I have noted how many comments have said that I was getting 'sucked in' to the bar life - or should I say 'the strip bar life'.
I was a very naive and sheltered 18 year old who walked into that hotel in search of a job. At the time I handed my resume to the owner I wasn't even thinking of working in the strip bar because I didn't know it existed. I thought I might work in the nightclub or even upstairs as a housekeeper or perhaps behind the front desk.
I was more than grateful that the owner offered me a job in the first place. I was afraid of losing my apartment and I didn't want to go back to living with my parents. They were abusive people who used me to forward their attempts at earning their own living. They didn't care much about my life and what I might have to do when they let me know they were closing the location of the store I managed and made a living from.
As I have said - I was raised Baptist. Dancing - kissing - touching - showing love - these are not things that good Baptists do. (believe me - I'm not sure what a good Baptist actually does except condemn others) Watching what 'good Baptists' did to one another made me lose the faith that was grilled into me four days a week.
So I was grateful for a job - any job. I started at less than minimum wage because waitresses and waiters could be paid less than the required minimum wage back in those days - because we made 'tips'. That was supposed to make up the incredible difference between what I got paid and what anyone else might get paid who didn't get 'tips'. I believe I started at about $1.75/hr. When I left all those years later - I was making $2.80/hr.
I accepted and attacked that job with fear and trepidation and finally a ferocity that I didn't (really) know was in me. I was afraid of the unknown - of seeing women with their clothes off in front of men and what that all entailed. The trepidation over not being a good enough waitress and forgetting orders and not being able to add up numbers quickly almost brought out a rash. And then the fear of not being able to pay my rent and feed and clothe myself drove me onwards - ever onwards.
So yes - I had to accept what I saw in that strip-bar and I had to accept the ugliness of it all. But! - I also learned that I had something in me that could accept such shocking changes in my life and I could block them from the front of my brain and put my need to survive first. And I learned I could do that really well.
I worked in that bar for almost 15 years. And it changed me. Absolutely. I became hard and coarse - I had to to be able to survive.
And what I wanted to show you as I give you parts of this chapter - is the changes in a rather innocent girl who was striving to keep her head above water - and who was all alone in her struggles. A girl who had no-one to talk to about these shocking changes and ugly visages she saw in order to survive.
At the time I didn't have the self confidence needed to go out and find a different job, and after a while I didn't want to because no other job was going to bring in the kind of money I was making at that time - just on tips alone.
So I stayed. And lots of horrible things happened to me (to add to the horrible things of my past) - but that is a story for later. This is the story for now - the loss of innocence for a drowning girl with no handholds to grab on to. Not friends - and certainly not family. My parents never spoke of me during the time I worked at that bar. To them I didn't exist unless I forced myself into their consciousness.
Just some thoughts on some of your comments - for now.
ps - I'm still putting up posts at Big Blue Barn Knits!