I was 9 years old when my mother said that I should pursue stripping as a career. “It is the only way you will make a lot of money,” she told me. Caregivers influence the way their children feel and think about themselves. I didn’t know any better at the time, but that comment changed the way I thought about my worth and guided the choices I made as I got older. That statement haunted me.
My mother met him when I was three, I called him my substitute father. Not really my father, but when my mother overdosed on pills or was having a mental breakdown he would pick me up. My mother and him would do drugs and drink. When they were out of their minds it was the worst. If I asked for something my substitute father would say, “well what’s in it for me?” as he stared at my chest. Little by little I began to feel my worth slip away and it started from my caregivers.
After a few years my mother didn’t want to be with my substitute father anymore, but he knew she couldn’t take care of me on her own. So he stayed in my life to help take care of me. After they split my mother started seeing random men. Sometimes my mother would disappear for days, but I am not sure what was worse – her leaving or the men coming over. When the men came over my mother would lock me out of the house. It was almost like a do not disturb sign on the hotel room door. A locked door meant her and her boyfriend were busy getting drunk and having sex, so they didn’t want to be disturbed. Except, it was where I lived and I had nowhere else to go.
My mother’s behavior with men shaped my relationships with others. Can you imagine? The impression of sexuality that I had at 13? How I thought I was suppose to use my body and interacted with partners or men who wanted something sexual from me… How I valued sex and my body as a tool to get what I want and nothing more, all because my mother said I should be a stripper.
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