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What happens when you stop giving a f*ck about what your parents, partners, and society expect of you and ask yourself what you really want?

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Being Bad: Breaking the rules and becoming everything you're not supposed to be by Arielle Egozi 

....from my favorite bookshop <3 

Signed by yours truly!

PRE-ORDER A COPY (please!!)

About the Book

Salon’s inaugural sex and love advice columnist, and author of the viral LinkedIn sex work post, Arielle Egozi shares their journey as a queer, neurodivergent child of immigrants who never quite fit into the social roles she was supposed to. Through the journey of embracing their multiple dimensions, she eventually discovered freedom—and true power—by being “bad” in a world that kept trying to force her to be “good.”

What if sex positivity wasn't about having sex at all? What if you ditched relationship hierarchies and explored relationship anarchy?

Using a queer and decolonizing lens to frame her experiences, as well as philosophies cultivated from her years writing and educating on relationships and identity, Egozi offers questions, practices, and support to help you find your own power and step into it—creating space for you to dream far beyond what your family, society, or capitalist culture expects. Being Bad wants you to give yourself permission to become who you are, however you choose to be.

A weird thing happened last summer.

Headlines all over the world, in every language from Hindi to Icelandic, bore my name. My inboxes were suddenly filled with the biggest media publications in the world reaching out for interviews, radio stations and podcasts wanting sound bites, and producers wanting to cast me in shows and documentaries about my life. I also got hundreds of messages from strange men—either soliciting my sexual services or damning me for them.

 

I’ve been writing for over a decade and speaking on stages around the world for years—I’m “nichely” famous in certain spaces—but the virality of what happened in the summer of 2022 was the accidental catapult beyond that niche and into a worldwide conversation.

When I listed “sex work” as a LinkedIn work experience, it wasn’t for press, money, or any kind of fame, but to simply take another step closer to myself. A lot of the world didn’t like it, and some of the world did. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t doing it for anyone but myself.

This is a book about what it takes to break ground, which is really just what it takes to be yourself.

 

It’s about all the tiny steps that lead to bigger ones, and how we all deserve to make an imprint on the world in our own way. You don’t have to be in any headlines or streaming your story on Netflix, but the more space you make for yourself in your own life, the more space everyone around you can make for themselves too. I’m writing this book because I want more space for all the pieces of myself, and I want to make more space for all the pieces of you too.

I’ve spent my life shape-shifting to fit in with the world around me. I come from immigrants, and this is what immigrant families do. To stick out is a death sentence—literally. So we bend and morph and twist ourselves depending on the people, the place, the purpose.

We always know how to get what we need, even if that comes at the expense of what we want.

My family has had to start over every generation. It’s not hyperbole, and it’s not an exaggeration. The cycle goes like this: We’re kicked out of where we live, we leave everything behind, and we adopt the new ways of life from the country we resettle in. Generations of my family have coped this way, and to their success. My abuelo’s company was the first Latino-owned organization to go public on the American Stock Exchange. My last name has made history many times. I am proud of the strength, creativity, and honor that is placed on it by anyone who knows our story. But for most of my life, I felt enormous pressure to cope the way my ancestors had. I am the first in my family to be born in America, and what was expected of me was nothing less than to fulfill the American Dream. After all, a lot was given up for the possibility. A lot was sacrificed for the chance.

But ultimately, rather than the American Dream my parents and grandparents wanted, I want to get what I want, not what anyone else has outlined for me.

Instead of setting my sights on what success looks like in America, I’ve chosen to grapple with what success looks like to me. Underneath all the different cultures and countries my family has adopted, I want to know who I am and why.

This separates me not only from those who share a different ancestral story, but from my own ancestors as well. Their support hasn’t always been present on my journey, and many of their blessings have been revoked. They don’t understand why I must be public with my ideas, let alone say them out loud. They don’t understand that for me, the American Dream doesn’t have to be making and selling shoes like theirs had to be, or being a doctor (or married to one) like they could only once have dreamed; they don’t understand that instead, they’ve given me the chance to achieve the biggest American Dream of all—the chance to live a life where I get to choose to be myself.

