Thoughts at the start of a new year

In many ways, the last couple of years have been rough for me. Though I haven’t written much about it explicitly, my body hasn’t been the easiest place to be for a bit more than three years now. Some of this was acute – circumstances which worsened, and then, following surgery, abated. But surgery isn’t a walk in the park, and my recovery from surgery (three years ago this month) hasn’t been, either.

As 2020 begins, I find myself hopeful. I’m hopeful first, foremost, about my body – about the possibility that this may mark the year in which, once again, my body begins to be more of a source of joy for me once again, and less of a source of suffering. I’m hopeful, too, about the world. Nicholas Kristof (whom I mostly loathe) had a pollyanna-ish column in the Times over the holidays – I won’t link to it, because, honestly, it’s not worth reading – in which he basically said, “Yeah, things suck, but they suck less than they ever have before, at least globally. I mean, poverty, education, infant mortality, etc.” Which all is true, as far as it goes, but misses pretty fundamentally the fact that the ways in which it is true are secular – they’re true on 50- and 100-year average bases. But on a year-to-year basis, if the secular trends haven’t yet shifted directionally, just wait…. The derivative of their improvement – and, more important, the second derivative of their improvement – sure as hell has.

But still, I’m hopeful: I didn’t realize until Trump that my true religion is a religion of hope and compassion. I do, genuinely, believe in the good of people, at the end of the day. And my (perhaps pollyanna-ish) fantasy is that 2020 may well be the year in which, once again, the good of people starts to assert itself at the political level, on a global sphere.

Closer to home, I was thinking this morning, as I meditated, about the demise of Craigslist and BackPage. About ten years ago, I advertised for “hot trainers.” To great effect. I got myself a couple, and got in great shape. I need to do the same thing again. But the venues available to me are diminished. Similarly, my recently articulated fantasy: if I wanted to hire someone to make it come true? I don’t even know how I would do it today. Other than calling on my historical roster of sex workers. (Of course, I’d much prefer not to hire someone. I’d much prefer you do it for, with, me.)

And some other random thoughts: the fools who shut down Craigslist’s “erotic services” section, and who shut down BackPage entirely, don’t understand very much about human nature. Or maybe they do. But if what they were trying to do was to reduce “sex trafficking” – and see Maggie McNeill on that subject – they surely failed. And, if what they were trying to do was to reduce sex work, there, too, they failed. Alas – almost certainly the only things at which they succeeded were 1) getting headlines, and 2) driving sex work, and sex workers, further underground – making sex work more dangerous and more costly, and/but ensuring that those who bear those costs would almost certainly be sex workers themselves.

Human desire is like air in a balloon. If you squeeze it at one place, it’ll just move to another. (That’s not just true of desire, I think, but all feelings.) So closing off the CL and BP parts of the balloon just moved the air to other parts. No good for anyone. Except cops, politicians, and those who would profit off of the ways in which sex work is difficult.

Another thought: writing is hard, but I haven’t been doing it for reasons other than not having anything to say. Which means, probably, I should be doing it. (So here I am.)

Resolutions for 2020:

The usual: more sex, better sex, more connection, better connection, more writing, better writing. More, better, kindness, compassion, love.

Newer: more creativity. I’ve gotten very good at doing the things I’m good at. So good that I either phone them in or don’t even bother, as often as not. In 2020, I hope to find new, interesting ways to challenge myself, to take on new challenges. I say this generically, but I mean it specifically: in the realms of spirituality and kindness and friendship; in the family realm; in writing, in sex, in work. Everywhere.

May 2020 be a year of renewal, goodness, generosity, compassion, and peace for you and for all you love.

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