The only person who can make you feel judged is you, says stripper in her memoir

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Born in San Francisco in 1970, life was anything but planned for Sita Kaylin, who started working as a stripper during her college days to earn money. Fifteen years on and she penned a tell-all memoir that sums up her journey so far — “Anything But a Wasted Life”.

The book, published by HarperCollins, has just hit the stands in India and in an email interview with IANS from Los Angeles, Kaylin spoke at length about the eventful life she has lived, her understanding of the sex industry and the nature of human needs and desires.

Asked if she has ever experienced prejudice and the factors that keep her motivated in the sex industry, Kaylin said that the only person who can make you feel judged is yourself.

“Because I know who I am, no one affects the way I see myself. My inner peace with what I do for a living allows me to live by example, thus showing an alternative reality to the one often misunderstood or poorly portrayed by the media/entertainment industry,” she said.

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In her memoir, she recounts that some of her acquaintances worked at strip clubs, and were “full of glitz and financial freedom” while she was “broke”.

Desperate as she was to find a way to balance everything and tired of not having enough money, she decided to give stripping a try. The planned law school never happened, but within a year, she was making more money than the judges in the San Francisco court system.

“Making more money at first meant more time to study and being free of financial worry. I never felt any loss of dignity; not from myself, my peers or family. The truth is, stripping was hardly the most controversial thing I had done: No one was shocked. In fact, dancing empowered me as a woman,” she contended.

As a veteran in the sex industry, Kaylin has also had a ringside view of human nature, which, as is often said, reveals its true form in the dark. So what are some major revelations for Kaylin?

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“That most men crave love and acceptance — a safe place where they are not judged sexually or emotionally. On the flip side, men are often acutely sensitive with extremely fragile egos,” she maintained.

She also said that sex workers are some of the most down to earth, quick witted, intelligent and kindest souls one will ever meet.

Asked if there were some things she could have done differently in life, Kaylin lamented that she she did not take up the pen earlier.

“I wish I had started writing earlier. I would have loved to have captured the in-the-moment experiences during my nine years at the iconic strip club Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco. Not to mention that I would be more established in my writing career and perhaps not still in the sex industry. However, I believe everything happens for a reason so there’s only today and the future to look forward to,” she said.

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Interestingly, Kaylin said writing this bold memoir was “surprisingly easy”.

“I’ve always been an open book so this level of honesty comes naturally to me. People often said I should write a book after hearing stories about my life and I had a few starts many moons ago, but it wasn’t until the recession started to hit in the United States around 2007 which subsequently hurt the stripping industry pretty hard, that the story spilled out of me. I brought a composition book to the club in order to occupy myself during the lulls. It all clicked from there, she recounted.

“Anything But a Wasted Life” is available at bookstores and online, priced Rs 499.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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