My family has never been wanted by any country we’ve entered. In fact, we were already rejected once by America, which is how some of us ended up in Cuba. Close, but not quite.

When we did come to America, we weren’t allowed to enter certain places because we were Jewish. Because we were Cuban. Because we were both. Next-door neighbors yelled at us every night to go back to our country. Restaurants in certain parts of town wouldn’t let us in. My grandfather’s multimillion-dollar company? No law firm would work with him to help file for an IPO because he was a brown Jew employing thousands of refugees.

We figured it out. We always do.

That’s the part that’s in my body; that’s the part that’s in my genes. And that’s the part I want to offer you in this book.

I’m a refugee of my own history because my story isn’t wanted there, so I’m now starting over just like my ancestors did. Except this time, I’m not entering someone else’s country. I’m mapping out an entirely new compass, a new structure, a new set of rules. It’s a place where all are welcome, as long as you welcome everyone else. It’s a place where bodies are honored and voices are heard. It’s a place where eating a cookie for breakfast is encouraged and wearing a feather boa to dinner is common. It’s a place that always has space for you and doesn’t ask you to be any other way than how you are. It’s a place to rest, a place to dance, a place to come home. It’s a place to be bad.

 

 

 

This is a book about being bad.

It’s a book for lifelong people pleasers ready to retire, for those who are skeptical of anything “set in stone.” It’s for folks who’ve already diverged from society’s expectations, and for all those who are still longing to do so. This is for the brave and the curious, the shamed and the shunned who are now finally ready to shine.

This book is about doing the opposite of what’s expected from you and listening to yourself instead of anyone else. It’s about waking up to your body and using it as a tool to listen to your intuition. It’s about dusting off all the shit that’s accumulated on top of you from generations past and making space for what you want, for what you are. It’s about trusting yourself.

The words in these pages are a reclamation, a process of externalizing all the things I kept inside of me. This is how I saved myself, and I hope it inspires you to externalize too. To realize all the ways you’ve been made to believe you’re wrong, to dig them out, look at them, and SAY THEM OUT LOUD. To not keep them in, to not believe they’re yours.

It’s a refusal of external pressure and a celebration of internal resilience. It’s a deconstruction of what you thought about your own identity and your relationship to yourself and to the world. It’s a coming home to everything that’s underneath—the strength, the joy, the power that is simply you being you.

In this book I talk a lot about power—something that can be hard to see with the eye but is somehow quite tangible enough to touch. Power can’t exist on its own—it’s a state that’s forever in relation to another. Power is a dynamic, a fluid conversation between parties. There is always a giving and a receiving, an exchange. It’s not static; rather, it exists as a wave, the convex and the concave.

So too is the relationship we have to ourselves. It shifts with context, with emotion, with our environment. It’s never static. To believe otherwise is to give all our power away.

I used to live in the prison of people-pleasing, and what’s in this book has been the key to my escape. I now spend my days relishing the freedom outside of it; not only is it a lot more fun, but I also get a lot more done. I put myself first and know I don’t have to suffer to make others more comfortable or to convince anyone of my worth.

Neither do you.

So I’m going to be as honest as I can be in these pages, but no more honest than that. I’m going to be as open as I can be, but no more open than that.

I can’t give to you what I still can’t give to myself. But I’m working on it.

As you read these pages, know that I am no expert. For years people have given me all sorts of names and titles, especially in relation to humans, relationships, and sex. Yeah, I think about these things and read about them a lot more than most people, but it’s really only because I live any of it that I choose to speak to it.

Because I can’t speak to what I haven’t experienced. I can’t speak to what I don’t know. Even all the things I do know, I only know for myself. I don’t know them for you.

So anything and everything I say in here, question it. Toss it around in your mind for a while. Don’t make it yours unless it already is. My hope is that this moment in my journey can exist as a reminder for you, something to hold on to when things get extra hard, extra confusing, extra unclear.

It doesn’t have to be anything more than that, but maybe, it can be.

Introduction

"So it turned out that power was the quality of knowing what you liked. An odd thing for power to be."

---Eve Babitz  

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