Lost, Found, London

 

 

I recently opened a box mailed to me from my mother back home in Hawaii that was sitting in her garage since the late 80’s. I was more than a little nervous thinking about what was inside but I had an idea; memories I wanted gone but wasn’t ready to abandon completely.

Once I finally made the decision to leave the Waikiki stripping life after nine years, moving off the island wasn’t just part of my plan – it was my only plan. I was an exhausted shell of a woman with dark circles under her eyes, over-processed burgundy hair and serious baggage – stuff that no twenty-something ever thinks of as real problems at the time.

My predicaments included snorting excessive amounts cocaine, washing down handfuls of Molly (ecstasy) with vodka and a 300 calorie-a-day meal plan (on purpose). I was oblivious to the cloud of despair circling me like Pig-Pen’s shadow in Charlie Brown.

And those were the good days.

I hadn’t given this cardboard crate of history much thought as the years passed. Then Mom called. She was planning a garage sale and my stomach turned a bit, remembering what was stashed behind the lawnmower and potting soil. Upon her discovering my stash, she gave me two choices: toss the box or have it mailed to California, where I was trying to build some sort of a normal life.

“Just promise me you won’t open it.” I asked as she confirmed my zip code over the phone. Mom is aware of my past, but her reading my old journals was nothing she ever needed to do (journals are hand-written notes before blogs were blogs, and the internet was just the inside of a basketball hoop).

After a few days, the box arrived. I ignored its existence for a week until curiosity unraveled my fear.

Upon each new discovery, I vacillated between shock and amazement that I dared to live such a life, and gratitude wrapped with joy in that I survived.

A little advice: If you have personal items from years ago tucked away somewhere, dust them off and buckle up. The memories are incendiary – in the best of every way.

One of my favorite artifacts was a poem I wrote while traveling through Europe. Nineteen and elated to be so far from home, I marinated in the moment while scribbling on a piece of notepaper from Horniman At Hays.

How amazing, to unfold corners of my mind after all these years:

Never think
Before paper meets ink
Just let it go
Don’t have to know
Begin
at the beginning
and all will come out beautifully

Christine Macdonald – 1987

~ ~ ~

Sometimes the answers live inside the person we were long ago – we just need to accept who we are now to fully appreciate who we were then.

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“If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.” ~Author Unknown
 

 *Originally posted March 2008; edited 4/4/18.

Christine Macdonald

An obsessive, bionic, Japanese speaking snoop?

1992 (24 yrs old) Donna (left) and me (right) on Halloween in the dressing room. Note the poster of Eric on the door.

On the heels of gal pal Dalai Lina’s post today, I’m going to share five things about myself that you don’t know – then ask you to share a little about YOU.

Here’s me:

1)

In 1992, I was obsessed with The Real World (season one)‘s Eric Nies (notice him on the dressing room door behind me). Obsessed. He was hot, fun and totally unattainable, just the type of man I liked.

After The Real World wrapped, Eric parlayed his 15 minutes into a “VJ” (video jockey) role on MTV.  When a contest to guest host with Eric for a week was announced, I quickly entered. The rules stated we could enter as many times as we liked, so that’s exactly what I did. I hand wrote thousands of post cards and mailed them to the MTV corporate offices in New York. Convinced I would win, I drove around the island dropping off hundreds of entries in different post boxes, thinking I had a better chance of winning if the mail was spread out. I had all the dancers in the club filling out these post cards during their time off stage.

I didn’t win, but it was an incredible display of my tenacity and passion; not to mention a lesson in life being incredibly unfair.

2)

In the third grade, I was a bit of a track star in school. When a fellow classmate asked me “how can you run so fast?”, I couldn’t help myself. I told her I was bionic. Her mouth gasped open, and to prove my lie, I said “watch this…” and proceeded to walk up to the hand-powered, wall mounted pencil sharpener and grinded that pencil within an inch of its life. She promised to keep my secret under wraps and was thrilled to know a real-life Bionic Woman.

3)

I’m left-handed, but do everything else with my right hand. I’m also dyslexic and have the worst hand writing known to man. I should have been a serial killer. Or a doctor.

4)

I speak Japanese. When you grow up in Hawaii, the second language is Japanese, so it makes sense. Thanks to a summer job at Häagen-Dazs in Waikiki, I still know how to say “A dollar sixty-nine”, “big cone, or small cone?”, and “I’ll be with you in a moment”.

