Ryann Reflections

A glimpse into the life of one anti-social stripper nerd.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I remember what tears taste like. I wish I could taste more. I should sleep, but I can’t. The room is dark. the glow from the screen illuminates my chosen escape. Here I can hide. The music floods my mind shutting out the rest of the world. I turn up the volume and press the headphones snug to my ears. I want to hear nothing else. I want to think of nothing else.

…Somebody wants you to beg. Somebody wants you to cry. Somebody wants you to be a mercy...

The adrenaline has vanished, and the world feels surreal. I want more tears. I want to taste the sorrow and the pain. There are several women in the hospital this evening with various injuries, of varying severity. Tomorrow I will call the hospital, even though I know they can't release any information. But tonight, their families will not sleep. Tonight there will be worry and pain. Tonight two thirteen year old girls are wondering what happened.

…You know that I would now. If only I could. You know that I would now. If only I could…

As I was relating the events of the day to another dancer she asked me, “what? You’re trained for that? What the hell are you doing dancing? Why don’t you do that?”

I did. I thought about it. There was a time when I seriously considered being a paramedic. The medical profession has always been magnetic. But I don’t want to perfect the professional distance. I don’t want to be an adrenaline junkie. I don’t want to sit around waiting for people to be hurt. I don’t want to send teenagers to Emergency on spine boards. I don’t want to be there the day the crash is fatal. But I could…

…I got soul but I’m not a soldier… I got soul but I’m not soldier… I got soul but I’m not a soldier…

I’m yawning. My body is so tired, but my mind circles. The walls are strong, but the empathy is internal. It’s been a while since I dealt with a serious patient. Alone in the darkness I am spinning. Again the tears hover behind my eyes.

I’m scared. What if I was hurt? What if it was me that was hit? These are fears I am only able to express or feel hours after the fact. Years of training has taught me to act first and take care of immediate priorities. Freaking out can wait until later.

It’s later.

Tonight, I want a hug. Tonight I want to feel arms around me. Tonight I want to feel protected and cherished. Tonight I want someone to tell me that everything will be alright. Tonight I’m vulnerable and human.

…good luck with your nights alone…

Tonight I am lonely. Tonight I crave something abstract and beautiful. Tonight the walls are weak and I am exposed. But, alone, it doesn’t matter. When the sun rises I will be strong again.

…Would you lay here for a while? Please do not let me go. Please do not let me go…

It’s easy to be lost in the routine. It’s easy to enjoy the image. It’s easy to appear two-dimensional. I know I hide from the complicated reality. Self-inflicted disappointment I can control.

…I hurt myself today to see if I still feel. I focus on the pain. The only thing that’s real...

I close my eyes and loose myself in the music. Louder! In this moment there is nothing else. There is no one else. I’m in love with the poetry. The melody washes over me. I exhale.

…Two nights of different… In two nights I’ve come undone…

Maybe I can cry. Maybe I can sleep.

…Please close your eyes woman. Please get some sleep…

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Sunday, January 29, 2006


The adrenaline is wearing off. I am overwhelmed with sudden exhaustion. I am sitting in my hotel room amazed by the physical and mental fatigue… I try to crack my neck, but I’m too stiff. It’s been a long day… I am staring at the computer screen in a haze, remembering…

The roads are compact ice and snow. Treacherous and beautiful the highway appears before me. There are cars everywhere. As I approach I see the destruction. At least two SUVs are crunched. People are scattered, panicked and helpful. I hit the hazards, pull over and jump out. “Gloves and a mask are in the glove box, grab them.” I hear my voice instruct. I grab my kit from under my seat and run across the slippery road.

They are hurt. They are stuck. I start counting patients and mentally triage. 1… 2, 3, 4… 5… I think… They are young, and scared. The vehicle frame has collapsed, pinning her leg. She’s okay, she’s breathing. I flow into autopilot. There are at least three vehicles. The other girl is not okay. I hear my voice...

…hold her head… have the paramedics been called… grab a pen and paper… stay still sweetie… keep talking to her… if you come around me through this window you can hold her head… what’s your name… how old are you… can you hear me… I need my mask… get the blankets out of the car, they’re in shock… do you have a radial pulse on her… how’s her leg… stay with me sweetie…

It’s a blur. The paramedics arrive. I see firefighters assessing the vehicle. I’m locked on. Her weight is against me, I have to support her. Breathe. The door needs to come off. The commotion continues around me, but I am oblivious. Sparks fly as they begin to cut the metal away.

Collar… Spine board… one out. Pieces of the SUV are peeling away.

As I back away I observe the scene. The firefighters are busy with generators, ripping through the metal body. Paramedics are carrying oxygen tanks and stretchers. Patients are being pulled out. The police are wandering, directing traffic and interviewing bystanders. A crowd has gathered. I notice two young boys inching closer from down the hill, trying to get a better look. The little dog is shivering and scared, but seems uninjured.

