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A quarantine portrait

If even a month ago, you would’ve told me the changes we’d all be facing, the interruptions, disturbances, turmoil, and fear–I would have recoiled in horror.

I’ve often wondered–of the prices we pay in life, the hard learning experiences, the pain–when exactly do we get our reward? If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, then what exactly does “being stronger” look like?

This week, artist and photographer Alexandra Dietz invited me to participate in her project “Quarantine Portraits.” For this project, she takes remote portraits that represent the experiences of quarantine around the world. She asks each participant to write a paragraph describing their experience.

Here is mine.

A traumatic childhood made chaos feel like home to me. As an adult, I sought out situations of uncertainty and danger. I spent my professional life split between two fields: the strip club and the academy, both environments of constant rejection and zero promises.

After a dark-ass run in both of these fields, I alchemized my skills into my current business, Stripcraft, where I lead a community of women in the reclamation of their power through sensual expression and general hilarity. For the last several years, the majority of my income has come through hosting retreats. The majority of my revenue is travel-based. I made enough money to turn my whole life around hosting these events. I even bought my first home.

Now that line of revenue is disabled for an undetermined amount of time, and I have hit the ground running in pivoting my business to an online model that replaces my lost income. So far, so good. I thrive in the storm. I view this hardship as an opportunity. For me, there is no other way. To wallow in horror would be a luxury I cannot afford. I’m a fighter above all things. You will have to kill me to stop me.

Not only will I survive. I will thrive. I will have fun. I will feel good. Life is short. Life is not what happens later. Life is what happens now. I will make my life every day. I will meet with more friends more intimately across the globe than I ever have in my life, even if virtually. Wild how this forced separation has caused closeness. Beautiful, isn’t it. I will shave my legs on Fridays and put on a sexy outfit and drink beers out of the bottle and dance with my friends, even if virtually (#homeboundhoedown FTW). I will rise to the occasion with fortitude and creativity. I will make art. I will come out of this better than when I started. I have learned by now that I am indomitable. Since I’ve been going around acting like I’m a badass all these years, it’s time for me to prove it.

I trust myself.

I hope you trust you, too.

You got this, homie, just like you’ve had everything else.

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