Tag Archives: Jezebelle

A Stripper in Sheep’s Clothing – The Enigma

letting-go2I was a virgin. You could say I was a late bloomer. I did not lose my virginity until I was 18 – which of course was still too soon, but that is a totally different topic. I began dancing when I was 18, before I had lost my virginity. I was a virgin, a stripper, a pastor’s daughter, and a Christian – naked and on stage. I was an enigma.

I found myself endeavoring to be the best. I have always been competitive, whether it be in sports, work, or other friendly competitions. I like to be the best. Stripping was no exception. I wanted to be the best stripper in the joint. I wanted people to come from far away just to see the amazing Jezebelle.  I needed to be the one everyone wanted to get a dance from before they left, have customers waiting for me, be the one that everyone is waiting for while they close down the club. I was willing to invest almost whatever I needed to in order to make that happen.

angel

I was never rebellious, I was a shy good girl at heart. I guarded myself from the things that I thought would make a negative on me, but I compromised on the little things that I thought would help me get a little bit ahead. Outside of the club when I wasn’t working, I would spend my nights drinking heavily, and dancing on bars and stages at dance clubs. I would make out with a handful of men per night, usually anywhere  from ten to twenty five men and a few women per night. I was a tease, protecting my virginity. I received oral sex frequently, but never gave any – feeling justified that I was not a slut because I was still a virgin, and never “gave any favors.”  I would go home with guys and go to after parties that I had no business being at. I wanted to be able to hang on to the idea I had of myself as a good girl. I endeavored to have all the fun that I could while still hanging on to what I thought were good and acceptable morals. The game in my head was to stay a good girl, but to do JUST enough to be accepted in the groups that I thought were important to get in with to be successful.

I wanted to have the outward image of a bad girl, but keep the good girl I was taught to value and protect. I was basically the opposite of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I was a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I knew I could be eaten alive if anyone made the discovery.

The crazy thing is; as you grow and mature, you begin to become yourself – care less about what people think of you, and more about what actually matters. For me, there were a few very drastic events that took place in my life, that brought me back to what I valued. These events shook me to the core – back to the things that mattered. Down the road when I was ready to embrace what was most important to me, I was so used to wearing the wolf’s clothing that parts of it, had become a part of me. Returning to the flock was much harder. I had lost a lot of my sheep identity. The enigma was, that when I finally wanted to discard the disguise of a bad girl and return to the innocence I once had – it was gone.

wolf

When my word was flipped upside down and I was ready to return to the flock of sheep, they looked at me like a wolf. I had become a wolf in many ways. Those last few “good” values that I had hung on to for so long had been thrown to the wayside ages ago. I deceived myself telling myself that I was still a “good girl” – the game being comparison – I could always find someone worse. I began as a “good girl” with the disguise of a “bad girl” and warped into the opposite: a “bad girl” trying to play the role of a “good girl.”

In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul says “Do not be deceived ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'”  Basically, if you play with fire, you will get burned – I definitely have my third degree burns. Thanks be to God there is a healer. He tells us “I did not come to call the righteous.” The labels “good girl” and “bad girl” are completely irrelevant to God. Redemption and grace – grace like rain.

“We all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:3-9)

This sheep and wolf thing is just too complicated for all of us. It gets so out of control. We can let go of it, I am no longer a sheep, a wolf, a bad girl, or a good girl. It’s much simpler now. I’m simply a sinner saved by grace. That is my identity. I speak the language of a stripper, a hurt girl, and many others, but God views me as His, as His beautiful daughter – just like His beautiful Son – and with that same purity. My chains are gone. I have been set free!

grace

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Cover Me

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I loved our locker room.  It was raw, it was sexy, it was dirty.  Not what one would expect.  All of us were so open about our flaws, our passions, and our opinions.  Judgement free zone?  Absolutely not, but we were allowed to not care about the judgements.  We all had minor flaws, but we were cover up artists that worked together.  I miss the camaraderie  of women.  There was the cliques, the gossip, and the drama, but it was all out in the open, and we could openly roll our eyes at each others foolishness.  Although I pretty much got along with everyone, there were always the girls I was closest to.  Those girls were there for the money, improving their life, looking good and working the customers hard.  The other girls were there because they didn’t have any other choice.  Most were addicts.  They were there because they couldn’t get a job, they needed another fix, or they didn’t know how to get out of it once they were sucked in.

