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Taming your emotions

Chase Kelly —  January 20, 2013 — 5 Comments

About 3 weeks ago I finished a book that had been on my list for awhile.  Between having a childhood that lacked guidance, running this blog, and being an entertainer myself, I often turn to books to answer the difficult questions this industry has brought up.  Over and over in books like The Power of Now, The Road Less Traveled, The Secret, The Art of Loving, The Dance of Anger, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Power of Positive Thinking and a ton more finance and self help books proclaim the same thing.  You cannot act in response to your emotions.  You need make your emotions respond to you.

After weeks of contemplating, I have rewritten the concept (with the help of my trusty steed–a 5 year old Pomeranian), and I am now passing it on to you.  This WILL help you make money, and it will help you to preserve your sanity.  Guaranteed.  I am going to break it down Dr. M Scott Peck’s way, but instead of using the awful analogy he used (if you read it you know what I’m referring to), I will call you the master, and I will call your emotions your pet.

A good dogs sits, stays, and comes when commanded.  They don’t beg and they are ready to defend you from an intruder.  A good dog knows it’s place and can help it’s master accomplish many things.  The best dogs can sniff bombs and rescue babies from burning buildings and even serve as eyes for those who cannot see.

Bad dogs, though, they jump up on children and scratch them.  They bark at every passerby, out of fear or aggression, or a simple compulsion to make their presence known.  They sit next to your chair and whine while you are trying to enjoy a meal.  They chew your Louboutins and piss on your new couch and they tear up your beautiful garden.  The worst dogs attack people or other animals.

But when you think about the dog, are they really bad or good? Or is this just a matter of discipline? Seeing eye dogs and canine units go through extensive training to achieve all of the wonderful things they achieve.  Is it ever the dog’s fault that it lacks a sense of purpose, that it must act out in order to get noticed?  Of course not.  It is up to the master to set boundaries, to choose battles, to show her pet when it does not need to fear.

Have we, as young women, not acted out when what we need is guidance, love, support and understanding?  Can we not understand this behaviour?  When we are longing for something, security, happiness, money, love…these are the times that our emotions get out of control, when they act for us.  This longing is our enemy, it messes everything up.  What we need is self discipline.

A dog’s place is at the end of it’s human’s leash.  It’s sole desire in life is to bring you happiness, to serve and protect you, but in order to reap the benefits that this infinitely generous creature can offer you, you must speak to it with kindness and firmness, train it, show it it’s purpose in life.  Your dog WANTS to make you happy, but it only has the tools that you give it.

So learn, like you train your trusty BFF, to train your emotions.  When you feel your blood boiling, your temperature rising, your hands trembling with anger or disgust, sternly say to your anger, “Nooooo.” and pull on it’s leash.  Give it a firm hand, show it that you are in control, and it can trust you.  And in return, show trust in it.  When your dog is sad or sick, treat it with understanding and tenderness.  Reach down a hand and give it a comforting pet on the head.  Say, “Good girl,” when it’s earned.

We have all heard the stories of the amazing animals that have saved their families from burning buildings or the peril of drowning.  It’s true, like golden retrievers, your feelings can warn you and protect you from harm.  It is up to you to spend enough time with your emotions to understand which bark is just chatter and which is an alarm.  Like a well-loved pet, your must get to know your feelings…become comfortable enough with them that you actually hear what they’re saying, not just try and quiet the barks, ruffs, and whimpers.

So what does this have to do with stripping?  Probably a lot.  You need to harness excitement, happiness, and approachability to make money without degrading yourself.  People DO like sad strippers sometimes, but those people are not people you need to come in contact with.  Avoid them.  Additionally, most girls in the industry often let their emotions get the best of them, which is why they are best suited for a job that takes them in all their erratic and irrational childish glory, and this inability to control one’s emotions is what keeps them stuck in the industry forever.  Not that this job isn’t REAL, because it’s as real as it gets, but in the COMMON world, no one is going to tolerate your outbursts.  You can’t say to a client at a law firm, “Don’t TALK like that, you are SO GROSS,” throw a drink at them, and walk away.  In the strip club, though, your craziness is tolerated.  It shouldn’t be tolerable to you, though!  You can’t let yourself get that way, just because your job allows it….of any occupation, this one will stretch you to your max and having control of your emotions will determine if you sink or swim.  It will be the deciding factor between those of you who start successful business and those who down into a hole of addiction and defeat.  If you ever want out of this kind of work, if you don’t want to become this industry, you need to learn about your emotions, you need to learn to love them, to be kind to them, and to discipline them so that they can best protect you from this scary world.  Hope is a girls best friend.  Good luck and be safe out there this weekend.

