A Sex Trafficking Survivor’s Letter to Her Younger Self

2 Mar

Stella Marr, my body the city, prostitution, sex work, younger self, trauma, new york, manhattan, columbia university, human trafficking, sex worker, prostitution, sexual exploitation

Dear twenty-year old Stella,

Work hard on learning to ask for help.  It’s the only way you’ll ever  break free.  No one ever does anything alone.  You don’t have to.

You’ll learn how to make the men happy.  The happier they are the nicer they treat you.  You’ll get very good at being a hooker.  But when the Johns say “baby you were born for this” that doesn’t mean its true.

Now when most men come near you  feel a stabbing at your eyes, your throat, and your gut that you know isn’t real.  You don’t want to admit it but you’re terrified.  You start, you tremble.  Your hands shake.  Think about it, you’re being stabbed a lot these days.  This is a quite reasonable reaction to being used by man after man, day after day, in this prison of a brothel.  It doesn’t mean you are so miserably flawed that you can’t do anything but prostitution.

Being sold for sex doesn’t make you subhuman.  It’s not OK for your (white) pimps to smack you and tell you they’ll kill you.

You have to work up the nerve to pay a cashier for a soda.  You’re too scared to ask that guy behind the deli counter to make you a sandwich.   This isn’t weakness, it’s biology.  Trauma changes your brain.    Your hippocampus, where you form narrative memory in the brain, shrinks.  This is a symptom of PTSD —  a neurophysiologic response to repetitive trauma –not evidence that you deserve to be in prostitution.

In the middle of the winter in the middle of the night when that guy in the Doubletree suite invites you to sit while he pours you a seltzer trust your gut and back out of there before the five guys you can’t see who are waiting in the bedroom have a chance to get between you and the door.

Being vulnerable means you’re alive.   There’s no shame in it.  It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person.  You don’t have to apologize for doing what you must to survive.

When Samantha tries to stop working for your pimp Johnny.  make her get out of the city.  Otherwise two weeks later Nicole, the madam who works with Johnny,  will show you Samantha’s diamond initial ring and tell you Johnny murdered her.  Though you’ll always hope she was lying, you doubt it.

You’ve lost all sense of the linear — time  disappeared and you felt it leave.  Now you’re living in the immediate and eternity.  It’s scary and bewildering, but you need this — you need each moment to stretch infinitely so that you can be acutely aware of each man’s tiny movements and shifts in expression,  which can reveal a threat before it happens.  This hyperawareness will save your life.  One day you’ll see this being untethered from time as a kind of grace.

When that shiny classical pianist you meet at Au Bon Pain says he wants to know everything about you don’t believe him.

A lot of what’s happening doesn’t make sense now but it will later.  That habit you have of writing poems in your mind to the beloved you haven’t met yet, as you’re riding in cabs to calls?  There’s something to it.

Your ability to perceive beauty is part of your resilience and survival.  When a man is on top of you watch the wind-swirled leaves out his window.  Seize the gusty joy you feel as you run three blocks to a bodega to buy condoms between calls at 3 AM.  When you think for a minute you see that friend,  who’s death you never got over,  standing in the brassy light under a weeping linden, be grateful.  All this has a purpose.

Being in prostitution can seem to mean you’ve lost everything you hoped to be, but that’s not true.  You’ve splintered into a million pieces, but you’re still you. You’re alive.    It’s in the spaces between those pieces where you learn to feel how other people are feeling.  It hurts so much you’re sure it’ll kill you, but it won’t.  Later when you’re out of the life it’ll be so easy to be happy.  The mundane will buoy you.

When your madam sends you to the Parker Meridien at 3 AM and you meet a British professor who says he wants to help you, believe him.  He will set you up in a beautiful condominium across from Lincoln Center that he deeds in your name.  Of course you’ll have everything to do with this — you are so “good” at being a “hooker,: so “good” at fucking that you can make a guy want to buy you a condo.  Shame is a hollow stone in the throat.

During the two years that this voracious man ‘keeps’ you as his private prostitute the condo will come to feel like a platinum trap.  But it’s still your chance to get out and heal. Take it.

After you’ve sold the condominium and are living in a graduate dorm at Columbia University, a man with eyes like blue shattered glass will sit beside you in the cafeteria.  When he begins to speak you know he’s the unmet beloved you’ve been writing poems to all these years.  You’ll try to run away, but he won’t let you.  Fourteen years later the two of you will be hiking through pink granite outcroppings with your Labrador retriever.  You’ll  feel like the freest woman in the world.

One afternoon when you’re twenty-one you’ll be at the Museum of Metropolitan of Art with your best friend Gabriel, who’s a hustler, a male prostitute.  When he says you ‘remind him of his death’, don’t lash back.  Even though he told you the doctor said he didn’t have that rare new virus named AIDS, it would behoove you to realize he’s still coughing.

Stop thinking about your own hurt.  Don’t lash back with that phrase your mother’s said to you so many times  –” I hope you die a slow death.”  Don’t tell Gabriel  you never want to see him again and storm out of the  sculpture gallery.   Or it will be the last time you see him.  Gabriel will die of AIDS five months later.  When he said you reminded him of ‘his own death’ he was trying to tell you he was dying.   You’ll regret what you said for the rest of your life.  But even more you’ll regret running away from his friendship.

Say forgive me.

Say I love you.

Stay connected.

Love,

Stella

P.S.  I’m sure my mom learned to say “I hope you die a slow death” from her dad.

This is a tribute to Cheryl Strayed‘s transcendent letter to her younger self.  Her letter’s form gave me a pitcher that I filled with my life.  A big shout out to Dublin Call Girl who’s thank you letter to punters is already a classic.

534 Responses to “A Sex Trafficking Survivor’s Letter to Her Younger Self”

  1. Nativegrl77 March 2, 2012 at 4:20 am #

    gotta say it is disturbing but it’s a topic that needs a platform …. good for you!

    • K. R. Juzwin, Psy.D. April 11, 2012 at 7:03 am #

      What a powerful piece of writing, so moving, so honest, so much vulnerability. Thank you for your courage in your work. Thank you for saving yourself and offering hope to so many others. I learn so much from you, you are teaching me how to honor anothers perspective, thank you for your wisdom and courage. May you have light and hope in your life, kammie

    • disneyslut April 11, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      i love this blog with a passion xxx

      • camgal June 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

        wow. I love this blog now…truly inspiring. You deserve to be heard :)- Camgal

    • secretsfrommysneakers April 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      This is a tragic story, but it would be more heartbreaking not to have a chance to read your writing. Your writing and raw honesty is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

      • Spiffify June 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

        I agree. This post is stunning, as is the rest of this blog. Geez.

    • clvrwitch April 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      Wow. Powerful and moving. Obviously a remarkable and difficult journey, but still, you are stronger for having made it. Wonderful stuff!

    • lameboyofhameln April 30, 2012 at 5:16 am #

      It is humbling to read this.

    • lgambill May 3, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      I am here because you read a post about expressing passion in terms of what i know as the natural world, and left a bread crumb. I see a kinship of narrative imagery and hope to read your reflective musings on life going forward. There is ahead of you a break over point; beyond which you will create more beauty less fettered by the past. I am reading still. Be well.

    • Aear1 June 7, 2012 at 7:56 am #

      Thank you everyone who posted, and thank you “Stella” for making your voice heard.

  2. dublincallgirl March 2, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    Reblogged this on secretdiaryofadublincallgirl and commented:
    This is so beautiful and so sad. I wish teleporting/time machines existed and I would find her and take her away and mind her forever.

    • jendereastward March 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      “Your ability to perceive beauty is part of your resilience and survival.”
      Amazing… powerful words.

  3. monica March 2, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    stella,
    what a raw piece. I could feel it deep inside of me and had tears in my eyes throughout. You are such a strong and courageous woman and an inspiration. I am so proud that u listened to urself with regards to the professor…it was ur key to freedom. I found myself so thankful to this professor..when he said he wanted to help u….even if he felt he was getting the satisfaction of having u to himself.
    I understand trauma..mayself being dx with complex ptsd…but to listen to u walk through these terrifying experiences and talk about it with such insight is amazing. I was so excited..cheering inside when i read about your love …that sat beside u at school.
    cheering and tearing.
    Stella, I wish u healing and I know that ur life will help many women.

    Have u written your memoir? I will be the first in line to buy it .
    thanks for ur blog,
    monica
    xo

  4. Susan March 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Stella, that was amazing… Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  5. Anne R. March 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Oh Dear

    So very sad and painful to read. But with a hope and bright light in the end. I fully agree with Monica – write a book.I will be in the line too to buy it.

  6. Gastrein Philippe March 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Thank you for this great text.
    I’ve done the translation toward french here:

    http://caloupile.blogspot.com/2012/03/lettre-dune-ex-pute-une-de-ses-jeunes.html

    • stellamarr March 3, 2012 at 12:11 am #

      Thank you Philippe for the translation, and thank you so much Anne and Susan for your moving support. So much love to you all, xo

      • Bryan Edmondson March 22, 2012 at 7:36 am #

        This is a resplendent blog. I am writing a humble novel. It involves the sexual industry. I have no experience with this so I cannot develop characters. I have looked everywhere just for an accurate feel of what providers feel like and how their job effects them. I have a friend who was in the industry and very damaged by pigs of men emotionally. She can’t talk about it.
        This blog helps me get an honest feel of what it is like on the inside.

        Wonderful to find you stellmarr.

        Respectfully, Bryan Edmondson

      • Stan Faryna April 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

        I celebrate your freedom. I celebrate your courage. You shine brightly. And brighter!

        You may find some inspiration in my blog post about Love. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY

  7. Heather Marsten March 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Stella, thank you for sharing this. I am so glad you found your freedom from this past. It is shocking to me to see how fractured you became in this lifestyle. Haunting image was the seltzer and the five guys hidden, waiting to abuse. That you escaped and became the strong advocate you have become is a tribute to your courage and integrity. I know that complete healing is possible. I never lived this lifestyle, but every bit of innocence was taken from me by my father’s abuse and then I gave myself to men figuring to get the sex out of the way and then become friends. I believed my father’s lie that I was so stupid, dumb, and ugly no man would ever want to marry me, so he was going to teach me to put out. I was seven when he told me this. I regret how I responded to the abuse and the many times I put out. I fractured myself. But healing is possible and now I’m in a marriage of 25 years with three wonderful children who never had to deal with the abuse I’ve lived through. I pray you find total healing and I think you are on your way to do this. Forgiving and reaching out to help others are two powerful healing tools. I pray that your words reach many, that you help others escape this lifestyle and heal. Your blog is invaluable.

  8. stellamarr March 3, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Philippe, Thank you so much for doing me the enormous honor of translating my writing. I am blessed in that I can read French, although I cannot write it. As a result, I’ve been rereading your work many times, admiring your art and the beauty of your phrases. I will never forget this. It’s such an empowering gift. Thank you again.

  9. kissingthecockroach March 3, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    One word. Amazing.
    One sentence: “Your ability to perceive beauty is part of your resilience and survival.”
    TC

  10. Iasmē March 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    An amazing and touching read, Stella – I really feel for what you’ve been through…

    • stellamarr March 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Thank you so much for reading, and for your support. Much love, xoxo

      • katercanter August 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

        As usual with your beautiful blog, I am reminded of posts written by soldiers suffering from PTSD. This entry in particular remind me that you and your fellow survivors are veterans of a much older war which is almost never spoken of. Thank you for sharing your story,

  11. allecto March 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    It hurt my heart to read this. It is so eloquent and heart breaking at the same time. Your courage to write about the horror that is prostitution is nothing short of extraodinary. You are one brave and amazing woman, Stella. Thank you for the power and strength of your voice.

    • stellamarr March 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

      Allecto your beautiful support moves me to teares. Thank you for being you and being in the world. xoxo

  12. Samantha Goble March 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Wow, this left chills down my spine and tears in my eyes. A wonderful piece, very touching, very raw, very real.

    • stellamarr March 6, 2012 at 12:11 am #

      Samantha, I’m so moved by your support. Thank you xoxo

  13. smash March 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Thank you for this important piece. I’ve shared widely.

    • stellamarr March 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

      Thank you — your support means the world to me. Much love, XOXO

  14. rachel March 7, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    I no the feeling i been there 3 years man its crazy

    • stellamarr March 7, 2012 at 1:18 am #

      It sure is darling. Much much love to you xoxo

  15. livingalifeworthliving March 7, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    If only we could all write letters to our younger selves. I am proud of you for leaving this life. I hope someone reads this story who may still be in your old shoes, even if it gives them just hope.

    • stellamarr March 7, 2012 at 3:40 am #

      Thank you so much darling. Your kind and empathetic support moves me to tears. Much love,

  16. Rescuing Little L March 7, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    wow Stella….this stopped me in my tracks…there is so much power and conviction in your words, just beautiful….so glad you found my blog so I could find you….I will be a constant follower….

    also, I need to give you a ((hug))…

  17. nuclearnight March 7, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Thank you so much Stella. I hope every young woman who finds herself in your old situation can read this and feel the love you’re extending. Brilliant as always.

    • stellamarr March 7, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      Thank you for your deep support. I’m very moved xoxo

  18. shermeekaflies March 7, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I was crying the entire time I read this. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • stellamarr March 7, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Awww, thank you for reading. You made me cry — those good happy tears. Much love, xo

      • shermeekaflies March 7, 2012 at 8:53 am #

        Same here. Your story is changing lives and I cannot wait to read another blog post <3

  19. lighthousehope4 March 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Absolutely shattering, inspirational and humbling simultaneously. Thank you for your courage and talent x

    • stellamarr March 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      You move me to tears. Thank you for your deep support and the work you do on behalf of maids in Singapore – you shine a needed and important light. xo

  20. Sylvie Branch March 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Beautiful – I may not have been where you have, but I know dark …and know that it takes incredible strength to reinvent – thank you for sharing your story

  21. Claudia Zuluaga March 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Love it, Stella! I especially like the repetition of the vulnerability not being a flaw but about humanity. It is such an important thing to know.

    BTW, I met you at BL and came upon this via FB.

  22. Jess March 9, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    Hi Stella, this is a wonderful letter, it gave me goosebumps. i hope your new life is everything you ever dreamed off. Best Regards.

    • stellamarr March 9, 2012 at 3:03 am #

      Thank you so much MIchele and Jess. I so appreciate your deep support. Much love, xoxo

  23. FreeIrishWoman March 9, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    “That habit you have of writing poems in your mind to the beloved you haven’t met yet as you’re riding in cabs to calls. There’s something to it.”

    Those lines just move me so. I can so relate to that; that way we all had of reaching, wanting, trying for something beyond our current reality. That yearning for humanity was a hallmark of our shared experience. Thank you for articulating it so beautifully Stella, xxx

    • stellamarr March 9, 2012 at 6:06 am #

      Dear FreeIrishWoman,

      Yes: that way we all had of reaching, wanting, trying for something beyond our current reality. That yearning for humanity was a hallmark of our shared experience. You put it so beautiful — moved me to tears. Thank you for reading xoxo

  24. rmott62 March 9, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    I am so sorry that I have written till now – this a brilliant piece of writing for to me it bring right in the centre of that time. Thanks for your courage to be able to say with such a clear eye that hell.
    I try sometimes to write to my self at the moment I enter prostitution, but it is too hard – so your ability to reach into that centre of that time is so wonderful.

  25. Lisa Alvarado March 10, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    For the writing that cuts to the jugular, for defiance, for living, for telling the story, thank you.