Few girls in fact, didn’t get sucked in.  Jade was beautiful, intelligent, and as classy as a stripper comes.  She was just there to get some extra money to pay her school bills.  Harley had just finished school, she was just working at the club until she found a job in her field.  Skylar… well, Skylar was sweet, shy and beautiful.  She had been working there for over ten years!  Surely none of us nice girls would ever stay that long.

The managers were like little con artists.  They were there for the money.  Skylar would never leave, she was told every day that she wouldn’t make it outside the club.  These men lured young girls in with the glitter and flashy lights, and then crushed their dreams of making it in the real world as best they could.  No girl could get a job if they didn’t pass a drug test.  It started out as something they would do just at the club, and then of course turn into a habit.  Harley, Skylar, and Jade are all still at the club.  They are all snorting lines, and they will most likely never leave.

Some girls do get out, but when they leave they take with them their habits.  Usually girls leave because they get fired for stealing, they are too messed up to work there anymore, or they get fired because they are not making any money, just sitting upstairs getting high.

I was different.  I was covered.  I never understood the appeal the girls had to the drugs, to the prostitution, and to the long term stripper life.  I was covered.  I understood the pull and the draw, but in the most part those things repulsed me.  I was covered from that life.  I giggled with my friends as they got high, but I was not interested in participating, I was just there for the money, I was covered.  Managers would mentally abuse women all the time to get what they wanted, but to me they were sweet, kind, respectful, and protective.  I was covered.  I got to the point where I thought I was invincible, or immune to the addictions that were constantly dangled before my eyes, but really  I wasn’t, I was just as vulnerable as any of the others, the difference was, I was covered.

Psalm 91:3&4

3Surely he will save you

from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

4He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Click to listen to “cover me”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1pgqOvLKh4

Like a Stripper in Church… Yeah, Just Like It

We all laughed a bit as we continued to tease her.  She was an outcast, not as cool as the rest of us.  We were loitering in the halls, sneaking vending machine purchases that our parents forbade, lest we break the Sabbath day.  She looked like she was about to cry. 

“You guys are so mean!  And especially you two!”  She pointed right at my sister and me.  “You guys are the Pastor’s daughter’s!  You are supposed to be nice!”

My sister and I had just participated in mild bullying only by observation, but with the position of a “Pastor’s Daughter” hanging over our head, the expectation was always much more severe.  We set expectations for behaviors of others, with our own good behavior.  Our lives were looked at as a good example, what other children in the church would be held to.  When we were allowed to get our ears pierced, the rest of the girls showed up their ears pierced.  Our good manners and ability to maturely interact with adults was the bar that the other parents felt pressured to have their children live up to.

I lived in the spotlight.  Every move was judged.  My father stopped in the middle of sermons to correct the way I was sitting in front of the whole congregation.  When we had even mediocre behavior we were judged and talked about endlessly.  When visiting other churches, upon learning my last name, the tone and posture of the conversation would change instantly.  

As a pastor’s daughter, if I wasn’t the female Jesus, church members started throwing stones.  I grew to the point of clinging to a fake perfection, dodging the stones and flashing fake religion.  It was intense.

On the flip side of my experience, when the church had “really bad” visitors stopping by, they were viewed as some sort of hero, for giving God a shot at their lives.  They were met with open arms and forgiveness, and then paraded around for the rest of the world to see how accepting the church was.

I was kicked out of my parent’s home at the age of 18.  I began to visit some churches that were outside of our circle, less strict.  I would get done with my weekend job of stripping, throw some clothes on, and head to church.  Going straight from a strip club into a church service, I was met with open arms.  I transitioned from the highest expectation to the lowest.  No one knew where I was coming from; whether it be from a pastor’s family, or the strip club, but I dressed a bit closer to the later.  I was able to feel the embrace.  

