Hi, I’m Tara…



I'm a whore revolutionary and a wilderbabe. I'm pretty much in love with this little river I live on and myself and if you stick around you'll read (and see) all about it.

Who am I?

It’s been a few years, Internet.

I’ve been chopping wood, hauling water, cutting fish, and manifesting money with my body and spirit. I’m a little different than I used to be – older might sum it up. For the last three years I’ve been blogging secretly for paying subscribers and I really liked that. By the end of Hobo Stripper I wasn’t feeling so good about putting everything out there for anyone who might be browsing the internet. Having control of who was reading and how much they monetarily valued my writing was awesome. Not having a more public platform to jettison my thoughts into internet issues was less awesome.

Then the privacy of that blog was compromised and I locked it down tight AND had a great idea about making the best porn ever! I started this site and I figured I’d be the porn I wanted to see and also have a place to tell the internet things. But it turns out good porn is hard to make, good adult payment processors with affiliate programs are impossible to find, and I got distracted by other things.

Tonight I’ve been chopping wood, fixing the handle of the splitting maul, and having an NPR dance party by myself. Hey, it’s the only station I get besides Jesus. I owe the IRS a bunch of money that I don’t have and I don’t feel like going to town again to make it (and really, one shouldn’t do sex work when one doesn’t feel like it). I just re-watched Sequoia’s X Country videos from IShotMyself, which are like the ultimate perfect porn making inspiration. I would find a picture and link you straight to them, but my internet’s slower than dial up, my laptop is going to die in 14 minutes, and the batteries are down to 11.62. Anyways. We should all watch Sequoia’s amazing videos and tomorrow I’m going to run the generator and try again to be the porn I want to see. Which I hope is also the porn that you want to see and the porn that will save me from the IRS.

Stay tuned.

Empowerment

Hi everybody! Thanks for all your comments on my last post! I’m going to write a whole thing about that. In the meantime, here’s something I wrote about empowerment.

There’s been a lot of interesting talk about the internet lately about empowerment. Someone smart said somewhere (?) that it doesn’t really matter if sex workers are empowered. Workers rights issues are workers rights issues – does anyone care if people are empowered by working at WalMart and does that have anything to do with them getting arrested?

I think I’m just writing about the empowerment thing because it’s this big ol’ buzz word that can be interpreted any which way. Also because I got a letter in the mail the other day from the most amazing of sacred whore friend talking about all the judgement and bad thoughts that bubble up around sex work. How to feel empowered in whore-dom?

em·pow·er   [em-pou-er]
verb (used with object)
1.to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means: I empowered my agent to make the deal for me. The local ordinance empowers the board of health to close unsanitary restaurants.
2.to enable or permit: Wealth empowered him to live a comfortable life.

I use sex work to get money. Money, in our culture (not in reality), is power. It’s a warm place to sleep, organic food, private schools, attentive medical care, and all the iPads you’ll ever want. Or it can be a way to buy land and ditch capitalism. Money is also a way to determine value in a free market system.

(I remember once upon a time, a drunken bartender in a West Virginia strip club shaking her tip jar at me after a cop threatened us with new legislation again. “You know why those people hate me? You know how much money I make? Those assholes have to go to school for years and kiss ass every day of their lives and they still don’t make as much as me!”)

Sex work empowers me because it gives me money, which is power. I have land, solar panels, a boat with a good engine that has a warranty, and a truck that’ll last me the rest of my life or until civilization collapses because of sex work. I’m empowered to live a life I love and spend most of my days walking in the woods, cutting wood, and hauling water, because of sex work.

Our culture says that my sexuality is valuable. According to the free market system, my sexual attention is worth about three times as much as a lawyer’s legal attention or a doctor’s medical attention. We value doctors and lawyers because they are smart, and we give them money (power) because they took their smartness to school for almost a decade. We value me because I’ve spent my life becoming awesome. Also I read a book about marketing.

Respect is another way of giving and receiving power in our culture. Whores don’t get so much of that, but when Rush Limbaugh calls us names* it’s because he’s jealous of our empowerment.

* Actually, I’m kinda confused about this Rush Limbaugh thing. Did he just call us prostitutes? Why do we care? I’m without teevee, but I’m being contemporary, dammit!

** I think there’s correlation here! Everyone I’ve ever heard/read say that sex work isn’t empowering was either well off already or wasn’t able to make much money with sex work anyways. Someone should do a study!!