    • stellamarr March 10, 2012 at 7:21 am #

      I’m humbled and moved by your support. Thank you xoxo

  26. hrabrachels March 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Beautiful: your writing, your honesty, and your richness of spirit. Thank you for sharing.

    • stellamarr March 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      Thank you so much for reading, and for your moving, empathetic support. xoxoxo

  27. twinklysparkles March 11, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    Stella,

    This is beautiful. You inspire me. Thank you so much for every word. twinkly

    • stellamarr March 11, 2012 at 4:37 am #

      Awww, you inspire me darling. Glad you’re in the world and writing. xoxo

  28. Henry York March 14, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    wow! You brought it home gal. The hate you display for yourself is chronic, and so sublime my girl. I fully overstand your need to excel, and you really do in what I just read. You know! The need to prove you’re really good (excellent I say) at something. Gal! You can write!!!!!!

    Henry York (ghetto scuffler)

    • stellamarr March 14, 2012 at 1:15 am #

      Thank you Henry, you made me smile wide with that poetic riff of support. Hope you are feeling inspired and happy.

      • roodbafl March 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

        So Yo!
        Be sure to Holla back, seen?

        You should be able to make a living writing! I want to know how its done, or how you intend to do it. You can obviously write stuff, other than the hustling mindset, right? There is a way to self-empowerment! You say this is who I am; draw a line and whoever crosses is for you. I know worse lives than the picture you painted in this particular offering. Be proud of yourself, and for the right reasons. Your past becomes a joke, only if you come to terms with it.

      • Henry York March 15, 2012 at 6:34 am #

        Yo stella: coming back for the third time; don’t wanna let go so easy. I’m really impressed with your writing skills. I don’t sympathise or sorrowise for your story. Power-up and overcome. the life you have is bigger and better than what you left; give thanks and be strong….Holla back…

        Henry York (RoodBafl)Roodbaf@youtube

  29. Kyle March 14, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    your blog is awesome – i am so glad i found it – honest and brave shit – not enough of this kinda heart on the blogosphere, thinks me

    • stellamarr March 14, 2012 at 2:22 am #

      Thank you for your kind support. I’m very moved.

  30. lnmwonderfulworld March 14, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are a brave survivor.
    Ellen

  31. thisbirdflies March 14, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    I was working when I read this and it’s been on my mind since. The raw emotion brought tears to my eyes and it made me realize just how blessed I really am to have grown up the way I have. With parents who don’t wish me to die a slow death, but to live life to the fullest…to be vibrant with joy. This letter makes me want to hug this girl. Sometimes that’s all someone needs…a gentle touch. I’m glad she made it. I’m glad she survived. People like this are the real heroes of the world. To overcome so much evil and darkness. God bless her.

    • stellamarr March 14, 2012 at 3:38 am #

      Thank you so much for reaching out, and for your compassionate support.

  32. visinthewise March 14, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    Every once in a while, unexpectedly, I encounter a reality so crystally clear and real that I have to say to myself, “time to pack it in, fold it down, close up shop, there is nothing I can really say that contributes anything to advancing the human condition”. This has been one of those days.

    I noticed you visited my blog, so I followed you home…

    There is really nothing more I can possibly say.

    I feel like such a punter.

  33. free penny press March 14, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Our stories are not so far apart.. hooker-abused wife…in the end fragments of little girls are left..
    Many stand tall like us.. i will enjoy following your journey (looks like i have alot to catch up on)

    lynne

  34. dborys March 14, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    Reblogged this on Painted Black and commented:
    Painted Black is a work of fiction, but the world of prostitution that trapped my character Lexie is real, too real, and too often misunderstood by people who want to blame the victims. I found this blog by someone who knows what it is like to be trapped, used and abused, to feel there is no way out. But her blog shows there CAN BE a way out, that there HAS TO BE.

  35. Erik Gustafson March 14, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Very powerful words!

  36. buddhkist March 14, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Wow. An intense subject to write about but I believe you have accurately portrayed it. It makes one wonder about all the tales out there being lived.

    • stellamarr March 14, 2012 at 5:03 am #

      Thank you for reading. I actually was lucky — many women have had it much worse than me — and do now. Much love

      • Raven Marlow March 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

        I’m sure that’s true. I can only imagine. Your take needs to be heard

  37. Miss Rosen March 14, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    BRAVA ~*~

    your courage and compassion gives me chills and inspires me. i am without words, and that is the most beautiful thing.

  38. Aurora, HSP March 14, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Thank you for following me and giving me the opportunity to discover your amazing pages here. So glad to know that PTSD, among many other things/people, need not hold humans hostage forever. Poignant, beautifully shared story. Thank you. Following you now, too.

  39. gigoid March 14, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    Stella….you came by my site, and like it enough to follow, so I came by here to check out your site….so, this is my first stop in to see your work….what a powerful beginning, and what a wonderful serendipitous find your site is! Although for different reasons, I also suffer from PTSD, (I wrote a four part blog post on that story from my past, here on WordPress, January 27-30 of this year) and reading your letter to your younger self had me pouring tears from the first paragraph on…..

    You are obviously an incredibly strong willed person, and I am very happy that you were able/lucky/smart enough to make it through to where you are; to essentially heal yourself, before you were able to accept help from others. Yours is a compelling story of courage and yes, the resilience possible in humans, and it is unfortunate in the extreme ( a fancy way to say it’s shitty….) that experiences like yours are all too common for too many young women. You have my admiration, my respect, and though we may never meet, I want you to know it makes me feel proud to know someone of your strength and integrity. Your beloved is also a man I would like to know; he must be pretty special to have engaged your trust and love, after so long keeping it hidden for its protection….

    When I was in my twenties and thirties, I worked as a psychiatric technician in a program that provided treatment for teenagers with behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric dysfunctions. I remember at least four young women who came to us with severe depression and anger management issues, the causes of which were rooted in their situations, which were much like yours; they ran away from abusive homes, only to fall into the hands of unscrupulous men on the street who tricked/forced them to become prostitutes. It was a very difficult set of problems to treat, due in part to their unwillingness to trust, and the poor self image they maintained. We were able to help three of the four, as I recall; one of them became further mentally fragile, and her problems were then seen to have their cause in the bipolar disorder she was diagnosed with. But the three young women we were able to help all made the turnaround in their lives when they learned that it was okay to feel okay, and that it was okay to trust SOME people…..

    Again, you have my respect, my admiration, and my thanks, for sharing your story; it may be of help to others in young Stella’s shoes….. Take care, and Blessed Be

    gigoid, aka Ned Moore… a very great pleasure to make your acquaintance!

  40. jruthkelly March 14, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    Stella, this here… so true, resonates deeply: “It’s in the spaces between those pieces where you learn to feel how other people are feeling. It hurts so much you’re sure it’ll kill you, but it won’t.” What a deeply moving outpouring of truth, all of this post.

  41. Sandy Sue March 14, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Stella, this is so moving and awe-ful, I can’t stand to think it’s real. You lived my nightmare and are alive on the other side of it. How is that possible? How can there be such strength and courage in the world? How can you still feel and love? you are a miracle and a blessing.

  42. Boomie Bol March 14, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Raw, honest, sincere. Great piece. Your very best days are ahead of you, I enjoyed reading this. I will definitely be following you.
    Your writing is beautiful, a reflection of the beautiful person that you are. Thanks for sharing. Stay beautiful:).

  43. adruidway March 14, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Stella, simply astonishing writing on your blog — painful and necessary to read, and breathtaking courage and strength in you to survive and write about it and even possibly thrive after all you’ve experienced.

    Writing a letter to a younger self is a powerful tool, as you aptly demonstrate — I teach creative writing and use the technique with my high school students. Also a wonderful show of support for you from other readers of your work. And congrats on your degree and your determination to make of darkness a thing of light.

    Thank you for following my blog.

    — ADW

  44. Michelle's Heart Songs March 14, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    So very powerful, and SO beautiful…. “You’ve lost all sense of the linear — time disappeared and you felt it leave. One day you’ll see this being untethered from time as a kind of grace.” Gorgeous! You broke my heart – thank you! As in “God breaks the heart again and again until it stays open” Sufi Master, Hazrat Inayat khan

    Blessings to you <3

  45. poetgunfighter March 14, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    If this story is autobiographical then may God grant that Johnny meet my friend Doc on the other side of the door.

  46. studiolightblue March 14, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    You’ve inspired me already – I hope I can do the same for you!

    Light Blue (aka Lee)

  47. Olive Twist March 14, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    I am so glad that you are being honest and direct about these things, because nothing will be done about it until people open up. Your strength is amazing, and your letter to your younger self is heartbreaking.

  48. john e doe March 14, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    I AM FAR FROM SPEECHLESS!!!!,…I AM JUST CHOOSING TO STAY QUIET AT THIS TIME,….PLEASE KEEP WRITING AND LET IT FLOW,…………TEARS STIMULATE A RESPONSE FROM THOSE WHO SEE THEM,…whatever that response may be is up to the one who is watching, or just idly notices…THEN THE TEARS STOP FLOWING AND DRY UP……..but when we cry with words,……..the tears remain and a story can not only be shared,….but forever,….this story can be thought about to the sad tune of a hopeful lesson……………and,…..that,……was me choosing to be “quiet!???”………..i told you……….lol

    toksoon!!! john e doe…………….

  49. fox71j March 14, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Thank you for writing such a frank post. I’d say it takes courage to write that, the same way someone told me it was “courageous” to write about my second anniversary of being sober this past January. It didn’t feel courageous, and so I won’t diminish what you wrote by saying the same thing. I needed to be honest with myself about whom I was and what I’d come from. I NEEDED to share that at the time I wrote. I needed to do it FOR MYSELF. I have a feeling this was the same for you. The time simply comes for you to face it in a concrete way such as writing so you can leave it in the past where it belongs. Thank you for including us in your journey.

  50. Kellig March 14, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I’m a little stunned and blown away. You have a beautiful voice. I don’t know if it’s because I am feeling vulnerable tonight, but this post is so poignant. The past and events that shape us, the shit we must experience to become the person we are, the regrets…

  51. Heuristic Hero March 14, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    This is fascinating. I’ve always wanted to interview someone with this lifestyle, so I could see the human behind it all. T

  52. Mary March 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Heartbreaking….

  53. Leta Blake March 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Everything I’ve read here this morning is important and I’m grateful to be allowed the opportunity to read such difficult things.

  54. Raven Marlow March 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    I was unprepared for what I’d find here. I agree, however, that you should write the book. Publish it and tell the world your tale. Don’t be satisfied with the small venue here. There are more people out there who need to hear it, see it!

  55. celovetalk March 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Stella, I’m so proud of you that you were able to stand up for yourself and move on and better your life. There are so many women in similar situations who wish they had the strength and courage that you possess. Thank for sharing :)

    • escorts March 14, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

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  56. anestoiter March 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I just finished reading the first article written by you. It’s moving. It’s real. I’m glad you take the time to put all this out. I know it’s not easy, it’s like turning yourself inside out. You might feel a little better some time after writing things down or after interviews, bet every time you do that, you relive your those experiences. And that is hard. I begin to understand why you like my article Defang PTSD.
    All the best to you,

    Keep it real

    Stay strong and stubborn

    Your friend, Alexander Nestoiter

  57. Brett Myers March 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Wow.

    So many have already expressed how beautiful and powerful this is, I defer. Shine on you crazy diamond. It is very much my pleasure and fortune that you stopped by and I can get to know your blog…and you…

    Namaste *bowing*

  58. Indigo Song March 15, 2012 at 1:45 am #

    When I read this, I cried. I am sending Reiki back into my past to give Her some light. I worked the sex trade for 22 years. I feel I will be healing from my early trauma and all the rest of the abuse for the rest of my life. Futility and hopelessness are my main themes these days. I’m just trying to feel it without acting out on it. Thanks so much. My heart is shattered, and I’m still looking for all the pieces.

    Daisy

  59. kinziblogs March 15, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Stella, OH WOW.

    What a beacon of hope you are. Glory!

  60. Sarah March 15, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    Wow Stella. Like many others who have commented I am beyond words! You’ve expressed yourself so eloquently here and somehow I know that your love and compassion somehow reached through time to your younger self – and helped her pull out of the nightmare.

    This one post is so powerful and moving it brought tears to my eyes – and apparently to many others. I agree that you have a book in you. Your story (and that of others) needs to be shared with the world. You’re off to a great start. Keep shining! Love, Sarah

  61. Bountiful Giving March 15, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Thanks for your inspiration and your reminder that we can always change our lives, find our dreams. Sincere thanks from a woman who might have been young Stella.

  62. Julie Babcock March 15, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Powerful. Peace to you.

  63. oregonmike98 March 15, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    this is one of the most honest blogs ive read in awhile, i look forward to future posts, keep up the good work

  64. Little Miss Grumpy Pants March 15, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    Reblogged this on sambaltempoyak and commented:
    You can definitely write :) Should be proud that you’ve managed to get out of the trap and do so well, best of luck with everything

  65. Ray March 15, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    This post made me misty-eyed; I’m overwhelmed to have found blogs like this that are so honest about the reality of prostitution. You are, as others here have said, very brave and admirable. I wish you the best for your future. ♥

  66. Carolina March 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    really beautiful. Thank you

  67. Martin Cororan March 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Powever stuff – This puts a lot of blogs to shame in both content and delivery.

  68. Bruce Akizuki March 16, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    I admire you for telling the painful truth about your past. Too many people, countries, and institutions deny or hide the truth today. It seems that your mission in life is to educate and advocate about the realities of the sex industry through your prose and writing. Keep up the good work.

  69. nswrwn March 16, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    I am so very glad to have read such a moving piece of writing Stella. Thank you for sharing what is a most courageous thing to do. May many others be inspired by what your words.

  70. Micah March 16, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    My goodness. This is… absolutely beautiful. I don’t even know what to say. I’ve gone through so many emotions while reading this: curiosity, fear, sadness, anger, vicarious triumph, etc. …

    I’m about to plaster the web with this post, spread it like wildfire. EVERYONE must read this.

  71. Micah March 16, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Reblogged this on Now, Write Away… and commented:
    My intention for my blog was to restrict it exclusively to original poetry, but I MUST share this post with anyone who’ll read it. This woman’s story has harrowed its way deep into my soul. I can barely explain how moved I am…by her strength, her resilience. Please, read and share.

  72. joesix March 16, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Wow.

  73. The Open Word-Jar March 16, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    This was a very powerful and evoking piece to read, I needed something like this in a way. Reading this has given me inspiration and reminded me to love myself and forgive, something I’m sure we all slip away from every once in a while. Although I don’t know you personally, from the honesty in your writing I know you’re a beautiful person and I’m glad you escaped the trap you were in. Keep your head high and keep writing, you express your thoughts so eloquently. Thank you for your words.

  74. Panoptic Prose March 16, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    I’m smiling and crying at the same time. Please consider writing a book. You have much talent with words. After reading your post I remembered this quote and thought of you. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran You my lovely have a soft heart, a good spirit, and much strength, and through it all you have managed to hold onto your humanity. I salute you, am honored and humbled by you. You sweet one are a rare gem and I feel enriched by your presence. <3

  75. pats0 March 16, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    what a heartbreaking yet life affirming post, I cannot properly articulate how this letter made me feel, but the depths of self-reflection it took for you to bring yourself to this post is stunningly clear because of your words…good work. Y

  76. Fay Moore March 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Simply, “Wow.”

  77. kayglassauthor March 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    What a tragic and yet heartwarming blog you write! Congratulations to you for living your life, not just surviving it. I had tears in my eyes as I finished reading this. You have a way with the written word.

  78. ~Robin~ March 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    Disturbing and amazing all at once. Nicely written.

