"I found that no genius in another could please me. My unfortunate paradoxes had entirely dried up that source of comfort."
"You were spiritually dead through your sins and failures, all the time you followed this world's ideas of living... we all lived like that in the past, and followed the desires and imaginings of our lower natures, being, in fact, under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else."
--Ephesians 2:1-3 (Phi)
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
Unless a particularly remarkable addendum occurs to me at a later date, this will be my last entry in this stupid stripper blog. I have decided the sex industry and I are parting ways permanently, and not a moment too soon.
It happened like this:
After my annoyance with stripping reached a fevered pitch about five weeks ago, I decided to take a break, effective immediately. Although at that time I thought of it as more of an hiatus, in the last few days I have decided I would rather collect cans from the side of the road than accrue more bad karma by repeatedly flouting the law of "Right Livelihood" as Buddhists would see it, or court a lifestyle rife with mortal sin, as fellow Christians would term my participation in the sex industry. My conviction that I have indeed been living in an absolutely sinful state since I began accepting money for acts remotely sexual in nature over a year ago has lately become immutable, in fact. Reading over this blog disgusts me now. It seems to be floundering, semi-hysterical, devoid of integrity. It is certainly evidence of a painfully confused state of mind into which I never plan to enter again.
Anyhow, I'm done. From now on I shall sublimate, stifle or, ideally, transcend my exhibitionist/submissive impulses until such a time as a man suitable to be my husband enters the picture. Within the confines of marriage, such acts/tendencies would definitely fall under the category of expressions of "sanctified joy". If no such relationship emerges, I'll live happily, even so. I've been abstinent this long, and I can handle it as long as it's necessary-- even forever.
I know I am doing the right thing because I can pray again-- for the first time in months-- with no sense of separation between myself and the Divine. I possess the sincere conviction that through my repentance I am finally received back into the fold. Although I realize God's love is unconditional, I actively divorced myself from it through my sinful actions, and have been paying the price, consciously or no, for far too many months. Well, that's all over now.
As for what's happening in my life right now...
I've started volunteering at an animal shelter in Williamsburg. Maybe someday I'll get a foxy little pomeranian, but until then, I'll pet abandoned cats and walk monstrous mutts down Bedford Avenue. I spend so much time in quiet contemplation I find it necessary and indeed therapeutic for me to be in contact other living, breathing creatures-- yesterday I walked a saucy little puppy and hugged him when we rested on a bench, feeling his happy little heart beating, which filled me with joy.
When the quiet at home becomes deafening I get out and spend time with my beautiful friends. I've been going to a Buddhist temple in Chinatown with Pearl, and I find it very peaceful there:
I'm signing up to take some more improv classes, too, which I really enjoy.
I am also slowly regaining my ability to focus, and to write. This is a blessing I can hardly overstate. My capacity for sustained and virtuous labor seems to increase the longer I am away from the strip club. This definitely indicates that I'm making the right decision by making my hiatus permanent. It is apparent that I can only hope to pursue my literary ambitions by taking good care of myself and making my inward and outward environments stable and free from lewdness. Virginia Woolf was right-- access to a quiet room and the assurance of a decent, fixed income are the two necessary things a woman must have if she is to write fiction. Although I hardly possess a trust fund or annuity of any sort, I have no debt, and my savings will last a few more months. After that I hope to find a part-time job somewhere quiet and beautiful, and spend the remainder of the time resting or writing.
My sleep disorder is, as always, in effect, but I am trying to accept things as they are, since nothing seems to change my symptoms, least of all worry or self-reproach.
As far as men go...
The men I have dated in the last month are either inappropriately devoted to me or seem to be merely toying with me and saving the best of themselves for something or someone else. I can only imagine this has been the natural result of meeting people when my mind was in a severe state of confusion. Bad idea. Time to move on and start afresh with dignity, which should help me stop attracting perverts and other non-committal, undesirable men. On dates or shortly thereafter I sometimes still find myself trying to practice a sort of unholy emotional alchemy that is, at heart, merely romantic delusion, but I've largely learned to stop trying to transmute rejection into acceptance and frogs into princes. Instead just accept things as they are, feelings and people included. I have a lot of faith things will go well from now on whether I am single forever or a wife within the year.
Best of all, when my stubborn little brother finally comes to visit, perhaps within a month or so, I can receive him with a clean, innocent, undivided heart.
I rejoice at the thought.
PS It's interesting to pray now and feel I really have joined the ranks of the formerly sinful and now repentant believers. When I feel ashamed I simply remind myself that I am in good company-- Tolstoy, St. Paul, etc. Not that one can ever be entirely free of sin...