A Stripper Saved My Life

I’ll never forget when I said this sentence to a close friend. Her ears perked up, waiting for the tall tale of a Portuguese stripper throwing bad ass moves to protect me from some oncoming danger…

To save you from the same disappointment, I’ll admit from the get-go, it wasn’t a volunteered heroism. There were no fists thrown, dirty words, flailing hair or tassels. It was much simpler than that. In fact, she saved me from afar, having never known she’d done so.

Before I let you in on that little adventure, I think I best share a brief history about myself and why the Quean exists today.

I have spent my entire life writing. The mere act of writing releases something in me that I have yet to describe accurately in words. Shonda Rhimes describes this happening – this feeling – as her hum, Hemingway called it bleeding into the typewriter. For me? It’s letting out all of the things that may kill me. I say that both ironically and quite seriously, for, of course, my thoughts can’t simply cause my demise; however, all the crazy worlds, desires and people that live within me just might!

Why do I bring this up? Because I recall once, my parents finding one of my journals when I was younger. This particular journal had mature details of women who seduced and looked to be seduced. For a twelve, thirteen, fourteen year old girl, who had never even laid beside a man, the writing was quite vivid, quite…good. My father, one of my greatest heroes (daddy girl alert!), pulled me aside one day to speak about these writings, and to my surprise – regardless of the wrath I was expecting to have inflicted on me due to my “inappropriate” literature – had said, “You should create a pen name, and write professionally.” That was the first kind of permission I remember receiving for my “smut.” It was liberating, and although I didn’t take his advice, onward I wrote.

My writing was for me and for me only. It was my escape, my high, my greatest love. Perhaps that’s why it took me nearly twenty years before I shared much of it with anyone. Friends would sneak peeks when I’d leave my room for brief moments; family members would remove journals from their shelves, only to return them before I noticed. Teachers were probably the most exposed to my work – which isn’t saying much, considering school had very specific guidelines for the writing assignments. However, even then, somehow positive feedback always reached me. So, why was I so insecure about letting others into this world of mine?

I guess that brings me to the next kind of “era” of my life. Boys. They changed everything. I was finally gaining real experience to write about, and I have to admit, it didn’t quite live up to the fairytales I had in my head. When I read back to this time in my life (you better believe it, I kept everything!) I can trace the dimming of my light. That isn’t to say the quality of my writing lessened, in fact, perhaps it flourished. What I do mean is that the moment love – or should I say, sex? – entered my life (the real kind, not the imaginary), the inconsolable and unapologetically burning flame that lived so ferociously within me was suddenly extinguished.

Why? Perhaps it stems from many things. But, my utter belief? I finally learned what it meant to be female in a male’s world. It was a place that defined me, even before I could do so for myself.

Like most young girls, I slowly withdrew. Even if it wasn’t obvious, who I felt I was (a writer, a creative, a lover) and what the world saw (beautiful, female, sexual) became a power struggle. Pleasure for me quickly became what I could do for the “other” (the “other” being “man”).

I watched my parents all of my life in their profound love for each other. I knew love required sacrifice, communication, forgiveness, and always wanting to do what’s best for the other. What I wasn’t understanding when I watched my parents was that at no moment were they expected, or even willing, to forfeit their authenticity/fulfillment/happiness/pleasure in order to hold onto the other. I learned that for my parents, love and sex were two sides of the same coin. One, the foundation; the other, the “glue.”

My skin and heart absorbed this concept, and because I thought love and sex were one in the same, when I wasn’t feeling love – when I felt disconnected from my partners – I immediately resorted to giving them my body. Of course, for a brief moment during I had the rush of passion. Yet, when it was all said and done, I was left feeling emptier than I had before. I assumed that something was wrong with me. The men I had been giving myself too seemed just fine! So, I had to be doing something wrong, right?

I think it’s important to say here that I lost my virginity at the ripe age of 14 years (let there be sarcasm!). By 23, I had slept with 10 men, all of which, could not bring me to orgasm (with the exception of one – to whom I will cover shortly). Is it a wonder why sex left a gaping void, and why “love” was so confusing?

The excuses for no orgasm? Perhaps my complex in believing that my worthiness was based on how good I was in bed for them, without even thinking about whether they were good enough for me (thank you porn, media, and movies like American Pie). Perhaps it still remained in the fact that love and sex were so closely connected for me. Even when my body was in the act, and my heart and mind were telling me something wasn’t right, I never listened. Or perhaps it’s much more simple than that: my pleasure was never a priority in the matter – for either parties. I was engaging in sex with men who were just as “out of touch” with themselves as I was. I hadn’t known my body enough, and therefore made no demands. I lost my voice in the bedroom, which resulted in the loss of voice outside of the bedroom.

You see, my start to sex was very disheartening, yet I couldn’t help but love it in a sense. At times for the wrong reasons, but mostly because I crave human contact. (I recall memories of me sitting in classrooms as early as the age of 6, getting into trouble for “touching” the boys too much.) Mostly because I believe that at the centre of all existence is pleasure – a consensual, respectful union between one (or more) people. I desire and value authentic human connection!

