Christine Macdonald

Author. Speaker. Recovering Narcissist.

Christine Macdonald

Christine Macdonald
Location
Southern, California, USA
Birthday
November 09
Company
www.poletosoul.com
Bio
Contributing author of The Moment (Harper Collins). Former stripper, current writer working on forthcoming memoir Pour Some Sugar On Me: Tales from an Ex-Stripper. Activist. Public Speaker. Cancer survivor.

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OCTOBER 12, 2012 12:12PM

Mom, I have a secret: confessions of a wayward stripper

Rate: 19 Flag

 

Mom

 

My poor mother.  She had no idea what she was getting when I popped out.

I mean, who wants to learn their youngest daughter - the plucky, free spirited one with so much promise - is a stripper with a drug problem?

I always found the phrase "drug problem" funny.  Isn't the whole drug-taking behavior a problem? Is there a secret society of  addicts running around town claiming they have a "drug solution"?  Oh that's right, there is - and their mascot is Denial.

I remember a conversation with my mom on the phone when I relapsed (this time with Xanax) so many years after retiring from the stripper pole. I was in tears, declaring my drug addiction.

"Oh, no dear, you're not an addict, you just have an addictive personality."

I was calling collect, from a payphone in rehab.

We shared a laugh; mine was directly at her denial (lovingly), and hers was nervous, and self-assuring.  It was at that moment when I realized - my mom may never accept the truth about her daughter, and I was okay with that. We can't be responsible for anybody's thoughts or reactions (or happiness) but our own.

It took me years to confess the whole stripping thing to mom.

To the outside world I was unapologetic and brash. But underneath the audacious bravado, lived a little girl, still wanting to make her mama proud. Knowing my career choice didn’t cater to this cause, I protected her from the truth. No matter how desensitized I was to the world I chose, I still respected and loved my mother.

For years I kept my secret hidden (which is easy to do with people who don't want to see the truth). In her trusting naivety, mom believed I worked the flower circuit, selling roses to love-struck tourists in the Waikiki night clubs. I had a friend who actually did this, so when asked about work, there was a vast arsenal of shop talk prepared.

I don't remember exact details of how I told my mother her baby girl was a stripper, but I do know I tried to ease her mind. I remember her crying, knowing she blamed herself.

"Geez, it's not like I am naked, mom!" Lie. As if topless dancing was less of a blow. "Women in Europe are topless in public, on the beach!"  So defensive, playing the 'don't be so unworldly' card. Anything to pacify her pain.

My family history is far from functional, but I take complete responsibility for my choices. It would've been easy to point my French-manicured acrylics at my mother, but the reasons I became a stripper are far more complex.

Even now, as I write my story, mom doesn't quite want to belive it all. Although she understands why I want to help others in sharing my truth, she'd much rather I leave it all behind.  But she knows me better than that.

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Years ago, I lived next door to a stripper, and I know exactly why she stripped -- money. When her boyfriend knocked her up, he complained to me about what a damned fool he was: "That cost us $65,000 a year."
Money is a HUGE reason - but for me, it dug deeper. I felt validated on stage. Because of a horrific skin disease on my face (I've had nine surgeries to remedy scarring, but still have scars, my bio pic is airbrushed), I felt beautiful for the first time with each tip I received.

I was bullied and called "Freddy Kruger" in high school. Each time I collected a tip, was a big Fuck You to those name callers.

I wish I didn't snort my small fortune away... Live and learn!
Well, Freddy Kruger, I can relate. In high school I got dubbed with Smallpox Face because of a serious problem with acne. That left me more than a little shy around the opposite sex, a shortcoming I overcame with a stint in a rock'n'roll band.

I suspect, tho, that the little person inside never really gets over such cruelty completely.
It's always great to hear from people who have lived through similar situations. I've received some wonderful emails from others who endured Stage IV Acne Vulgaris through my website (after seeing the photos I have posted there from one of my surgeries).

Thanks for sharing that with me.

I agree with you. No matter how many surgeries I've had, the internal scarring is still the most damaging.
Hey! I am actually an ‘’accredited counselor in mental health,” so I would hope you listen to me carefully! : )

My poor mother. She had no idea what she was getting when I popped out.
A mother , a parent, wants 1. Kid to be happy 2. Kid to outshine them thus to make them ‘proud’
~

"Oh, no dear, you're not an addict, you just have an addictive personality." Is similar to my mom
Summing up my Bipolar disorder as “oh, your ‘problems’”/ moms cannot admit anything is wrong.
I was calling collect, from a payphone in rehab.
This is true but if you are tricky and clever you can overcome it, while sober:
“ We can't be responsible for anybody's thoughts or reactions (or happiness) but our own.”

I feel my sisters’ eyes, from my mother, upon me always.
It makes me a better man!
~

Even now, as I write my story, mom doesn't quite want to belive it all.

she'd much rather I leave it all behind. But she knows me better than that//
~
Oh stop torturing the poor old dame!
Really! Admit whatever goddamn stupid sin she has accused you of. Showing your breasts in public? Come now! Breasts are everywhere , creating a , ha., ‘densensitizatin’ of us horny guys.

Suddenly we all are bored with it! My friends.
We agree: the breasts , or whatever else we find lovely, is a product of love.

In other words,we find the gals we are with beautiful and we surely shall beat the shit out of anyone who says otherwise…………

Sin to me? Is Ultimate Black Hole pressure Conceit for the ‘’self’’.

Tits and ass have nothing to do with it. Nothing.
Christine...I am sorry you had such a terrible time in school. Kids can be terribly mean and the scars they cause are often the deepest. I sense you are still healing and looking for affirmation from your mom. It is unlikely that she will ever understand. It is hard for mothers to accept perceived flaws in their children without stumbling over guilt. The older they get the more difficult it becomes.
I'm curious. Who forced you to take Xanax? Who forced you to get up on stage and strip? Was bashing your mother for trying to raise a decent human being the right thing to do? Try blaming someone else besides everyone, but you. Besides, you already forced tax payers to pay for your problem and your life. How much longer does you facade go on until you take responsibility for the fact that it was your actions. Not society. No one put a gun to your head, lady. Maybe being a responsible adult will seem refreshing as opposed to behaving like an angry child!
I'm curious. Who forced you to take Xanax? Who forced you to get up on stage and strip? Was bashing your mother for trying to raise a decent human being the right thing to do? Try blaming someone else besides everyone, but you. Besides, you already forced tax payers to pay for your problem and your life. How much longer does you facade go on until you take responsibility for the fact that it was your actions. Not society. No one put a gun to your head, lady. Maybe being a responsible adult will seem refreshing as opposed to behaving like an angry child!
I don't know what the hell blog post "Doc Vega" was reading. What I read was an essay by someone who loves and respects her mother, feels bad about her life choices, and doesn't blame anyone but herself for her choices.
Maybe your mother would be happier if you kept quiet about your past but it sounds like you still have an open, solid relationship. Tell her to look at it this way - she could have a daughter who's the CEO of XYZ with a live-in maid, nanny and limo service but who only calls once a year. Plenty of people have kids with "respectable" backgrounds but they never see them or speak to each other. Have you ever sat down with her one on one and talked about the reasons you became a stripper so she has a better understanding?
Christine, I am back. Forget the Doc. Sounds like he has his own agenda. Agree with Cranky.
And you know what? She loves you anyway. You may be a woman grown, but you'll always be her child, even if not child-like. Give her time. Live your life as honestly as your writing suggests you will, and she'll be not only proud of you, she'll eviscerate anyone who dares talk smack about you. Keep on healing, keep on writing. R.
Thanks for the comments everyone - even the negative. I get judged all the time. It just comes with the territory, and I have no problems with it, as it's not my opinion.

Just so we all know the facts, I was indeed a nude stripper in Hawaii (started topless at 19, but on my 21st birthday, danced nude for 7 years).

Mom hasn't ever accused me of a sin, and I don't feel I've committed any. I am not ashamed of my past, nor do I seek pity or forgiveness.

The relationship I have with my mom now is beautiful. We've reached a place of forgiveness (not about my stripping, but about both our behaviors, that I won't explain, out of respect for her). She also knows why I chose the stripper route, and sees very clearly that, although my childhood had flaws (whose doesn't?), my decisions were entirely my own, and born from a place of low self esteem.

I am 44 now - and after decades of healing, I can finally write my story. Hopefully it helps others' who may be struggling with self esteem, addiction etc.

As far as anyone taking a gun to my head for Xanax or the stripper pole (or any of it)? I've never played victim - and always say I take full responsibility for my actions.

I also paid for Rehab out of my pocket, so that blows your "forcing tax payers to pay for my life" theory, Doc.

Thanks again for comments. :)
Christine;
Trying to help others is a wonderful thing, but caring enough to try....priceless!
Remember this, what is ahead of you could be the amazing, and keep those eyes pen to its possibilities. After all, at 44....the adventure is just starting!
Important thing, Christine, is the insight gained to make for a happy productive life down the road ahead. You sound like you are well on your way.

My daughter will be 69 months clean on October 28th after being on meth for seven years. She needed to be rescued from the drug house those many months ago, but is now a drug and alcohol addiction treatment counselor helping others like she was once helped. I have never been prouder of her.

I am sorry that there are always those who will judge people whose life experiences are totally unknown to the judgers. Tolerance in the absence of the facts is the better course.
Some day you're going to take this whole collection and put it into a book, and then you'll have a best seller on your hands!
As they they 'We are as sick as our secrets'. Good luck on finishing your book and thanks for sharing your experience. Your statement that 'We can't be responsible for anybody's thoughts or reactions (or happiness) but our own.' is most definitely the simple truth.
Hi Christine,
I recognize the anger and denial as well for being who we are not, and who we are supposed to be. Some people are very comfortable in their skin, even when it's uncomfortable, there are many people that live in sub-standard living arrangements, that would make some want to cringe, others like to live on the edge. But after awhile that type of lifestyle is no longer fun and can be filled with other images that are far from the glitz that temporary sense of wild excitement can fufill at a stripper pole. In that sense, but the scar on your face is no laughing matter, and having h.s. age kids laugh and name call is definitely a no-no. I hope you are able to reach other young girls who may be temporarily thrilled by the sense of making big bucks, or the just the so called excitement. I liked this story
Appreciate the feedback and insight. It's interesting that you read anger and denial - there was lots of it back then! Now, I'm quite happy and very much living in my truth.

I don't necessarily feel the responsibility to keep girls "off the pole", but do want to stress that there is life after the fast lane, and that you don't need stripping to feel beautiful/validated/loved - which were my reasons.

I don't judge - nor do I speak for anyone's story but my own.

Stripper or not, everyone has a story.
Christine, I am looking forward to hearing more of your story. We need the inner beauty that you articulate so well in your writing. I am happy that you are willing to share this time with your readers.
Christine, I am looking forward to hearing more of your story. We need the inner beauty that you articulate so well in your writing. I am happy that you are willing to share this time with your readers.
You're brave and honest. I respect that.
a very honest post. Bravo! Life is about exploring, some times we have an adventure, sometime we have an experience and sometimes we make mistakes. Most people hide their past while others realize its what makes us who we are today. Without that past, that could not be possible.
have you stumbled on dr. gabor mate's book, in the realm of hungry ghosts?

he makes a case for how complicated the neurological roots of addiction can be.
Thank you so much. xxoo

Laura - I just Googled that book and am EXCITED to read it. Ordered today - thank you!
Excellent post! I think a lot of parents have selective memory. At least mine do. My mother blanked out the chapter of my memoir I let her read, and my dad doesn't remember the time he tried to throw me out of the house. Of course, all of those things are in the past and don't really matter anymore.
The truth is, real life makes for a better story than the idealistic dreams our parents wrap us in.