Dirty Girl Comes Clean

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~I met  Kjersti Bohrer last year and was immediately struck by the authenticity
and rawness of her writing.  She tells her truth in a powerful, insightful voice, thus
I wanted to share her with my readers.

 
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My Inner Chick~~~I’m continually intrigued by the choices people make in their
lives.  Why would anybody make the choice to  become
Stripper / Exotic Dancer?

 

K— First of all, thank you so much,
Kim, for giving me this opportunity to share what it was like for me with your
readers.  It is truly an honor to be part
of your strong, powerful, beautiful community!

A girlfriend of mine from high
school had been planning on it for several years.  I thought she was absolutely crazy.  But I was a pot-smoking, party girl.  My grades were so bad that college wasn’t an
option.  I had no idea what I would do.  I went to the club with her one night and the manager looked us up and down and told us we could make a lot of money. I saw
dollar signs and all the things I could finally buy if I had the funds.   I was in.

My Inner Chick~~~Did you feel minimized & diminished when you took off your
clothing, or did you feel validated & powerful?

 

K— Yes.
(That’s the short answer.  You can
use just that!  Or here is a more
detailed answer…)

I often gave everything I had to
someone during a dance because I could feel their loneliness, shyness, need for
affection.  As women we are in tune with
these things.  I overlooked bad breath
and body odor, old men slipping their tongues in my ears, and arrogant guys
trying to rub against my body.  I showed
them affection, smiled, was forgiving.
Afterward some of them would grab their crotches, look at me with
disgust, and say, “That’s it?”  I saw in
their eyes that I was just an inanimate hole.
It is impossible to separate the body from the spirit so there was no
way to avoid feeling minimized with guys like that.

Validated or powerful?  Absolutely.
I worked in a totally nude club.
I learned to be courageous in my body, to embrace the sexiness that lives
within me.  At times, I felt amazingly
free.

My Inner Chick~~~What are 5 adjectives that come to mind when you think of the
men who gawked  and drooled while you pole danced?

 

K–Lonely.
Horny.  Conceited.  Normal.  Entertained.


My Inner Chick~~~
Did you build relationships with the other
Strippers?   Did you have anything in common with them besides
the obvious?  Are you still in touch?

 

K—It takes time to build relationships in a strip club.
Once I became comfortable seeing the other dancers naked, hearing them use
vulgar language for everything under the sun, I realized we were all just
regular girls with harsh exteriors. We took care of each other.  We were the only people who understood
us.  I only hung out with a few dancers outside the club.  We’d go see live shows and eat chicken wings
with ranch dressing.  We did what most girls did when they weren’t at work.
did when they weren’t at work.

I haven’t talked to any of them in over 10 years.
I don’t know where they are now.
I wonder, I wish them well, but I won’t track them down.

 

My Inner Chick~~~How has your past transformed you into  who you
are  at the moment?

 

K— I didn’t allow myself to feel my true feelings
in the moment, maybe at all, when I was a stripper. I was always acting,
pretending, ignoring myself, to make others happy.  Today I make a very conscious effort to FEEL
whatever my true feelings are in the moment. I still struggle with pleasing
others, until I realize I’m doing it, then I take a step back and listen to
myself
.

 

My Inner Chick~~~What are 5 images that come to mind when you think of that past
life/culture?

 

KThe waxy build up on my fingers after counting my
money.  Cinnamon gum.  Black lights and pounding base music.  The freedom while dancing as
sexy as I could possibly be.

My Inner Chick~~~Are you ashamed of your former life as a Stripper or have you
made peace with it, embraced it?

 

K—Sometimes I
still feel ashamed. While it isn’t something I discuss over hamburgers with my in-laws, I have found ways to share
my story so it’s not balled up into a fearful secret.  Talking about it, breaking my silence, has
allowed me to let go of the stereotypes I held over my own head.  I now see that I was a lost, lonely, greedy,
curious girl without any direction.
I can love that girl now and give her tools to combat that shame.  But the shame hasn’t completely gone
away.

My Inner Chick~~~Someday will you tell your children about what you did for a
living?

K— Oh Kim.
Kim, Kim, Kim.  Someday.  When they are 60 and changing my
diapers.  Honestly, it’s part of the reason I have been writing and sharing it.
So I have the words to speak honestly with them.  I just pray that we will always have an open
relationship where they can ask me anything.