Drying Laundry

I have a metal ridged plunger type thing for doing laundry on the wood stove. The problem is that the water is dirty. I live on a shallow muddy river and the river it flows into is full of silt from melting glaciers. No mater how many layers of cloth I filter it through, clothes come out gritty.

The most important thing is water, and I was eager and stupid when I picked my place – I already knew I was immune to giardia, and I’ve been drinking muddy river water my whole life. I didn’t think about laundry or guests’ stomachs. Anyways, I probably couldn’t have afforded a clear mountain stream.

Click clack gorilla posted about drying laundry in her tiny off grid home (it’s a wagon!). She finally discovered the perfect wood stove laundry drying method for those of us with limited space, and it reminded me of these big wire spirals that are above a lot of Alaskan wood stoves.

Do you live off grid or in a tiny home? How do you deal with laundry?

Pretty Window Ice

Early Retirement for Sex Workers

I don’t want to “graduate” from sex work into another job. I don’t want to put myself through school with stripping so that I can live in the “real world.” I tried that and it was stupid. I want to accumulate money and reduce expenses until working is optional and unnecessary. Which is how work should be. This is what I’ve been doing the last few years, and I am very happy about being able to pay all my bills with a couple phone sex calls or a couple hours of escorting a month, or just making a video and uploading it to the internet for people to buy. It makes me sad to see other sex workers working their asses off to support themselves and pay for school so that they can go work their asses off five days a week for the rest of their lives just to be able to afford the lifestyles they started when they were strippers. So, instead of telling everyone they’re doing it wrong, I’m writing this handy dandy guide to escaping never having to join the rat race.

Why?

Most of us will never make this much money or have this much freedom in any other job no matter how much school we go to. I have a vanilla job now working with people I adore and being all fulfilled and stuff, and I do it 4 days a month. It pays great, more than someone with a BA could normally expect, and you know how much that translates to? A month of 8 hour days would be equal to what I just made in six hours spread over three days of in person sex work. “Real” jobs are not an efficient way to make money, and no matter how fulfilling they are I’ve noticed that nothing is fulfilling when you add in schedules, overtime, and office politics.

How?

I’m so glad you asked! I’ve been working on this for a while and I’ve got it all figured out:

First: Make Money

You’re already doing that, eh?

Second: Reduce Expenses

Think about it like this – you should be able to live on $500 or less per month, which is how much you might make at a part time fulfilling job or selling crafts on Etsy. $500 can be a lot of money if you don’t have bills, and since you have money now there are a lot of things you can do to set yourself up for a no bill lifestyle. My bills right now are $60/month, and my whole life costs less than $200/month if I don’t do anything extravagant.

Pay off your debt. Get rid of your mortgage (and never pay rent). I bought land and a cabin with no utilities far away from towns and rules where I can grow and hunt most of your own food. It took less than two years of working one weekend a month to pay it off and be bill free. But there are other ways to get rid of housing expenses, like travelling, work camping, woofing, networking, community building, and creative homelessness.

Now eliminate your other bills. Cancel your netflix and learn to entertain yourself. Cancel the gym membership and do body weight exercises. Cancel your fancy food box from the local farm and grow your own food. Get rid of your utilities.

If you have student loans, did you know about income based repayment? Apply and your bills will be adjusted to your income, and if you pay the adjusted bills for 25 years your student loans go poof, no matter how much is left on them! Check it out and do some math to see if it’s right for you.

Third: Invest in Your Outfit

A lot of eliminating expenses is making big purchases. Your outfit is everything you need to live for almost free. For example, I finally paid for a great new boat motor and now I don’t have to constantly buy/try to fix $500 motors. I invested a grand in a solar system and I’ve never had to run a generator. I got an amazing wood stove and now I only need a quarter of the wood I did before. These are big purchases that aren’t such a big deal now, but they will save me money and effort for the rest of my life.

Fourth: Create Passive Income

There are a lot of things you can do to create a quick and easy $500-2000/month.

1) The easiest (for me), is to make fetish videos to sell on the internet. Make a video, sell it forever. Make another video a month later and people who buy it will get some of your old videos too. Despite not making any videos for three or four months now, I made over $300 in totally passive video sales last month. Here, I made a website about how to do it, because I think we should all be able to retire and just make a video or two a month.

