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Looking back on it, I know that I made the right choice for my one wild life.

by Jessa Jordan

April 27, 2019

photo by Elizabeth Rudge

When I was 21, my budding baby-anarchist/art- hoe lifestyle was more exciting, more financially viable—and somehow even more sustainable— than the prospect of sitting through another three- hour lecture on Shakespeare, or raising money for the undergraduate literature and art magazine I managed. I was able to strip and go-go dance in any dive bar that would have me, and I took full advantage of the newfound fame brought my way thanks to some professionally executed nudes reblogged blowing up on Tumblr.

 

Bambi-eyed, baby-faced, and just buxom enough, I threw myself to the wolves, insisting that I be taken seriously as a proud pro-hoe. In fact, when my images circulated enough that people began recognizing me offline, some of my peers thought it appropriate to label me “the porn star” because of my extracurriculars. For the first time ever, I was drunk on a strange power. I was in control of my body, my sexuality, and my life, and I didn’t want to stop until I was Kim K. famous. I wanted nothing more than to be the best “slut” I could be—the smartass who could talk your ear off about Nietzsche or Nabokov and get paid generously for every grin and growl I offered. While I was still a few years away from choosing to work as an escort, I was beginning to be much more selective in the partners I chose for sex anyway.

My sexual appetite was changing primarily because I was finding out how exhausting cis-het men were. While I still wanted to fuck often—and did if it wasn’t near midterms or finals weeks—I didn’t want to fuck the same guys who’d wanted to use me solely as the vessel for their pleasure and dismissed the thought of reciprocating. Even worse was the thought that I was undeserving of love and intimacy because I was just another nameless slut they could easily coax back to their bedroom. It was a strange and fascinating concept to reconcile: I could be desired and fucked, but not also loved, at least not by guys who didn’t think I was worthy of love or commitment because I was just so slutty.

 

Unsurprisingly, the night of conception was far from immaculate. I was supporting my then- dormmate Khadija in her attempt to break into the competitive Philadelphia nightlife scene as a DJ. We went to a party on a balmy Saturday night in May 2012 at a local anarchist meeting room known affectionately as the A-Space. I got drunk and danced around with other local Philly queers and punks, trying to release all my stress and life’s annoyances. And then it happened. I saw and overheard a cis-male screaming in the face of a fellow femme. I moved in between them, immediately stopping him in his tracks, surprising and further angering him that another woman would step to him. I didn’t give a shit; I wasn’t going to let any man abuse a woman in my presence. Before I had to exert any more effort, people came to our aid and the aggressor was removed from the venue. Apparently he had a long history of abusing women, abusing power, and abusing the bodies of anyone who brought up the former. I was warned to be careful as Khadija and I made our way back to our dorm, but it made no difference. The fight had ruined my buzz and I needed to calm the live wires that were my veins. So I called Alex up since I knew he was the only dude I could reach out to who would be awake, DTF, and willing to travel to me at 4:00 a.m.

 

Since Khadija was asleep when Alex arrived, we stayed in the living room and ended up fucking on the floor atop a haphazardly placed pile of blankets and pillows. I didn’t enjoy it, and that was amplified by the annoyance I felt once I realized the condom that had been there at the beginning had become a casualty along the way. I didn’t find it in the blankets. I didn’t find it on the floor. To this day, I can’t tell you where it went, but I can say the immediate horror I felt at the realization. This person—basically a fucking stranger—had just ejaculated inside of me. I was floored. In all my whorish history I had never experienced this. I didn’t know how to handle it, so I just went to sleep.

 

We talked about it the next morning awkwardly outside my building while he unlocked his bicycle. I don’t remember if he offered to pay for the Plan B I was preparing to buy the next day, but he was confident he didn’t have any STDs, which was mildly comforting. Once I took the Plan B and confirmed I was negative for all major STIs, worrying about those sorts of issues became a bad memory.

 

A short few weeks later, I showed up at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital exhibiting every symptom of a panic attack—though I was convinced it was a stroke or heart attack since those had ended various lives in my family. After multiple CAT scans, the verdict was official: I was physically fine and definitely pregnant.

 

I was early enough along to have a medication abortion. From that moment on, I chose survival over everything. Survival through the guilt that was wreaking havoc on my psyche for “slutting it up” so much, and not being more aware of what was happening, to me and inside of me. Survival through the societal pressure to be a perfect student, a perfect young woman, and a perfect whore—smart enough to make the decision to fuck on my own, but avoid the crossfire of consequences. Survival through the men I’d been sleeping with and their desire to destroy any self- love or peace of mind I kept for myself.

 

Looking back on it, I know that I made the right choice for my one wild life. I feel empowered by having the strength to persevere, instead of carrying out an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, which would have been devastating to me physically, financially, and emotionally. Instead, I could pursue a life free of draining, toxic lovers and raise my spirit—weaponizing my own existence as the whore, the Madonna, and everything infinite in between.

 

In everyday conversations, I hear people discuss survival. No one has ever said to me that choosing to have an abortion is an act of survival, but I know now that it is.

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