New Abortion Laws and Sex Trafficking: Supply and Demand

In 1994, I used to watch talk shows (when my mom was not in the room). I remember watching a few shows where a woman had become an exotic dancer after being a nerd all through school who wanted to confront a bully. I saw another show where a stripper was being asked to choose between her boyfriend and her $2k/night “career”. While some people shook their heads in disapproval and disgust, others seemed to be calculating how much money they think they can make becoming a stripper themselves. I was 12 years old and my eyebrows were raised and my mind was calculating too.

As an Atlanta native, I have watched my city go from being known for peaches and peanuts to becoming a forerunner in the music and movie industry in less than 20 years. When you drive through downtown Atlanta, you will see propaganda for the music and film industry plastered everywhere. Atlanta has been known for the vast variety of adult entertainment as well. I became an exotic dancer AS SOON AS I TURNED 18 AND GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL. I started working in a very famous strip club and immediately saw the fast money (not $2k/night, though) and was glad I was finally in the mix.

In a city where music, movies and the sex industry are promoted on billboards, its only natural for things to evolve. Marketing to tourists in the “Hollywood of the South” have become a priority the last couple a years. In the midst of all the hoopla, a new hashtag has emerged, bringing awareness to one of Atlanta’s other lucrative industries: #SexTrafficking. Although it is advertised as “awareness“, to me, it sometimes comes off as “marketing” or “promotion“. Its like telling all the people who want to buy sex but don’t have the time or money to go to Thailand to simply visit Atlanta for all your sex slave needs.

When I go to speak at anti-sex trafficking events and tell my transition story from being an exotic dancer for 14 years off and on, there is always atleast one person who pulls me to the side afterward to tell me they would have become an exotic dancer too, only if they had a better body. Or they ask me if I think they “have what it takes” to make money.

No lie. 😐😐😐

Everytime I go to an anti- sex trafficking event and the presenter starts to discuss the amount of money the “industry” is worth, I have made it a point to watch the crowd. 👀 Some attendees of these sex trafficking events seem to be gathering data for a business plan and researching 🧐 how to get their foot in the door so they can profit from a “new, trending business venture”. Speakers at these anti-sex trafficking events are passionate about presenting information to inspire and infuriate the audience into action to help survivors.

As advocates tell their stories of horror and trauma and organizations educate the masses on the MARKET and VALUE of the sex trafficking industry, some folks in the audience seem to be in investigation mode, scribbling notes as if they were at a multi-level marketing presentation and picturing themselves as successful as the “mogul guru” decribes his or her own astronomical residual income.

While presenters are pouring out their hearts on behalf of sex trafficking victims, some folks have that same mentally calculating look on their faces I had while I imagined bringing home $2000/night as I envisioned myself as a successful stripper. They ask nonchalant questions about recruitment tactics and feign interest in the welfare of the vulnerable populations traffickers usually target.

This is why it is important to me to support SEX TRAFFICKING organizations WHO HELP THE SURVIVORS TRANSITION FROM THE TRAUMA AND ISOLATION OR FUND THE IMMEDIATE NEEDS OF VICTIMS IN THEIR ESCAPE PLANS! Paying for UBER, BUS TICKETS AND PLANE RIDES ARE EXPENSIVE! AND the last thing this organizations on the frontlines to help these people needs is money for more “AWARENESS”. I am totally convinced that many of the people who dress up and attend anti-sex trafficking events are only there to discover how to obtain “products” to supply the high demand for this billion dollar industry.

Why? You ask?🤔

Because now SUDDENLY, the people who sat with pens and pads, taking voracious notes and raising their hands ONLY to ask about the laws and penalties for pimps and traffickers have evaluated the “risks” and seem to have started a secret lobbying campaign to change some things to make it easier to get supply…

And voilà! Suddenly, women are penalized with stiff penalties and sentences for having abortions. Why? Because these unwanted, unborn goldmines will be the supply to answer this highly taboo but even higher demand. More unwanted babies born will SUPPLY the horribly negligent CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES AGENCIES with the commodities to sell and join in the lucrative market of selling children for sex. * insert someone maniacally rubbing their hands together.*👹😈

This is an observation I have made and not a stance on whether abortion is right or wrong. It is not about it being Biblical or demonic. This is not about prolife or prochoice. This, like most government regulations and endeavors, is just business. If you don’t believe me, think about how much marijuana had been criminalized in the past until they figured out a way to profit from the industry. ONLY AFTER the government has found a way to corner the market and produce this forbidden plant (with its newfound foothold in THAT industry) it has SUDDENLY been legalized and now being sold to the public in some places…as a legitimate STOREFRONT business while others languish in prison for selling less weed than they offer…

Watch 👀👀👀and see who is getting caught in child porn and exploitation rings and watch the penalties for traffickers and watch how the “laws” for victims who escape with half their mind still intact are penalized with harsher consequences for “ESCAPING” in the judicial system for attempting to advocate for themselves.*insert side eye*.😒😒😑😒😒

If you truly have a desire to help with sex trafficking, support organizations who have a heart ❤ for the survivors of this industry. 4Sarah is a survivor-led non-profit organization dedicated to help women transition from the sex industry. This is the only organization who provides scholarships to women in order to help them build confidence and marketable skills to re-enter the world as independent contributors to society. In December 2018, 4Sarah, Inc. opened an Assessment House for pregnant women and women with children who have escaped from sex trafficking.