  79. femaleptsd March 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    This has me in tears. So many things you write resonate with me that I can’t even begin to explain. All I can say is thankyou x

  80. emilydnelson March 17, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Stella, this was beautiful. My college research was on a Manhattan escort service, so I have a clear view of all the pain you experienced. I pray with all my heart you can continue to overcome the trauma you’ve experienced.

  81. dancingantelope March 17, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    Thank goodness you survived. I applaud the courage it took for you survive and transform into an activist. Trauma is sorely misunderstood by too many. So are the people who suffer abuse and re-victimization also misunderstood too often. It is beautiful to hear a strong clear voice from someone who’s endured what most can’t imagine, who’s using that voice to shine a light into the darkness and create a bridge of compassion.

  82. Cynthia Guenther Richardson March 17, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Thanks for speaking truth. Just keep up the very important work you do. So many will gain understanding and others will deeply benefit from your support. May all women be more and more free to speak.

  83. Ken McMurtrie March 17, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    You liked a blog of mine, thanks. I am trying to form words appropriate to congratulate you on your words and expressions of you feelings.
    I have great admiration.
    “Being a hooker can seem to mean you’ve lost everything you hoped to be, but that’s not true. You’ve splintered into a million pieces, but you’re still you. You’re alive. It’s in the spaces between those pieces where you learn to feel how other people are feeling. It hurts so much you’re sure it’ll kill you, but it won’t. Later when you’re out of the life it’ll be so easy to be happy. The mundane will buoy you.”
    As you say, you are alive, and hopefully well.
    I hope all the guys sincerely appreciated your helping them with their lives. Of course not all would have, but the ones who did perhaps make up for that.
    You are alive, you are real, you are a worthwhile person, you do not need to feel shame, do not carry any shame into the future, you deserve better.

  84. carrieolshan March 17, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    It’s so important that people who have never seen the darker sides of life learn to see people as living, breathing, feeling beings. it’s too easy for society to blame the victim and assume that if you end up homeless, a prostitute or a drug addict that it is somehow your fault and that you are beneath them in some way. Thank you for giving a voice to a voiceless people. Beautiful words.

  85. Martin Goodman March 17, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Reading this makes me ashamed to be a male. Thank you for sharing this – it’s a pity more men don’t read this and understand that women are NOT there solely for their sexual gratification.
    Really, that attitude to women in general and sex workers in particular makes me sick.
    Best wishes,
    Marty

  86. Divorce Recovery Solutions March 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I’ve always wondered how girls/women survive forced prostitution. What I got from your beautiful words was HOPE. You didn’t loose hope and your poems were your freedom.
    I know many women who feel locked in their marriages, and who are treated no better than ‘legal prostitutes’ so they loose hope, becoming victimized, feel powerless and helpless. It’s a powerful tool to be able to write a painful truth and I’m sure you courage, strength and hope will bring empowerment to many who read your words. I feel humbled and honored to now be in your world. Tovah

  87. Mr.Daniel KEMP. March 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    A thoughtful, well balanced piece and by the look of things liked by many. Well done.

  88. elbisreverri March 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on die Liebenswürdigkeiten and commented:
    The gifted & courageous Stella Marr, whose heart moves me to tears. I look forward to reading more of her truth & beauty.

  89. Very good article! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our
    site. Keep up the great writing.

  90. ammiblog March 17, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I am thrilled to read you letter, the stark, honest beauty of your prose. Brava!

  91. edlynch March 18, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    First, thank you for sampling one of my own blogs; the least I could do is return the favor. And I’m so glad that I did. You write with poetry and–an overused word I’m reluctant to use–courage. You have the writer’s gift of making your own bitter experience belong to your reader, and I admire and appreciate you for that. With much appreciation, I am your grateful reader.

  92. tomburkhalter March 18, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    Miss Stella, reading your stories makes me realize I have so much left to understand. You write with power and authenticity, reminding me of something a survivor of Auschwitz once said about telling his story, that to do so would require inflicting Auschwitz upon the reader. My reaction to that is, but what if I want to know? How can I bear witness with you if I don’t know? And no words of yours can hurt me the way you were hurt! They can only open a window to my imagination … and demand their rightful due, that I bear witness. This you have done. Keep it up!

  93. Elyas Mulu Kiros March 18, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    You are courageous! This is indeed a moving piece but also it gives hope to the many women and men out there who “slowly die” inside. Thank you for sharing! A Keep Writing! I really enjoy your writing!

    Cheers from Manhattan!

  94. roundtableforgals March 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Your writing is exquisitely provocative, poetic and yet authentic in a painful and heartwrenching way. This story needs to be told again and again…keep writing…xo

  95. Mark McGuire March 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Hi Stella

    I am moved by the comments as well as by your story. You are making the invisible visible. More men should read your blog.

    Mark

  96. Ed March 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Wow, thank you for sharing that, Stella. that is the kind of raw honest openness that makes us all relate to each other and helps us to become more connected. you are a very brave and creative woman good luck with all your writing and I look forward to reading more!

  97. pearlessence March 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    That was very powerful. I’d never thought in depth about those who live this life. Thank you for sharing.

  98. Alison March 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Your words. So perfect. I wish you nothing but love and light in your life. Thank you for sharing this.

  99. Cathy Dreyer March 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    I read this all the way to the end. And then read it again. Gripping. Moving. Inspiring. Thank you. Cathy x

  100. Lindsey March 19, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story, Stella. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

    • blaggblog March 19, 2012 at 1:47 am #

      Wow is all I really know to say. Thanks for your courage.

  101. Susannah Bianchi March 19, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    This is beautiful. I am humbled by your courageous candor.

    Susannah

  102. Kanti Burns March 19, 2012 at 1:24 am #

    I love this post. It is really beautifully written and very moving. I am now signing up to follow you. Kanti.

  103. wavensongz March 19, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Thank You for being the person you are to Give Back & Come Back with the mind set to HELP Others.

  104. uglicoyote March 19, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Reblogged this on The Road.

  105. vahv March 19, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    What a great blog. I’ve always wondered if prostitution was a “symptom” of our patriarchal society. A society that clearly has little to no regard for women whatsoever. I never understood the sex industry, but have always been interested in it…and have peeked in from afar. As a woman, I’ve had my share of neglect, violence, and being objectified–and so, a part of me has always identified, I guess.

    Good for you for finding a way out. Keep on fighting, keep on educating. And, please, help others find their way out.

    Best/V

  106. Teresa Cleveland Wendel March 19, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    Your letter resonated with me so much, especially this paragraph:
    You’ve lost all sense of the linear — time disappeared and you felt it leave. Now you’re living in the immediate and eternity. It’s scary and bewildering, but you need this — you need each moment to stretch infinitely so that you can be acutely aware of each man’s tiny movements and shifts in expression, which can reveal a threat before it happens. This hyperawareness will save your life. One day you’ll see this being untethered from time as a kind of grace.
    Your story, I know, will inspire….

  107. Trendsettah March 19, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    But when the Johns say “baby you were born for this” that doesn’t mean its true.- I love this.

    I can feel the love and honesty and openess in this letter. Thanks for sharing

  108. Scott March 19, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    It is important that we men understand the darker side of prostitution, as is revealed in the above post.

  109. myyearofinitiation March 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I don’t have words for the visceral power of this piece. Have you read Audrey Lorde’s essay ‘Uses of the Erotic’?
    Your writing connects with, and channels, the power she describes. If you haven’t read it, there is a link to it on my blog under the Audrey Lorde page. If you have, well, you know what I’m talking about. Thank you again.

  110. Lisa Pace Wegrzyn March 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Congratulations! I have nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. To accept please visit http://lisaweg.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/and-the-award-goes-to/ for details.

    • stellamarr March 20, 2012 at 5:32 am #

      Awww, you’re so sweet. Thank you. XO

  111. Lisa Fox March 20, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    An incredible letter, beautifully written, heartbreaking, and yet also full of strength and hope. You are very courageous.

  112. cross2000varga March 20, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Wow. I was stunned and moved as I read this post. This is a world I have never known. I am so proud of you for your hard work. You are a remarkable and beautiful woman. I can sense the beauty on the inside too. Thanks for visiting my blog. I am glad I got the opportunity to read this. From the moment I read this I have been praying for you. I pray that through your courage in writing about this that many lives will be saved and women that had no hope would find hope through you. God bless you! Keep up the good work.

  113. lily2u1 March 20, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    I have read this several times, or– it has taken me several times to read, to read it all and to absorb it. You are so tender, so strong.

    Like the best of literature, you have taken me to a place I have not been and yet I find myself in your words:
    “Being vulnerable means you’re alive” and “now you’re living in the immediate and eternity” and “your ability to perceive beauty is part of your resilience”…

    I am thinking of a poem for you, because when something beautiful moves me, I think in poetry.

    Thank you, and love to you.

    ~Lily

    • stellamarr March 20, 2012 at 5:49 am #

      I think in poetry too. Love to you <3

      • pehayes4244 May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

        Yesterday I wrote “My Last Day as a Stripper,” while writing it I kept thinking of you and your story. Your a great writer and brave woman.

  114. Maja March 20, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    this is really a touchy piece..i really feel bad for forced prostitution and recently i came to know that there are girls who choose them cause they liked it…i really feel bad for all those who are trapped and i wish them to get free somehow some day and live life as we all do….may god bless all

    • M.K. Hajdin (Exiled Star) March 26, 2012 at 1:47 am #

      No, Maja. All women in prositution are forced into it. Some of them come to see the reality they are in, others cling to the illusion that they’re empowered by it. There is nothing powerful about the fact that men own and control resources and demand that women put out for them in order to survive.
      Some women try to take the oppression by the horns, as it were, and align themselves with it – thinking they can control it. This does not work, but it takes a while for some women to figure that out.

      • Maja March 26, 2012 at 4:03 am #

        I agree but I don’t wana take anyone’s name cause recently i read a pornstar’s interview and she loved her job and joined cause she wanted to cause of fun and that is where i got shocked

  115. Eoghan Bridge March 20, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    I admire your courage in facing up to everything and moving forward in such a positive way, looks like it’s helping lots of other people too. Keep on keeping on :)))

  116. J.B. O'Shea March 20, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    So real, and heartbreaking, and strong.

  117. Angel March 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    A bright star in the midst of a black sky. Masterfully written.

  118. mz_agams March 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing. Hugs (to whoever needs one right now) *sniff*

  119. Eric March 21, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I must admit that I don’t usualy like to read these confessional/autobiographical stories (because they are usually badly written and I’ve read quite a lot of them) but this is one the few exceptions that not only has a very original format but it is also very raw and honest and i like that even though I usually don’t because, again, it is usually not done well.

    Now I’ve been reading a lot through your site and I find it very inspirational and I think it is the sign of a great person when someone transforms something tragic or horrible into something positive (I hope I’m saying this right) and, well, this blog is very unique. Awareness and knowledge are always helpful. Thanks a lot.

  120. kzackuslheureux March 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    Strength is grown. Good For You Darling!

  121. ihaveishoes March 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    …so powerful.

  122. tamar3 March 22, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    It’s a thing of inspiration that you have been able to take your trauma and turn it into a work so beautiful. You deserve the happiness that you have found.

  123. overmanwarrior March 22, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Nicely done. I feel very passionate about what you are trying to do. This is something more people need to consider.

  124. Jo Bryant March 22, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Stella this is one of the most poignant honest pieces of beautiful literature I have read. WOW

  125. Jo Bryant March 22, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Reblogged this on Chronicles of Illusions and commented:
    Just this afternoon someone signed up to my blog…and I do what I always do…checked out who and what they are. This was one Stella marr’s blog and it did two things. It made me cry and it made me hope. Cry that this happens to anyone…hope because this amazing woman is an inspiration to all of us whatever and wherever we are in our lives. I hope you too will go on over and find what I found. Thank you Stella…for letting me find you on here.

  126. alienredqueen March 22, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    This is very powerful.
    I was curious, though… was 20 year old Stella already in the sex trade? I guess what I am wondering is if there is anything you could say to your younger self to dissuade her from going into the trade?
    Hopefully your book will be able to inspire and help other women in the same position. Best of luck!

  127. elliebloo March 22, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    You are amazing and courageous. Wow!!

  128. Dianna Gunn March 22, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Stella,

    This is absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful. You have inspired me and moved me close to tears. It’s amazing to see what you’ve overcome and how you’ve done it. It takes such great strength to break out of that vicious cycle.

    Congratulations on making it through, and thank you for sharing your story.

    There’s a website, I forget what it’s called but you can email your future self. I got an email I sent myself when I was twelve and it was so optimistic. It’s not exactly the same concept, but this reminded me of that.

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Dianna

  129. catsgeesonexaminer March 22, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    You have touched me, and I am shaken to my core. I cannot put into words what is flowing through my mind as I absorb what I ahve read. You are A survivor, truly, you are.

  130. tsena March 22, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    it seems so unfair that wisdom is so often birthed in such great pain. your voice is important, so glad it is heard now. i will spread your words…

  131. ann March 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    “It’s in the spaces between those pieces where you learn to feel how other people are feeling.”

    Beautiful…just beautiful…Baby, I think you found what you were born for.

  132. klparry March 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Your blog is crazy, girl!

  133. cliffhanger20 March 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    You are beautiful.

  134. jasoncgerringer March 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    In my past, I’ve dealt with addiction to pornography. And a lot of people in our society will consider that to be something that is okay. They say it’s your body and you can do what you want to please it. As a Christian, I’ve come to the conviction of that addiction, that it’s a selfish habit, it’s nothing wholesome. I utilize a Christian website called xxxchurch.com. The past month or so I’ve been reading different things they share on their site, and they had a link to an article about sex trafficking, how women are forced into that, how they are used for pleasure and money, and how it is too overlooked, because it’s been a common stereotype that women put themselves in that situation. the more I discover about this issue is that it’s just not true. A majority of the problem is men, and our desire for sex, and we’ve allowed it to grow into this industry where we take advantage of the female body and forget the person. Though I’ve never gone out and paid anyone for sex, just using pornography has brought me to this conviction that it’s not right, the woman on the screen may be in a life she doesn’t want to be in, and by my feeding it with my views or my purchases in the past, I’ve fed this industry, and for that I’m sorry.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s powerful to be transparent and to show this, and anyone who reads this or stories like this can no longer say that it’s okay, that it’s your body and you can please it with pornography or with the sex industry. It’s selfish, and it needs to stop.

  135. Susan Pualani Alden March 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Thank you for having the courage to embrace vulnerability and go where few dare to go. I am grateful for people like you can step into the Light and share from the depths of their soul. Mahalo for sharing!!!

  136. amberdover March 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    I pray somehow other ladies in these situations will read things like this….will find hope to escape the abuse. This modern day slavery is appalling and it breaks the heart of God. Thank you for not being silent. Thank you for speaking up for those too afraid to speak. With more people helping like you hopefully more and more women will be saved. God bless! ((hugs))

  137. michellebloom March 23, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    i burst into tears reading this, thank you so much for sharing. it’s so important.

  138. findingherforte March 23, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    These are powerful words and I didn’t realize I was crying til I got to the end of it and felt a sob in my throat. You are a brave and brilliant woman.

  139. settleandchase March 23, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    Thankyou for guiding me to your words…I find it hard to know how to comment, as your writing is just so strong, dignified, beautiful, painful and raw. What courage you have, and strength. I wish you every happiness, and hope you find encouragement and warmth in the words and responses here.

