It Aint Over Til…

It still doesn’t feel quite over yet somehow. I’ve been surprised and disappointed at how long it’s taking for the palm of that event to open, for the fingers to unfurl. They just seem to keep unraveling, appearing at moments from nowhere. Most of the time I feel fine but it doesn’t take much for me to way more stressed out than any reason will warrant. I’m trying to be positive and appreciate all the things at home that I missed so terribly and to find the comfort I imagined would be here, waiting to help all the awful bits go away. Every now and then I feel the weight and speed of panic smothering my face, a condensed ball in my chest that wants to lose it’s shit and blow it’s way out of there. I’ve come home, and seen my friends, cuddled my animals, surrounded myself with flowers, started going for big walks again. But my room feels cavernous, not the cocoon I was expecting. It doesn’t hold me close. Home is strange. Maybe I just need to buy more flowers.

It’s been interesting to observe myself interacting with people who have read that post. It’s good to acknowledge it and to say thank you to the ones who reached their arms out to me from across the sea. Strong arms, direct ones, the ones that show you they’re there and they’re ready to try and feel what you need from them, and give you whatever they can. I try to be natural about it. Like it’s just another topic of conversation. Which it pretty much is with people who aren’t too close. It’s done and dusted in a couple of sentences. Strangely enough it’s with them that it feels the easiest. But it’s hard to see some people flinch, some of the people I really care about. It’s hard to notice those changes in posture, manner, the flicker of something across the face, and not see in those things a reflection of the residual disgust and avoidance I still hold in myself. The thing that is hardest to shake off since it happened, is the flickering film in my head that’s been playing out. Old scraps of video events from my lifetime of times when I should have asserted myself but I didn’t, and now I think maybe I’m not the strong person I thought I was.

Maybe it is hard for people to talk about this stuff. Maybe I’m just so used to sitting around in the club, the unlicensed but professional confessional, having people spill the beans on their darkest secrets. Being told tales saturated with the most fucked up betrayals, perversions, weaknesses, and crimes against law and life. I don’t think twice to be open about my life in conversation and I don’t flinch at much. Us girls don’t really have censored topics around the dinner table, we are who we are and it is what it is. Is it possible that for a normal person, rolling in the normal world, it’s as hard to bear the burden of the victim as the burden of the perpetrator? Because you’re not really meant to talk too much about it?

It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. Even a few days after it all went down, I’d expected I’d already be over it. This stuff happens all the time. I already knew that. I’ve got a lifetime worth of witnessing and hearing tales of fucked up bad behaviour underneath the broad umbrella of the sexual violation genre. I got off lightly while he got off nicely on a minor offence. It’s been hit after hit for the women I’ve known throughout my life. A couple of days after it happened, I spoke to my sister and we literally did an inventory of our parent’s friends from when we were kids, “Who was the neighbour? Was it Owen? Oh….Peter! Really? I thought it must be Owen cause he did that hand up the t-shirt thing to me a couple of times.” We cackled at how morbidly  ridiculous it was that all these years later, these small time rookie violations came out of the woodwork of our childhood. I feel like I’ve always known about things like this. Why did it feel so bad at my age? Surely I should be stronger than that? Was I being dramatic? Indulging a victim mentality? Because really, a lot of the things I just wrote feel so cliche, they apply more to victims of rape and ongoing abuse. I should be over it by now after that little dalliance.

Such a dirty word these days, ‘victim.’ Flung as an insult like wet shit in a rodeo pen, or resisted and battled off like an intruder trying to wedge their way in the door. Nobody wants to be one, and when they are, no one wants to admit it. Such a defeat. Such an admission of powerlessness. Take the power back girl! Reach for the stars! You are your own worst enemy! That action, those words, have no meaning unless YOU give them  meaning! Nobody can bring you down unless YOU let them! Smiley face, smiley face, heart.

Go fuck yourself inspirational slogan.

Not everyone’s life is as good as their instagram or facebook timeline would indicate. Not everyone’s day was like a walk down a pastel path into a pastel pine forest with white fake real handwriting scrawled across the vista saying something whimsical and easy with some hashtags underneath #blessed #lovethelifeyoulive #smugcunt (credit for that last hashtag to my adopted parents in NYC, circa October 2014, Spotted Pig and shoestring fries). Sometimes people hurt you and it isn’t a defeat to let yourself feel it. To ride the waves until they subside. Low self confidence, self doubt, stress, feeling unattractive and gross, heavy head, heavy heart. But whatever the case, I do really have to get over it. And stop thinking so much. Do little things that make me super happy – filling my room with flowers, seeing my friends and walking my dog. Should probably hold back on the excessive eating though. Maybe lingering on this whole thing has just been the fat little piggy inside me taking advantage of the perfect excuse to eat more derishuss sugary treats…. The fat lady singing the signal to end it all, could actually end up being me.