Chase K.

http://www.survivetheclub.com

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No matter what your job is in our economy driven society, it defines you-so when you become a stripper (or sex worker), that means something pretty serious.  Everyone asks you what you do, and every time, you have to agonize over what to say, or choose to just blurt it out and take the social consequence (Read So, what do you do?).  The worst part isn’t the strangers, though.  It’s your friends, and sometimes even your family.  The feeling of being a novelty to the people you love is really hard.  I remember a conversation I had with an escort friend, in which she said she felt like a girl we both knew kept her around to be able to say, “This is my escort friend, ____.”

People have a bizarre curiosity when it comes to what we do for a living.  It can make it really hard to feel cared about when you have a job like ours, the only people who understand are other girls who do what you do, which makes you feel crazy, because then all of your friends are strippers, and what does that say about you?!  Being a social outcast is something that NO ONE wants to be, especially people who have never really felt “normal,” like us.  Finding a balance between your identities can seem almost impossible sometimes.  I have googled obsessively to figure out how to keep my professional and personal life separate, but like everything else, the results were aimed towards young professionals in an office setting.  Being that we are a fringe tribe of people, most “stuff” won’t apply to us.  We need to create it ourselves and embrace that we are a little bizarre, a little different, and beautifully unique.  That’s what Survive the Club is.

So, all of your friends who “get you” are strippers, big deal!  Strippers need to stop beating themselves up for liking each other.  Somewhere along the way we were told, “Strippers are junkies and liars and thieves, and they will fuck you over, steal your customers, steal your boyfriend, and kick your dog,” and, “women never get along.”  Despite being women and strippers OURSELVES, we still assign these qualities to others, thinking that we are the only ones who are cut from a different mold.  This kind of “strippers suck” (or “sex workers suck”) (or “women suck!”) attitude just adds to our own self loathing and keeps us divided, and keeps us from making progress!  I don’t know whose idea it was to make strong minded, empowered women hate each other, but it’s a bad idea.  We, more than anyone else, need a little love.  Maybe no one else can see it, but we can recognize in each other that strength and independence are born out of hardship and loss.  More than anyone, we deserve a little tenderness, and there is no reason not to give it to one another.  Of course, avoid the girls who are life sucking leeches.  In this industry you need to learn who those girls are and recognize them (and be mature enough not to talk shit, just to ignore them!) and who can help you become the woman you want to be.  This is a job that lacks mentorship, and that sucks.  I would have done things SO MUCH differently if I had someone I could ask questions to, bounce ideas off of, and adjust my behavior to not repeat their mistakes.

Outside of work, explain to your friends that you don’t really want to talk to much about it.  Tell them not to ask how much money you make, ask them not to probe about your customers and how they act.  Encourage your family and civilian friends to treat you the same way they did before, do your best to act the same way you did before, and tell them that you’ll let them read your memoir after you write it.  When you need to vent, know that there is a community here for you to do that to.  You can email me anytime with your thoughts, concerns, questions, or ramblings and I promise to respond.  Keep hobbies outside of work that you love, whether it’s learning a new language, going to school, making jewelry, painting, yoga, WHATEVER, but something else that has a community that you practice with.  I am a loner, so many of my hobbies are “on my own” hobbies, but I have learned that the community ones really keep me much more grounded in reality.  Thank you, girls, for being part of my community.  I am SO lucky to have you.

