Acclimating to being in the desert again is amazingly weird. For the first time, here I am single and living alone in a new city with just my puppy. In two months my life has changed and turned upside-down. Where to go from here is the question plaguing me. What do I do for income besides write? Writing has yet to be profitable enough to keep up with my spending habits. Which is a tall order to fill with any one career. Thus, why I have always dabbled in a bit of everything.
The adult industry is amazing in this perspective, because there are so many small niches to be fulfilled. After taking over a year off from sugar and almost two years off from stripping, things are clearer than ever before. I know my own income is the only way I will be truly free of men. Men are fun to play with, but once I gave into sugar monogamy I gave up my power. Funny how that turned out… And how I did not know what was happening to me as it happened. I learned the lesson: Never live above the means in which you can provide for yourself.
Now I am living within my means and within my power once again!
Unlike most Friday nights it was slow at Stars. There was an eerie feeling in the club that night, and not many regulars in the building. We were all working the night away, I was sitting on the smoking deck when I heard the first shots fired. Nobody knew what had happened, then a few more shots fired, everybody started running for whatever exit they could reach, or ducking behind any shelter they could find. Within minutes the police had blocked all exits (including the road) and were holding all staff and entertainers in the locker room till they took statements. One man died on the floor that night, three more injured.
The next morning as I was trying to piece together why somebody would do something of this nature, I had reached out to a couple (male) friends for comfort.
One friend “Well that sucks (referring to the shooting), when can I come fuck that pu$$y?”(Obviously not a comforting statement after being in such close proximity to such a violent, careless act.)
Another friend “I’m sorry, have good day.”…
I had already felt that, as a (PERSON) dancer, many people didn’t truly value/care for me (or my life). This was the day that “feeling” changed to knowing it was true.
I had already decided I was going to retire from (exotic) dancing soon, after witnessing that (and feeling completely alone through it) I decided “soon isn’t soon enough”, and started separating myself from the club I had been at almost four years. I felt alienated by so many that I once considered to be like family.
After making statements about my personal feelings about working in the adult industry (online) I began to receive severely negative attention from co-workers, other entertainers, even a few men. Women I had worked with (for years) began verbally attacking me and spreading rumors about me (which was never a problem previously).
At this point I had already been named a finalist in “Polerotica” the “Vagina Beauty Pageant” and now “Miss Exotic Oregon” (all hosted by Dick Hennessey and Exotic Magazine). I had to go out with something to show for all the time and effort I’d put into it.
My time at Stars was coming to an end (quickly), I left Stars in early September to see if there was a club that fit my (financial, and spiritual) needs better. I went to the Lucky Devil lounge in Portland, then to the Firehouse Cabaret in Salem. Both had a much better (less hostile, or aggressive) vibe as far as I’m concerned.
It still wasn’t satisfying my spiritual needs. Which were (are) to feel cared for and financially independent. I’ve never been one to take advantage of people, and I don’t feel that accepting money from men (or women) in exchange for provocative, nude entertainment is doing such. I do however feel that it gives men a control over me that I am just not comfortable with. I started the job search process in October and had a hard time finding anything due to my “lack of experience” over the last years. Finally I was hired at a call center, and that’s where I’m at now.
The past few months have been filled with travels, but unlike usual this time I was not just traveling: I was moving. This means I have had no home for this time period(40 days may seem short, but it felt like a whole separate lifetime). People tend to forget the stress of not having the security of a home, real meals, and sleeping in your own bed. Especially, when they are used to you traveling often. People take for granted what they do not know is sacred until it is taken away. I went from having three homes in two different states to homelessness, half by design and half by life lessons and poor choices. And to top it all off, finances had absolutely no part in the equation.
Finally this past weekend, I moved into my own condo in Vegas. This is the first time I have lived alone since I stripped in small town Oregon. It is extremely ironic, after I disappear for over a year to recover from stripping, people still expect the actions of a stripper out of me. In actuality it is the complete opposite. I just want to write and cook casseroles in my pajamas with my puppy at home. I worked for years in small town Oregon from 10pm-2am almost every night to get to where I am today. People do not see the hard work I have put in to be where I am today and often they take my efforts in vain and/or for granted. No I do not want to go out at night to get drunk and talk to people because that feels like stripping with my clothes on. Who wants to work for free?!? I drank mostly to forget stripping and make it the most profitable experience as possible. Why do people who live ordinary lives expect people in the adult industry to not have the desire or need for a little ordinary too?
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ~Maya Angelou
As I make my way through this journey of transition, I have adopted a little partner in crime who helps me to see the world from a new perspective. Everyday I learn something new from this little creature. The day(at the pound) when he arrived in my life he saved my heart more than I saved him.
Unconditional love is priceless and rewarding beyond my experience. Today, I learned the importance of play from Haywood. As he ran on a treadmill at the gym it hit me like a concrete wall, play is important for not only dogs but humans as well.
After being in the adult industry for years my definition of play had changed. I forgot how to play in a sense and intertwined play with work. Only allowing myself the opportunity to play wholeheartedly when I disconnected from everything in the woods in Oregon, on rare occasions. Being an entertainer made me forget how to be entertained around others without being the center of attention or life of the party. Putting on my war paint became a metaphorical and physical change within.
No longer do I have to live with this disconnect. However, now I must reconnect and learn to play just for the sake of play.
When I entered the adult industry I never realized I was signing up to not be taken seriously. Since I started pursuing my writing, starting with blogging, people have surrounded me with their doubts. I now have proven those people to be small minded and wrong. So, I now have to overcome the stigma of being a female within the adult industry who no longer gets physically naked for money. What a catch 22!!!
I still get stigmatized as a stripper in the “real world,” but I am not adult enough for the adult industry because I no longer get naked for money. If I have chosen to not have sex on screen or feature dance and I am an ex – stripper from small town Oregon, people within the Adult Industry now question my credibility. Something must be wrong with me in their eyes because I did not use my body to the fullest in my career as a stripper. This is something that is very difficult for men in the adult industry to understand, but sex work is hard on one’s heart and soul. Yes, stripping is sex work. However, I never imagined it to be so when I began.
The moral of my bath time blog is: People will always underestimate others because we have not walked in their shoes/stilettos.
“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”