anything but a wasted life

IMG_3878 copy2
I was still dealing with Rob, but I was miles away in every sense. Those months after Robert relapsed would have been unbearable if it weren’t for Todd. It was also the first time since the age of eleven that I wasn’t working. Which was incredible. But I wasn’t with Todd 24/7 and as the months went on he became more and more difficult to get a hold of. It frustrated me endlessly and hurt my feelings, not to mention he was my financial lifeline. He was always changing cell phones, and during a two-week trip I took with friends to Thailand, he had dropped off my radar completely. I was sad and confused, and also out of money. It was time to go back to work.


Rob was in a dark place. His father flew out to try to pick up some of the pieces (his family was used to this, but I think they hoped that our love was finally going to soothe him—as did I). But I’m not a savoir, and my patience with his soul-crushing sadness and liver-damaging relapses was paper-thin by that point. It was clear that a reconciliation was not in the cards. This clarity included an unfortunate fight between us with his father in one of the guest bedrooms during which I punched Rob in the face in a fit of rage. Not a proud moment for me. He was detoxing with the shakes, and I decked him. No one could make me see red like that man. This was also pre-happy- pills, and my control over my anger was almost non-existent back then. Perhaps a month later, after much deliberation and tears, I finally worked out a deal with Rob to buy him out and get his name off the deed. I gave him a large sum of money and it was done. After everything Rob and I had gone through, I just wanted to move on. By the time he moved out of our house in Cole Valley, I had fallen in love and gotten my heart broken by another man.

I moved back into my house.

Heartbroken and without hope, Rob struggled to stay sober and find peace. Four years later, in the spring of 2004, he took his own life. The trip to upstate New York to attend his funeral and stay with his father and siblings was one of the most heart wrenching experiences I’ve ever gone through. I drove a rental car from JFK directly to the church, and sat in the parking lot weeping. Rob’s father almost collapsed to his knees upon seeing me. I was close with Rob’s family. Rob’s sister said he hadn’t cried until he saw me. I hugged him as we sobbed. The funeral was unbearable. I couldn’t stop crying. Rob will always have a piece of my heart. He was an incredible human being.


When I went back to work at Mitchell Brothers this time, things were very different. I was no longer clean and sober. The club served the girls champagne at the beginning of the night, and now I could partake! Dancing buzzed was a whole different ballgame, and needless to say I loved it. I suddenly understood why all (or most) of my fellow dancers drank and used drugs on the job: simply because it’s so much fun!

I hosted a big party at my house after our club Christmas party. It was the first time I ever tried crystal meth. Mitchell Brothers Christmas parties are infamous and over-the-top. Live bands, food, booze, male strippers, and people hooking up all over the strip club. This was my first adult party with drugs and alcohol. My friend had given me a little crystal at the club, and I was having a blast. She brought more to my house. At one point I tried to eat some toast and chewed on it for ten minutes. I couldn’t swallow it! Eventually I spit it out, laughing my ass off.

I was hanging with a new crowd at work. Of course, I had known them a long time and loved them all along, but now that I was partying with them. I was in their secret world. Actually, it wasn’t that secret—girls had been known to do lines off the counter tops in the dressing room! As well as party with Jim Mitchell and his famous guests. I knew drugs existed at the club, but I had been so naive. I had a certain image in my mind of what people who did uppers looked like: strung out with no teeth and twitching, as this was all I had heard about in Narcotics Anonymous. I had no idea that half the girls I was working with for all those years were on drugs. They looked good and weren’t wasting away. They ate! And they were perfectly functional.

I was single and not feeling guilty about stripping for the first time in my dancing career. I felt good about myself, and my life. Strange that drugs and alcohol were big players in this time of freedom.

