Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she is currently employed as a pro-domme but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry. She usually shares her stories each Monday in Harlotry–however, for the next five weeks, she’ll be writing specifically about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault. Part I is here.
In the time leading up to my relationship with Stanley, I’d been cramming a lot of growing up into a very short time. While I’d been living mostly on my own since I was seventeen, I was by no means independent. When I was eighteen, I was suddenly trying to go from being a whiny, bitchy, misanthropic child who placed unrealistic demands on her mother to… a grown-up. I was financially self-sufficient and while my money-management skills left much to be desired, I was very comfortable financially and working on becoming comfortable emotionally and psychologically.
Stanley undid all my hard work. He found the holes and unpicked me, the way one would fiddle with a ladder in a pair of tights. It was easy for him, I had so many holes, and I wasn’t the only one. Our relationship was not built to last. It had been thrown together hastily, accidentally, and without care.
Stanley came to Chicago to live with me in May; by June I was seriously wondering if we’d make it to the one year mark. In July we had a disagreement–I don’t even remember what it was about. He told me he was breaking up with me. I was downtown, though I can’t for the life of me remember why, and he sent me a text message informing me not only that I wanted to end things, ostensibly because I didn’t listen to him frequently enough, but that he was perfectly fine with the idea too. The world fell out from under me. I was sure I was going to die; if I didn’t die I would certainly at least have to kill myself.
I rushed home in tears. Usually I’m far too proud to cry on the train, but this was a special occasion, and not in the joyous sense. I was still crying when I got home to find Stanley lying on the couch. I sat at his feet for an hour like a stupid, beaten dog, and bawled, full-on, ugly, red-faced, sweaty crying. Eventually, Stanley decided I had learned my lesson. He pulled me onto the couch with him, put his arms around me and told me I would be okay. I blew my nose on his shirt. He decided, in his great largess, to take me back. If I hadn’t been his before, it was settled now, my will was gone.
In retrospect I ought to have noticed that something was amiss just off the fact that we had only been together for about seven months–Stanley had already made me cry more times than all of my exes combined. However, as I’ve said before, my brain was missing. “If it doesn’t hurt,” I told myself, “it isn’t really love.”
(Image via Christopher Saunders)