2) Of course there are longer, slower, less naked ways to make passive income on the internet. This guy knows a lot about that.

3) You could save up a lot of money and buy little cabins to rent out. This seems like a pretty good idea to me, but I guess it depends on the markets where you live.

4) Or you could save up a lot of money and invest in the stock market. This seems like the worst idea, since all the money could just go poof. I have done some reading about it and they say how much money you need to save is your yearly expenses x 30. So to live on $500/month you would have to save up $180,000. That seems like a lot of work. But not as much work as going to school for four years to get a degree to work at a real job and be bossed around for another 20 years.

Fifth: Congratulations, You’re Free to Enjoy Your Life!

Life is Amazing!

There has been a miracle of life this holiday season in my little cabin cave in the snowy woods!

When it first got cold I was stuck in town on the wrong side of the unfrozen river. Usually it only takes a couple weeks for the river to freeze, but this year was strangely warm and it took a long time and then a week of forty below before I could get home. When I finally did get home I lit a big fire in my big wood stove in my little cabin and set about thawing things out. You see, the walls and the furniture hold on to the cold much longer than the air, so one good night of sweating it out ensures books that don’t harbor frost and a bed that isn’t icey to climb into.

As night fell I lit the oil lamp and cozied up to it with a book and a cup of tea. This is the good life. Soon I heard a noise and noticed a winged one with one wing frozen into the melting ice on the window. They flapped frantically trying to get unstuck. I shrugged and moved the lamp closer to them, figuring they weren’t long for this world. It wasn’t long before my reading was interrupted by more noises and I looked up to see a moth throwing their self at the light. Luckily the flame has a glass thingy around it, but I didn’t want this moth who had been frozen and come back to life to die in the fire, so I turned the light off and sat staring into the dark.

The moth landed on my shoulder. I decided to name the moth Moth, not that the Moth would give a shit about a name, but I needed something to call them. After a while I became incredibly itchingly curious about whether Moth was still on me, and where, so I turned on my head light. Moth was on my arm, drunk with the cold away from the light. I helped Moth onto a little piece of paper and put them down. In the morning they were still there. Lifeless. Poor Moth.

That night I again built up the fire in the stove (well, just a tiny bit, it was twenty above outside!) and lit the oil lamp, and Moth came back to life!

I looked through all my books and tried to understand dormancy and identify moth. How is it possible for all of Moth’s little cells to freeze into little crystals at forty below and then come to life a week later? What the heck kind of moth is Moth anyways? It turns out Moth is a butterfly. Lymphalidae Polygonia, or a green comma. See how the end of Moth’s antennae are bulb shaped? That’s how you know that Moth is a butterfly and not a moth.

As it cooled down and I turned the lamp way down, Moth looked for a good place to go back to sleep and freeze again. The perfect place turned out to be between the fly swatter and the window. It’s sheltered from falling things, and perhaps spaces like this sometimes hold a tiny bit of heat. Just before I turned the lamp out for the night I was suprised to hear fluttering wings and see Moth joined by another Lymphalidae Polygonia. Moth has a partner! They’re snuggling now behind the fly swatter, sharing body heat maybe.

Who Are You?

Remember when I used to do these Who Are You posts on Hobo Stripper?

There are a lot less people reading here so far, but I want to know the same things, because I’m a little confused about what direction this site is going. So if you’re reading, pretty please answer in the comments:

How did you get here? Did you used to read Hobo Stripper?
Who are you?
Do you want to hear what I think about everything? Do you want to buy my porn? What do you want to see?

Thanks!

Occupy Wall Street: My Opinion

They say opinions are like assholes: everyone has one and if they don’t they’re full of shit. Shit’s supposed to be sacred, but I’d rather get it out and share my opinion with the whole wide internet. So.

I’ve been having two kinds of conversations about Occupy Wall Street: those with people who have been following on the internet and think sort of like me, and those with people who haven’t been following. If you’re thinking “wtf, why are you writing about revolution, I just want to see boobs,” keep reading! There are boobs at the end and I’m happy for you to see them if you hear me out.

If you haven’t been following, please take a moment to consider that what you’ve heard on the news is probably a big misrepresentation. Luckily, you can get news right from people on the ground, watch a live stream of the revolution, read individual accounts of what is going on and why, and check out this incredible tumblr that I think everyone should see. Or just read this.

