Ryann Reflections

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

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I Am

I want to cry but I my emotions are too intense for tears. My expression masks the rumblings and turmoil below the surface. My mind is racing, my heart is reeling.

I’m on the verge of completing the Grief Recovery Handbook. I’m trying to finish the last chapter and the last task. It’s taken me a year to get through this process. A year… and I’m almost there. I need to complete these relationships. Can I let go? Can I forgive, and release my ties to those emotions. Can I allow myself to move beyond the pain, disappointment, expectations and unrealized potentials? Can I let go? Am I ready? I don’t know.

The glaring realization that every man I have loved has chosen someone else is cutting deep today. I knew it in my mind, on some level. But to write it out, to put names down in ink… to know that my fear of being discarded is very real and very solidly formed in experience. I know my hope never really fades, I know my heart never truly died. Even in my most desperately numb and damaged months- I still loved. I still cared and I still hoped. And they still left. I don’t want to be victimized about this, but I do want to realize honestly where my fear is founded. I want to change the pattern, and to do so I need to realize why. I need to own my actions and my part in every moment. I need to forgive them. I need to change it. I’m so deeply frightened of forever being the backup, the interlude, the mistress, the affair or the distraction. I’m so scared of being thrown away.

I’m feeling very raw emotionally, exposed. My heart is overwhelmed with the abundance of emotions. I’m reliving experiences, reconciling losses, exploring hopes, fears and ideas. I’m in love with the very essence of this life. Mind, Body, and Soul- I’m in love. My time in Yellowknife has been powerful. I have spent two weeks isolated with no one to answer to but myself. Two weeks of honest, raw searching. It has been empowering, and exhausting. I’m tender and real. There is nothing numb left. I care. I’m on the verge of tears at the thought of leaving behind newly solidified friendship. I’m bursting with anticipation of going home and seeing my friends again.

My entire life is hugs and good-byes, moments of laughter and love, leaving behind friendship to go home to love. Leaving home to explore the unknown, to taste this life and grasp opportunity. I am simultaneously torn between homesick and impatient. I want to jump off the cliff. I want to curl up in a ball and cry my heart out. I want to cling to the moment, prolong the encounter and I want to run home.

I finished the book. I’ve completed the task at hand. The completion letters have been written. The words have been said. “I’m sorry.” “I forgive.” “Good-bye.”

So far from numb, every smile is triggering compassion and appreciation. I am alive with conviction, purpose, and love. I will defend and fight with passion. I am immersed in Love, Truth, and Joy. I am confident with Who I Am, and Who I Am Becoming. I live. I feel. I love. I cry. My eyes are on fire. My soul is exposed. Ardent, enthusiastic, and animated, I am so Fucking Alive I think I might explode.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Man up!!

Alright, I’m taking this on, enough of this evasive bullshit. The gender roles are FUCKED! And I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of the lack of personal responsibility, the lack of backbone, the lack of strength, confidence, and power. I’m sick of the lack of conviction. I’m fucking tired of the indecision, the need for approval and the wimpy, weak, effeminate metrosexual submission. If you’re a Man OWN IT! Be it. Find the courage and the pride to live by it. The answer is NOT “whatever you say dear.”

I’m going straight to Nietzsche on this one. Feminists everywhere are welcome to crucify me, but the natural balance has been betrayed and I’m sitting amongst a desperate and lost generation.

Will and willingness.-- Someone took a youth to a sage and said: "Look, he is being corrupted by women." The sage shook his head and smiled. "It is men," said he, "that corrupt women; and all the failings of women should be atoned by and improved in men. For it is man who creates for himself the image of woman, and woman forms herself according to this image.""You are too kind-hearted about women," said one of those present; "you do not know them." The sage replied: "Will is the manner of men; willingness that of women. That is the law of the sexes - truly, a hard law for women. All of humanity is innocent of its existence; but women are doubly innocent. Who could have oil and kindness enough for them?""Damn oil! Damn kindness!" someone shouted out of the crowd; "Women need to be educated better!" - "Men need to be educated better," said the sage and beckoned to the youth to follow him. - The youth, however, did not follow him. from Nietzsche's The Gay Science
... Where do we go from here? I know society tells me that I am supposed to be strong, independent, educated, and ambitious. The more feminine traits of compassion, nurturing, and giving seem to have fallen second to a career. Why? If women seek only equality, then why are we so confused? Why did Women’s Rights castrate our Men? Why are there now so many women going back to the home, back to this Neo-conservative lifestyle? Look at the fashion. Look at the needs.

