Stripper Mom Sheila Hageman's Addiction Began With Dad's Porn Chest (Opinion)

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Opinion, Psychological, Self-Image, Women

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Kyrie [Eleison] is Greek for “Lord Have Mercy,” and it was the name Sheila Hageman took when she abandoned any notion of going to college and became a stripper at the age of 18.

For seven years, Hageman had a split identity: the good girl who appeared in local theater productions, and the naughty one who writhed before men in dark and dingy strip clubs.

“Through my teen years, everyone knew me as a sweet girl, smart, a writer — and there was part of me creating this other side,” said the Connecticut author. “It was a place where I could hide everything I hated about myself — all in a detached way.”

She became obsessed with her body image, becoming nearly anorexic as a teen, then turned to stripping.

Today, Hageman, 40, is the mother of three children, but she is unapologetic.

In her new memoir, “Stripping Down,” she writes that the mistakes she made along the journey to self-discovery may have ultimately made her a better parent.

Hageman’s book, like her life, doesn’t follow a straight path, but weaves between her stripper days, her mother’s death from breast cancer and, finally, her role as mother of three children, now 7, 3 and 18 months old.

Hageman believes her obsession with her body began at the age of 12, just after her parents’ divorce, when she stumbled across a trunk-full of her father’s pornography hidden in a chest in their Connecticut basement.

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Women in erotic poses gave her the first glimpses of what a woman could do with her body and how it could please men.

“I think a lot had to do with my age,” she said. “I was a scrawny little kid who was confused and depressed and had gotten forgotten in the divorce mess. I hooked on to some role — some image that seemed to promise something.”

She kept returning to the porn and to images of women she tried to emulate.

“I was coming into my sexuality and, instead, I split off and didn’t integrate,” she said. “I saw it as a separate self.”

When Hageman was about 13, she did some modeling and her body-image issues escalated. She became borderline anorexic, wanting to be “perfect and beautiful.”

“Although deep down I knew there were more important things than my looks, I got caught up in wanting and needing to be the prettiest, the best,” she said. “I thought that would bring me the love I longed for.”

Nowhere was her lean figure more appreciated than at the strip clubs where she was known as Kyrie [pronounced like Perrier].

After graduation from high school, much to her mother’s disapproval, Hageman decided to pursue acting, where she could create a new life for herself. Stripping provided her with the cash to pursue her dream.

Find full article here: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/connecticut-stripper-mom-sheila-hageman-writes-memoir-anorexia/story?id=16032950#.T3rjl7-XSoU
By Susan Donaldson James
March 29, 2012

 

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