“Out there in the spotlight
You’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy
You try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body
Like the music that you play
Later in the evening
As you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the amplifiers
Ringin’ in your head
You smoke the day’s last cigarette
Remembering what she said.
Here I am…”
My soldier and I had a back and forth today. I spilled some things I cannot say here.
He wrote a note to 24 year old me. It was pretty amazing.
Told me I was going to go into the dark, but I would come out. Told me it was okay to make mistakes. Told me my light would make the sun look like a candle, that I would be heard around the world. Told me I was going to save him. 24 year old Me was a clumsy stripper with no self-esteem. I would have shied away from him, but been intrigued I believe.
I did everything wrong in the time called before.
I recalled a few times from before when I stepped in and saved people. I always was what I am, I just denied it. I denied everything.
I carried around a lot of shame about my job for pretty much the entire time I have been doing it. I lied about it a LOT. Ran from it and to it like a tennis match. I squandered my money when I had it and missed it when I didn’t. Allowed men to abuse me physically, emotionally and financially because there is NO way I was beating myself up enough for how much I liked doing something so dirty. I needed reinforcements. I found plenty men willing to treat me like shit and take my money. Yay?
“You pretend it doesn’t bother you
But you just want to explode”
Now I am 41, stripping again.
And for the first time in 17 years I feel like I am doing it right. My way. I am not looking to others for guidance or approval. I am just me.
I went home in July and when my sister asked what I was doing for work I said the words “I am back stripping, really enjoying it.” I had never said that out loud to my family. It just flew out of my mouth like it belonged out and I let it out and it was good amen.
The acceptance came slowly. Months earlier I told two boys I went to high school with what I was doing. They didn’t flinch. Didn’t get gross about it, just said ‘okay’.
It is okay isn’t it?
It is such a huge part of who I am. It’s me.
The shame is gone and the secret is out. I love being a stripper.
“Here I am, on the road again
Here I am, upon the stage
Here I go, playin’ star again
Here I go, turn the page”
Christmas Eve I got in my first fight at work since the 90’s (if memory serves which sometimes it doesn’t). First rage since Tyson, that was her name, Tyson. She came at me and I launched her 10 feet.
I fucked her boyfriend later too. Apparently I was really mad. Kidding. I fucked her boyfriend because he was wonderful, one of my 4 horsemen, the Stripper Whisperer. Still love that man.
Where was I?
Oh ya. Fight at work. I touched on it the last two articles. Things I cannot abide. She did two outta 3.
I didn’t have a thesaurus to hit her with and planned on using my fist. She is a small word kinda girl anyways, 2 syllable max. Got interrupted. Actually escorted to the bar and given a free drink.
The strangest thing happened after. I couldn’t get out of the back room. I kept getting dressed getting 8 feet back onto the floor and someone would come get me, ask me for a dance and back I went. This went on for the rest of the night almost. Just like the good old days.
I got a sweet message from a man I play pool with at work the next morning. I have a small archipelago of men masquerading as islands. Places I swim to when I need a break but don’t want to be off the floor. He is one of them, he said I looked magnificent that night. I asked my soldier if that man had seen the fight, he said yes.
I am at my most powerful in those places, under black lights, music blaring out of speakers that have been around longer than I.
I joke that when men draw women superheroes, they put my boots on them. Super Stripper. Able to unclip her bra one-handed without losing a beat, able to disappear on stage completely. Walking around saving my tiny corner of the world. Naked and free. Conquering my own demons and slaying others as well.
I am the bouncer’s favorite for a few reasons. One of them being I can handle myself. Rather well.
I am a Geisha and conduct myself as such. Mostly with poise and grace and if I find myself on my back I can fight.
I have laid off the drinking to a degree. I find it more satisfying to maintain control than to block everything out. And I am necessary again. I have to be present.
I’m the size of a giant when I’m angry or happy. The stilettos don’t hurt.
A new year is upon us. 2 years ago I sat at the ocean and gave away all of the fucks I used to carry about other people’s opinions.
I am what I am. I am happy and strong.
I love my life and my job, suits me just fine. It is me and for the most part I love myself.
I don’t want to fight myself anymore, I’m hella strong and tend to wear myself out.
So why deny myself?
I’m not playing star, I just am.
(Bob Seeger Turn the Page lyrics)