I have no idea what caused the collision. Perhaps someone else saw it. My gloved hands are covered in blood, and my sweater is muddy. I circle the perimeter gathering my belongings. My blankets are still covering patients and I know it will be a while before I’m clear to leave. I watch as six firefighters lift the roof off, and place it to the side.

I’m cold. I’m out of supplies. I know I need to go shopping tomorrow. New gloves, new mask, new kit…

Someone takes my contact information.

I’m done. I clean up, and disinfect my hands.
I stuff my blankets and muddy kit in garbage bags and we get back into the car.
It will be hours of cleanup and traffic delays, but we have barely begun our journey.

I drive. Carefully.

… That’s my other life… back to dancing... I'm safe in Fort Saint John.
... and I need to sleep.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006


It Snowed!!

Correction... it's still snowing.

Big, white, cold, fluffy, covering my car, slippery, Christmas card, snow! ... and I have to drive in it tomorrow.... over 5 hours... Prince George to Fort Saint John. Ugh.

Although it has improved the scenery greatly. Prince George is ugly. Covered in snow, it's almost tolerable.

Friday, January 27, 2006

extreme extremes

Over the years I have had some rather strange encounters with religion. I liken these experiences to my teenage impression of feminism. When constantly confronted with the radical extremes, one is tempted to accept it as the norm.

So yes… I have at times thought of feminism as bra burning, man-bashing, anti-sex domination. I have also reacted to religion as bible thumping, anti-sex, and narrow-minded preaching and soul saving. I am going to blame the media and ambitious for such a failing.

I was raised spiritually. I attended church camps. I still attend church when circumstances allow for it. Rumour has it I am also feminist. For many years I was unable to identify with feminist politics because I don’t hate men, and I don’t hate sex.

In writing is seems absurd, but accurate. Extremes are extreme, and it’s a shame when the select few have such a negative effect. The following was stolen from an email I received from a friend

It might be worthwhile, for instance, to allow for the possibility of there being a fairly sharp distinction--both in terms of epistemology and practical outcomes--between what Tertullian was articulating when he said, Credo quia absurdam, or, "I believe because it is absurd," and Augustine's fides quaerens intellectum--"faith seeking understanding."

Point conceded. Church is fine. Faith is awesome. Seeking understanding and truth are powerful. “Save a Stripper” and attitudes such as “it’s a real shame you’re going to hell…” are not.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

prayer and porn

I saw a special on CNN the other day on JC’s Girls. http://www.jcsgirls.com/ The CNN angle of course was ‘Fight Porn, love God’. So reminiscent of the “Save a Stripper” philosophy I was immediately and passionately infuriated. Apparently these beautiful Barbies travel around to strip clubs and adult entertainment conventions to spread the word of God and hand out bibles. They are ex-strippers and ex-porn stars. They seek to rescue women in the industry, and the men that feed it.

I know there are many women in unfortunate circumstances. I know that some choices can lead to addictions. I know that many people suffer from low self-esteem. I know that at times people need help, but I also know that help is generally not accepted until someone is ready.
I admit I have only paid lip-service to this particular site, and I have not explored their individual attitudes. I do not know if JC’s Girls are self-righteous and narrow in their desire to help, or if that was the CNN influence.

Controversial or not, I believe that the adult entertainment industry is an important aspect of our society. I believe that fantasy is healthy, and that sex is not immoral. A consensual adult exploring visual imagery and desire has nothing to do with church.
There is a difference between someone who is addicted to porn, or stripping to finance a drug addiction, and the majority of patrons and dancers I encounter. I understand the industry varies a great deal, and that what I am accustomed to in Canada may be a very different experience from Vegas.

Situations are unique, as are people. We are spiritual, and we are passionate. The need to believe, to pray, to belong to something bigger and more powerful than ourselves is deep-rooted and world-wide. A spiritual experience, an individual relationship with God, a faith strong in love, acceptance, and forgiveness is a real human need. We need faith.
We are also material creatures, with earthy desires and needs. Passion shared may be profound and sexually explosive. We are beings of free-will. We are individual people, on a unique path. Our choices and trials do not diminish our worth. Human sexuality is dynamic and fascinating. The fervor can be electric, and the afterglow religious. Sex can fulfill needs that are as elusive and personal as religion.

The post-modern excuse that everything is relative is frustrating. The idea that there is no right or wrong is provoking. However, to shed judgment in a black or white fashion is equally exasperating. There is no shame in enjoying the naked body. There is no shame in getting naked.

What of needs that cannot be met within a relationship? What of the desire to enjoy beauty and sexuality? What of sexual needs that exist independently of a partner? If one person is unable or unwilling to fulfill the yearnings of the other, do those desires become “dirty” and “sinful”?
I know of no perfect people. I know of no friends without faults or vices. I know of no perfect relationships. I know people who make mistakes, who make poor decisions, who grow and learn and experience.

The human experience may be many things, why isolate prayer from porn?

I am not the one to judge.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Prime Minister Harper… and so Canada begins 2006 with a Conservative minority government. After having spent so much energy on this campaign I feel I should comment. Yet I’m at a loss for words. Alberta is blue. The ENTIRE province is conservative. Sigh… not a surprise.

