manner. And it can be freeing for you to explore your sexuality, knowing your partner is present and okay with it.

However, sex parties are only a good idea for couples that are completely open with each other, communicative about their intentions, and willing to respect one another’s boundaries. For instance, let’s say I have a husband, and his MO is to find a woman for us to have a threesome with, whereas I’m secretly hoping to get gangbanged. In that case, I should probably let my husband know that I’m hoping for more gender equality in the mix.

If we can compromise, maybe with a little couple’s action instead, then all is right. If we cannot find a happy neutral ground, then we probably shouldn’t orgy that night. On a number of occasions I orgied when I should not have orgied, and this led to the demise of two relationships. I was not honest with my intentions, not certain about what I even wanted to accomplish, and not respectful of my partner’s boundaries.

In other words, I was a terrible team player when it came to orgies. I didn’t know how to [camel]toe the line and stay within the terms of engagement my partner and I established before engaging in orgiastic rituals. I was too curious and too greedy for more, and that envelope-pushing soon pushed my partners away.

Then I became single again, and after a six-month recovery period, decided to give it another shot as a free agent. As an undrafted player, I thrived. I was making passes, running balls, and scoring touchdowns for whatever team was playing. On my own, I could fully spread my wings (and legs) as I wormed my way into the hearts and holes of my orgymates.

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At one particular party, I realized that I had a lot more in common with some of these guys than just preferred condom brand and favorite liquor shot (*cough* Fireball). I discovered that despite their seemingly normal exterior, their thoughts on sexuality were as complicated and unconventional as mine. I felt about as home as I do meeting another Saints fan in New York.

Having spent a lot of time lately with polyamorous people and couples in open relationships has really opened my eyes to an entirely new world of love and dating. Just a few months ago, I was despairing about the difficulties of dating as an escort. I thought about my failed attempts at having relationships over the last two years and ruled out being with anyone for as long as I was a provider.

But after being introduced to this new social circle, I realized the problem wasn’t that I was “damaged goods” because of what I did for a living. It was that I was thinking about dating in a conventional context, in a world that idolized the notion of The One for every person. It never occurred to me that there could be Many, not just One, for each individual. My box having already been opened in no way diminished my value but instead made it a Collector’s Item.

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After years of being regarded as an Infidelity Enabler and feeling forever branded as The Other Woman, I was taking back my identity. No, I was just A Woman, a woman with a curious mind, an insatiable appetite, and a heart big enough to love the whole world. I had found the door to an alternate universe in which I could embrace my sexuality without depriving myself of the opportunity to love or be loved. And possibly by more than one partner!

Being in a polyamorous relationship isn’t as easy as finding a beautiful couple and pulling a quick Anais Nin on their Henry and June. It requires clear communication, total honesty, and a strong ability to manage jealous feelings. Because as much jealousy as monogamous relationships have, polyamorous ones can have exponentially more for each person added to the equation. But at the same time, the capacity for love and happiness is also multiplied.

Of course, polyamory isn’t for everyone. Most people on this planet will tell you that they are perfectly content being with one person for the rest of their life, whether it’s because that’s what they truly believe or because that’s what society tells them is right. Many of them will seek out side action at some point in their relationship but disregard it as actual cheating because it’s not love. Then there are people like me who are emotional sluts (not just slut sluts) and seek to make deep connections that transcend labels, marital institutions, and, very often, logic.

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One manifestation of that deep connection is a genuine desire to see my partner receive full satisfaction, which can happen by bringing in other lovers. It’s like the female version of the cuckold, except I sure as shit will be doing more than sitting in the corner and jerking off!

Navigating the world of polyamory is incredibly complex, because there are so many possible iterations of relationships. There are the couples that want a strictly sexual, casual relationship with the other partners. Next are what I call the Vicki Cristina Barcelonas, which is a couple + a unicorn. You also have the couples that date outside of the relationship but are each other’s “primaries.” Then there are the couples’ swappers, which is when couples date each other. The list goes on.

Deciding where (or if) I belong in this world is one of the objectives of my next sexperiment. Between my big appetite and my big mouth, I’ve had many issues with conventional dating. In the past, I’ve also struggled to find a partner who could keep up with me energetically. So perhaps being polyamorous is the solution to seeking personal satisfaction and energetic fulfillment. That and more orgies😉.*

I expect it’ll be a long time before this sexpert obtains any concrete results. And it’ll take many passes and even more fumbles before this free agent scores a winning touchdown. In the meantime, you can watch while I try to figure out what a Twitter is and also why oh why someone would steal @carminakai as a Twitter handle. #thethingsthatkeepmeupatnight

That is all for now. CK out!