As the Care Team Coordinator for this organization, I know the needs these women have when they call to get physical, emotional, spiritual and financial support to help them successfully transition. Donating money about awareness is nice its not the best use when so many women need money to get their identification, birth certificates, pay for groceries and other basic essentials we all take for granted. When these women leave a trafficker, they usually have nothing and have to start over and yes, their children do too.

If you would like to contribute to helping victims become survivors and thrivers, donate today http://www.4Sarah.net.

Copyright 2019

Virtual Support Group for Exotic Dancers and Transitioning Sex Workers

As a woman who used to as an exotic dancer, I know I will be in transition for a while. I have not been back to work in 4 years but I still feel the negative effects on my life from my years as a stripper. I started dancing in 2001 and stopped in 2014. There is a total of 10 years of pauses in between but each time I went back I had to get used to a worse work dynamic. The envelope was always being pushed and it would be harder to earn money each time I returned to the game. There were more girls, willing to do a lot for a lot less money. The focus didn’t seem to be getting money but outdoing other girls by holding customers’ attention. Customers caught on and began using this to request the dancer allow access to her body by touching and not just watching.

As the Care Team Coordinator for 4Sarah, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting women in transition out of the adult entertainment lifestyle, my job is to help women in their transition by mentoring, connecting different resources and more importantly, helping her spirit heal and develop from the environment she is coming from. Scriptures for Strippers: The First and Only Devotional to the Holy Bible for Women in Adult Entertainment is a tool used to help fight the spiritual warfare a woman who is stuck in OR struggling to stay free from must fight to live a healthy life.

I have always wanted to sit around with women who have dealt with the same issues in the strip club and talk about our issues together. I had no one to discuss certain things with and whenever I tried to express any ideas or concerns about my work issues I was always met with either judgement or apathy. After writing Scriptures For Strippers, many women privately reached out to me because God has revealed to me how to navigate my way through the wilderness by clinging to Him. I understand the need for encouragement even if a woman is still working in the club each night and hates it.

I am so excited to announce the second IN PERSON support group for strippers hosted by 4Sarah, Inc on August 23, 2018 in Conyers, GA from 7pm-9pm. Registration is mandatory for this private event and I am looking forward to the same sisterhood, spiritual healing and support that occurred during the last meeting. We discussed how to move forward while examining our talents, abilities and gifts to transition into the multifaceted being we are.

Sometimes a woman hasn’t figured out what else to do so she has to continue doing this job until she can find another way to support herself and her family. For this reason, there is a weekly virtual support group for women who work in adult entertainment. Each Saturday from 7pm-8pm EST a conference call is held where anyone in the country can call in and get prayer, encouragement, express herself or get resources for her transition.

I am excited because I know there is a need and women will be inspired, equipped and encouraged by this call.

For more information, please contact Sayuri Smith at http://www.ScripturesforStrippers.com.

Reclaiming My Time: Fighting Procrastination

There is a viral video of U.S. representative for California’s 43rd congressional district Maxine Waters where she is requesting an answer to a specific question and when the answer was not given, she repeated the phrase “Reclaiming my Time” over and over again. As I watched her speak, it made me think of all the times I have allowed others to waste mine and I realized I need to be more like Auntie Maxine.

When working at the club, I was extremely efficient in spending the appropriate amount of time with a customer to maximize profitability. If a patron was not paying me to talk, I was being paid to dance. If I wasn’t being paid to dance, I was getting paid somewhere else. It was simple but unfortunately life isn’t that cut and dried. *sad face* I am currently working on a fictional novel based on my life, Dancability, which has me reflecting on how I have spent my time. This is mostly the result of having a huge issue with procrastination.

I remember working with ladies who would come to work with astronomical nightly quotas because they had a bill due in the next few days. They needed to make $800 that night or their rent would be late or would be in jeopardy of getting a visit from the repo man. I watched these ladies and made a point to slowly save up my money to avoid adding anxiety to the already stressful job of dealing with drunken men all night. Ugh. Because I planned some things and avoided certain issues, I could not see how I was procrastinating in other areas.

As a part of my new lifestyle, I have implemented a new way of living which starts with the concept of reclaiming my time. There are so many different things God has shown me I must accomplish but I keep finding “good reasons” to put them on the back burner. I am an ex-exotic dancer who has been out of the game for 2 years but still consider myself to be in transition because of the many changes I still need to make to be the new and improved me. After working in the strip club for so long, I have become accustomed to fast money. I could wake up with $60 and go to sleep with $600. There was no waiting for pay day or a pay check. I got cash in my hand after dancing my heart out. I could put off working all week if I wanted and still pay my bills on time. I would have to rest up in order to work so hard so what some people called procrastination, I called getting rested. Procrastination has taken a different form now that I do not dance anymore and it has been hard to pinpoint. I balance so many different items on my plate, I see I have to really manage my time and not stretch myself too thin because procrastination can come in looking like juggling. When you juggle, you have to divide your attention and when you look away from something, you have to set a date to return to it. When you don’t, it won’t get done and you will start a bunch of projects and finish none. You may sign up to help someone when you need that time for yourself. You will need to reclaim your time.

I hated to admit my issue with procrastination and my inability to properly prioritize my time. There are so many things I would like to accomplish that I now see that it is very important to strengthen this weakness to be victorious in my own life. In the back of my mind, I put things off just knowing they will get done (just like knowing my bills would be paid when I worked at the club). Working at the strip club empowered me to have complete control of my time which ironically hindred me from making the most of it because I always mismangaged it. Not working to a set schedule and being able to work whenever I wanted fed into my procrastination of taking care of less desirable tasks.

I find that the more I talk to God, the more focused my thoughts are and waste less energy. When your steps are ordered by God, you can do more with less.

