Not all hookers look like Julia Roberts

     “You want some business?” the lady inquired across the darkened plaza. I walked closer, my dogs coming into her view line. “Oh, nevermind, just thought you were looking for some business.”

Not what hookers look like
     “What kind of business?” My request went unanswered as she wandered off into the night. I continued my walk, thinking I’d quickly staved off getting wrapped into a pyramid scheme situation that would include me going to meetings and pushing products on Facebook. Upon further reflection, it came to me that the business being offered was the oldest profession. Giggles filled my body, “She sure didn’t look like a hooker!”

    When you move from mid-sized-town Alabama to Seattle, you’re bound to learn a few things. For example, my frame of reference for hooker looks comes from Pretty Woman – but in reality, most hookers don’t look like Julia Roberts. The Hookers’ Beauty Not Equal to Julia Roberts’ Beauty was my first lesson.  My second lesson was that life here is harder and more expensive than I could have ever imagined.


We’re going to get real personal here. When I moved here, I had no idea that the cost of living was so high. Rather than being warned about the rain, I should have been warned about the cost of living. After staying with family, I moved out on my own and I had to buy everything new (dishes, towels, furniture, a bed, a couch, dog bowls, seating, shower curtain and liner, tools, sheets, cleaning gizmos – you get the idea). Oh, and the dog got sick and then maybe had cancer. And the car accident. The savings was gone and I was terrified. I took out loans to pay off my loans. Robbing Peter, Paying Paul – yep.

Where my money went
Throughout this time I was in therapy. When I told a co-worker I’d been paying out of my own pocket, I was told our insurance covered it - a fact my therapist denied. That began a five-month battle with the insurance company and therapist to get my money refunded. Turned out the therapist was double billing. This person I'd shared my most intimate details with was deceiving me all along. It shook me to the core. I got the refund just as that sick dog he sprained his knee, his hips started showing signs of dysplasia and his muscles atrophied. All the while, I smiled in public and cried at home. When I finally broken down to my mom, we created a plan to get me out of this hole.

I haven’t been writing because I’ve been so tormented with these struggles, it’s all incredibly embarrassing. But then I remembered that only people who really love me read this and that those people really love me so it’s okay to share this with them. And I also remembered that I am not alone in these struggles. Each of us has our struggles. It’s okay. It’s fine. No shame.

I thought I was tough, but I am not Big City Girl tough. Being Big City Tough means more than elbowing your way onto the train for a good seat or knowing the best places for lunch. It means fighting the fuck out of every-fucking-thing for yourself. That backbone you thought you had – it’ll do you no good here. You need street smarts, tenacity and humility.

My view is pretty good.
Henceforth, I’ll be writing about the lessons I’m learning as I rebuild my life so I don’t end up on the streets offering my business to strangers. Yeah, I made a series of bad choices, and they created my situation, but they don’t define me. I’m a badass – on her way to becoming Big City Tough – and of course, I hope you’ll join me on this journey.


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