Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where I probably reveal too much

I stepped on the scale, and I am down to 135.0. Not bad, considering I had gained after my initial weigh-in. That's almost 3 pounds in a relatively short amount of time. I'm sure a lot of it was due to the stress of the last week, but I'll take it.

I'm still trying to come up with a good schedule for swinging. I have the strong urge to do it daily - alternating a lighter day with a heavier day, maybe 5 days a week, but I can't find any literature that says if that's ok, or if it's overdoing it. I've been the total slacker with aerobics, I feel like I get more out of the KBs in a far shorter amount of time. The kids miss it, though, they like to go play with their friends, so I think I need to get back into that routine, at least 2 days a week.

I have had a million posts rolling around in my head, but not any time to write. So today, I am committing to one. And given my obsessive and self deprecating posts about weight, food, and warped self body image, I think I have to go with this:

"Where I reveal the dark shameful secret that I should, I guess, feel bad about but really, I don't. I think it's kind of a hoot. "

or, "Where I talk about the last time I had a rockin' body"

Anyway, cast your mind. It's the winter of 1998, and I am trapped in a bad marriage. The husband wasn't a mean man, he didn't beat me or cheat, but he suffered from mental illness and a bad case of liking men ifyaknowwhatImean. I wanted out, desperately, but with no college degree, and experience only in retail and childcare, there was no way to raise enough money for a lawyer. Not to mention that we were deeply in debt. He had this charming habit of withdrawing all the money out of our account after I had sent off bills, therefor, everything would bounce. It was a bad, dark time. Tyler was still very little, and I felt like I was at a dead end. So, I decided to nut up and do what so many single moms have done before me: I got a job as a stripper.

I laugh whenever I see movies that portray the stripper lifestyle as fun, madcap, and a big adventure (are you listening to me, Demi Moore?) let's make no bones about it: it is the absolute seedy fucking underbelly of the world. Sure, I met a few nice girls, and I had a few regulars that gave me lots of money, just to sit and talk to them. But all in all, it sucked. With one exception. I was in the best shape of my life. Walking around for 8 hours in six inch heels, climbing and swinging around the pole, it was all the most unreal workout. I was all muscle and I was tiny. I weighed 117, the smallest since I was a teenager. I still have a few of my costumes that a part of me can't bear to get rid of, and I look at them and think, how the hell did I fit in that?

The saddest part of all this? I didn't appreciate what I had. As small as I was, I was considered one of the 'big' girls. Bouncers would talk about my 'big ass' and how I need to lose a few. And for every regular who tossed 50 dollar bills on stage, there were 20 other guys who would reject my offers of dances in the most unbelievably cruel ways. What little self esteem I had going into this, crumbled away to nothing.

Then, one night, we had a visit from the vice squad. Making sure everything was legal (it was a no touch club). I struck up a conversation with the detectives, mostly because I was interested in law enforcement, and I recall one of them said "why are you working here? You seem way to intelligent to be in a place like this." I went home that night, with my wad of cash, and decided that it wasn't worth it. I never went back. Two weeks later, I met Bryan. And my self esteem has been slowly on the mend ever since I met him. When a man who has videotaped you giving birth and really looking your worst still tells you you're beautiful, you know he means it.

So there it is, and unabashed, soul bearing look into my issues with my body. It was not the best of times, but it made me who I am today, and all in all, that's a good thing.


Mrs. H said...

I remember my own days as a stripper. I'm so glad that didn't last long. There's a reason why strippers do a shitload of emotion numbing drugs.

It's amazing how those comments stick in our minds and how mean people can really be. I am my own worst enemy in this regard; I remember, when I was "hot", and I used to look at women who look more like my current self and tell myself I'd rather die than look like that. I remember being with my girlfriends and the catty conversation about other women's bodies and taste in fashion.

Feh. It really doesn't last forever.

christine said...


And having a daughter has helped to heal a lot of that. If for no other reason, I don't want to pass it on to her. I want her to have the most rock solid self esteem. I tell her a million times a day that she's beautiful, she's smart, she's the best girl. I sing her this song we've sang to all the kids (obviously we'd say 'boy' instead of 'girl' for Tyler and Henry) but it goes "who is the best girl, the best girl the best girl? Who is the best girl? Addie is!" And we'll change it sometimes to 'smartest' or 'funniest' or whatever. Addie, when I sing it now, I can't even get past the first line, because she starts screaming "It's Addie! Addie! MEEEEE!" And she always has this look like, jeez, mom, what's your deal?

So I think Addie's good in that department.

Royce said...

I used to bounce at a club. It was a high class joint in a rich part of town. I was young and had these fantasies about bouncers saving the hot chicks ( I've seen too many porns I guess, plus I was 21 what was I going to think ). Of course the reality was way different. I enjoyed my job, hey I got paid to look at half-naked women all day. But man, some of the guys in there were ASSHOLES, and the girls were CAAATY. Meth abounded, it flowed like water. You could watch the progression. Somebody would call a dancer fat and the next week she would be skinnier, then within a few weeks she would miss work then she just started looking bad and get fired or quit work.
There were exceptions though. There were some nice people there, they were just rare.

christine said...

It's a toxic environment. I'm glad I got out when I did

Tracy said...

Wha, wha, wha, what?????? A stripper??? I knew I freakin liked you!!!

christine said...

Ha! It was definitely a life experience type thing. I had a good chuckle when the 'striptease workout' became all the rage. The whole reason strippers look good is because a,) they don't eat and b.) they're doing those movements for 8-10 hours a day! Those stupid 30 minute videos are a joke!