Still a week before the official release date, Dirty Thirty shipped out the day before yesterday. I’m told this is standard procedure in the literary world, but it does make me wonder what the point of having an official release date is if it’s not going to be enforced. It’s certainly not how we do things at my day job. When Shrimp Fried Pussy 4 is advertised to release November 3rd, it releases November 3rd!
No matter. I can’t expect every industry to be as punctual as porn. After factoring in express shipping and the fact that Dirty Thirty is a fairly easy read, I figure I now have less than 24 hours to decide whether I will read every single one of the reviews, or none at all.
As an internet personality and self-proclaimed Level 10 Google Master, there’s hardly anything that’s been said about me on the web that I haven’t seen. From reviews, to articles (and the comments under the articles), to forum posts, to social media posts claiming “I just really can’t stand her ugly fingers,” I’m confident that there’s very little that has gotten past me. I tell my non-porn friends it’s “part of the job,” that I need to stay on top of my brand, but I’ll admit here that it’s just plain narcissism. The truth is, I love to see what people are saying about me.
When I do a sex scene, the second best part is seeing the audience reactions. Of course the actual best part is shooting the scene itself (I didn’t get into porn because I hate sex), but as an exhibitionist, I love the performance aspect of it. What do people think? Did they notice when I arched my back like that? Or when I spread my butt cheeks? Could they feel how much I loved the way he stepped on my head as he fucked me from behind?
Of course, not all of the reviews are good. But in true narcissistic fashion, I enjoy the criticism as well. Not as much as the admiration, obviously, but I find it flattering all the same. Because ultimately: they are watching me. That fact alone, that’s the compliment. I’m fully aware that physically, I cannot be everyone’s flavor—if there is one thing that porn has taught me, it’s that there will always be people who like my aesthetic, and people who do not. It’s put me in a position where I’m totally numb to the concept of perceived beauty. I still care what I look like—but now only to my own standards. So whether or not others like what they see, it doesn’t matter to me anymore, so long as they are watching. “I watched you fucking last night” is a phrase my brain recognizes to be one of the highest praises. It feels how I imagine most people feel upon hearing they’re beautiful.
In my mind, I equate this attention, both good and bad, to love.
My first book Insatiable was released a little over two years ago. Obviously, I read everything. The positive reviews brought me a rush I had never felt. For the first time, I was showing a side of me that was more than just sex, and readers all over the world were nodding their heads with me in solitude.
But just as the positive reviews brought a high I had never experienced, the negative ones brought a new low.
“I’ve never liked anyone less.”“Nothing but immature ramblings.”“She sucks, for once in the bad way.”
All real quotes. I had spent over a year of my life dedicated to writing Insatiable. I had poured my heart out, revealing my innermost thoughts and feelings, the real me, and people were being dicks! In the bad way!
It hurt my feelings. It was crippling. For a while, I decided I was done with writing. When people criticized my looks, it didn’t feel personal. You think my vagina is too meaty? Well, I look how I look—what can I do about it? But my thoughts, my feelings, my jokes that I thought would make people laugh—those were different. While many people may think showing off the cavities between my legs using a speculum and flashlight on the World Wide Web is more intimate, I had never felt as vulnerable as when my book was released.
Like all episodes in life, I eventually got over it when time diluted my pain. I started to write again, and two years later, my second book is about to be released. Or rather: it was released the day before yesterday.
I’m still undecided on whether or not I will read the reactions to my new book. Twenty-four hours has now turned into 22, and time is ticking. It’s all or nothing. Unfortunately, there is no way to filter the internet and read only the good. In order to read the words of praise, I cannot avoid the shrapnel of critiques.
The logical side of me knows to treat my brain how I treat the rest of my body, and find indifference when hearing the opinions of others. However, the emotional side of me knows I will not be able to do that.
The delicate ego in me knows that in order to avoid the looming cloud of depression to come, I must refrain from reading anything at all.
I’m sure the narcissist in me will not be able to resist.