In an attempt to take out money from my best friend “ATM” (I call him Adam) this morning, I realized, I was way too close being flat broke. I mean, I have a full tank of gas, enough food to last until next pay-day, and my monthly bills are paid, but seriously – I have how much left in my account?
I’ve never been great at managing my finances; hell, I’ve never even been good.
Perhaps my stripping years, being used to over-crowded dollar bills, held in by snug garters on each thigh at any given night, has something to do with it.
Back in my days on the pole, I had no concept of saving money. Why should I save, when in the next set, I could have hundreds more where that came from? I spent it as fast as I earned it, and unfortunately, this little habit has stuck with me long after I hung up my six-inch stilettos.
Every month, it’s the same thing: I’ll put X amount away, not touch it, and let my savings grow from there. Then, the car needs servicing, the registration is due, insurance won’t cover this or that medical appointment, and on and on it goes. I have no idea how parents do this – when I can barely take care of myself.
My interview earlier this week threw me for a loop. It was an amazing experience, but it took more out of me than I expected. To re-live certain experiences, and talk so matter-of-factly about the rape, the drug abuse, the skin disease, the surgeries on my face – then to show a room full of strangers (who were just wonderful, by the way) certain photos of those times – was a bit much.
After the interview, I was wiped, as is clearly evident in this photo of Kirsty and I.
If you don’t know of Kirsty Spraggon yet, you will. She’s huge in Australia, and will be taking the U.S. by storm soon.
This photo of her and I makes me a little blue. I look so tired, almost sad. The interview was a huge success – so why aren’t I radiating the pride and joy I feel from within? Is that 14-year-old still trying to bring me down? She’s a pesky little thing, that one. But I forgive her. She doesn’t know any better. And she’s exhausted, too.
I’m forgiving myself for mishandling my finances (again) this month. What else is there to do, but pick myself up, and keep trying?
You may be wondering where all the money goes from writing my story. You may be wondering if I make any at all. That’s the thing about passion – we do what we were born to do – regardless of reward. To be paid for sharing my story would be the ultimate dream – but it’s not my purpose. To share my story with the hope of giving a voice to women (or men) who cannot, is what drives me.
I was recently told an idea for my next book (as if writing my memoir wasn’t enough right now!) – she says I could call it “How to live in the present.” Then she told me, she has no interest in being interviewed with me (by Katie Couric!) for a national television talk show in the works for ABCs fall programming (more on that later). I love her, but am afraid my sister will never see things through my eyes.
In reply to my sister’s comment, I simply stated that, I live in the NOW – but dig deep in the well of my past, in order to help anyone who has suffered a similar path. And that, if I ever made money from my writing, I would donate a portion to battered women’s shelters, as well as addiction and rape victim’s shelters. I never received a reply.
So, I keep writing – posting – sharing my story, for myself – and whomever is interested.
Here’s where faith in myself comes in. Deep in the cell of my heart, I have to know, somehow, a little money will come. But if it never does (and so far, never has), that my passion alone, must be enough to keep me going.
One of the final questions Kirsty asked me during our interview was: “In a word, how would you describe yourself, after all you’ve been through?”
There was no pause, and my nose tickled with the birth of tears – and I replied, simply, quietly – “Brave.”