Finding solutions when there is no guide

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For the past several years, I have been chasing pain in my body. It feels like a phantom.

It has no discernible cause. I cannot pinpoint a start date. I cannot replicate the symptoms at a specific time, nor does it seem to get worse or better if I do certain things.

I had similar types of pain as a child. Specifically, it was in my neck. I was well aware that even if I brought this pain to the attention of an adult they would ask me to describe it in more detail or ask me how to replicate…


Have you known folks throughout your life who like to say outrageous things and wait to get a reaction out of people? Then, they follow it up with a quick, “I’m just kidding!”

These are the self-proclaimed “ballbusters,” or folks who like to joke around. Once in a while, they will come right out and admit they are “testing” you.

I, for one, have never recovered well from those situations. Sometimes it has led to further criticism of me for being “too sensitive” or taking things “too seriously.”

Even so, it never felt quite right. Then, I got my post-traumatic…


When you’re a freelancer, have a trauma condition, and you get burned by a client…it can be massively hard to bounce back

The story I am about to tell occurred well over a year ago.

It has not only taken me that long for me to wrap my head around the situation and learn to progress from it, but also to rectify my anger about the whole thing. Many other freelancers, especially seasoned ones, would likely be able to pick up their business and move on much sooner than that.

I found it nearly impossible, for months on end.

I am an audiobook narrator and voice actor. I find a portion of my work via a platform for indie authors and…


Being diagnosed at 28, and what that means

I feel as though I have been absent for a very long time. Not just from Medium, and my writing as a whole, but also from the rest of my life. I don’t think I handled my PTSD diagnosis well, but it’s getting better all the time. Perhaps this piece will explain that.

Several years ago, I began to open up on Medium about certain aspects of my past. I wrote about being an exotic dancer and sex worker, and one piece of mine got some traction in The Billfold. …


I have (consensual) access to someone else’s Instagram. I won’t bother explaining why.

The feed of their followers is rife with pictures of random things. Makeup, high heels, trees, flowers, booze, skylines, beer flights, drag queens, typewriters, ukuleles, food people didn’t cook, food people did cook, drunk people, sober people, babies, fashion, more drag queens, more babies, fashion on people’s babies, babies that will be future drag queens, etc.

Then, every Wednesday I’m assaulted with images about “hump day.” Every Friday I’m assaulted with images about TGIF.

I pride myself on being a fairly intelligent person, but for several…


Brandon Dixon addresses Mike Pence directly from the stage of Hamilton: An American Musical

Since Mike Pence visited the Richard Rodgers theatre on November 18th, there has been feedback that the Hamilton cast, and namely Brandon Dixon, should not have offered a now infamous post-curtain speech. Dixon concisely expressed that certain people, many of whom were on stage, were “alarmed and anxious” that the incoming administration does not represent and will not protect the rights and interests of certain groups of people in this country. Then, he thanked Pence for coming to the show and listening to their story and their message.

Internet comment threads (which no one should be reading, unless you’re in…


After almost four years in Los Angeles, I had done what any sensible girl had done: I had obtained a bachelor’s degree, done some waitressing and bartending, gotten a nose job, been a fully clothed background extra in a porno (which never got released, so don’t even open that tab on your browser), became a stripper, and done some private fetish work on Craig’s List.

No big deal.

After LA had finished feeding off my soul and I had no more left to give, I moved away. Far away. Unfortunately, I did not have the sense to move to…


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Part 1: How Strippers Get Paid

When I was a stripper, people were surprisingly curious about how I made money. “So, you’re a contractor?” men would often ask.

“No, technically I’m running my own business,” I would tell them, and this was true. It wasn’t that I felt a strong need to correct them. I’m sure other dancers probably let the comment slide, and responded with, “Yeah, sure I am. Would you like me to contract you into that booth over there?”

I genuinely found the economics of exotic dancing interesting, as did many of the men I had as customers. Most of the men…


Part 3: Misdirected Revenge

late June, 2016

(In case you missed it… Part 2)

The launch party being hosted by the theater happens in excess of three weeks before the beginning of the actual one-act festival. There is a fair amount of ceremony just for ceremony’s sake. We are told to dress “red-carpet-ready.” There are some awards being given out to notable New York actors, which seem to be for recognition only. We like you, here’s an award.

I am arriving at this event only slightly irked about my experience with the process so far. I am irritated with my director because I seem…


Part 2: Plans of Attack

June, 2016

(In case you missed it…. Part 1)

All festival participants have the option of submitting a “video diary” in order to help with promotion, and to win an additional prize. I’m not a textbook overachiever, but in college I typically took advantage of extra credit, when available. This felt like extra credit.

The video was a decent amount of effort. Getting confessional-style videos out of our cast was much harder than I anticipated. Weren’t actors eager to talk about themselves, their process, and their feelings? Only three out of seven submitted anything to me.

Actors Kaili Y Turner, Melissa Hicks and Christina Cappelli

The video max time…

Ainslie Caswell

voice artist | writer | creative model www.ainsliecaswell.com

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