Tuesday, March 06, 2007

All The Rest

The life of the exotic dancer is not an easy one. Many of us start the day with a stiff drink just to forget the indignity of the night before. It’s how I imagine the Prime Minister feels every time he wakes up. Or perhaps he doesn’t. Tony Blair will have ridden the spirit out of his demons. Dancers rope new demons every time we perform.

Though I try my best to hide it, I too find myself occasionally rinsing whisky over my gums in the belief that it will work as a tonic on my depressed nerves. These low days are days when I can’t find reasons within me to shave, to dress, to eat, or even to write. Only the last of these make me feel disappointed with myself. You might find it hard to believe but I write this blog only out of a deep sense of unworthiness. Life in north Wales is not easy. Money is hard to come by. Happiness is a brittle as the winter sunlight.

I first met Jane when I first started out working in the clubs. She worked the poles in Rhyl and I was then only working behind the bar. I was barely eighteen and Jane was much older, so we formed a happy platonic friendship. Eventually she would become my mentor and teach me my first dance moves, but over the course of those first few weeks working in the club, we’d meet up in our breaks and talk, telling each other our life stories. Jane told me about her fight with depression and make a bad joke about her being the only bipolar pole dancer. She also talked about how she coped with a life that bought her into daily contact with bad choices. I didn’t understand then how difficult it is to hold yourself above that world that lies below all of us. The professional dancer fights a daily struggle to remain above the lower world of drugs, prostitution, and pornography. We choose to live lives shunned by many but not without its own morality.

But Jane taught me one important lesson. She told me that I should never let the bad days pass by without doing at least one good thing; something that in the quiet hours of the night, I could look back on and say ‘well that was worth all the rest’.

Tonight, when I lie in bed, I’ll look back on this bad black day and I’m sure I’ll feel a small sense of delight in knowing that I remembered Jane and wrote something about her.

This was worth all the rest.

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