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*Just kidding! There IS such a thing as over-orgying. This can happen when you orgy without intent, just for the sheer sake of orgying. It can be meaningless and dry (emotionally and physically). Nothing is as fulfilling as sharing a truly intimate moment with a lover, whether this happens in a group or private setting.

Burning Pains

CK Says: I know, it’s been a hot fucking second since my last post. Believe it or not, I have not been slacking. Rather I’ve been accumulating so much “research” that I haven’t had time to put pen to paper until this past week, and now my fingers can’t stop moving! 

This will be the first in a series of recent revelations from Burning Man, Ibiza and beyond. And the next posts won’t take nearly as long to get up. (But really, does it ever take THAT long to get up? ;)) I started this particular post in New York, en route to Barcelona, and finally finished yesterday in Lisbon, Portugal.Once again, my thoughts are spanning across the universe🙂. Happy reading!

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As I wait for my flight to Barcelona to take off, I close my eyes and take a deep breath—my first one since before I left for Reno 10 days prior. Burning Man left me in such a winded, sleep-deprived haze that I barely had time to dust the sand off my boots before hauling ass to Newark Airport.

It remains a great mystery how I made it on that flight after a week in Black Rock Desert, testing my limits in every possible way at the world’s most extreme social experiment and radical exercise on creative self-reliance.

It’s even an enigma how I made it to Burning Man at all. I had dreamed of attending the world’s largest self-sustaining festival since I was 15 but it always seemed so out of reach. Year after year, my friends and I would say, “We have to go to Burning Man!” but never went because it was too much work, it cost too much, we didn’t have a camp, work wouldn’t allow it, boyfriend didn’t want to go, and all the million other reasons everyone gives for not going.

This year I had no excuses, so when a good friend invited me to go this past spring, I spat out my kale juice (because that shit’s disgusting, not because of the shock) and said, “Hot dog, I’m in!” And just like that, the countdown began. Summer flew by and before I knew it, it was two weeks until the Burn and I had nothing to wear.

That is, except for a fabulous pink rabbit coat and matching goggles that my amazingly badass dominatrix friend wore last year and sent for me to rock on the Playa!

Oh, this old thing?

Oh, this old thing?

But of course I still needed things to wear underneath! In a sudden state of panic, I googled “awesome Burning Man clothes,” ordered anything that looked good, could light up, and would arrive in time.

To this day, I’m still getting packages in the mail…look out Burning Man 2016!

As I sat in the airport, welcoming air flow into my dust-lined lungs, all the vivid memories of Burning Man slowly start seeping back into my mind. At last I could properly begin to answer the simple question that people had been asking me since my return to civilization a few days prior: “How was it?”

Oh boy, here we go…

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So THAT’s what it’s like to be on this end of an “up-the-skirt” photo!

We were an unlikely combination of misfits and the makings for a mini-season of a bizarre reality show (Real World: The Playa!). The four of us—an angry yet lovable Russian DJ, a beautiful but inexplicably insecure model, an endearingly sardonic polyamorous entrepreneur, and me, the painfully self-aware escort—had no business cramming a week’s worth of food, water and light-up costumes into a giant-ass RV and attempting to drive across Nevada into the heart of Black Rock Desert.

Especially not when our driver, the Russian DJ, had just gotten off a transcontinental flight and, as a New Yorker, had limited experience with motorized vehicles, let alone a house on wheels. Particularly not when his RV mates, who loaded up the vehicle just earlier that day with their idea of necessary supplies that included canned champagne and a blow-up kiddie pool, had never been to Burning Man before. And certainly not at 4 AM in the morning, when everyone was running on E…or X.

But there we were, a ragtag bunch of buccaneers pulling up to the Main Entrance as the night sky was fading to indigo. Like a kid who couldn’t sleep on Christmas Eve and just noticed it was snowing at sunrise, I shot up from my already alert position on the RV couch, pressed my face against the window, and fixed my eyes on my own white Christmas outside.

A fucking magic carpet was rolling past us! Girls in large feather headdresses, glitter pasties, and leather gladiator skirts were zipping by on light-up bikes. And was that unicorn spaceship carrying a fleet of furries? My head was spinning and I hadn’t even eaten any Playa treats yet!

