They say love makes you crazy. I can believe that. The thought of losing myself terrified me. It had happened once before, in my twenties and put me off getting involved with anyone again. Then my thirties hit and before I knew it, I had sleepwalked into hell.
What stripping on camera taught me about men, sex, and vanity
Background If you have read some of my articles on this subject, you will know I started webcamming in my late thirties as a side hustle to research my debut novel and earn some extra cash. At that time, I had never taken so much as a selfie and my Facebook profile picture was of me aged five.
I went from having an enviable position on paper, I suppose. I had a government job, with average pay. I was not the bottom of the rung, holding what might be considered a lower middle ranking. I benefited from a fair amount of autonomy with no one reporting to me. It was such a good deal that I stayed in that role for over 11-years, despite a lot of background issues, restructures, rationalisations and associated reactive poor management decisions. Most of these were central decisions, rather than local ones, as is often the case in government.
Facebook did not invent the Metaverse
Just like the internet existed before social media, so did the metaverse. Background Since the recent Facebook announcement that they are embarking on the creation of a “metaverse”, some of the subsequent chatter has perpetuated the myth that the term is a new one. The truth is that Facebook is neither a pioneer of the metaverse nor of the social network. I only intend to address the former here, but may one day choose to dwell on the latter.
It was 4 am. I had tried to sleep but my mind was racing. I felt the crushing weight of fear on my chest, making it difficult to breathe. The gnawing emptiness in the pit of my stomach reminded me I had forgotten to eat again. The horror of facing my worst nightmare in daylight had turned me into a zombie, unable to sleep or eat, not able to do anything but unable to do anything, either. I moved slowly in the dark, towards my kettle and made myself a mug of steaming, strong, black coffee. Slipping on my jacket, I grabbed my keys and carried my coffee to my front door. I opened the door and walked across to the other side of the street. I ducked down an alley by the side of an expensive boutique hotel. I reached the end of the alley and found myself in the marina. I could breathe again. I made my way to a concrete bench and sat down, clutching my coffee for warmth.
The Myth of Resilience
It has been a tough week for me. A colleague, a former manager, in fact, died at the age of 45. This was a role I left in 2019. My change in manager from the colleague who recently died was one of the reasons why I left. She was replaced by someone who extended my probation period without warning after I received a bonus/recognition award for my all-around flexible attitude. Apparently, my lack of "resilience" was a concern. I thought I was very resilient when all his conversations with me were directed at my breasts but apparently, that was not enough. I sobbed down the telephone to my former manager on the day I submitted my resignation and I know she felt guilty, that if she had stayed there, I might not have resigned. We cannot go down that rabbit hole though, because it draws in the gender questions, class questions, as well as resilience and what that really means.
Accountability and ethics in Multi-Level Marketing
When I was briefly in between roles in 2017 and chose to become self-employed, I found myself missing the sense of community and camaraderie that typically comes with being a part of an organisation. At this time, I was definitely vulnerable but not entirely easy prey, either. I became interested in people who had added me on Facebook and appeared to be promoting an influencer-esque lifestyle. Their profiles were heavily curated to promote how successful they were. I got involved for around 3–6 months and while I made some sales, I made no profit, partly due to my discomfort at selling to friends and family. I still have a lot of people on my friend list from this time, who are involved in selling products on social media. This practice is known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), or Network Marketing.
You Don't Speak for Me
When I graduated from University in the summer of 1999, my very middle-class roommate told me that now I had a University degree, I was no longer working class. I turned to her and said, "I will always be working class". At the same University, my older boyfriend told me that I should lose my Essex accent if I ever wanted to get a good job. On graduation, I was 23 years old and already 2 years behind my peers. Class is not straightforward to define in the UK. On household income alone, I earn less than £47,000 per annum, which was the average middle-class income in the UK in 2011. In the UK, a child is two-and-a-half times as likely to have a managerial job if their grandparents were of a higher class. On a personal level, it is about identity, community, ethics, beliefs, values, family background, education, access to healthcare, among other things.
Unintended Consequences of Covid-19
I am a bit of a geek. This is something that I have always known about myself. In March 2007, I started dabbling in virtual worlds. I ran a nightclub, bought and sold land, made things. I did many of the usual things people who inhabit virtual worlds do. I had a group of friends from those early years that endured, for the most part. Although much like real life, some disappeared never to be seen again. Sometimes you had disagreements with people. Virtual living is just living, after all.
Shades of Dysfunctional
I always believed that to be a webcam girl you had to be pretty, and young. Or at the very least generic looking. Everywoman. To fulfill a male ideal where they pay for your company in a private chat room, it would seem obvious to me that you would need to be stereotypically sexy, or at the very least the sort of person the average male fantasises about. In deciding to take such an outrageous route to solvency, I took the view that there are different shades of dysfunctional. Mine just happens to be blacker than most.
Critically discuss the view that the body is becoming a plastic object with respect to different techniques of body transformation, i.e. plastic surgery, gymnastic, body piercing
In the 1990’s, there has been a distinct increase in popular interest in the body and different techniques of body transformation. Various forms and avenues of the media (for example, Newspapers, Magazines, and Television) encourage and document this trend through their use of features on body image — emphasis is placed on a young-looking body that is as attractive as is physically (and, financially) possible. There are many ways of attaining this body image, that go in and out of ‘fashion’ on a regular basis, largely dependent on the fashion industry and the catwalks. The most common method of body transformation is plastic surgery — while tattoos and body piercing have now grown to include a much wider group of people deciding to ‘decorate’ or ‘adorn’ themselves in the latest designs. The industry of weight-loss and keep-fit is now one that has a great deal of influence on a large body of people, it involves millions of pounds (or dollars, the United States of America have experienced a boom as large, if not larger).