So, why did it take me so long to find?

That brings me to the only man who gave me an orgasm (at least until the age of 23). There’s this metaphor the French use. In English it’s called “paper-fire.” If you think of paper burning, it burns hot and bright, but it burns fast. That’s what this relationship should have been, yet instead, it turned into the five most difficult years of my life.

Without giving the entire sob story, this man and I ended on the following terms:

“Get better, and we will see where the future takes us.”

That was the last thing he said to me in person. This was his way of coping with my bulimia. This was his way of easing out of a difficult relationship with a person that the said relationship damaged thoroughly. This was his way of leaving me in pieces for another woman he had been seeing behind my back for months. Of course, there is a lot of blame in my words. I was not innocent either. Like I said, it should have been paper-fire. Rather than turning my back to the red flags, I should have listened to the twisting knot in my stomach. The first time he insulted my friends, I should have left. The first time he insulted my family, I should have left. The first time he looked at me with disgust – telling me to “stop eating” – rather than putting my plate down, and sitting obediently beside him – humiliated in front of his family and friends – I should have yelled a big “fuck you,” and walked out the door into a more peaceful existence.

Unfortunately, that isn’t how my story goes. But fortunately, in retrospect,

I understand why it all had to happen.

The second year into our relationship I became bulimic. It wasn’t until the fourth year that I began seeking treatment – unbeknownst to him. On top of all the remarks about food, and body, I was faced with his ego – constantly seeking other women for attention – and jealousy. This spiraled into an anxiety I didn’t know existed. How could something hurt that bad, when it’s supposed to feel so good? Love, of course. Love is what I’m referring to here. But then again, wasn’t love and sex one in the same? Because at this point, he wasn’t even sleeping with me. I exercised five times a week, ate clean every day, looked better than ever (even if it cost me my health), yet I could never quite catch him. He had me so wrapped around his finger, yet I couldn’t even get him to go for a walk with me on Valentine’s Day.

The easiest interaction I could convince him to partake in was having him sit long enough for me to perform oral sex (proud moments!). The orgasms I spoke to you about? They happened far and few between. I recall many lonely nights finishing myself in the spare bedroom adjacent to ours. Sex was mechanical. He knew what I needed to come, so during rare, generous peaks, he would pull these moves from his toolbox. But mostly, like the men before him, my pleasure was neglected – floating off somewhere on a different planet, its existence merely an unproven theory. My orgasm an alien.

Love and sex.

They are not connected. Sometimes they don’t even exist simultaneously, in the same realm, or at all. Looking back, I think he loved me the way he knew how, which was less than he loved himself. But that – that my friend – was the best lesson anyone could have ever given me. Why? Because I saw that and I realized I loved him the only way I knew how, which was loving him not only more than I loved myself, but basing my self-value on the way he loved me: the hurtful words, the neglect, the acknowledgement of other women… So, what did this mean? I needed a complete self-love makeover! A radical one!

Why do I tell you all of this? Because it brings me back to the stripper – that beautiful, awesome, bronze skinned, Portuguese seductress, wrapping herself around that titanium pole…

By this point in my life, I was two years into remission. Behavioral elements (binging/purging) of the illness had gone, mental elements (self-loathing) wreaking havoc on occasion. This strip-joint moment occurred exactly three and a half years after the detonation of my previous relationship.

Let me set the mood:

Sitting beside me on a leather couch, under fluorescent lights is my fiancé – my Master (if you haven’t read my bio, spoiler alert! I’m a sub). A beautiful, thoughtful Frenchman I had met three years prior (that is a whole other story). In front of him sits his best friend, another wonderful Frenchy (single, by the way ladies!). Together we await the first beauty to hit the stage. It was my idea to come here, for it was the best friend’s first stripper experience.

Before she presents herself, I take notice of one stripper in a tiny, tight, pink outfit. She is everything that the runways would want. She is petite, slim, not much shape, but just enough attitude. She exudes confidence. Her long dark hair cascades down her back, and her spike-heels flex muscles I didn’t know the human body possessed. In this moment, everything I’ve ever felt about my own body – remnants of dark moments from a past I had long recovered from – creep slowly, dangerously into my mind. I suddenly feel the need to run. How am I supposed to watch her remove clothes in front of my man? How can I allow him to be subjected to such beauty, when he has to leave this place and return home with me?

