Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oath of Honor To My Ex-Husbands Daughter.....

Auntie Kathi Acquires Gorgeous Leopard Garments
For my comfort and her amusement!

Abba, wearing a lovely, hand crafted Mermaid Outfit. Don't You want to take a little
Nibble from her Darling tail?!? Homemade gifts CAN be cool!
I chose the nickname of "Abba" for MY second ex-husbands daughter for a couple of reasons.

Her lovely parents decided to name their unborn daughter the very old fashioned name of "ABAGAIL - even before she was happily conceived! Her daddy fancied a 1980's heavy metal record - by a long forgotten screeching warbler with the moniker of "KING DIAMOND". One of King Diamonds self penned songs is called "ABAGAIL".  That was Abba's parents divine epiphany for naming their beautiful daughter - a long forgotten song about a Welsh witch!??

Well, in my punk rock world I decided the name is too long and cumbersome. She is a tattoo artist baby! Edgy names are given to tattooer tikes. I personally recommended names like "Bunny Marie", "Lucky- Chance" or "Geisha". Mommy and Daddy smiled at my ideas - but their minds were set. As I pondered many  sideways thoughts to the many ways to possibly shorten this tiny babes name - my ears suddenly became flooded with the awesome super 70's soft rock of the Swedish band "ABBA".

 The song popping onto the tattoo shops radio I took as my own divine, musically inspirational cue! Top 40 tunes sung by "ABBA" had blared through my mothers crappy dashboard speakers all through childhood. Contained deep within my compact disc collection - a hidden "BEST OF" from these Swedish Sensations resides. Therefore the name is a perfect fit to my muddled mind! (Much to the amused chagrin of baby daddy.)

On to the meat and pureed potatoes of what I want to say to you, Miss Abba.  In thought and deed, from the day you arrived to your mommy's lovely nurse arms: These vows I do decree:

  1. Never will I turn from your cry, no matter the timing - no matter how "silly" or annoying others may think your need is. Dropping whatever I am doing to carefully listen completely to what you have to give voice to. Depending on age and standards I shall give out hard won wisdom, advise your mother and father or just let you get your thoughts and feelings all out of your head and heart. I am here for you.
  2. You shall be told more than "I LOVE YOU". Your talents, character and promising performance in all that you love will be fawned over. Nurturing your exploration of what may interest you for a moment or a lifetime. Come empty wallets that were once full of money. Or conquering my dislike of large crowds of people for your dance recitals. Support will be freely given for all you have a passion for.
  3. When you "can't stand" your Ma and Pa for whatever reason - you will find me waiting to take you away for the day. Give you attention you don't even know you need in that moment. Keeping those horny young boys from taking advantage of a girl while she is down. No matter if you are mad at me too. Thinking I am old and uncool. We can silently sit together at a movie or go for a walk - until its time to forgive and forget - going home with the air cleared and a much needed break from the action for all involved.
  4. Truth will always be told in a language suitable to your maturity level. Nothing is worse than a teenager who still acts as a toddler. Mistakenly believing they are the center of the world - that the world owes you something. I shall tell you the secrets to accepting hard work with education AND dedication. Truth and honor. The "school of hard knocks" may knock you down. Yet you shall be ready to stand back up, dust off your leopard print outfit - carry forth with determination to try again. You will be ready to create opportunity for yourself. Not accept the leftovers.
When I am deemed uncool or an eyesore - due to growing up, finding your identity or your changing taste - no offense will be taken. Carefully I will still watch out for you - just hidden more in the shadows. Never do I want you to feel ashamed of who your "tribe" is. Coming from a unconventional family structure. You will be given the gifts of growing up making your own mistakes of judgement in a hasty moment. Your extended family of "AUNTIES" will run out from the shadows to help any way we can. Saving you from yourself only when necessary. Without interfering or overtaking.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

All that Negative will Never Equal a Positive in Your Life

*for anyone reading my words while depressed, suicidal, feeling unloved & unworthy or just plain mad at the world - know YOU can change everything. LIFE WILL GET BETTER! It did for me. Even though I have been beat down, damn miserable and counted out. Take life's beatings as powerful teachings you never wanted, but needed for reasons unknown at this moment. File the negativity away as a lesson learned and move on down the road. Something better is right around the bend. Tomorrow you can change EVERYTHING. One moment, action and decision at a time.

When something negative happens in your life - do you sit back feeling sorry for yourself, asking "WHY ME?"!!?

Yep, I use to do that as well. Never did me a bit of good. Swearing like a drunken sailor, lashing out verbally at those surrounding me. Everyone got "on my nerves". To show my disgust I began throwing glassware against walls. ALWAYS fouling the atmosphere with bad energy. Blaming everyone and everything I could think of for my terrible run of bad luck. Never owning a bit of it. 
Too punk in 1984 baby!

Decades of life lived dipped in anxiety - mixed with a steady flow of anger. Repeating "Why Me ?!?" to friends who became weary of my constant complaining. Whipping myself into a frenzy of disgust at any perceived slight from teachers or co workers. Nothing good ever happened to me. And when it did I would toss it without notice to the sidelines of life, loudly and obnoxiously pronouncing: "Well - that was cool, BUT something bad will happen to take this happiness away!!!"

Yikes, I hate myself just writing those things - taking my own inventory. Imagine how my friends, husbands or family felt after dealing with all that garbage coming from me.....

Building blocks of mental sludge piled up on top of each other. All at once my negative thinking and actions came to a truly nasty, red and crusty - pus filed head that needed popping.

From the outside my scene looked pretty good to those around me. Winters were spent as a pro team snowboarder. Competing all over the west coast, Colorado and Utah. During Tahoe summers, I either traveled for the fun of it or worked part time as a cocktail server. I  ran through a fair number of casual boyfriends - then nabbing the funny, yet introverted goth guy who had my back no matter what nonsense I served up. Friends with beers and a guaranteed good time were all around. Yet all I could acknowledge was the little fires life lights around us all (THE BAD IN LIFE). I could never see the abundant blue cool water (THE GOOD IN LIFE). 

At 21, I became completely undone. Depression kept me home from things I once loved. Everyone around me I found fault with. Nothing was good enough. Months I spent in front of the television. Counting the hours, then minutes before I had to get up, put my make up on and go to work. Upon the end of my work day I would jet home, parking myself right back in front on the t.v. All the good things and friend in my life began to fall away, either from my actions OR my lack of actions. Misery does NOT love company. Sure, a few friends tried to help. Then after their best attempts at rendering aid they went away. Who can blame them? I did not want to be around me, why would anyone else.....goth boyfriend who became my husband also went away. Burned out from my drinking, violence and my refusal to get help.