“The steps of a [good and righteous] (wo)man are directed and established by the Lord, And He delights in his or her way [and blesses his path]. PSALM 37:23 AMP

Setting goals and deadlines for myself is essential to marking things off my to-do list and pushing procrastination out of the picture. I foucs on this scripture that tells me to seek guidance when I get off track and reminds me to get back on task. My list “counsels” me about what I need to be doing.

“Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.” PROVERBS 11:14 AMP

“Let us test and examine our ways, And let us return to the Lord.” LAMENTATIONS 3:40 AMP

It is important to know that taking baby steps are the way to accomplish your goals. In the Focusing on Goals and Purpose chapter of Scriptures for Strippers, there is a place to list short term and long term goals. If you need a indepth plan of action, turn to page 289 and get busy filling in your overall goals, supporting goals, the action taken and the result. Whenever I am having issues with prioritizing projects, I ask God. He answered with this.

“But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 AMPC

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I hope this blog post has blessed you in some way. Please feel free to leave comments below or contact me with any question or suggestions for the blog.Get your copy of Scriptures For Strippers from the official website or from Amazon. Click the link below. https://www.amazon.com/stream/ref=nav_upnav_mobile_C_SearchAW

Follow on FB and IG @SayuriSmith #ScripturesForStrippers May God continue to bless and keep you.

All Rights Reserved Sayuri Smith LLC.

 

The Sex Worker Scholarship That Changed My Life 

As an exotic dancer,  it is easy to become trapped by the addiction of fast money, freedom of time and schedule and luxurious lifestyle of sleeping late and lounging until the next shift. The good part seems so good that the bad part doesn’t matter.  The bad part about the adult entertainment lifestyle creeps up from behind and chokes.  The hands of industry immediately wraps its fingers around the throat of a participant but you never feel the squeezing until you try to escape. It is very difficult to get people who are not involved in the industry to understand the struggle. The glamour, the internet, the shame and the pressure to keep up with bills at the same Pace starts to weigh down on these girls and some of them have no place to turn. This is where addiction and suicide come into play. I remember being at the precipice of these two issues and praying to God to rescue me. I had come to understand that no one was going to rescue me from my own life and I was scared to death.

As I continue to pray and see God, 4Sarah came into my life. I came into work one day and saw a huge novelty check over the top of my locker. The check was for $1,000 from my club to an organization called for Sarah. I went over to the bulletin board to get some information about this organization and once I was finish reading it, I knew God sent them to come find me. I did not know anything about what they offered but I was in the process of writing a book called Scriptures for Strippers™ and I thought it would be a good idea to get together with another organization who thought of the women who worked in strip clubs as human beings. After meeting up with the founder of this organization, I discovered that we were old coworkers from another club that had been shut down in Atlanta. It was amazing to be in the company of another woman who wanted to help women stay encouraged as they transitioned into society from the strip club. After we talked about the book, Kasey asked me what I needed help with. I was amazed and a little bit caught off guard by the question. My experience had showed me that no one cared about my transition out of the club. I felt like everyone was waiting on me to just do it on my own. It was my decision to start dancing and everyone was waiting on me to decide to stop. No one ever offered me any real help so I really didn’t even know what to tell her I needed help with although I needed somewhere to live, I wanted another kind of employment so that I could provide for my son and myself.

The actual novelty check donated to 4Sarah from a strip club

At this time Kasey gave me her story and I was in tears by the time she got to the end. She told me what she decided to do after our club was shut down. She told me of all her struggles, pain and shortcomings she had in dealing with transitioning on her own. She eventually became involved with a man who is not her husband and became pregnant with a daughter named Sarah. She could not stop thinking about the women who needed help still working in the club. She wanted to reach back and pull others out and give them the help that she knew they would need in order to change their life. This was the same exact feeling I had when I got to the end of writing Scriptures for Strippers™. At this time she informed me that there was a scholarship available through her organization. She told me how to apply and I did it immediately. I had had a real estate license years before the bubble burst and I thought about getting my license back active in order to transition out of the club once again. When I told her of my plan she agreed that it could be a way to help me stop dancing. I applied for the scholarship and was awarded the funds to take the test to reactivate I expired license, the fees to pay for the actual license and also my eKEY which allowed me to show houses. I was more than floored, humbled and excited when I pass the test and was able to call her and thank her for her help.

I also got the scholarship a year later to help with the publication of Scriptures For Strippers™. I can not express the gratitude I felt for her and this is why a portion of each sale of Scriptures For Strippers™ is donated to 4Sarah, Inc.

I could not stop smiling when I finally published this book!

Although I had no real friends in the industry, I shouted from the rooftops about how 4Sarah helped me to anyone who would listen. I got a whole bunch of brochures to carry in my purse so when I saw a girl who I feel like could use it, I could give her the information. I always see women who I know works in the industry but I can’t explain what I see when I look at them. I just know how it feels and looks like to walk around pretending to have everything together and hoping someone would help without me having to tell them all of my business. The look of shame and quiet hope of escaping some decisions that tricked me. I became involved with doing outreach in the clubs and over the phone. I love working supporting Kasey McClure as she doesn’t give up on anyone and will help them as long as they are willing to help themselves. 

Kasey and I before we spoke to some college students about the dangers and signs of sex trafficking victims and predators.

Kasey and I pausing for a pic during strip club outreach.
Kasey and I at the Anti-Sex Trafficking Summit at the state capitol in Atlanta, Georgia. My baby girl tagged along.