anything but a wasted life

Todd invited me to spend New Years 2000 with him at the silo. He said it was the best place to be if the world was going to fall apart. Unfortunately, he didn’t tell Emily, and after my thirty some odd hours of travel, and little sleep, I arrived to one of the worst nights of my life. I had been in Mexico with my mom, and by the time I landed in Kansas City and drove to Wamego, it was 10 p.m. I was thoroughly exhausted. It was cold out. I drove down the big driveway, parked my car, got my luggage and opened the heavy steel door. I walked down the tube to the living quarters. Emily and two of her childhood girlfriends (I think) were in the kitchen. She was not pleased to see me. Things were a little more strained with us. Todd was telling her too much. Like how he could come from me giving him head—something he rarely did, and that she had not been able to do. For such a highly intelligent man, he came up short sometimes when it came to intimate relationships. Emily barely said hello, and her friends said nothing at all. I could hear them whispering as I left to find Todd. I knew instantly he hadn’t told her that I was coming. I was furious. I found him in the bay. He was constructing a huge movie screen. I tore into him. I was a maniac. I couldn’t stop crying. My whole body was shaking. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I knew my sleep deprivation was effecting my reaction, but I couldn’t help it. He said that he was dealing with highly electric shit and couldn’t stop to talk to me yet. I told him to fuck off (a first), and left. Back down the long hallway. I grabbed my stuff, said something derogatory to Emily and got the fuck out of there. I drove towards Manhattan. It was almost midnight. I was freezing. And crying. I was a mess. I needed to find a hotel. Happy fucking New Years. The new millennium, no less. I called my mother and told her (an abridged version) of what happened. My call waiting beeped, it was Todd. He didn’t know I had left. Apparently when he found out he laid into Emily and she took off as well. Now he was alone. He convinced us both to come back. We did and the lot of us also took a bunch of pure MDMA, salvaging what we could of the most significant New Years Eve of our lifetime. Safe in our underground world.

anything but a wasted life

IMG_3993 copy
Todd and I became intimate during our stay at the house in Stinson Beach. He was cautious at first, wanting to make sure that it was something that I wanted. I did. I wanted to be close to him without boundaries. His girlfriend (he had a young girlfriend studying organic chemistry at UC Berkeley) wasn’t thrilled, but liked me and understood that I could give him things that she could not. Including companionship when he traveled. They had a non-traditional relationship. We spoke openly about it and tried to make a three-way affair work (which is near impossible). Todd and I spent most of our time alone, so it wasn’t much of an issue, but feelings are feelings and I knew she wasn’t crazy about me. Todd was a free spirit. I think she knew that his happiness translated into hers.

Todd owned an underground missile base in Wamego, Kansas. I think he told me this particular one was built on one of the Native American energy hot spots, which was a factor in his purchasing it. He had converted it into a living space (there’s a small, elite group of missile base owners in the US who have converted them into homes. I got to visit another such conversion in Kansas during one of my stays). Todd’s base was surrounded mostly by farmland and a few scattered homes, located down a small road off a two-lane highway, guarded by an electronic gate. The silo was covered by tall green grass. A large metal door sat ominously at the bottom of a wide, cement slope, which opened up to the four-thousand-square-foot missile bay. A standard-sized, metal door sat just to the right, which lead to the living quarters and hidden rooms. The base had a beautiful marble kitchen and wood sauna. The living quarters—which included an eleven-hundred-gallon hot tub, three large, carpeted rooms, and a massive bath complex made out of jade and imported marble with several showerheads—were connected by a one-hundred-twenty-foot cement and metal tunnel to the missile bay. A large dark room with a shorter ceiling sat in-between.

Todd had that sound system shipped to the base and installed by professionals (as before) in order to get the best sound. In the center of the bay was a Chattam and Wells king bed. We had hundreds of glass candles, and with one flick of a switch you could open the titanic, horizontal, sliding metal door to the outside world.

One night during another one of our massive, pure MDMA escapades, we opened that enormous metal entrance late at night/early in the morning (time had little meaning when you lived underground), and we sat up on the driveway, music cascading out of the bay and into the misty Kansas air. This was my life for a little while, taking strange and powerful drugs at all hours and then recovering for two days. On our recovery days, we’d drive to the nearest big town (ironically called Manhattan) to eat steak and ice cream.

anything but a wasted life

IMG_3908 copy
That summer I met a man named Todd. He came into Mitchell Brothers periodically with a friend whom we all called the Hundred-Dollar Man (on account of him giving each girl a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill on stage). As you can imagine, the duo lit the place up every time they came in. We made good money at the club at the time, and stage was a whole different animal back then—guys actually tipped the girls—but for a man to give every girl a hundred for as long as he was in the club was rare. They had been frequenting the club for a few months, and although they were extremely generous with everyone, they only bonded with a few of us. On very special nights one of them would just hand me (or one of the other two lucky girls) wads of cash. It was insane! Neither of them ever got lap dances or private shows. Todd didn’t even like sitting in the front row. I talked him into sitting at my stage once, and although he covered the stage with hundreds, he would look away when I spread my legs. We struck up a friendship of sorts. I had no idea who he was, save for the fact that he was atypical, had money to burn, exhibited a kind soul, and was extremely intelligent.