I latched on to a few other guys who offered little more than being full time drinking companions. Booze bloated me up. Hangovers became the normal. Morals flew out the window. Dreams became nightmares. Self hate seethed out of my pores like a noxious mist, infecting all who encountered me. Trying to whack myself I swallowed a few hundred pills - couldn't even do that right. Woke up in Charter Mental Hospital two days later. Refused their help by informing them I had no health insurance. The charge nurse bundled me up, sending me home with my burned out adoptive parents.

Once home, I had this epiphany: My negativity, in all its forms, was creating the constant drama and bad karma. No one else is to take the blame. My choices are to blame.

My next steps came quickly. Gone were the negative boyfriends. Booze came off the daily shopping list. Visitors were no longer welcome in my home. Buckling down, I quit my liquor serving job. Got back to being a body piercer for the man I learned from. I read every self help book the library had. No matter the title. Each and every book had at least one valuable bit of wisdom I could apply. Free time went into consumption or production of "good". Taking my dogs for a swim. Going for a walk. Writing down my negative thoughts - then burning them. Renting Bruce Lee movies. Boiling it down - I put my negative thoughts and actions into the trash - filing the empty hole with positive forward thought and actions.
Fetchy Con Carne
1 of the many Lucky 7 pugs

Besides the personal mental and physical surgery I was performing on myself, I took notice of how others treated me. Deciding I would no longer accept garbage fed to me from humanity either. Unreasonable people were dealt with kindly and firmly - then dispatched. I am no longer willing to accept bad morals, ethics or values in others. Boy has that weeded out a LOT of drama. Fair yet firm in all my dealings. I refuse to give any more than that. Its is not worth my well being.

Now - I have a life that is worth keeping. Bringing me happiness where before there was none.

Daily, I send a humble little prayer of thanks for all the good in my life. No matter what the world throws at me. Regardless of how other humans have behaved towards or around me. Even if a bird has pooped on my freshly washed truck or someone I care for has passed away from a disease - gratitude for the good in my life must be given. Positive feedback to the "manufacturer of humanity" is the first thought of the new day.  Appreciation for milk that has not expired. Plenty of firewood for the winter. My dogs being healthy and happy. A client bringing me a cup of coffee - all is deserving of my gratitude! With that gratitude comes more of attraction don't ya know...It is "The Secret" to a meaningful, wonderful life.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Wish "Pa" from t.v.'s "Little House On The Prairie" was my Daddy!

Being a young girl who experienced adolescence during
Yep, that's me. 2nd grade
I loved that dress!
the 1970's - I was fed a steady television diet of "ideal families". "The Walton's", "Family" and "The Brady Bunch"-  made my own family seem sadly sub par. My adoptive clan could never measure up to those television families who were idolized and viewed as templates of a perfect clan by all of America. Each show seemed so perfect and wholesome, good and pure.

For my younger self,  the creme de la creme of family television was "Little House on the Prairie."

Except for having to cry about some tragedy every single episode - Laura Ingalls had everything I myself wanted out of life at age 8. She had a really nice, pretty mom. Her older sister Mary looked out for her on the school yard (until Mary went blind). Cute boys aplenty came and went weekly at the schoolhouse/church.  Those young men never tried to pull Laura behind a tree to show his wiener off! This boy and Laura just got to run around wild with each other all day (after chores were completed). That's some fine childhood living! Yet the best was really Laura's daddy, Charles "PA" Ingalls. 

Laura's daddy (whom she called "Pa") was a fine specimen of daddy goodness. Always tan, smooth shaven yet still rugged - nice build for his average height. Hair worn just a bit too long, possibly permed into chocolate waves. A gentle , yet still manly tone to his words, whether praising or scolding his girls. Even when disciplining his children Pa never raised his voice. Verbal admonishing for bad behavior always contained an uplifting lesson at the end. Life lessons that hurt Laura's buck toothed heart so bad seemed to hurt less because of Pa's seemingly natural gift of nurturing his offspring.

Yeah, I had Father Envy pretty own male parent was not shall we say "gifted" when it came to
Hunky "Pa" Ingalls
MY second grade dream dad!
rearing a daughter.

Adoptive Dad was not the kind of guy who participated in hobbies with his daughter. I believe his point of view was this: as long as he supported me financially - that was love. Leave the raising of females to the "woman folk". My older brother was taken fishing, hunting, to ball games, boy scouts. All the typical activities for young males. Dirt bike riding was a weekly activity for them. Sadly I was never allowed to be a included their fun. Many youngsters on my block had mini bikes. Buzzing around the neighborhood having a ton of fun. Boy I wanted a mini bike! Time after annoying time I begged, pleaded and threw many a crying snot filled fit. Begging annoyingly for my father to teach me to ride or failing that, to be allowed to go on a ride as his passenger.

Dad couldn't be bothered. I suppose for him it was just too dangerous. Or perhaps against his morals of what was acceptable for girls. Whatever his reasons - a mini bike never found its way under the Christmas tree. 

 Laura's dad got her a HORSE for Christmas - not a pony, a full size black mare named Bunny.

Lucky bitch.....

Lesson to Fathers: Give your daughters some attention please. Play tea party or hide and seek - whatever. Or we may end up on a stripper pole with a loser boyfriend. *See my other blog entries for THAT story

Friday, November 29, 2013

Picking The "Bad Boy" - My Adolescent Choice (that has lasted a lifetime) Vol 1.

*Very import!

None of the males who have been a part of my life have ANY crimes against women or children. No baby rapist, no sodomites, no crimes against seniors either. We all have to draw the line somewhere in our personal moral code of honor. Those crimes are unforgivable.   !*

"GOODFELLAS" is a favorite movie of mine. Especially the one minute excerpt above. It tickles my fancy - I never get tired of witnessing a greaser gangster whip some preppy boys booty for disrespecting his gal. To me the beating means more than a wagon full of flowers, candy, diamond rings and tender "I love you's" whispered every tens minutes in my ear. By pistol whipping the offensive jerk, the gangster could catch a case, going to jail or even state prison. That is  L- O -V -E in my hazel eyes. When a guy puts his freedom on the line to uphold your honor (or his own) - he real does care deeply for you. Or he thinks he owns you. Which, as long as he isn't controlling, is kinda sexy, no?
Russell Fortier, high school bad boy AND my husband!

Second grade I had my first "bad boy"crush. I had a playmate named Julie. We palled around for most of that school year-being in the same classroom. My burning crush was Julies' older brother. His name was Billy. Pale white skin, glossy long black hair that he constantly flipped back from covering his brown eyes. Sears store brand Tough Skin jeans with dirty lace up navy blue Vans. Skinned knees topped with a bad attitude. Dreamy!