  140. eniola folarin March 23, 2012 at 3:45 am #

    You’re so courageous. Good on you and good luck :)

  141. The British Asian Blog March 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    After reading your post, I find it hard to sallow – how inhuman humans can actually be. I adore you courage to withstand all that’s against you – and I applaud your ability to share with us this frightful experience.

  142. Sarah Ross-Lazarov March 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Thank you, Stella, for this letter.

  143. Jacob March 24, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    Amazing piece. I’m not sure I’ve seen another story successfully bounce between tragic and positively entertaining. Very cool writing.

  144. Sana Johnson-Quijada MD March 24, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    deeply affecting. deeply affected. thank u for speaking out. we need to hear. keep on.

  145. rickdstokes March 24, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    Incredible!

  146. Elisabeth Crisp March 24, 2012 at 5:12 am #

    This is powerful. I’m better for having read it. Thank you.

  147. Mark Routt March 24, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I really don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said here, but I do want the thank you for your sobering honesty. Thanks for sharing.

  148. bohemiaspeaks March 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Wow. I rarely read long blog posts, honestly. I really appreciate you sharing this with the world. You have a great skill at writing and I am sure you have been through quite some difficult times. In any case, I am happy to see that you are turning it into something fruitful and productive. I will dedicate a character on bohemiaspeaks to the “the Prostitute”.

    All the best

  149. pk March 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Nice to meet you.

  150. Anita Flowers March 25, 2012 at 1:43 am #

    Blessings …

  151. lengesinski March 25, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    Powerful and Heavy…..

  152. MzLoveViewz March 25, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Tears, it registers with the woman I could be, the woman I was, and the woman I am now. This has my name on it, and because I am a woman I empathize. It was good for me to be here. Thank you.

  153. parul March 25, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    This left me speechless. Anything I say about this would be denigrating because it touches something deeper and beyond what words can convey.
    Hats off to the spirit that runs through you and gives you the strength to be what you are.
    Glad to have found you here.

    Parul

  154. Theasaurus March 25, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    I’m speechless and teary after reading this. Your courage is something to be admired.

  155. Shannon Hadley March 25, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Tragic, but beautiful.

    • kyllingsara March 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      I want to hold this girl and tell her everything will be ok, even though I know the feeling of my arms around her is probably the last thing she wants. I suspect they will make her cringe instead of bringing comfort. If nothing else, your post lets me weep for her since I’m still incapable of weeping for my own little girl. As much as you admire me, the feeling is mutual. Stay strong.

  156. United Christian Inner-City Ministry March 25, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Hello I am a blogger at “Die to ourselves and live for Christ” I am actually Janine VanDenBerg my testimony is at: http://unitedchristianinnercityministry.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/hello-world/
    I just wanted to share with you and we want to follow you also. God bless from
    United Christian Inner-City Ministry

  157. reverendhellfire March 25, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    good writing straight from the soul.
    Have you heard of “In my Skin” by (I think)Kate Holden. Her memoirs of her days as a drug addicted working girl in Melbourne are also very illuminating

  158. restlessjo March 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Stella, this is one of the most moving posts I have ever read. Little did I think, switching on my laptop this morning, to find myself here. I am staggered.

  159. ro March 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Beauty…from ashes. Heroic and traumatic, the girl has allowed life to get the best of her but life gives back. Ahhh…the journey. The journey that leaves us suspended in moments that take our breath away. Moments when a letter from a call girl to herself becomes the essence of everything we call life. A moment when we realize that everything matters, every joy, every pain, every emotion and experience all calumniates to bring us to a particular place of peace…should we let those moments shape us into being what life and God meant for us in the first place. Thank you…for sharing.

  160. M.K. Hajdin (Exiled Star) March 26, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    Hi, Stella. I’m glad you found a way out of a horrible situation.

    No woman deserves to be oppressed, and yet we all are. Most of us aren’t nearly as aware of that fact as we should be. A wife is only a higher class of prostitute than a call girl. The men continue to own and control everything and to dehumanize and abuse us.

    I blame the patriarchy for turning women into sexual objects. I hope that someday we can band together to bring it crashing down.

  161. Prof. Woland March 26, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    This was utterly beautiful.

    I’m a firm believer that everything beautiful is connected to/is related to suffering and pain.

    The escape from horror, the birth of a child, the finishing of a degree–all require sacrifice and often pain–but that is what substantiates them in important ways and gives us perspective on the joy and accomplishment that they represent.

    The flipside, of course, is utterly not true. Not all pain is beautiful. Not all suffering and sacrifice make us stronger. There is evil and hatred in the world and we must all fight against these when we have the chance.

    Thank you for this letter. I will hold it dear.

  162. conradvonsupertramp March 26, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    This is an amazing and eye opening blog!

  163. Tracy Ewens March 26, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I have a absolutely no point of reference for this type of experience or pain, but as a woman this made me cry. Such touching words to yourself. Well done.

  164. Melanie Guerra March 26, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    this is incredible writing…a stark, real image painted with your words. i do so hope you are healing. blue skies, melanie

  165. thebackporchak March 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Powerful, incredibly powerful. Keep writing, keep inspiring, and most of all keep being you. God bless!

    Ryan K.

  166. Theo Black March 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    So good that you posted this. So much truth about living with things that can’t be undone. (And I love Cheryl’s writing. Just bought Wild, can’t wait to read it.)

  167. P. Graham March 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    WOW. I am almost speechless. I just want to say, I don’t know you but I’m proud of you. Truly.

  168. Debbie@kindnesskronicles March 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Thank you for writing this – for your honesty, transparency, vulnerability. It’s inspiring, even if painful, to hear the cry from the inside out, if you know what I mean. This was beautiful!

  169. BroadBlogs March 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Thank you.

    I’d like to repost this on my blog with your permission. What is your reposting policy?

    • stellamarr March 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

      I’d be honored if you repost this. Please include a link to my blog. Many thanks xoxo

  170. From the Hatchery March 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    A previous commenter said your blog is “resplendent.” I couldn’t agree more.

    Cheryl Strayed’s essay “The Love of My Life” (which can be read here: http://www.thesunmagazine.org/archives/2192) is one of my all-time favorites. I’ll be sure to read her letter to her younger self.

    I’ll be visiting again soon!

  171. klynwurth March 27, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    Stella, your courage and your writing voice take my breath away. I’m so glad to find your blog. Kelly

  172. Michael Fishman March 27, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Both touching and painful; tender and harsh. Thank you for writing such a lyrical piece and for having the courage to share it with strangers.

  173. Amarissa Cale March 27, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    This is extraordinarily touching. You can feel the anguish through the words. Thank you so much for sharing these lovely words.

    Cheers,
    Amma

  174. myinkandquill March 27, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    Reblogged this on klextin and commented:
    This is thepost that I came to, It broke my heart and has truly helped put life into perspective a bit for me

  175. Redemption's Beauty March 27, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    It is really nice to meet you. What an amazing story you have to tell. And it’s obvious it resonates by the response you are receiver. Amazing grace cupped in the hands of redemption. Beautiful.

  176. myrthryn March 27, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    This was beautiful and sad to read at the same time. I am reminded of the actress in V for Vendetta that claimed they could take everything from her except that last inch. It was that last inch that couldn’t be taken from her. And it was that last inch that made her write her biography on a piece of toilet paper.
    Bravo for the distance you’ve come, and for the distance remaining!

  177. Patricia March 27, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I want to tell you, your blog is incredible !!!

  178. mindwarpfx March 27, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Wow! Some loss of words for me. Your uses of words and bringing pain and beauty and intense feelings to the page is truly an art form. You have it! Thanks for shairing. Being new to wrighting I would hope to have some of your talent some day. Thanks much. All the best.

  179. liv4music March 28, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Wow! Your recount was positively moving. This is one of those unfortunate, uncomfortable and undesirable realities most people want to ignore or pretend does not exist. Without recognition and acceptance of these issues, help cannot come for those who need it most.

  180. katiemccready March 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Stella–WOW!!!! You are an incredible writer.

    Katie McCready

  181. IsobelandCat March 29, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    This is tough reading. I am glad you escaped this life.

  182. Martha Cecilia (Alice) March 29, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Thank you so much for your honesty, bravery, and rawness. Your blog reminds me that to be fierce is something that still exists outside of being cliche.

  183. gigoid March 29, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Reblogged this on gigoid and commented:
    Another post on the sex trade in society today… hard to read, but necessary and important…. more on this subject to come on this site….

  184. bean7922 March 29, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Dear Stella,
    I want to first of all thank you for opening people’s eyes including my eyes to the sex industry/prostitutes/sex trafficking/call girls/escorts. Because I am going to be honest previous to reading your blogs, I was not informed about the negatives and what is really going on behind closed doors with the sex industry/sex trafficking/ prostitutes/call girls/escorts. I only was aware of what the mainstream media posted. So I was blinded, and probably ignorant before this. I coming from a similar but different background, like I was not involved personally with this business. But I was raped repeatedly for 4 years and then raped again. In reading your posts they are so powerful, couragous, brave, heartbreaking, emotional, but strong. The way I see it was you and the many others in this situation are being raped just in a different way in that like you are forced and trained to say yes to rape. And I know this is traumatic, and see how it all causes that there are so many causes to PTSD. And I know having and dealing with PTSD is a nightmare. And I can see that trying to separate your old identity with who you really are and trying to adapt to a new identity, and leaving your old identity behind, is hard because it is what you and many others have only known that old identity. And is tricky, hard not to get triggered in old situations. Rape is rape, no matter in what form it was done, and yes there are many ways and types of rape. Yes mine was different, but from when i was raped, i took being raped, as feeling dirty, used, honestly i felt like a whore. And that is what I personally identified myself, that i was only use good for rape. And so after the rapes ended, I acted out had sex one night meaningless stands with random guys. I guess to recreate and verify and proove that all i was good for was being used, tarnished, broken, dirty scared, and used for sex. I think that any guy who shows interest in me is only interested in meaningless sex.
    I have read a handful of your posts a little while back have wanted to reply to you. Your posts were so powerful, and I really hurts me when I hear that there are sooo many victims. And then it created some emotions in me good and bad, but not by your doing, you can not control other people. And I am trying to write honest but sensitive being that i didn’t have any negative intentions in this reply.
    One type of therapy that I do find useful is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, One of the main focuses is being non judgemental of yourself and others. it has 4 parts working on mindfullness paying attention to the here and now the present, staying within the present moment. and meditations are used in the mindfullness piece. Also using what’s called a wise mind, like not making decisions based on your emotions (your emotional mind) and not totally making decisions of your rational mind ( like totally being factual, without any emotions) wise mind is making a decision when you connect your emotional mind and reasonable mind together to make a wise mind decision.
    It also has a section on interpersonal skills like skills to use to say no or ask for what you need or want
    Has a section on emotions skills with dealing with emotions that come up
    And Distress Tolerance which are skills taught to use in a crisis, like self soothing skills (taking care of yourself)

    I am seeing a therapist who specializes with trauma PTSD, we are working on somatic body experience, just starting so don’t know much, but from what I am gathering about it is paying attention to internal signals with your body, I think there is a lot more to it then what I know so far

    Also I have heard of Eye Rapid Movement (I am not sure that is the exact title of this therapy) again I don’t know much about it I think it obviously has something to do with your eye movement.

    Your story, and others are really the stories that need to be publicized in the media. I am soo glad and happy that you and others are taking a stance.

    I just wanted to say again thank you, and I hope what I wrote didn’t hurt you or others in any way, again it was not intentional.

    I can see you healing and going through the process of healing that is really nice to see, i see growth and healing with your hardships written in some of your posts. And by this you are showing your strength, and just continue your growth, and healing and in time you will live reallly live a fullfilling meaningful life, and will be able to leave your old identity behind, and be your true self. and life and adapting to it will become easier.

    again i am sorry if anything i wrote hurt you and others reading this, i have gained a huge fear of hurting other people. The fear is not rational at all I know.

    take care of yourself,

    Bean

  185. nuggetsandpearls March 30, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Wow! What a journey, powerful, honest and raw but something we can all learn from – whatever side of the fence we are on. Best wishes to you xx

  186. laurelava March 31, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    omg, this made me cry. bless you!

  187. Joy March 31, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Beautiful, poignant, challenging and reflective.
    Thank you for turning yourself inside out for the betterment of others and hopefully healing within.
    I wrote a similar letter to my younger self that I hope to one day give to my 14 yr. old daughter.
    You are treasured…You are sacred…You are Beautiful…You are Brave…You are stronger than you know.
    Love and Light to you!

  188. Ana Steiner March 31, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    thank you. all i can say is thank you. i don’t know how i can express how deeply your words have touched me. thank you so much for writing this and sharing this. obviously, i don’t know you, but having read this, i am so happy that you exist. again, thank you.

    • Sinéad March 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      Stella, this essay, this letter to your younger self really moved me. i often feel a helpless kind of rage when men who are perfectly nice, decent and well educated dismiss all the suffering and abuse in the world of prostitution and want to see it as somehow a kind of rebellious nonconformist place where its all about freedom and libertinism and the ‘girls’are in control and enjoying themselves. The way people look at prostituion here in Amsterdam really disturbs me. When I walk along a street on a sunday morning and there are women in bikinis soliciting in front of me in windows, i feel hurt inside, to see other women being sold like merchandise, I feel that every woman is degraded when this is considered normal and perfectly fine. When i see men stop and stare at the mwith a greedy salacious grin and an utter lack of respect i ntheir eyes, i want to punch them very hard, and remind them that mroe than half of all prostitutes in Amsterdam are slaves. When i say in conversation, if the subject comes up, that I think men going to prostitutes should be arrested I am told how conservative and uptight asnd rigidly feminist I am, as if it’s about free love and not about slavery and using women as if they are not even alive with feelings and thoughts of their own. I am fine with orgies and sex clubs where no one is being paid or exploited and where people choose to do crazy stuff. I’m not interested myself but all I care about is volition and mutual consent.
      Prostitution isn’t free love. Your story is amazing, you are more than a survivor, You are victorious. It sounds like you have a better life than me, complete with dog and soul mate and beautiful place to live…..and i haven’t been through the underground gulag but have been quite priviliged. I hope you feel proud every time you look in the mirror.

  189. contoveros March 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I can’t remember when I read such honest, clean writing than when I got captured by your story-telling. At first I thought it was make-believe, then the ring of truth started to sound from one paragraph to another and finally I saw your credentialed organizations and I knew I was dealing with a truth I wish I could touch inside of myself with no fears of outside judgment.

    Being honest about one selve can be frightening, but helping others understand themselves through your revelations is God-sent. (Some would say it is in our “Buddha nature.)

    I’m glad I had a chance to read this. I hope to return when I need a good shot of reality to get my own mind back to some universal truisms.

    Damn, this was good. PTSD or no PTSD!

    michael j contos,
    Conshohocken, PA USA

  190. onbeingamodernwoman April 2, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    Hi Stella,

    Your story was absolutely breathtaking and it has given me an increased understanding on what it means to be a woman in our time. I realized that the spectrum of issues that surround womanhood is incredibly broad but I’m going to try to cover as much of it as I can on my blog. I hope you don’t mind that I will be featuring your story on it in the upcoming posts. It deserves to be heard by everyone.

    Stay strong love,

    Janelle

  191. jeansdiva April 2, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    Wow, what a beautiful way to work through all of your struggle. I wish you the very best in your survival journey and your journey as an author. You truly have a God-given gift.

  192. August McLaughlin April 2, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    I wonder if we passed each other on the New York City streets, while I was “selling my body” in another way (modeling). You are a courageous rock star. Keep writing!

  193. barefoot_med_student April 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Wow. That’s actually all I can say right now. I need to sit down and process this. Beautifully written.