The lights dim. Music comes on. I’m too late to run. The show is starting. But it isn’t the lady in pink who takes the stage. No, it’s my Portuguese Beauty. She starts out in a tight skirt, and a drapey shirt. I can’t remember her song of choice – something slow, something sensual. To describe her in clothes would be the opposite of the lady pink. She is curvy, she is unconventionally pretty, and she possesses a different kind of confidence. Not the attitude the other woman wears so blatantly. My Portuguese Beauty is smooth, cool. Her hips sway, her clothes come off, and there it is. All of her femininity, right there, raw, bare, in front of me – in front of him, my fiancé. The love of my life. A human being that I, up to that point, never would have imagined sharing with anyone, ever. But something happened. Something clicked, or snapped, or broke, or came together – but it happened. Every insecurity I had felt watching the pink lady, and every insecurity I had ever felt before that moment, dropped. It hit the floor so hard, with such force and brute and finality, that it disintegrated on impact. Everything the world had taught me about my body, about how I needed to be in bed, disintegrated. Everything I had been sexually, mentally, since I was that 14 year old girl on that couch, losing her virginity, to the bulimic woman in a toxic relationship, to me, there, now. 360. A moment. A second. A woman. Her body. Her curves. Her unapologetic attitude. That fire. I saw it. The one I once had burning in me. And suddenly it all came bubbling to the surface. The adrenaline. The rush. The knowing. The desire. The understanding that the lady in pink, although beautiful in her own way, is not perfection. Perfection is not a human condition.

I repeat: Perfection is not a human condition.

Sex and love are not connected. At least they don’t have to be.

That night, I saw sex: that Portuguese Beauty. Femininity. Creativity. Seduction. Beside me, my fiancé, that was love. And we shared both in that moment. Together. There. As if falling from the sky, freedom – a freedom I could never have fathomed before that moment – landed in my lap. I looked at my fiancé, and perhaps he didn’t notice then, but he would in the weeks to come, the change that overcame me. Me. I became me. And how did it happen? Because for the first time, seeing a beautiful, curvy, naked woman in front of me, in her own peace of movement and dance, no photoshop or enhancements – natural, real, flawlessly imperfect – I was awaken to the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am the beholder. She is beautiful. And I want to experience that beauty, over and over and over again. I sat there in disbelief with myself. So afraid he, my fiancé would want her, when in fact…I wanted her.

I see myself with new eyes. I see my relationship under a new gaze. I see all the women I used to write about with that flame in my chest, and I understand now that the men I let into my life smothered it with jealousy and insecurity and uncertainty. That I was never allowed to grasp at my own desires because my female comparisons oppressed what was now naturally becoming me. Again. In this moment I am the most certain I’ve ever been. I am whole. The lost pieces have found their way. I want her. Sex. I want him. Love. I understand now. Sex and love. Two independent parts to one big and awesome pleasure centered life. And I understand that both can be fulfilled simultaneously and separately. And that life is short, and love and sex are great, that rules don’t need to exist in this realm, and we can either be victims of our own desires, or the key holder to the flood gate.

How did all of this happen so suddenly, and at a strip-joint?

To be honest, I think it was a long time coming. I just happened to learn to love myself enough to accept who I am, and commit to a relationship that brings out the best in me – brings out the real in me. The sex-goddess. The desire for a man and women. The need to experience all things sensual. The writer. The lover. A female in search for pleasure.

This stripper saved my life because she was the pivotal moment where everything came to a head. The clash of in

security and desire and the rush of that atmosphere – the equation that broke the barrier. Realizing that jealousy doesn’t need to exist – especially if you’re in the company of the right people. Respect. Open mindedness. Acceptance. Love. Realizing that my worth, and her worth, and the worth of everyone else, is what the individual decides for themselves – not society, not the people you let into your heart or your bed. Yes, a stripper. You didn’t see her that night. You don’t know what she feels or loves or burns for. I don’t either. But I watched all of it in ecstatic motion, and my god was it something!

So, yes. A stripper saved my life. Maybe not in the way you had expected, but she did nonetheless. So did my writing, so did my parent’s love, so did my five-year paper-fire, my bulimia, my fiancé, and more than anything, so did I.

So, here I am world: Quean Mo. I heard the Call of the Quean, and I answered her. That’s what life is essentially: calling for the Quean to come out from each and every one of us, in whatever shape, size or color she is! She is forever growing and forever changing. She is beautiful, and the world needs her.

To sex, love, and everything in between. Hope to catch you reading my next adventures, as I continue to find myself in this pleasure-centered existence.

Fuck-well, my friends.

And damnit, LOVE YOURSELF [and each other]!


So, tell me friends:

What piece(s) of yourself have you been meaning to free?

6 Comments

  1. Damn, that was a good read! Seriously good. Decided to read it out loud (it helps me focus sometimes) and got quite choked up a few times. I can relate in so many ways—some completely opposite (I’m the shit boyfriend in most of my life stories) ad some not at all (still a strip club virgin) but definitely felt a connection. I’m still trying to figure the ‘love/self-love’ thing out and reading this gave me some hope 🙂 awesome. Peace!

    Like

    1. Wow, thank you for your words. I’m happy you resonated with my story, even if I’m sad that means you’ve suffered. Self-love is a tricky thing – a process – but it’s possible. Stay strong, and, as you said, Peace!

      Like

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