This post title has ADHD written all over it, but stick with me. I’ll keep the loquaciousness to a minimum. If you’re Googling “Loquaciousness” don’t feel bad. I overheard that word at a party and couldn’t wait to use it in a sentence. Then I realized – I was that L Word. And hilarity ensued. You should’ve been there. I killed.
But back to this post.
When the hell did mid September happen? Shit. I have things to do. A book to finish. Power meetings with influential networking hipsters who can change my life by signing on the dotted line after accepting my hilarious pitch of my oh-so-fabulous story.
Dreaming is free, people. Just ask Debbie Harry. Please Google her too, kids. And do yourself a favor – dance naked to Heart of Glass at least once in your life. Alone in your room is fine. But not in front of any mirror. Just dance. And while you’re at it, blast “Dreaming.” Because it really is free.
What made me think of dreaming out loud tonight? I’m glad you asked.
A couple of hours ago I received a text message from an old sister-friend from our home town of O’ahu, Hawaii (let’s call her B). She and I both live in Southern California now, but have not seen one another in nearly 20 years, can you believe? We reconnected through the marvels of modern technology and plan to meet up soon for a long overdue brunch. But back to her text. I was matter of fact-ly very tongue-in-cheeky mentioning to her that I had a book to finish because I’m dreaming big – her reply was priceless and one I just had to share:
“Don’t stop until it’s done! Then dream up another dream – that way you’re always livin’ the dream.”
It’s been a while, but that quote is so her. Beautiful. Positive. Inspiring. The depression, diseased part of my brain thinks she’s a bitch. I happen to adore her. I win.
B has always been this stunningly beautiful light, and her energy is equally pure and real. Whatever she’s on, I want some. I kid. Those drugs days are over, kids. I know she’s high on life and love. B just reminded me I’ve gotta get me some of that – clinical depression be damned.
If only snapping out of a dark space of wanting to take your life (fantasies anyway) were as easy as reconnecting with a beautiful soul – and staying in touch with loved ones who remind you how much beauty is actually in this world.
The fact is – some days that actually does work. Other days, not so much. Sure, there are medications that help kick-start our serotonin and dopamine receptors, but even that sometimes isn’t enough. Those who suffer depression, know. And trust me, I feel you.
Today was hard. I mean really tough. Emergency call to a doctor tough. Because of a morning trigger (something superfluous other than that it hit a button I’ve been trying to avoid), I found myself in a downward spiral of despair that only the fantasy of not wanting to live surrounded my psyche for the better part of the day. I did what every red-blooded American did in the office, I went to the ladies room, cried, then told everyone who asked – I had allergies (it actually works).
Was I ever in danger of taking my life? No. But here’s the thing about clinical depression. There’s a huge difference between not wanting to live and actually taking the steps to assure you don’t. One of my favorite authors, Auguesten Burroughs maps it perfectly:
“If you believe suicide will bring you peace, or at the very least just an end to everything you hate – you are displaying self-caring behavior. You are still able to actively seek solutions to your problems. You are willing to go to great lengths to provide what you believe will be soothing to yourself. This strikes me as optimistic.”
I cling to these words. They are my life raft even when I’m the one puncturing the holes and I feel myself sinking. I remember – I don’t really want to die. I just don’t want the pain. But a life with no pain? Pffft. That’s a fairytale. And everyone knows we are our own heroes of our story. But still. I shift gears. Turn a corner. My dangerous self harming thoughts morph into more positive avenues.
Today may have sucked donkey dick. But tomorrow? Well, who knows. It may be better. Even just a little. We’ll see. The point I’m trying to make here is I want to be around to find out.
So I hang on. I write. I get back to the task at hand. I have no children. By choice. This book is my baby. So bring on the labor pains.
I’ve been [writer’s] blocked. HARD. I questioned if I even had the writing chops. Since the writer’s retreat in Guatemala that so many of you beautiful souls help make happen through my crowd funding campaign (I have NOT, nor will EVER forget you – and yes, you are still getting what was promised). I’m just coming back to life on the page.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved my trip. Joyce Maynard is incredible – and the group of writers I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from are all brilliant, compassionate, talented warrior women. I love them so.
The critique of my book was pretty hard to take. But was just what I needed. Although, it took over a year to realize – I truly had to start my book from scratch. Good times!
What started out with this trendy, cheeky tale of debauchery and drug induced 20-something VIP Room fun, slowly morphed into shit I was not at all prepared for. The rape at 13. That, thanks to Amy Schumer and her book “The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo” I am realizing that between my skin disease and the sexual abuse I endured – and her hilariously calling it “Grape” – because it’s a gray area (you can read about it here), I can use my voice.
Of course I was a stripper in 1987 by the time the ink on my high school diploma was dry!!! Duh. Add father abandonment and stepfather abuse in the mix, and viola! Stripper Central!
I should have had an issue hole-punch-card.
Daddy issues? Check. Abuse? Click. Ugly Ducking Syndrome? Right this way!
You DO have your own supply of Aqua Net, yes?
I defy anyone who works the stripper pole who doesn’t have at least one of those tragic stories. We didn’t end up on the pole by scholarship. And what’s worse – somehow WE (the young women) think this is our calling. That’s all we are good for.
I’m not judging strippers, pole dancers, burlesque performers – you call it what you want. And trust me, there are HUGE differences between Burlesque Shows and Tater Tots by the airport with Lap Dances. No judgement ether way.