It’s fucking exhausting doing everything, being all. It’s draining, unsatisfying and frustrating being surrounded by weak guys, hoping that someday, somehow they will Man up! Men have forgotten what it means to be Man. No one taught them how. Sarah gets it. and I’m jealous. She found it. He found her. Now if only her Mac would start up a “Man school” that we could send them to.

What does it mean to be a woman?

To me, it means with grace, conviction and passion. We are the givers of life. It means being aware and accepting of your internal strength and courage. It means being true to yourself, and striving to be more. It means loving unconditionally. It means living by example of kindness and self-respect and teaching those around you (especially your children) to do the same. It means taking responsibility for the next generation. It means giving and sacrifice. It means living with conviction, protecting the weak, and cherishing humanity. It means embracing the Goddess powers, the beauty, sexuality, grace, elegance and passion of womanhood. To be Woman is fucking incredible. I don’t want to be masculine.

Women are straining to reconcile the roles of Mother, and Wife, while juggling a career. Our mothers trained us to believe that we can do anything. No one mentioned that you can’t do everything. No one taught us how to be a Wife. Something will suffer, something will be sacrificed. The choice is up to the individual. (We watched the marriages fail).

Of course I want the right to pursue anything I want. Of course I want an education and a choice. My voice matters. In a true relationship, with a true partner, a yin and yang balance- the possibilities are endless. No, I’m not being idealistic. The gender roles and interpersonal dynamics of relationships are not simple, nor are the needs and desires of the individual. I love that there are many alternatives to the traditional dichotomy of genders, and that a loving partnership is not defined by anatomy. I do maintain that there needs to be a masculine/ feminine balance, and that is what I feel has been lost.

Dominant and determined He is the protector and provider. He offers shelter, safety, and strength. In His arms, is home. In His guidance and love is security. He is a Father, roll model, and lover. Yes, this may be taking a Will to Power angle on the question, but I think that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

I asked a friend of mine, Spader, what does it mean to be a Man? This is His answer…

It means that you live your life based on a set of principles, morals and convictions (that you can articulate) and are willing to take societal pressure or grief for them (aka if you don't tow the line, you get peer-pressured) because you are mentally strong enough to know that you don't have a weak need to be accepted by everyone for all of your ideas and actions

That is a Man.

I’m worried about my generation. The first whole generation raised on divorce, our faith is maimed. We are the children of the 80’s, the products of the “Me” decade. We are lost.

I met a lovely young woman last night, so young and beautiful. She is dedicated to her fiancé, and desperate to please him. But he is not a Man. I watch him consistently selfish and blind to her needs. Immature and damaged he is so centered on himself that he is unable to see the incredible beauty and power hidden within this young woman. I sense her strength. I see the depth of her understanding. I see her fold in on herself and hide. She denies herself to compensate for him. She needs her man to be her protector, guide, and home. He isn’t Man enough to handle her and she knows he needs to feel that he is. She wants to be woman. But she is unable to release her potential, or reveal her soul because she is more powerful than he is. She is protecting him from her strength in order to maintain the façade. With a true partner she could fly.

Man up!

We are staring into our elder’s choices desperate to not repeat their mistakes. The Family has been decimated, and we don’t want to complete that cycle. We have the power to say “fuck you! I want a divorce.” And yes there are many relationships that should end. There are too many abusive and misogynistic cock sucking cowards that parade around, feeding on their partner’s need for security. There are also too many manipulative, ambitious and cruel women that berate, humiliate and seek to destroy their men. Sometimes divorce is the answer.

But I’ve had enough of the self-indulgent product of my society justification for a lack of personal responsibility.

