“For the longest time I felt I did not fit in though now I am out of the trade, it is easier because I can talk about what I do for work.”
“I feel like a normal person who goes to work and does their job, just like anyone else. At the same time I'm acutely aware of the fact that I lead a double life. I have a 'real' life that revolves around me stripping, and a 'fake' life I create as a front for family, friends, and others who don't know I dance. Maintaining this 'fake' life is highly stressful and causes me to feel extremely detached and alienated from many people.”
“I don’t like being around people who have it all, like jobs and no violent past.”
“I pass for normal.”
“In the beginning it was like I was doing a bad thing but I continued to do it because I enjoyed the attention from men. In the end I felt like a cockroach of society.”
“Outside. Condemned. Oppressed. Ostracized.”
It’s easy to assume we just don’t fit into the world. We are treated as outcasts and deviants. We are equally pitied, hated, and worshipped. While we are at work, it all seems quite fine and comfortable. But out in the “real” world, people try to shame us and force us to change.
However, the reality is that we are neither worse, nor better than any other person in the world. “I am not better than anyone” is easy to follow. But “no one is better than me” can be difficult for people who’ve consistently been treated as the lowest class of humans.
Yet, we all have inherited the earth. No one person has more right to being here than any other person. We all shape the world we live in by how we outwardly behave and react. If we avoid places where we feel inferior, we are depriving the world of our greatness - a greatness that every single person in the world has.
Nelson Mandela said,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
“Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
You do not have to believe in God to know these words are true. You just have to believe in yourself.
Some ways to feel more connected to the rest of the world are:
- Remember that you are equal to every other person in the world.
- Reject any suggestions – personal or societal – that make you feel of low worth.
- Join groups you are intimidated by (Parent Advisory Council, board of a charity, etc) – you’ll soon see that everyone else is just as intimidated by you!
- Don’t identify yourself by what you do for work. We are not our jobs. This is just one of the ways we make a mark in our lifetimes.
- Volunteer with charities that are meaningful to you to feel like you are contributing to something important.
- Realize and remember that what you are offering through your work is also an important contribution to the world and nothing to be ashamed of.
- Spend time with other industry workers where you feel free to be yourself.