Billy had a natural swagger that drew me in. Perhaps it was the way he socked the other boys who angered him on the ball field. Or when he would steal ice cream sandwiches from Thrifty Drug Store. My good girl Catholic upbringing did not jive with the budding hormones bubbling through my heart for Billy. Each time Julie and I listened to a Carpenters album on her families turntable, arms, legs and head akimbo on shag carpeting floor- my innocent mind would interpret the schmaltzy lovey dovey lyrics into the story of my puppy love for brother Billy. Singing along - willing him to amble through the living room, lock eyes with me - then peck me on then lips! Big dreams I tell ya!

After a few months of irritating Julie with my mooning over her grubby brother, she set up a "make out session" for the Billy and I. For the cozy tryst, the 2 car garage of the family home was decided upon. High above, the gabled rafters had weather beaten sheets of plywood nailed down to create floor space - grubby stained blankets hung on twine for privacy. A perfect hide away from prying parental eyes. Going crazy with anticipation - emotion sliding through my veins like I drank too many Cokes. Having no previous encounters at my oh so tender age I had zero idea of what would actually happen when "Making Out" with Billy.

After 2 tortuous days Julie and Billy's parents finally scrammed, leaving the kids home alone. I ran the three blocks between our homes like a gazelle fleeing a lioness. Arriving sweaty, out of breath with a limp pony tail - Billy and I scrambled up the ladder to our love nest. 
Kathleen Burke, High School punker
with my main punk squeeze, Steve Dyson

In tandem motion, we sat down cross legged onto a painters drop cloth. Without missing a beat Billy reached over awkwardly with one skinny arm pulling my body to the space between us. Leaning in, he planted his lips on mine - with the force of toy trucks being smashed into one another by a 3 year old. Contact was kept for a count of one-two-three then broken apart.  A few seconds passed, Billy smiling with self satisfaction. Then once again, lips smashing together.

By the third round of kisses I realized a few new things: Kissing Billy resembled nothing close to what I had viewed in movies. His skills seemed quite lacking in ways I could not put words to. Secondly, the lead up was way more exciting than the actual act of kissing. Hi macho attitude, the manner which he strutted the school yard, etc - is where the actual attraction lay. Lastly, while I did not like the act of kissing Billy I still totally dug him. Sigh....

By 5th and 6th grade, my choice of girlfriends defined who would be suitable "going steady" boy material. A group of 5 or 6 boys in our grade level were deemed "cute" or "nice". If the boy had a crush on you, he would ask you to "go steady". Usually this was accomplished by notes passed along to your girlfriends. If the boy was a real go getter he would ask to meet you at lunch to "Pop the Question" grammar school style. When you said yes he would then hand you a St Christopher metal hung from a long silver neck chain. Each boy had his own style of metal-this helped others on the playground know who you were "with".

After a few weeks of lame kisses behind the backstop, awkward phone calls about what your mom made for dinner- then the "break up" would happen, with lots of drama. Then your ex boyfriend would work up the nerve to ask one another member of your girl group to go steady. Changing back and forth, in and out like the ribbons around a May Pole. 

Summer before 7th grade and moving on to junior high I became fully boy crazy. So many new faces to pick from! About a month into the new school year my click of girl friends from grammar school began to evolve into  preppies. Wearing little alligators or polo players on their flipped up collared shirts. Calvin Klein cords or jeans, and penny loafers on feet with neon painted toenails. This new stuck up way to dress, snotty attitude accentuated with flipping their feathered hair - would not tolerate a non fashionable "okay" looking, lower middle class adopted trash such as myself. I was made to feel unwelcome. I took the hint with a broken heart, moving my way on up the schoolyard where the "bad kids" hung out. 

Called "China Grove", this area contained some steel benches inside a cluster of very tall trees. Perfect for cigarette smoking between classes. Or to hide during lunch time. Better to hang out at China Grove with the stoners and rocker kids than to wander around crowded halls feeling like a loser, trying to avoid eye contact. 

After showing up at the Grove for a few days in a row, puffing on Salem Lights stolen from my mothers purse - some of the girls started talking to me. Foul mouthed and shit talking about the preppies who we hated, (which helped me feel less rejected and much better). Brazenly kissing their long haired boyfriends, talking about sneaking out to drink. Instantly I fell into place with this juvenile delinquent coven of chicks. Instantly feeling more at peace with these bad girls than I ever felt with the grammar school click.
Even though I look like a BOY
with this awful pixie haircut (thanks mother)
it was around this age
I started digging "Bad Boys".

With the new girlfriends came new boys. Wearing AC/DC shirts along with skin tight pants loaded with marker ink depicting skulls, band names with other various vulgarity. Feet adorned with one of two choices: combat or hiking boots - looking stoned and disinterested in everything contained in our  junior high universe. Fake Confidence with a "Don't F%$#@ with me" glare kept the other kids from messing around or trash talking. Eating it up by the gallon, wanting this powerful aura for myself, I set my sights upon Scott M. Possessing shaggy dishwater blonde hair made worse with comb induced split ends. Very tall and skinny: motherless, a true "biker" father. A real "bad" boy fathered by a "bad" man.

Courtship in 7th grade was better. Meeting at the pizza parlor or bowling ally. Pockets over filled with coins to play video games or purchase smokes. Sneaking warm beer to gag on at the park. Hands in each others back pockets while walking the school halls. Attending thrown together stoner parties with the other guys and gals from China Grove -  inside the steep cement walls of a spillway. Making out: feeling a bit slutty going to second base (over the bra of course!) 

After a few months it seemed as if I had been Scott M. girlfriend for a lifetime. Feeling a sense of safety from his toughness, I began to evolve. No longer did I care my former friends dropped me over my breeding and clothing. What others thought of me no longer mattered. At first I copied the other bad girls fashions. Wearing tons of purple. Roach clips made of  feathers hung from my Le Sac nylon purse. Home permed brown hair swept into birds wings stiff with Aqua Net. Creepy old guys started yelling "hey foxy" from their jacked up sedans. I mimicked the others by flipping the men off, yet secretly loved the flattery - too young to understand that any guy yelling at a 12 year old girl from his vehicle was a creep.

When the school year came to a close, my relationship with Scott had worn itself out. Never was I comfortable enough to introduce him to my parents. Scott was not what mom and dad want you to bring home - know what I mean? Always sneaking around. Lying about who, what where and why got old. Hating myself for lying just to get what I wanted. Sick to my stomach  - afraid of getting caught in some situation I could not fabricate a good enough fib to get out of the trouble I had created for myself. Disappointed in my own choices. Stress had taken away the high I got from being Scott's girlfriend.

After the split, I spent my summer flirting with boys of all kinds. No discriminating due to choice in music or foot wear. Toughness or passivity. I figured I might as well get to know every male who took the time to say "hello" at the Bayshore Golf and Games. Sneaking off with a few to kiss, drinking malt liquor or sitting low in green fields passing a joint around - becoming tougher with each awful encounter I put myself in. Chipping away at my self worth. BUT gaining some life experience no adult could teach me.

