Community Connections

The past week I have been offered some wonderful connections:

-My dear friend is the creator of the amazing Humans of Portland project. She offered to interview about my experience with school and take an anonymous photo. This past Monday, we had a lovely and in-depth conversation about it all, and took some fun photos of me wearing my favorite dance shoes in front of my library of sexuality books. I am excited for it to come out. (And I may share a link once it’s published)

-One of the dancers in Portland is putting together sort of an anthology of stories, poems, etc written by strippers about their experiences stripping. I had been toying with the idea of submitting something for quite some time, and late last night I finally got my creative juices flowing. I cranked out 4000+ words in less than 24 hours. It’s in poetry form, but I have worked on subjects ranging from the how I got started to regular relationships to getting ready for a shift to my rage over tip outs to my therapeutic relationship with dancing. Even if she doesn’t end up wanting the piece for her collection, I feel so relaxed and energized at the same time from getting to process my experiences in this way. I’ll probably post pieces of that here when I have finished editing it all.*

-I was contacted by the producer of Mystery Box Storytelling to submit a story! I have had friends tell me that I should tell a story at one of the shows, but I’ve never known what to do. I feel excited to brainstorm and potentially craft something to share. I’ll keep y’all posted! 🙂

*Here are a couple of parts that I love so far:

“Do you ever have that feeling

that somehow your life is unfolding

and you’re just watching? marveling at the mystery? laughing at the novelty of it all?

You’re doing what now, Self?

Stripping.

Stripping?

Stripping.

Okay, then. Let me grab some popcorn, ‘cause this is going to be entertaining.”

***

“Body image

Issues

have plagued me since I was about seven years old.

I carried a lot of baby fat through elementary school

feeling Fat and Fatter than all of my friends

I had my last growth spurt at 12

And suddenly I felt

Skinny

which equaled/s

Being Worthy (of love, appreciation, respect)

And the Hyper-vigilance began

when might the weight return?

the extra fat around my stomach and butt and thighs?

I kept myself hungry throughout high school,

priding myself on going to bed starving and eating small

amounts of food

at dinner.

When I began exercising in college,

and fell in Love,

I began eating more, my curves

filling out More.

I became More.

And the hyper-vigilance cranked up

and continues on.

At times,

dancing has helped me

feel beautiful and worthy and sexy

and at other times,

dancing has worsened my

Anxiety and Self-Shaming

as I watch my curves in the mirror,

trying to pray away my god-given shape and size

No amount of Hollow Flattery

or even Genuine Desire and Admiration

can ease the pain

It must come from inside, a

Recognition and Belief

that I am Worthy of love and belonging

simply because I am alive

and here.”

 

3 thoughts on “Community Connections

  1. Yes quite beautiful. Inside and out. And God, do I relate to what you’ve said. I don’t strip, but all my open sexual experiences after a decade of monogamy, and I have felt very much like my body was on stage in a similar way. Either out and proud and skinny or curvy and ashamed and tucked away. It can be such an exhausting ride.

    • I’ve totally had similar feelings within the open journey as well. Getting naked around other people, whether it’s on stage for money or in a room with new friends, has provoked that same spectrum of feelings. It can be so exhausting. ❤

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