  194. billdorman April 3, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    I am a volunteer Guardian ad Litem; I am the voice for kids who have been placed in the system by DCF. When I get to the kids, most are broken down pretty good. It makes the teen and pre-teens and especially the girls very vulnerable to being exploited. Their situations are so f’ed up at home they will do anything to get away; even at the risk of being exploited.

    I am thinking of writing a book … it will be fiction, but this was going to be the premise of my book because it is actually something I have seen and have experience with. I was wondering where I could get my research and it appears this site can help. Divine intervention? Hmmm…….

    Your story was powerful and I’m glad you were a survivor; that is a very strong grip to get out of and it’s very admirable you were able to do so as most don’t.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  195. colonialist April 3, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Hard to imagine what courage and determination it takes to survive such an ongoing set of circumstances and re-emerge to function as a ‘normal’ person.

  196. liz blackmore April 3, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    It’s nice to be free of it, isn’t it Stella. Hugs to you.

  197. allanbard April 3, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    Excellent, true and sad post at the same time! I think the best writings are those which combine genres, happy and sad feelings, wise thoughts and humor, etc… It seems we think alike? And it seems your post/blog could help a lot of people find the right way…
    Thank you for following my blog! I’m glad I found yours, as I’ll be glad to read some more inspirational posts from you in the future! I guess you’ll like a suggestion of mine? Do you use sites like zazzle.com, cafepress.com, fiverr? They could be a good way to promote your works/blog, etc and to help “remove” stupidity in the streets like headlines on t-shirts, fridge-magnets, cups, etc: My Boyfriend kisses Better Than Yours, FBI – female body inspector, etc. Not everything we see and think of should be about sex, right? It would be much better if there were more nice pictures (even of mythical creatures), good thoughts, poems (from any genre are welcome I guess), etc? I’m allanbard there, I use some of my illustrations, thoughts, poems from my books (like: One can fight money only with money, Even in the hottest fire there’s a bit of water, Money are among the last things that make people rich, or
    Love and happiness will be around,
    as all the chains will disappear,
    and Mountaineers will climb their mount
    and there won’t be any tear!
    etc). I guess many people would appreciate such lines much more than the usual we see every day? Best wishes! Keep up the good work! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons’ hunters – my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).

  198. sarahjaneprosetry April 3, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    Reblogged this on sarahjaneprosetry and commented:
    I have never reblogged before. But this is a story that needs to be heard. Stella, you are my hero. You are courageous and brave. You are incredible.

  199. alexae67 April 3, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    So chilling; it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your strength and experience is something I believe everyone can benefit from.

    Thank you again, and be well xxox

  200. acflory April 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    I live a comfortable, middle class life and I’ve always been safe. I don’t know what it means to truly be afraid. Even when I read your words all I’m getting is a pale echo of the fear you must have endured for so long, You shame me.

    Thank you for surviving and thank you for remaining a thinking human being still capable of love. Most of all thank you for having the courage to reach out to other girls like your younger self. Having clawed your way to freedom it would have been so easy to just pretend that all the bad years never happened, to lock them in a box and bury them. Instead you chose the hard path.

    The next time some, petty little thing goes wrong in my life I’m going to think of you and smile. Thanks for that too.

  201. unwrappingminds April 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    You are an inspiration Stella and you deserve the sunshine award. I have nominated you for it:

    http://unwrappingminds.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/the-sunshine-award/

  202. byroisinhealy April 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    It’s so brave of you to write this. I’m glad you survived and found happiness, and hope that someone in trouble will get the chance o read this and find hope in it :) amazing stuff x

  203. ramiungarthewriter April 3, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    My God, you are so brave! You went through all that, survived, and then went ahead to talk about it on the net! I wish the best for you and other girls who’ve gone through or are going through the same things.

  204. CarlyBeth's Blog April 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    this is amazing. :)

  205. Bonnie Winters April 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Silence becomes a cord that binds us and eventuallysmothers us. Your voice is beautiful and your words flow from the depths of your heart. Your voice will break the cords that once bound you and allow you to help cut the cords of others. You have encouraged my heart today. Thank you for having the courage to share your heart here.

  206. Joe Pineda April 4, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    A very tough piece to read, disturbing at times, but ultimately it’s one of those realities we can shy away from; and yet, if we do, it will not make it any less persistent, any less true.

    Writing is an act of bravery, since it’s the same as opening a window into your heart, or baring your soul. I hope you found the release you needed writing this letter, and at the same time I hope others can use it as a mirror to give themselves a long, maybe painstaking look.

  207. Mike Davis April 4, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    This really hit home for me:

    “…This isn’t weakness, it’s biology. Trauma changes your brain. Your hippocampus, where you form narrative memory in the brain, shrinks. This is a symptom of PTSD – a neurophysiologic response to repetitive trauma…”

    I wasn’t a prostitute (there’s a line I never thought I’d write), but my childhood was spent in a cult full of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. Sometimes I feel angry at myself for feeling like I can’t handle the real world on an ongoing basis. This really puts it into perspective. Thank you.

  208. annesturetucker April 4, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Thank you for speaking up and telling your story Stella. What an amazing woman you are. Talking about making a difference in the world – you certainly are!!

  209. jannatwrites April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Your courage is inspiring and this letter was amazing. So touching. I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but I do. Just reading the comments here, I know He has plans for you – you are so much more than your past.

    I’m with the others who asked about a memoir – I would buy it, too.

  210. Rosanne Moulding April 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    You have such a gift with language. Absolutely beautiful letter to your younger self.
    Rosanne x

  211. Archana April 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Reblogged this on Ravenousforlife's Blog and commented:
    Wow. :)

  212. Cathy April 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Every word touched my heart. I understand the reference to “This isn’t weakness, it’s biology. Trauma changes your brain. Your hippocampus, where you form narrative memory in the brain, shrinks.” My therapist kept explaining it and things about the prefrontal lobe and reasoning,…All PTSD from trauma. I understand your letter is more about what happened to WHO you were than what happened to your body. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  213. evilnymphstuff April 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    This was such a touching letter-to-self Stella! I love those kinds of self-reflection but I hate that it then makes you feel like it is too late anyway to change the past, to reassure your younger self, to reduce her sufferings… but in the end it was those happenings that shaped you as the strong woman you are today :)

  214. A Story of Light April 5, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Hi Stella!

    I nominated you for two awards!

    ♥ Thank you for sharing your story and the work you do in helping so many others, keep shining your light, it’s needed (: ♥

    http://astoryoflight.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/my-first-two-awards/

    Namaste

    ~Jennifer

  215. kvwordsmith April 5, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    brave soul, be healed – love this line – I relate to it for other reasons – Being vulnerable means you’re alive. There’s no shame in it. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. You don’t have to apologize for doing what you must to survive.
    “Living well is the best revenge!” Oscar Wilde

  216. kvwordsmith April 5, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Strip Tease of Love
    February 19, 2008

    (written for an ex-stripper friend, now in her 80s)
    Love is an exotic dancer,

    Someone who knows just how to tease,

    How to make you want her,

    How to pull away at the last minute.

    Sometimes she blows you a kiss.

    More often, she takes your heart,

    Turns on a spike heel,

    And bumps and grinds her way

    Over to the next tipping customer.

    From a distance she is beautiful,

    Her costume is sparkles and spangles.

    But up close you see the wrinkles,

    The dark circles under her eyes,

    The desire for what might have been.

    By Kvwordsmith © 2008

    Dedicated to Margie Stroud, who turned 84 today and is “still scootin’!”

  217. Onleilove April 5, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Wow this was beautiful. Continue to walk in healing. Take care.

  218. The Blissful Adventurer April 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    This is so poignant and beautifully written. It often takes such misery to create transcendent art. Thank you for sharing this prose

  219. 3am Wisdom April 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    “You’ve lost all sense of the linear — time disappeared and you felt it leave”

    Oh God. This made my breath catch in my throat and sent a chill down my spine. I know this feeling.

    This blog is – I cannot think of the word – but it is something, something very important.

    x

  220. painterman123 April 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Great

  221. christofpierson April 6, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Amazing story and amazing writing! I’m so glad you found my blog because it enabled me to find yours. Best wishes. Looking forward to reading more of your story.

  222. Frankie April 6, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    This is so beautifully written. It’s powerfully raw and honest. I solute you for sharing snidbits of the experiences that made you the beautiful person you are today. This letter really lets your readers to feel your emotions. Beautiful. Thank you.

  223. soniaelena62 April 6, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    In Nashville, TN there is an amazing program to help prostitutes get off the street and change their lives. You may be interested in learning more about it or might want to feature it on your blog. You may have already heard about it as it has gain national acclaim. It’s called Magdalene/Thistle Farms. http://www.thistlefarms.org/index.php/about-magdalene
    Thank you for opening up in your blog. It is inspiring.

  224. Kourtney Heintz April 6, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Painful to read but impossible to stop. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. You are a very gifted writer.

  225. Louella April 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Wonderful, insightful, emotional and moving blog.

  226. shamenomore001 April 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    These words are powerful! :-) I use to be an executive director for a rape crisis center. This is a very power topic that needs to be discussed. Good for you. ~Shamenomore001

  227. Zen and Genki April 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    I applaud you for your courage and for your insight…and for sharing such a personal story, knowing it will help others. Bravo to you!

  228. Martyn Thompson April 7, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    This is amazingly touching and poignant.

  229. camartinsky April 7, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    This is amazing and brave. I’m so sorry for what you had to go through, but so glad you’re on the other side now.

  230. Bella April 7, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Poignant and powerful. I am humbled by this piece of writing. And to think some of us complain about the nonsensical crap life throws at us! We should all have your strength, bravery, and resilience!

  231. Katie G. April 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    “Being vulnerable means you’re alive. There’s no shame in it. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person.”

    Jesus, I wish I could tell my younger self this too. I only figured this out last year and only after intensive therapy!

  232. lachihuahuaespicy April 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    A very poignant letter that made me cry. All I can add is, thank you for sharing.

  233. kathleenkirby April 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Hey Stella,
    Thought you might like my most recent post on http://www.pulseofspain.com with articles about the boom in brothel tourism in Spain. Really unfortunate but I think you will be interested in reading.
    Kathleen
    http://www.pulseofspain.com

  234. adventures April 7, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Amazing. Your determination is to be admired by all :-)

  235. outlawmama April 9, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Simply incredible. I almost can’t bear the honesty. Thank you.

  236. sliceoflondonlife April 9, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    Wow Stella. This post is extraordinarily moving. Yours is a voice that we don’t often hear. Please keep writing. We need to hear you and other who have been though such traumas. Western society lets too many people slip through the net and loses track of them, not caring what happens to them. They become statistics, not people. We need to bring back the humanity.

  237. leilarashid April 9, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    Amazing blog you have here. For the first time in my life I am reading about the experiences of a prostitute and although I have nothing in common with all this on the surface, something resonates within me so deep. Your story is truly heart-breaking and it is so wonderful that you got out of all that. Thank you for writing this blog, it is an eye-opener for so many people.

  238. kathryningrid April 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Your strength and beauty come through in every word of this story, but most of all in the resilient hope that not only taught you to survive and believe but to care enough to share the story with your younger self, and with the rest of the world.
    Peace!
    Kathryn

  239. Sarah Martin April 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Thank you for this beautiful letter. “Being vulnerable means you’re alive. There’s no shame in it.” I agree, and have to remind myself of this.

    Your work is meaningful and great- it’s an honor to read it.

    -Sarah

  240. swiebe April 10, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    It is so obvious you have taken creative writing! Beautifully written, I was captivated the whole time. I’m am honored to have come across your blog and grateful for your courage and the courage you spread to other women!!! Thank you for writing this into the light!
    Samantha

  241. Nativegrl77 April 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Reblogged this on Point4CounterPoint.

  242. meganolwen April 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    What a deeply moving, beautiful piece of work; your bravery and courage is truly admirable. The journey you have taken has left me in awe, you posses a strength and beauty that most of us yearn for. Stella you’re a true inspiration, thank you. x

  243. belinda April 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Beautiful, beautiful letter. Thank you for sharing.

  244. David Jones April 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Wow, had to read that twice … rough stuff. Serial, killer material.

  245. Olivia Ashe, writer April 13, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    I was writing a novel last year about ex prostitutes, but it became too much and I stopped. You are braved to have lived through it and now to write about it. Thanks for being honest in your emotions.

  246. lilyboat April 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    wow this is some stunning writing stella. wishing you the best. you are a strong, strong woman.

  247. Mafia Hairdresser April 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Wow. You have a voice. And I love that you own it and are changing your world around you with your knowledge and love for it.

  248. cav12 April 13, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    All I can say is WOW! What you did is courageous and that is something some people never learn. I wish you all the best and continue to look forward.

  249. barkinginthedark April 14, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Stella, you are a wonderful, visceral, writer with a real story to tell. This is a powerful and poetic piece, and I salute your journey. thanks for the sub. i shall stop by often. continue…

  250. kob21 April 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Very nicely written, and admirable on your part that you had the integrity and courage to beat the rap. I came across a similar story, at least some parallels, when searching the web for sex abuse and survivors – you might find the story interesting. I don’t know the author, but he’s written some books which I’m going to look into, but this short story was a nice rendering about a reformed call-girl who fought back, like you: http://reallaplaine.com/Kidnapped_in_America.html

  251. pantryobsession April 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Stella, what can I say that everyone else hasn’t. A wonderful writer and what a journey. I’m so glad I was able to find you and read your story. It left me speechless for quite a long time today.

  252. Stephen Kellogg April 15, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Stella,
    This was an extremely moving letter to self. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us. I appreciate you following my blog and would consider it an honor if you would review one of my poems based on your past and experiences. I would value your feedback (either on the post itself or via e-mail direct). The poem is here http://wp.me/pNbgI-au and was inspired by the photo of a young lady walking in the street (photo is with the poem). Thank you again for speaking up for a neglected segment of society and I applaud your tenacity in the face of all you’ve been through.

    Peace,

    Stephen

  253. SwordBearer April 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Wow,I love this blog – its honesty and vulnerability – and it’s certainly a new world for me, learning about others’ colourful lives and hearing what they have to say. Simply put, I think this site is awesome! Keep going!

  254. andy1076 April 16, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    Super powerful with emotions post, it’s brave of you to share your thoughts with us :)

  255. B Treece April 16, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Stella, I hate, hate that prostitution exists and that you went through it, but I’m thankful that you survived to help others. This was beyond touching. Keep writing.

    BT

  256. aktifistri April 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Wow! I am stunned. I respect your courage and effort to live the freedom of expression. I am following now since your life gives me more perspective. Kindly regards!

  257. natasiarose April 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    So sad, but so beautiful. Love your writing!

  258. alexia medici April 17, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Thank you for sharing, it’s beautiful. I’m so happy you’ve managed to turn your life around.. Go girl :-)

  259. chris ludke April 17, 2012 at 4:43 am #

    WOW ! This is inspiring ! You are so strong, so intelligent, amazing. Keep up the good work and helping all of our sisters get through it by your understanding. You can affect the change for others. But for the grace of God, there go I.

  260. His Dark Side April 17, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    Thank you. Wonderful piece.

    Sending joy.

  261. Rainbow Courage April 17, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Your blog is so powerful! I just completed two pieces about the sex trade in a “we are all connected” series. The first one is I AM HUMAN. The second one is one that I am working up the courage to post……….I must say that your blog puts words to so many feelings I have…..congratulations on having the courage to share your story and to humanize the experience of so many women (and men).

