February 14, Its nestled so innocently in what would otherwise be my favorite month. Every February of my compulsory education was spent finally learning about Black people. Growing up this was a once a year event and I was always inspired. In February I felt I had the potential to do anything, go to the moon, be president, invent the next big whatever- like all the people before me I could make my mark on the world.
Even when you are 10 years old you can clearly see the caste system of American society. There are those that are expected to have and those that are expected to have not. In February I felt all bets were off, if a black man in the segregated America could a invent heart surgery then surely a chubby black girl from NJ could make something of herself .
Then I went to college with a few scholarships, and then I lost said scholarships and started my life on the pole. I take full responsibility; it was my choice to go into dancing. No one held a gun to my head and said, “Shake your ass ,bitch.” But shake my ass I did and quite well for a girl my size, and since that choice years ago I’ve spent every Valentine’s day alone, save for one.
You see, most men cannot see the world the way I do one where I’m just a still that little girl trying desperately to make her mark on the world. Majority of men are very much part of the established world, while they might enthusiastically fight against the conventions surrounding race, or other accepted “worthy” battles, they hardly challenge the convention surrounding strippers and sex workers. Despite knowing, touching and fucking a woman that breaks almost all of them.
For most men , women are split into two groups, I call them Juliets and Rosalinds. Juliets are the wives, the respected, protected and sought after. Rosalinds, well they are the girls you forget about completely when you meet a Juliet or the ones you fuck for sport after you feel you’ve secured yourself a Juliet. Like any other category of human, one man’s Juliet is another’s Rosalind but there are some actions that just guarantee a woman’s place in one of those groups.
Sadly, because of my choice to be a dancer, I have become a Rosalind. In turn Valentine’s Day henceforth and forevermore is canceled. It’s hard for someone that is not in my shoes to fathom the sheer amount of bitterness and resentment this can build up in a woman.
On Valentine’s Day the world stops and declares love the greatest gift on Earth, the most valuable and powerful on Earth – unless of course you are a Rosalind. This is the day were your head smacks into that glass ceiling in the hierarchy of women and you have to face the truth. You have rendered your love worthless.
Very few people fight against the world and win, and you are not the exception. So on this day and the days leading up to and trailing after you have to watch amours hold hands, canoodle and just belong to one another knowing full well that it will never be you.
Despite all the songs on the radio, most men aren’t falling in love with a stripper. Oh, and you are a stripper, you can call it exotic dancing, go-go dancing whatever- you are a stripper. The state of being a stripper will trump any and all other achievements in your life.
Graduated from college with honors? Still a stripper.
Got published in a magazine for the first time? Stripper.
Working a respectable corporate job? Congrats you’re a stripper in suit.
There’s no running away, there’s no going back. On Valentine’s Day you watch the world live your dream, of simply loving and being loved in returned. That’s just something beyond your grasp. Despite your superior upper strength ( which one needs for pole dancing) you aren’t strong enough to fight against the world’s perception of you, of HIS perception of you.
Valentine’s Day is a day that has come to symbolize everything I’ve lost in life. The panic I feel knowing I’ll be facing my golden years alone, unless I get knocked up. It’s a day I feel defeated, invisible and alone. The love songs on the radio are not for me, the flowers being sold on the corner will not be bought for me and the cards on the shelf will never be addressed “My Dear N’jaila”.
So I have to rage against it, for the sake of my own heart, I have to hate this day and everything it represents to me. Just because the world sees me as nothing I have to see myself as worthwhile. I am not my job corporate or exotic.
So fuck you Valentine’s Day for every stripper waiting for a guy to throw away the worlds view of her and see the truth. Fuck every box of chocolate; every bare-assed cupid and all the stupid hope and dreams they deny me.
Oh … and Peppero day can eat a dick too.