Loss & Comfort

A woman I went to high school with, but was never friends with or connected to, lost her husband this past week in a car crash. She’s been on my mind ever since I saw the news. Imagining her grief has brought me down the past couple of days. I just can’t imagine my life if something like that happened to J.

I have had to fall asleep the past couple of night channeling my inner Byron Katie; it has been keeping me up and distracting me throughout the day. He shouldn’t have died. That couldn’t have happened. It wasn’t time yet. And it’s not callous or un-empathetic, but my soothing response to myself is: He should have because he did. It could have because it did. It was time because it was.

It was a devastating reality check for me: I really cannot control much of how my life runs its course. I can control my thoughts and beliefs (and even that is up for grabs) and how I behave. That’s about it.

Imagining going through that kind of unexpected, unfair, and traumatic loss makes me feel so small, and it also makes me feel so grateful for the time I do have with the people I love. Hold your people, show them you love them, and stay in the moment- it really is all we have.


What is Empowerment?

One of my biggest life lessons from the past year or two has been learning how to hold multiple, coexisting truths that seem to contradict one another.

Recently, I was listening to and reading conversations by other dancers about empowerment in the strip industry. A few argued that the industry itself is disempowering and controlling, and so how could strippers themselves feel empowered by their work?

I would agree that the industry and system itself does not provide strippers a foundation from which to feel empowered. It’s set up to benefit employees, most of whom are male. It does cater, largely, to male eyes. It was created within patriarchal and sexist cultures, times, and places.

AND. I personally have felt empowered as an individual working within that oppressive system. I have felt in control over my body and actions, been able to feel a true ownership over my body and time, and for the first time, felt like I could truly support myself financially. My brief stint working at a gym two years ago gave me none of that. That job was disempowering.

That being said, I know that not every sex worker or stripper feels empowered by their job, and I know that I haven’t felt “empowered” by stripping every time I go dance. If customers aren’t there or aren’t tipping, when I have to tip staff out, when customers are rude or disrespectful- that chips away at my feeling of agency and personal power. And yet: I, personally, have a choice as to whether or not I engage in this oppressive system. And, I know that not every worker has this same choice. My education, other employment, whiteness, and class make my choice a true choice.

Excellent points were also made regarding the fact that sex workers have an incredible amount of pressure from media, friends, and family to say that they feel empowered by their work, in order to justify their participation in such a taboo job and industry, even if it’s not true that they feel that way. Workers of other jobs are rarely forced to justify their work as empowering.

I have also been mulling over the issue of race in sex work conversations that I read and am part of. I am disconcerted by the fact that so far in my support group (which doubled its attendance this month! wahoo!) we are all white, activist-y types, engaging in sex work that has quite a bit of autonomy attached to it. I am disconcerted by the fact that there are very few women of color voices in the stripper forum I am part of. I am aware I am missing a perspective that has been historically much more marginalized, oppressed, and disempowered than where I have come from. I am a stripper, but I am white. This piece is worth reading.

Hard and Soft

*My blogging this week took a hit from life stuff (good things!) and this post should have gone up yesterday. Better late than never!

You came to watch me dance. We have both been waiting for this kind of encounter for a long time- two or three years? You walked in the room and my stomach did a flip. I felt energized and nervous- please don’t fall in your heels. We brush hands and legs and feet. I want to kiss you so badly, but I can’t. You stay for hours and I watch you from the stage, watching me, drinking, laughing. 

We leave and I can’t take it anymore. We get around the corner, away from the view of any staff or other dancers or other customers. You pull me close and we kiss, soft at first and then harder. I feel energized and nervous. It’s almost 3am, but all of a sudden I don’t care about my sleep deprivation. Come home with me.

You follow me home, my stomach doing flips. Nervous, I pull into my driveway. You follow me, and we go straight into the bedroom. The anticipation seems to be dragging my whole body onto the bed, pulling you with me. 

We lay there, making out, pulling off clothes, sucking each other. I come once and twice and three times. I want your cock inside of me, but only after I’ve gone down on you while you’ve held my head. You’re on top of me, push my legs up to my head so far I’m not sure I can take it anymore. Later, I climb on top of you riding your cock hard and fast, yelling for your come. When you do, I feel waves through my body- it’s delicious. 

We fall asleep, spooning. Skin on skin. This is the soft part.

We sleep for a couple of hours, until I wake up to your hard cock pressed into my ass. I feel wet and excited all over again, and I want your cock buried inside of me. You fuck me that way until you come again. And again- delicious, satisfying.

We fall asleep, softly.


Workers’ Rights & Evangelism

Portland hosts an extension of the Las Vegas Cupcake Girls, and The Oregonian published an article this past week on their outreach and service efforts. In response, a dancer from the area created a petition online to show the Cupcake Girls that they don’t speak for Portland sex workers. Sign it, if you are so inclined. I did.

A woman at my meeting for the sex worker outreach coalition this past week made an excellent point: if they want to offer services, great. That’s awesome, and I’m sure they’re helping someone. But if you and your organization cannot take a stand supporting the rights of the people you purport to be serving, than you are not helping the movement.

The organization seems to take a stance similar to “hate the sin, love the sinner,” simply by not supporting workers’ rights. And that’s troubling. The organization’s funding is from evangelical, anti-trafficking organizations that don’t recognize that many workers have chosen their work and find it empowering and don’t need spiritual guidance or help leaving the industry.

This article was published in the Willamette Week in response to the article in the Oregonian, and I think it is an articulate response.

And, unrelated to the Cupcake Girls and local worker response, this article written by a john is very interesting. I am more for decriminalization than legalization, but it’s a great piece nonetheless.