My Inner Chick~~~Did you
suddenly have an epiphany about the life you were living?  For
example, did wake up one morning and say “Why am I doing
this?”   I mean, how did you get from over there to over here?

K—I was tripping
on mushrooms, a really bad trip that I didn’t think I’d ever come out of.  As I was coming down I was thinking, “When I
wake up from this, will I still be a stripper?”
And then I thought, “Oh my God, I’m a stripper!  Is that what I want to wake up to?  How did this happen? Can I change this?”  I kept thinking that overandoverandover again.  I realized that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
Two weeks later I stopped.  I started college.  Eventually, I got sober.  Graduated with honors.  Met my husband, had a daughter, and started
writing so I could figure out all my baggage, all my shit, so I wouldn’t unknowingly pass all my insecurities and bad habits onto my children.

My Inner Chick~~~Your new play by  is calledDirty Girls Come Clean ” What does that title mean?  What has this experience meant to you?

 

K— The play is a collaboration of monologues and
scenes written by local artists.
Performances included the story of Eve, a woman with Alzheimer’s, a
little girl’s coming of age, and my story about a man who I let put dollar
bills into my bra and fondle me at the club.
I was told by the manager to let it happen (in so many words).  I was embarrassed, afraid, and it never
occurred to me to stand up for myself.
I didn’t know how.

Until opening night, none of my
new “mom” friends had a clue that I was a stripper.  I was afraid they would question
my reliability as a parent and respect for women.  But this was my story.  I wanted to tell it to break my silence and
to help others who had been violated in some way to feel less alone.  Most people can relate to this but we don’t
talk about it.
And that creates shame and fear.  My friends were all
overwhelmingly supportive which encouraged me to continue telling my story and
motivate others to own their past and live their truth.

 

My Inner Chick~~~If you could say one thing to women reading
this, what would you say to them?

 

K—It takes a lot
of courage to stand in your truth.
No matter what your past or present situation.
As women, we are nurturers, but we have to honor our own feelings as
well.  And forgive each other when we
don’t and end up making stupid decision.

My Inner Chick~~~If you could describe your life NOW, what would you say?

 

K—After 10 years of sobriety, and the support of a loving
husband, family, and friends, I am living an unassuming and fabulously “normal”
life. I taught social justice theatre for a while but now I am a stay at home mom of two.   I pray, write, perform, power lift, and
search and search and search to find ways to uncover and share my truth.

Most recently, Jesus found His way into my anxious heart. He is rocking my world with overwhelming love and guidance. I don’t know how my life
went from being so lonely to being so unbelievably beautiful. But, by the grace of God….it is.

pink lips Thank You, Kjersti.  You.  Rock.  & Inspire.  Me.   xx

~~~~~Dear Reader, is there anything in your past that you have been ashamed of?   Did you become EMPOWERED because of where you have been?

~~~Buy Kjerstie’s Cool, Hip Aprons HERE

Kjersti Bohrer Blog Page.

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87 comments

  1. My favorite line – “I still struggle with pleasing others, until I realize I’m doing it, then I take a step back and listen to myself.” I still do this too. I do a refresher once in awhile to see if people are still allowed in my life space, my inner circle. If not, then I begin to push them out. I refuse to allow people who condem or judge or treat me with less that respect into my space. Alpha Hubby taught me that I am far more valuable than that.

    I LOVED THIS INTERVIEW. I loved everything about it. Yes there are things in my past but they did not empower me. Jesus and Alpha Hubby did. It’s a permanent change, too!! You did me good with this interview my darlink Kim!!

    • It takes a lot of courage to weed people out if they aren’t healthy! You have an amazing hubby:) I do love reading about him, too. He seems like a rock, an inspiration. Thank goodness for the good men in our lives that provide a safe place to fall and encourage us to get back up!!

  2. Ann says:

    What an amazingly honest and beautiful interview! Thank you for sharing your story….I admire your bravery! All the best. Kim~ thank you for bringing such an amazing woman here today! You’re made of awesome!

  3. Carrie says:

    I really enjoyed this interview. Kjersti is truly inspirational and proves a person always has choices and can change the course of their life if they want to. Not only did she change her life’s path, she got sober, went to school but she didn’t stop there and continues her journey of self discovery and growth. We should never stop growing and learning. She proves that her beauty is not skin deep and she has a beautiful soul also.

