FAITH. A BLAST FROM THE PAST.

Faith. A blast from the pastI found a piece of paper scrawled over with the brain zap of my 19 year old self falling in love for the first time. The first part was romantic as all hell. The usual treacle drenched musings of a teen in love. The last part made me realise that I’ve lost something important.

The first time I read it, the words sounded like someone else’s. Reading over it again I recalled those feeling from over 16 years ago. Sharp and hazy at the same time. I became aware that I held my breath as I read. I’ve always found the process of falling in love terrifying. But that very first time… I can feel that memory. Eyes open. Cheeks flushed by the cold, fast air against my face as we fell into the abyss together. Reckless. With a faith that I don’t think I ever had before or since. And today I am doing my own head in because I realize that I haven’t let go of all that pain, still harboring sadness from the actions of a boy who didn’t know what he was doing any more than I did.

It’s times like this I wonder how much damage I’m doing to myself walking into the doors at work? How many encounters can this little heart take? One after the other, with men who just by being who they are, no intent or malice, provide countless exhibits in the case against faith.

We almost got married. I was 19. I still have my wedding ring somewhere. We eloped to Rome, but I bailed 3 days before the wedding. I didn’t want to have that day without my family there. It didn’t feel right. I remember when I told him, we were sitting in the hot sun together, sweat running down the back of my calves as our legs dangled in unison over the stone blocks of ancient ruins in a park near the Colosseum. All he said was, “I feel like someone just cancelled Christmas.” His face was upturned and he squinted into the sun, before lowering his gaze to stare at the ground and take my clammy little hand in his. He was adorable. He loved me so very much.

Turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.

My first love chose liquor and lies in the end. Let me travel 32 hours back to Australia alone, to have the jelly bean we made on the bottom bunk of a hostel bed in Dublin, vacuumed out of my uterus. Abortion was illegal in Ireland in January 2001. I had no option but to come home. He stayed over there to drink himself into oblivion, and didn’t come back until one year later when I said I knew he’d been banging someone else and that it was over between he and I. That slap in the face. It’s the slap in the face that reminds someone that they have something to lose. Sometimes too late.

Wasn’t too late for him. No way. I was still brimming with faith. I took him back, as you do. It didn’t work out, as it doesn’t. Took another 2 years to drown. I never long for, or mourn  the 14 year old child I could have had. I never long for, or mourn the relationship I had with him. But I long for, and mourn that faith. I don’t know how to get it back. I don’t know who is deserving of it or if I’ll ever find them. I still love that guy who saw it last. We are friends to this day, and I will always, always love him because he did the best he could, he never laid a hand on me, and he is a good person worth forgiving. We were young. We didn’t know any better. But somehow I knew this…

“I am terrified that we will sooner or later turn from each other and I will never be able to have back, or to give again, exactly what he has of me now.”

Faith….

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Dreams Come True!

Last night I was on the club Catwalk. Front centre pole, otherwise referred to as “Cellulite City”. It makes girls who have no cellulite, look like they do, and girls who do have cellulite, look like they need to fast. Forever. I’m in the latter category. But whatevs. I work my angles and find the shadows to keep me safe. Can’t remember if I was working my angles last night though. I’d had 3 tequilas, a hideous glass of cheap Australian sparkling and 2 vodkas in the 1.5 hours I spent with my regular customer. Effectively rendered myself entirely ineffective. SMASHED. He came and went so I was left to populate cellulite city with my thighs and ass alone. We did ok, not quite a metropolis. The music was good. Better than usual and I vaguely remember moving really slowly. Mostly so that I wouldn’t fall over or hit my forehead on the pole. I have a bad track record with stationary objects.

I looked up and saw a little Indian man coming toward the stage, his shiny bald head catching the light as he emerged out of the darkness. I beamed a big, happy, drunk smile at him. He beamed a happy little smile back.

“Hello, how are you going?” I said.

“I’m good. How are you?” He replied.

“I’m great! What’s your name?” I said.

“Blah Blah. What’s your name?” He replied.

Standard mind blowing opening conversation.

“Billie. Would you like a dance?” I asked.

He held out a little wad of $5 and $10 notes and gave them a little waggle up and down. Not in an offensive carrot dangling way, just in a wad of money waggling way.

“No, no. I don’t want you to dance. I want you to lie down.”

I’ve never been asked to do this on stage before so I made an effort. I lay down on the stage with my back arched and my legs elongated toward the ceiling, my ankles crossed lightly, making beautiful iridescent shapes with my body by catching the light just so.

“Open your dress.” He instructed.

It’s not a dress. It’s a playsuit but I didn’t think it was the appropriate time to correct him on the specifics of my garment.  I let it slide and pulled aside the two pieces of black fabric that drape over my breasts so they were exposed and peaking toward the ceiling. He stood there smiling at me from the shadows and then extended his arms, reaching his hands forward into the light. His wad of cash was sitting atop of his left palm, and with his right hand, he began to flick each note over the top of me. Slowly and deliberately at first, then with the reckless abandon of a small Indian man who is living his African American hip hop hunny DREAM, while also making a dream come true for an extremely drunk  stripper who had only moments ago been schlepping her way up and down and around a pole in cellulite city. Maybe the lights aren’t as bad as I thought…. No. They really are.

Fast forward 25 minutes to the smoking room where I was dressed and ready to go home. Lipstick wiped off. Fag in hand, slurring my way through a rubbish conversation with one of the other girls. A dancer walked in and asked to have a drag of my cigarette because her customer had just tried to stick his finger up her butt hole. Turned out it was my little Indian friend with the shiny head, ticking yet another one of his dreams off the list.

Black Dress 2_2

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

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.

Why?

I still have no idea why people pay me. For a start, I’m a Disney stripper. I don’t do spreads without underwear on, I don’t touch people and I don’t shove my boobs in their face. I don’t find the nudity sexual. It is what it is. Body of Eve before the apple was eaten.

Germs. Sweaty, sticky alcohol hands. Bleh. Oily faces. Scratchy faces. Ugly faces with tongues lolling out and eyeballs rolling back in heads. Disgusting. Syrupy Jack Daniels and coke breath with the heavy cloud of cigarette stench on top. Rancid. The occasional specimen who has remembered to brush their teeth this year and spray perfume before they left the house. Heavenly.

These days I try not to remember people. Good or Bad. But of course, pictures, sounds, conversations, phrases, smells, feeling, operate on a level beyond my control, and memories are made. My own experiences and those of others that slip through the filter are the ones I’ll be passing on here.

There is no one way to answer the question “Why do people pay us?”. There are way too many variables to put it down to any number of things. Each to their own and all that.

Lonely? Got a fetish? Bored? Undersexed and overpaid? Sadistic? Curious? Wanna realise and release your alter ego? Unfaithful? Hedonistic? Artistic? Do girls avoid you when you go out? Stupid? Smug? Horny? Looking for love in all the wrong places? Well, this is the blog for you.