Chapter 9: If Darryl Dies, We All Riot. Part 1

If Darryl Dies, We All Riot. If Darryl Riots, We All Die.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – Shows & Shoots.

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The ‘Ugly’ – Pre-Show:

On a pretense of working the Horror Hound convention, I decided to hit the road for a week. I really just wanted to do something fun, make a little money, shoot something artsy and see friends. Cincinnati was a new venue for HH and close to Louisville, so it all came together pretty nicely.

Except for the actual dealing-with-the-convention part.

“Are you sure you’re going to be in Cincinnati? It’s not on their site.”  After several of these emails from fans and only a month to go, I started to contact HH, asking if they needed anything else from me since I still wasn’t being advertised. 

I’d appeared on many other Horror Hound conventions before, so I was surprised that I had a very hard time dealing with whoever was running this show. Apparently I wasn’t the only one, since the fan reviews were pretty harsh and a few regulars I know of that work the show gave up trying to get in touch with them. This is a shame, because the convention looked spectacular. The lineup of guests was absolutely stellar. After being booked several months ahead of time through Pickle Press, my comic book company, I still wasn’t listed as a guest on the HH site. Eight emails, seven tweets and three weeks later, they finally added me – to the vendor page. You know – the page no one looks at other than the vendors. More emails ensued. I got a curt reply telling me they’d been busy with their Horror Hound magazine and “being on the site at ALL is a privilege.”

I recoiled, because I’d never heard anything so inane. Really? Don’t people still pay a good chunk of money to get in? So I wondered if it was personal. That’s the only thing I could possibly think of that would elicit such a stupid, smug comment. I asked, and was assured that it was not personal. I did not buy a table, so I was completely clueless as to why I’d be listed on a vendor page instead of with the others who also earn a living in FRONT of a camera.

Frustrated, I worried that investing a lot of time and my own money into this trip  to work with my comic book company wasn’t going to be worth it. Sometimes the bigger the show, the less worthwhile it becomes because fans exhaust themselves on the huge names.

Wizard World.  Chiller Theatre. GlamourCon. Con-Tamination. Every other Horror Hound convention I’ve ever worked…no one had a problem adding guests to their site since the general modus operandi is to bring in every last fan you can over the span of a single weekend. And, website additions don’t cost a dime.

I normally try not to say too much about bad experiences, but this is how fucktarded it was dealt with – especially since I should have been listed with my co-worker Rhino. We were the ONLY two wrestlers on the convention in what is a pro wrestling heartland. Since I used to tour in that area and hadn’t been back in a while, I was especially annoyed but figured I’d advertise it on my own and hope for the best. (That turned out to be mostly fruitless. My free weekly newsletter tops out at 11,000 subscribers before kicking people off…my Twitter is around 17,500. Facebook is 6,000. Yet for some reason, most people either don’t read or don’t pay attention to anything other than the actual show advertisement listing.)

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THIS is why it bothered me:

When I’m brought in for conventions, situations vary depending upon the show. Usually some (or all) of my expenses are covered by the promoter or vendor and I’m paid a guarantee. For Horror Hound, I eat my expenses because I’m working with my comic book guys to promote ourselves, our books and Pickle Press (HERE-> http://pickle-press.livejournal.com/). It’s a very small budget. We have fun and I’ve always done well enough in sales with being advertised that it’s been worth it. HH is fully aware of this, so that’s why I’m so upset about how unprofessionally it was handled.

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I’d love to have an agent who dealt with this kind of thing, but I’ve never been able to find one who can book me better than I can book myself. I stay busy and handle everything myself as far as shoots, shows and conventions, so that’s why I get to deal with more bullshit than most entertainers are subjected to.  I’m also pretty sure it’s why I’m crazier. Quite frankly, with running two sites, several social networks, doing video and photo editing, writing assignments, bookings, emails to return, shoots to plan and traveling to book…I don’t feel like dealing with the petty stuff. Paying someone a percentage would be VERY worth it if you can find one with real contacts who will actually work for you.

The lack of business sense and professionalism in money making situations never ceases to amaze me with its arrogance and stupidity.

Enough complaining. I could only hope it all worked out.

The ‘Bad’ – Day 1, Thursday:    

The plan: Fly into Louisville, drive to Cincy, work myself ragged over the course of the weekend, then head back to KY to stay a few extra days visiting friends. Because I was staying a week, working a convention, doing photo shoots AND there was still a need for heavy clothing, I had three grossly excessive bags.