Three months later I knew I had evolved into a tough chick / bad girl. Attitude flavored with punk rock. Gone was the stoner rocker chick look I had poached from the other girls in China Grove. Bleached streaks of yellow blonde hair hung over my eyes. Black clothing from the thrift store hung off my slender shoulders. Constructing power through my looks over what hurt emotionally.

In concert with my changed persona I still hung around lots of different boys. Now that I had found my individuality, many males would not interact with me. Weak males, preppy guys, most every peer in my age group did not dig my style. Most of those who did fancy me-I did not care for. After Scott, I just was not attracted to passive males who tucked their tails, running from challenges. Guys who dealt head on with life's problems made a positive impression. The more working class the better.

Almost exclusively I was attracted to,  then attached with guys in the punk scene. At parties they would break up the fights. Perhaps they would start one IF say, you stepped on my foot then started to walk away without the apology you owed. Tire goes flat on the car? He gets on his hands and knees to fix it. Much more thrilling to drive to Chinatown in San Francisco to sample tofu sweet and sour pork than go to the shopping mall. Some of my best memories from my high school years have nothing to do with high school! 

I found my own tribe. Within the tribe are the men who were my match in ALL ways. Best sex, most understanding of my introverted personality. Self starters. Adventurous souls who are surprisingly well read or self educated. Do not shy away from protecting who he loves. Even if it means going before a judge and perhaps behind bars. That is devotion. That is my kinda guy!

Volume 2, I will thrill you with tales of Bad Boys through my high school up until my first marriage. Stay tuned by adding your email address to my list. You have my word I WILL NOT sell your address.

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Shame Does Not Serve Me"

"Where would we be without our painful childhoods."  
                        Dr Finch in the movie "Running With Scissors"

Never let anyone shame you.

It does not matter what kind of  drama you have created. Regardless of what others think. Even if you are to blame for some terrible situation. F*#@ shame! Put those embarrassing events behind you at once! Learn your lesson the first time so your mind's self shaming will not show up for another uninvited visit. As corny as the saying may sound, tomorrow is a brand new day. Do not waste a moment wallowing in defeat.
8th grade yearbook photo for Kathleen Burke
Kennedy Junior High...Farrah Fawcett
eat your heart out!

When we humans do something wrong morally, physically or ethically  - most of us become disgusted by our own behavior. Our bodies shout at us with anxiety. Skin suddenly flashes hot with hues of red. Digestive tracts quiver in an unsettling fashion. Nervousness pounds through flesh.  "Fight or Flight" instinct over loads our circuits in the brain.

While these physical and mental manifestations are helpful to aid us from repeating words or actions that brought on "shame" - it does nothing to ward off OTHERS who want to shame us. We all know someone who loves to wags his or her finger in our face. Speaking to us like an unwanted child. Talking AT us like we are beneath them in life's grand order. Feeling superior in their actions when compared to our own. So they shame, hitting us square in the jaw with their words or in tiny wordless ways in their treatment of us.

Here is what you need to say to yourself when these situations present themselves:
Living the dream in 1980, my first year of Junior High. Hair
is feathered and sprayed, no warm hat for me!
Bet you North Tahoe Locals can figure out
what chair lift / Resort this is?

F*#@ them and their shaming of you! Tell that person to go shove their shame up their bum! Even if deep down you believe some of what they are telling you is true. Shaming is in no way a proper method to teach anyone anything. Remove anyone who thinks they are" helping" you with shame.

Puberty is never kind to anyone.

Back in my first year of junior high I was a mental mess who acted out in every typical bad girl behavior.  My hormones, coupled with attachment disorders I did not know I had at the time, plus low self opinion/self esteem made for one super rough ride. I never did anything right as far as I - or anyone else was concerned.

Boys and drinking came in handy for lots of shame of myself. Here is one example of my stupidity:

Cutting last period. Go willingly to a stoner boy classmate's house while his mom was at work. Taking little sips off every bottle in their liquor cabinet (don't want to get caught taking too much from one bottle). Getting so drunk that I threw up all over the boys bedroom when he tried to make his pubescent sexual move on me. Ha! With the boy just wanting me out of his house before his mother arrived home, I proceeded to puke, stumble and wobble the 6 blocks home.

Beat my adoptive parents home from their evening commute by shear dumb luck. Managed to get in the cool, dark house, falling into my stuffed animal covered waterbed. As my brain spun sickening circles,  my guts churning a vicious stew - I threw up off the side of my waterbed. Suddenly my Mother is barging through the locked door, very enraged. Calling me all kinds of names, anger flaring her nostrils. Shaming me for drinking alcohol with a boy! Such stupid, slutty actions! (This all the while the ice tinkles in her after work cocktail ). Never once asking me or herself "WHY" would I put myself in such a terrible situation. All that my mothers 1950's values considered was "What will others think of my daughters shenanigans ?!?"

In those moments of clarity after I took huge personal risks way beyond my maturity level, like drinking with boys, I didn't have a clue why I would act out in these dangerous ways. In my brain I knew drinking with a boy I did not even really like was a bad idea all the way around. My inner voices screamed WTF are you doing right now?!" Yet I was compelled by strange needs that had no voice I could understand. I wanted to be liked, to be wanted, so badly that I constantly put myself in very bad situations. Nothing mattered except making myself feel better for a moment or two. To trick my self hate into submission for a few moments of forbidden fun.

Many adults surrounding me who claimed they cared for my well being, thought that calling me names like tramp, slut, whore, etc would shame me into change. Including my adoptive family. They punished me with groundings, taking away possessions, no t v for a week. Typical carrot and stick discipline of the time. None of this was effective in any way. I manipulated and lied my way around these punishments. They had already told me I was a slut. As far as I was concerned , I had been called the worst thing you can call a young woman. Who cares what else they may have to say about me? Their lectures about my slutty actions only backed up how I already felt about myself......SHAMEFUL.

All the verbal shaming never did me a lick of good. The issues were much larger and deeper than these people could imagine.

As I grew into legal adulthood, I no longer was drawn to bad situations with bad boys in the same way. I mentally outgrew the actions that use to make me feel good for a few moments. MY insight into myself grew tremendously. I read every book I could find on adoption, self improvement, etc. I dumped so called friends/users out of my life. Began making friendships with men and woman who did not just want to party and live in a soap opera. I began to actually like myself.

All that SHAME myself and others tried to drown my soul in was washed away with coming to know myself better. Learning new ways to think. That awful shame never serving any purpose - except me knowing in my heart I needed no more of it.