If Nietzsche has a point, and "Will is the manner of men; willingness that of women.” Then no wonder we are so lost. I know so many women who yearn for submission. I want my Man to be powerful and passionate. I want to feel total acceptance and love. I want Him to challenge me, see through me, and guide me. I don’t want to be everything alone. I want a partner in life. I want to know that in Him I can trust. With Him, I am more.

We need our Men. We, as women need our Men.

Man up!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

like a vampire

I want to be more than I am alone. I crave to be purified by degradation. FUCK!! I have so much power! Harness me! Direct me. It oozes from my eyes and penetrates everything I touch. I feel it building. I feel the vibrancy culminating deep in my core. GROWL!! Like a Vampire. Lustful.

I don’t want sex, it’s too easy. I want life. I want to eat it, taste it, and suck the blood from the very essence of this life. I want to touch it, let it flow through my fingers and over my body. The music matches my pulse. I am lustful, demanding, seductive and manipulative. I will steal it, revel in it. Fulfilling a brief hunger, but it grows…

My silence is misleading. My smile is a deception of purity. A chalice waiting to be filled I throw myself into the moment. Own me. Worship me. Crave me. It’s an illusion of what I desire. I use these men. In a moment I can be what they want. I am a fantasy and muse. I am desired and despised. I take their energy, feeding on the lust. I use them. I want to be their object. I fantasize about submission. I hate them for being so weak. I love them for the mutual objectification.

Abandon ego, expectations, and demands. I become more. Purified by objectification, I am free from societal expectations. I don’t need to be strong, independent, or professional. I am Woman.

Through dancing I vanquish my fears, insecurities and weaknesses. I am free. I dance with abandon, passionate and primal, open to the energies that surge through the room. I’m searching for the truth. I’m searching for the strength to hold me.

...Use me, I’m beautiful. Take me. I’m yours. Hurt me. It feels like medicine, all I deserve...

I am infatuated with a dear friend of mine. I’ve decided to call him Merrick. I don’t know what path we are meant to walk. I don’t know if he and I will ever be together, but it doesn’t matter. All I want is what he offers. I love it for what it is, today in this moment. But I do fantasize about him. He is so powerful and charismatic, intoxicating. I could see it. I don't know who I will be with, but I could see him as my home. I want to release myself from my defenses and truly allow myself to fall in love.

My heart is ready to love. I am vulnerable, open. Quietly I wait for my Man. I wait for the One who will take me. It may be years… I wonder who it will be.

...But with you it’s understood. You make me feel strong. Your arms look so powerful when they hold me down...

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Maternal Pride- part two.

I knew when I posted it that I was touching on a loaded topic. Should my Mother be proud of me for being a Stripper?

I say yes. I really do. Not because I’m making a ton of money and paying off my debts. It’s not volunteer work and I do enjoy the financial freedom, but it’s not as much as you might think. No, I think my mom should be proud of me because of who I have become as a result of this job. As a person I really feel I have grown, and I am continuing to grow daily. I am proud, and I think she should be too. I want her to see that.

I have learned to slow down and really think about the choices I make, and why.
I have learned to consider my path, my gifts, and my strengths in ways that a cookie-cutter career or education often discourages or postpones.
I have learned to be alone, and be okay.
I have learned to be assertive and firm in setting boundaries.
I have learned compassion and acceptance for the choices people make, and the roads they walk.
I have learned not to judge.
I have learned to take time off when I need it, and to be aware of myself- body, mind, and soul. I love my body, and appreciate it, flaws, flub, and beauty in a unique package that is mine.
I listen more, read more, and think more. There is no auto-pilot numbness in my life.
I have finally learned to be vulnerable and honest. I’m not afraid to be exposed, physically or emotionally. I am not ashamed. I have weaknesses, and flaws. But I am real, and I am beautiful.

I have come to accept myself as a whole. I know I am more than my sex appeal, more than my intellect, and more than my ambition. I know my worth is not dependant on external approval. I am finally accepting who I am, and what I’m honestly searching for.

