I lean back in my blue leather seat ready for takeoff as the woman sitting next to me reaches over and introduces herself.
I quickly learn she is a real life extreme couponer! She goes into detail how she has gallons of laundry detergent, rolls of toilet paper and tubes of toothpaste in her garage because of her ability to find the best deals in town. “Why would I give people more money?” she says.
I ask if I can share part of her story with my readers as long as I don’t use her name or the company she runs and she gave a simple “yea, of course!”
She grew up poor. So broke she drank watered down milk and there was a bread ration at her house. She moved out when she was 17 because her and the mom “could not get along” to say it nicely!
She needed money to pay bills and after six months of doing janitorial work she decided that wasn’t for her, “I don’t even like cleaning my own house,” she said.
She wanted to start stripping and got the job the day she walked in. She never made less than $3,000 a week and sometimes would walk away with $6K in cash. She was making money, supporting her children and worked the pole for six years until she met her recent husband.
Now she has four kids, has been happily married for seven years and runs a very successful business. She gives her time, resources and money away to good causes and has no plans of stopping anytime soon (She plans to make more than $250,000 this year).
I ask her many questions about her stripping days and here are her answers to two of them:
1) What would you tell people that judge you for being a stripper?
“When I was a stripper I would have justified what I was doing by getting defensive, proving to people that I am doing this to make my own money and make my own things happen. Today, if people judge me on my past I would tell them to understand where some of these girls are coming from. Some of them came from bad families or are looking to make enough money to pay for the lawyers so they can get their kids back or are doing something to make a difference in their life.” The main message was related to Stephen Covey’s “Seek to understand before being understood.”
2) What piece of advice would you give to the younger generation?
“I would say two things. First, be a better friend. You need to listen more than you speak. Ask your friends questions and be there for them. They might need your ears more than you know. Second, never give up. You might be going through a bad time or people will judge you for what you did. Keep going, you know who you are and do the things that make you happy. At that time stripping made me happy. I made good money, I got a free workout and I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without that experience. At this time, running a business and knowing that my husband can retire because of my income makes me happy. My kids don’t have to go without anything and I am making it happen.”
She is more than a couponer and an ex-stripper but some people may only see her as that. In an hour I learned she is also a mom, daughter, business woman and someone who gives a lot. She is a woman who takes responsibility, works hard and has a bubbly personality.
She is a good example of not judging someone from their past but rather seeing them for what they have done well and where they are now. She was friendly, open and a perfect person to sit next to on the plane.
Remember to share your story and be proud of the experiences you have had. They make you who you are today and give life to your life. As always…