After clumsily trying to find our camp for an hour, which involved accidentally running over a street sign and pissing off several Burners with our loud Soviet tank, we finally found our spot. Our collective first instinct was not to set up camp, but to jump out of the RV, hop on our bikes and head to the Playa to explore.

I won’t even begin to describe how jaw-droppingly stunningly dressed everyone was in their cosmic steampunk sci-fi attire because there are billions of terabytes of images that will paint a better picture than I can with my words.

But let me put it this way: as a wig-loving costume connoisseur whose favorite holiday is Halloween, a New Orleans girl who has ridden in Mardi Gras parades, and a former porn actress whose job includes playing dress-up for a living, I was of no match. I was a pigeon in a rainforest of tropical birds. NO, I was the worm in the mouth of that pigeon! The nerdy new kid in a school that was too cool for me.

It was the first hour of my first day and I had already resigned to “I’ll do better next year” with my wardrobe. Now this is something I hear is common with most first-time Burners. The first year is one big learning experience, as your newbie ass takes it all in and you see how the veterans do it. Then the next time you go, you’re ready to do it right.

Fuck the wardrobe, I thought, I’m here to watch the show for a change! As night fell and the neon lights flickered on across the desert, it was time to launch into outer space. I was getting on a rocket ship being flown by a Russian bear, and we were searching for signs of life in other galaxies.

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In reality, my spaceship was a Segway, the Russian bear was my DJ friend in a fur coat, and I was holding on for dear life as we zipped around the intergalactic highways of the Playa alongside our polyamorous buddy. To describe the environment around us, I will use a bizarre analogy.

Do you recall that scene in Star Wars Episode IV when Obi-Wan goes to that happening club in Mos Eisley to look for Han Solo? Imagine if those club owners met up with Ian Schrager of Studio 54 and decided to open a resort in Tatooine with funding from Steve Wynn. That was the Playa. With all the lights around me—light up tennis courts, fire cannons, and hovering DJ booths—I was in an altruistic Vegas!

My mind was blown, and after a few hours of rubbernecking on the back of a Segway, it was time to return to the space station, a.k.a. our mobile unit, to decompress. Once we were back inside the RV, the full weight of everything starting sinking in: I was at Burning Man, tripping balls on the dusty floor of an RV. I had finally made it to my dystopian desert dreamland, yet I was homesick as fuck.

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It’s always a funny concept to me, feeling alone when you’re surrounded by people. I feel that way all the time in New York but not when I’m camping, even when I was by myself in the Amazon. I am more alone dancing in a crowded nightclub than I am dancing in my underpants in my apartment.

What’s also interesting to me is the idea of being homesick when you don’t really have a home. I’m based in New York and have a place there, and while I absolutely love the city, it’s not where my roots lie. NOLA used to be my home, but I no longer live there. Though I will say, I visited the NOLA camp at Burning Man, and their craft cocktails made me feel like I was back at Bar Tonique!

Just when I thought the French Quarter couldn't get trippier...

Just when I thought the French Quarter couldn’t get trippier…

The point I’m trying to make is that it is tough to find your place in a big crowd, and it’s hard to make a home when you’re a nomad. Burning Man really drives you to forge connections quickly or else you’re on your own. Once you’ve found your niche, the next difficult part is figuring out where you belong in the tribe and navigating the group dynamic for provisions, libations, knowledge, entertainment, drugs, manpower, and sex.

Nothing is for sale at Burning Man, and contrary to non-Burner popular belief, there isn’t even a barter system. Everything is gifted without expectations of goods or services in return. Of course it’s not how the world works in real life.

But at Burning Man, the sense of community is so strong that everyone is beyond giving of themselves and their resources, whether it’s with their camps, the people they seek to build connections, or simply others in need.

It took a couple of days for me to understand that my feeling of isolation was entirely self-imposed. No one was excluding me from any activities. It was up to me to get my dusty ass out of the RV and seek out the opportunities I wanted to have. That’s part of the whole radical self-reliance bit.

By Day 3 I was out of my shell and looking for my niche. There was a group of acquaintances I made in Vegas back in January who were incredibly fun, attractive, and progressive as hell—veteran Burners I initially wrote off as too cool for me. That was Day 1 me. By the third night, I found myself hoisting my balls up and biking to their camp with the intention of inviting them all to the Orgydome. When I arrived, before I could extend my invite, one of the girls asked, “Hey we’re going to the Orgydome, do you want to join us?”

My face could have lit up the entire Playa that night.

Instead my bras did!

Instead my bras did!