Flight delay. I decided to track down food during the interim. A guy sat across from me. “I like your hair color. What did you do to your knee?”

Sigh. I’d been hacking away at a bun-less Nathans hot-dog  since it was the only low-carb, sugar-free, dairy-free protein I could find in the airport. I hate telling people what I do. I wear my knee brace to pre-board on Southwest since it tends to act up from traveling, I get to board first AND it’s pretty much the only perk of being a beat up pro wrestler. This allows me to get on the left side of the plane thus avoiding drink carts and being seated between two 400 pounders. Neither of which is good for knees.

I forced a smile, made polite chatter and then excused myself to find a charging station. Sitting at the same gate I used to call Mom from to tell her I was on my way every other week for over a year…you just don’t realize the habits you’ve formed until they’re not there any longer. It felt weird. Empty. I hadn’t flown much since she’d died a few months earlier, so I haven’t really been back to this terminal. I was so exhausted for her final year and a half, but I would give a hell of a lot for just one more trip.

Mom would sometimes come to the airport with my uncle, or wait at the window and excitedly throw open the door before I’d gotten out of the car. Hugging me with a big smile and an alarmingly frail body, she’d attempt to grab one of my bags. I’d laugh and hand her the little carry-on knapsack I keep my travel pillow in. That would satisfy her. This was always how it happened.

-Except for that last time.

It’s funny how you miss the strangest of things. The unapparent. The little routines. I could always find her in the airport pretty quickly because she dressed in bright colors. Mom loathed dark colors (“They’re depressing,” she’d say, wrinkling her nose)…and that’s pretty much all I usually wore when I traveled. It was easy to mix and match. Everything went with black. I began rooting through my drawers to pack purples, blues, reds and pinks for those trips just to make her happy.

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Random visions hit me out of nowhere. For her entire life, Mom had planned to donate her organs when she died and was devastated to learn that she couldn’t due to having been through so much chemotherapy. I can still see her eyes sadden when she told me everything in her was poisoned.

Friends text. My phone doesn’t ring anymore. I have no one to call. My Gram had just died six months before Mom did. Grandmom was a night person like I am, so I’d call her every evening to chat about nothing. She was nearly housebound without much going on, so I’d either ask her about her stories growing up during the Depression or we’d play a game. “What are you doing tonight?” “Oh, I’m going dancing,” she’d say. “Are you? Did you get new shoes?” “Oh, yes…I found gorgeous stilettos.” And so on. I got Mom started on the game. It was a funnier version because the chemo made her a bit loopy.

Me:  “Whatcha doing? Going to a party?” Her:  “Oh yes!”

Me: “Who is your date?” Her: “I met a tall, handsome man at the bank last week.”

Me: “Oh, nice! What are you wearing?”

Her: “A red dress. With ruching.” Me: “‘Rooshing?’  I thought it was ‘rucking’.”

Her: “Oh we’ll be fucking. Definitely.”

See where I get my fun side from?

There was no one else left. I looked down at my head-to-toe black travel clothing. I hid in the charging station, dabbing at tears that kept welling up, letting my hair fall around my face to hide. Most of my friends were polite about it all, but no one seemed to take an interest in how I was really doing (not well) or understand the sheer exhaustion of running a business out of Florida and traveling every other week to Philadelphia to take care of my dying family. This was a bit of a shock since everyone in Philly had been going above and beyond in being supportive. The absolute worst feeling in the world: When you can’t fix someone you love no matter how desperately you want to. When you are helpless to do anything other than watch them suffer and die.

People I thought would be there for me weren’t exactly going out of their way to cheer me up back in Tampa, other than Jordan, who was really great the entire time. At home I’d reach for the phone to call Mom…then the split second gutting reminder that I could not do that any longer would hit, and I’d crumble. Each occasion was spent with the ever-present knowledge lurking in the back of your head that this will be the last. The last Christmas. The last birthday. The last Easter. The last Mothers Day…what can you do, other than make it as much fun as possible and take lots of pictures? And that’s what I have left. Memories and pictures. Somehow, it’s not quite enough.

 

The ‘Good’ – I arrived in beautiful Louisville. I’ve had several places I’m happy to call home. Philly, Boston, Alabama, Tampa, Louisville. I’d missed it here. I’d thought Kentucky would be just a brief stop for a year, and ended up staying for four. It stole my heart and I love going back.