xx

Chase

**featured image by Lee Jinju

Getting Unstuck

Chase Kelly —  October 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

If you have become a stripper that really can’t handle life or responsibilities, it’s time to come clean with yourself.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you want to be a stripper to help you get through a tough financial time, or if you want to be a stripper to help you achieve your goals, pay for school, start a company, etc.  There is not even anything wrong with being a stripper simply because you like it!  Often times, though, all being a stripper does for girls is support their dysfunction.  If you are one of these girls, it’s best that you at least admit the problem.  It may seem weird, awful, uncomfortable, and a huge affront to your self-esteem to admit that you simply cannot function in modern society, but truly, the first step in fixing a problem is identifying it.  Admitting that you are stuck doesn’t mean that you are doomed for life, it means that you are self-aware, that you have the clarity to admit you need some guidance, and that you at least are aware that your lifestyle could use some tweaking.  Admitting a problem means that you are not insane.  Ignoring it means that you are.

Have you ever met someone who is bat shit crazy and everyone knows it but the actual crazy person (Hi, Mom!)?  That is the result of self-denial.  That is what happens when there is a problem with your personality and you choose to ignore it, say, “It’s fine!” or joke about your bad life decisions.  Like cancer, early detection is the best cure for a diseased lifestyle.  If you catch it, you can change it.  If it goes ignored for too long, though, it spreads like wildfire and mental illness comes in and grabs you.  Let’s not pretend that the strip club will be around forever—eventually we will be too old for this shit.  Let’s also not pretend that crazy people are a scarcity in the industry.  And while we are at it, let’s not be so pompous to think it couldn’t happen to us.  Lifestyle dancing is dangerous because it is unrealistic.  Unless you LOVE the industry and plan to be in the adult industry for the rest of your life (eventually you will have to quit stripping, at which point it will be the cams, porn sites, escorting, or Dommeing) you need to be able to function outside of it.  If the only people who “get you” work in the club, it’s time to reassess.

Some of the problems I see most often are ones that I have myself struggled with from time to time.  Some girls are lazy, can’t get out of bed in the daytime, others literally have no idea what to do with authority-they lack the social skills to follow direction.  Rage issues, no “filter,” inability to maintain a schedule, inability to connect with people, no desire to do anything that doesn’t result in monetary gain, addiction, codependency, and battered women’s syndrome are just SOME of the  many things that strippers have to overcome.  You add a career that encourages your behavior, and managers that turn a blind eye, are completely oblivious, or simply don’t care what happens to you, a peer group that has adopted the “sink or swim” approach to life, and a shit ton of untaxed income, sexual assault and complete disregard for your humanity, and you have a recipe for disaster.  It’s no wonder most all dancers suffer from PTSD at some point.  You are not alone, but you will be if you don’t do something to change the direction of your actions.

Women have SO much more responsibility than men do when it comes to being emotionally stable, if only for one reason.  Most of us are already or will be mothers one day.  We will literally take on the responsibility of another human life at some point, and like many bad moms, those who end up totally crazy won’t even realize it.

I am asking you to take a look at yourself and do something about it if you are one of these girls.  Thinking about it is great, spend some time on that, but start making a plan as soon as you’re ready.  During your thinking process, take notes.  Your journal is your best friend when making life changes.  If your’re writing it down, you are making a commitment.  Do that!  Commitment is good, failure to commit is a really common stripper problem, so now is a great time to work on that.  Start small, do the things you know you SHOULD be doing, but don’t.  Something as simple as keeping your bed made when you aren’t in it, keeping an empty sink, or cleaning up after your pets will bolster your “I can do it!” esteem pretty much right away.  Taking care of the basics is essential to being able to take care of the extras.  The things you need to do to get the ball rolling vary from girl to girl, you know what you need to work on.  Start small, don’t give yourself a panic attack, instead reward yourself for your achievements, and counter some of your bad habits with good ones.  If you suffer from anxiety, this is seriously one of the best things you can do to alleviate some of that.  When “I can’t do it,” is constantly playing in your head, OF COURSE you have anxiety.  As of right now, you are broken up with “I can’t.” Your new mantra is, “I’ve got this!”

And you do.  You’ve got this.  Now get off the internet and go clean your kitchen.