This scholarship is offered to all women involved in any kind of sex work. Whether she is a pornstar, prostitute, escort, stripper or victim of sex trafficking she can apply for this scholarship which will pay the institution directly. In order to apply, she just needs to write an essay about her background, include her aspirations and plans for education, her identification and possibly a resume. It’s very easy to apply for the scholarship which is open every three months. The scholarship is available right now and the deadline for application is July 31st 2017. Please tell anyone you know to apply who is involved in this lifestyle and want to escape.

If you or anyone you know are in a crisis situation and need someone to talk to or immediate assistance please call 4Sarah at 470-362-8808 or visit the website http://www.4Sarah.net.

The Real #Traphouse Ain’t Pink

In the winter of 2003, I went to visit a friend who had moved in with her boyfriend. We worked at the same strip club and had become close over the course of a few months. She told me she had grown up Muslim but that didn’t stop us from being cool with each other. She had recently been in the hospital and I went over to see if she was OK.  I had visited this place about 3 or 4 times before. I went during the early evening, around 6pm. 

She lived on a side of town where there was a lot of drug activity. There were always at least 4  random dudes just hanging out at his place and I wondered how she could feel comfortable living there with all those strange guys. Her boyfriend had just moved to Atlanta from Chicago and immediately started selling drugs out of his newly renovated duplex. I didn’t know he sold drugs and wasn’t sure if my friend knew but we found out for sure on this night. 

We laughed, talked and smoked together.  I got the urge to leave but I just assumed this grade of marijuana made me paranoid.  We were in a back room and suddenly someone busted in and told us to get on the ground with a silver gun drawn.  I immediately thought it was the police and they were busting the whole house in a raid.  Maybe one of the guys had a warrant.  Maybe the police had run up in the wrong house to lock up some suspects who had recently moved.  I knew one thing was for sure,  I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

I attempted to go into my pocket and throw the marijuana on the floor so I couldn’t get a possession charge. He immediately reprimanded me and told me to keep my hands up. My friend ran into the closet,  screaming and tearing down the clothes attempting to hide.  I was confused as he changed his mind and told us to come out of the room and come with him.  

As he led us down the long hall,  we saw the guys who hung out at the house being beaten and stripped all in different rooms. We walked passed a room that I’ve never been in. The door was always shut and locked.  But as we walked by,  I now understood why. There was large black trash bags full of marijuana and cash stacked to the ceiling. There were men in there bagging up everything quickly as the violent chaos happened all throughout other parts of the house. 

When I looked forward,  there was an unmasked young man, standing at the front door holding an AK-47. He was a puny young dude, almost like a teenager and the gun was almost bigger than he was. By the time, we got to the living room I realized this was not a raid but a robbery! Everyone was laying face down on the floor and the man who walked us down the hall forced us to lay face down next to her weeping boyfriend. He passed the time playing violent video games where he practiced shooting up intruders and cursing at the TV screen as he smoke blunt after blunt. Now, he and all his “tough guy” friends had been stripped, robbed and laid out on the floor scared of what would happen next.  

As soon as I laid down,  I began to pray and I felt a blanket or sheet gently cover me.  I held my friend’s hand and the wrist of her sobbing boyfriend.  I remembered that my friend didn’t believe in Jesus but still prayed for God to protect us. A man was standing over us with a gun pressed against my back, yelling at him to be quiet.  I turned my head to him and sternly said,  “Be quiet! “and he stopped wailing only sniffled from time to time. If her boyfriend made this guy mad enough to pull the trigger, the bullets would enter my body, not his. I started back praying and imagined myself going home.  Something told me I would go home and my life would not end. The gun was no longer pressed into my back but I kept praying. 

Some of the robbers had left the house to go upstairs to where his sister lived.  He had recently sent for her and her new baby from Chicago.  We heard footsteps overhead and then a gunshot. Again,  my friend’s boyfriend became hysterical, bawling uncontrollably and writhing in pain for what he thought had happened. We heard the intruders run down the stairs and run to their car.  I had left my purse in my car so I didn’t have my phone or anything on me. 

Everyone got up and attempted to wrap their heads around what had just happened. My friend was in her boyfriend’s arm and they cried together.  She later discovered that her purse had been ransacked and she was missing $600 cash, probably a whole night’s pay. I got home safely that night and thanked God for sparing my life. His sister and her baby was safe too!  Thank God! 

I knew there was a bigger plan for my life.  A couple weeks later, when I celebrated my 21 birthday, I reflected on the fact that I almost didn’t make it and was so grateful to God that I made it out of the trap house.  I have never been back to a traphouse and pray that anyone who is is covered, protected and will someday look to God to redirect them. Years later. I pray that God will give them another chance to tell the goodness of God. In Jesus’name name Amen! I found that friend on Facebook and saw that she posts scriptures on her page and thank God for the conversion. 

If you or anyone you know needs prayer, wants to pray or learn how to pray,  I can be reached via email at ScripturesForStrippers@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter, instagram and facebook @SayuriSmith. To get a copy of your very own devotional, you can get a copy from Amazon. There are two covers available but the inside is the same.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=scriptures+for+strippers

What Every Dancer can Learn from Micheal Jackson: Searching for Neverland

As a woman who has transitioned out of adult entertainment, I understood why Michael walked around with his face covered and was so soft spoken while of the stage. I like Michael Jackson’s music but I wouldn’t consider myself a fan because I wouldn’t scream, cry or attempt to touch him if I ever saw him. We have so much in common as entertainers, it was mandatory for me to write a review of Searching for Neverland, as this film confirmed my initial comparison. At one of my lowest points, I would wear a ski mask (even in the summer) when I left the house. I always thought of Michael Jackson when I got the curious stares and even the comments. 