I am reexamining the many gender roles in our society with a new perspective and appreciation. I have learned to be thankful for men as well as women, and other variations.
I have truly come to a place of understanding women’s rights, equal rights, and diversity in the individual. I am intimately aware of the misogyny in our society, and I’m not blind to where we are. I also know that the right to choose to do anything encompasses professionals, mothers, and sex workers. It has to.

I have become a more confident woman, and a more compassionate person. I have not sacrificed my ideals, my soul, or my self-esteem for this job. I would say I have done the opposite. I find it interesting that Forrest’s comment implies that I’m sacrificing my soul for money. “I would resent her for not doing something more noble with her life” Please explain this to me. If one can accept that I am not lying, and that I’ve truly gained so much from this job, so much personal growth, how can that be a parental failure? Obviously this is a limited career, and I will be taking my experiences as a Stripper into every future career. Does stripping negate all future noble ventures? Or will quitting bring forgiveness? The day I start to question my worth by a monetary scale, or sacrifice my happiness for a bar, is the day I quit. No job is worth that.

My path is my own. I’m not blind, but I am curious. I want to understand more.



I broke into my house in Yellowknife.
No, really I did.

I arrived at midnight, after an evening of delayed flights and mixed drinks, to a very dark house. No one was opening the doors. I banged on the door. I phoned the house. I phoned the bar. I rang the doorbell a lot, and then I rang it again… Then I exclaimed “fuck this!” and started to problem solve.

I’m NOT inclined to sleep on the porch, and the window was open so…

Giggling and as graceful as a sack of potatoes, my buddy boosted me up to the open window. I clung to the edge perilously and wriggled through the window, giggling, squealing and complaining about how fat my hips are. I’m sure my ass bent over the window sill was a lovely sight.

Face first into the curtains I toppled onto the floor. Unscathed and extremely proud we exchanged a triumphant high-five. Clunking, laughing, and slightly intoxicated we hauled my stuff into the house just in time to wake up the girl sleeping downstairs.

Of course I scared the living shit out of her with the racket of breaking into her house (apparently she doesn’t wake up to doorbells). It’s all good, because she’s cool and she knows I’m not really crazy. After a very brief explanation of my skills she rolled her eyes and went to bed. It’s all good. I’m inside! I have my bed, AND I have the dancer house to myself for a week!

I’m ready for two weeks in Yellowknife!! Whoo hoo!!

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Friday, August 11, 2006

The feel of expectations

I’m distancing myself from the frustration. I want to scream “WHO do you want me to be? WHAT do you want me to do?” but I know the answers will only come from within. I would love to give the impression that my ‘real’ life is all sunshine and rainbows. I would love to tell a tale of total acceptance and nonjudgmental behavior but I’m human, as are those around me. I have a wonderful family, but families are weird. Being a member of a family is complicated. I’ve been fighting the need to write this down, because I try so hard to love and protect my family. But I will not lie. To lie is to be ashamed, and I am not.

For the first time in my life I am feeling the external lack of maternal pride. Many might say I should not expect it; I am a Stripper after all. But I do. My Mom has always been proud of me before, and the dull retraction of that support is cutting deep. I’m having trouble accepting it because I am FUCKING PROUD!! I feel strength, compassion, love, empowerment, and ambition in my heart. Most importantly I feel. I think. I learn. I am a complete loving, thinking, feeling human being. I’m not numb, nor am I lost.

I am more than yesterday, but without the experience of tomorrow. I do not need to rationalize nor explain my choices, yet here I am…

I don’t know if any two people can ever truly understand each other, but there are moments, and relationships where empathy and acceptance feel complete. Can that ever happen between parent and child or is the dynamic intrinsically filled with prescribed rolls bound by memories, expectations, misunderstandings and assumptions? Is there always a crevice hindering full recognition of the individual in which sexuality (among others things) falls into the rift?

Sexuality is a complex issue in our culture. Taboo and awkward in bridging the generation gap, I realize that many people struggle to accept their parents, children, or roll models as sexual beings. They FUCK… dirty, slippery, grunting, sweating, and ardent fucking!! We are individuals with fantasies, fetishes, and pheromones. I make a living playing with sexuality and performance. Behind closed doors or on stage I know who I am. I know that my sexuality does not negate my intellect. My passion is primal and devours learning as well as lust.