The NDP did well, 29 seats across Canada. Jack Layton, and his wife Olivia Chow were both elected in their ridings. My local NDP candidate was re-elected with a lead of almost 10,000 votes. Libby Davies retains her hold on Vancouver east.

Paul Martin has resigned. The Liberals will enter a leadership race immediately. I wonder if Belinda will run… first elected as a Conservative, she retained her MP position as a Liberal.

The Bloc holds 51 seats and is in a position of extreme leverage. The only independent elected was a radio-host out of Quebec City, André Arthur.

It’s too early to predict how our government will function after today. In a minority situation everyone needs to buddy up and work together, in theory. Harper does NOT have enough seats to push anything through without support. Everyone at that table has different priorities. I’m curious to see how things will play out.

But today, after the election, I'm feeling subdued. The Liberals threw the election, as needed to happen. They need to rebuild. The results are as expected, the speeches well delivered, the shuffle underway. Now that the gag order has been lifted from the Conservative candidates, I wonder how many Canadians can be shocked, offended, and angered.

I wonder how they will team up. I wonder what priorities will come to light now that the campaign is over. I hope the changes respect and cherish Canadians. I hope the poorest of our people are not set up to shoulder the struggle. I hope the short leash is kept reined in, and Canada does not retract its commitments. I hope faith and fear to not play a dominate role.

CON 124
LIB 103
BQ 51
NDP 29

For all the details… good, bad, and the ugly… http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/


Monday, January 23, 2006

On the road again...

Winding through the darkness, the Milky Way stares down at me, inviting my gaze to the sky. The road is dark and the trees shimmer, elusive as the headlights fade. My car is covered in mud. I know I’ll have to stop at the next station to clear off some of the sludge. There is no sign of life on this road. I drive endlessly through the darkness. I know the woods hide numerous animals from my eyes. A truck appears behind me, pausing briefly before swerving around my vehicle. It is the first sign of human life I have seen since the last town.

I look at my cell phone. “no service”. I look back at the stars and yawn. Melody fills the car as I adjust the dial. The rhythm of the guitar matches my car...

“Good luck on the road again. Passing slow time. Passing power lines. Getting different done. Getting different done… ”

I’m back on the road again… I’m tired. It feels like a million years since I left the bar in Campbell River. I’m unable to think about the final destination. I focus instead on the green signs that mark the countdown to smaller towns.

No longer able to comprehend time, I arrive at the bar shortly before midnight. I unload my car and make my bed. Care bear in arm I settle into bed. I’m content. It was a good morning. I wonder what this tour will bring. I wonder what I’ll learn. I wonder… I sleep.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Missing Sarah

I just finished reading “Missing Sarah” by Maggie de Vries. It is the story of Sarah de Vries, one of the Vancouver’s missing women whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton’s farm in Port Coquitlam. I cannot do justice to her story, nor to the beautiful and compelling voice of Maggie. But I can share pieces with you. I can hope that you too will pick up this book and open your heart to this vulnerable and tragic story. It is only one woman’s story; the DNA of over thirty women was found on that farm.

This book found its way to me just a week before the trial is set to begin. The power of her story is indescribable.

If you could look inside my mind,
Would you like the woman you find?
Would you understand me?
Would you want to love me?

Look deep inside my windows,
Past the mass hysteria of confusion.
Look deeper, look farther.
Now look, look harder,
Past the illusion, past the disillusion,
Past the hurt, anger and self-retribution.
If you can, what do you see?

Don’t look if you don’t care
For you won’t find me there.
Like a child, beaten and raped,
I’ll run and hide for my safety’s sake.

True love, true hate, I know what they are
My defenses are weak,
My wishful thinking leaves me wounded,
Down on my knees, begging, pleading.

Please, God, one, just one of them must really care.
-- Sarah de Vries

I did not know Sarah. I have never experienced her choices. I have never known her pain. I have never felt that desperation. But I am a woman. Over the past few days, lying in my hotel in Campbell River I have learned her story. I stopped packing for a few moments to finish the story, to learn the outcome that would never change. Sarah is dead, and no amount of compassion can change that reality. She was not a fictional character. She was a living, breathing human being with love, pain, hope and despair. I lay on my bed, staring up at the ceiling allowing the anger and sadness to wash through me. Somehow her story must be incorporated into my psyche.

I packed my makeup. I zipped my suitcase. I gathered my bedding. I hugged my care bear. I walked over to the bar. I changed into a costume and for 18 min I smiled and teased. I collected my pay.

Then I drove, lost in my thoughts, through the darkness, away from one bar, on my way to the next. I do not sell sex. I sell the idea of sex. If a patron so much as touches me, or tries to kiss my hand I react with anger and disgust. Immediately I want to wash away all evidence and memory of the encounter. I want to say I cannot imagine what Sarah felt turning tricks, but at least to some lesser degree, I can imagine. The using, the objectifying, the sex tool attitude, the disrespect and dehumanizing comments… I know how some men look at women they deem ‘lesser’. I see how easily the respect melts into misogynistic lust.

