Today is my grandmother’s birthday.
‘Oma’ was one of the most powerful and loving women I have ever known. She was the first in her village (in the Netherlands) to start wearing trousers, raised a family on her own, took care of several male family members, worked a whole bunch of different jobs, and somehow found time to be a loving mother and grandmother too. She died 28 years ago. I was very young when she passed over, but my memories of her have always stayed with me. She used to call me ‘schaapje’ (little sheep).
Today is also International Women’s Day, and like every year, I am reminded of Oma. My mum always told us Oma was sitting on a cloud watching us, and that is still how I imagine her. What does she see from that vantage point? What does she think?
That question was easy to answer when I was in university, and when I graduated from a prestigious master’s programme (with honours too!). Oma would be proud. Beaming with it. Her little girl doing so well in the world. Doing all the things she never got to do.
But what about now? Now that I am a sex worker? Would she still be proud?
I like to imagine that the answer is “Hell yes!”
Because I am doing really well in the world. I am doing a job I love, while travelling the world. I get to meet amazing people, and see them open up and grow under my guidance. I get scared as hell before I teach a workshop, but do it anyway.
I give people the gift of love, touch, and ecstasy. And I make a living of it.
I am happy.
I am at the forefront of a movement that brings consent-awareness, sex positivity, and body love back into our society. A movement that realises that what women do with their sexuality is their business (also when it is actually their business). A movement that is about empowering peoples’ sexuality, their desires and their boundaries included.
I like to think that Oma is beaming with pride up on her cloud. Because her little girl is living a full life, making her own decisions, and making a difference in the world.
In my mind, this empowered, beautiful, amazing woman is my biggest cheerleader (after my mum, who is a real life one <3 ). When I feel down, and question whether all the struggle is worth living my truth, I hear Oma saying: “Don’t give up on your dreams, schaapje. You are beautiful, you are amazing, don’t give up”.
Oma probably never imagined that her little girl would become a sex worker, nor that that would be such a beautiful and empowered way of life. But she would trust me, trust my judgement, ask questions, and wholeheartedly support me.
So on this International Women’s Day I honour Oma. My life is built on her strength. She taught me that a woman can make her own choices, can make her own way in the world. Not that it is easy, not that it is comfortable, but that it is possible and ultimately necessary.
PS. Here’s us: