To the very cherished women still working in the sex industry,
A few months after I left the clubs, in 2004, I began to write about my experiences as a stripper. As much as I wanted to forget, I also realized that there was so much I needed to remember. I want to share with you what I wrote so many years ago about you; about all of the women I left behind when I walked out of a strip club for what I believed to be the last time.
I liked the women I worked with. I understood them. And I felt understood. Even if we didn’t know each other’s real names. To this day, I want to forget the many women I left behind. I want to forget them because I don't want to remember who I was. But I can’t. I know these women, because they are me. Some of these women in the clubs are not yet women. I knew girls with braces on their teeth who walked around in a drug-induced haze selling their child-like bodies for dollars. These girls got dressed up for men and never bought a dress for prom. I celebrated with a friend as she turned twenty-one. She had been dancing for three years. What I have learned about these girls and these women is that they all have a story. No one is born a stripper; she becomes one. She may be paying for her education. She may be supporting children or earning enough money to get them back. She may be supporting a drug habit or an abusive man. She may have no idea how to make ends meet by working at a fast-food restaurant. She may be just as lost as I was. There is a story behind the woman. She is a person. She is a human being. She does not deserve to be forgotten. So I will not forget.
I REMEMBER YOU. I love you. I have loved you for years. You are not forgotten, not by me and certainly not by Jesus. You are treasured and are loved with an everlasting love. Wrap your head around the word everlasting. It is a love that never ends. People may love you for a moment, or for what you can do for them, but the love of Jesus never ends and never changes. It’s not dependent on who you are or what you have done. Like me, you may have been abandoned. God, the creator of the universe, will not abandon you. Someone may have made you feel worthless. You are worth everything. To Jesus, you are worth dying for.
I desperately want you to know how much you matter. If I could see you, I would hold your precious face and tell you that you are loved. You need to understand that you are lovely, and that your value far exceeds what you earn in a night. I don’t want you to live your life feeling ashamed. Whatever you have done, it does not define you. I want you to dream again. I want you to know that there is hope.
Your future holds so much more than you may be able to see right now. Please don’t give up. You don’t have to keep being where you are, getting by on just your own strength, believing there is no way out. Don’t you just get tired? There is rest for the weary and comfort for the ones who have had their hearts broken. I believe that with my whole heart. My joy would be to know that you can begin to believe that, too. Whatever you have done or how far you have gone, it's not too late to know the life-changing love of Jesus. And you are never too gritty to experience grace.
In So Much Love,