“They think that because they pay for you they can treat you like a sex tool. They think because they paid for it, you aren’t going to tell anybody. They think it doesn’t hurt you inside, but it does. They think because you’re a hooker you don’t feel any emotions, you don’t feel any pain. You are just doing it for the money, and you don’t feel anything, but you do. I’m not just speaking for myself; I’m speaking for everybody else. You know, they do. They are human, they feel, and just because you are paying them money doesn’t mean you can treat them like total shit, because they have feelings too.” (p. 109)

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Michael gets it... do we??

Michael Moore Statement on Canadian Election

Oh, Canada -- you're not really going to elect a Conservative majority on Monday, are you? That's a joke, right? I know you have a great sense of humor, and certainly a well-developed sense of irony, but this is no longer funny. Maybe it's a new form of Canadian irony -- reverse irony! OK, now I get it. First, you have the courage to stand against the war in Iraq -- and then you elect a prime minister who's for it. You declare gay people have equal rights -- and then you elect a man who says they don't. You give your native peoples their own autonomy and their own territory -- and then you vote for a man who wants to cut aid to these poorest of your citizens. Wow, that is intense! Only Canadians could pull off a hat trick of humor like that. My hat's off to you....

But seriously, I know you're not going to elect a guy who should really be running for governor of Utah. Whew! I knew it! You almost had me there. Very funny. Don't do that again. God, I love you, you crazy cold wonderful neighbors to my north. Don't ever change.



Canada, I hope.

We are on the verge of a new government. We are on the threshold of the election, and no one can truly predict the outcome. What I do know is that the fundamentalist right exists on a foundation of discrimination. Be it sex work, abortion, immigrant culture issues, financial background, or gay marriage there is a powerful force at work. It is a doctrine that seeks to separate the worth and validity of Canadians. Sadly, so many people accept the rhetoric or are apathetic to its repercussions.

Under the guise of tradition and values they seek to dehumanize and marginalize. There are many problems in our society, and I do not pretend there are easy solutions. But the sacrifice of choice, security, freedom, and respect are NOT a fair trade for tax breaks.

"Stephen Harper says he wants members of Parliament to play a greater role in Parliament. He says he wants them to have a greater say, a greater voice. All the time, that is, except during an election campaign," Martin said.
"For the past month, Mr. Harper has had to keep many of his Conservative members in hiding. The reason is very clear. He doesn't want his Conservative candidates to tell Canadians what they stand for. He doesn't want them to say what they believe. He doesn't want them to say what they'd be working for if Stephen Harper ever formed a

government." (google news)

There is a REAL agenda hiding behind the corruption mud slinging. At best perhaps only lip service would be paid, and money and power would dominate, but what if it doesn't? What if the deep-rooted faith arguments find their way into our secular government? I stole the following from http://canuctude.blogspot.com/

The following organizations are effective in fighting for family values and biblical principles. Concerned Christians Canada Inc. (CCC) has a sincere respect for these organizations and encourages you to financially and prayerfully support them.
The following organizations may or may not reciprocally support the CCC in our objectives. The listing of the following websites in no way imply a coalition or that these organizations endorse the CCC in any way shape or form.
• The Conservative Party of Canada - www.conservative.ca
• The Christian Heritage Party of Canada - www.chp.ca
• Canada Family Action Coalition - www.familyaction.org
• The Western Standard - www.westernstandard.ca
• RealWomen Of Canada - www.realwomenca.com
• Focus On The Family Canada - www.fotf.ca
• Pure Intimacy - www.pureintimacy.org
• British Columbia Parents & Teachers For Life - www.bcptl.org
• Campaign Life Coalition - www.lifesite.net
• Alberta Pro-Life - www.albertaprolife.com
• NARTH - www.narth.com
• Birthright - http://www.birthright.org/

We have REAL problems in our country, problems which cannot be solved through blame, fear, and apathy.

Our medical system requires reworking. All Canadians have the right to full medical access regardless of income. The worth of one child over another is NOT determined by the tax bracket of the parents.

Through the increase of tuition fees and the disappearing of grants and loan forgiveness programs we are systematically creating a generation plagued with debt, and cutting off access to higher education from a huge number of potential students.

Daycare and assistance for single parents has been slaughtered. Public education is morphing into an under-funded babysitter severely lacking in physical activity, music, and support.

Canada is a mosaic of culture and heritage. A large percentage of our citizens are not from white, middle-class, Christian backgrounds. Does this make them lesser citizens? First Nations culture must be protected and respected, and the transgressions addressed. Is Christian faith the deciding factor in Canadian inclusiveness? Many Canadians are devote followers of other faiths. Does that make them less qualified to make decisions? Does that give them less freedom? In my bubble racism never existed, yet I am now witness to a level of hatred and condemnation I had never before experienced.