Lots of love,
Chase Kelly

 

*Featured Image by Klaus Kampert

How to be a stripper is not all you need to know when it comes to the industry.  If you have been dancing for 5 years or 5 days, you need to write your exit plan, starting today.  It is automatic to become accustomed to stripper money and require it to survive.  Even if you are one of the low earners at your club, chances are you have the ability to make more now than you would if left to rely on your other resources.  Isn’t that why you chose dancing, come to think of it?

Your exit plan is simple, it consists of 4 things:
-How much money does it cost me to live?
-If I weren’t dancing, what would I like to be doing to earn money?
-What does it take in order to actually “do” step 2?
-How much does it cost to “do” step 2?
Answering these questions is the first step to actually making your dreams come true.  No matter how much you are enjoying dancing today, we need to loudly state that this is not your life goal.  For years I wanted to be a stripper when I grew up.  Now that I am a grown up stripper, I realize that the future of this industry just isn’t for me.  Dancer into my 30’s?  Sounds palatable enough, but dancer into my 40’s just in’t* gonna work.
The reality is that this job is stressful and dangerous.  While I hope nothing bad ever happens in your dancing career, or in your life for that matter, it’s important to be realistic.  Bad things happen to everyone, and this job can create you a safety net to help get you through the really awful things, some of which are brought on because of the job itself.
The day my dad died, I swear I wish I could have traded in my gucci shoes for a flight to Phoenix to be with my mom, but Southwest doesn’t accept scuffed flats for flights.  I had no money and no plan to deal with the hardship I was going through.  I had to dance that entire month to pay my bills.  The same thing happened when I got mugged on my way home from work, and when I went through my big breakup, and after I went past my limits with a customer and had a breakdown.  I can’t tell you what it’s like to have to give even one  lap dance when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry.  Having to do it night after night so you don’t end up homeless is unbearable.  UNFUCKINGBEARABLE.
PLEASE, don’t do this to yourself.  If nothing else, prepare for 3 months of living expenses.  3 months is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM amount of time you’d need away from dancing if god forbid something awful happened to you.  Going back to work when you aren’t ready can cause extreme mental damage, even if you aren’t aware of it at the time.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I am here to tell you that you will need to undo that damage if you insist on inflicting it upon yourself.  Sometimes, it can never be undone.  If you want to really do something amazing for yourself, please email me.  I will walk you through the foundation of the program I am writing for you guys.  It’s not finished yet, but I can help you get on the path now if you can’t wait another second.
Lack of planning led me down a very dark tunnel that landed me in a very dark pit of despair.  Even if you think dancing doesn’t affect you on an emotional level, all it takes is one small shift to change that forever.  The entire reason I write this blog is because I want to help you avoid the pain I put myself through.  Girls like us, we just didn’t have anyone to show us how to do it right.  Instead of beating yourself up, instead of feeling hopeless or stuck, take just one simple step to give you some strength.  Get yourself a savings going and use it to fuel your way out of this place, once you’ve milked it for everything it has to offer you.
*I just created an even lazier way to say “ain’t,” which is either indicative of me being an extreme over achiever, or on the flip side, an extreme under achiever.  Food for thought.

 

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Making a Regular

Chase Kelly —  September 13, 2012 — 2 Comments

Anyone who dances knows that the best money comes from being a stripper who attracts regulars.  I want to tell you how I do it.

The other night I had a customer the who was really sweet.

He had been going through a really hard time.  A bad divorce, some time locked up, lost his kid to his ex, working 60 hours a week at a job he hated, and NO strip club experience/etiquette.  Typically an annoying guy, but since it was early on a Sunday, the club was really slow, I decided to go talk to him.  It seemed like everyone was avoiding him because he was sitting in a kind of unapproachable spot, but I assume that’s only because he wasn’t really comfortable.  He had heard about my club on the radio and decided to come out for our Sunday happy hour special, which is $10 dances all night.  People with no strip club experience make the perfect regulars, because n one has gotten in there and burned him, given him too much for too little, or fucked him up some other annoying way.  I decided it was a perfect opportunity to take on the project of converting him to my regular.