Jesus tell us that He did not come to call the righteous in Luke 5:32.  In some cases the church has taken that to such an extreme that we have abandoned those that silently stumble and struggle right before our eyes.  Recently when meeting with a client, I answered his question of when I was saved.  I told him I was saved at the age of 14.  He chuckled, and then asked me when I fell away.  I then took my turn chuckling and proceeded to answer that question.  This client has no idea of my past, but there is definitely a pattern with the second generation Christians today.  It seems as though  our second generation Christians tolerate the church for as long as they can before rebelling and then hopefully experiencing the grace that scoops them into the arms of Jesus after hitting rock bottom.

What if we started to recognize the abundant grace that is given to those that don’t fall to the wayside?  What kind of grace is more amazing than the grace of a steady walk with the Savior?  How about the grace that keeps you by the Almighty’s side, and does let your foot stumble.  So my friends, as you reach out to the sinners, to the sick, and to the needy, look to those standing right next to you.  Praise God for picking me up from my glaring darkness, and praise God for granting others the grace to avert the darkness.

May I Have Your Attention Please??

I was almost on empty, so I stopped to fill up.  I leaned up against the gas pump as I waited, brushing my hair out of my eyes – courtesy the lovely breeze.  There was a bit of a commotion between the two muscle heads from the next pump over.

“Oh my God, are you Jezebelle?”  One of them yelled as he ran over.  His partner in crime followed a little more quietly and slowly.

I smiled, and soaked in the celebrity moment.  We exchanged some small talk, I refused their phone number, but let them pay for my gas before getting a commitment to see me in the club this weekend.  I got in my car, still smiling, soaking in the affirmation that I yearned for.  The reality is, those guys just wanted to get laid, but to me, they gave me the approval that I have never had.

It’s that wonderful feeling.  Something we all crave at one time or another.  Better than the money, more fun than dancing, and not even comparable to the joys of buying shoes or cute outfits.  Being the best, being the most sought after, the most wanted, the most approved of, the most shown off, the highest on the totem pole.  I want it all.

After accomplishing a small feat, a young child will promptly run to their parent for approval, and praise.  We are wired to seek approval of others, some more than others.  I crave approval on a larger scale than your average Joe.  I want everyone to love me.  I am a pleaser.

Once the feeling of affirmation sets in, confidence and then power follow.  I felt most powerful when  I was on stage with a pressed crowd.  I loved having men willing to spend hundreds of dollars just for a handful of minutes spent with me.  I loved the looks on their faces, the complements flowing from their mouths, the sweet little lies they told me, the loyal customers that only wanted me, that claimed no one else could compare.

This was more than a job, this was a void that I had tried to fill for a long time, now being filled.  It changed my life, Jezebelle gave me power and worth.  Not only did it give me the affirmation I had been looking for from men, but it also gave me a sense that I was better than the rest.  I was a clean dancer, I never did anything for money other than dance, I never did any drugs, and I didnt sleep with the managers or bouncers.  I was better than the other dancers because of this.  I was impossible to stay clean for so long in an environment like that.  I was stronger and smarter than all those bimbo strippers, and I looked amazing without surgery.  I was the best.

I was disillusioned. 

 

Your Name is WHAT!?!?

“What’s your name?”

“Jezebelle”  (my stripper name)

“Did you know that name is from the Bible?”

“Yeah, I do.  I actually know the Bible very well.”

“Yeah right.”

“No, seriously, I went to a strict private Christian school, I even had to wear a skirt every day, I have memorized chapters and chapters of the Bible, and my dad is a pastor.”

These conversations happened at least once a night.  They were usually followed with shock that I had turned out to be in the industry.  I didn’t really understand what was so shocking.

I grew up very sheltered.  Or, my parents did their best to shelter me.  Religion was constantly shoved down my throat.  There was nothing gentle about.  My life revolved on the outside of legalistic religion.  We went to church three times on Sunday, once on Wednesday, had chapel at school on Monday, Bible class Tuesday through Friday, and would listen to my dad read the Bible to us for about a half hour every night before prayer.  There was not much breathing room.  My mental getaways consisted of turning into a gym addict starting at age 14, where I could listen to scandalous non-christian music, and get rid of all my stress and tension.  I am thankful for those nightly gym sessions.

