I’ve changed a lot over the last year. I’ve got braver and more daring, pushing myself in ways I had always hoped I could but never thought I actually would. Of course becoming a stripper has been part of that. Although I’ve always been naturally attracted to the unusual and the controversial I’ve equally always been wary not to rock the boat. It’s that age old internal battle between wanting to be yourself versus wanting to fit in.
In the last year I’ve broken away in many ways from the mundane existence that is expected from any ‘respectable’ person from my home town, the place where I’m meant to fit in to. Living away in a much more diverse city has done me the world of good. Or so I believe. A ‘friend’ from home seems to think the exact opposite.
Ironically this friend also lived in this city for a time but continued to exist in her comfortable middle class circles with her eyes firmly shut. A lot of my friends from home are like this. They’re all well-educated with good degrees from reputable universities but at the same time are, in many ways, still completely ignorant. And worse still is that they are ignorant to their ignorance.
Anyway this friend of mine, she doesn’t even know about the stripping, and I wouldn’t dare tell her either. No it’s something else that bothers her about me, an unorthodox relationship I’m having if you like.
You see she comes back to this city every few weeks to see her (completely acceptable) boyfriend who still lives here, and when she does she also meets me. And every time she insists on having the same argument with me over and over again: “What are you doing with this person? It’s so weird! What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you get a nice normal boyfriend?”
“Because normal boys are boring” I say.
“What about my boyfriend do you think he’s boring?”
Yes. “No.” He’s perfectly nice but he’s not my type.
To be honest, she’s boring. She’s so convinced that she’s right about everything and that anything anyone else does that’s different is just wrong and they need rounding up and putting in their place. I need putting in my place.
Sadly, when you’re told there’s something wrong with you by a ‘close friend’ you’ve known and trusted for many years, you tend to believe them. Every time she’s come up I’ve been left completely unbalanced. Who the hell am I meant to be? I ask. I end up feeling like I have some grotesque split personality disorder, that I can’t be sure about anything.
There’s no worse feeling; not knowing who you are, not being allowed to love what and who you want for fear of rejection. It tears you up.
This is why you need people around you who understand you when you do a job like mine. Or at the very least, they don’t agree with you but they accept you and will support you regardless. I am lucky to say I have some people like this who do understand and accept me.
“You know what you’re doing” one said. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
“You’ve come such a long way. You’ve done what ninety-five per cent of the population wouldn’t dare. You are brave and I’m proud of you so stop beating yourself up!”
I know they’re right.
So please, surround yourself with good people who will accept and support you. Don’t listen to those who are trying to stamp on you, no matter who they are or how long you’ve known them for, because you’ve simply outgrown them. Tell the important things only to the people you trust.
“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”