Years later in Northern California, I worked as a store manager at Ann Taylor. When a group of Japanese tourists walked in the store, I greeted them and chatted a little in Japanese to them. They were stunned!

Angela and me. Love the Milli Vanilli shorts.

5)

I’m a recovering snoop. When Robert and I lived together, I snooped all the time. You’d think the fact he was a drug dealer would’ve scared me, but I didn’t care. I wanted to catch him in the cheating act, because I knew he was playing around, and I thought if I had proof, it’d help me leave him.

When I discovered a love letter and photo from a stunning blonde, Angela, I immediately phoned the number she left. After introducing myself, Angela invited me for a drink and I curiously accepted. We learned a TON about Robert and decided to confront him together. Later that night, you could’ve knocked him over with a feather when he came home to see Angela and I sitting on the couch, hamming it up.

I kicked Robert out and Angela moved in. It was the beginning of a life long friendship, and I consider her to be one of the most amazing women I know.

It’s been years since I’ve played detective. When you surround yourself with people you love and trust, there really is no need to invade someones personal space. My motto is, if I feel like I should be checking your phone or emails, I shouldn’t be dating you in the first place.

So there you have it. Five random facts about me that you didn’t know.

Can you think of any you’d like to share about YOU?

Christine Macdonald

I used to be a rock star

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I used to be a rock star.

I didn’t tour the world belting my heart out in stadiums, but I worked the pole to the tunes of Guns and Roses and Bon Jovi for the better part of a decade and was treated just as well.

In 1990s Waikiki, strippers were golden. There were no lines to wait in, no cover charges to pay, just champagne kisses and caviar dreams waiting for us to party on the other side of the velvet rope. And party we did.

The glamour drug was cocaine. I always had a bump or two in my purse and would never turn down a trip to the ladies bathroom from a fellow dancer. “Wanna go to the bathroom?” was really code for “Come do a line of coke with me.” When not lounging on the couches, gabbing away in the VIP room of our favorite club, we were always flocking to the stalls.

There were nights spent snorting lines of coke off swank bars afterhours, with famous actors and rock stars in tow. It was common to see girls making out with one another and even more so to see mountains of cocaine in the room.

One night at work, I got to chatting with Teresa, a stunning dirty blonde with sun kissed freckles and green eyes. She was in town on hiatus after touring for Australian Playboy. I was in awe of her beauty.

Always smiling and happy to be at work, Teresa was even more so this time. I sat next to her at the bar as we waited to be called for our set.

“You’re so beautiful.” She swayed to the music, smiling at me.

“Thanks T, you are too!” I was flattered and knew she was high.

“Do that Frank Sinatra thing.” She begged.

One night, long after the clubs were closed, and back in my apartment at six in the morning, Teresa and I were still partying. We played music, and I performed a little one woman show to Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon complete with dance moves. She loved it.

I started to wonder if she was on coke, or something else. She seemed way to mellow; less agitated than if she was high on blow.

“Maybe later.” I smiled and took a sip of my drink.

She leaned in to kiss me and whispered in my ear.

“Do you want some?” she purred, melting with the music.

“Coke?” I pulled back, kissing her on the cheek.

“No, this is H, love. I just snorted some.”

Heroin. Holy shit. I suddenly broke from our magical aurora and took a step back.

“No, hon, that’s okay.” Picking up my drink, sipping and staring in to her eyes, I continued. “I’m up soon.” And I walked away. I was scared shitless.

Heroin was something we learned about in school. It meant dirty needles and strung out homeless people. I had no idea you could snort it, or that people like Teresa – a beautiful model even did it.

Back in the dressing room, I wondered how many other girls were snorting heroin instead of coke. Was this the new, designer drug? Was I considered old school with my coke?

I had one song left before my set. I took my purse, waited my turn for the bathroom stall and placed my coke on the back of the toilet. I chopped each grain methodically but couldn’t stop thinking about Teresa. Rolling up a dollar bill, I placed it under my nose, leaned down and snorted.

How could she do heroin?

I snorted again.

That shit will kill you.

It wasn’t until years later I realized the hypocrisy of it all.

Now, at 42, I wonder about t all those girls I partied with, specifically Teresa. Was she able to get out of the party scene? Was she still as beautiful?

I cleaned up my act long ago in my 30s and chose a new life for myself away from velvet ropes and VIP clubs. But I will never forget the time when I thought I knew it all – high on coke, looking down at people who did heroin. Now, I wrap myself in the comic irony of it all, like a blanket of gratitude and comfort.

Christine Macdonald