Todd called me one night while I was walking down Polk Street on my way into work and asked if I would like to do some nutmeg something with him. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said it was like ecstasy, to which I replied thanks, but no thanks, and explained that I was clean and sober. He told me to think about it and described it as a fantastic experience.

I didn’t think much about it at first, but his description would creep into my passing thoughts, and one day I made the decision to try it. I had been clean and sober for twelve and a half years, and I was ready for a new chapter. I was also feeling disenchanted with the program. I had been working on myself diligently for so long, yet I still felt impatient and the need to be controlling. I’m on anti-depressants now and probably should have been on them all along, but I was determined not to take what I referred to as “the easy way out” when everyone and their mother started taking them in the ‘90s.

I called Todd and said that I wanted to do it. We made a date. He got a room at a fancy hotel and suggested that I call a friend to take it with me. He wanted to make sure I felt safe. I called a girl I knew from the club (most of my non-dancer friends were in the program). It seems like this decision to break my sobriety would have been a much bigger deal, but, honestly, it felt right and I was at peace with it.

The big night came around. I must have told Rob that I was working. I was both nervous and excited. I was the type of sober person who wouldn’t even drink cough syrup—it had been a very long time since my state had been altered. Never having done ecstasy, I had no idea what to expect and no one to ask about it. Obviously, some girls at the club could have told me, but I wasn’t ready to air my business out, so I just went for it. I was putting a lot of trust into this man. I arrived at the hotel and tried to make myself comfortable, Todd had the ability to create a sense of calm, which helped, but I was in unchartered territory and my stomach was doing backflips. Taylor showed up a short time after me. He explained what it was, but Todd is something of a master chemist (I later found out), and most of what he said went over my head. Turns out that Taylor had done ecstasy, and she assured me that it was fun. Todd lit candles and played music for us. It took a while to kick in, but my stomach started feeling wonky and sort of puke-y. They both said it was OK and expected as it was just the “nutmeg” starting to work. Taylor made a bubble bath in the huge tub for the two of us while Todd stayed in the living room continuing his role as trip DJ. He was such a gentleman. The nutmeg started really hitting during our bath. I was surprised at the sense of good and giddiness I was feeling. It felt spiritual and heart opening. I had never experienced anything like it. The acid and mushroom trips I had as a troubled teen were negative and anger-riddled, full of blood and darkness. This was light and love.

When I got home late that night, I immediately told Rob what I had done. He wasn’t mad at all. Rather, he was excited because this meant he could use with me. Foolishly, I said OK. I knew his problem was alcohol. Of all things, he said he really wanted to get stoned with me. He got a joint (surprisingly quick), and we parked on the Embarcadero by the Bay Bridge and got high together. I hated it instantly. It was then that I realized the copious amounts of weed I smoked when I was young was a form of self-punishment. It was never a good high for me, but I smoked it because I thought I deserved to be miserable.

I begged Rob to drive us home, and I crawled into bed. I wanted it to be over. I was fine the next day, but it sent Rob on a lighting-quick, downward spiral. I told all my sober friends and sober people that I sponsored about breaking my sobriety. I had nothing to hide and was not ashamed. I explained openly that I was trying something different and that if it became a problem I would promptly take myself to a meeting. Since I loved meetings, I knew this would not be difficult. In fact, I continued to attend them, but eventually it didn’t feel right. I still wanted a safe place to talk about my feelings and problems, but it just wasn’t appropriate after a while. No one struggling with addiction wants to hear about you going out there and being OK. Plus—although I realize that I am not God—I didn’t want to influence anyone or be the cause of anyone’s relapse.

I didn’t announce myself as a non-addict in the beginning (the identity of either being an addict or non-addict/alcoholic is a much discussed and core focus in the program). I said that I would see what happened before making that call. A couple years later, some of my sober friends (who are still in my life today) admitted that they never thought I was an addict or an alcoholic but just a young girl with emotional problems who ended up in the program.


