Letter from the Editor, Vol. 4
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
BY PENELOPE DARIO
Identities, like ideas, need time to ripen.
And like all things on earth, they evolve over time.
One could look at a personality like a living algorithm. We start with four main factors, parent 1, parent 2, the environment, and the variables of luck and chance. As this little equation progresses down the timeline, it starts to become infinitely more complex depending on what it is exposed to and how it’s supported in its development.
It was not long ago when there were fewer variables and the sum of your parts equaled a relatively predictable outcome. If you were assigned female at birth you had two options: marriage and motherhood or sisterhood in a convent. If assigned male you would follow in your fathers footsteps, continue the tradition of metal working, horse breeding, or whatever it is he did to make a buck. Esther Perel argues that the absence of choices and personal freedoms actually rendered us more satisfied than our contemporary counterparts. We made the best of what we had and didn’t have too many windows into the lives of others to compare to.
Our ancestors only had time for one path. Nowadays, we are blessed and cursed with more options that we can perceive, and just enough time to explore a handful of them.
Many of us are caught between our inherited programming that says you must choose and commit to one life and the modern paradigm of authenticity and extreme makeovers.
The truth is that the zeitgeist of the last decade was a mindfuck of “defining your brand.” We were encouraged to turn over every rock and explore every last corner to find our perfect fit. With the promise that once found, you would feel at home in your niche, with your people.
This isn’t complete malarkey though. It’s important to experiment and find what you like and commit to it. But once you have “arrived”, do not hold onto it so tightly that it starts to constrict you when you inevitably outgrow it or evolve beyond it. Continued openness to exploration, internal or external, is key.
We need to practice a lightness of touch with our identities and what we determine to define us. Because tides change, and it’s our resistance to our own evolution that stunts our growth. We can’t cling to who we think we are for fear of losing ourselves. The over-focus on the self and it’s “authentic expression” not only stifles authenticity but can cause a form of depression called head-in-ass-disease.
Labyrinths of negative emotions develop from the guilt and fear of personal and social treason. In this individualistic society, we are pushed to declare ourselves as “something” and build a life around that point. It can be so disorienting to feel your grip slip from that center. Conversely, as social creatures, most of us are assigned a position within a group, conditioned to adhere to a status quo, and to harmonize with the surroundings. When inner dissonance grows into a state of complacent discomfort, we should grant ourselves the freedom to let go and seek a new environment that matches our frequency.
What happens when we search and we don’t find the promised land?
Judgment finds its way to The World and back again to The Fool.
We become pioneers and make friends with the wilderness.
When choosing to leave the civilian world to enter the adult industry, sex workers often feel as though we are casting ourselves into the darkness of the unknown. In the beginning, we contort ourselves into archetypes we can recognize and think being overly agreeable will aid in our survival. Until we remember that you get to call your own shots in no-man’s land, and there is so much gold in its fertile soils.
PHOTO BY KOLT REAGLE