This month I am doing something I’ve never done before. I’m submitting to a writer’s competition.
The non-fiction piece I’m submitting is about doing something one night I never imagined doing. Ever. It’s also something I’d never do again.
But, the voice of self-empowerment and self-expression within me keeps urging, “Get out there and strut your stuff Louise!”
So that’s what I’m doing, writing about a night I stood on the street, strutting my stuff. Literally.
It’s December 8, the night before my 44th birthday.
After six months of working with a group of street-engaged teens and two vice police officers, I have chosen this night to do the thing I never in my life imagined doing – Stand on the street posing as a prostitute, negotiating with johns for sex.
I recognize my use of nouns is not politically correct in this day and age – but at the time I stood on the street, it was the vernacular.
Anyway, on this particular night, I am terrified. Like, shaking in my boots terrified. Not for me six-inch spikes. I didn’t own any and I doubt that night I could have approached the john’s who stopped to pick me up if I’d been wearing them.
Nope. Rather than spiked heels that also served girls on the street as weapons, I’d pulled out of my closet a pair of cowboy boots I’d painted gold. Calgary chic.
I didn’t need a weapon, anyway. Deep in the shadows further down the street, on either side of me, two police officers in unmarked cars watched over me. My guardian angels.
I was dressed for the night, though I did keep my borrowed fur coat tightly clutched at my neck to hide my scanty outfit. And I wasn’t carrying anything in my hands, not even a tube of bright red lipstick. I was already wearing it, though I soon realized I should have brought it. I was quickly chewing it, along with all the skin, off my lips.
But I’d wanted my hands free – in case I needed to make a run for it (another reason for not wearing spikes) — and I didn’t need the lipstick to write the license plate of john’s cars I got into on a telephone pole as many of the other girls did, in case a date went bad and they didn’t come back. I was not to get into a car. Never. Ever.
It was the hard and fast rule of my two guardian angels. Do Not Get In The Car.
And this is the story I’ve been writing with the intention of entering it into a competition.
I’ve still got twenty days to submit and there’s a part of me that just wants to send it off… right now. Almost as if, the pain of writing out this story is greater than my desire to enter the competition with a story I’ve honed into as close to perfection as I can get it.
I want it over.
Perhaps it’s why I always read the last chapter of a book first.
If I know the outcome I can take my time savouring the story.
Except, the outcome for me isn’t the competition, it’s the ‘getting the story entered’.
If I just send it off now, I won’t have to worry I’ll back out and not send it along or somehow, accidentally (Ha!) miss the deadline.
Which is also why I’m writing about it here. To expose the secret of my insecurities and weaken their grip. Secrets lose their power to do harm when we dare to tell the truth about the fierce beauty of our human condition.
This month I am doing something I’ve never done before — actually, never had the courage to do before… entering a writer’s competition.
I am fascinated by the fact the story I’ve chosen to enter is about something which, before that night, I’d never imagined doing.
And here I am doing something I’ve always imagined doing and never did.
Life is a fascinating journey. Don’t you agree?