  262. dianabletter April 17, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Stella Marr, you have found your true calling in your writing. Your bravery shines through. You have already touched many people’s lives. I admire your courage and honesty. I think everyone can write a letter to their younger self and use our future wisdom — all the knowledge and strength that’s already inside us — to guide us.Thank you!
    Diana
    http://www.thebestchapter.com

  263. tvaraj April 17, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Reblogged this on Impressions and commented:
    A lot of what’s happening doesn’t make sense now but it will later. That habit you have of writing poems in your mind to the beloved you haven’t met yet as you’re riding in cabs to calls? There’s something to it…

    Stop thinking about your own hurt. Don’t lash back with that vicious phrase your mother’s said to you so many times –” I hope you die a slow death.” . Don’t tell Gabriel you never want to see him again and storm out of the sculpture gallery. Or it will be the last time you see him. Gabriel will die of AIDS five months later. When he said you reminded him of ‘his own death’ he was trying to tell you he was dying. You’ll regret what you said for the rest of your life. But even more you’ll regret running away from his friendship.

  264. chemicalmarriage April 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s rare for me to read an article in it’s entirety.

    You’ve managed to captivate my attention till the end.

  265. Madeleine Swann April 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Wow, that’s really powerful!

  266. kevinscottdavis April 17, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Stella,
    I am humbled. Thinking I’ve been through rough times, I’m just…a bit in tears, reading your story. I’m so thankful for you, and for your life – something about it all helps me in what i thought was a pretty lonesome purpose. You are my kind of person. Please, please, keep posting and stay in touch. I don’t even know you and I’m so very proud of you. It’s those with the least who have everything to gain, right? And those with the least pride who know the most. ;) I love you, sister. – Kevin

  267. Harper Faulkner April 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Highlighted your blog on my blog today. HF

    http://rtewrite.wordpress.com/

    • stellamarr April 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

      Thank you SO much. So appreciate you

  268. tvaraj April 18, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Stella,

    Let’s thank the Almighty for having you freed now. Your narrative has truly but sorrowfully impressed me and I can feel your anguish and agony.

    I have reblogged this post in my blog “Impressions” because I care.

  269. TEC4 April 19, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I cannot imagine your younger self, but she must have been an incredible person under all the stress and pain, because you are, now. I honor your courage.

  270. tmike4true April 19, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Wow. Your honesty, your bravery…just wow.

  271. faithrosea April 19, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    This is a beautifully written letter and just a glimpse of your story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love it

  272. scratchatary April 19, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Wow…….

  273. scratchatary April 19, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    Wow……

  274. H April 19, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Congrats on this. Really.

  275. caperash April 19, 2012 at 3:45 am #

    This piece makes me wonder if most ‘working girls’ are traumatized the way you describe it. Even more, and though it’s asking a lot I know, I want to learn more about what happened in childhood. The ‘ I hope you die a slow death’ remark by your mother is deeply hurtful, but also intriguing.

    I suspect that the disassociation that results from repeated trauma/torture/wounding is a somewhat extreme manifestation of the sort of disturbances and neuroses that plague the majority of us humans albeit at a more ‘normal’ frequency level. I would like to encourage you to explore this (if it rings true) in your writing, because I suspect that the extreme nature of your experiences, coupled with the miracle of your having returned back to the world of the living from such hell, gives you the ability to understand not only the extremes, but also the mundane forms of pain, denial, deception, hurt, acceptance, obsession, false pleasure, true pleasure, neurotic boredom, sane boredom and so forth.

    I had a Book of Quotations once which was arranged chronologically in one section. I believe the very first one was: ‘Wisdom from suffering entereth.’ A stuffy translation, no doubt, but it’s very true. Or as the Buddha put it in his formulation of the ‘Four Noble Truths’, the first one is that suffering is both inevitable and the starting point.

    Anyway, thanks for your blog. I wish you well in your writing career.

    • stellamarr May 24, 2012 at 4:45 am #

      I think my mom was repeating a phrase she heard a lot in her childhood. Most women in prostitution suffer from extreme ptsd. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  276. Laura P. Schulman, M.D., M.A., FAAP April 19, 2012 at 4:43 am #

    Thanks, sista, you bring me hope.

  277. Andrea Grinberg (Andrea Herzog) April 19, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Wow, this made me cry… so honest and heartfelt. Thank you.

  278. teeceecounsel April 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    There is something thrilling about writing to your younger self; you’ve seen the end already! Being optimistic about the future can keep us going and thinking right. Everybody that dreams for a better future should hear this story. It touches the heart and moves the eyes to shed tears but the words are strong and emphatic on leaving such life for the better one. I’m so glad it turned out well because many never make it from being hookers to ex-hookers. In every situation we find ourselves, we’ve got to do the very best things. It takes some steps to get to anywhere, let’s take the right steps in the right direction and in a short while we’ll be living the life we want! Great share!

  279. Shyannah April 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    So very moving. It made me cry. It’s powerful the way people can touch and connect by knowing pain. You have certainly touched many lives by sharing yours. I know this will give strength and hope to those who need it.

  280. Lady Tam Li Hua April 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Holy cow, this is powerful! Just…wow.

    *Many many hugs*

  281. Rainbow Courage April 20, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Reblogged this on Rainbow Courage and commented:
    I was deeply moved by this honest and powerful letter. This blogger first found me, I believe because she has suffered a brain injury. Then I visited her blog and found this incredible letter…and noticed that she contacted me before I even posted my most recent art focused on humanizing the men and women involved in prostitution, sex trafficking and the sex trade. Her letter took my breath away and gave words and experiences to things that I can’t even imagine. If we are all connected in this world, then how can we turn a blind eye to this and pretend that it does not exist? I can’t…especially after my brain injury…I feel more connected and more heart centered now more than ever.

  282. galaxybureau April 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Reblogged this on galaxybureau.

  283. Maria Zarif April 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    This made me cry, weird. I don’t cry. Whatever you are, whoever you are, you are strong. And God knows that. Wow, salut to you. I respect you Stella, as a woman and as a person. Keep your head held high, and stay happy <3

  284. perceptionoverjudgment April 22, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Wow. This is very raw and very real. I’m glad that you wrote it. And I’m glad that you included PTSD, and how it can shape your feelings and perceptions.
    I wish you continued healing, safety, and love.

  285. buckwheatsrisk April 22, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I am speechless. I’m so sorry for what you have been through, and I have a lot more to read. Thank you for having the courage and strenght to blog about this. I look forward to following your blog.

  286. DebE April 22, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Beautifully shared. Thank you.

  287. PAZ April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    This took my breath! No, really, it did.
    xo

  288. stevehallsbooks April 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    This was so powerful, I could not read it in one sitting.

    • stevehallsbooks April 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      I stripped myself of all I had
      and stood naked in front of all who would look.
      I gave myself to those who would take me
      each time loosing a piece of myself.
      The life I led…
      more difficult than one can imagine
      full of treachery, deciet, and lonliness.
      I now possess something that only a few others have…
      something of great value that I can share.
      It is not the book learning of 6 or 8 years of college…
      It is not the data gleaned from interviews from
      people who have no real reason to tell the truth.
      It is from living my life.
      Now I can make a difference in other’s lives.
      Giving of myself before… heartbreaking.
      Giving of myself now… life building.
      I have great value… I will share it… I will make a difference.

  289. rednax20 April 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I love the way you put this together, not just the whole saga, It could have been of bitter regret but you have turned it into a positive, supportive hand across years. I hope the you in you was nourished by your affirmation of self-worth.
    Me, I have never been to a prostitute, so it’s a world away from my experience. Here’s to life and empathy, without which…

  290. When a Third World Came West April 23, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Hi, I am so happy that you reached out to this girl. I think it was great to talk to her about the part of her brain that is traumatized. For as you said, this in part prevents her from asking the man behind the counter to make her a sandwich, or for asking for a soda. Good influence. Thanks for being there for her

  291. charles April 23, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Simply incredible piece; thanks for sharing!

  292. Adrian Pantonial April 23, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Hi Stella,

    You have an amazing story and a great blog. May you continue to inspire people with your writings!

  293. viczye23 April 23, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Wow, wow, wow.

    I wasn’t expecting this when I came across your blog but your writing is amazing. You are such a brave person to tell the world your stories, puts my blog and moaning on it to shame. I have no reason to moan.

    I will definitely be following your blog from now on.

  294. artboy68 April 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Unbelievably moving. Well written, gutsy.

  295. pehayes4244 April 23, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Wow girl, my hat goes off to you!! Well said and very brave. I’m sure your a role model to many young women!

  296. geese April 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Wow. Possibly the most moving and striking thing i have read on a blog.

  297. Stella April 24, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    What an amazing blog! I love the dark honesty you convey. If u help one girl u’ve done ur job. Thanks again!

  298. Dark Landscapes April 24, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    This brought tears to my eyes. I admire your strength, I truly do.

  299. Tilly Bud April 24, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    Wow. Just wow.

    This is so far from my own experience that I don’t know how to respond, except to say that you are an incredible writer.

  300. thethoughtsofaperson April 24, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    Wow. People like me make jokes in jest, but it’s amazing that you survived. It takes a very strong person indeed, and thank you for your insight into tough times.

  301. Miss Z April 24, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    This is so moving, didn’t think blogs like this existed (makes mine look trivial in comparison) :-/

  302. Dionne April 24, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    Beautifully conveyed and I’m so glad someone is speaking out to give women in these circumstances a voice. I’m so glad you didn’t lose the person inside.

  303. Tavi Meyer April 24, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    I’m glad you got out and got to be yourself, at least partly. Big hug for not giving up. I sort of know what you are writing about and your writing is a small ray of light.

  304. Maria Tatham April 24, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    Thank you for writing this. At times I forgot you were speaking to your younger self, and got the sense you were speaking to another in that life. I’m glad I read this, glad I was here.
    Maria

  305. zachbissett April 24, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    incredible. wow

  306. Spider42 April 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this.
    To me sharing things so personal to me is not always easy and I can’t imagine how hard or easy it would be regarding such difficulty and hardship – all things most people try to forget and wipe away.
    Kudos for being so honest and forthright and wanting to not just better yourself and make something more of your life but also wanting to do so for others and encouraging them and guiding them.

    All the best.
    Cheers.

  307. millennialfolklore April 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    This is a moving blog post. Thank you for sharing. People often stereotype and make immediate assumptions. Your story needs to get out there and shine light on this topic.

  308. zombies1984 April 25, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Wow, this piece gave me goosebumps. It’s so well written and such an interesting way to write about the past. Well done. It’s a heart-wrenching, eye-opening story. I was hooked from beginning to end.

    Anisa

  309. Narelle T. April 25, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    “Being vulnerable means you’re alive. There’s no shame in it. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. You don’t have to apologize for doing what you must to survive.”

    “This isn’t weakness, it’s biology. Trauma changes your brain. Your hippocampus, where you form narrative memory in the brain, shrinks. This is a symptom of PTSD – a neurophysiologic response to repetitive trauma –not evidence that you deserve to be in prostitution.”
    wow beautiful piece
    I’m glad you followed me so i was able to see your work. Thank you! And thank you for checking out my work.

  310. iamspacegiraffe April 25, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    You are so brave. Thank you so much for surviving to show the world your bravery like this.

  311. kymlucas April 25, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    What a stunning post. I am so glad you survived to share it.

  312. merlinspielen April 25, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I am left with tears
    words cannot hold my feelings
    you are breathtaking.

  313. ManicDdaily April 25, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Everything I read on this blog very strong. Have you ever read Mary Gaitskill? (Veronica, Two Girls Fat and Thin, a Book of STories that was very good –don’t know the name–) Anyway, good job – whether all real or not, it’s still wonderful writing. Take care, watch out. K.

    • ManicDdaily April 25, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      PS – wouldn’t it be nice if one could go back to the younger self? Help it through–make different choices–so difficult looking back–and on others now younger too–you describe it very well. k.

  314. The Seaside Baker April 25, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Wow, you are an amazing woman. Your letter gave me goose bumps. I am so sorry for your past, but so inspired by your courageousness. You have, and will continue to make a difference in this world and hopefully help bring an end to this disgusting industry. Thank you.

  315. whitewolfwriting April 25, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    I had a friend who was a sweet girl, a good friend from China who was living in Australia with her aunt. She was troubled, but she was in school for graphics design etc. Well, one thing led to another, she started dancing, clothes on, dancing, clothes off, web camming, clothes on, web camming, clothes off, until she was prostituting. In the span of a few years, she went from being a troubled 17 year old girl, to a woman using a strange man’s computer in a dumpy hotel, talking to me for the last time. She was living in Australia illegally by then, as you don’t get a work visa for prostituting, so she was either deported, or worse. I never met her, she was online only, but she was an interesting person to talk to and one of the best friends I had online for awhile. Whatever happened to her, it enlightened me, as awful a sacrifice as that may be. I went from being a judgemental child to an understanding observer of human misery, and of how far anyone can fall. After all, we’re all one tragedy away from poverty, and two from homelessness.

  316. Tim Birchard April 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Dear Sister,
    Sending you light. Sending you love. Sending you strength, friendship, compassion, understanding, hope, courage, respect, wild cheers of encouragement, joy, happiness, laughter, and gratitude. Clearly, one reason you are on this planet right now is to serve as a light for others. Your courageous voice spreads hope to people around the world. Myself, included. Humble thanks for all of this love you’re willing to share, even when it may feel painful to do so.
    With deepest respect,
    Tim

  317. ryan April 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I’m so sorry this happened to you and am thankful you’re free of it now. Looking forward to reading more.

  318. Fiona Pimentel April 26, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    This is such a powerful piece of writing. It shows how strong the human spirit is and is especially inspiring for all different kinds of women. Thanks for sharing.

  319. Gary April 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Stella – Keep writing; you’ve got something to say.

  320. April Thursday April 26, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    Sunshine and smiles to you, thank you for this blog, it is beautifully done. Good luck, xoxox

  321. Hermionejh April 26, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Wow, powerful writing on an intense topic. Well done! Cheers!

  322. mskatykins April 27, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    This is wonderfully well written, poignant, powerful, punch in the gut stuff. It takes courage to reflect on this type of experience, realise, write it down, never mind share it.

    • renaissan April 27, 2012 at 6:58 am #

      This was eye-opening. Thank-you for sharing

  323. bennettonbooks April 27, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Wow–what an amazing and powerful piece of writing. The line, “Stop thinking about your own hurt” really resonated with me. I teach middle schoolers who don’t read at grade level, the very kids believed to be headed for lives of one type of crime or another. And they need to stop thinking about their own hurt, and start reaching out to others with love. They are too young now, of course, but once they know what a difference they can make with their love, their lives will change course completely.

    I hope you are at work on a book about your experiences. You write well and have an astonishing story to share.

  324. sarahjanelives April 27, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    raw, real, painful, and sad. thank you for opening your soul and sharing.

  325. shambolicliving April 27, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    That’s one hell of a journey. You are one very strong woman to escape those circumstances and create a new life for yourself.

  326. shel29 April 27, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    A beautiful piece of writing about life from the inside. This is something that needs to be told, and you tell it well, with grace and compassion for the girl you used to be. Thank you for checking out my blog. We each have our own voice, and must support each other. By bravely sharing your experience you empower us all.

  327. Tim Shey April 27, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    This is the second time that I have looked at your blog. I am happy to hear that you have escaped the prostitution business.