    • Carrie (((hug))). I am so grateful for this opportunity to share, especially because I get to know more people, like you, who know the beauty in life’s lessons. I feel God has been with me the whole way, showing me ways to a better life. It doesn’t come without taking an honest look at the choices I’ve made and are still making. And it isn’t a quick journey. But it certainly is a worthwhile one!

  4. Sandra says:

    She eats chicken wings with ranch dressing and loves Jesus. I love this woman! (I got much more out of this interview, but suffice it to say, I think she’s interesting, courageous, terrific, and so very authentic!)

    • LOL! I think ranch dressing runs in my family. My daughter puts it on everything. Until recently it went on blueberries and pancakes, too. But it sure it yummy!
      Thank you, Sandra:)

  5. ed pilolla says:

    great interview. yeah, i’m sure the men are lonely at the strip club. and it was the first thing she saw in them. that was just one example of the good soul kjersti is.

    • I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I thought it was just dancing, flirting and making tons of cash. But there is a very human element I hadn’t expected. I’m grateful to be out of that situation but I can’t deny that I learned a lot about people that we don’t normally see in daily life.

  6. Vidya Sury says:

    Wow! That was a really amazing interview – the questions were wonderful, Kim and Kjersti – I have only admiration for you. As I read this post, I found myself crying a little, then smiling. I’d like to give you a huge hug! You’re right about women being nurturers and strong! Kim, you’re lucky to know and to have met Kjersti.

    Kim – thank you so much for this superb post. In fact, just yesterday i was thinking of emailing you :-) because I was worried you hadn’t posted after the last one 😀 Hugs!

    This is really one of the best interviews I ever read! Thank you Kim and Kjersti.

    • Vidya,
      Thank you! I admire how present your emotions are in you, how willing you are to feel:) That is truly a gift. When we allow ourselves to feel we understand each other in the most loving way. Thank you for sharing your response to this. ((((hug))))!
      Thank you:)

  7. Brenda says:

    Simply wonderful. I am in awe with the honesty of both the answers and the questions. Kim,you are an amazing interviewer and Kjersti, as I have mentioned before on your own blog, you are indeed a strong woman. You have a story that does inspire and motivate women to do be proud of their lives, to make changes, take risks, but above all, be true to their own hearts. Fabulous, both of you, a fine job indeed.

    • Brenda,
      I have to pause right now. I think I am going to print this comment and post it up on my wall to remind me to keep going. This is truly a gift to hear. Thank you so very much. :) thank you.

  8. Monica says:

    Kim, Thank you for doing this. Many of us have never spoken to someone who’d been a stripper, and this was most enlightening, powerful. A glimpse into a world I’m not familiar with.

    Kjersti, it’s very nice to meet you. Thank you for your frankness and for sharing. I hope you’re working on your memoir. I just followed you on Twitter and I look forward to visiting your blog.

    • Thank you, Monica. This is such a great way to meet more people and share our journeys. I am working, working, and reworking my memoir! I just showed my sister yesterday and she reminded me of some events and perspectives I had not considered so I have much work to do! I am grateful for this opportunity to clarify what I am trying to convey. Thank you, Monica:) I look forward to visiting you as well.

  9. Aurora, HSP says:

    Thanks to both of you for this great interview! Loving the liberating sensation that washed over me as I read, each answer more and more revealing of the true purpose we are all here for: love. Thanks, sister-women, this was just the treat of a read I needed tonight. Women of substance. Without fear. My kind of women, nice share.

    • Aurora (rosy light of dawn:) I am hungry for the community of strong women too! You said it perfectly, “revealing of the true purpose we are all here for: love.” Our deepest source!
      Thank you!

  10. I must say you have a great eye for a character and this women is certainly impressive. I loved the sincerity and energy she displayed. Anyone recommended by you as to be taken seriously in my opinion. Loved it

    • That could possibly be one of the awesomest compliments. I will kind of rearrange your words, if that’s ok, and say I am tickled at being an impressive character. It’s easy to feel a bit mundane at times but something must be working here. Thank you:)

  11. Tere Anne says:

    I absolutely love this post. So true and honest. It is important to accept those for who they are and understand why they are the way they are.
    Thank you for posting.
    Tere

    • Thank you Tere. It’s a big reason I had to start writing about this part of my life. I needed to communicate the human element that is often overlooked with strippers. That’s just one reason, of course:) I had a lot to figure out for myself.