How does wanting to marry the person you love, respect and cherish become an election issue? It’s a human rights issue, and it has already been settled by the Supreme Court.

Less public are the struggles of individuals that are more easily dismissed. These are the individuals whose safety and options rely on the funding of social programs.
The countless homeless, struggling through a cold winter with limited options.
Drug addicts, needing medical attention and a safe injection site, just trying to avoid HIV and sickness. It’s easy to forget that heroine does not diminish human worth.
Women such as myself, working in a legal professions that exists outside of legal protection.
Prostitutes in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, working in dangerous conditions that most of us can’t even imagine. The Pickton trial begins in a week. So many women have fallen through the cracks of society, forgotten as though they never existed, but for the friends and families left to grieve.

And yet we are drowning in a campaign of slander, and immature avoidance banter. It’s easy to be self-absorbed and blind. It’s easy to judge and walk away. It’s easy to not see, to not hear, to not consider the humanity behind the label.

It’s easy to get caught up in corruption and scandal and forget the foundation of the platform. It’s easy to focus of the candy promises of more money. It’s easy to forget that it could be you in need of protection and assistance.

I don’t have solutions for the complicated issues predominant in our society. I do believe that through mutual respect and compassion solutions can be found. I do believe that every man, woman, and child is equal before the law, and before whatever god to which they pray. I do believe that every citizen is equal and worthy of respect and freedom as a human being with dreams, fears, memories and hopes.

I just pray most of Canada agrees with me on Monday.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

another one

Weirdo of the day:

As I come out of the dressing room he stops and stares. I do expect this reaction when I’m dressed as a nun. He is wearing a tight black shirt and jeans. Bald, rotund, and sporting a peppered goatee it’s obvious that he is on business. As I wait to go on stage he interrupts his game of pool to ask me, “Are you a dancer”. He speaks with a slight accent that I can’t place. I reply with “I can’t think of any other reason to be dressed like this in a peeler bar.” He tells me I’m beautiful then asks my permission to finish his game of pool. I am dressed as a nun so perhaps my blessing is required.

He takes a front row seat as I go on stage. While dancing I can see him talking about me to his friend. I can’t make out what they are saying but I do notice the compliments. On my third song he holds up two dollars American. Oooh a whole two dollars!!! Lucky me!! He motions for me to take the money between my breasts but I explain that I’m not allowed and that he would have to convince the bartender. To my surprise he jumps up to explain the situation to the bartender. I hear “Nope. She’s too smart to try that here.”

After my show I give him a keychain. Might as well have a souvenir, after all he did tip me two dollars! He looks at the keychain as again tells me how stunning I am. (I’m tired and grumpy; I know I look like it). He tells me he wants to put me in a magazine.

Ryann: What magazine?
Dude: Does it matter?

R: Yes. I control all images of me.
D: Playboy.

R: You work for Playboy?
D: No.
R: Well then…
D: What’s your price?
R: For what?
D: For a magazine. What price?
R: What magazine?
D: What about this picture? Can I buy it and put it in a magazine?
R: I don’t own it.
D: Who does?
R: Bryan Ward Photography.
D: He could do a shoot for a magazine? You are so beautiful.
R: Thanks. Yes he can shoot.
D: So I can call him?
R: Sure.
D: I’m staying at ____ hotel
R: That’s nice.
D: You’re not interested.
R: Nope.
D: Oh… you’re so beautiful.
R: Thanks. Good night.

I know very well what he’s asking for a price on. But I’m not for sale, or rental, and I’m just not in the mood for the will you sleep with me for money because you’re so beautiful discussion tonight.

One more show. I’m tired. Seven shows in one day is too much. My patience wears thin. I want to curl up with my care bear, hot chocolate, and a book. I want to lie down and forget about the world for a few hours. I don’t want to go back into that bar and fake it for another 18 minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Weirdoes of the day:

Number one: Greasy ringlets layer the aging mullet. His oversized shirt sleeves drag in the splashes of beer in front of him. He leans back in his chair and motions for me to come closer. “I have an amazing tongue” he winks. I cringe. “You’ll regret it forever that you didn’t take me up on my offer” he continues as I shake my head and walk away. “You’ll never get anything like it…”

Oh I can feel the remorse already.

Number two: He’s drunk, young, desperate, and socially inept. In his inebriation his confidence is soaring. The poor idiot obviously believes himself to attractive. He has carefully selected a wrinkled blue dress shirt for the occasion. “Hey baby, know what I would do…” he slurs as I stand above him. The stage is lined with horizontal brass poles. They exist as a tarnished reminder of the barrier. I kneel in front of him mildly amused as he leans over and LICKS the pole.

Eeewwwwwwwww!!! I stare at him in horror. My mind wanders to a high school biology lab where we tested the bacterial cultures present on various surfaces of the school. I look intently at the slimy finger prints covering the surface and imagine what he has just ingested in his quest to be sexy. Stale beer, bacteria… I can only imagine where the hands that have touched that bar have been…

The things some people will put in their mouths…

I walk away, disgusted, as he shouts. I’ve hurt his ego. It helps to mention how often he gets laid, and to yell repugnant comments. I tell him to try his left hand if he gets lonely. But this is a small town, and someone might actually do him. I just hope no one kisses him before he gargles with Listerine.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The beginning

Rain. Wind. More rain. More wind.

