no room for self-pity
This form of expression and platform, slutwork as a whole, derived from many things- most of it inspired by my disastrous love life and an avenue for me to pour out my oh-so-tender heart that had been continuously pummelled again and again. If I had to endure this gut-wrenching agony of rollercoaster pseudo-relationships and intermittent periods of numbness to simply survive, at least I could make some fucking art about it.
I could comfort myself in knowing that an experience good or bad could be immortalized and transformed into something else, and it wasn’t all in vain. (In retrospect, there are some hints of capitalist themes there that I’m no necessarily comfortable with or proud of.)
It turned into a lot more for me, for a variety of reasons, and I’m sure it will continue to morph as I continue to learn as a person and a lover, love, lose, rinse and repeat. Recently, there’s been an added twist of being transparent about this body of work to potential suitors right off the bat.
Terrifying and bold, even for myself.
I was in a brief relationship after the conception of slutwork, but never knew how to tell my then boyfriend (who didn’t have social media) or how to explain the nuances of what I was doing and trying to achieve while still figuring that out myself, much less how instagram worked and used as a platform for artists, and not just approval-hungry desperados. We broke up before I ever did tell him, and probably will never know it exists being the social media renouncer he is.
I reflected about how our relationship would be different, if at all, had I informed him about it. Over the proceeding months post breakup, I decided that I didn’t really want to host the burden of deciding when it would be the right time to inform someone, and possibly incur a violation of their trust.
If I were to be transparent, honest, and truly vulnerable I could and should at least let my potential partner know.
In a strange way and unexpected way, it presented some advantages. Since my most vulnerable thoughts and feelings were already splayed on the internet, it offered a more authentic insight to who I was and fast forwarded the get-to-know you process. Any one who didn’t vibe with who I was, or wanted to be, what I was sharing, or being part of it- didn’t have to engage with me.
So here we are, as an advocate of consent and ownership my own lines were somehow blurred. My understanding that knowing about this body of work, watching it develop in real time, and knowingly being a participant of my love life was indirectly giving consent. What a shameful and naive mistake. Indirectly could never be used to describe consent. I didn’t connect the dots, and truly believed then the veil of anonymity was enough of a security blanket to protect the integrity of this work.
I don’t necessarily believe this is untrue, but I inadvertently violated someone’s trust in the process and where I fundamentally stand on this is irrelevant. At the core, regardless of the nature of my intent, my actions and lack of foresight and understanding, affected someone I cared about in a negative way. Something I can’t undo, but will unfortunately plague me; a costly lesson to learn that I could’ve gone without.
I have openly admitted that I wanted just once, to know what it feels like to hurt someone, the way I’ve been hurt. I unintentionally have had the slightest taste, and did not have the palate for it and could never bring myself to do it again.
As I currently sit in an airport restaurant, crying and suppressing a panic attack, (airports are great places to cry, absolutely no one gives a flying fuck.) I’m faced with this unique hell of wanting to confide in them how miserable of a day I’m having, the immobilizing anxiety I feel, and yearn to be comforted. Alas, being gaslit so much of my life I do not dare. I’m not the victim here, but the aggressor, unintentionally or not, and there’s nothing left to do but sit here with my self-hatred and wait.