I’ll be the first to tell you the thing I miss most about dancing (yes, I was a Fosse Wannabe) is the control I felt on stage.) I’m sure the rape had something to do with it.
You take what’s mine – I’ll show you who’s boss!
Sadly, my dreams of being a Solid Gold dancer plummeted when the skin on my face had other plans. At least I had a decent body. But I sure didn’t think so at the time. I stand 5 feet 7 inches and wore a size 2/4 dress. I know right?! Such wasted energy trying to be perfect. Someone should figure out how to bottle every young woman’s struggles to “fit in”, “be model pretty”, “have the perfect bod” and sell it to the media moguls. Maybe then they could buy a clue. Or better yet – us darling young gals could split the cash between donations to eating disorder clinics and a pair of really groovy shoes that don’t feel like stilts made out of barbed wire.
So there I was, with my beautiful figure I had zero appreciation for. I hid my horrific scars on my face behind my Bon Jovi, Tawny Kitaen overly-teased 80s hair and drag queen caked on make-up. I rocked to Mötley Crüe and Def Lepord like nobody’s business. I did enough cocaine and ecstasy (Molly) to where now – 20 years later I have permanent brain damage (hello, depression!). But I wouldn’t change a thing. Ok maaaaaybe a couple of things.
Still. I came out the other side.
I still struggle with body dysmorphia (I had a major eating disorder (down to 110 pounds) in my early high school years. “Anorexic” was barely on the radar – Karen Carpenter helped change that (seriously, what would you kids do without Google!?).
Now, I’m learning to live as size 12 woman with natural curves. Who knew I had these gorgeous breasts after taking my implants out in my 30s!
Let me back up.
In the late 80s when I was barely legal and stripping with centerfolds (who all had perfect ta-ta’s that I thought were real, I decided to augment my double A’s (flat, flat, flat) and put in B-Cup breast implants (stripper job thing – like capped teeth to actors, but slightly bigger).
Here are BEFORE and AFTER shots for your viewing pleasure.:
Fast forward to my 30s after gaining about 30 healthy pounds, I realized, I looked like a freak show who would topple over with a slight gust of wind.
So I removed my fun bags in my 30s after 13 years (9 of them on stage, the rest were for fun).
I explain my boob job story in the book – but sufficed to say – I had to sign the doctor’s waiver promising not to litigate upon their removal. There was no guarantee what my flesh babies would look like (spoiler alert – they are fabulous).
It’s a fun story and one I can’t wait to share.
So here I am now – 2016. Holy hell it’s almost OCTOBER which means 2017 is already tapping on our window.
These old photos make me smile. Am I bummed I don’t have the rockin’ bod I once worked on stage? Hell to the YES. But I didn’t even realize what I had then – and I am so much more appreciative of the positive attributes I have now.
I am middle aged. I have cellulite. I still have severe scars on my face (even after nine surgeries!), but I am learning to love them – because they are what make me – ME. How are these positive? Because I know who I am now. I like her. Hell, some days I love the woman I’ve become.
Damn lessons. Always in the most outrageous packaging.
Regrets? You betcha. You’ll have to wait for the book for those. And I promise, no more dicking around and self-sabotaging. Every waking moment is dedicated to finishing this thing. I really DO have dreams of selling my story to one of the big studios. Just wait.
Dreaming is free.
If there is one thing Amy Schumer taught me through her amazing book “The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo” is that these essays of mine ARE worthy of a good read, just like HERS are! And I don’t need to have a celebrity platform (although hers is HUGE) to get my stories across. My belief is if the stories, writing, editing and marketing are there the book will be a success. You hear me Judd Apatow? This will happen. And don’t you want in?
Amy and me do have a couple of similar stories (not to mention tramp stamps – and I LOVE she’s keeping hers, because I am too). But most importantly – the more people who come out about “Grape” (Gray Area Rape – coined by Amy Schumer herself). The more young women (and men) will feel empowered to put these horny douche bags in their places, which is far from our passed out sacred vessels of penetration holes we may not be ready to use just yet (how I’m not a poet baffles me).
Also, this post would not be complete without mentioning Lena Dunham. I’ve been a fan of hers since Tiny Furniture and consider her to be one of my all-time creative heroes. The things Lena accomplished by her mid-twenties puts my days on the stripper pole to shame. Sure, we were both exposing ourselves nude (creatively) but MAN I aspire to have her work ethic, talent, and let’s face it – moxie.
Connections are helpful too, but that will come once the world reads my book. positive trumps negative depression Fuck. Did I just say the “T” word?. Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth a little.
Getting back to my ‘in real life’ sister friends – another thing I learned from B – and my other loved one (also B) and many more – is that I am pretty fucking amazing. And so are YOU. I only have tiny moments of truly believing this, so let me marinate for a minute.
I am pretty fucking amazing. Cellulite, scars, crooked bottom teeth, a belly (I lovingly call Buddha)… all of it – fucking amazing. Because they are part of me.
I am amazing. And so are you.
Lather. Rinse Repeat.
PS: As far as Moby is concerned – My adoration for his music, humanity and soul are insurmountable. He is all I write to. A musical genius. A modern-day Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and Beethoven amalgamated with the sounds of old jazz simmered with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and so many more amazing artists. I don’t know him personally, but have this feeling we would gel quite nicely. Tonight’s soundtrack was DESTROYED. Ironic. Because listening to Moby makes me feel anything but.
Thanks to you all. You continue to motivate me. Inspire me. And keep me fighting.
With love in abundance,
This is my blog. Please check out my website for book excerpts, old school stripping photos, press and more.