So tell shame to take a hike from your life today. Not a moment longer shall you wallow in any of it! Get up and get going on changing for the better. NOW!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Best Man who Became the Next Husband. A California State Prison Love Story

The Best Man who Became the Next Husband. A California State Prison Love Story

 My title sure does say a mouthful, don't it ?!? 
Some of you know the first part of this story if you have read the Lucky 7 Tattoo blog, For those of you who haven't read that tale, let us all step back in time, shall we..and refresh our memories as to who is what in my life. I will keep it brief, promise.....

Back in the late 90's I was poking needles in co-eds for cash in Davis, Ca.There I met a cool, funny talented tattooer named Corey who became my husband. Shortly after the marriage we opened our own tattoo and piercing shop, Lucky 7 in North Lake Tahoe. Not quite two years after our nuptials Corey and I decided the friendship and business partnership were working out great, but the marriage was not.  We had a civil split, and both moved on to new partners, as mentioned in the previous Lucky 7 Tattoo blog post. Here is where it gets interesting...

Corey started his costly dating stint with a huffy teenager who needed a bowl of soup and some morals. Me, I went a whole different route. I met a man in prison. Yep, you read it right. California State Property. No kids, I didn't see him on Americas Most Wanted or find him on a pen pal / lonely hearts type of thing. I met him through another tattooer named Vinnie that Corey and I had worked with. Vinnie was doing time for robbing people. And me being the "Patron Saint of Felons" I would go and visit Vinnie once a month.

Well Vinnie was quite the ladies man. So much so he got thrown in the hole of the prison for having an ongoing sexual relationship with a pretty, young and blonde - brand  new corrections officer! Nice huh? Got caught dragging a pillow and blanket from his cell on his way to go make "sweet sweet love" to his special lady in her prison office...HAHAHAHAHAH....ok, sorry, still makes me laugh that his balls were THAT BIG.

As Vinnie was being dragged to his new accommodations in the bowels of the prison, his cell mate decided to call me and let me know what had happened to Vinnie. Lets call the cell mate "Dick." So Dick calls collect and lets me in on all the dirt about Vinnie getting caught bedding down his blonde guard. Dick is very worried about Vinnie. Afraid that other corrections officers may beat the holy hell out of Vinnie for defiling the young miss. ( Due to the rules of the institution, Dick and Vinnie had no way to communicate.)  Dick asks me to go visit Vinnie in the hole, then to come to the regular visiting room and have a visit with Dick to let him know how Vinnie is.

Up until the collect phone call,  I had never met Dick. In reality I owed Dick nothing. However I could tell he was very worried about Vinnie, so I said "sure I will do as asked."  

 I drove the 5 hours to Soledad Prison, visiting Vinnie. Spending a few hours looking at the poor convict Romeo behind glass, all greasy and sad looking, bemoaning the fact that he was so crazy as to bang a guard. After our visit was over,  I made the short trip over to the regular visiting room where I would meet Dick face to face. 

SIDE NOTE: Have you ever visited anyone in prison? Let me tell you, it is one hell of an ordeal just to get in! Clothing can only be certain colors. No cell phones, purses, gum, sunglasses, bluejeans - the rules are endless and the whole process takes hours. Staff of the prison treats you rudely, disdainfully, as if you are an irritation or inconvenience to their day. Seems like the prison system wants to make it miserable for loved ones to visit, but thats another whole topic...

Any how I made my way into the ugly, grade school smelling visiting room and found a small vinyl covered table with two orange plastic chairs near the guards stand. Having never even seen a picture of Dick I had no idea what I may be in imagination was churning out all kinds of madness as to what kind of scary monster may come out and want my attention. A few moments later I got my surprising answer.

Through the inmate entrance, in walked a good looking, shaved head, blue eyed - 30 year old bad boy. I was instantly taken with his looks. His sense of humor, and his manly gift of gab soon sucked me in totally. Dick had it all! Well, exept for being locked up for assalt that is....yeah, good thinking on my part huh?

The visit was over far too fast, Our mutual concern, Vinnie, that had brought us together in these strange surrounds, was now long forgotten. Pledging to write and keep in contact, I drove the five hours home in a new crush daze, all giddy with gooey, girlie feelings.

Fast forward through the next 2 years. Falling head over heels, sick with it, crazy kind of love. Driving 500 miles every single weekend to visit. Paying phone bills in the hundreds of dollars for collect calls, sending money in for his use, whatever I could do to bring him a bit of happiness I was all too willing to do. Frankly I just couldn't do enough for Dick. You ladies know that feeling. Nothing else like it in the world. Curious thing about dating a man in prison. It's almost old fashioned, really wholesome. Kissing is only allowed at the start and end of the visit. All you can do is hold hands. Unless you want to play a beat up old board game or read a bible, all you can do is talk, eat and entertain each other. Therefore you must really dig that persons company or you wouldn't bother to endure these limitations week in week out.

After 2 years of my crazy devotion my Dick was getting close to release and parole. In order for him to be allowed to live in my home we would have to get married. Gee wiz, he wasn't going to have to twist my arm! I was all for it. Shit, half the time we sat in that visiting room we would talk about what we would do when he was released. Getting married, with him paroling straight home with me was a dream come true! The wedding date was set, just 2 months before his release, the race was on.

Picture taken on Dick and I's wedding day. During our divorce  Dick Crossed out his own face and our nameless guest too. He left me and the "best man", my future forth husband, Russell unscathed by his vicious Sharpie.
Wedding day arrived, my third time, Dicks' second. Joining us as our guests for our ceremony were a friend of Dicks' (whose name I cannot remember) and his cell mate , Russell, who was Dicks' best man. All went as well as you can hope for a prison wedding. Dick was laughing in a snickering type of way during the actual ceremony, which I found disconcerting. I figured it was nerves and carried on.

We finished the formalities of vows, my new husband kissed his bride, and the four of us in the wedding party sat down to a vending machine wedding banquet. As I set frozen burritos and grab bags of chips in front of the guys I realized that the best man, Russell had not uttered a word to me nor had he even made direct eye contact . Puzzled by his manor, I started to make an effort to include him in the conversation the rest of us were carrying on. My best jokes and kidding went by him with barely a nod of recognition. Hour after hour he picked at his food and just listened with an intent gaze. Finally, after 5 hours had past, with just a couple hours of visiting time left, Russell started talking and didn't stop. Like a dam broke, just spilling non stop paragraphs of his thoughts on every topic of conversation that had previously been discussed. Young Russell had quite the brain in him too. Well read, a good conversationalist on many topics. Unlike many convicts, his launguage was not peppered with "fuck, "shit" and "asshole" in every sentence.

Sitting back in my hard plastic chair, I took this man in. Boy he would make a nice catch for some young lady in a few years. 25, reddish blonde hair, well over 6 feet tall, smoking hot body. A blue eyed devil with a brain. I know, how scandalous am I for taking his "mating inventory" while just marring his home boy earlier that day! For some damn reason I couldn't help myself....strange....