Now I shan’t go into details, because what happens in the ‘dome stays in the ‘dome, but if the question is, “Did you orgy?” my response is, “When have I ever NOT orgied?!”

Here’s the beautiful thing about the sense of community and everyone contributing something to the group: it works in every context at Burning Man, including the Orgydome. One of the guys—bless his forward-thinking heart—brought his own sheet for us to use. There was a girl who couldn’t play that night, so she volunteered to hand out baby wipes and condoms as needed. Their lube sucked, so I offered my own bottle of Wet Platinum (take note, Greek freaks). At the end, we disposed of our sex MOOP into the fuck bucket, graciously provided by the hosts of the Orgydome.

As we left the dome, everyone started talking about what was next, and I realized, holy shit—that was just their pregame! Suddenly the gangbang morphed into a lightwire bike gang as we set off into the Playa. Into the wee hours of the morning we biked and danced, collectively going through the ABCs of Playa treats, keeping warm with public frotteurism and shots of Fireball, until finally making our way back to camp for a nightcap that led into a morningcap.

When we all finally woke up at 4 PM that afternoon, I was ready to do it all again. But I was to learn that such magical nights are a rarity, even at Burning Man. As beautiful and harmonious as the group dynamic can be at times, like the night before, it can also be a complete shitshow.

Trying to remember where the fuck you parked your bike is also a mess.

Trying to remember where the fuck you parked your bike is also a shitshow.

Group activities, be they orgies, bike rides, or builds, require constant communication and for everyone to be on the same page. But when people are on different drugs, sleep schedules, and states of mind, it’s like no one is even reading the same book. Throw in a bad trip here, a forgotten hat there, and a bathroom break here, there, and everywhere, and it takes five times longer to get to RobotHeart than we initially planned. Since it’s so dark and there’s no cell service, losing at least one person during the bike ride is inevitable. Then, because some people raged too hard the night (or nights) before, some merry pranksters turn into sleep-deprived cranksters, and no amount of drugs can bring a zombie back from the undead.

Most of the people in my group were coupled up, so add relationship conflict to the mix, and now your tower of human Jenga just got a little wobblier. All night, I could see where the pieces were going–higher and higher with no end in sight. Until all of a sudden there were no more moves to make, just a matter of someone willing to pull that final piece that would cause the rest to tumble down. By that point, I couldn’t wait around any longer. I was mentally exhausted, and no Playa treats were going to pull me away from social incapacitation.

Still a rookie, I had no qualms about throwing in the towel, so I knocked the tower over, parted ways with the group, and biked back to my camp alone where I climbed on top of the RV to watch the sunrise and reflect.

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I asked myself, what is it about the group setting that forces people to stick together even when there are no evident benefits? Is the fear of being alone so great, that we would rather give up our own needs than be by ourselves? Or is it that once we adopt a sense of identity in the group we feel a strong sense of responsibility to stick with our mates? Is it a combination of both? Or is that just what people do when they care about–nay, love each other just that much?

Even though I loved hanging out with my new friends, there was a point when I recognized my own needs superseding my desire to fit in. No amount or combination of drugs could pull me out of this, and the more I consumed, the more I became introspective and contemplative.

If you’ve ever spent an extended amount of time with me, you may have noticed when I get a faraway look in my eyes, as if I’m having some kind of inner monologue. Most of the time, I’m able to convert these thoughts into some kind of witty, meaningful dialogue. Being in an altered state of consciousness helps.

But there are moments, when I’m feeling particularly profound, moody or tired (or took too much) that the thoughts remain unspoken. Instead, they go into the intensive care unit of my brain where they are probed and dissected for hours, days, or weeks until they bleed out onto the pages of my notepad or computer screen.

This post here is one such hemorrhaging patient.

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Still unable to find the source of mental bleeding, it was time to dig deeper. So I went deep, into Deep Playa on my own one afternoon in search of The Truths. The day before I left for Reno, I asked a girlfriend who’d been to Burning Man what her number one suggestion to a first-timer would be. She said, “Get lost.”

So I did just that. The only way to find yourself is to lose yourself first. On my second to last day, I grabbed my CamelBak, got on my bike and disappeared for the day. I biked for miles and miles, from one end to the other, and then I kept going. Seeing all the incredible works of art come alive before me while the synapses in my brain were simultaneously re-circuiting, I was starting to make sense of it all.