I had so many people write to me after that post. So many people at different stages of dealing with their own version of the same story. Some are years upon years later, so when I read over these things, I don’t feel alone. And I don’t feel so much of a victim with shit on my face from the rodeo pen. So thank you to everyone who did. It meant a lot to have you tell me that what I wrote meant a lot.

Your post quickly brought back a memory of

The whole time, I thought it was me.  That I was creating this idea in my mind…”

In that split second… He sped over the curb and drove to the car park entrance right where I was standing.

I know the feelings you’re feeling well.”

I kept asking myself if it had been a legit interview, because I couldn’t make sense of what had just happened. I didn’t know whether to be upset with it or not.

To be honest, I couldn’t even defend myself if people decided to say that I asked for it to happen to me – even though I know it was wrong.”

…a long time ago now, but the same emotions i thought I had locked down were brought on by reading your post.

I reacted in much the same way. I even gave the guy a kiss on the cheek.”

I haven’t read your blog as I fear it’ll be hard for be as I have overcome so many sexually abusive and other sorts of abuse and I worry that reading it will revert me back to it. I just want to say…”

” The women I know who haven’t been sexually assaulted or taken advantage of in some way are such a small, small minority.”

I didn’t exercise any of that power, and then it was like I never had it.

You described so many of my thoughts to a tee. I am taking steps to deal my shit better in preparation for the arrival of our baby girl…”

I am sending you love and strength and positive vibes from afar…in a way that the sisterhood should stand beside one another.”

Love you. That is all x”

Take as long as you want to feel what you want to feel.                                                    As long as it takes before you’re standing tall, beating your chest                                      as you howl & prance                                                                                                      until even the monsters under your bed                                                                            will bow down to you before they begin to dance

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The Big O

  
People often feel a little guilty about objectifying us girls when they visit a strip club. I guess that’s one thing to feel bad about if you’re an asshole about it. But it’s also condescending to think of strippers as victims of objectification. I mean really, no one seems to feel sorry for the 14 year old Kate Moss in that Calvin Klein campaign. It’s the very thought that turns it from an appreciation to an objectification.

It’s what a lot of women like to think so they can feel sorry for us and be safe because obviously we are all fucked in the head, which therefore makes us less appealing, and therefore less likely to steal the husbands or boyfriends of theirs that we have absolutely no interest in stealing. These concerned girlfriends and wives obviously haven’t heard that thing about how crazy girls are the best fucks in the forest because if they had they’d be increasing their benzodiazepine intake to allay their fears of members of orthodox or born again church groups; women living in isolation on self sustaining farms in bum-fuck-no-town-no-where bunking on mattresses stuffed with sustainably farmed organic straw in shipping crates collecting the hair shed from their bodies to reverently stuff the pillow of their long haired guru; and of course girls in mental hospitals who can be unpredictable and on all kinds of meds. And they certainly would not see the correlation between the benzo use of themselves and the latter. No need to worry so much about the strippers or the crazies. The kind of bitch who will go after your hapless man, powerless like a deer in tit lights, will not be contained to just one industry. That kind of bitch, is that kind of bitch, no matter how she makes her money.

It’s what a lot of men like to think so they can feel like nice guys when they ask you “What are you doing in a place like this? Doing a job like this? You’re such a nice girl. Funny. Smart. Beautiful. Sweet…” As though they are really, no I mean really seeing us as humans. As if you can’t be all of those things and take your clothes off for money. As if you can only be all those things if you star in Disney kids shows (ja cause Britney and Lindsay are such awesome idols for your children), or work with special needs kids, or work behind the counter at Baker’s Delight getting paid $12 an hour and stuffing your face with samples of sundried tomato pull apart bread all day long – I only say this because that’s what I’d be doing…. No offence intended for anyone who actually does work at Baker’s Delight. OMG and shit quality custard tarts!!! I would smash those all day every day til I was sweating sweet gooey custard that I could collect from my arm pits and scrape back into empty pie shells I bought from Woollies on a Saturday morning, refrigerate and then eat all over again in the afternoon.

On the nights that my humour is still in tact and guys ask me what I really do for a living, what income in a respectable trade I need to subsidise, I often tell them I work with people with special needs. People who dribble and sometimes even vomit on themselves, don’t understand social etiquette, have addiction issues, anger management problems, mental retardation coupled with sexual perversions, autistics from across the entire spectrum and people with Aspergers disease who don’t understand emotions and how their words and actions effect others.

“Wow! Really?? That’s so saaaaad. Those poor people. How long have you been doing that for?” Sometimes they get it. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I let them in on the joke. Sometimes I don’t.

“Yes, I really do work in community services…..in a way. Yes, sometimes it really does bring me down. It can be pretty intense. Yeaaaaaah.”