It’s miserable out. I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel listening to the wind howl through the streets. I was actually blown OFF a sidewalk this evening… and while I might be tiny, I’m not THAT puny. The hotel is great, not anything spectacular... but I have internet, a room to myself, and a coffee shop within the building.

It is officially the beginning of this road trip. I’ll have one more night at home to pack up all the winter stuff, but there are no more days off without travel for 2 months… sigh.

I don’t want to go. I spent the entire day yesterday (6 hours) in coffee shops visiting friends and saying goodbye… getting all teary eyed and mushy. I have the BESTEST friends in the whole wide world!!!

I wonder how long I can be a gypsy. I know it’s only two months… and I do (most days) like my job… but I miss coffee afternoons and walks along the waterfront. I miss hugs and hearing “I love you”. I miss the physical comfort of having a shoulder to lean on or a hand to grasp. I wonder what will change while I’m gone. I wonder what I’ll miss. I wonder what I’m leaving that I won’t be able to come back to…

I wonder how I will reconcile my personal and professional goals with a personal life… and when. (I have a crush... shhh). As I change I’m finding myself wanting different things… I’m starting to want more. I want to be more than the escape, the distraction, the affair, or the fantasy… I want to be real.

Nothing to do or say at this point… We’ll see how things are when I get back...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

a year ago...

It's a beautiful day. The sun is low in the sky, and the breeze is cool. Daylight is beginning to linger longer. My eyes are heavy. I have had far too little sleep these past few days, certainly no regrets on that choice. I will sleep tonight.

The boys asked me last night if I ever got sick of listening to boys with guitars sing songs drunkenly… Nope. Especially not when they actually can sing and play.

It was a lovely evening. I lay on the floor staring up at the ceiling enjoying the jubilant harmony. I stared out at the lights of the big city and watched random people make their way along the abandoned streets. I laughed at the drunken compliments and suggestions, far more enjoyable when I’m the sober one.

It was a good night.

I’m still stuck in the moment I left behind. I know sometimes he thinks of me as “his stripper”… and I know I am isolated from reality in that role. I know the friendship is secluded and most often superficial. Distance is both a welcome escape and an uncertainty.

A year ago my world collapsed. A year ago today I received a phone call that would cause me to collapse in tears at work and ignore all normal sensibilities. Limbo began 365 days ago. It was the beginning of who I have become. It was the moment that everything changed. It was the easy decision to move home. It was the most natural and most painful time of my life. It was also the day I met Whiskey.

It’s just another day… yet it marks a passage of time, and an opportunity for reflection. My dear friend held on and fought for every breath until March when no more would come, but it was a cold day on a mountain in January that the dreaded call came. I remember working. Serving beer, and running food. I remember looking at call display and my heart sinking. I knew… I remember the tears choking me as the bartender yelled at me to get back to work. I remember hiding in a corner ignoring everyone trying to get the details. Where was he? What happened? Was he dead? Was he going to die before I got there? Would he know me? How much pain was he in? How could I be so far away and need to be home so badly. How could I tell him I loved him? That I always loved him. I remember the earth falling out from beneath me… and then it all gets fuzzy.

I went back to work. I remember Whiskey. I remember our eyes meeting. I remember a very scattered conversation as I closed up the dining room. I remember finding unexpected comfort from the freefall for an instant.

As I think back to a year ago I am amazed by how much I have grown. It seems so long ago… so young. Everything has changed. I am not the same person I was a year ago. Who I am today is a result of that freefall. The choices I made, the path I followed. From the determined drive through the downpour, numb, as the roads closed behind me… to the days spent sitting beside him thankful for the moment, yet always wondering how long it could last.

Who I am today… sister… daughter… nerd… stripper… lover… fantasy… friend.

Today I am a woman complex with hopes and dreams, determination and scars… with real emotions and defenses. My eyes reveal my experience. I have known unconditional love, and I have felt my heart shatter. I have internalized disappointments and expectations. I have reevaluated and rebuilt. I am so thankful for this past year. I am so thankful for the moments that have stayed with me and helped shape me. I am so thankful to have made the choice to dance.

Friday, January 13, 2006

national de-lurking week

leave a comment. Lurkers de-lurk.

Crack in the facade...

The rain is endless. Tears from the heavens replace the ones that I cannot release.

I saw Whiskey yesterday. It was beautiful, it was painful. How do I feel? I feel like I am caught in the rapids and I can’t reach the shore. I feel like jumping off a cliff just to feel something. It’s been a year since him and I met. So much has changed in this year. I have changed, as has he. Yet the dynamics are so similar. I’m much happier these days. I feel like I know who I am, fantasy and reality. Though they often overlap, I feel I understand myself better.