First off, I realized that none of what I was seeing would have happened without the power of the human collective. It takes a village to build an art car, and it takes an awful lot of art cars for the Playa to come to life. Working in groups is how humans have been operating since the dawn of man. No matter how much people annoy us at times, we depend on one another for so many things, from the basic and primal (food, sex, etc.) to the more complex (entertainment, companionship, etc.). And it’s how we survive, by sticking together and looking out for one another.

But to thrive, and not just survive, we need to have our individual experiences in order to learn who we are, form our own world perspective, and find happiness within ourselves. Once we’ve gained that fulfillment and knowledge, we can return to our community as stronger, happier, and more conscious people.

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If I hadn’t done my own thing some days or reached out to different people, I would have shorted myself of some personally fulfilling moments. I wouldn’t have had a spiritual breakthrough at the Temple, reconnected with my southern roots at the New Orleans camp, cooked up a mean pot of jambalaya that was chicken soup for my RV mates’ souls, had some profoundly meaningful conversations, or truly understood what Burning Man was all about.

I wouldn’t have attended a polyamory workshop with my poly friend only for him to ask me 10 minutes into the talk if we were at the right place. Turns out we were at a workshop on ayahuasca! Both of us were too timid to ask the other, since he’s polyamorous and I just attended an ayahuasca retreat in Peru and neither of us wanted to look dumb. In our defense though, they share some common schools of thought…now what’s that all about?

I digress.

It’s about balancing individual self-expression with altruistic collectivism. It’s about connecting the dots within yourself, and then connecting them with loved ones and like-minded souls. It’s about discovering who you are, what you have, and what you’re good at, then finding ways to contribute your knowledge, skills, and resources towards society. And it’s about learning from others, being receptive to their thoughts, and incorporating that knowledge into your own world paradigm.

After my journey to the Playa and beyond, I made up my mind that I was hanging out with arguably the best camp at Burning Man. I loved the meaningful conversations and experiences I had during my solo time, but I also really enjoyed being able to share those thoughts with my new friends. (And I was quite pleased that my report on the New Orleans camp was enough to convince a couple of them to go back there with me for late-night dessert!)

One of my big takeaways from Burning Man is that it is a huge metaphor for how I’ve lived the past 18 months without even realizing it. Last spring, I fled the coop of the Vieux Carre and took flight on an epic journey of self-discovery, still in its early stages today. Up until my departure, I was heavily involved in the New Orleans community, as a public health do-gooder and aspiring leader of the city. I was in a serious relationship with someone I thought I wanted to build a life with. I was ready to look at houses in Mid-City and run a non-profit organization.

One day I woke up to realize, none of this was for me. It dawned on me that I was barely 24 and didn’t know what the hell I wanted out of life. I had traveled a lot but not enough. I hadn’t kissed enough girls to know if I was more gay than straight (still working on this one!). I was slowly figuring out who I wasn’t but didn’t know who the hell I was.

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Like falling into the trap of hanging out only with your camp at Burning Man, I was getting too familiar with New Orleans. (And we know all about familiarity breeding cuntempt—remind me to explain “cuntempt” sometime!) Thus I turned to drugs and chronic infidelity to change things up, to see if altered states of consciousness or different partners would settle my feelings of unrest. Instead, the shallowness and contemptible nature of this approach only propelled me further into a depression.

So I broke away from the pack and fled into the night. Just as I sped off to Deep Playa on bike to lose myself, I jumped a flight to New York City to get lost. Once I got to know the city well and established a presence there, it was time to start poking around the many other corners of the planet, in the same way I hopped from camp to camp at Burning Man to see what else was out there.

As you can probably gather from my beautiful mess of a calendar, I’ve been getting around like Vasco de Gama lately! What this means is that I am finally embracing being 25, with no major life commitments, and the ability to go on as many adventures as I can while I have the time and energy.

Now if you’re older and reading this thinking, “Way to rub it in, bitch, my time’s up,” it most certainly is not. Self-exploration is important at any age, because none of us ever stop growing and changing. Being able to explore our own desires and interests outside of our little communities (a.k.a. relationships and families) allows us to grow more fully, be better caretakers, and lead generally more fulfilling lives.

You can only give back to your work, family, and friends when you take care of yourself. Opportunities to restore and re-energize are harder to find the more responsibilities and commitments we have, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact…isn’t that why you came upon this blog to begin with?😉

Just as my friend told me to get lost, I would say the same to someone else in real life, with one addition: “Get lost, and say yes to everything you can.”

You will never look back on your life and say, “I wish I had done less.”

Unless by “less,” we’re talking about acid at Burning Man😉.

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