I’ve been camming for almost four years with a loyal fan base, but now I’m stuck, stuck, stuck in a rut.
Some days, I wanna cry before I get on cam! I used to work so hard, but now I can barely go through the motions. For a few weeks, I tried mixing things up, different looks and tones, just to break up the monotony, but the pushback from my fans was brutal. It’s like they want to see me do the same show, night after night. I don’t know how long I can keep doing this. Help! –Burned Out in Burbank
Dear Burned Out—
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It sucks mightily to be at the top of your professional game, but your success is no longer working for you.
Before I offer advice, a few things. First is that stuckness is commonly associated with depression. Often that sensation originates from something in our lives that’s missing or we’re feeling sad about. Perhaps instead of focusing on your frustration when it arises, putting your hand on your heart, and acknowledging any sadness you’re experiencing would be more kind. Be gentle with yourself – depression almost always comes with a message that it wants to tell us.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that most of us are still emerging in meaningful ways from a collective state of suspended animation. During the COVID years, we were stuck inside and isolated. We might have dreamt up all kinds of wonderful plans for ourselves once we were free again, only to sink back into familiar patterns once the world opened up. Many of us are still struggling with feelings of missed opportunities, lost time, and disappointment.
And finally, it’s not uncommon for contraction in one part of our lives to bleed into another. You paint a vivid picture of professional burnout, but is it possible that resistance to camming is a symptom rather than a root cause? Perhaps you’re facing challenges in some other part of your life that are difficult to change – money troubles, or your health, or the wellbeing of someone you care for. Sometimes it’s easier to get mad at ourselves for not working, because it feels safer than acknowledging just how powerless we are in situations outside our control.
Getting Back On The Road
Now for some advice. I always like to start with stepping back and assessing – taking a good look at what’s really going on. For the next week or so, try just noticing what your patterns are, and give some thought as to how you fell into them. There’s always a reason. Habits that used to make sense aren’t working for you anymore – rather than trying to figure out how to change them, maybe just be curious about why they once did work.
During that week of observation, you might also try tackling projects outside of camming you can change. Clean out that overstuffed closet, jettison items from your wardrobe you haven’t worn in years. Contact that old friend who’s been on your mind, but you’ve lost touch with. Often when we’re faced with an intractable problem, we let other parts of our lives stagnate- we can fight that entropy with liveliness, curiosity, problem-solving, and a sense of humor.
You might also try cultivating your artistic interests – creativity in one part of our lives can have an alchemical effect on other parts. Devoting even ten minutes a day to painting, journaling, composing songs, dancing, or trying out a new recipe can get those creative juices flowing.
Once that week has gone by, now it’s time to start making tweaks to your performances – they can be small to start, maybe only noticeable to you. Notice how they feel – jot down a few notes to keep track.
You mentioned heavy criticism from regulars for changing up your routine. But the fact is, every choice is a trade-off. Fans look elsewhere for novelty, too. As uncomfortable as any transition might be, camming needs to work for you, or it won’t work at all. Always remember: Your true fans WILL find you.
Finally, some of the best advice I’ve ever heard for navigating stuckness is to make friends with it. Recognize it as an old friend, a necessary part of life. Think of it as how farmers allow their fields to lie fallow for a season – that bare dirt might look like nothing is happening. But the very act of doing nothing is an important part of the cycle of life.
As we grow itchy, frustrated, and restless, vital energy builds up. Which means when we’re finally ready to move again and make change, we’ll be super-charged and well-rested.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself. –LolaD.
Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, a self-help book for sex workers available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and wherever else ebooks are sold. Get the audiobook version here. Contact her at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter at @Lola_Davina, as well as on Facebook.
Images of Lola Davina courtesy of Pat Mazzera.