Posted at 21:33 on 12 Mar 2009 by Pandora / Blake
My parents have just come home from a year abroad. A year in which my blog has drawn record numbers of traffic, I've attented public political protests as Pandora, had a guest post published on a UK mainstream blog, and started work on producing my own kinky porn site.
They know I model, and I let them think it's mostly the classic art nude stuff. They'd be disappointed if I let them think I did cheesy glamour stuff, so I've told them I'm a fetish model, and hinted that it's mostly about high heels and corsets. Which is certainly true of some of my work. But it's not all of it.
I'm not a well-known latex fashion model, and never will be, and it's kind of arrogant to pretend I could be. But my parents and I are very close, and I find it difficult to enjoy the intimate conversations we share while omitting this huge portion of my life and career. There's decent money to be made by successful fetish fashion models, which accounts for the proportion of my income I've earned from modelling over the last few years.
The problem is that I'd like to continue speaking out for kink and sex worker rights, and the more visible I get the more I'm in danger of being outed. I'm not as careful with my personal details as some, because I find it difficult to draw the line between being raw and honest in my writing, and fretting about how much info someone needs to put two and two together and get the name my parents would recognise. While my parents weren't living in the UK, I was less worried about this, and it was easier to censor information during our phone and email conversations. Now, they're home, and recent family trauma has brought us closer together. This blog, my new site, my political explorations, have been an increasingly important part of my real life the last few months. When Pandora first appeared on the scene, she was a persona; now the name rings just as true for me as my birth name, and I no longer feel like I've got a split personality. The different facets of my self are fairly well integrated. And I don't want to deny half of me.
But I can't tell my parents what I do. It's not that they'd think it was immoral or unhealthy, although that's a risk. It's that if my mum knew I flew out to new cities or countries where I don't speak the language, to be thrashed by people I'd never met before, she would worry. I couldn't stop her worrying. And it's not fair to do that to her.
Maybe one day, when I have my own fairtrade feminist porn site, maybe then I could tell them. But not yet.
However, I also can't tell them anything that's been going on in my life right now without mentioning the new site, which is occupying a huge amount of my energy and attention, and about which I am ridiculously over-excited. At first I just referred to "writing projects". Which was true: I've done a lot of scriptwriting this year.
Last night, I took it up a notch. I told them I'm opening an adult stories website. That I'm coding it all myself, doing all the branding and business development, as well as the creative stuff. Which is true. It explains why I've been so busy the last few weeks, and why I'm buzzing with positive energy. "Would it be terribly embarrassing to let me read any of them?" asked my mum, whose collection of Black Lace books opened my eyes to my sexuality at the tender age of 10. "Yes," I said bashfully. "They're a bit personal."
Selfishly, I'd rather be totally honest, and I feel bad for lying, but I think this is the best way. I guess if I want to be more honest with them in future, I can build on the white lie and tell them I've branched out into photostories and films. For now, I've stuck my toe out of the closet door. That'll do.