So how does one go from straight religion to working the pole on a Friday night?  

I began a relationship with Jesus at the age of 14.  I had a very tough time throughout my adolescent years, interacting with my parents was DREADFUL (I now have a very good relationship with my mother.)  Without God as my rock, I do not know how I would have made it through those years.  So does that mean that I was a christian stripper??  Yes, yes it does.  

If my shorts were too short it was a sin.  If my hair fell over my eyes, that was a sin.  When I was busted for having ‘Cosmo-Teen’ magazines, that was VERY sinful.  If I wore my jeans too tight, that was a sin.  If my sister or I played with our necklace, hair, or were distracted during our family devotions, we were told we were going to burn in hell for it.  I vividly remember my father yelling at my sister “Get behind me Satan!” when she did something he did not like.  We were condemned and judged with every movement.  We learned how to do everything on the down low.  When my sister got her drivers licence we would buy cute clothes, hide them, and change in the car on the way to wherever we were going.  Lying was survival for us.  We became extremely good liars, we used to joke that we would be able to murder someone and lie our way out of it we had become so good at it.  I was used to be mentally and verbally torn to pieces by my parents.  I knew that some things were right, and some things were wrong, but I was not sure what went where, my parents taught me everything was wrong, that couldn’t be the case, so I would have to find out on my own.

I was 18 when I first worked at the club.  I was living at home.  I would say I was spending the night at a friends, and I would work at the club for the night, we usually got out around 7:30am.  I was not a regular entertainer at that time, I would work a few nights a month.  The other weekends I would spend at a normal dance club, get drunk before going, enjoy free drinks all night, and dance the night away.  I would make out with some guys, and go to after parties, but I was still  a virgin.  I was happiest when I was drunk dancing on top of a bar or a stage.  I loved to dance.  

The summer after I graduated High School I had a difficult conversation with my father, and told him I was moving out.  I had been looking forward to moving out of my parents home for as long as I could remember.  He was a proud man.  He told me if I moved out he would not walk me down the isle when I got married (I didn’t even have a boyfriend.)  I was not phased, that was such typical behavior for him.  I found a little studio in a ghetto area.  Two weeks before I was to move in, my father kicked me out of the house – of course.

From that point, I found myself trying to decide what was right and what was wrong.  I knew I loved Jesus, and I at least knew the ten commandments, and a lot of Bible verses, but I had to find out what was right and wrong in God’s eyes, not my parents, not my schools.  I felt no guilt when I was dancing, fooling around with guys, or drinking excessively.  Because I felt no guilt, and I couldn’t find scripture speaking specifically on it, I decided there must not be anything wrong with it.  I had many conversations with customers at the club about the Bible, about God, while I was giving them a lap dance or dancing for them naked.  Other dancers would have questions about God and I would  answer them, and try to sneak in a little gospel with that.  When customers would ask me “doesn’t the Bible say it is wrong to strip?” I would ask them where it said that.  I was not rebellious at all.  I did not try to displease my parents at all, in fact they still don’t know this story.  I was just so utterly confused about right from wrong by being taught that what felt like everything was wrong, that I had to start all over with learning right from wrong.  

How could I not feel guilt???  I guess that I had so much guilt poured on me daily for things that were not worthy of guilt maybe it desensitized me of guilt.  Or, maybe it was the dark side blinding me.  Either way, I did not think it was wrong to be dancing naked for money.  I actually quite enjoyed it.

Not only was I taught that I was wrong in almost everything I did, I was also not allowed much freedom.  As an 18 year old my curfew was 10pm, if I got home at 10:03 I was grounded.  I was not allowed simple things like watching a movie that was PG13 at a christian friends house if there were boys that would be there.   If I wanted to go to a PG movie with two of my girlfriends or shopping at the mall, that was not allowed.  The more rules and regulations a person has on them, the more they will break.  The tighter you hold the leash, the harder it will be pulled.  The smaller the cage, the further the free will run.  Going from 3%-100% freedom, there is a good chance that many poor (and fun) choices will be made.  And that’s what it was all about.  Fun.