The movie is told from the point of view of the man in charge of keeping Michael Jackson and his children safe as his bodyguard. He was being questioned about how the King of Pop died. As he sat in the hot seat answering questions, I began to think of my own experiences as an entertainer. As a transition coach to women who are attempting to transition out of adult entertainment lifestyle, I saw this movie with empathetic eyes. I understand there are very few people who are close to you and your ability to trust people becomes more and more tainted with each disappointment in friendship or even business relationship. Michael was a single parent to 3 children whom he seemed to love very much. He would go on lavish shopping sprees and shut stores down. He was protective of his children and loved to see them smile. 

He had not done a show in a few years and his agent and others were attempting to apply pressure to him to sign papers that would require him to do another show. He dreaded going back up on stage because of what it costed him. Michael definately gave his all during his performances and he was well aware that his age and stamina is not what it used to be. But with the bills piling up, the pressure for him to perform again sent him into a downward spiral of depression and feeling trapped. His reputation had suffered tremendously from the scandal at his old home, Neverland, which accused him of molesting a young boy.

As I watched Neverland, I began to reflect on how my relationship with my love of dance and newly discovered outlet (the strip club) began to deteriorate. Michael had a heart for people; especially children. I believe this was his way of mourning the loss of his own childhood, the one irreplaceable thing that the music industry took from him. As a dancer, turned stripper, I felt Michael’s pain. To turn someone’s absolute love for something against them is cruel, confusing, depressing and degrading. My reputation as an exotic dancer made me feel like a laughing stock and an outcast. I was stereotyped when people did learn of what I did for a living but I was nothing like how they thought. I began to hate people. All people. Because of the disdain people felt about my occupation, I began to be uncomfortable with myself and hated to socialize. I became a recluse and only left the house to work, under the cover of darkness.

The loneliness Michael Jackson lived through was like a loud ringing silence. Through the shopping sprees and grand homes were not enough for people to come around. The hate mail kept rolling in and made him even more isolated. He wasn’t getting any sleep and drank lots of wine. His phone never rang with someone calling to chat or check on him and the kids. I remembered sitting in the house like a hermit, hoping someone would call me. Then I thought of how I didn’t really want to talk. I just wanted someone to care. My mom and sisters would call me some time but I was never free to talk to them about my nights at the club. I was trapped in my own life. I didn’t fit anywhere. I loved dancing but hated interacting with people who assumed they could say certain things to me (without me being offended). I hated how people always wanted more and more of me. I hated how I felt when I had to find a nice way to turn down a disrespectful proposal. I worked very hard a few times a month so I wouldn’t have to keep going to that dreadful place.

My love for dance never died but my anxiety over the stress of working in this environment where I was constantly propositioned for prostitution and I could feel my innocence being stripped away became too much for a 20-yr-old young woman to handle. The irony to the way I was feeling about my newfound life was, financially speaking, the lifestyle was very easy to live. I did not worry about bills or money. One of the hardest things about transitioning for me was to adjust my spending habits and getting on a good sleep schedule. Michael triggered me a few times in the film but nothing got to me as much as when he became upset about being presented with the paperwork that would lock him in a contract to put on another show. He agreed but name it the “This Is It!” tour. In the movie, there came a time when months went by without him paying the security men because Michael could not afford to pay. But they still came to work each day because they realized that Michael had NO ONE but his children and the nanny.

Everytime I had to go back inside the club to earn a living, I would declare the same thing. “This is IT! I’m not getting another permit for another club after this!” (Dancers have to purchase permits to work as strippers that last for 1 year) But the anxiety and depression I endured hurt me so bad when I had to go to work due to lack of funds. The mental strain was unbearable; not to mention the pain I knew I would suffer after dancing my heart out each night. At 12 years old, I was diagnosed with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. I had to live with this debilitating pain 24/7. Compounding this with the sore muscles I knew were coming from the 8-hour aerobics in 6 inch stillettos was like a death sentence. Dread does not even begin to describe how I felt about going back into the club.

When it was announced that Michael was in the hospital in the movie, I totally broke down. I remember the feeling of being trapped between the strip club and mainstream society. Micheal had a total meltdown once he understood that it was necessary and mandatory for him to perform. He was planning to purchase a new home and be free from the contracts that owned him. When he died, I cried like I was at a funeral. His decision to die instead of performing was the most triggering thing for me. I’m not sure I believe a doctor killed him but I am sure that the entertainment industry will consume you. Making a transition out of the lifestyle is hard enough but I could not imagine it being compounded with the flashing lights of the cameras brought on by worldwide fame and the inability to be a human being. I hope people can learn that even famous people are actual people with hearts, minds and feelings too. Rest In Heaven, Michael Jackson. We love and miss you.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED SAYURI SMITH

Forgiveness: Healing at Healed in Heels 2016 Women’s Conference

Last year,  I had the honor of speaking at The 1st Annual Healed In Heels 2016. I had no idea on what to speak about but when I looked at the name of the organization, I thought about the journey I went on to be healed from traumatic events in my own life.  When writing Scriptures For Strippers, the chapter on Forgiveness discuss how I began the process of forgiving my daddy for abandoning me and my mom when I was 6 years old. I decided to post my speech from last year to get an idea of the powerful Word that went forth. After reading this post, I hope you feel encouraged enough to register for the FREE 2017 event. 