He is beautiful in so many ways, and I am drawn to him. I’m disappointed in myself for caring. I wish I could maintain the illusion more effectively. Martinis are not helpful, especially when I hardly ever drink. I wish my eyes weren’t so transparent (if you look).

To be open to intimacy is to be open to passion, positive and negative.

I want to run. I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to just be. I want the moment to stay. I want the loneliness to go away. I want, for a moment, to be real.

I don’t want a boyfriend. I’m not in a position to have expectations, and I doubt I’m willing to make the choices and sacrifices. I’m very much looking forward to spending time with the Brat this weekend, and I love the tension in meeting new people. I don't know that I save myself from any hurt, but I know my priorities. I leave in a week for the north and the dread is sinking in. We’ve been down that road, we’ve had that discussion… but I am human, and feelings do exist. I won’t see him again until March. I won’t see anyone again until March. I know my choices. I accept the path I create. I’m taking baby steps toward continuing my education, and I feel confident and positive about my direction. Though still vague, I sense that as I grow the journey will appear before me… I just have to stay in the right direction, and true to myself. I know the sacrifices.

It’s a temporary crack in the façade. My strength will return in a matter of hours, and in one deep breath I will be able to close my eyes and release the vulnerability. I will rebuild the defensive mirage and go to work.

I will continue on my way, briefly reminded of my humanity and vulnerability.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Vote Dammit!!

Ok this is going to be a rant.

... and if I've offended some of my dear friends... well I maintain my position.


We have a federal election coming up on JANUARY 23, 2006!!!

Some of the more popular excuses include total apathy, a lack of knowledge, or pure frustration. So, I'm going to help. I've put together a couple of very handy websites that in a few clicks you can go from apathetic to informed.

Some of the ‘hot topics’ on the table include healthcare, education, childcare, defense spending… foreign debt forgiveness (think Live 8 Concert and Africa), taxes, and employment insurance. The undercurrent of “Good Christian values” is also very prevalent with topics such as gay marriage, decriminalization of marijuana and sex industry issues.

Between every mom, daycare worker, student, farmer, military personnel, engineer, activist, stripper, cancer patient, logger, teacher, homosexual couple, nurse, and unemployed fisherman I know…

From the care your loved one receives in Emergency, to the tuition you pay, to the rights to love and marriage you chose, to the drug and treatment options available, to the survival of industries such as pulp and paper, fisheries, softwood lumber, and petroleum… everyone I know is in some way touched by national politics. Yet a mere 45% of Canadian voters actually vote. WHY!?!?

We live in a country where we have the freedom to vote. We have a responsibility to our community and our country. I do have serious concerns about the current campaign, and the fear-based rhetoric being used to discriminate. I do worry about the detrimental effects of faith based arguments that deliberately hinder the rights of individuals and facets of society. I do maintain that trickle-down economics do not work, and that "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." (Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Dec. 22, 1967). I do believe that everyone has the right to proper medical care regardless of income, and that children require proper education and care. Those are some of the reasons I will vote. What are yours?

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

The following quotes are from the “Vote by Issue” quiz. Fine. You’re uninformed. You don’t watch the debates, or read the papers. This quiz compiles the party leaders’ views on election issues without attaching the names. Simply agree or disagree with each issue and see who you agree with at the end.


"Increase the child tax benefit, close tax loopholes for large businesses and take the GST off family "essentials" such as children's clothing, books and medicine."

"Canada must honour its commitment to devote 0.7 per cent of GDP to foreign aid and forgive debts owed by developing nations. "

"Spend $5 billion over five years in the budget for a national early learning and child-care program. "

"Attach conditions to funding to ensure any future investment goes only to the public health-care system. "

"Provide more front-line personnel and less administration, and increase defense spending to the NATO European average as a percentage of GDP. "

CBC provides daily updates on election campaigns, party platforms, and local ridings. Of course Elections Canada has all the necessary logistics and details.



Oh, I’m fabulously helpful.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Night Gang

The Friday Night Gang fed me dinner, gave me chocolate, and told me Jesus loves me. Apparently these people come to the hotel every Friday with dinner and prayer for the dancers and hotel tenants. AND not even in a judgmental “let us save you” way. Jesus and I are good buddies. I do get very defensive when faith is shoved down my throat, or used as a weapon of discrimination. But, the Friday Night Gang was lovely. Sweet, considerate, respectful and open.
(mmm chocolate)

It is a very interesting raggedy bunch that inhabits this hotel. What choices lead a person to be alone, renting a room above a strip club? It’s obvious that there are a lot of addictions haunting these halls.

The girl working at the gas station yesterday went off about the vermin that choose to become drug addicts. Now I could be mistaken, but I have yet to meet anyone that “chose” to become an addict. The other dancer and I had to leave quickly to avoid a tirade on how close-minded and unforgiving her rant was. For a moment I found myself wondering about this nameless addict that is frequenting the local Petrocan. I know, through the grape vine, that a girl I went to high school with was last seen somewhere in this area. I know she is struggling with drugs and an abusive relationship. I have no real reason to think it to be her, but I do wonder. I pray someday she finds her path to safety and sobriety.