Let's jump in our time machine again, fast forward about ten days after Dick was released from prison. To put it mildly, the bloom was off the rose. Shriveled and dropped in record time, and with my heart crushed as it had never been before. Dick didn't waste any time before he threw me down 2 flights of stairs (for not having sour cream for his dinner), broke my front tooth, strangled me to unconscious, crashed up my new truck, cheated on me, (giving me a nasty infection that required expensive and painful medical treatment - the fun just didn't stop!

Time to cash in my chips real early. I can take a lot of things, but physical violence, cheating and lying can never be tolerated.  I disentangled myself as quickly as I could get rid of him. All the while getting fingers wagged in my face by so called friends who had advised against marrying a man in prison. Each day my heart seemed to be smashing all over the dirty ground over and over. How could a smart and savvy chick like me get sucked down by a vortex of human garbage like Dick? Devastated doesn't cover what I was feeling. Never did this types of pain strike me before. Gut wrenching emotional agony of being used - treated like a mens room urinal. 

Russell and I having our first visit after kicking Dick to the curb.

Now on to the good part, Russell and I figure "us" out.

I wanted the divorce from Dick yesterday, if you know what I mean. Lucky I still had my Nevada proof of residence AND Mr Dick got himself locked up again for clocking his new girlfriend in her chops, so he wasn't around to fight me on the legal stuff. Two weeks after filing, and giving Dick a car, some money, etc I was free! I love Nevada' s quick divorce. Relief was instant, some hurt still breaking my heart - mourning the relationship I thought I had. Never one to just stay single I said to myself "fuck it though, time to get back on the horse, or at least take a look at what was in the stable."

Shortly after the ink was dry on the divorce decree I started dating a good guy. For over a year I had a nice, easygoing relationship with this MUCH younger man, I snatched him up at 19, celebrating his 21st birthday in Las Vegas with Corey and his new girlfriend Amber joining us. Alas, the age difference plus not having much in common brought the match to an expected conclusion. Both of us did get good things from each other. I received much needed kind and sweet attention in an honest manner. He got a a cool, older girlfriend who taught him all kinds of "skills" he had not possessed. 

Before the divorce from Dick was happening I had written to Russell, best man in Dick and I's wedding ceremony. Dick himself had suggested I might even go visit Russell. You see, Russell had been locked up since age 18, and was 25 at the time of the wedding. Most of his friends had drifted away over the years,  the only visitors he still received was his family.  Being that I had liked Russell, and thought him attractive on all levels I happily agreed. Through our "Dick Sanctioned"  correspondence we had become friends, and he was kept up to date with the awful bullshit that Dick was subjecting me to. Although, at that point in time, Russell was not sure if I was really being mistreated by Dick, or if I was putting way too much mustard on the dog. He had lived with and been close to Dick for 2 years and was still getting to know me.

After a couple of visits Russell was having more faith in my version of the terrible tales I was telling him. Some of Dick and Russell's mutual friends had backed up my version of events. Russell was disgusted with the sickening behavior in Dick, including the violence I was put through. I could tell I was starting to have cautious feeling for Russell, the same brand of twinges I had for Dick were coming around, even more intense. The last thing I wanted was another boyfriend in prison. Holy Hell, WTF am I thinking!!??!! What am I thinking WITH??!! Am I damaged goods,  suffering from some wacky disorder that makes me attracted to males in state issued periwinkle blues !?! Alas, it all comes down to rolling the dice or playing it safe, walking away. I decided to throw them bones and see what may come of my feelings for Russell.

Mr. Russell seemed like he wanted to bite my bait, yet misguided moral loyalty was holding him back. You see, even though Dick had done horrble things to me, Russell still felt some loyalty to Dick. They had been cellies for over 2 years, and had each others backs through the crazy prison life.  At that point, in Russells' mind I was still viewed as Dicks' Wife. He thought maybe there was the slight chance I may work it out with Dick. To add to Russells' concern, Dick wrote Russell a scathing letter, accusing Russell and I of having an emotional affair behind Dicks' back. This sealed the deal for Russell, that now was not good timing to snatch me up as his "Old Lady." So what does this Alpha Male, tough guy do to say goodbye - to make me kick rocks??? He has his mom call me and say "Russell doesn't want you to visit or write for the time being."

To say I was gobsmacked is a understatement! I could have sworn we were both "feeling it", that I had proven to Russell my stories about Dick were all true AND I was divorced and staying clear of Dick and his drama. But in Russell's mind I wasn't what he wanted, needed, or felt ok about being in his life. Sheesh, talk about making my self esteem take a dump on my pride! That was a big slap in the face.

Jump ahead one year. Kathleen is still thinking about Russell, but dating and getting serious with a plummer named K.C. Super attractive, good natured and easy going - a local who I met as a client in Lucky 7. After 5 or 6 months, The plummer and I start to talk about maybe getting married, building a life together. Sounded ok, and SAFE. Yet my feelings for the plummer were not what they should've be. Close friends had concern about my choice of lover, saying " Don't get serious, you will eat him alive. He is too passive for you in the long haul of life." And darn it all to hell, my safe bet of a life partner was a bit of a pushover, and not quite as "alpha"as I am. The Gods know that me hen pecking K.C. for a lifetime was not healthy for either of us. Yet I still hung in there, enjoying being around him.

Well who decided to pop back into my orbit with a well timed greating card? Russell, my uber alpha male. Locked away in California State Prison at Soledad. He let me know he would be paroling in 6 months time, and upon release, moving to Montana to live with his maternal grandfather. He wanted to have some visits, letters, and catch up before release. Me being the "Patron Saint of Prisoners' and digging his scene I jumped right on board to being in his life again.

Again, the swirl of emotions came forth right away and hit me hard. This man was everything I had asked my gods and godesses for, just in prison doing time. Darn it! Why hadn't I included 'not locked up" in those prayers and spells? Sheesh....
Russell was letting it be known he was falling for me too, free and clear of stepping on Dicks' toes. (Dick had been out being A DICK, and caught himself a new 2 years term in prison.) We made plans for me to pick Russell up on the morning of his release. The game plan was to hit a hotel for a little beer and nooky, then for us to drive to San Bernardino to visit his family before flying to Montana to begin his new life. Once again I rushed about buying him a few changes of clothing, a cell phone, and booking hotels and an airline ticket.

The morning of his release came, July 18th 2006. Driving into the prison I was a nervous wreck. Absessing over the fact we would have just 7 days together before his departure for Montana. As Russell came out of the prisons gatehouse we both were beaming. So use to asking guards for permission to go anywhere, he turned to the guard letting all paroled inmates out and said " Can I just go?" The guard let out a small laugh and said, 'Yes son, you are free to go."

