I could have been a stripper…


I was on my way to the gym. Sitting in the car and listening to my favorite R & B/hip hop station from Hartford. You know the heavy rotation type where you can hear the same 8 songs at least twice while on any road trip. Well, on came Lil’ Wayne’s “How to Love.” And as crazy as it may seem, I felt an idea forming in my head, that idea and that train of thought was one of the main motivations for me starting a blog, I had to get this stuff out of my head, to do the other things I need to get done, like laundry or starting my pre-tenure review narrative!

Well, I got to thinking, there is such a proponerance of songs about strippers, praising strippers, categorizing women just having a good time and dancing as strippers, in other words – strippers are in abundance on the airwaves. I have wanted to write something about it for a while, but it wasn’t until that pre-gym moment and the “sensitive” nature of Lil’ Wayne’s homage to the complicated psyche of a stripper unable to speak.

Let me begin by saying that I respect the art of stripping. The ability to move and use your body in a way that can be beautiful, enticing, and let’s face it – it is something that we all are not born being able to do. So, I thought about the words in this song. I thought about self-esteem, I thought about those crooks that tried to steal my heart (adlib from Lil’ Wayne) as well as the idea of “You had moments that didn’t last forever/Now you in the corner tryna put it together.” Well, I am not in a corner, but it was because I had pressure from my Mom, my immediate and extended family to go down a different path. But I too was searching, growing up way too fast in the Northeast Bronx, trying to fulfill some antiquated B-girl (in the fly girl sense, not the break dancing sense) aesthetic. I wanted to be that girl from the ‘hood that was “discovered” by that ghetto knight in shining armor with either a music contract or a street pharmacy business.  To take me to a mythical place where all fly girls become wifey and live in the lap of luxury (or at least get some new earrings and a chain).

However, there were other plans for me. I didn’t take that route. I absorbed the environment around me, I understood my place, I was able to move between the world of my ‘hood and the expectations of my family and went on to college and beyond. Got a bunch of degrees and then landed a job at a state university in a quaint New England town. Married to an incredible man with three beautiful children…If I had thought about my life at almost 40 when I was struggling to find myslelf as a woman, I would have not seen myself today. The images that Lil’ Wayne sparked for me were much deeper than I expected, they reminded me about choices and the ability to decide where your life will take you. I am still processing all of what it stirred up in me, but for now, I do recognize that with a decision or two different, I too could have been in that corner tryna put it together…a stripper I could have been…

more to come…

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