I sometimes look back at my past; the debauchery, the bitchiness, the long drunken nights that blur into short intervals of sunlight hours beset with bone-crushing hangovers - and I don't regret a thing.
Recently, my aunt commented on my novel, Sunshine: Diary of a Lap Dancer. She confessed she couldn't put the book down, HOWEVER, would never, not in a million years, ever write about such personal, tawdry seediness, for all the world to see...
Well, why the fuck not?
Yes, indeed the world of stripping can be pretty grotty. Yet if we only shared the highlights of our life stories, what would be the point? I haven't once viewed my career, sexual or personal choices as a mistake, and nor should anyone else; especially if it's public opinion/shame that caused you to see it that way in the first place. If you've faltered, all the better I say! And what my message here is; what might be perceived as flaws in other's eyes, are the very jewels that make you a precious, one-of-a-kind gem. Seriously, who would you be you without the trials, tests, and icky learning curves?
So you wept, groveled and carried on like a needy psychopath when your partner broke up with you - big deal, just shows you're in touch with human emotions. I'd rather make a sobbing spectacle of myself than take pride in coldness or indifference.
So you've been a shocking drunk whose woken up many a time thinking 'What the fuck did I do?' - who cares, everybody has their own shit going on the next day, and nobody is focusing solely on your behavior but you. Bury that mortification right now, forgive yourself, and make a pact with yourself to wear underwear next time. Plus, everybody has had a turn at being that drunken dick, not just you.
So you've come out sexually and people didn't take it quite the way you hoped. Poor them, now they'll never get to meet your boyfriend/girlfriend/transgender bodybuilder. Apologising, or smothering the fact that you're gay is the same as wearing a ski mask because you're stunning. Your choice enhances, and completes, the person you are.
People will give you shit in every single facet of your life. I don't know why, I'm a philostripper, not a shrink. Sometimes your spirit aggravates their demons, I guess. I do know that in the stripping world, I was sometimes targeted by co-workers because of that old demon, envy (especially on nights where I'd made the most money). Yet I understood it wasn't personal; envy simply stems from a person thinking to themselves; I want what they have, but don't know how they got it, or how I could have it too. Therefore, they shouldn't have it either. And now and then, I've been attacked by gossip. Which I think, again, is a form of envy; those that don't feel good about themselves or are lacking in aspects of their own lives, feel the need to cast other's triumph or success in a negative light. Mostly to bring it down to sneering level. Or maybe humans just have a tendency to become pack animals when the chance to gang-up arises. But now I'm going off on a tangent...
Who you are, and the life you live, will come under scrutiny at one time or another. Yet the only person you have to answer to is yourself. I don't want to cliche all over you and merely say 'do what makes you happy'. Even though you certainly should, and not give a crap what anyone thinks about it. But you'll find if you can say sorry to yourself for the bits you don't like, make a promise that you'll work on fixing them (only for yourself, mind) that happiness comes a lot easier. Just as true is when you see your past as experience, and certainly not a mistake. What I'm really trying to say here is; everything you've done that wasn't for the best, was merely a lesson, guideline and platform to be a better version of you.
And most important of all? It's been scientifically proven that Like Attracts Like. The frequency you give out is in alignment with the circumstances you receive back. So no matter what you are; gay, straight, introvert, forthright, shy, eccentric, romantic, asexual, confused...if you unconditionally love you, you have no choice but to attract a life of people and events that love you to. This is not philosophy, this is physics.
So basically, to quote whoever it was that said it first, 'What people think of you is none of your business'. Except yours. And you're the one who you must impress most. Not believing in yourself creates (clearly) less opportunity, less of a reason for others to respect you, less dreams of ambition. So this is what I suggest; Leave a post-it on your bathroom mirror that says, 'I am fucking great!' And then, each morning before you step out into the shit-show of life, say out loud ten things that make you fucking great. Even if it's that bizarre little habit of sharing ice cream with your Jack Russel - it simply makes you the giving kind.
I once went to a wedding with an open bar, and drank enough tequila, plus swallowed enough drugs, that Jim Morrison would have been turning in grave from FOMO. Fun at the time, certainly. The bits I remember, anyways. Yet it wasn't a case of waking up to thinking 'What did I do?', but 'How far did I go?' Well, I went so far that the entire little town I live in wasn't speaking to me. The whole town! I'd managed to insult everyone. You better believe my self-esteem took a slaughtering. And after I tore my entire personality to shreds, avoided my reflection in the mirror, (so I couldn't meet the guilt head on), got a nose job, (just kidding), and thought death was preferable to living as the rude, loathsome piece of shit I was, I had to make myself stop. Or I would have been in danger of believing I deserved the pariah status as a sloppy, unlikable bitch.
What saved me is that I can write. I can also compose a wicked boho outfit, make my friends laugh while they're going through a break-up, surf, cook lasange, get excepted about other people's good news, and speak kindly to my parents. I'm sure you have a list of your own that makes you amazing. And I clung to the fact that I was unique, and therefore worthy. I had a right to be here and happy, no matter my past fuck-ups. But the most important thing I learned is that yes, it takes some time and practice to readjust your persona if your go-to isn't kindness. But as long as you're not hurting anyone, who you are is spectacular, no matter what.
There will always be someone who doesn't see your worth - make sure it isn't you.
PS, why not grab your copy of Diary of a Lap Dancer to check out my own (sometimes triumphant, mostly mortifying) journey. Not to mention escaping the Yakuza in Japan, the appalling behavior of A-List celebs, cat fights, Stripper Laws, etc, etc, etc...