According to the National Institute of Health, over seven million of American adults suffer from PTSD and a related mix of anxiety disorders each year.
I recently joined those ranks. I am now a statistic.
As someone who has always considered herself relatively mentally stable, it’s been a humbling blow. I have issues.
Who knew being raised in a cult and suffering from a string of abusive and narcissistic romantic relationships would do that to me? NOT ME. I thought I was fine.
Until I wasn’t.
Of course I’m in therapy now, but working at the club has been therapy of sorts as well lately.
When you’re feeling super unattractive and struggling with feelings of low self worth, it helps to have half a dozen people a night tell you how beautiful you are and throw a bunch of money at you just for the pleasure of your company.
When your job requires your absolute best and your highest level of focus, it definitely takes your mind off dwelling on your shortcomings and regrets and stupid mistakes.
Nevertheless, the club can offer other gifts as well. Namely, people. There aren’t really any other kinds of gifts.
DJ Rob dropped by for a bit last night. “I’ve never seen you this sad,” he said, and I poured my heart out.
“I don’t know what to tell you about that,” he said, “but I can tell you this: You are such an amazing person. You have no idea how much I need you in my life. You are my RIB. You are my other half.”
That is the kind of Biblical stuff people say at weddings. I was now looking at Rob with new eyes. Somehow Rob saw something in me I couldn’t see in myself, and for a half second there, I caught a glimpse of what he saw.
It gave me hope. I began to feel a measure of peace.
Climbing down off the stage after my last dance of the evening, I caught a glimpse of an extraordinarily well- dressed gentleman. Men like that are rare in this club. I scooped him up immediately.
Our conversation was sexy, flirty, deep and real. After I danced for him, he told me he had only come for food.
“You’re too late,” I informed him. “The kitchen is closed. I have some chicken in my locker, though! You can totally have it.”
He assessed me with knowing eyes. “I’d rather talk about why you’re hurting.”
I lowered my eyes. “How can you tell?”
“Girl, your eyes are pools of misery. I’ve been swimming in them since you walked over.”
I curled up next to him in the cabana and told him everything. He listened with strength and gentleness.
Afterwards, he handed me his card. “Let me take you out for coffee or tea sometime,” he said. “I just wanna be your friend and talk.”
I looked at his card. His name was Emmanuel.
The name Emanuel means “God is with us.”
I started to cry. “Why would you do that?” I asked.
“Why would you offer to give me chicken?” he retorted.
I still have his card. I wanna be careful. I don’t trust my feelings these days. I’ve hurt people. I don’t wanna hurt anyone else.
But truth be told, I’m probably gonna call him.