In my book, “Inside Out”, Talia goes through a phase where she dances for money early on in her life. You don’t see in the book where she ever puts forth any effort into going to college, staying up late studying or hear too much about her grades in school. What you do know is that she got naked for money & she made a lot of it. From that she saw herself as independent and hardworking. Now here’s the truth:
In today’s world, most girls who dance aren’t doing it to get by in school or a side hustle until they pass the bar, get their business off the ground or put their kids through private school. The truth is, women are just doing it for a “check”. The even sadder truth is, the stories you hear (just like my book) about all the money they make are a myth. It just sounds good and makes it look “cool”. Compare it to selling drugs if you will. Men know that a life of selling drugs will either get you kilt or in jail, yet most of them don’t even seek other options before choosing this as a career. The fascination with the amount of money one or two people show up on the block with or throw around in the club captured the eyes of many and makes you believe that you can be one of the FEW that “makes it”.
How do I know? At 20-21 years old I was that girl. A friend of mine had met a guy who promised her she could make a lot of money. I went with her to the “interview” and before you know it we were both in a life no one ever saw coming. From then until around 24-25 years old my fall back solution to every money problem was to strip. It was legal, it was easy and it was fast. Now me; I was in school, had a son and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. There was no one to tell me I couldn’t and very few knew about it anyway. Easy Peezy right? Whelp I wish I could say I decided to stop on my own or thought it was foolish to think that way from the beginning. But in honesty, I was one of the many who thought that I could be one of the few who’s life was so great in that world. So I didn’t stop. Reality though was that by my last run (around 24) I was making maybe $700 a week let a lone a night and I secretly hated having to turn into this “Jade” person that they called me by. But my pregnancy with my daughter put a halt on that fantasy because I couldn’t drink to be whoever they needed me to be and the sober Jade was just Tyrika who couldn’t stand men groping all over her.
After I had Casey, it just seemed a little “wrong” to go back. So I worked my ass off & graduated college the next year. I wasn’t sure what it meant to finish school but I changed careers and I wasn’t going back. And now, at 30, I couldn’t even fathom going back to that life. Now though, it has me wondering, why did I decide to use my body to get what I thought I wanted instead of using my brain from the jump? Why are so many females willing to expose themselves in clubs, on photos, videos, porn all for money instead of imploding their brains to get what they want? Easy money? That’s a sure enough answer. The bigger question though is why is it that we want easy money and are willing to sacrifice self respect to just “get by”?
My only answer comes from my own experience: Lack of knowledge. My favorite movie growing up was Pretty Woman. A movie about a hooker who meets a rich man and he sees her for who she really is. They fall in love and he sweeps her off her feet and I suppose they lived happily ever after. I said that to say, that was the dream I wanted in my reality. In that dream, Vivian (the girl in the movie) never even made it past 11th grade and she had Mr. Right To live happily ever after. Now, of course we know that is the movies but can you then imagine all the strippers and real life people who portrayed their life to be just as great?
Young and impressionable girls can’t afford to only see this in day to day lives and thrown in their faces. When you know better, you do better! That’s why I decided to change my path. I don’t want my daughter to believe in my “past mistake of a fantasy”. I graduated from college and I used my brain not my body to hustle my way to where I am. I didn’t start off making $30 an hour. As a matter of fact, my first property management job I only made $11 an hour. When I lost a job, I just found another one. I watched my bosses I didn’t fight with them or undermine them. They mentored me and they taught me. Even up until today they are close friends. That is the example I want my daughter to see. I don’t want her to grow up thinking there is an easy way out. I want her to use her brains and not her body because your body is temporary. It will get old, it will get damaged and weary. However, your brain; that baby will last a long time after your body expires!
When I decided I wanted better for my own daughter, I thought of all the girls who didn’t have that talk with someone. Or all the woman who had that talk but didn’t listen and now regret it. That’s who I decided to do my book and my blogs for. My story may seem embarrassing to some but I don’t embarrass easily! Maybe because I know where I could have been. What could have happened to me. There was another movie called Player’s Club. One young stripper who wanted to be one of the few almost lost her life in that movie. And while everyone looks at that movie and loves it or criticizes that girl. I see someone who could have been me! No one thinks they could be that girl but for some reason they think they can be Vivian. Isn’t that odd?
For my young girls and even women who know that deep down inside their body isn’t worth their dignity, for the woman who knows that they made a bad choice but don’t know how to undo it or get out that life, for the girls who think someone will judge them or throw their past in their face if they try and be better: DON’T YOU SETTLE!! BE GREAT AND USE YOUR BRAIN TO SHOW YOUR BEAUTY!
It’s ok to be bold and use your sexuality to extend and enhance yourself. Just remember, that’s only an addition to you…IT IS NOT YOU! Mind…Body AND soul!