I was really sweet and patient, showed him a great time, gave him some heartfelt advice, and took 2 shots with him (a serious limit for me).  On $10 dance nights I still always charge $20, but a lot of customers who hear the ad expect to pay the “sale” price.  Here is how I get around that.

“So this is really only your second time at a strip club?  Do you know how it works here?”

Even if he knows, he is going to prompt you to tell him.  He wants to hear your menu.  Dances here are typically $20 anywhere in the club, but options are key.  People gravitate towards the middle ground, so 3 choices is best.

“So, since it’s Sunday, we are running a $10 dance special.  They take place here in your seat, there is absolutely no touching, and I leave my top on.  We can also go against the wall back there, and those are $20.  We also have private VIP dances, which are way more intimate, allow touching, and are really fun.  Which do you think you want to do?”

He chose the $20 dances, and we did a few.  Then I gave him a massage for awhile, and charged $10 a song.  Eventually I excused myself because I was bored of him, and could feel his attention wavering.  The club had picked up, so I went in search of greener pastures.  I knew I showed him a great time and he’d want to see me again, so I offered my email, even though he is FAR from a regular.  It was actually his first time in a club since the 90’s.  Today I received an email from him.  It read as follows:

Hi Chase. Hope all is well with you. This J the guy with the skull

hat. I was there Sunday.   Just wanted to say thanks alot! For taking

your time and talking and being real. You made my night. You and the

drinks got me loosen up. So I went with it and had fun. dance with

others to. Nice place! easy going. Stiil I had best time hanging with

you. Send me a line as to when you work and if its not a work night

Ill come out. dont worry I wont hang on you. I know you need to work.

Thanks very much for your email. very sweet.  Hope to here from you.

take care, have fun.

J

How lovely.  It feels nice to help someone when they are having a hard time.  Sometimes people just want to relax and have fun, and I am lucky to be professional and personable enough that I can feel okay about charging for it.  If you take someone who is down in the dumps for a ride, take all of their money, and treat them like a trick, you are a shithead.  Don’t be a part of the problem, people already think we are thieving whores, that’s why they don’t care when we get raped or murdered.  Being a good person is your responsibility, we need you to help us get the respect we deserve!  I know that I am not a negative thing for this guy, so taking his money is A-OK.  There are lots of occupations in which you get paid to help people, and dancing can definitely be one of them.  It really is one of the more exciting and rewarding parts of the job, to be able to give someone who never gets to smile a great night.  Sooooo I did that for this guy, made a regular, and then got to write an awesome blog about it to share with you all the ins and outs of how to be successful, ethical, and rich young ladies!  How good is life, can you tell me?

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Money customers love me.  It doesn’t matter that I am covered in tattoos, that I grew up poor and sometimes lack decorum, that I don’t bother with jewelry or curling my hair, my boobs are real and kinda deflating, that I have the world’s most embarassingly tiny ass—business men are my men, all the time.
Why?  What really stands out about me?  It’s really simple.

I am confident.  I smile A LOT, I am sober, I am witty and funny, and I say “Oh stop it!” to at least every other compliment.  I am able to talk to them about things that they are interested in—after all, I am an educated business woman, myself!  Nothing turns a brainy customer on more than a stripper who is “on the level.”  I am constantly told that it is my energy, and the fact that I am tuned in-not zoned out when I am dancing for a guy.  Lots of eye contact and ear breathing…yes, it turns them into animals, but rich animals are my absolute favorite kind.

Stripping is not something to do to feel good about yourself.  Stripping is something you do to make a customer feel good about himself, then you take his money and do something with it that will give you the desired “I love me” feeling (go to school!  start a business!  make art!  buy a home!) that you were originally trying to obtain by talking a lot about yourself, twirling your hair, and acting like a bitch diva.

So how do you become a witty, fearless, happy stripper?  LEARN.  Knowledge is power.  When you know what you are doing, there is nothing at all to be afraid of.  BE NICE.  A good core group of dancers is imperative to be happy at your club.  If it’s really awful at your club, again, read this and this.  Controlling the Vibe is probably the post that I think is the most powerful I’ve posted thus far.  LAUGH.  This guy wants to see you smile!  His wife and kids probably don’t show him much of their youthful, carefree sides.  Customers see us as having money, and thus not having problems.  Give them their fantasy*!