Weirdo of the day: Local 20-something labourer decided in his brilliance that “Wow. You’re too smart to be a Stripper!” was a compliment. So I eloquently pointed out his flawed logic and how ignorant that comment was… Boobs? And Brains? Inconceivable!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


The wind whips the trees as the waves clash into the shore. Rain splatters into the glass, unaware of the warmth inside. It’s a chilly winter day on the coast. Everything is grey, and wet. The skate park across the street is abandoned by everyone but the seagulls.

My room is bathed in a soft yellow glow. It feels strangely cozy. The leg of the bed has been replaced by a crooked chunk of wood. The plaster walls are cracking in places, and window has been warped from years of dampness. The TV and lamp remind me of my Grandmother’s. “Top Gun” is playing in the background as I type. Somehow this movie touches on something I crave, that I dare not admit. There is some element that for all my determination, stubborn cynicism, and ambition, remains intact.

Watching every motion in this foolish lovers game
Haunted by the notion somewhere there’s a love in flames…
Turning and returning to some secret place inside
Watching in slow motion as you turn my way and say…
Take my breath away….
Take my breath away….

The painting on the wall reminds me of a Japanese postcard sold to Hawaii. The couch is a deep navy blue; it works well to hide the stains I know are there. From my window I can see the sunlight evaporating. There will be no sunset tonight. The grey sky is fading to black as the orange lights glisten on the streets. Almost time for another show...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Year in Reflection...


This past year has marked a transition in the direction of my life, and has forced so much to be stripped away, so many of the idealisms of years gone by.

Where am I on the dawn of 2006? Who am I as I begin my 25th year?

I am lonely, but I do not feel as lost. As I cultivate my path and explore the depths of my emotions and aptitudes, my strengths and failures, I am learning to accept my humanity, and embrace my weaknesses. When a monument crumbles a unique opportunity to rebuild the foundation is presented.

I have cut through the disappointments and unfulfilled expectations of false friendships and promises. I have reevaluated what I can offer and what I am willing to accept in return. I found the courage to walk away from Maverick and the dreams he embodied. I have become more direct and expanded my powers of communication.

Dancing has increased my confidence. It has provided an opportunity to explore unhindered by routine expectations. By becoming the fantasy, I expand my own. I have embraced a level of expressive vulnerability and increased my awareness of natural powers.

Who am I? I am stronger than I realize most days. I am cynical but emotional. I am delicate and determined. I am ambitious and wandering. I am content with where I am at this point in my journey. I am anxious to continue my growth and discovery. I am eager to regain purpose and direction, but I am satisfied with who I am. I have faith in me.

I'm not sure that I am making any resolutions at this point. Perhaps goals are a better choice of words. In 2006 my goals are...

To continue to build my financial and educational independence.
To volunteer my time and voice to causes that could benefit.
To soul search and evaluate potential careers. I want to feel confident and secure in an academic direction, with a dynamic career in sight.
To learn, write, think, read, and express everyday while increasing my background knowledge of subjects that I have interest in pursuing.
To be a reliable and positive friend as relationships continue to grow, and enhance my willingness to accept new people.

I want to be open to new experiences, and embrace the ever changing ripples of phenomenon, both positive and challenging, as valuable inclusive moments to learn from and internalize.

I seek to grow as an individual, remain true to my convictions and values, and embrace my unique gifts in an open quest of self-discovery.


"We have trust issues. He doesn't need attention from The Stripper... You throw yourself at everyone and stick your ass out like a whore. I don't want you talking to him... You SHOULD be ashamed of your job! But instead you prance around like you're proud of it or something..."

Sigh... this was the phone call I received last night while I was out for a lovely New Years dinner with friends. Unfortunately it was quite drawn out and painful, especially since the 'boyfriend' is simply the stepson of my dear friend. We live in the same house, wander in and out of the same family, and have known each other for many years. The minor detail that we have NEVER been involved in any romantic or sexual relationship is obviously totally irrelevant now that I am 'The Stripper'.

It saddens me to watch such a relationship. It saddens me to watch people navigate the delicate balance as time turns love into angry bitterness, and yet they cling to the false security of years past, desperately trying to erase reality.

I am so irrelevant to their relationship, so detached from their problems. I just live here. I just want a place at home to be free from judgment, abuse, and personal attacks centered on calling me a whore. I will not apologize for my appearance, or my confidence. I will not be ashamed of my independence.

I was polite, but firm in my phone manner. I was assertive, direct, and respectful to her. But it hurts. It hurts that the insecurities of one young woman can be so easily projected onto me, simply because of proximity. It hurts that a person can be so wrapped up in selfish bitterness and anger that they forget the humanity of another.

I hope someday these two people find happiness. I hope eventually they are able to rebuild individual lives, and find a way to work beyond the resentment. I just wish my emotional santuary wasn't a target.