    Years ago, whenever I saw the letters “PTSD” I always thought about combat veterans. Later I realized that trauma can happen anywhere–the battlefield or the home. I have been hitchhiking the United States for most of 16 years and one of the biggest shocks was when this Vietnam Veteran looked at me and spoke very forcefully and told me that I was suffering from PTSD. I didn’t believe him at the time. It is a long story, but here is a short version:

    “A Conversation with a Vietnam Veteran”

    http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2010/07/conversation-with-vietnam-veteran.html

    This may be something you might like to read:

    “Principles of Forgiveness”

    http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2010/04/principles-of-forgiveness.html

  328. Nathan C. Tresch April 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    When a human lies, they murder some part of this world. These small murders, each so harmless by itself, add up to a burden unbearable. Never let anyone else hang their weight on you, dear prostitute, no matter how much it feels like their burden is yours. You don’t owe them, The only person you owe anything to is yourself. Please be strong, and please do your best to let the light guide you through the terrible darkness that’s been generated in your life. You don’t deserve it, not now, not ever. No matter how much you think you deserve this, you’re a child of light, with a birthright much better than anything you’ve known. If you were anything but a child of light, the darkness of evil men couldn’t sate themselves like disgusting swine, feeding at your trough. Rage, sweet child, rage against the dying of the light.

    No matter how tempting, never let them make you think you’d be better off with your flame extinguished. I know, sweet doll, that they’d stop feeding if you’d stop shining, but that’s what they want… They make you think you’re not worth adoration, and praise, but that’s the way of evil men. They always must kill what they can’t control.

    You’re born of the stars, when you finally expire your body will eventually become the most energy dense material known to occur naturally on this planet, as all expired life does. You are made of the stuff of stars, sweet darling… Stars! Shine like the sun, shine so brightly that your energy burns their vile hands as they reach for you. Shine so brightly that they become blind when they try to behold your glory.

    Remember, little one, always, that the universe always balances itself. Always. If it did not, the marvelous order we see in the motion of the stars, the crashing of the waves, the blossoming of trees in the sun wouldn’t be countered by the cold of winter, the stillness of the void between worlds, and the blissful silence of a lake in the cold air of the mountains. Remember that all things are kept in balance.

    Balance, in this case, is vengeance, and justice. Just as there are men who would see your light dimmed, there are men who would catch your fire and become inflamed. Men who would defend your honor, even when you’ve forgotten you’re possessed of a greater honor than any evil man could comprehend. Men who would kill and die for your right to be their equal, if that is your desire.

    It’s easy, and cheap, to steal the energy of others. To make them think that they owe you. You could do the same, as your madame does, but you don’t. You don’t because you’re better than they. You won’t because they can’t take your secret place from you, no matter how they try. Hold onto that, my Iron Princess. Hold onto that as dearly as you can, and if you start to feel it slip, understand that I will be there. I will hold you, I will walk with you, I will carry you.

    Close your eyes, little one, when you’re scared. Close your eyes and feel my love, the love of the World. Feel the heat of the Secret Fire that burns in your soul, burns in my soul, rages in the center of the world. Allow the memory of my love to wash over you, to protect you, to insulate you from their greedy, disgusting maws. I will always be there for you.

    All of you who read this and would still try to pander a child of light, this next bit is for you. Understand that I know you, I feel you, I am one of you, only possessed of MAGNIFICENCE, where you are possessed of a selfish greed. Where you take, I create. One thing we share is a desire to see all people brought to our own level, you tear them down so they hate themselves as much as you hate yourself, and I do my level best to raise them up to a place where you cannot touch them. You mistake my kindness for weakness, and try to feed on me in your ignorance, as you’d feed on one of my princesses… And that is by design. My trap is sprung, and you’ll be forced to face me in my wrath, full of love and light, roused by fury. I’ve seen your eyes, now that you know what it is you’ve done, and I know finally that you understand what it is to fear. Embrace the fear you feel, it’s the only thing that can save you. Run, run away, for I’ve banished you from the world of the living. Gnash your teeth in the outer darkness, and never dare to show your face in the light of the world again, unless you desire release, which I will gladly grant you after satisfying my own need to feed.

    I said once before, I am one of you. There are times the hunger I feel drowns out compassion, reason, and love, and at those times I pray that you dare face me. I’m you, magnified a thousand times a thousand by righteous fury. I’m you, magnified a thousand times a thousand by the hunger that I will not satisfy on the weak. I’m you, magnified a thousand times a thousand by divine providence. Here is justice. Here is punishment. The last thing you’ll know is the look in my eyes.

    TERMINUS EST, ULTIO ULTIONIS!

  329. Nathan C. Tresch April 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    One more comment, in my non-writers voice. I can’t read this without crying. I don’t know how you shared it, but I thank you for it. I hope it will help at least one girl, one that I’ve shared it with, but it might not. I’ve accepted that women who’ve been conditioned like this may never recover fully, and I’ve accepted that I must try to help regardless. If your post helps even one woman, the pain you’ve shared was made beautiful by your strength. Please, please please revel in that beauty, it’s a rare thing sometimes.

    All of my love,
    Nathan C. Tresch
    “Per Aspera, ad Astra”

  330. Antara April 28, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    I am awed. This is…so powerful. People like you are the ones who make me determined enough to fight against all the stupid odds and grab hold of what I want for me. To be strong, be human.
    Thank you for telling your story…for sharing things people rarely know about, think about.

  331. confessionsofachannel April 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    If you’re questioning whether or not you’ve left your mark on this world, don’t..for you have and it’s indelible!

  332. Julia Indigo April 30, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Stella,
    This, above, tears at my heart. Thank you for getting out, thank you for moving beyond, thank you for telling your story.

    {{{Stella}}}

  333. Anansi the Poet April 30, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    Holy Bonkers. I’ve got to say, that’s mighty powerful. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for following.

  334. bscottunscrewed April 30, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Wow! I am at a loss of words. I hear you and can relate to some of what was said. Thank you for allowing yourself to get free to speak to myself and others. Your story imspired me to tell more of mine. Thank you for being open, but more importantly, thank you for being you.

  335. frantelope April 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    i don’t even know you.
    but i don’t have to in order to tell you:
    i’m so glad you are alive.
    don’t stop (writing. living. loving. healing.)

  336. Stacie Chadwick May 1, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Wow. Fucking powerful. I almost didn’t leave a comment because there’s no space. Chilly goosebumps while reading. You possess a rare gift…so happy to be exposed.

  337. theblogofahypegiaphobic May 1, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Inspiring!
    my hat’s off to you!!:) $

  338. Butterfly Julz May 1, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Stella, like the name you are a shinning star. Your words are haunting, wounds that bleed from my computer screen and yet they have a beauty and hope that is captivating. I hope the light you shine is a guiding of light and love to those still lost. Thank you for sharing your soul with us. Much Love and Many Blessings…

  339. evea192 May 1, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    Not sure what to think of this. U survived what u where doing, the world can be cruel place and u survived. This is a story that needed telling and i believe it was not easy telling. this story makes me hate men that think they can do to woman what they whant, i am a man but i have the deepest respect for woman.

  340. deliriousbibliophiliac May 1, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    My god, this is powerful.

    Thank you.

    • Author May 1, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      This is beautifully written – so much of it reminds me of the feelings examined in the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. Have you read it? I have not gone through this exact situation, but when I read that book I found myself connecting with so many of the thoughts and inner battles the main character was struggling with because of my own history with verbal abuse and bullies. It’s so hard to believe that you can be accepted – and even in this modern world I’m shocked at how easily people will turn away from someone in a callgirl’s position instead of reaching out – but I am glad that you found your beloved. :)

  341. kathrynmartins1 May 1, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Stella, this is very moving. It has a calm clarity coursing through it. A remove, so to speak, far enough away to survive and to stay sane and to see what is true. It reminds me of Judy Ruiz’s “Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy”

    http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG200-dwc/ruiz.htm

    Very powerful. Thank you, Stella.

  342. tricia linden May 1, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    It seems impossible to imaginge that all things happen for a reason, and yet your life is perfectly beautiful, as are you.

  343. Laurie Cosbey May 1, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Beautifully and honestly written. Thank you for writing this. For all of us who’ve had some of this, it’s healing to have a connection, not feel so isolated.
    You have great courage and are inspiring.

  344. kilobrush May 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    I’m touched by the raw and efficacious approach to your writing. It spoke to me…even connected as if you were present doing the narrative.

    I really like this and most of posts here.

  345. cathygivans1980 May 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I am just so proud of you. You are healing and healing others. Hope to connect with you more with time. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me. I would love to chat with you sometime. <3

  346. heikewrites May 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Stella, i linked to you on my blog, heikewrites.com — i hope that’s okay. my recognition (by bloggers for fellow bloggers) comes in the shape of two awards i’d love to share with you: the very inspiring blogger award and the sunshine award. all the best to you.

  347. Random Acts of Writing May 3, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    This was heartbreakingly beautiful…

  348. Jackie L. Robinson May 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    ‘Your ability to see beauty is part of your resistance and survival.’ This young girl that is you has taken an ugly world and turned it into grace. I’m in awe and so very moved by your post and glad you visited my site…so that I in turn could find and read you.

    We are all gifted with the ability to see beauty – and I love how it has brought you a sense of peace. Although our life circumstances may not appear to be filled with purpose, grace….there is always that opportunity to see, feel, become more.

    Thank you for sharing your story – a story that ultimately is our own. The journey to empowerment and recognizing our own selves as viable, valid, worthy, ENOUGH. Your words speak to me.

    Much love. xo

  349. pathwriter May 6, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Powerful. Thank you.

  350. holeinthefabic May 7, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    I must say this is something I have never really given much thought about. What is more enticing about your writing and experience is that I admire you. Not only for what you have been through but where you have chosen to let those experiences lead you and now for who you have become… This is very moving and powerful and defiantly a hush hush topic well done.

    BTW thanks for the read.

  351. marycoreymarch May 12, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Thank you so much for writing this. Courageous. Beautiful. …and so important to hear and understand.

  352. thankyouforthisday May 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    This is very powerful, thanks for sharing and I’m so glad that you’re growing day by day, like all of us :-)

  353. Mike May 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    ummm… I feel like I should complement you on your writing, but you’ve left me slightly speechless. Your blog posts are pretty intense, intimidating, and I am happy that you escaped your previous life. Thank you.

  354. tinatimebomb May 13, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Brutally honest, thank you!

  355. Flamboyant Wallflower May 15, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    You are amazing. I am at a loss for words. I do have tears, awe, deep thoughts, and praise for your angels.

    Sending Lots of Love to you <3

    Stephanie

  356. Noel Ihebuzor May 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Sad, eloquent, intense, trioubled and written! Tugs at our consciences!

  357. Yousei Hime May 15, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Wow. It took me a while to find the comment box. That’s a good thing. You’re amazing, and I’m proud to read this post. It should inspire all of us full of regrets and guilt to look back and encourage and forgive our younger selves. I’m looking forward to sharing across our blogs.

  358. Rad change May 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Thank You for depicting so clearly a lifestyle on which many of us have no perspective. Thank God you made it out!

  359. jessicalle May 16, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    “The mundane will buoy you.” – LOVE this line. I imagine you surrounded by a deep blue sea of the “mundane” joys of life that goes on as far as the eye can see.

  360. Author, G. D. Grace May 17, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    Just shared your “An Ex-Hooker’s Letter to her Younger Self” on my Facebook wall. Keep up the the great work! GD

  361. StacyMichelle May 17, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    no words … just plenty of raw emotion. this blog is so brave

  362. Edward Coleman May 17, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Your mind-story-life is beautiful. I would wear the pages of that trade paperback down in creases and folds of time, each reading to gain another insight about all life. I find, personally, life is most vivid in those moments that bring horror to your memories, because the the process of transcending those moments make even breathing or drinking a fresh cup of coffee better than any drug I’ve ever done, and I’ve done most of them. You strength and perseverance is the pinnacle of testimonies to the triumph of the human spirit despite the sufferings we endure in life. I feel enriched and comforted knowing people like you are in this world.

  363. cozyblanketsnowflakerepetitioncompulsion May 17, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    i loved reading this… it was, in one word, beautiful.

    i haven’t had a clearer picture, a capturing of meaningful thought, so authentic to touch me as i’ve read here. such grace, such beauty, such clarity.

  364. fringewalk May 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Wow. You are testement to strength and hope. Thankyou for sharing x

  365. Mags May 18, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    This piece is so very touching – you’re a talented writer and clearly have much to say. Thank you for writing. A subject like this is not easy to write about; you’re an inspiration and I hope you know it!

  366. MoonWynd Studio May 18, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    God bless you richly, Stella. Thank you so much for sharing with us, we who can only look through the window from afar. Love MoonWynd

  367. Cameron May 19, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Hi Stella,

    I’ve been browsing your site and am honored to have connected with a soul as brave and lovely as yours. I have my own past traumas–a long struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder that took me almost to suicide, and I see parallels between my experience and yours insofar as I felt for so long that I was a completely helpless prisoner who deserved the misery I was experiencing. Ultimately I fought back and after several years, don’t even need medication for the OCD, though it never totally leaves me either. Family and friends are always after me to write about what I went through in order to help others, but so far I’m too much of a coward to revisit those demons. You’re a braver woman than I am. I know your blog is touching other lives in a wonderful way.

  368. MoonWynd Studio May 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Bless you, Stella. Please stop by my blog. I have a poem that I uploaded for you. Please let me know what you think.

    http://moonwyndstudio.wordpress.com/posing-prose/

    Love MoonWynd
    “Black Mantilla” under ‘posing prose’ section. (left-hand column of my page).

  369. cuhome May 21, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    I am speechless with awe. For once, I can’t find any other words to say, after reading this raw human work of truth! ♥

  370. Lorre May 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    This is so powerful. I am almost speechless.
    You have an amazing gift in writing and will be/are and amazing strength and support for many others.

  371. Laura P. Schulman, M.D., M.A., FAAP May 24, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Reblogged this on Bipolar For Life and commented:
    I have to reblog this amazing post. Although I never “officially” prostituted, the same feelings of entrapment, terror, and helpless enslavement to a way of life applied to my teenage years of homelessness, mental illness, and vulnerability to sexual predators. I thank G-d every day that I never fell into the hands of a pimp the way so many trafficked girls did. I knew some of them, and somehow managed to escape every situation that could have ended me up in Stella’s horrible situation. Thank G-d, even though I was abducted several times, I always found a way out. Not by any means unscathed, but not traumatized to the catastrophic extent that so many girls and women are. I’m not normally a vindictive person, but I hope that every pimp, madam, and others who facilitate trafficking of girls, women, boys, and men, come to a suitably ugly end.

  372. gunspetsfamilyandmercenarys May 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    This is an amazing Blog, very powerful and I don’t mind saying that I shed a tear or two! Thank you for sharing, stay safe, be strong (sounds to me like you must be pretty strong already!) and I’ll look forward to reading more of your entries!

  373. rozzychan May 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    This writing is just amazing! I was rivetted.

  374. strongandsoulfulyoga May 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    I was brought to your blog because you liked my guest blog at Fighting PTSD…This and you are my miracle for the day. Your words are powerful…I had a knot in my stomach reading this letter to your younger self. God..You are a beautiful soul who chose a really difficult path and bounded down it!! One of my core beliefs is that we are put here to serve a higher purpose…sometimes we need to suffer to get the experience so we can help other people in the same situation. You confirmed this for me:) Thank you and keep up the good work. You are and always were exactly where you were supposed to be. Check out my website http://www.strongandsoufulyoga.com. I think you would enjoy my blog-great minds think alike LOL :) Have a great day!!

  375. SaneSamantha May 25, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Thank you for sharing this letter to yourself. And thank you for stopping by my Insanity blog and giving it a like and follow. Best to you.