  12. Marie says:

    WOW, this is a beautiful and moving interview. Raw honesty is something I like, it makes a difference.
    Kjerstie, your advices to women is priceless.
    Kim, thanks for always finding the right people, the ones who rock this world.

    Be blessed ladies.

    • It is an honor to share my views here, on this blog, where so many strong, honest women come together. Thank you, Marie! I love your closing. I may have to borrow that:) Be blessed!

    • Omgoodness, I didn’t expect this:) Kim’s Dad! It is my pleasure to “meet” you. Kim is an incredible inspiration to me. She speaks her truth with such fierce determination that others can’t help but to do the same. She has encouraged me when I doubted myself.
      I just got a little verklempt. Thank you, Kim’s Dad.

  13. Karen Sosnoski says:

    Wow, for some reason I was expecting a less serious post and was blown away by this. A beautiful interview. Was gripped by the complex relationship with the men at the strip club, by the level of empathy for these men and for her old self. Loved the struggle for self-acceptance and the acknowledgment that it’s an ongoing process. Strong questions and a compelling, honest subject. Thanks to both of you!

    • I have also struggled in the past with reading stories or watching movies about strippers that seem to portray the lifestyle as frivolous and thoughtless. So I completely understand your expectation! Thank you for reading and being open to a different insight on the subject:)

  14. Stasha says:

    Past leads us to who we are today but it does not determine who we are and will be! Lovely interview, I enjoy reading about happy, fulfilled women.

    • Our paths are always waaaay more diverse than we ever really tell to one another. Our secrets sometimes are the most influential experiences of our past. I’m grateful to be part of the community of strong, happy, fulfilled women here on this blog! Thank you Stasha.

  15. Wow. This blew me away.

    I will most def. follow your link over to her website to read more about her.

    You know what they say about the truth–it sets you free. And I’m feeling a tiny bit more oxygen in my lungs after reading this.

    • AWESOME! Just reading your comment made me take a deep breath. It’s never easy sharing this story of mine but I am so grateful that the struggle has lead to peace and fulfillment. Thank you for sharing in that with me!

  16. Kim Pugliano says:

    No regrets. We are who we are because of who we were. If not for all the shit I went through and did I wouldn’t have Noah James or Hot Joe.

    Great interview. Thank you for sharing her with us. She’s awesome.

    • Thank you, Kimberly. I wish I could share some of my experience with more people, to show them what it’s like BEFORE they venture into this life. Maybe then they would think twice. Maybe.

  17. Mercy says:

    This is so beautiful and moving. I guess the best writers are the ones who are so honest about themselves. The ones who realize that there is a lesson in every situation and that how we live past it is what matters.
    Live. love. Continue.
    To write.
    To know.
    To grow.
    Kim, I loooved this interview! YAY!

  18. Pure Complex says:

    Wow.. her story is just so inspiring to read. I love reading about other peoples triumphs, it just makes you feel like you can get through anything yourself. This was just an amazing question and answering post. Your advice is just wonderful

  19. Bella says:

    Powerful and inspiring. Those are the words I would use to describe Kjerti! An amazing Q & A, ladies! Reading K’s answers give us insight to how it’s never too late to keep blooming in life. I love the rawness and sincerity of her answers. They serve to remind us how every experience can be seen as an empowering one; as one to test our strength and resolve. You are a brave woman, sister. My hat comes off to you! Kim, methinks you have a future as an interviewer. Barbara Walters ain’t got nothing on you, lady! I loved the interview! :)

    • “experience can be seen as an empowering one; as one to test our strength and resolve” I didn’t know then how powerful that experience would be in my life. And I definitely didn’t know how strong it would make me. I feel like I’m breathing a new breath of fresh air after reading comments like this, that reassure me of my path and to continue on it. Thank you Bella:)

  20. Ameena says:

    Fascinating…There are so many things I’ll tell Maya when she’s 60! I love this. I think we can all relate on so many different levels.

    And truly, I am so self-conscious that I admire people who can take it all off. It has to be one of the hardest things in the world.

    • LOL, Ameena:) When our children grow up they will definitely see us in a different light:) I’ve seen my mom through so many different eyes, but ultimately I love her with all my heart. I hope my children, many, many years from now, do the same!

  21. Wow! What a great post! I’ve never had any friends that were strippers but I’ve always had similar questions for them. I’ve actually been into strip clubs with a group of people on several occasions. The girls definitely have sex appeal but I’ve always wondered if it was all a facade…..or a cover up for other self esteem issues.