A month or so later, Todd came into the club by himself. Rob and I had been fighting something awful, and I was feeling pretty down. Todd could tell something was wrong. He asked for a private dance (a first) but told me to keep my clothes on because he just wanted to talk. We sat on the little couch in the small, mirrored room, and he asked if I was all right. I didn’t speak about my relationships with customers, so I skipped that part and just said I was stressed out. He asked how much money I would need to take a month off of work—assuming it was my job that was bringing my spirits down. I said I would think on it and get a figure to him.

Two days later, I gave him a figure, and he said OK. I was astounded! I was making good money at the time, but I tacked on a little more to my number—my income at the club wasn’t assured, this was, so why not go for it. He clearly had it to burn. I lied to Rob, simply saying that I wanted to take time off of work. Even though it was completely above board, he would have thrown a fit if I had told him about the money and where it came from. Rob was extremely jealous and hostile towards anything concerning my job. Even free money. I loved him something fierce, but honestly, it was exhausting.

[a week after the money]

I don’t remember how the fight started, but one afternoon Rob and I were in our living room screaming bloody murder at each other. He was standing in between the sliding glass door to the back deck smoking when I did the idiotic and classic take-the-diamond-ring-off-and-throw-it-at-him move. The ring went through the small opening and out over the ledge, never to be found again. I instantly regretted the move. Rob had worked his ass off to buy me that ring, and it wasn’t cheap. He was livid. He picked up a chair and crashed it into a side table next to where I was sitting, shattering glass everywhere. I grabbed my purse and left. I knew he would drink. I knew it with all my heart and soul. I stayed at Taylor’s house that night and brought her with me the next day to pick up some things. Not that I thought Rob would hurt me—I knew he’d never lay a hand on me—but I just couldn’t face him alone.

As I suspected, he had been drinking. It was like the film Leaving Las Vegas when he drank. Gallons of vodka, convulsions, tears. It was agony to witness. I knew our relationship was over. I had made it clear that I wouldn’t stay if he relapsed again. Rob was the last man I dated who couldn’t handle my dancing career. He was also the last alcoholic.

Todd offered to let me stay with him in his huge, two-bedroom, hotel suite near Union Square. It was extremely diametric times. Todd and I were going to fancy dinners and talking for hours while my ex-fiancé was holed up in my house drinking himself into oblivion. It would be an understatement to call Todd eccentric. We would sit down in a restaurant, and he would immediately rearrange everything on the table and order five things to drink—all non-alcoholic liquids. Todd didn’t drink much (if any) alcohol. I hadn’t either at that point. I thought he was wonderful. I felt a kindred spirit in him. We had a lot of fun together.

Todd had to leave town, so he booked and paid for a room for me at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. I was living out of suitcases in a nine-hundred-dollar-a-night hotel room while paying for an expensive mortgage not more than three miles away. I couldn’t kick Rob out as a result of adding his name to the deed. It was a mess, and while it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through, the following months were also one of the most remarkable times of my life.

{sorry these are a bit out of order….continuation of Todd to follow soon}

anything but a wasted life

I had never met anyone like Todd. He had the most magnetic energy—it felt good just to be near him. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I witnessed over and over how people were drawn to him. He told me at one point down the line that I was one of the only people who rejuvenated him in this way. He said it was rare for him to find such a strong energy like mine. Todd wasn’t especially good looking. He stood at six foot six and weighed approximately two hundred and fifty pounds. He had hair all over his body, except for his head, and he wore glasses. However, his hair was baby soft and he always smelled like soap. None of it mattered, I was falling for him.

My month off of work turned into months. Todd had some secret business in Santa Fe, so off we went. I had no idea where all his cash came from, and I found that I didn’t really care. He told me that he had made money early in his life and had investments. I didn’t ask questions. I just wanted to be around him, and was grateful for his financial help. He paid all my bills and gave me extra spending money. He was extremely generous with me. In turn I spoiled the people around me—including a couple expensive shopping sprees for friends where I barely spent anything on myself. Todd made me feel like his money was my money, I felt very comfortable spending it. We even discussed buying my mom a house at one point.

