A hot topic in my chair lately is the empowerment of women and this amazing movement of feminism that is catching like wild fire in the news and social media. I am so excited to see all of these women leading and feeling liberated and standing up for what they feel is right.

I applaud these trail blazers and I would like to join in and include my voice in this chant for freedom. Being a retired stripper I have faced many challenges before that lead me to be a stripper, during the daily grind (literally) and after now that I am out tha club and transitioning to a new lifestyle. This is my unique perspective, so if you don’t agree, that’s cool, but I am speaking only for myself. Haters gonna hate.

I feel now that my role in this community is to act as an advocate for other dancers. So maybe by sharing my story it might help those going though it, or at least I hope. I am no saint, nor do I know everything but this is what I know.

I started dancing at the ripe age of 19, just 6 months after graduating high school and beauty school. I met a dancer in my beauty school who was like a surrogate mother to me since I was kicked out of my family home where I was dealing with abuse and sent to live with my father who didn’t have the means to take care of me. She gave me advice and rides and food and I looked up to her. I started dancing as per her advice since I complained about a pretty toxic living situation at home. I had been in a drug bust in my home seized for illegal guns and drugs, found a meth pipe in my living room and many of the men floating in and out of my father’s home were ex con predators, and I did not feel safe. I couldn’t sleep without the door locked and the lights on. I learned to eat off the dollar menu and grocery shop at the 99 cents store. The freezer was never short on gallon size Popov bottles and I shared a room with my estranged father for the first year. I lived a whitest of trash lifestyle, so it was no surprise that I became a stripper. I was a straight A student, who went to beauty school after high school where I would take the bus or a motor scooter. I busted my ass and when I graduated school I still couldn’t make ends meet. Working as an assistant wouldn’t have made more than minimum wage and I wanted to go to college as well to pursue my dreams of being a teacher. My friend suggested I start dancing and get the hell out of my situation. I had never been in a stripclub let alone knew how to walk in the shoes, but she dropped me off in front of the club and gave me the best advice, “Don’t be dirty.”

Reflecting back on how I ended up with being a dancer as what felt like was my only option, I am curious. If you are reading this, and you were or are a dancer. Where you faced with an abusive home situation? Were you poor? I find most dancers that I met usually had some type of hardship, like a single mom or abusive partner. I would like to start the conversation and create a community where we can talk about these issues. I think other sex workers can relate, even in porn or brothels or web cam?

I don’t think it a coincidence that I was poor and came from a broken home that I was lured into the idea of sex work as a way out. I read on message boards for the community of girls young and in debt from school and with no support looking for a means to support themselves. Would I give the advice to turn down that road knowing what I know now? Most girls in LA are turning to their looks and sexuality as a form of income and now its easier than ever with all the sugar daddy websites (even there are billboards over wholefoods) and web caming to make that happen. I was the biggest feminist (or so I thought), that I didn’t need a man, but what I needed was men. Men to like me, think I am pretty or sexy and agreeable. I needed men, not a man. And this confusion lead me to doubt if my ventures were aligned with my feminist values.

So if you’re a young girl or full grown woman considering the club or sex work, I would say think of other options. Unless you have a strong plan of where, why and how and with a deadline, you’ll run the risk of leading your life down a dark path. Get in and get out if you have to, but be smart, and “don’t be dirty”.