Sometimes nasty ladies of the 9-5 circuit come in and objectify us too. They sit at our podiums specifically to snarl and snigger at us and talk about our cellulite, or how their bff 4 eva sitting next to them is waaaaaay hotter than that girl on the stage, or how she has been going to Pole Divas for nearly 2 years now and is totally so much better at that descending angel inversion than that girl is…oh, and waaaaay hotter too. I imagine this last type of girl actually ends up demonstrating this inversion on a pole at 1 Oak in New York’s west side, or any which one of Melbourne CBD’s unsuspecting sign posts in the wee drunken hours of her “later that night” montage. Unashamedly displaying her g-banger and the half of her butt cheeks that drew the short straw and didn’t get to hang out the bottom of her skirt that night. This epidemic of pole rape is sweeping its way across many nations like wildfire. And it’s not due to globalization or climate change. I hope it never stops because it’s insanely entertaining and hopefully therapeutic cause these girls obviously have something they need to express that isn’t seeing the light of day or the dark of night frequently enough.

On the flip side of that female market there are also many feminists out there defending our rights as real people with real feelings and to them I’d like to say thanks for the sentiment of care but without delving into a muff that I don’t know that much about having never done that myself, us kids are alright! And if we aren’t, it’s not due to being objectified by strangers. If this were the case I’m pretty sure every girl who walks the street out there in pretty much every country, fat or thin, short or tall, would also be in a high risk category and worthy of an armed defence force and pamphlet literature containing A LOT OF UPPER CASE BOLD text.

To be honest, sometimes it’s a relief to be the object of my own heart’s desire. To just be a shell of a girl. Shiny and bright. Under lights that erase the imperfections of my body that I notice daily. Languid limbs dancing slowly to my own song on a pole in the middle of a snow globe. Suspended in time with glitter falling all around until the floor is covered in a life that seems brighter than the shit day you just had, the Aunty you visited in a hospice last week who’s skull is the most prominent feature of a face that once had a sparkle you’ll never forget. It can be your 20 minutes of peace that set, or your one accumulated one hour of happiness that day. Unless they play top 40 Katy Perry, Skrillex or any one of the empowering Pink ballads on the system. In which case your day is still fucked and the soundtrack to your nightmares has been decided for you by the DJ who is too busy getting a blowjob in the booth to care what kind of ear violation he is subjecting you to.

Objectification is in the eye of the beholder. Hold onto it, or let it go but please don’t spoof into my sparkle globe with your condescending cunt or cock confetti.

   

Jamless Donut

Sometimes I get home from work and feel completely demoralised. Tonight is one of those.  I guess 3 quiet nights in a row is enough to take the jam outta your donut. I’m also still trying to get my mojo back after having some time away with my family. Knowing that my mother is ashamed of what I do, knowing that it upsets her and that she’ll never accept it, is something that I bring back to Melbourne with me. I can feel myself carrying it around at work. This disappointment. And the judgement. Making me feel like her love is conditional. Bringing to the forefront my own conditioning.

I feel judged by all of them. As if my mother’s eyes and heart are everywhere, blanketing the club. With each dance I can feel myself hurting her. My guilt has stripped me of my confidence. I feel exposed. I feel awkward. I walk around the bar and I feel like crying but I have to smile. I smoke cigarettes regularly for the first time since May 15 2010. I can hear my own forced laughter and it sounds like breaking glass. Hard and sharp. These men can sense weakness, they really can, and it doesn’t make them nicer. My Catholic education and upbringing are ghosting me and I’d really, really, really just like them to fuck off.

It took me a long time to feel ok about what I do. It wasn’t until I fell in love with my boyfriend that I learnt to feel that there was nothing wrong with it, and nothing wrong with me. He is least judgemental person I’ve ever known. A blessing. I need to spend more time with him, so he can condition me in the other direction.

I have to snap out of it. Turn it all around for myself. Be ok with myself again. Stop thinking about donuts. Especially jam donuts. I can’t eat them. I should forget all about the donuts.

Planet Penis Strikes Again!

Working at strip clubs, it never ceases to amaze me what can be construed as an invitation. Leaning forward and looking into a guy’s eyes is obviously asking for a kiss. To me, it’s trying to engage with my customer.

Holding onto your own g-string and snapping it against your own thigh is a beacon for a guy to grab it and try and pull it down.  To me, that just means I’m 7 minutes and 49 seconds in my 10 minute routine.

Bending over can only be sign language for ‘I’ve been a very naughty girl, please old man, discipline me and slap my arse.’

Apparently merely walking past a man – particularly those of Indian descent here in Melbourne – out on the floor can be a request to have his hand gently cup your ass and slide up towards your cha cha. No, no, sorry you fucking idiot. I’m just making my way from the toilet to the bar. Hopefully you caught some residual urine and faecal matter when you tried to casually violate me while I was passing through.

