I was raised on the same diet of girl-on-girl coprophilia, animal torture, and 24-hour Arabic news channels that every child of generation WWW was, so the internet has to work pretty hard to shock me. But when a friend of mine linked me to this (very NSFW) photo-set at Efukt.com, I was actually taken aback by what I saw.
The girl in the photos calls herself "DamageDolly" and works as a webcam stripper, or "cam-girl." As I scrolled down the page, not only was a colostomy bag visible, but the model had severe scarring from her navel down to what appeared to be absent genitalia. Farther down the page, a photo showed her with two fresh mastectomy wounds.
Intrigued as to how she'd summoned the confidence to disrobe in front of the cruel, cruel internet, I decided to track her down and find out her story. Her name is Sally and her story is hard to swallow, but it's kinda logical when you think about it. I guess it's just not the kind of logic you have to think about very often.
VICE: Hi Sally. Can you tell me more about your condition?
Sally: I suffer from Crohn's disease and I was 14 when it first started. It's a digestive disorder and it can affect you anywhere from your nose and mouth to your vagina or anus, and it's usually something that gives you problems when going to the bathroom and absorbing things into your body. Like nutrients and stuff.
What was your first procedure?
I had the first procedure done in 2006. That was a colostomy. They put it in with the hopes of it being temporary, but we all knew it was going to be permanent.
How did it affect your sex life?
My sex life was already greatly impacted because of what I was going through down there. I had my first signs of it when I was a teenager, but when I hit 18, it was just awful.
In what way?
You know where your pelvic bone is? My vagina hung down about that far and it was just like a mass of... I don't even know. It was like elephantitis of the vagina. It was horrible. It turned out it was Crohn's and chronic inflammation together. I had to have it all removed.
When was that?
That was 2007. I had it done in two stages. First, I had the colostomy, then the full vulvectomy. Then, in 2008, I had to have a total of six surgeries—two while I was pregnant and four more after.
You have a child?
Yes, he'll be four in December. I haven't seen him since March, though. He lives with his father, who was really abusive during our entire relationship. He was a horrible, evil, mean person. We had a kid and we were both on drugs, although I quit when I found out I was pregnant. We were doing a lot of methamphetamine, but I decided that I didn't want to be sick anymore, so I was trying to stop doing it. I was in the hospital a lot while I was pregnant and I confided in nurses when I was messed up on my pain medicine, and eventually they reported us for domestic violence.
Has it been difficult for you to see your son since then?
Yes. At first I had primary custody, but then due to some mental health issues of my own and then later a relapse, he now has primary custody.
You started taking meth again?
No, I haven't touched meth since 2008. I picked up heroin for the first time. I got on it from October 2010 to March 2011, but I've not touched it since.
How did you mentally deal with such intensive and invasive surgical procedures?
You know what, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I didn't deal. And sometimes I did. Eventually, I guess just being a naturally optimistic person and spirituality just got me through. And of course eventually camming also helped me.
Was your double mastectomy related to your Crohn's disease?
In February of 2011, I got my nipples pierced. I just thought they would look cute. I was also on heroin at the time and so, needless to say, I wasn't really taking care of my body. I was trying. I was clean and I showered regularly, but I was still on heroin so it didn't really matter. By June of that year, they were so swollen my doctors thought I'd had breast implants. And so I had surgery, but the surgical wounds never healed and I was in a lot of pain, so by May, I spoke to my doctor and said, "Please just remove them, I don't want to feel like this any more."
How has the loss of your sexual organs affected your identity?
I mean, it definitely has. But I had already been through the loss of my womanhood after the loss of my vagina, so when it came to my breasts, it was just a drop in the bucket compared to what I'd been through already.
You don't strike me as someone who's lost her womanhood.
Well, I can definitely identify with both sexes. I identify with a man on the inside and a woman on the outside. Kinda both sometimes, I mean even the way I carry myself is a bit like a boy. I feel like my body was kinda made for no tits. It looks good, I'm good.
Do you have any regrets?
I don't regret the decision to have my breasts removed. I regret the decision to have ever taken heroin, though. I was a dumbass for that. But you live and learn, right? Haha. Fuck.
Tell me a bit about the adult industry and how you ended up working as a cam-girl.
It was around the time I was getting ready to leave the father of my child. I didn't even know what a meme was, I started going to IRC chatrooms and guys would say to me "Tits or GTFO," I didn't even know what the hell that meant. So I sent them a picture of my tits, I just thought they wanted to see, but no, they were trolling. So anyway, I started becoming this little IRC slut, posting pictures, you know. Eventually I found out I could get paid for it and by June 2011 I was officially camming.
What kind of responses did you get from people?
When I first started camming I didn't get nude. I would show my tits, maybe pull down my shirt and let them see, but I would never show my stomach. I always wanted to, but I didn't want to scare people off and gross them out. A couple of people convinced me to go on Skype and they saw what I had going on down there—they'd ask questions, but it wasn't a big deal. And then, one night, one of my regulars convinced me to get nude, all the way on camera. I was worried, but I did it and it was the most liberating thing ever.
Can you tell me about some of the reactions you've had and how they made you feel?
I guess the negative reactions I get are, "You are a disgusting freak, get the fuck out of here." I don't know, it's to be expected, right? I'm not normal, people aren't going to like something that's not ideal for the adult industry. I'm prepared for it.
But you feel completely comfortable within yourself?
Yeah, and I love to dance and I like the idea of somebody watching me and turning them on.
Is it hard to get off sexually considering your condition?
I still have two holes, it's just very small. It doesn't look normal. I still go pee normally, I just go number two through my colostomy. I kind of have sex normally, I can't do certain positions. I normally need a small penis though, as the hole isn't very big. It could be bigger, but it varies on what's going on inside and how it's behaving at the time and how big around the guy is. There are a lot of variables. I've had sex even with big dicks after I left my baby-daddy, because I was kind of in a manic phase and liked the pain that I went through. Just experiencing sex like a normal chick was pleasurable to me.
How were you able to cope through all of that?
You know, I can boil that all down to just a few words. As bad as my mother was, she put a few words into my head based on how she described an acid trip. "It's just a phase, it'll pass." And those words, I apply them to life.
Would you say that anything positive has come from it?
I could go on and on about the positives, but I'll just say that my favorite thing is when someone online says a whole bunch of bullshit and I just say: "I'm real sorry you think like that." Once I've explained myself for a minute, they sometimes message back saying "Hey, thought about what you said and I'm really sorry"—you know, troll's remorse!
I saw a post you made claiming that the adult industry had saved your life. Can you explain what you meant by that? Is that just camming or would you consider offers to work in porn, too?
When I said that, I was thinking that if it weren't for webcam, I wouldn't know that people still think I'm beautiful, to the extent that they're willing to pay me for it. There are friends I text and talk to just from that industry, I can't thank them enough. I've been so close to killing myself so many times and it just really gave me that solid foundation of help. At times, I just felt like a failing abomination of health and someone trying to be a mom who had no place being one, you know? So I owe a lot to the perspective I was able to gain from doing what I do. And with regards to porn, I have not had any offers, but I sure hope I get 'em!
Thanks so much Sally, good luck with the future.
Follow Omar on Twitter: @OzKaterji
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