But is it the packaged sexuality or the societal stigma that is causing the tension?

Precisely where the stigma originates, or really how it permeates is difficult for me to predict and comprehend. I do know it is real, and can be harsh. I would be a fool to think it’s only directed at me; yes it touches my family and friends. I’m not unbreakable; I want to be defended and loved for all that I am. My daughter is a Stripper. Say it! Live it! Love it! Accept it!

Is it that men are looking at me, objectifying me, masturbating to my image, wanting to fuck me?
Is it that my job reflects on her acceptance in society? Would her peers judge her for “raising a stripper”? Is that an indication of parental failure?
(I am not a failure)
Is it that I am not striving to meet her expectations of law school or professional grandeur?
(the world changed, Degree = Debt (not job) but that's another blog)
Is it that I am not doing anything important or meaningful by mainstream definition?
Is it a feminist expectation to conform to set aspirations within the “You can do anything” propaganda?

Is it… “You’re too smart to be a Stripper”

Questioning, feeling and assuming... Ooops assuming, that’s never a good idea...


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Job...

There is a lot is mystery and misunderstanding surrounding my job. I know most people never think about the logistics or what happens behind the scenes. To many, Strippers appear like magic in the bar. They enter through mysterious doors that lead to unknown locations. They appear dressed in stilettos, wrapped in an aura of glamorous secrecy.

I enjoy the illusion, and the looks that I get when I walk through the bar to the DJ booth. I love the wide-eyed speculation and fascination. But it’s easy for me to forget about the fantasy when I’m not on stage. I know where the door leads, and what my room looks like. I know the disaster of costumes, makeup and rice cakes that litter my cheap hotel room. I know what my life entails, and the day to day routine, which is anything but glamorous. Foolishly I expect people to know the reality of being a Peeler. Odd since much of the appeal is in the secrecy. Rippers don’t have hairy legs, or do dishes. No one thinks about a Peeler driving kids to daycare. No, Strippers are shrouded in an air of sexuality and nymphomaniac desires. We are “Exotic”!

And here I am ruining that… The industry varies a great deal depending on the bar, and the location. But these are the specifics of MY job… (This should help to answer some of the questions)

I am a self-employed contractor, and sole proprietor. As a contractor I am responsible for all aspects of my business. I am not an employee, and no one assists in the compensation of expenses. I save my receipts, log business expenses, and maintain careful track of my accounting.

I work through agencies who act as the intermediary between me and the club. The agencies have exclusive contracts with specific bars to book dancers. When in Vancouver I work through one agency, when in Manitoba I work through a different one. They arrange show price, show count, and logistics. In turn they take a percentage of my pay. The agency is paid directly from my gross earnings at the end of each week.

The clubs pay per show. If I am NOT ON STAGE, I am NOT PAID. This includes any floor time, selling table dances, or waiting around for a show. Any and ALL expenses incurred while working, traveling, or upgrading a show are out of pocket. Some of my larger expenses include flights, transportation, costumes, photo shoots, and promotional materials such as posters, magnets, and lighters. Other common business expenses are a bit more unique: paint, underwear, shoes, tanning, and makeup.

Accommodation when touring is provided for a reduced rate by most bars, either in the form of a shared dancer house, or a cheap hotel above the bar.

Advertising is minimal. My name is currently on the marquee outside the bar, and my poster in the entrance, but few expenses are incurred by the clubs to promote dancers. I’m in marketing. I sell the idea. Having my name known and requested is important to me, but focuses around maintaining a good relationship with the agencies and the clubs. I am professional, positive, and I work hard. Tours are announced, fans are acknowledged, and promo is abundantly distributed.

At the end of the day and the end of the week if the customers like me and the club likes my attitude and my show I’ve done my job. If I’m on time, professional and good to work with the bar will be happy to book me when I choose to return. If the bars want me my agents are happy because I’m easy to book, and reliable. And so… I have work, where I want, and when I want.

The rest is all smoke and mirrors baby.