I did something significant lately. Significant to me, anyway. I cut off my old phone number.
It’s the one I got when I first became Mistress Matisse, in 1997. It was a land line then, and I recall that the landlord of my apartment inquired why I needed a second phone line – because of course I already had one.
I told him it was for my dial-up modem. He looked slightly confused – he was definitely not a techie guy - but just shrugged and nodded his head. I had a cell phone as well, but I think it was much cheaper to add a second land line than get a second cell phone, so that’s what I did.
When I moved out of that apartment, I was successful enough as Mistress Matisse that I could, in fact, get another cell. I arranged to have US West seamlessly forward the phone number to it. This was apparently not something most people knew you could do at the time, and it led to some amusing calls from phone-predators who, because it looked like a land-line number, would try to spook me by claiming they could trace me, find my address, and menace me somehow. I’d laugh and hang up. Good luck with that, halfwit.
It’s certainly the phone number that I’ve had the longest in my adult life, and I kept it until about a month ago. You see, for a sex worker, keeping the same phone number is highly desirable. That way your guys can always find you, without having to hunt down a print ad - or now, a website. If they have to look too hard to find you, they’ll probably give up and find someone else.
But truthfully, I have not listened to a voice mail from it in - oh, a year? Maybe more. And I haven’t routinely answered it for about two years. I very rarely see new people anymore, and the few I do meet contact me through email, with a referral from someone I know.
So I didn’t have time even for the perfectly-nice guys, and I was simply tired of dealing with the annoying and time-wasting phone calls. The reasonable thing to do was get another phone, and give the new number only to people I know and like. So I did.
Still, I was reluctant to let the old one go. What if my income suddenly dropped off and I had to start drumming up new business? That’s not how I want to structure my career anymore, but… better keep it, so if I had to, I could activate things at a moment’s notice.
It’s that Cinderella fear – the idea that wow, this is all going so well, and I’m happy and successful and busier than I can handle – but what if the clock strikes twelve and it all vanishes like a soap bubble? Better keep all the old options open, even if you don’t need them now.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping one’s options open – to a degree. But at a certain point, links to the past become anchors, not options. They weigh you down. You have to trust yourself, and trust the universe, that you’ll keep moving forward. Life looks a lot different for me than it did even a couple of years ago, and I’m trusting that I will never need that phone number again.