One of my dear friends recently emailed me, commenting that it seemed like I tend to view stripping as a weakness of mine, as a liability, as something to hide and be ashamed of.
Maybe you should view it as a strength of yours, he recommended. See it as something that has empowered you and made you stronger and wiser.
Narrative therapy is my jam, I think. It’s all about identifying local and dominant discourses, identifying the influence of various identities and social locations on one’s life, and identifying sparkling events that don’t support one’s story, to help one create a new story.
So I am going to do my best to change my story around a little bit; I have felt and thought pieces of this here and there, but it has not been my dominant story:
Stripping has been yet one more chapter in my reclaiming sexuality story. Reclaiming female sexuality has been in the pipeline in my family for generations, for a long, long time. Each female figure in my family has reclaimed her sexuality in some way. Mine has included adventuring into conscientious relationship formation, finding my flexible and dynamic sexual orientation, discovering the wide array of my sexual desires, getting naked for money, and seeking educational opportunities that will help me advocate for other in their reclamation processes, not to mention, writing this blog. Stripping has just been one facet of my experience, and just one way I have rediscovered my power and sexuality. It will aid me in my career pursuits, as it gives me added understanding and compassion for stigmatized and marginalized populations, and another layer for understanding sexual experience.
This process of re-writing my stripping story is similar to some LGBTQ identity models (this is one, but older and perhaps a bit outdated, model). I feel like my re-writing is helping me get to some level of identity synthesis, in which I recognize stripping as one facet of my life and experience. It doesn’t define me, and definitely is not a weakness. It has added rich meaning to my life and deserves to be held up and looked at in the same light as other parts of my experience that I have historically been more proud.