By Guest Blogger Maya Jordan
I was an ugly duckling as a kid. Awkward, face full of braces and freckles, tall and skinny as a Kenyan track star in a culture that valued short and curvy.
I grew up in the Midwest, where, as Lebron James says, nothing is given, everything is earned.
He’s not kidding.
I had major dreams and ambitions and no means of achieving them beyond going to NYC and giving it my best shot.
So I did.
I’d like to say that this was pre-Secret, law of attraction-crazed America. This was post 9/11 NYC, but I went about spelling out exactly what I wanted in no uncertain terms.
Plenty of cash
A famous boyfriend
A sugar daddy who gives me jewels and shit
A Gorgeous loft
Clothes to die for
Granted, these are somewhat shallow requests of the universe, but then again I was 21, so judge me if you must, but I was a kid with a host of issues that I can get into at another time. You were probably a kid once too.
Around the same time I discovered a really practical tool called a SWOT analysis. It’s a tool used in boardrooms to evaluate risk. I started applying it to me, on a personal level. A SWOT asks you to evaluate your Strengths, your Weaknesses, your Opportunities, and your Threats, and assemble them into one tight little list to move from.
I got systematic with my SWOT because I had big dreams and no visible means of achieving them.
My SWOT broke down like this:
My wit and charm
Still have those damn freckles
Predisposed to peaks and valleys in temperament
That rich dude who keeps showing up at my internship
My daring approach to life
My predisposition toward drugs and alcohol
My moron friends from high school
I began to get all businesslike on my SWOT and pull out all the stops. I took some calculated risks (i.e. breast implants) and got rid of the childhood friends. I also took a job stripping at Scores, the hottest “gentleman’s club” on the East Coast. I had a bachelors degree in theater so I understood how to suit up and show up at my new job (read the NY Times, stay within 10% body fat, work out like a mo-fo, and pretend to take interest in what the jackasses said who showed up at the club provided they had enough cash). I worked as much as I wanted, when I wanted, and began to achieve my goals.
I got that hot loft right across from the Soho Grand. I started dating a major basketball star, whose poster I had hanging on my wall as a kid. I found that sugar daddy with the apartment that looked right into Carnegie Hall and the jewels galore. I started buying clothes fresh off the runway.
I was, in no uncertain terms, achieving my goals through some rather, unconventional means.
Who’d a thunk that a degreed girl from the Midwest would grow up to be a stripper.
Perhaps I digress, but, as a kid, I used to dream about dancing in the club in my hometown. It was a dumpy little place with a raunchy clientele, but even at that time there was something enticing to me about lording my sexuality over men.
If I am to be honest, even at 34, I haven’t outgrown that.
But back to the story… I went on to put myself through graduate school in social work while stripping. I became a licensed psychotherapist following years of taking my clothes off for cash, working with women who were struggling with violent pasts and histories of abuse. I got all feminist in my orientation but the liberals wouldn’t take me, so I went for the radicals. Members of the “whorearchy” were accepted among the radical set.
I went on to form my own consulting firm, www.MayaJordan.com, offering dating advice to women and men. I started writing and popularizing my story.
So what’s the moral in all of this? What advice do I have to impart to you, Dear Reader?
Always get theatrical in your presentation. Be bold. Take a lesson from your favorite drag queen and turn it up a notch in your presentation (hair, makeup, shoes). Genetic females can learn a lot from drag queens.
Be a slut with substance. Let me clarify – if you believe the media, the Republicans consider us all sluts anyway so you might as well live it up. Recite Shakespeare in a negligee. Go to a 5-star restaurant in a dress that would make a Russian whore proud.
Constantly mess with the status-quo. Undermine others’ opinions of you. Keep them guessing. I love telling folks my story. It throws off my academic façade that I’ve oh-so-carefully constructed (I wear glasses now… but still really short skirts).
Don’t worry about the famous broads – most of their lives are smoke and mirrors so don’t sweat those stupid magazines in the grocery store. Get interesting on your own in terms that make sense for you. Decide who and what you want to be and then go for it! Get a SWOT going and watch your dreams materialize.
Live your life with no regrets – every experience, even the hard ones, are there to teach you lessons about what you DO need and want. Truly live and experience life because these breed wisdom and resilience – something you don’t get from timidly tip-toeing your way through the day. “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid,” as Marcus Aurelius said. Get yourself going on the trajectory that will have you writing a kick-ass memoir at 40, 50, or 60. I was a little nerd, you see, dreaming of becoming a famous writer at age 10, but I had nothing to impart other than my own pain. Nothing to share other than 10 years of abuse, neglect, and living in fear. I needed to develop a story with my life that would make my future children blush. Something that maybe even I was entertained by. Don’t be ashamed of where you come from.
Don’t sell yourself short. You are your life’s creation. Your greatest work of art. Chip away the marble that’s getting in the way as Michelangelo did to reveal the beauty that is lying underneath. You’ve got this, girl. Go on now. Walk it out.
About Maya Jordan
Maya Jordan is a former stripper turned psychotherapist from Manhattan… The only place on earth where that can happen. She specializes in dating and relationship advice for women and men, having dated some of the most successful businessmen, politicians, and professional athletes in the world. Read her work at www.MayaJordan.com. Catch her radio show on Playboyradio.com where she interviews dating experts, psychologists, and pick-up artists.
Happy Monday! As always, we publish life stories around here to make you look at your own with possibly a different perspective. I’d love to know your thoughts here.