We stayed in two gorgeous, members-only, full-service casitas just outside of Sante Fe. I had a whole house to myself (we hadn’t done anything more than just hug at that point). He was tremendously respectful of my personal space. One of the nights we took a bunch of pure MDMA (ecstasy in powder form). Same as when I tried the “nutmeg”, we lit candles and listened to Native American music. The air was cold, so we built a fire in the chiminea on the back patio of his casita and laid on chaise lounges with blankets, watching the bright stars. We talked until the sky started turning to a pale shade. I loved our connection. (No, it wasn’t just the ecstasy.) I couldn’t have picked a more perfect person or situation with whom to break my sobriety. I learned pretty much right away that I’m not one of those sexual types when taking ecstasy. In fact, it makes me so sensitive that I can hardly be touched at all. I tend to go the more metaphysical route. I like mediating and listening to people.

But something was clearly amiss. We had to speak in code over the phone and often used temporary cell phones from 7-Eleven. Even so, I didn’t ask questions. He was a mystery and I was happy to be along for the ride. It was the polar opposite from the life I had been living, but I felt equally as happy like this. I felt as if I had been speaking in code my whole life. The drug dealing I grew up with prepared me well for this type of lifestyle. We traveled a lot. We always stayed in the best accommodations. Todd rented a house on the hill in Stinson Beach where he had a one hundred-thousand-dollar sound system installed in the living room by acoustic professionals. We took crazy, off-the-market drugs and blasted new-agey techno music (not my music of choice, but it did suit the types of drugs we were taking).

One especially memorable night at that house: Todd, myself, three master yogis, a philosopher and a famous singer took Acacia and tripped our balls off for fourteen hours. I was out running errands, and when I walked in the house, a singer I had been listening to my whole life was standing in the kitchen. I tried to play it cool. I had encountered lots of famous people over the years, but it’s rare to find one standing casually in your house. Todd saw me and gave me a bear hug.

“This is ____.” Like I needed an introduction!

“Hi, nice to meet you.”

The singer gave me a warm smile and said hello in his British accent. Then Todd says, “We are going to take Acacia.” I had no clue as to what he was talking about, but I assumed it was some strange drug.

“Ok!” I put my stuff away in one of the bedrooms.

Todd cooked up this unholy concoction. It smelled god-awful, a bubbling, brown, witch’s brew. I got settled and watched Todd work his strange science. He did some half-baked measurements for each of us (I think he was basing it on body weight). It was the worst tasting shit. We had to keep this liquid of death in our mouths for as long as we could before swallowing it. One of the yogis spit it up immediately, and Todd had to make her another dose. It was extremely difficult to keep it in contact with my taste buds, as every single one was yelling at me to get it out. But I held fast for as long as I could and then finally swallowed. Twenty minutes later I ran to the bathroom and puked. It came up with very little notice, and I barely made it to the toilet on time, which is rare for me. I’ve always prided myself on my dominion over puking. I’m a master puker. My visuals were already up and running— it was like being on acid and ecstasy at the same time—which made the dark, brown liquid swirling around the toilet bowl a lot more interesting than it should have been.

[Jump to a few hours later]

Music filled the whole house (and hillside). Naked yoga masters held high-level yoga positions. Todd was meditating, while I sat cross-legged on the floor with the singer’s head in my lap, playing with his hair. He kept telling me how special I was and that I had a gift for healing. Sometime around nine or ten in the morning, my vision turned black and white. The whole world was in black and white! It was such a trip. Then things went skeletal. The trees, the clouds, the falling leaves all looked like pieces of white bone. It was time for Valium and sleep.


i hate when bars/restaurants name items on their menu words or phrases i don’t like saying, forcing me to utter them.

(life is tough enough, is it really necessary to make me order the h•••••r salad? you could at least give it a number, so i have that option)

anything but a wasted life

Word vomit. A hazard brought on by booze and boredom. I get this at work sometimes. We have to be all chatty and interesting, and let’s face it, I run out of things to say—as well as being too lazy to lie—that’s when I get in trouble. Often I tell customers my real age (strippers are not supposed to be older than their coworkers mothers), or that CD’s weren’t around when I first started dancing and how I remember when color televisions first came out. And answering machines. None of these things are sexy. But they fall out of my mouth like I was given a shot of Penthothal. This is generally the point at which I can see my potential lap dance fading into nothingness.

my boutique site!

Hello everyone! It’s here! A place to purchase my photography.

This link is also in the ‘shop’ tab at the top of this page.


(unfortunately the paypal buttons don’t seem to be cell phone friendly, if you see something you wish to purchase, its super easy on a computer! just click the image & you’ll see the paypal ‘buy now’)