Free to Move

At some point between leaving the AVN/AEE floor in Vegas on Friday evening and arriving in Paris on Sunday morning, I connected through Moscow.

Upon landing, I went around in circles with an airport employee on the subject of where I might be able to smoke a cigarette. Eventually they suggested outside, but then immediately told me they couldn’t let me outside because I didn’t have a visa.

This was a reminder that with great privilege [like a US passport] comes great potential to forget [all kinds of stuff.]

———

When I landed at Charles de Gaulle I filed off the plane, got my passport stamped, and was all ready to breeze through customs before all the people who’d checked their bags started lining up. Except…

…the customs check was totally closed. This meant there was no immediate way into France proper, and no way back to flights elsewhere.

I wasn’t able to understand the voice through the loudspeaker, even when it was speaking English. The man next to me, who was French, told me they weren’t saying anything informative in any language. Then he waved his hand at the milling customs officers who were decidedly not opening up the check point and said “Anarche.” I joked “I thought y’all were all ‘fraternite, liberte, egalite’?” He said “Anarche!” again, this time a sneering declaration.

A babbling monologue started up inside my head about how it seems like anarchy’s fairest shot to date was in Ursula K. Le Guin’s sci-fi novel The Dispossessed, and there are some really interesting concepts in those schools of thought, and philosophies that prioritize individual choice might be super incredibly necessary in the world right now, and the motto of “No Gods, No Masters” seems like something both the US and France should totally be able to get behind, right? until my body interrupted with signs of panic and my mind switched to “DON’T PANIC.”

Which, of course, works about as well as “Don’t think about pink elephants.”

———

See, one of the worst things to do around officers who are on alert is panic. Then you might look crazy and—in my experience—looking crazy opens up a decent chance of being escorted to the little room and/or spending a significant chunk of time in a place that feels suspiciously like a cage.

What I’m saying here is that it is easy for me to get stuck in a fear-of-panicking feedback loop. Especially when a situation is mirroring earlier parts of life in which I was terrified for immediate reasons and thoroughly trapped. So I went to the bathroom and used the sink water to swallow some of my psychiatrist prescribed anti-anxiety medication, which is less chewable than Xanax but also supposedly way less addictive.

*shrug*

Approximately half an hour later, the loudspeaker voice explained that we’d been held due to a piece of unclaimed baggage and were now free to be processed through customs.

———

I’m aware that our movement is controlled by uniformed officers and subject to government whims, especially during air travel. But that control isn’t something I’m used to being immediately confronted with. That control isn’t something most US citizens are used to being immediately confronted with during travel—yet.

Regardless, that frightening little room is something the US has been confronting our visitors with for years in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

Hello World

Hello World,

(Please, fuck, tell me someone out there gets the reference.)

I’d like to start by rewinding all the way back to my stoya.tumblr.com blogs. Many of those early writing-ish-things were titled “Stoya vs. ____,” a format stolen from Chuck–a show I used to like having on in the background while I sewed things to other things or glued rhinestones to various kinds of stuff. I learned a lot about how people who are sensitive to social justice concerns tend to interpret words and statements. I was also pretty clearly telegraphing the fact that life frequently felt like a battle to me, if not a war.

(I couldn’t see it at the time, but other people could.)

Later, people started asking me to write things for their publications in exchange for money. For about 18 months I took basically every gig that was offered. I learned a lot about how freelance writing works, about small scale exploitation under–um, neo-liberal?–capitalism, and why a good editor is worth at least 10x the weight of a publication’s prestige or traffic. My year freelancing for VICE gave me a crash course in the mad-and-looking-for-someone-to-take-it-out-on flavor of troll.

(Predictive text suggested “women” instead of “someone” in that last sentence. This feels accurate enough to mention in an parenthetical.)

Then came Graphic Descriptions. I was being told I needed a domain of my own, and I knew that my presence on any individual social media network or blogging service was subject to change at the whims of new ownership, founders responding to straw concerned-public demands, totally automated “inappropriate content” reporting systems, and evolving ToS’s. A (theoretically more stable) web presence required a name, so I did what I tend to do when I can’t find one that feels right: describe what it is.

And indeed, I posted blogs describing (in fairly graphic ways) the world around me and what I was up to. When these things were about a sex scene, I added links out. But I was never able to write *just* to get-and-send clicks to push porno. That’s a skill I wish I had, and an aptitude I know I don’t.

And then I stopped writing. Entirely. I could barely even email.

It took a few months for me to understand what the block was. All that previous writing had been addressed to the Entire Internet, and the Entire Internet had become a bit terrifying. Threats like “I’m going to fuck your spleen” were harder to laugh off, and some MRA group had posted something claiming to offer a bounty for putting this bitch behind bars. It took a whole damn year for me to find that one funny… and then it was hilarious.

Seriously though, the Internet felt scary enough to make the writing part of me freeze up.

Over the summer I tried a couple of things and managed to write two real pieces: A poem about blowjobs that was sent as a newsletter and a lengthy description of a Balkan gonzo porn adventure with Zak Sabbath.

Then I went back to troubleshooting that writer’s block problem. The poem had been a way of saying hello to one of the men who was mentioned as a blowee; I knew he subscribed to the newsletter. The Balkan gonzo porn blog was written for friends who I knew would enjoy hearing about the adventure–at their leisure, as opposed to in a 90 minute one woman show.

This fall, Graphic Descriptions was having some malware issues. Rev Mitcz had scooped up hellostoya.com as a possible solo site, and then we decided we still don’t want a Stoya solo site.

(Solo site like the traditional porn thing where there’s one female performer and a range of visual media content of her in various stages of undress and/or fuckery.)

—–

On Friday, 20 January 2017, I went to AVN/AEE to sign for four hours at the Fleshlight booth. A few things were very different from previous conventions. I was calm. I had my own security human (they’re much more affordable than I’d thought.) And every single person who came to see me–except that one guy… fuck, there’s always one guy–spoke to me in ways that felt humanizing. Re-humanizing, even. That’s an audience I can address my words to.

So: HelloStoya.com… because that’s the gist of what y’all say to me when we first meet or see each other again. And because I *need* to be writing towards a group or individual in order to write at all.

(Mitcz installed stock WordPress, which means the comments section was automatically live. Clayton Cubitt once said he wasn’t interested in hosting anyone else’s Ids, and I tend to agree. But for now I’ll leave it open, and we’ll see how that goes.)

Thank you and xoxo,
Stoya