    • I think we all have sex appeal and in a strip club the people working there are given permission to really explore that. Many of the girls have deep rooted issues and some don’t. But a woman can’t turn her own emotions off over and over again without feeling the effects. She either has to dilute her own feelings (sometimes with drugs) or she has to leave. It’s not a very healthy place to continue working. In my opinion:)
      Thank you for your insight!

  22. What an amazing survival and success story! What a stunning woman! Kim, this was a wonderful interview. Your questions were spot on and she did not back down with her answers. Raw, honest and courageous. Excellent. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Bridget says:

    My sister was a stripper for a while. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve always looked down on her for it. I never thought about how it must have felt to be that person or to be the lonely guy on the other side. Thanks you for your honesty.

    • I’m so glad you shared your true feelings. I wonder if you could talk to her about that. Although, for me, it took a lot of soul searching and a safe environment to really explore my experience. I was very defensive and determined to convince everyone that I was just fine being a stripper, had tons of fun!! That wasn’t the whole truth. Maybe, when your sister has some time and distance away from that experience, you could share:) Maybe part of why you looked down on her was to protect the image you wanted to keep of her? Those feelings are totally normal and keep a lot of us safe from making harmful decisions.
      Thank you for sharing:)))

  24. What a fabulous interview – I love Kjersti’s honesty; it’s so refreshing and beautiful and I’m especially happy that she feels free to tell her story and unravel from the grip of fear. There is no shame. We are where we are. Thank you for sharing with us Kjersti.

    • I am utterly grateful to share my story with such amazing readers, here on Kim’s blog. I am more motivated than ever to share my story and to continue finding my truth after reading the encouraging comments such as yours. Thank you, Kelly. I am truly grateful:)

  25. Caroline says:

    What a wonderful interview, Kim, thanks for sharing. I love Kjersti’s honesty, and how she’s comfortable with her past and present, and not ashamed of anything. What a beautiful person.

    • I still struggle with some of it, but being able to share my story here and in other ways definitely helps make me more comfortable with it! Thank you Caroline:) For appreciating the journey!

  26. Roselyn says:

    It was such a very inspiring and warm interview. Her answers, somehow bring empowerment to anyone who reads it. It’s just another proof that we always have a choice to live gracefully and in the honor of God. Thanks for sharing this to us, to let us learn about the wonders of change. :)

    • You said it, “the wonders of change.” It truly is a mystery, almost, when I think about how I got from there to here. There were so many unseen hands guiding me. I am so grateful for God’s presence and grace. God and sobriety are the only two things I can put my finger on for that!! Thank you, Roselyn.

  27. Kjersti, delighted to read your story (and wondering how on earth your name is pronounced).

    I’ve worked in the adult entertainment industry (not as Talent) and currently my son works in clubs as a DJ. What a lot of people don’t get is it *can* be very empowering to take off one’s clothes in public and openly embrace the sexuality/sensuality. It can also be degrading… I think it depends on one’s own attitudes, and whether the club management/porn directors work hard to create a safe environment.

    I love the direction it sounds like your play is taking – women supporting women, regardless of their choices. Personally, I neither want to take my clothes off in public nor wear hijab – but I support other women to make those choices for themselves, and to not be forced nor forbidden to make either choice.

    • I’m so glad to share this conversation with someone in the sex industry. I really tried to tell my truth and if it rings true with you, as someone who is familiar with it, then I am relieved. The sex industry isn’t black and white. Because we aren’t black and white, we are human beings with emotions no matter what business we are in. Not everyone understands that and it is usually those people who are often degrading the workers.
      Thank you so much for sharing your insight:)
      BTW, it’s pronounced Chairstee. I have to spell it phonetically often!

  28. Pamela says:

    I am a fan of Kjersti (and apron owner). Great to hear her tell her story for you, Kim. Kjersti, I am so excited for you about your monologue/performance in Dirty Girls. You are a brave, authentic, and powerful life force. I’m proud to know you, from afar.

    • Thank you, Pamela:) It is so good to hear from you. We have to keep telling our truth and being fierce about it or we lose who we are.
      I still have your quote on my wall, “I wrote because I had to write, because in my core I am a writer. I don’t pretend I am a good one. I’m trying to “become” whatever it is I have the potential to be.” 5-17-11
      I love that. Thank you for that:)

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