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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Money vs. Morals

Because of the many health issues I had this year, I missed some work during the last few weeks of my last temp job.  And as a temp, when you don't work you don't get paid.  And when you don't get paid, you stress out and continue to get sick.  It's a vicious cycle that I'm sure many folks are dealing with right now, and it's not pretty at all.  I was so desperate for money that I started selling everything else I didn't sell the first time I found myself without a job (and I'm continuing to sell stuff until I'm all caught up on my rent &  utilities).  Things I swore I would never sell because they were gifts or hard-earned tokens of happiness that I'd get for myself when I could afford a more normal life.  I just didn't know another way to get quick money right now.... at least not without compromising my morals and everything I stand for (my Lord, I hate ending sentences w/dangling prepositions...).

Anyway, I have this friend who is sort of like the little devil that sits on one shoulder in older (better than today's) cartoons.  She has made quite a business for herself as a "personal escort" and rakes in quite a ton of cold, hard cash.  She started this last year after getting fired from our old company and is apparently living quite a wonderful life filled with money and tons of material things.  She keeps trying to convince me that this is the way to my financial freedom.  "Kimberly, it will change your life!" she tells me.  "You'll never be broke again.  You'll be able to pay your bills AND go shopping!"  But I always turn her down.  Selling sex for money just isn't in my daily M.O., you know?

Still, I get texts from her regularly, checking in to see if I've changed my mind about running my own "business".  And I must admit, after reading her website and what she charges, the offer is tempting.  Things like $350/hr or $900/2 hrs of "GFE" fun (which I learned through some online searching means "girlfriend experience") stand out to someone like me, who is in danger of being evicted if backed up rent isn't caught up by January.  She goes on lavish, luxurious, international trips; she offers girl-on-girl action for $2K or more for one evening.  She is ROLLING in it because of what she's willing to do.

But at what cost???  Are my morals so easily bought and sold by the lure of ridiculous amounts of easy cash that I won't be able to account for legally when tax-time comes?

NO!!!!!

I'm definitely hurting for money and still very close to becoming homeless, even with the new job (it takes forever to get paid, let alone caught up!), but I just can't lower myself to the levels that have been offered to me.  Sure, I'm trying to sell my mind in different ways by offering blogging gigs, recipe development, etc. in order to make ends meet right now, but that's not my entire person, my womanhood, my integrity.  Some may argue that those things are one in the same, but I do not.  Am I wrong?  Where exactly is the line drawn between providing a service and providing a "service"?  Maybe there isn't a line, and if there is it is most definitely blurred.

I value myself and my body.  I know I need money but I think I have many other things to offer the world than cheap and easy sex.  Sex is everywhere, and a lot of times you can get it for free.  Personally, I've never understood the need to charge for something so readily available and accessible.  My mind, on the other hand, that's another story.  That's something unique and exclusive, the kind of thing whose power you can't find just anywhere.  With my mind and knowledge I help people; with sex, my friend does not.  Sure, she may rake in a ton of cash that way, but for what?  For something anyone can do for free, and without the awful addition of knowing you sold that basest of needs for money.  "I cried the entire time my first night," she told me, "because I just couldn't stand myself."

I won't go into all the psychological and social ramifications that something like this is sure to cause, because they're pretty self-explanatory.  Suffice it to say that someone like me, who suffers from some pretty low self-esteem issues to begin with, would feel even lower than usual if that were my source of income.  I'd also become Captain Paranoia, wondering where exactly one would put all that cash, not to mention when exactly the Feds would come asking for their cut ("Don't you ever worry about getting audited?" I've asked my friend before. "No. I spend it too fast to put it away."  Ack).  If someone like my friend couldn't even stand herself after the first night, I can't begin to imagine what I'd feel like.  Then there are all the other issues, like personal safety, physical safety....... nononono.  I couldn't never do it.  No matter how incredibly desperate I may be.

So now, in my second week at my new job, I think to myself: thank GAWD I have my priorities straight.  Yes, these past couple of months - nay, this whole year has been terribly difficult on me and on a lot of others.  I have a good, steady job with kick-ass benefits now, but I am still struggling and will have to do so for a good two or three months.  You just don't bounce back from this sort of thing just because you get an offer letter in the mail.  I've had to go without more than I'm already used to doing: not just selling my possessions but having to isolate myself away from anything fun with my friends because everything, even a cup of coffee, costs money.  I've been sick with stress and frustration, upset at not being able to move forward in my life; in short, things have really sucked! 

But despite all this, I knew that I was made of something stronger, something that would not take me down a road that I would never want to travel, something that kept me from having to sell myself just to make ends meet.  I'll sell my stuff and I'll sell my knowledge; the stuff I can always replace, and the knowledge just keeps coming with each day I spend on this Earth.  But my pride?  My morals?  My inegrity?  How could I possibly sell those, no matter how shitty finances are?  How, when there are assistance programs for people in dire straits?  How, when offers of shelter have been made to me, in case of eviction (though that's still something I hope to avoid, as that stays on your record 7 whole years...)?  How, when I there are menial jobs, telecommuting gigs, and eBay to get you through those scariest of times? 

I know I don't have human children, another "escort" acquaintance's excuse for "doing whatever it takes".  But my own life and the lives of my feline children are just as valuable in my eyes, and I think that "whatever it takes" can be defined in less..... controversial terms.  I'm not going to judge my friend or those who feel they need to sell sex to make ends meet; everyone's circumstances are different, and they're entitled to make their own choices.  I just know that for me, it's not worth it.  There are better opportunities out there, and though they may take a lot of time & effort to find, it's worth the wait.  And the peace of mind.

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Kimberly A. Morales
singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.
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