a memory I need to talk about

Sometimes I get bogged down with other thoughts on my mind. These thoughts take up the majority of my waking hours and I don’t know why I think about them, constantly.

I have been thinking about this one memory I have and I have been thinking about it since my dad has passed. There is only so much I can recall from this memory.

When I was younger, I used to dance…strip. I started in my hometown of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. I told my family. In fact, I called them up first to tell them. I had people come up to me to tell me that they heard from their grandmother. “Well, I didn’t see your grandma at work,” I would tell them, and then, I would laugh it off.

At one point, when I was dancing at the local strip club, I moved home. Or, at least, I was staying the night at home. I asked my dad for a ride. When I think back to this moment, I think about how much my dad loved me and how much I put him through. I don’t even know if that is the right way to describe it, put him through.

Home was about 20 minute outside of the city limits. It was a First Nations. So, no cab company would pick up rides from the First Nations going into the city limits and they wouldn’t really drop rides off from the city into the First Nations either. It was either a ride from my parents or a hitchhiking. I have hitchhiked before. So, my parents, especially my father, knew that I would do it again. The first time I hitchhiked, it was dark, cold, and it might have been raining. I remember my parents came to look for me, to give me a ride but I hid in the ditch—I didn’t want to be found. Like I said, I put my parents through a lot.

That night my dad drove me to work, and I think about this a lot, I think about how much he loved me. I don’t remember what we talked about or if we even talked at all. I remember him driving up to the club and I remember telling him thank you for the ride dad. Like always, I remember saying, “See you love you.”

I know it must have been hard for my dad but he did it and he did it because he knew I would find a way to get there anyways. It could have been him or someone else… and he knew that sometimes it would be the less safer way, hitchhiking. And, you see, that is the thing about sex work in the north, especially if you are an Indigenous woman. There is a lot of unsafe ways to do it and sometimes those ways put Indigenous women at risk of going missing or murdered. But, also, there are safe-r ways to engage in sex work and sometimes that means relying on family for rides.

However, there is a danger with the narratives and the laws supporting those narratives. This danger is presuming that an Indigenous woman, especially a young Indigenous woman, is being trafficked and is being trafficked by her family. If it was not for my dad that night, I know that I would have opted for more unsafe way to get to work. Who knows even if I would have made it work if it wasn’t for my dad!?

Either way, I have been thinking about this car ride to work and sitting next to my dad. I would want to sit in the car with him one more time and to tell him thank you for keeping me safe. I know it must not have been easy for him and it was mostly my fault for being so hard on my parents, including my father but I want him to know that I am so thankful that he was my dad.

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