  376. Constanza May 25, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Very emotive and sincere. I loved it! Made me tear up!

  377. iamzion May 25, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Your writing is so powerful because you open and share so much. Thank you. I hope you don’t mind I just have to share this on facebook, and I love reading your posts. <3

  378. ladaysandnights May 24, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Stella,
    Thank you for being brave. And thank you for telling your story.
    Your strength and honesty is an inspiration.

  379. benjamininn May 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Stunningly human. Thanks for this.

  380. Modern Funk May 26, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Gritty. Beautiful. Haunting.

  381. gardengirrrl May 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    You have an amazing way with words, it is a true gift. Thank goodness you were able to dig your way out and are using your gift to educate and to provide hope to others. I am humbled.

  382. milkyminx May 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Hi Stella! I’d just like to say that paragraph three reads like poetry, but the entire story is riveting, edifying, and bravely told. All the best to you.//mm

  383. shobavish May 26, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    It has been a moving experience reading bits and pieces of you powerful blog. I have read many good writers in the blogosphere, but I have to say that I had started feeling a certain predicatable pattern with blogs about writing, photography, cooking, travel etc. And today I see your blog – what a powerful use of the direct voice of the blog. It is inspirational to see you using this genre to tell your life story – kudos to you on the road you have traveled and for having the courage the share the past.

  384. artfulhelix May 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Let me say you have an amazing blog here! I read a few of your posts, but seance this was the most recent I wanted to leave you a comment here. This particular post was grabbing, pulling in the reader with a vivid expression. Thank you.

  385. tavthe May 27, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    This is very powerful stuff. It reminded me of a project I am working on with a friend. A scholarly project concerning the modern narrative of women’s bodies. Thanks for reminding me what I should be working on. Every woman should read this. A few men too.

  386. wingeyes May 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Wow, you went through so much. I was about to write a piece on prostitution in my blog, mainly on how we tend to dehumanize prostitutes… I remember the girls in Madrid , and how two girls sat next to me eating Mcdonald’s they seemed so vulnerable. And young. And nervous if people wanted to take their picture. It was so real because last year I was working with girls who were Romanian gypsies and were basically left to their own device, and were hauntingly beautiful. I was afraid for them, especially in today’s economy that they would fall prey to someone, they were too precocious for being so young. Your story tells me that you can get out, and find love in the proess. I admire your courage. T

  387. geese May 28, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Hi
    I’ve nominated you for a beautiful blog award.All I ask of you, my nominees, in return is to:

    thank and link-back to your nominator
    Nominate 7, 6, or fewer (or more) other blogs that you enjoy to receive this award as well
    Post a comment on each of your nominees blogs with a link to your page for the details
    Paste the Award image somewhere on your blog, you can copy it from here and then re-use it.
    And, continue blogging all your beautiful thoughts, suggestions, and musings. More readers are coming!

  388. Alexis May 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Wow! Wow! Wow!!!!! So I finally just read this in its entirety. Thank you SO much for the part about having to work up the nerve just to ask the man behind the counter for a soda. I RELATE! I totally still cringe when men look at me – not as often as when I first left prostitution – but I still do.
    .
    I was too in shock to cry about your friend Samantha, but I’ve heard of that happening to so many hookers. I think as soon as I close my laptop, the tears will come freely. What a darkness the sex industry is! But what a courageous and healing thing it is for you to expose it by using your gift of writing! I love that.

    The words I agree with the most strongly in your post are: “Being a hooker can seem to mean you’ve lost everything you hoped to be, but that’s not true. You’ve splintered into a million pieces, but you’re still you. You’re alive.” Yes! I thought my identity was gone forever, but prostitution did NOT kill me, and I have found my identity once again. Beautiful post, Stella, and you have a beautiful life that impacts so many people. I was not even able to read through your 415 comments on this post! Incredible impact you have! Hugs to you, my friend!

    • Noel Ihebuzor May 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

      Alexis, you say it so well for all who have read this write and who are moved to the core of their essences by the raw truths it contains.

  389. Alexis May 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Reblogged this on Spilled Perfume.

  390. Shad Shukoor May 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    When i finished reading this post my hands were literally shivering

  391. Introspections During Quiet Time May 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Wow, incredible work. Great voice too. It makes you come closer to something that you truly cannot fathom without being there. Amazing post.

  392. leloandtoots May 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    I think to an extent I understand on a small level what you feel like. I usto dance for 7 years its the same business but not selling sex. Either way it captures you. I hope you run away and find a way out. There are woman shelters that can give you money to buy a one way ticket out of town. It’s never too late never. You deserve.beauty too

  393. gomezcanaan June 1, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I want to let you know that I nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award: http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/

  394. Autumn Macarthur June 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Stella, you r words made me cry, like so many other readers before and after will. You write beautifully and powerfully. Thank God you survived, Thank God that seed of belief in yourself stayed there and carried you through to where you are now. Thank God for your gift of words, to speak out for yourself and all the other women and men who don’t have your strength and your words.

  395. Books & Art - Spirit & Soul June 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Speaking up and out is both a therapy and a sign of bravery – kudos to you Stella and not a moment too soon
    – Lesley Fletcher -

  396. books494 June 4, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    good that you had the nerve to start this Stella.

  397. fightingmyptsddemons June 4, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    Thank you Stella…
    Hot tears are rolling down my cheeks while reading what you have written. I feel the pain, the sorrow, the fear as well as the anger I’m sure you experience as well. Life can be a living hell but we survived and we are still surviving. We are STRONG, way beyond anyone with muscle mass… We have an inner strength, a strength that no one that hasn’t been there will ever be able to understand. We have the strength to stand up and say NEVER AGAIN will I be a victim to anyone. Not even myself….

    I’ve just started to write about “my life”. It’s taken me 52 years to get to the point where I NEED to SCREAM and get it all out. It’s a slow process but I’m getting there.
    //Cat

    • stellamarr June 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      So much love to you — you are getting there. XOXOXO Yes we are STRONG

  398. alphabitomega June 4, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    One’s true power never dies. Once you recognize it, it’s always there. The blessings will continue to unfold which it held for one all this time. One need but continue to see them.

  399. Clark Knowles June 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    This is a remarkable piece of writing. Stunning. Thank you.

  400. joylevel June 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi, I nominated you for the versatile blogger award! Congratulations, fellow writer and continue to be inspired. Write on.

    http://thejoylevel.com/2012/06/04/versatile-blogger-award-blessings/

  401. Clark Knowles June 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    This is a powerful piece of writing. Thank you.

  402. cavemum June 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    So powerful. If only all girls who thought it was funny or cool to put themselves at the mercy of male fantasies could see this and know how much heartbreak the real thing is. Good for you that you came out alive and healing!

  403. Cedar June 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    What a powerful blog. I am amazed by your courage; this is a great think you’re doing. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  404. Politimama June 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    You have such a powerful voice infused with honesty and pathos. I am grateful that you and your message are here for us to bear witness. This is a truly important story. I am deeply sorry that it is yours to share but so thankful that you have the strength and courage to do so. Thank you.

  405. aberossi June 8, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    you are truly inspirational, out of tragedy rises a phoenix, nothing else to say accept keep up the great work and amazing!!!

  406. Ruth Jacobs June 9, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Thank you so much for what you are doing. I’ve put a link on my blog to yours. Best wishes, Ruth x

    • Starsmom12 June 10, 2012 at 12:05 am #

      Stella,

      That was amazing. How did you get through that? They say you have to visit the path you’ve traveled to truly heal, but that takes alotta guts.

      Anyway, I look forward to future posts. Your blog was a real “find.”

      GREAT writing, subject, courageous woman. Take care.

      • Noel Ihebuzor June 10, 2012 at 1:42 am #

        strong, intense, worrying but also didactic!

  407. Yellowmaus June 10, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    “Your ability to perceive beauty is part of your resilience and survival.” Glad I read this piece. Honest, heartfelt and so well-written.

  408. Rosy June 10, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    Very powerful writing. Impressive work.

  409. endlessencounters June 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I’m utterly speechless. For once in my life, I actually don’t know what to say. All I know is that reading this, reading your story, your account of these events has moved me to tears. But, they’re not tears of sadness or pity; they’re tears of pride and joy. I am actually proud of you for making it through everything you described here. Strangely enough, I don’t even know you, but having read this, I feel like I do. It’s a self righteous thing you’re doing by writing this blog. You may not even realize it, but you are helping so many others out there who may be entrapped within the world of prostitution. At the same time, you’re also educating people out there (such as myself) who may have prior misconceptions about the whole notion of prostitution. I just want to say thank you for that and for your bravery throughout this whole ordeal. It must have been very painful revisiting all of those memories. For that, I want to nominate you for the One Lovely Blog Award because you truly deserve it.

  410. NickAndrea19 June 12, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Phew, that really touched me. Powerful, powerful. Thank you.

  411. jumpingpolarbear June 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    That was powerful…..

  412. R. Kyle Norris June 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    That was an amazing post. IT was so visceral, open, and honest. I don’t think I could ever write a letter to my younger self and then allow the public to read. I also don’t think I could have ever survived the life it seems you’ve gone through. You are surely an amazing person!

  413. Francesca June 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Stella, tI’ve only just begun to explore, but this post was something else. I am so glad you found your beloved, feel free and are living the life that you want, every day.

  414. marycoreymarch June 13, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Hey- it looks like the tables are turning. Apparently there is a move to treat protitutes like victims of the sex industry instead of criminals: http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/13/life-gets-strange-hunting-traffickers-in-the-u-s/?hpt=hp_c1

  415. Esri Allbritten June 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Powerful stuff. Congratulations on surviging, and beautifully thriving, too.

  416. riversflownewmexico June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    I have nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award. I think your blog is great. If you choose to accept it follow the link with instructions on how to do so. If you prefer not to receive any awards, please accept the appreciation any way.

    http://riversflownewmexico.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/reader-appreciation-award/

    Have a great day,
    Spencer

  417. kp June 16, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Wow, this is an incredibly powerful piece; so honest and courageous and beautiful! My heart aches when I hear what you have lived through and when I think of other women who are still in that position. Good for you for sharing your experience; for helping other women to find their way out! I love how your focus on the beauty in life was the lifeline that pulled you through. Kim

  418. Katie R. Summerfield June 16, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Stella, your strength and openness and grace is so heart-burstingly inspiring. Though I haven’t the first idea what your experiences were like or how you coped with them, I can say that your kind of strength and your incredible regrowth is the purest, most beautiful expression of womanhood that I can think of. Thank you, thank you.

  419. jakiedwards June 19, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    I pressed the ‘like’ button. It’s not the right word ‘like’ but it’s the best that’s available right now. Thank you for sharing. It would be nice if she listened…

  420. tikulicious June 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I hear you. Love and light. We are all one and fragments of our lives are the notes to the beautiful tragic score that life plays all the time.

  421. Onleilove June 25, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Thank you for your powerful blog. Thank you for standing for the truth. Thank you for following my blog. Just all around thanks and blessings!

  422. 365waystobehappy June 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    I have nominated you for a beautiful blogger award. Have a look at http://365waystobehappy.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/day-58-happiness-is-beautiful-blogging/

  423. curvyelvie June 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    It broke my heart. Your prose was vivid and beautiful.

  424. Josh Ingram June 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Sounds like you been through hell! God bless you.

  425. Dr. Claire July 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    This was very moving. Thank you for sharing. It means so much to be human.

  426. The Enfant Terrible July 4, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    Someone recommended this blog to me, knowing that my own story shares very spooky similarities with yours. I am very glad that I came across it and that you are showing that there can be a way out of the sex industry through writing. I look forward to future posts.

  427. dreamingthruthetwilight July 11, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    This is so overwhelming. Too many feelings to sieve through .I’ll just say this …I’m feeling awfully proud of you. Hugs to you sis:-) It’s very courageous and compassionae of you to want to share this .

  428. Julie Israel July 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Spectacular.

  429. Elmo Curtis July 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  430. Bonnie July 25, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Wow, this blew me away… Thanks for sharing!

  431. simonet7 July 31, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award.
    Here’s a link for more info: http://xavia101.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    Good luck.

  432. jeanjoel August 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    ‘Tis beautiful, thank you.

  433. LadyTiger August 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on ladytiger.

  434. Ruth Jacobs September 14, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I’ve nominated you for a blogger award. Please visit http://souldestructionblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/silver-quill-blogger-award/ if you would like to see the post and nominate others to continue the award. With love, Ruth x

  435. Mafa September 30, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Reblogged this on Mafa's World and commented:
    For those of you that like to pay for sex…think about what the background story is for some of these women. I would say for most.

  436. arbohl October 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing.

  437. sparksmcgee October 13, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    It sounds strange because I am just a faraway reader, but I love you!! You are a precious person, like over-spilling handfuls of diamonds. Thank you for being so brave. -Tara

    • stellamarr October 13, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      I love you and all the other readers who have been so open and soulful. You are precious, “like over-spilling handfuls of diamonds” too. Thank you for being in the world and caring. XOXOXO

  438. transitionstande October 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I read this months ago, but reread it just now and it brought tears to my eyes again. Also it has inspired me to write a letter to my younger self, which I did recently and it was really a turning point for me. So thanks again for bravely sharing.:)

  439. riversflownewmexico October 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Thanks for reblogging this. I read it on the original post. Its just unbelievable we have to suffer long after combat and we have come home.
    Btw I wanted to let you know that I have nominated your blog for “One Lovely Blog Award” Your blog is informative and I’m sure an inspiration of hope to all of our brothers and sisters who read it and or visit your actual location. Thanks for all you do!.

    http://riversflownewmexico.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/i-have-been-nominated-for-the-one-lovely-blog-award-thanks/

  440. my words on a string October 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    I have enjoyed your blog so much I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Please check my site for the requirements of acceptance. Congratulations!

  441. leloandtoots November 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    I’ve nominated you for Very Inspiring blogger award

    http://leloandtoots.com/2012/11/06/award-and-recognition/

  442. annienicole November 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Reblogged this on For You, the World; The World, For You and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  443. ladaysandnights November 17, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Stella! Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. You are a strong woman whose voice is needed in this world.I look forward to learning more about your journey. :)

  444. lavenderskye12981 January 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Wow. That made me cry, and I’ve seen so much abuse and hurt in this world, I didn’t think I had any tears left. You are an amazing, strong, and courageous woman. Thank you.

  445. Jueseppi B. March 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Thank you for this personal look into your life Ms. Stella.

    • stellamarr March 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      I so love your blog — and appreciate your wonderful support. Namaste and thank you for being in the world, doing what you do

  446. gigoid April 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Dear MCG, aka Stella,

    As part of being nominated for the Very Inspiring Blog Award, which elliebloo, ( whose site is at: http://simplypoeticme.com/2013/04/06/inspiring-blogger-award/ ) honored me with, I am to nominate 15 blogs that inspire me… Yours is one of those blogs, and has been ever since I first came to read your work…. Thanks for being part of the WP family, and for all the inspiring work I read here….. You can find your nomination, and the rules for acceptance, here:

    http://gigoid.me/2013/04/12/theyre-having-a-sale-on-wing-nuts/#comment-4179

    ~~ gigoid, the dubious….. :lol:

  447. Nicole May 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    I just noticed that you follow my blog, and I decided to come visit. You have blown me away. I happened upon this entry and it is so very powerful. I blog to amuse myself, but you are doing great things. Those of us on the outside have no idea what the sex trade is really like; media and apologists try to downplay the violence and try to convince those of us still naive to possibly believe that prostitutes do it because they like it. Thank you for sharing your story with the world; I hope that it helps you, and your sisters in this world, to heal.

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