I thought I would never see the inside of another club…ever.
It was just shy of my two-year anniversary of quitting and here I was again. I sat back and imagined what it was going to be like. Would it shock me? I mean, I was a dancer for almost 13 years. I felt like I’ve seen it all before, but this time it would be different. I am different.
Right before we headed in, all nine members of the Treasures outreach team softly laid their hands on me and began to pray. The warmth of their hands filled my body and the fear inside me drastically subsided.
As they prayed, the little pink gifts dangled from my fingertips and took me back to a time where I once sat in the dressing room of a small gentleman’s club on the Westside of Los Angeles. On a few occasions I had received the pink gifts, but my manager took the Treasures Cards out and took all of the credit! He had re-gifted the Treasures gifts! I knew they couldn’t have been from him, but it wasn’t until years later that I found out that all those times I received the pink gifts that they were from Treasures! I can still remember the joy the pink gifts brought me and I marveled at the thoughtfulness of a stranger.
As we walked towards the club, patrons who were lingering around the club called out to us. This took me back to an unsafe place where I felt vulnerable. It all became real to me. I was about to ask to be let into a strip club. I was exactly four weeks shy of my two-year anniversary and I began to ask myself, “What am I doing here?”
I took a deep breath and I remembered my “why”. It was the impact of a tiny pink gift that reached me in the middle of my darkest days. A pink, billowy glow in the middle of a gray gloomy dust storm. I was now part of the very organization, the very women from which they came.
Walking away from the club felt different than walking towards the club. The voices of the patrons faded into the background and I knew I was braver for having taken the steps. I was also hopeful that the women would receive the gifts and it would bless them as much as it had blessed me when I had received them. I was hooked. It was on to the next place.
The night continued on with smiling bouncers eating the homemade cookies we brought them, and hugs of gratitude from the women we handed gifts to.
The reaction of the women was one of the best things I can keep in my memory bank. The way their faces would light up and the smile they would give was so fulfilling it’s almost criminal to feel that good.
“What’s this for?” the women asked us throughout the night, not accustomed to receiving anything without strings attached.
“It’s for you… and we want to you know that you are a Treasure”, we tell them.
I’m still amazed by the greatness of a small gesture. As humans, we all just want to be loved. I believe that selfless love abolishes all types of borders and barriers. It will climb the tallest heights, cross the furthest regions and climb into trenches to be with someone. The kind of love that puts others before oneself, makes walls come down and softens even the hardest of hearts. Sometimes, this love looks like tiny pink gift bags in the hands of women whose hearts are full of passion, and it ignites a joy that cannot be put into words.
I have been on the receiving end of that love, I have seen how love in action looks, feels and where it can lead. I’ll never be the same because of it.
Article by Iantha Rembert