For our first interview of 2021, I am delighted to share some thoughts from @Cheeky.char on working as an escort with a disability. Please show the love by liking, commenting and sharing on your socials. ❤️
Q: Heeey girl! So nice to finally be able to get to know this wonderful personality of yours a bit better. So tell me a bit about yourself.
A: A bit about myself? That’s tricky! I’m Charlie, serving Halifax for the time being.. but hoping to travel some time soon! I grew up in Nova Scotia, but I keep leaving the country whenever I get the opportunity. I’m a pretty avid traveller, having visited the UK, Costa Rica, Tanzania... most recently being booted from Australia because of Coronavirus. Outside of being a traveller, I would describe myself as bouncy, bold, and really quite quirky! I dabbled in sugaring while I was studying for my undergrad, and then again for some time while I was in Australia. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, and somehow everything seems to fall into place.
Q: You mentioned to me by private message that you have Multiple Sclerosis. Can you tell me about your journey with that?
A: For sure! When I was in university I went through a period where my life could probably be described as “A series of unfortunate events” .. during this time I had some significant people in my life pass away, and then on top of that my arm went numb. When it got worse instead of better I ended up having a CT and an MRI which very clearly showed my demyelination, and because of the pattern it was very clearly MS. My doctors think that it is because of the stress I was under that my MS made itself know at that point. For the next 4 year I tried a few different medications and multiple lifestyle changes but nothing seemed to work for me. I, specifically, have relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis which follows the patterns it’s name predicts. So, during the years I didn’t have a working medication I would go into relapse about every three months - this could include loosing sensations in different body parts, losing my sight (the worst relapse!), and ultimately leaving me with some permanent damage in one of my hands and one of my ears. I started a new medication this year that seems to be working so far, so keep your fingers crossed for me! (I really could talk about the specifics of MS, and my MS all day, so I am open to comments and private messages about it!)
Q: Wow, what a journey - you are so brave! Sending you lots of luck on the medication. So getting into this line of work - is this something your disability prompted you to do? What other reasons were there?
A: I think my main prompt was coming back to Canada in the middle of a pandemic. I had a taste of being wealthy when I was in Australia and wanted to make sure I don’t have to go back to some of the ways in which I have lived, and I wanted to be able to have control of that. My disability could have prompted it, though, depending on the time in my life. When I think about sex work and my disability I mostly look at the benefits that this work gives me.
Q: What benefits does sex work have for disabled people that other jobs may not?
A: There are many benefits to sex work for disabled people, and I find more and more every day! I really love the control that I have over my time, my choices.. etc. When I think specifically in terms of living with a disability, this work benefits me so much! Chronic fatigue is part of MS, so if I am having one of those days I can choose how much I do that day, or often specifically I will choose what type of work I do that day as some requests are less strenuous than others. Also, this is some of the only work that I know I can take time that I need for various reasons surrounding my condition. Because I’ve started a new medication this year it feels like I have had medical tests and appointments lined up almost every week day. This does not always fly with a 9-5, even if they don’t vocally say it. With this work, I make my entire schedule, so I don’t have to ask anyone for time off and I don’t need to worry about being behind, because it is all my choice. And if I have a flare up or get sick, I don’t have to worry as much about working through the pain. It is my choice, and I choose to work hard while I am able in case that time comes when I feel low and need some time to rest.
Q: Do you mention your disability on your website/ads/when someone makes a booking?
A: I don’t put it on my regular ads, but anyone who follows my twitter probably knows. If I had a flare up and needed to cancel I would certainly be honest about the reason. I’m quite vocal about it in all aspects of my life because I’m learning every day how to empower myself and hopefully those around me in my MS journey.
Q: Are there any common misconceptions about Multiple Sclerosis that you’ve come across?
A: “But you’re not in a wheelchair” .. that is one I’ve gotten a lot! Some day I may be, but it’s not right now. MS is strange because it presents differently in every person who has it.
Another one that really bothers me is when people refer to my MS as “the good MS” Like, I can understand what it is they are trying to say, but that wording makes me feel so invalidated in everything that I have been through at just 24 years old!! My MS may only show itself in pulses, but during those times it is awful! And untreated, it does continue to get worse, and I still have a chance of developing progressive MS.. what is so good about that!? The take away here is that, excuse my language, the types of MS are shitty and shittier.
Q: Have you faced any disability stigma/discrimination in this industry? If so, how do you respond?
A: Perhaps behind closed doors there are people doubting me or choosing not to book me because of it.. but honestly I have been welcomed into this community on the East Coasts so fondly, and I appreciate everyone who has made me feel this way!
Q: I’m glad to hear that! I wonder if Clients with disabilities get nervous visiting a Provider. Do you have many disabled Clients come to visit you?
A: I have not had any disabled clients that I know of. You never truly know because of invisible disabilities. I am so open to them if they want to spend time with me! On the topic of disabled clients being nervous when visiting providers, I cannot speak for an entire group but I can share that I was nervous! Shortly after my MS diagnosis I had decided I would go see a dominatrix. I really went back and forth on whether I would mention it because I was so worried it would make her nervous and she wouldn’t want to see me. I did end up telling her, and I think this was the best policy because then we were able to be open about what felt okay for me, and I really enjoyed that time!
Q: That's fantastic advice and I love that you went to see a Dominatrix! What advice would you give to a Provider seeing a Client with a disability?
A: I would recommend being open to it! Just like any client, everything is better with communication. Most people in the disabled community become pretty good at being our own advocates. If you create that space for them to be open with you there are always ways to make things work, and you could end up making someone feel way more empowered than they were when they walked in.
Q: What advice would you give to a Client seeing a Provider with a disability?
A: This one is more tricky because I really think it depends a lot on the provider. I am very comfortable talking about my disability. But others, even if they are vocal online, may not want to talk about it during a date. Again, communication is key. Asking where their boundaries are is likely the best option.
Q: Thanks so much for your time, Char. Anything else you would like to add?
A: I reckon we’ve covered a lot! Like I said above, if anyone has any questions I will gladly answer in the comments or in private message. Thanks so much, Lydia!