We said our goodbyes to some of the prison wives who waited at my truck then took off for the hotel, both of us speachless with excitment, anxiety and thinking about the naked goodness to come. At the hotel everything went excellent, not awkward as it had been with Dick. I really enjoyed watching Russell drink his first Bud Light in 11 years. I have never seen anyone else ever enjoy their first swallow of beer as much as at that moment. Very cool to share those first minutes of freedom.

Once we arrived at his parents home everything was as expected. The usual type of reunion of family. The next morning we dragged ourselves from the feather bed at Hampton Inn and went to meet the California Parole officer to finalize Russells' transfore. To our happy surprise we got some very cool news. Because of some Montana Parole red tape Russell was not due there for 2 weeks! He was free to travel with me back to Lake Tahoe! WOW was all I can think!  K.C. was already not too pleased with the situation, now I was bringing "the situation" back with me for a few weeks! Oh well, fuck it. Russell was all I was caring about, and I wanted him to see the tattoo shop and my home before he took off to Montana to swing a hammer and mate with a cowgirl.

For the next 2 weeks life was perfect. We were a wonderful fit, to the point even my ex-husband said under his breathe " You two are fucking perfect together." I sure did feel that we were too. Yet I knew he was due to leave, and my heart was smashing around my chest each time I thought about it. Russell was starting to drop hints that he too was digging us being together, seeing the life we would have. The big "BUT" was hanging in the air. He had already made all the legal arrangments, plus promising his Grandfather he was going out to try the life of a Montana Mountain Man.

Departure day arrived, I was so upset I couldn't drive him to the airport. We said our goodbyes and Amber, Coreys' girlfriend took off with the other half of me. I called K.C. and made plans to see him later that day, then off to work and mourning the loss of my alpha partner, Russell.

7 hours later my phone rang, Russell calling right after his plane had landed. Delighted, I picked up and asked "Well, how do you like Montana?" A long pause, dead air for 5 seconds, then he said  " I gave "us' a lot of thought on the plane, and I hate Montana already because it is keeping us apart. I know this is over the phone, but will you marry me?" WOW. So I said "hell yes". Then we started cooking up plans to cancel his transfer to Montana and bring him home to California.

Two weeks later we were standing with his family in the San Bernardino County courthouse saying our vows. For the first time out of four trips to the alter I meant every word I recited with all my being. My heart was bursting with happiness and well being of knowing I had a partner who was as down for me as I am for him.

So that is the story of my happiness coming along after being beat to smithereens by another. Finding  a man that It seems I custom ordered from Elysium. We have now been married and worked together for 5 years, longer that any other marriage or relationship I have ever had. Take in my lesson learned kids. Never lose faith, even after some piece of shit boy or male drags you through hell and back. If I can find him so can you.

Back seats of cars with boys...the teen years coming next week, so stay tuned please, and PLEASE click an ad so this blog keeps going in an upward motion. I welcome e mail comments from all. !  TA TA Kathleen

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Part 2 of "Stripping for *#@^ Money in a *#@^ Club."

*For Sarah B & Vashti W...for always asking "WHEN..?"

Hey hey, I am back with the second part of this blog entry. Undoubtedly you have been on the edge of you seat, waiting for it..if you are late to the party of my checkered past, please read part 1 that was posted right below this entry. Perhaps it will all make more sense.

  Just left my useless boyfriend of the moment- Rich B- at my casa, driving off in my rust bucket of a Subaru wagon-to my first shift of topless dancing at the infamous Pink Pussycat I got closer to the club my mind is a swirl of "You know you can always turn this car around" or "you ain't got any stripper skills, what are you doing dummy." Tummy doing the twist to the slow hum of  " Money money-need money" a considerably louder tune to drown out the other thoughts of steering my little car right around and jamming for home.

As I pulled on to the pitted asphalt parking lot in the back of the crummy looking Pussycat building,  my resolve kicked in full force. No one is going to bail me out of my financial crisis. There isn't family to come to the rescue. You come from a background of adoption, a throw away with no money.  To clean things up for a fresh start- dancing is the only job I was going to make quick, fast dollars at. If I let the chicken part of me take over I am going to loose everything that matters to me.  Might as well get in there and do what I must.

I hit the battered back door, holding my little duffel bag of what would have to pass as "dancer costumes." (These little outfits are gleaned from the bottom of my dresser drawers -cheap nighties bought to impress for one night of so so passion, then forgotten about the morning after). Bright sunlight smothers the darkness inside the club. Dust motes dancing in the beams. My eyes squinting, surveying the tattered interior. Crossing the door frame, a silent pep talk creates itself : "everything is going to be okay....." Carry on  / Tally-ho!

Grandma Blondie is all toothy smiles behind the bar when she caught sight of me. "Well look who showed up!" Ugh do I respond to that....? " Yes, yes I am- ready to work." Standing there for a count of three - both of us lost in the awkward moment. Grandma exits the bar and proceeds to a door directly across the room motioning for me to follow.

Keys appear, knob unlocked and I step forward into what can be best described as a former broom closet. A few beige school lockers leaned forward from the back wall. Enormous cracked mirror with smudged lipstick tacked to crumbling drywall. A few metal folding chairs and a faint scent of cloying perfume mingled with hints of desperation assault my nose.

"Another few girls will show up soon, they'll explain all the rules and such." Nodding my head in silent agreement, Granny exits the closet. My behind falls into a chair, feel like crying and heaving all wrapped up into one. Yippee.

The door swings open - in walks a vision of trailer beauty! Size 0 skinny, sucked in cheeks accent a head crowned with a frizzy brown mullet - nervous energy of dubious origins seeping out of pores. Vinyl shopping bags crammed full of clothing are dropped carelessly to the shaggy carpet. Her lips part and out croaks "You are who?"

What an introduction! Whatever...I can out bitch the biggest bitches walking the earth if that's how they want to get down. " HI!!! My name is KATHLEEN, and YOURS?" I half scream out, all fake nice. She gets my no bullshit vibe right quick and introduces herself by her stage name, Sasha. Shit, a stage name! I had forgotten about that!

Sasha / 'Miss Trailer Park" perches herself in front of the mirror, dumping the contents of her dirty make up bag into a tiny heap, while kicking her " bum luggage" into the corner. I awkwardly sit in the shitty chair, trying to will this broad to open her mouth and tell me what the fuck to expect. Sadly, my mental commands are ignored-so I am forced to ask...

" So Sasha, can you tell me how things operate?

