Thursday, June 25, 2009

21


Despite considering myself quite open-minded, I still have slight prejudices and types I steer clear of because of the “stigma” [amongst other reasons]. Within the past few months though, I’ve dealt with a couple of individuals whose characteristics and beliefs have certainly challenged mine. I met a Republican man with excellent taste in music and an ambitious and successful pothead. I went ahead and shared my thoughts on both of their chosen descriptors, and after all was said and done, I’d learned that weed isn’t a “real” drug, that I’m a socialist, and that neither one of them listens. Lovely.
I turned 21 this month, and immediately after my birthday I was confronted with something that really made me wonder. Lots. It got all in my head, wound its way up and around and made its way back out. Basically, shit got personal. I was looking for work and was presented with the opportunity to be a dancer. A lapdancer. A topless lapdancer. [Yep, that’s how it all unfolded. Just like that. Little by little.] When I got the information, I saw dollar signs. Huge ones. So I went ahead and actually checked the place out, thinking it couldn't hurt. I didn't know what to expect, and I didn't even know how I felt about the actual work. The little voice in my head was confidently crowing “No way she’ll end up doing this.” I couldn’t tell you if the little voice was correct in that moment. [I wanted that paper!] 
I met the owner of the operation, a tall pony-tail sporting man of average looks, who gushed that I was “So beautiful.” When I gave him an unenthusiastic “Thanks”, he responded by telling me he was “quite taken” with me. He was smitten and I was mega creeped out. I wandered away and sat and chatted with some of the girls. One girl [a Russian chick who I mistook for Italian] was basically a pro and titty wagging seemed to roll off her back as easily as the swear words off her tongue. I remember her looking slightly worn-out and smelling faintly of nicotine. And she talked super quick. [I'm not sayin nothin!] Another girl [cute and college aged, with a boyfriend who had no idea what she was up to at night] told me that she was so nervous her first night working that she was trembling. She seemed to get through the job by “not thinking about it” and telling herself that going topless was no big deal. As she got up, I noticed she was wearing a thong. She had only been there three weeks at that point, and was clearly already comfortable. The first girl I talked to seemed like one of those up for anything chicks, super free-spirited and smiley. She mentioned that she was celibate and that the dancing was fun and provided a release for her. Insane? Perhaps. I didn't know what to make of either of them. Then the girls went and did their thing.
I sat there quietly in that dimly lit club - the air full of perversion and desperation - and observed. The uneasiness was palpable. Some of the men were married, some of them had kids. I was positive that I’d leave this situation with [an even more] jaded view of the male gender. I studied the girls who were prancing around, drinking by the bar, having conversation. None of them were smiling or laughing. I asked myself how much money would it take for me to convincingly put on the same show? As I picked up my things and headed for the door, it hit me. I always knew I was priceless, but I hadn’t realized until then that I was never an actress.
But alas, I struggled with it. For a week, I struggled with the prospect of making easy money and paying off my debt in just a few weeks if I could manage to crack a G a night. I struggled with, How much am I worth? [And then I wondered, what determines one’s worth?] I struggled with the idea of baring my body to strangers. I struggled with the idea of selling myself. I thought about drinking myself into oblivion to manage. I thought about pretending I was someone else for the night. I thought about how I was beginning to make myself physically ill. In my panic and frustration with job searching and the shitty options available to me, I cried. My throat was raw, migraines were coming and going. My voice faded to a hoarse whisper. I decided that I would be vomiting each night before work and I just couldn’t do that to myself. My body knew what to do even if my mind couldn't make a decision. [I maintain that the money was blinding me!] I left the gentleman a message saying that me slinking around his club would be impossible for me to do. And then, just like that, things in my life began to turn around. They started picking up, instead of going downhill, right on time.
All of this hanging around opposite-ville and mingling with folks I assumed I’d immediately disagree with has really opened up my eyes to new possibilities. Dealbreakers have turned into, "Well it depends." “I don’t think so” has become “Maybe”. Hell nah!'s have slowly morphed into solid No’s. See? We’re making progress here! But all this damn tolerance and acceptance has got me tired. Some people were actually disappointed that I turned down the stripping job. How about someone tolerate me and pay my damn rent?! Or make me a sandwich? I’m just saying. I love how I’m supposed to tolerate other people's bullshit but people have a hard time tolerating this: I’m not a no holds barred paper chaser. So sue me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Clear


Per⋅cep⋅tive [adjective]: having or showing keenness of insight, understanding, or intuition

From a young age I always knew what the bizznizz was. Much was hidden from me and a lot of things happened outside my radar. But even at 5, 6, 7 years old; I knew the men my mother introduced me to weren’t just friends, I knew what she wanted from them even. I knew she was empty inside. I knew, unwrapping my massive dollhouse one Christmas [I was 8], that my stepfather did it all for show. That he didn’t like me and if it were up to him, well…

Weekend visits to my father’s happened sparingly. I knew my stepmother didn’t like me or my siblings either. I didn’t worry about her; I stayed out of her way. My dad was quite critical, but even at a tender age, his remarks rolled off my back. I was always much wiser than my years. I was curious, extremely bright, a fantastical daydreamer. My sister [who is a decade my senior] used to take me to parties with her when I was 10 years old, where I was well-behaved and poised. If I believed in God, I would thank him for the beautiful mind and inherent self-confidence I have been blessed with.

My ability to read between the lines and figure people out has taught me that most people are so similar they fall into types. Almost like fabrics and patterns, “Oooh, you’re houndstooth”. No two patterns are exactly alike, but anyone with a keen eye will see that they can be quite similar. I once read a book that stated there are 16 personality types. I didn’t believe it at first, scoffing that we’re all too different to fall into 16 clear cut categories. But sure enough, as I looked through it, I was able to peg my sister, my brother, even myself!*

I am able to see not only a person’s characteristics, but why they are the way they are. Most people don’t get that far with their assessment of others. Sometimes I don’t care to figure it out; sometimes I unintentionally put pieces together. I often read between the lines. I can figure out motives, know when I’m being lied to, and can discern other things based on the few things I know about a situation/person. I’ve never been in a situation where I “didn’t see it coming”. I think the only people that are hard to pinpoint are sociopaths – and who wants to be one of them?

I think that due to my perception, I at times, gave the wrong people unnecessary access to me. Because I saw the humanity in them, and I understood why they acted the way they acted, felt the way they felt, I would sympathize and accept and try to help. I came up with reasons [some would call them excuses] for their behavior and put up with more bullshit than I should have had to. I gave too many chances, when one wasn't ever merited. I have since learned a lot from these experiences and I hope to listen to my intuition a lot more from this point forward. Although I’ve never really been caught my surprise before, a girl needs to stay on her toes!

Remember to be smart and listen to your gut. Doubt means don’t folks!

*My personality type: ENTREPRENEUR - Your energy comes from pushing boundaries and taking things to the next level. You bore quickly and are drawn to variety. When things are exciting and fresh, you experience a rush of energy that you consider your optimal state. You push yourself hard to reach goals of all types, and you expect others to do the same. You value independence and control over your environment beyond most other things and are willing to be bold and sometimes forceful when you really believe in something. 7% of the population shares this personality type.