Please be happy, be safe, and shine from the inside—it shows!

Love,

Chase

*some rare and occasional customers have a captain save a ho complex, be an astute profiler!

Evolution of a Stripper

Chase Kelly —  September 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

As women and as dancers here in the 21st century, we been victimized by a lot of people.  We have built so many defenses against the way society and media views us.  We have built defenses against what society and media have built men to be.  We have built defenses against our parents, our lovers, and even ourselves.  Remember that post about conditioning?  We have conditioned ourselves to tolerate things that are intolerable, building all sorts of fortresses around our hearts and arming our minds with tons of weapons.  So many of these mechanisms were built under distress, though, and we have begun to see the results of these defenses as “who we are.”

By suggesting that we evolve as dancers, I am also saying that we need to evolve as people.  Each person has things that they do that they know simply do not work, but for some reason they just can’t stop.  This is because they are used to acting a certain way, continuing to do so will help them avoid the discomfort of change.  I will be the first one to admit, change is really uncomfortable.  Learning to be a better version of yourself feels so weird, sometimes it’s like I want to crawl out of my skin, but you know what?  MY LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER.  Taking the time to examine myself as a person and keeping notes about everything so I can actually monitor the change has been the most liberating thing I have ever done.  It has led me here, to be able to share everything that I’ve learned.  I know that I will help people with this project, and I chose it because I passionately believe that we can reprogram our faulty systems and make ourselves happier, and make the world a better place for young girls everywhere.

So what does this have to do with dancing (besides everything?)  Here’s one:

Our building insecurities, our diminished sense of self and self-worth, and the constant feeling of being misunderstood has taught us that we are the safest emotionally if we display our personas loudly.  We flap our mouths at coworkers and at customers nonstop, telling them about what we think, feel, believe, and especially what we hate or disagree with.  By broadcasting our feelings, we have created a simple system: the people who listen or agree are cool, and fuck the people who don’t.

This is just such a faulty way to live.  Not only does it scream your insecurities to everyone who will listen, but subliminally, you are programming yourself to be stubborn, angry, and bitter.  You are turning people off before they even have a chance to get to know you, like you, and especially pay you.  The next time you work, how about you try this: ask questions, don’t EVER talk about the club, how you feel about stripping, or how you feel about anything for that matter, unless you’re saying “omg, I totally agree!”  I am going to ask you to stop being an insecure little girl (at least at work), and for the time being, evolve into a business woman.  If you can get a guy to open up to you, you have him in the palm of your hand.  He goes home to his wife, kids, or girlfriend who all put every thought and feeling out into the world for him to process.  At the strip club, we need to give him a place to decompress from all of that.  Just shut up, listen, and dance.  Your wallet will thank you!

At work, you need to maintain professionalism, but mostly you need to protect that insecure little girl inside of you.  I am NOT asking you to ignore her, I am asking you to shelter her.  Usually this means not getting too fucked up at work.  If you are not in your right mind, you are likely to slip back into comfortable habits.  If there is a part of you that never got the love and support that you needed (I am willing to bet there is) I think you should nurture that, but I don’t think coming at customers with every belief you’ve ever had about anything ever is the way to protect her. I think you are just making her poor.

Evolution takes time.  It takes learning the basics of all the things you know nothing about but have convinced yourself you’re an expert on.  Faking it til you make it works, but not if you never make it.  Start digging at the parts of yourself that you don’t like—somewhere in there lies the trigger of what made you that way, and once you identify that, you can change it!  If you have deep emotional issues, are the adult child of an alcoholic, addict, physical, emotional, or sexual abuser, please consider looking for a therapist in your area to help you dig into this part of your subconscious, and read Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward.  Bringing your dysfunction with you into the strip club can be especially damaging, and unfortunately is what leads to “stuck in the club” syndrome, which slowly and heart-wrenchingly turns into “bag lady” syndrome.  I have seen it happen, please don’t let that girl be you.