The founder of Healed In Heels Inc., Coco Gayle, has a mission to help women heal the societal and self inflicted  and conquering strongholds by being transparent about her powerful testimony about being delivered from issues such as domestic violence,  drug abuse, alcohol abuse and more. Visit the website for more info at http://www.HealedInHeels.com.

Healed In Heels 2016

To stay on topic of Healed in Heels, we must understand how to sow seeds of forgiveness in order to reap the harvest of healing. Why? Because the Bible says we must forgive. Why else? Because unforgiveness can manifest illness in our bodies, cloud and clog up our minds which will have a negative effect on our ability to be effective in the Kingdom of God.


Dealing with uncomfortable situations are supposed to provide a testimony for goodness and glory but if we have unforgiveness, we may not be able to witness properly. We may keep a person bound who God sent our way to help set free. 

What is unforgiveness? 

It is a spiritual or mental wound. A wound is raw, painful and open. It’s sensitive to touch. The topic is tender. When dealing with unforgiveness, a person or may make you feel angry, depressed, vengeful or sad. A scar is healed tissues identified as a mark that indicates there was a wound. There is no pain and true skin is closed. When there is forgiveness, the topic is closed with limited negative emotions even if there has been no closure. Sometimes the only closure you get is closing the door on it after you’ve given it to God. 

We may feel like we don’t need to forgive anyone because it happened a long time ago or we don’t think about it anymore. The question is when it does come up, how does it affect your mood? Your attitude? Do you relive the conversation, betrayal or situation all over again? 

If you answered yes to any of these things, you have unforgiveness in your heart. But there’s good news! Tell your neighbor, “I’m going to sow a seed of forgiveness today! ” 

Turn to another neighbor and tell them, “I’m going to start my healing process today!”

As I speak I want each if you to think on something that has happened which is extremely difficult for you to forgive. Wow it down on the paper you received when you came in and fold it up. Maybe you can’t think of anything…Ask God to reveal your own heart to you. (If you reading this blog,  I’d like for you to stop and write something down too.  You will need it for later.) 

We must ask God to open our spiritual eyes so we may see our whole heart. Search the dark corners of your heart to explore different areas we need to start the process of forgiveness in so we may enter into the light. So we don’t allow satan to have control of our hearts and minds any longer. We must give ourselves over to God so we ourselves can receive forgiveness and be released from our sins that we have committed against God. 

*Side note: If you do a lot of requesting without seeing the blessing, it could be because you are living without forgiving. 
I mean requesting spiritual fruits which are peace, love and joy. If your refuse to forgive, these things will always elude you. Some people feel like prayer is the only way past a situation. There is nothing wrong with prayer…that is unless you’re praying wrong… Let us explore that for a moment. We have the Lord’s prayer at MATTHEW 6:7‭-‬15 AMP where we are instructed on how to pray.

And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘ Your kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’ For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.
MATTHEW 6:7‭-‬15 AMP


*Forgiveness is a part of every good prayer. When we ask God for anything it requires us to release grudges.*

When we get to the part where we say, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, aren’t we saying we are indeed forgiving whoever and whatever? And if we are saying that without actually forgiving them, aren’t we then lying to God? How many of you like being lied to? How long can you listen to someone after they tell you something you know is a lie? How do you think God feels when we pray like this? Thou shalt not lie is a commandment! Some of us are breaking a commandment to God! We all need to be forgiven by God for something because none of us are perfect.

I can see some of y’all looking like, “Well, I don’t pray like that anyway. I don’t even know the Lord’s prayer.” Let me go ahead and address that. If you have unforgiveness in your heart, as you request anything from God in prayer, you are in violation and you are wasting your time.

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.
Mark 11:25 AMPC

Forgiveness is a prerequisite for any kind of breakthrough or healing. A prerequisite is a prerequirement. Something that is required before you get something else. Cornrows is a prerequisite for a sew-in. So you understand that forgiveness is a prerequisite for healing and breakthrough. Nobody can go into the salon with an Afro on her head and the stylist immediately starts sewing tracks in. There is a tedious and sometimes painful process of getting your hair braided before you get your length! So corn rows is the prerequisite for a sew in and forgiveness is the prerequisite for healing and breakthrough. 

If you choose not to forgive, the result will interfere with your relationship with God. 

Again, if you do a lot of requesting without the blessing it could be because you are living without forgiving. 

You may be totally justified in resenting someone. Don’t let that person or event keep you from receiving forgiveness for yourself. Unforgiveness is a like a festering spiritual wound. The way you treat a wound to your flesh should be the way you treat unforgiveness in your spirit. 

Let’s imagine you have a cut on your arm. You would disinfect or clean it, medicate it and cover it. But you have to do it in order. Remember, forgiveness is a prerequiste for healing. You wouldn’t cover a wound that hasn’t been cleaned because it will cause infection. You wouldn’t clean it after you medicate it. 

The Process of Forgiveness- First Aid for a Cut

Cleanse yourself by taking it all to God and giving Him possession of the wound. Focus on releasing any pain, irritation or discomfort of the offense. During this time you may cry, yell or scream as the antiseptic is administered to the fleshly wounded. The same supplies to a spiritual wound. It may hurt to revisit the grudge The resentment may be hard to let go of. Give it to God. Cut off your permission to think of this issue as yours. This step of disinfecting stops germs from creating more serious issues like infection which can lead to amputation. Your spirit can be so infected by refusing to cleanse with forgiveness, you could cause your blessing to be amputated or cut off. Be sure to disinfect yourself with proper prayer. 

