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As a drug addicted stripper, I am a stereotype. Of course I’m upset about it.
As a feminist who tries to smash stereotypes with Thor’s hammer of girl power (you know, if Hollywood’s god complex shattered, which will happen, ugh, never) it dismantles me, truly. It makes me re-evaluate stereotypes as a whole. Do they exist for a reason? My dreams are being shattered here, along with my mirror, which I accidently stepped on because I put it on the floor when I was high and I don’t know, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. The irony hurts.
I’m in the heart of my twenties, which means I still have time to pull out and live a different existence. My heart is still beating, it’s just irregular when you’re constantly on the prowl to score or alter your chemistry like a mad cat in the night. And with money as disposable as the shit you took this morning, the moves are endless. Being a stripper means stripping. Stripping means independent contracting which leads to cash up front. Green never dies, it grows.
You should have seen my face the first time I got a freelance check in the mail. “What do I do with this? Cash it? And wait two more weeks for another?!”
“Welcome to humanity,” my editor rolled his eyes.
I should start this piece with a confession. My state of mind: blissed and blurry at best. I’m snorting oxy as I type this, which is really a skill that should be recognized more often. Multitasking for the malevolent. I want to start a zine that focuses on how to use drugs in public places on a whim, also drugs and decorations mixed together. Pipes and straws that glow in the dark. Big dreams over here, Martha Stewart shit.
My ambition is flickering.
Still, I have never been super-fucking-eager. My drive has always been a traffic jam of potential, but you know, just that. Drugs only made the red lights seem endless.
Let’s get the elephant out of the way. I didn’t start stripping to pay for my drug habit. I took the life of an erotic ballerina three years ago out of pure want. Exhibitionism surfaces in various forms, shapes you didn’t know fit into each other. One night I was screaming metaphors at open mic, the next I was climbing a pole like there was gold at the top. Both were releases and they fed me, and personally, I didn’t see a difference between the “high” and “low” art. Still don’t.
Madonna says, “Express yourself.”
So, I do. Five nights a week. And it’s justified. The only issue is that my access to cash is unlimited. There are no waiting periods, no room for grace. Just cold, cold cash. Empowerment comes in the front door when I can make rent in a singular evening. Yet, it leaves through the back door when I blow it all on pills.
But now I’m rambling. Blame the oxy. Let’s get down to business.
I consider stripping to be one of the most feminist things I do. No one believes me. I’ve been doing it three years, and when I started, I didn’t do drugs. It’s a rush in itself: the danger of strangers, the exhibitionism, the sexuality, the money, the music. I don’t go to work high because I simply don’t need to.
I wasn’t introduced to drugs in a dressing room full of topless bitches with glittery dead eyes. If the coke is there, I’ll do it, I’m not going to be rude! Still, like any other good, experimental college kid, I was doing Adderall during finals and shrooms on the weekends. I’m typical.
I found my dream in opiates. We all have a drug of choice, and when you find it, it’s like having a gang bang with One Direction. Heaven is a place on earth, but you come out of it sore. You click in. You don’t click out as easily, and that’s what I’ve been finding lately.
It’s depressing me.
One true thing that deters me from using my whole life is the conflict of time. You know dog years? Well, I believe in addict years. Like, I said I was going to finish a book in the summer.
I’m not sure what the ratio is, but it’s not fucking good. It takes me five years more to do something than a normal, lazy twenty-something. College? Still not done and it’s been more than four years. Boyfriend? Drugs are my boyfriend.
But feelings fade and I can’t help but inhale. Then I look around.
Living a double life is novel at first, but soon grows into a mess of predictability and random drug bags all over your apartment. Scoring, once a rush of nerves and excitement, bleeds into a routine as dim as brushing your fucking teeth every morning. I’m typical.
Nodding out in a Netflix coma becomes the post-strip club routine. Which really isn’t that bad, I love Netflixing the shit out of my life. Still, I want to be awake for the end of "Nurse Jackie."
I also want to be awake for my life. And not just the end. But the middle too.
But I’m in the heart of my twenties. Still. Got. Time.