Too High a Price

When I was 15, I felt like I didn’t really belong. I was constantly skipping school and doing drugs, and like most teenagers, I didn’t really understand myself.

When I turned 21, I got married. My new husband and I moved to Oregon together by ourselves, and I managed to get a job at a fast food place. But when I lost my job, I heard about how much money you could make as a stripper. So I started dancing at a strip club. I really liked it at first because I made good money and got attention from guys.

But before long, I was drinking everyday to get through it. It was demeaning and soul-sucking, so I had to cope somehow. I quickly became an alcoholic.

My husband and I separated shortly after I started stripping, and then we got a divorce.

I eventually realized there’s not that much money in stripping. So when a pimp approached me at the club about going to the next level, I was open to it. But I was so naive to the whole idea of prostitution; I thought the pimp was just a normal guy. He got my friend and me to start prostituting for him. At first it was a game to us, a kind of joke. We made a lot of money, got drunk, did drugs. We thought it was fun.

It all escalated really quickly. Within my first year of stripping, I had turned into a prostitute. I didn’t really realize what was happening. Our pimp lied to us and said, “Well, you don’t really have to sleep with guys to make money.” But that’s what it was. I was sleeping with guys for money.

Fast forward a few years down the road: my friend got out, but I was still stuck in the lifestyle. I was a prostitute for about four years, between the ages of 22 and 26. I was living day to day in a hotel room. Even though I made a lot of money, I would spend all my money on drugs and cars and nice things in order to fill the nastiness I felt inside. But no matter what I bought or how much money I made, I never managed to fill the void inside. So I kept doing it, hoping that if I made enough money, it would all be worth it one day. But that day never came.

Then I started having sex for drugs, like a direct exchange. That’s when I realized my life was completely out of control.

After a few years, I got a new pimp. He beat me up constantly, once to the point where my teeth got knocked out after my face hit the pavement. It was a very violent, terrible time. After being with him for two years, I was like, “I am not doing this anymore.” So I left him, but I kept prostituting on my own, which is incredibly unsafe. There’s no one to tell you who could hurt you or who you should stay away from.

So that’s when I got into heavier drugs. I was doing meth, heroin, pills — pretty much anything I could get my hands on. Then I started having sex for drugs, like a direct exchange. That’s when I realized my life was completely out of control.

A friend and I had gotten in trouble with the police, which really scared me. So I moved from Oregon to Iowa to get away from the lifestyle and away from the drugs. I started stripping again, thinking it was the lesser of two evils. But my addiction to meth became more intense.

And then things got really crazy. One day at work, I remember doing meth and being high. I was really out of it in the dressing room, and the girls I worked with cornered me and drugged me. They stuck a needle into my arm and injected me with something. To this day, I still don’t know what it was they put into me or why they did it.

I almost died, and I ended up in a mental hospital for a week. It was there that I decided I’d had enough. For real this time.

After that, I met some people who made a huge impact on my life. They took me to church and loved me for who I was.

I was able to quit meth shortly after that, which was a total miracle. I know other people who struggle for years and years with it, but that wasn’t my experience. The other miracle was that I got a job. I had a four-year employment gap — who would ever hire me? But sure enough, one day while I was sitting at a bus stop, someone offered me a job. Since then, I’ve become a mother and now work part-time as a waitress at a pizza place.

To encourage you, here's another courageous woman who has made a life for herself outside of the sex industry.

I feel so ashamed about my past — it’s embarrassing and humiliating. So if you’re caught in prostitution, know that you’re not alone. I have been there. There are online mentors here who will listen without judgment, love you unconditionally, and walk alongside you in your journey. Just fill in your information below, and someone will be in touch soon.

Photo Credit Naomi August

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