Miss Trailer Park continues to rub way too much blush on bony cheeks as these nuggets fall forth:

"Well, you gotta dance to 3 songs in a row. Keep your titties covered until the middle of song three. Ask the guys to give ya change for the jukebox. They don't pay, you don't get to dance. Hustle for drinks, club charge the guys $12. You get $2 bucks for every drink they buy you. Always order rum and coke. Of course you ain't gonna get no booze in it. Bartenders put a shot of water and coke in a tall glass, marking it with 2 straws so the guys don't get it served to them by mistake."

As I absorb this lecture, Miss Trailer Park starts to apply sky blue eye shadow to her droopy lids, then continues:

"Table dances are $40, club gets $25-you get $15. Booth dances are $60-you get $20. Two songs only, don't let them try to hold ya in there. They can get pretty grab ass in that booth." A little pause as Miss T.P. applies here dark berry lip stick, then she wraps up the speech with "Don't be showing no pussy, it makes the rest of us look bad." God forbid I make any other dancer look bad! I just nod, then start to get dressed.

Miss T.P. and I hit the door, making our way out to the dimly lit bar. Grandma Blondie hands us each a dollar to start up the jukebox. I amble over the selections available. Lots of KISS, Bon Jovi and hair metal. Ugh, well at least there was a bit of David Bowie. Standing back, Miss T.P. made here memorized  selections, then walked up the steps to the stage.

Some forgettable rock song distorts its way through ancient, dusty speakers mounted above the stage. Miss T.P. drops her overstuffed red "pleather" clutch to the floor and saunters her skinny ass up to the ONE customer along the stage rail. Clasping her hands on poles stationed to each side of her, this withered desert flower begins to lean over, moving slowly and begins talking in a little girl voice to the man. I lean back against the jukebox and think about the whole scene. Jesus, what a sad, shitty scene I have gotten myself into.

I wander over to the tiny bar " Are Sasha and I the only dancers working tonight?" Grandma gives me a crooked smile  "yep, you ladies are it." I walk back to the stage area numbed by this bit of news. What the hell happens when it gets busy in here, and there is only 2 broads showing their goods? Two sets of tits aint a whole lotta tits for a tittie bar!

Miss Trailer Park finishes here daring set of rocking back and forth for one strange dude, ambles off the stage as I enter in my tunes. Well, I guess luck is working for me right about now. Only have one fella in the bar to make my stripper debut in front of. I drop my little purse to the floor and hit the stage. Finding the wood very waxy and slick I carefully make my way to the middle ask Bowies' "REBEL, REBEL" begins warbling through the speakers above.

As I start my white girl shimmy, the pudgy, greasy middle aged male, who's spare tire / muffin top is pushing its way up on the tight waste band of corduroy shorts 3 sizes too small - waves me over.  I must be doing a pretty good job is he already wants me to come grab a dollar! I do my best "sexy time" stroll over to the stage edge. I grab the poles as I had seen Miss T.P. do, and lean over to say hello. A stubby, half hard penis is poking its way out of the mans shorts to greet me.....ugh, yuck....

Several moments pass as I can't help but stare at the penis-sadly my smart ass mouth was on mute due to the absolute shock of seeing a unimpressive and flaccid dong being tenderly tugged on by this pig. Smiling as he gives his pitiful cock tug after desperate tug, I rise up to a standing position and march my ass right off the stage, as that shit bag never took his eyes off me.

I bang my way into the dressing room, sit down on a chair as the other staffers gather around to ask me whats wrong. As I explain what  the creep did Miss T.P. cuts me off mid sentence with " He does that all the time-don't let it bother you." Grandma nods her head as if to agree and walks straight back out to the bar. All I can do is stare at Miss T.P. with my mouth open in sheer shock. "So this is a common occurrence, to have customers whacking their bags while we dance?"  Miss T.P. smiles wide as she hollers "Yep", skipping out the door.

My first shift and the night does not get any better. Men stagger in, stay for the 2 drink minimum, maybe throw a dollar or two our way, and get the hell out. At no time is there any more than 10 men in the dump at any one time. With only two dancers, weak and very expensive cocktails, why would they? As the evening drags on for a feet aching 12 hours I learn to hate the racket of asking for money to play the jukebox. With hardly any customers, they same guys have to keep reaching in their pockets. Grandma Blonde catches me using my own change to feed the jukebox-but fuck it. I may be a shitty topless dancer in a shit bag grind joint-yet I still have my manners!

No one wants any table dances. Yet I do observe that Miss T.P. gets a number of fellas to pony up $60 for the booth dances. This so called booth is really a walk in wooden cabinet with a bench on one side, a small shelf on the other. Most importantly it offers just enough privacy to behave badly. And at this moment of my evening I do believe that my fellow dancer is doing bad girl behavior in the little den of naughtiness. The topless silhouette of Miss T.P.-straddling her customer, moving in a rocking motion, can plainly be seen by anyone who glances in the door way. A foil wrapper crumpled on the booths floor catches my eye. Fucking for a $20 bill huh? Real classy. And this bitch had the nerve to tell me not to show any vag! HA!

At the end of my shift I had managed to cobble a total of $140. Not great money. Yet it was better than nothing. Which is what it felt like I was earning all night. Never has 12 hours passed so slowly on a job. Exhausted, I peel out of my shoes and dress, splitting for home.

After arriving home,  I spilled my guts to the boyfriend. He was as useless as ever. Not a tender or concerned word passed his lips. Just said "glad your home safe", rolled over, slipping back to dreamland. Mulling over the entire night in my head, I just could not see how I could go back. It really was nothing like I had anticipated. When I broke down how much a made per hour, I knew I had to stick with it if I wanted to keep my home. Yeah, the money wasn't great-however it was my first night (I rationalized) so I better just keep with it. In my minds eye I kept the goal of catching up on the house payments. SO......

For the next 5 months-6 days a week-12 to 14 hours a shift-I dug myself in and become a hustler. If you had money in your pocket I could smell it. Then I was working you to get it in MY pocket.  My attention was all yours, for the price of a drink. Either spend or I walk away to the next guy. Shimming up to you I purred in mens ears about the pleasure they would get from paying for a booth dance-but I never quite delivered. Tugging on my pierced nipples, hinting I may go home with you. Then slipping out before you caught on I had left the building. Shameless I became, hating it. Yet I justified my shitty slut behavior with telling myself these guys deserved to be legally robbed. Just for being piece of shit enough to come in to the bar in the first place.

After those 5 months I was burned out on the place, the hustle, the unhealthy lifestyle-with a good slice of hate for myself. With what I had done to save my home. I bid good bye to the PINK PUSSY CAT, taking a job as a bartender. Leaving that place felt like I was arriving back on earth. As a strip joint is a place unlike any other. XXXXXXXX end....

Next time kids, I will be unloading my history of mental illness-at the age of 42, finally finding the causes of "why I am the way I am",  how I hate my birth mother and why adoption is terrible. CHEERS!

Kathleen A. Langley - Fortier