Medicate the issue with the healing Words of psalms. (Psalm 27) and Proverbs. Explore psalms as they provide comfort. Explore proverbs as it provides instructions on how to live. You will need to reprogram the way you think and operate now because you will no longer behave with a chip on your shoulder. 

Cover the wound with prayer. Continually ask God to take away any animosity, anger, guilt, or any negative feeling associated with the situation. The mind is the battle ground that needs to be covered the most. Because forgiving is a process, you may have to repeat these steps until you can see and feel healing slowly take place. 

After going through the forgiveness process a few times, you may feel you are passed the situation but this may not be true. When a person reaches a certain stage in the healing process, they may feel strong enough to confront a person. But we all know that just because we take a bandage off of a wound doesn’t mean we won’t feel any pain is it’s nudged or pressed on. 
When we confront people about things we feel we have forgiven them for and that person doesn’t have the response we feel we deserve or doesn’t respond at all, we open the wound back up with more bleeding and more pain. Our only expectation should be from God. (Psalm 62.) Don’t look for someone to know their lines and say exactly what you need them to say for you to feel better. 

For this reason it is important not allow your ability you forgive be dependent on someone’s willingness or ability to apologize sufficiently. You may never be free because you may never get that apology. Start the process of forgiveness over again and allow your wounds to become a scar. Scars remind us of the injury (what happened) without including the pain. Hallelujah! 

How to stay Healed

Pay attention to the voice of the Lord, do what is right in His sight, keep His commandments and laws, God will keep you from things that ails others. You will be healed in different areas if your life. 

At this time, hopefully you have written down something or someone you need to forgive. Fold it up tight and hold hands with your neighbor. Tell your neighbor, We are about to sow our seeds of healing right now! We are going to help each other release this burden and sow our seeds of healing.”


Whatever you wrote down will be released from your possession. Before you throw it away, be sure you are separating from it and allowing God to heal your heart from it. You will no longer carry this situation in your spirit. Pray for your release as well as the person you are connected to. 

*Let us Pray.*

Lord God, help us release it. WE WANT HEALING, LORD. We want to start over and be refreshed and renewed. Help us release the stronghold and never look back. Make us whole without the apology. Give us closure. Give us peace. We want our joy back. 

Your Word says:

For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I AM in the midst of them. [Exod. 3:14.]
Matthew 18:20 AMPC

Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness. He will again have compassion on us; He will subdue and tread underfoot our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. [Ps. 103:12.]
Micah 7:18‭-‬19 AMPC

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12 AMPC

Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. [Exod. 14:19, 20; Isa. 52:12.]
Isaiah 58:8 AMPC

We are leaning on your Word to help us begin this journey of forgiveness so wet can get to the healing You have for us. We thank you for forgiving us and all that you cover into our hearts and help us forgive. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen! 

Begin to thank and praise God for being a burden bearer. Thank God for the healing! Amen! 

*Give it to God activity* Take the piece of paper with you wrote on earlier and fold it up. After praying and asking that God carry this burden toss paper into the trash. You can rip the paper up or simply throw it away. When you dispose of it, represents the sea of forgetfulness. This issue is no longer yours.  Give it God as many times as you need to in order not to carry it. 

The 2nd Annual Healed in Heels Women Conference’s theme is Survivor’s Remorse and will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017. Get your mother, aunts, cousins, co-workers,  workout partners,  best friends,  ex-friends and even enemies together to come to Healed in Heels to learn about survivor’s remorse this year.  Click the link below to get your free ticket! 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healed-in-heels-survivors-remorse-tickets-35652435394?aff=eand

We hope to see you there! 

Sayuri Smith and Coco Gayle

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED copyright  Sayuri Smith LLC. 

How to Get The Most Out of Your Church Visit

As the author of Scriptures for Strippers, I get asked all the time about church. People ask me how often I go to church, what church I am a member of and when should they “join” a church. 

On page 25 of Scriptures for Strippers, there is a chart to keep up with the different church experiences to determine if that particular house of worship is right for you. On this chart, you can document the pastor, how you were received and more.  But it is very important to go into any house of God following some very simple guidelines in order to get the best out of each visit. 

There are some people who have experienced “church hurt” where they may have experienced rejection, abandonment or alienation so entering into a church puts them in a defensive posture or they may even reject the notion all together. There are other people who have the wrong expectations of the experience and find themselves chronically disappointed in their church visits for a myriad of reasons. 

After studying the Word on my own, outside of a pastor,  I finally allowed myself to explore church again. I had taken about a 2 year hiatus from regularly attending a house of worship. I always felt The Spirit when I went and refreshed and inspired when I left. I was accepted and loved, even after some of the members found out that I used to be a stripper. After relocating across town and giving birth to a new baby, getting to that church became a bit of a challenge so I began to explore houses of worship in my new community.  There are a few things I have learned in order to benefit from each visit that I’d like to share in this blog post about how to go to church for maximum effectiveness.

