[cw: sexually explicit language, images, and descriptions]
The numbers flash in big red marquee bulbs behind my eyelids. The scorching brightness of the movie projector in my mind’s eye flickers, jolting me into consciousness:
As my mind groggily awakens, this is what I usually see: the total amount I intend to make for the day and the number of clients I need in order to make it. From there, my body instantly switches to go mode.
I take the first few minutes of my morning to center myself, set my intention, and the tone for the day. I found that the time I spend with my clients goes much smoother (and my tips are more substantial) if I meditate in the morning.
My morning routine includes a gentle stretch, making my bed, and skincare. As I apply my aloe, coffee, and vitamin e face mask, I am mentally reviewing my client routes and service orders. As a sex worker, I have to plan my clients in order of session service and proximity. Louisville is intimately sized but quite spread out. It’s not unheard of to drive 30 minutes to different sides of the city. The client route and order is one of the most important aspects of my day.
Next, I apply a money oil and protection spray that I blended from herbs and oils purchased from Supermercado Guanajuato. Then, I light the protection candle on my altar to keep me cloaked in ancestral divinity as I go about my day. I slip into a royal purple two-piece cotton jogger set with black bedazzled platform fur slides. Underneath, I am wearing a black crotchless stretch fishnet bodysuit. Before I leave, I retrieve my black tourmaline choker from the balcony, where it was recharging under the light of the new moon.
I take my time applying the various oils and perfumes that I wear. A spritz of jezebel water all over, hibiscus olive oil for my lips, and gardenia water in my locs complete my morning ritual. I look into the mirror mounted on the left side of my front door, and affirm myself:
You are safe. You are protected. You are home. You are the safe space.
I am safe within myself. Ase.
I load my car with pre-packed bags and think about how I want my day to go in terms of revenue. Preparing my bags the night before saves on time and prevents a lot of stress. Each tote bag has four compartments, and each client is assigned a compartment for all of the outfits and whatever else my clients fancy. I also pack a soft insulated lunch box that contains diced fruits and an aloe & apple cider vinegar mixture that I use to cleanse between clients if needed.
My first client is a housewife who has a thing for tasting me in, on, and around vehicles. We’ve been meeting in the garage of her mid-century starter home every other Monday. To meet my client’s needs, I park a few homes down and walk up to the opened garage door as soon as I receive the Cash App notification for the session.
She greets me with that same hungry smile she always does. A smile forced by muscles, a smile that does not reach her eyes. Swarms of greedy kisses aim for my neck while her small, but well-moisturized hands grab chunks of my fishnet-clad ass. She pushes me against her Range Rover, tugs at my joggers, and devours me like she always does. She pleases me for only 20 minutes, even though she paid for half an hour. She looks up at me, then tells me her daughter has a doctor’s appointment, and that she has to cut the session short. She wipes her mouth with the baby wipes she keeps in her robe pocket and confirms our standing appointment. I collect my tip from the windshield of her car and look at her. She forces that smile again and goes back to her reality. Out of all my clients, I relate to her the most. She is living a lie that tempts many people. She feels it is safer for her to dwell fraudulently cloaked in the fabrics of heterosexuality. But every now and then her mask and knees drop to sip from my cup. Her well of truth. Clients like her remind me to live my life for myself, and my ego is stroked by each flick of her tongue.
My clients show me parts of themselves they feel they have to hide from the people they love. Often, my clients who are women tell me they’re attracted to women, but their families would disown them if they were to come out. They tell me they don’t want to raise their kids in a same-sex relationship, and that they cannot be financially independent of their husbands, who make a lot of money.
My clients who are men talk about how they don’t feel understood or valued at home, so they look elsewhere. They tend to have more fetishes and salary seems to be connected to sexual extremities. In a way, I understand why they confide in me. My welcoming and warm demeanor have always been inviting to everyone. They also confide in me because that’s what they pay me to do: to listen, stroke their ego… amongst other things, and leave.
My second and third clients are regulars. Both of their sessions consist of quick, full-body massages with happy endings followed by vanilla intercourse. Client 2 enjoys pegging sessions bent over his white granite kitchen island countertop, just as the light of the sunrise seeps in and onto his flushed, red skin.
Client 3 is a Gold Star client. Gold Star clients are those who consistently pay me 2k, at minimum, for every half-hour session. Just last week a brown leather peg harness and slim, red silicone curved dildo arrived in the mail. Now it’s packed into his section of the tote bag. When I arrive, he fishes out a blue one hundred dollar bill from the pocket of his basketball shorts, which are pooled at his feet, and flicks the money toward me and onto the counter.
Client 3 has been with me since the beginning. Three years ago when I was fresh out of Pewee Valley Correctional Institution for Women, it was difficult finding a job. I had just served a 26-month bid for wanton endangerment. I took gigs bartending at the Wild Horse Saloon on the weekends, and it was there that I met him. My very first client. With Kentucky Clusters on each index finger, I could make in a few minutes what I’d typically make in a shift. All I had to do was have an open mind and my own vehicle. Even in his eagerness to be in my presence and to just talk to me, I felt his sadness. This younger version of me wanted to heal his pain. I remember it so clearly; the despair etched into his face and weighing down his shoulders like two giant gray parrots. I instantly sent him love and loving thoughts as I continued engaging with him. I was completely unaware of energy vampires back then.
My interest peaked, however, after the mentioning of money. I took a break from bartending to chat with him, and that resulted in a quick hand job on the side of the building as he drunkenly fumbled at my breasts. His hands smelled like cigarette smoke. His sweat stunk with desperation and whiskey. He paid me $150. Indeed what I usually made in tips on a night shift at the bar.
My day is complete. I treat myself to some Mt. Fuji. Chicken hibachi, no mushrooms. When I arrive home, I bring in my bags and then head to the restroom to prepare myself a bath. As the bathtub fills, I empty out the tote bags and place the dirty items in the washer, and put the cash in a copper bowl I use to hold my money before I cleanse it. I take a few bites of my dinner before slipping into my bath. After a few moments of just soaking, I mentally add up my session payments and tips. Today, I brought in $3,950.
It was an excellent day for me, especially because I made 1k over my estimated amount. Now, I can pay 2 months ahead on rent and purchase new tires, with more than 2k remaining. I decide to take the week off so that I can arrange my bulk herb collection in the new cabinet I bought for them, as well as cleanse myself of the energies I picked up from today’s work. This clearing process takes about two days, and I’m thankful for the finances to be able to focus on my spiritual and mental well-being.
During the days of spiritual and physical cleansing, I eat fresh fruit and drink coconut water only. I wash my hair with a blend of cleansing and banishing herbs such as star anise and clove. I mix yoni steam with a wide selection of herbs I keep readily available, and then I read the latest from a tantric movement webinar. I dance and do yoga poses that encourage the releasing of trauma such as extended puppy pose, constructive rest, and downward-facing dog. I make sure that any and everything I take in caters to the overall development of my highest self. I meditate and sit with my inner child to see what I can do to ensure that I am healing my trauma by living and walking in my authentic truth and purpose.
Kenresa Jones is a writer, seamstress, dancer, herbalist, and energy working currently residing in Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently using her gifts and experience to meditate and receive guidance on the next steps of her healing journey. She is open to engagements and discussions that help others to understand sex work as a healing art.