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

Don’t I know you? (excerpt)

tmg-gift_guide_variable_2xAs the fourth and final song faded and the DJ worked the crowd for applause, I made my way off the center stage. The balls of my feet were throbbing and I couldn’t wait to release my toes. Beads of sweat tickled the small of my back and my cocaine-fueled heart thumping inside my chest served as a reminder I was alive.

As soon as I reached the edge of the stage I kicked off my stilettos and prepared for my final set in the shower, complete with jet-stream runway.

Still naked from performing, I grabbed the bills and garters from each thigh, threw them in a ball on the floor and covered the stash with my dress. After exchanging non-verbal assurances that my loot was safely guarded by my favorite bouncer, Tuli,  I stepped in the shower and turned on the water inside the Plexiglass stall.

Waving a smile to the audience, I began to sponge up with the bottle of Prell shampoo that was provided by management. Prell gave this cool neon green glow under the black lights. We all looked like The Hulk but with better hair, slimmer waists, bigger tits and hairless vaginas.

The shower stage always drew in a big  crowd. A nude chick, sudsing up with wet hair, strutting up and down a jet stream runway – what’s not to love?

Deana followed my set and I loved her taste in music, which meant I’d have a ball performing my wet-n-wild show while she worked the center of the room. I threw her a smile from my corner, nodding in appreciation as Faith No More vibrated through the overhead speakers. We both mouthed the words to the crowd:

“You want it all, but you can’t have it… It’s in your face, but you can’t grab it!”

Teasing customers was a blast – even more so when the music was rad.

Receiving tips in the shower was different from collecting them on the main (dry) stage. Customers loved slapping the bills on our wet bodies. Never one to disappoint, I always bent over standing on the tips of my toes and my ass in the air, allowing spanks with every dollar bill. The guys took such pleasure in sneaking a ‘touch’; I took pleasure in their cash. Some girls hated the spank-tips but I didn’t mind. As long as they stayed on my ass and didn’t get south of the border, I was cool.

As the final song began my ass-slappers started to thin out leaving me alone to survey the audience. My hips swayed to Fire Woman, by The Cult; another ass-kicking Deana choice. I was all smiles in tune with the guitar riffs until my eyes landed on a familiar face from high school walking through the red velvet curtains.

Mutherfucker.

My eyes bolted off the runway to the dressing room and I thought of running; but my body was frozen seeking comfort in the pockets of my breath. The cigarette smoke-filled air served equal parts drama and suspense and he walked straight toward me as soon as he saw who I was. Pretending not to see him, I spun around whipping my water-soaked hair like I was a back up dancer in MTV’s Beach House.

My world was suddenly in slow motion. The butterflies inside my belly were choking on the reality of his presence.

“Hey, hey… !” I knew he was talking to me but kept dancing.

“I know you. Christine, right?” He pushed.

Christine? Nobody called me that name. Nobody even knew me as her. My stage name was Stephanie; Christine was buried in the chaos that was my life.

Realizing he wasn’t going to stop, I replied with the same volume as the thumping in my chest and the base vibrating the walls.

“Nope. My name is Stephanie.” My voice was shaking and my knees struggled to support me.

“No, it’s Christine. I know you.” His smirk was the same as I remembered.

“Wrong girl.” I said without blinking. Suddenly I wished I really was The Hulk.

“No, you went to Kaiser High School!” He actually smiled.

With unabashed purpose I lowered by body leveling to his eyes. I was still trembling but there was no way he was going to win. Not this time.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. My name is Stephanie. You got the wrong girl.” I looked him square in the face, determined to take back that night seven years ago when I was a 13 year old girl away at camp on the beach.

He shook his head and threw me a smirk. He knew I was full of shit. And I knew that he knew.

As I straightened up and walked away the DJ began to speak and I was saved. I grabbed my towel from the floor, leaving my cash, shoes and dress on the stage. I bolted past him through the crowd to the dressing room.  He tried to block me but I navigated my ass and kept walking.

In the safety of the space with the other girls getting ready for their set, I pulled a breath from the well of my past and began to cry. My body was trembling and I clutched on to my friend Alison, who was lining her lips in front of the mirror. I couldn’t speak.

“What, honey? What is it?” Alison held me close and rubbed my back.

Still, no words.

“Did someone try to touch you?” Her tone was firm, and I could tell she was ready to kick someone’s ass.

Shaking my head no, I opened my locker and pulled out my purse. I couldn’t stop panting.

“Holy shit, Stephanie, what the fuck happened?” She went from pissed to worried.

I dumped some blow on the dressing room counter and snorted.

Alison kept rubbing my back.

“It’s okay sweetie.” Her voice shifted to maternal.

Sitting naked on the stool with my towel draped around my hips, I wiped tears from my face and found the words.

“I saw him.” My breath was heavy.

“Who?” She offered me a cocktail napkin as tissue.

“The motherfucker who raped me.”

 

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