  1. Go Into The House of God to worship Him along with Others. When going to church, keep your blessings in the front of your mind. Being thankful for what you have and mindful of the grace and mercy of God is a great posture to put your spirit upon entering the house of The Lord.  When it comes to praise and worship,  you may sing along if you know the words but if you don’t,  you can still stand to your feet to show reverence to God.  Some people put their hands up, clap or wave their hands as an act of worship. If you ever start to feel ashamed or self conscious, remember people are there for God, not you. (Daniel 4:2.)
  2. Be receptive to courtesy and love. While in church, people are instructed to “turn to their neighbor” and say things,  shake their hands, hug or pray with them.  When they ask if there are any visitors,  everyone may want to hug or speak to the newbie. Allow the love to flow! Shake hands with people of you don’t feel comfortable giving hugs. Smile and greet people. If people at church start to inquire about you joining the church, simply smile and say, “I’ll see you next time.” If you feel pressured, don’t take it personally.  It may be that person’s way of attempting to make you feel welcome, wanted and valued. (Hebrews 13:1)
  3. Dress appropriately.  Whenever we are invited to a party, are going to an interview or on a even a date, lots of thought goes into what to wear. Clothes have different functions and purposes that’s why there are dress codes for some clubs. The logic behind some clubs’ dress code is because they understand that if someone is wearing more formal clothes, they will be less likely to fight or be disruptive. When going to an interview,  we want to be perceived in a certain light so we may wear something to represent ourselves to be professional, intelligent and capable of doing a job well.  When dressing up for a date, the strategies for wardrobe choice varies.  If a woman is trying to “hook” a man,  she may dress like a hooker, wearing revealing clothes that take the attention away from her personality and focus on her physicality.  If she is trying to impress him, she may carry an expensive purse or wear expensive shoes. But a smart woman will present herself to be received with some mystery and respect.  She will wear clothes appropriate for the date activity and will provoke her date to see her as a person not a sexual object.  Getting dressed for church isn’t rocket science but you should think about it enough to present yourself in a way that is at least respectful to yourself. Pull pants up on waistlines with belts if needed,  have skirts that at least reach your knees while standing and refrain from showing the cleavage or midriffs areas as well.  Dressing this way can enhance your visit because you can enjoy yourself without tugging on short skirts, or constantly fixing revealing blouses and you can praise God with confidence there will be no wardrobe malfunctions. 
  4. Take notes. When the speaker gives scriptures,  write it down.  You can listen and write down other poignant or profound points too.  Later when you go home to reflect on The Word,  you won’t have to rely on your memory.  Even if the church provides a program with the scriptures on it,  you will remember it better when you write it down. Taking notes also helps you focus on receiving the message better. Listen out for things that speak to a situation you are dealing with and make notes to revisit it later to read it for yourself. When reading it later,  God may reveal a deeper meaning that ministers to you. (Proverbs 8:33)
  5. Do not focus on the people. Your Expectancy should be from God. Enter into the house of the Lord expecting to be encouraged in your spirit. Church is supposed to be a place where people are loving and polite. They are supposed to smile and even offer hugs. The operative word is supposed to. Just in case they are not friendly or do not warmly welcome you, does not mean The Holy Spirit will not reveal anything to you in this place. It may be the devil attempting to distract and defeat you so you won’t be paying attention when God’s word is spoken. Church people have issues, bad days and can be distracted. Don’t take everything personally. Focus on praising God for what he has done in your life and being thankful to God for the blessings you do have. Be thankful that you didn’t suffer all the consequences you should have as you disobey him and His Word. (Psalm 62:5)

Back to the drawing board… 

An unpublished entry from August 6, 2014

It is no secret that I’ve been on a long journey to transitioning out of a lifestyle which afforded me all I needed and wanted. But the anxiety of stepping out and doing something new can not be described. How could taking off all your clothes, dance in 6 inch heels….on a stage be easier than starting another “normal” job? I have yet to understand for myself. That hasn’t stopped me from attempting to reach out and try new things with the same attitude I brought inside the club when I first started.

“I’m here to work!”

I went before God after struggling with issues that prevented me from even imagining a change. The devil attacked my closest relationships, my mind and my spirit. I was so depressed I couldn’t muster a smile for anything. Striving toward my willingness to change was a struggle that has paid off. Some things weren’t moving fast enough. After spending hours on-line looking and applying for jobs, I have landed a few jobs since retiring.

I have been a pre-school Sign language teacher, a marketing executive for a local denial management firm and a sign language instructor for young girls. During this time I have been working on the official release of Scriptures for Strippers and…..

I have a confession. I have started back dancing again…. but I won’t say where…yet. Hey, I’m in fundraising mode! My biggest new project is to fund a foundation to help women transition out of the strip club. I am experiencing life as a woman attempting to support her son without dancing. And it absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I had made a deadline for my lifestyle change to come pin of the blue and hit my life. If it didn’t, I made peace with the fact that I would have to dance again. The deadline came but no job. I had done some gigs but not the steady work I needed to support myself and my kid.

My independence was lost and I was humbled by God and reality. I couldn’t control anything because I had absolute no money. But God always provided. We had somewhere to lay our heads, cover our bodies and fill our bellies. Then he paid my bills, put gas in my car and kept me and my son healthy. But I was still depressed because I was tired of depending on God in a passive way. I had become frustrated my being broke and feeling stunted. I cried some nights…and days. I wanted to die because I was just so scared of not being able to do something other than dancing. Worrying about the future is the worst thing to do when depressed.

God has provided miracles for me that have shown me who and what should be my priorities. Not just money. Don’t pray for money. Pray that God meet the need, then keep your eyes and heart open for his blessings. See, God’s blessings are both big and small. He blessed us with breath in our bodies. Many people don’t even think about breathing; they just do it. Recently, God blessed me with a car. A free car. Now, that was a big blessing most would consider to be a miracle. I do and I thank God for that and plan to use the rest of my life living as that giving spirit.

To cheerfully give when the one who helps is in need is one of the most generous of acts. I have met many people who have been a blessing to me but they were also waiting for blessings for themselves. I thank God for all my blessings. He has opened doors (and no man can shut them) He has pardoned debt, He had released me from bondage… And I thank Him.