If I had to come up with a word to describe Friday’s strip club outreach, it would be “breakthrough”. From getting into a club for the 1st time in 7 years with gift bags, to talking to a manager who says he is leaving the industry in 3 weeks because “God told him to” and he wants to “follow in His footsteps”, to seeing the intense compassion in a bouncer who says his own heart breaks for the girls and seeing what they go through, it was an incredible night.
One of the most rewarding moments on a personal level came when we gave gifts (and lots of hugs) to the girls in a dressing room I hadn’t been in since the night I last worked there.
Over 12 years ago, I showed up at this particular club for one of their weekly contests where I, along with dozens of other women, paraded naked around the stage hoping for the loudest applause and the $300 prize. Early that night, before all the parading and madness began, I found myself sitting in the empty club next to a “competitor”.
“I think I am going to write a book about it.” I said starring at the empty stage.
“About what?” she seemed surprised I was talking to her.
“About this…about stripping.” I began to ponder the nature of it all. Exposing myself to the scrutiny of strangers and being openly judged solely on physical appearance. How familiar it had become.
The idea of writing a book lay dormant for years to come. I suppose I had to live out more of the story before I could record it. If I had written it then, I probably would have had to call it “Wounds and Stilettos” rather than “Scars and Stilettos”. Because before they are scars, they are wounds. It would be a long while before the healing process turned my wounds to scars.
Last Friday night, we passed the spot where I sat talking to the girl years ago. I pictured my 20-year-old self and remembered what it felt like to be her. If I could, I would give her a little pink gift bag and a hug and tell her “Precious Harmony, you are loved, valued, and purposed…”