A continuation of Elliot Rodgers: Turn a Different Corner
People often ask why I had to sell sex to survive, and they get persistent about it, partly because they do not want to face the fact that the safety net they rely upon will never cover everyone. Because if it doesn’t always cover everyone, how can they be sure it will always cover them?
(Sometimes I get a distinct sense that they ask, far too persistently, for a chance to get inside my head and see how much harm they can do.)
“Retribution” was never an option for me, but I had to find some way to cope, some alternative. By the time I was 22 I had picked up cause to be so completely fucked up inside I made Elliot Rodgers look like a paragon of sanity.
My version of fucked up just didn’t let me harm other people, pretty much the opposite. People often wonder why I walk away and never go back. Usually it is because I have reached my breaking point and I am afraid I will have no control over what happens next if I do not isolate, detach and get myself off the boil.
I isolate to minimise the pain and rage to manageable proportions. Elliot Rodgers had started to do that, instinctively. People were hurting him too deeply to handle, and the way he tells it, most of them probably had no idea they had hurt him at all. That is my story too, and it doesn’t work the way you think it does.
The attentions of an appealing person are as traumatic for me as rejection. I am paralysed like a rabbit in the headlights, with no access to working out how I should read that or what I should do next, in any circumstance, on any terms, ever. All I can do is run…and if the person is in any way a part of my life I cannot jettison without trace even running becomes as complex as any other decision.
That must seem such a contradiction to my analytical insight into less personal people and situations, but, in truth it probably contributes to it. I have no subjective or knee jerk reactions or internal obligations to distract me.
One of many misconception is that there is help available for autistics. In fact it is more that there are profits available for anyone who claims to help autistics, and all that is on offer are ways to build up an internal pressure to fake an appearance of normality.
One of the problems with that is that the more “normal” the appearance you can fake, the closer you are drawn into people, and the closer you are drawn into people the more complex the deeper social skills required and the more dramatically you fail.
Another problem is that, the better you learn to fake normal the less warning there is that you are about to run out of track and melt down.
The final problem with this is that being conditioned to reject everything about yourself and live out your whole life as a poor facsimile of someone you can never be does not even meet the criteria for “existing” – but at least the pain doesn’t show and bother others, unless you pick up a gun and start shooting.
I have coped, even since I was a child, by isolating as much as possible, but isolation does not come free, it has to be paid for. The system does no acknowledge or provide for that need. All resources go into “active support” that would be harmful to me. There is no acknowledgement of the need for “negative support” at all.
Thing are, of course, a little better now than when I became a sex worker.
I can’t tell the whole true story of the first and second time I was left no choice but sell sex because I would be scared to death of the repercussions from those involved, some of whom are still in positions of authority where they could get away with doing me terrible damage, scot free, and without those parts the story doesn’t even make sense. But the last time I had no option but sell sex was the longest and most significant anyway, and the reasons were less transient too.
I have no family support at all. My family are downright toxic and I have no way to deal with that so must avoid them completely.
Because Doctors had been used as punishments and weapons of abuse throughout my childhood I could not force myself to even cross the threshold of a surgery between 1980 and 1997. To this day there is no help available to deal with issues like that which still made medical care almost impossible in every real sense until last year DESPITE me spending more time than you would believe looking for a solution. It is only resolved for now by chance and may not be resolved for ever.
I had been treated so abusively by two welfare officers between 1980 and 1988 that I was not able to go near them to the extent of not being able to claim anything I was entitled to between 1988 and 2000. Not hard to see why, I am tall, very intelligent, attractive and have a cut glass accent. Nothing about me looks vulnerable or attracts empathy. Because a record of this gap still showed on the computer when MABS approached them on my behalf in late 2000 the local CWOs have been unfailingly kind – yet I still retain something akin to a phobia of them and it takes a long time for me to dredge up enough courage to approach them with the simplest query.
I had been subject to so many forms of psychiatric abuse before I was 16 that the very idea of approaching one is too traumatic to be worth the, objectively, limited to non-existent benefit of current approaches to Autism. A few attempts in the years since have only served to reinforce that. Even the shrink I had as a client and found perfectly ok as a person washed up working in an institution I know to be destructive and abusive.
I cannot be near people, and I cannot work with people. I have tried and it is always a disaster for all concerned, not just me. I never managed to make enough money to survive working for myself because my social skills deficit makes all forms of networking impossible, and, in the end, I broke my physical health working punitive hours so I could undercut people enough to get some kind of work coming in.
I could sell sex. Sex work let me limit and pick my own hours and still have enough money to survive and isolate as I need to. It is not necessary to deal with people on any level beyond the most detached and superficial.
There was no other option.
I did not get the resources I need to survive in some terms I can cope with until late 2000 and even then I was left for 9 months with almost nothing because of the spiteful and senseless attitude of one person.
By then my physical health was deteriorating alarmingly with COPD as well with no access to medical care an no way to get any (a woman in Australia I knew over the internet used personal contacts to find me a Doctor in the end).
I have lived every day since in dread of losing those resources for some arbitrary reason and not being able to negotiate a survivable solution or even persuade anyone I needed one (which often happens because I appear, and am, in every other way, so competent and capable). I am too old to sell sex now.
It costs the state €30,000 a year at absolute most to leave me in the isolation I need to function. In theory would cost at least three times that to keep me in an institution that would destroy me completely. I say, “in theory” because if it came to that suicide would be my only option.
There has been no negotiable route to the isolation I need to survive in the UK where I was born (though it is a foreign country to me now after 30 years here), for at least 20 years.
Suicide would be my only option, destitution, with no home to isolate in, would be intolerable torture, way over the pain threshold for me, even for a few days, though suicide would remain terrifying it would become the softer option, and with no hope left, the only option.
As an autistic, I have no way to change or overcome any of this, as a society you have no real effective help to offer me to overcome any of this (no blame, but it still doesn’t help me).
I hate being dependent on the state and do not feel I have a right to survive that way, but all my pleas for help to find a way to support myself fell on deaf ears because I am too different and complicated and it was easier to leave me on welfare and tell me to be grateful for it (that happened, more than once).
Objectively I probably agree with you that I have no right to be alive at all. I try to make up for it by using my intelligence, rage and pain to tweak the world for the better, for other, more normal people.
I do not believe a killing spree solves anything or is ever justifiable. I am terrified of making the final decision to take my own life (though I did try very hard before I sold sex the last time).
For six years I sold sex to survive, so sue me.