When I talk to people who are dismissive or oblivious to what’s going on I’m shocked and I want to try to convince them that this is important. It’s big. People like me – and a lot of people not like me at all – are finally doing something big and trying very hard to make our voices – the voice of the 99% – heard. It is so exciting and I really want to go and be there right fucking now.

Do I think it will change anything meaningful? No, and that makes me feel really old and jaded and sad.

Let’s talk about globalization and capitalism and, of course, civilization. The current population of the earth, the United States, etc., is only sustainable if we continue to acquire a growing amount of finite resources that are running out. Without making wars for oil and drilling in important and delicate places like the Arctic Coastal Plain (by the way, sign this petition for me pretty please?) and mowing down the rain forest to grow cows pumped full of hormones and steroids with which to feed people and give them cancer, we would experience a rapid population drop. Here, I’ll rephrase: colonization and capitalism have allowed human populations to go crazy and most of us will die when they end.

The system that’s oppressing us, enslaving us with debt and shitty jobs or no jobs, repossessing our homes, poisoning our water and air, driving 35-200 species to extinction every day, and creating catastrophic climate change is also what’s keeping us alive. If we made it ethical it would collapse and most of us would die.

Here’s the more immediate thing, though: the 1% of Americans that own 42% of the wealth? They can use that wealth to buy cops. In fact JP Morgan Chase just donated 4.6 million dollars to the NYPD. Police will continue to arrest and use violence against non-violent protesters until they are eliminated. Non-violent protesters don’t do much to stop themselves from being wiped out and eventually the whole thing will peter out like all non-violent protests have.

Unless the 99% are inspired to fight back.

Freezing

I’m not home, but I can imagine it. The geography has come to live inside me, a little.

My favorite place to watch the water fall and freeze this time of year is at the mouth of the muddy little river I live on. A few weeks ago it was wide and full, like this:

Just before I left the water dropped a little and that made the beavers think it would be good to build a dam there, in the mouth:

which made it wider than ever before.

Soon, probably now, the water will drop even more so that the boat barely fits through the narrow mouth and the water is only a couple inches deep:

(I don’t usually go tossing guns around the boat all willy nilly like that. In that picture I’d taken it off and put it down there while I walked through the water. Cause I’m responsible like that.)

Then the freezing starts:

Up close it’s pretty, like old embroidery and crocheted lace:

Then! The water drops even more and the ice that had formed breaks away:

This is also pretty, close up. Look at the patterns:

All this is happening without me this year because I’m far, far away in the hot and muggy south. Most moments are not so beautiful here, but there have been some good ones, which I only get to photograph the aftermaths of:

Financial Coercion and How to Save Whores

I wrote this handy dandy financial coercion quiz for Tits and Sass, which is an awesome blog with daily sex worker commentary on the media affecting us. Originally I thought I could make a flow chart or a line graph but, well, it’s complicated. Go see it! What’s your score? Post it in the comments or on your blog!

I took the test for me when I first started doing sex work on my own and got 27 – I had problems. Most of my high score areas at that point came from the dominant culture: I wasn’t legally old enough to have a job that would support me, I was young and homeless and the state threatened my friends with jail if they housed me, I couldn’t imagine being rude to someone who was paying me and I thought everyone was who they said they were. I was lucky that my clients were mostly respectful of boundaries and sweetly patronizing and the club culture was low contact and performance oriented. For the odd client who wanted to take advantage, I was more than ripe for the taking.

This really drives it home for me that activism needs to center around giving women and girls other options (not like this) and teaching skills like boundaries, negotiation, and general savvy. Destroying capitalism would help a lot too. The Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago is a great example of relevant services and activism.

Rescue-based organizations who try to “help” women and girls by taking away options through criminalizing us, taking away access to condoms and health care, and telling us we are damaged and should not trust our own judgement actually increase victimization. There is no saving us, there is only giving us the tools and knowledge to access different choices.

I re-took the test again for myself now and got a 9 – that means I’m basically coercion free! Sex work is pretty good to me these days, and it’s because I’ve learned how to market myself to people I enjoy who want things that I enjoy, other sex workers have taught me great boundaries and negotiating skills, and past sex work has set me up so that my financial needs are very small and I never need money.

I’m incredibly grateful for the women who taught me how to navigate this industry with a minimum of bad experiences and a maximum of good ones. I want to do my part to pass these skills on because I believe that passing on of these skills is the most viable way to prevent victimization and coercion in our industry.