Is behaviour like this really acceptable on Planet Penis? I guess it must be very confusing. This having a penis business. When you’re being sent messages from two places at the same time there will, no doubt, be mix ups. Culture, manners, empathy, compassion, upbringing all seem to get flicked to the wayside on Planet Penis.

They just don’t understand the concept of a service that has been purchased. Melbourne is also rife with illiteracy as few men seem able to decipher the letters that spell out “Touching is illegal in Victoria”, or “Do Not Touch or Harrass the Dancers.”

Having said all that, the men aren’t all to blame. Personally I’m not into letting guys touch me past my calves. There are some girls that don’t mind it, and that’s fine. As for the girls who don’t even seek the privacy of a room when they are letting men grope them, grinding on cocks, biting and licking ears (thank you to that special lady dancing across from me on Monday night) for an extra how-ever-many-dollars, can all you please change clubs and move to Kittens. You know, the strip club with the brothel license?

We need to help each other AND help those poor stupid people from Planet Penis. They don’t really know any better. It’s us ladies that need to set them straight. Bring back the strip tease and down with the strip would you like a side of my saliva and a hand job with that?

Stripper Babies

This year I’ve had heaps of friends have babies. In March alone I had 9 friends pop them out, including my sister, who’s little baby girl is heartbreakingly cute. My boyfriend’s sister had her baby with the apple cheeks in March also. Before Apples was born, I watched her mum-to-be research a potential name. She gave me the list of Melbourne’s Hottest 100 baby names for 2010 and gone were the names like “Katy”, “Gemma”, “Jess”, and “Anna” that had occurred so frequently when I was growing up. This list took me on a journey. A journey through the archive of “Strippers I Have Known”.

Layla, Milla, Scarlett, Bella, Lara, Annabelle, Trinity, Eva, Mia, Stella, Madison, Samantha, Alexis, Faith, Lily, Victoria, Abbey, Portia, Gabrielle, Maya, Taylor, Charlotte, Riley, Chloe, Savannah, Madison,  Destiny, Lucy, Bailey, Paige, Natalia. It goes on…

It’s a bit unfortunate really. It was difficult enough picking a stripper name that wasn’t taken. How the hell am I going to think of a name for a baby girl that doesn’t bring on a memory montage from a dancer that I’ve known? Some of these montages are very, very alarming.

Some of these girls have become my closest friends. Most of them I would say I respect and many I call good friends of mine. We all get together when we can, have dinner, exchange stories from the past and the present. It is NEVER a dull time.

Recently I caught up with some of the girls I worked with when I first started 6 years ago. We were at a first birthday party for one of their daughters. Almost all of them had moved on to other things. A couple of us are still dancing or working in some capacity in the industry. We had a blast. The tales these girls can tell! With such humour and compassion. Sitting in a room with them, I felt really, really lucky. Most people don’t get to hear stories like ours. And if they do, they can’t ever really understand unless they’ve worked that stage. There was a warm, fuzzy, ya ya sisterhood feeling in the room that would have been capable of sending the oestrogen levels soaring at a Doherty’s gym.

In the future, I hope I come across little sprockets that take me back to the days. Cause the Annabelle’s, Lisa’s, Taylor’s, Lara’s and Electra’s are well worth the trip in ridiculous stilettos down a cobblestone memory lane.

“I bet I must be the only guy who’s ever just wanted to look into your eyes”

Don’t be so sure Buddy!

Lot’s of guys just want to stare into your eyes. Drown themselves in some kind of connection that doesn’t actually exist. Then they do that thing where they applaud themselves for not being a dirty bastard who only wants to check out your cooch. Cause they’re there for more than a pussy show. Whatevs.

Alot of girls can’t stand the intensity of having some guy stare into their eyes. For me, these ones are a blessing! Not being one to willfully show my bits these days, it helps me if they actually choose not to notice that they didn’t ever get to view the honey pot. Instead of me having to control my angles, make sure the lighting only hits the right spots, concentrate on distracting conversation etc.

Every now and then it does get a little intense. If they’re staring in that super sexual gross out way. Or when their eyes say that they know, that you know, that they know that you totally wanna fuck them. When really, you just want to punch them in the face and tattoo ‘delusional’ across their forehead. One of my girlfriends says that she grits her teeth and doesn’t say a word. Apparently she looks like she’s smiling when she does this, cause she never gets negative feedback. In fact, this one customer in particular speaks for her, like this, “You really want me don’t you? I can tell by the way you’re smiling at me. Why don’t you speak….? No! It’s ok, you don’t have to. I can see it all in your face.”

At times like this I maintain the eye contact, but blur my vision so that I can’t really see them anymore. I’ve been told by one of my fellow dancers that this makes me slightly cross eyed, but I only ever get comments about my “amazing” and “deep” eyes, crossed or not!