My friend, Joe Mays (Here -> https://www.facebook.com/AlienTwilightPhotography?fref=ts ), a photographer of the erotic and artistic nature, had arranged for me to stay at a “visiting artist apartment”.  Located on the top floor of a house found in the historical district, it was an adorable little place. Gorgeous, really. A cozy third floor walkup (carrying 149 lbs of luggage up protesting, creaky stairs) which opened up to hardwood floors and huge ceiling windows with a breathtaking view. There was a tiny single bed, an even tinier bathroom, a plush red ottoman and a record player with a stack of vinyl ranging from Michael Jackson to Nina Simone.

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Cheap But Honest Plug: Open Gallery – (Here-> https://www.facebook.com/thegalleryisOPEN?fref=ts ) a hot new gallery that just opened on Floyd Street near Papa John’s in Louisville was rapidly becoming known for its art showings with cocktails, live music and scantily clad models. They house their artists, which enable those who reside there to work part time, allowing them to have more time to spend on creating. Brilliant, yes? I highly recommend a visit.

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The lovely apartment was Allison’s (Here-> https://www.facebook.com/rodney.paintings ), a pretty, redheaded artist from Alabama. (Yes, we grow on trees down there.) She had stocked the refrigerator with coffee creamer, eggs, apples, almonds and cans of starbucks double-shot coffee. The place had a neat energy to it…exactly what my fragile mentality and soul needed at the moment. Warm, pretty, solitude. I’m one of those weirdo’s who loves being alone. I always wanted to buy something like this in a city to have on the side as a retreat.

Day 2, Friday: The Lovely Apartment had very few electrical sockets, half of which worked and a dodgy heating system that roasted you alive. Icicles set in between blasts. The bathroom wasn’t heated and was so narrow; you had to turn sideways to pee in order to fit. Plus, there was just one sad, deflated pillow. But the view of the city was amazing and the coffee pot worked. Joe arrived to collect me. My 149 pounds of luggage and I clunked down the three flights of stairs and onward to Cincinnati after a brief stop at Waffle House, of course. Everything is better after scrambled eggs.

I checked into the hotel and lost my key in approximately 18 seconds flat…a record, even for me. In the time it took to walk from the office to the car, it vanished faster than prom dress at midnight.

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I re-keyed, changed into a little black strapless dress and headed over to Horror Hound. I’d wanted to say hello to Norman Reedus whom I’d met several times at various conventions over the last few years. Being a huge fan of the show, I wanted to see if I could a get a photo with some of the other Walking Dead actors, like “Herschel”. I figured it might be best to do that before the insanity hit. Not realizing to what extent that Norman had become The Man, I also didn’t realize how hard it would be to just say a quick hello. Luckily, the staff pushed me to the front of the line, his agent knew me and I got to chat with him for a couple of minutes. His wait time would be so incredibly long; he’d end up staying until 1 a.m. every night to finish signing for all who had waited. I observed him hugging kids, patiently retaking photos that didn’t turn out and chatting amiably with fans. Star status had clearly not gone to his head. His female fans, Dixons Vixens, had signs that said “If Darryl Dies, We All Riot. If Darryl Riots, We All Die.”

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Most of the others weren’t there yet or were still filtering in wearing dark glasses and baseball hats to avoid getting mobbed, so my fangirl moment came to an abrupt halt. I’d be working wit some of The Walking Dead cast on the Mid Texas Comic Con on May 4 & 5 (HERE –> Please note how excellently they advertise all the guests!  http://www.centexexpo.com/index.html ), so I could be a fangirl then. Joe wanted a photo with John Carpenter, so we took one together. (They Live, ya know.) Carpenter, didn’t seem quite as cheerful. Michael Madsen, on the other hand, was always smiling.

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I would have loved to have spent more time walking around and saying hi, but I felt obligated to get back to my booth. It was nearly 5 p.m. and the doors would be opening to the public. On the way out of the room, a chorus of people said, “April! You dropped something!” Indeed, my pass was on the floor. I laughed and waved. “Thank you!”

“Hey,” hollered a guy in line. “I didn’t know you were going to be here!” Sigh.”Yep, come see me later!”

I shouldn’t have bothered rushing back, since the line to get in stretched around the parking lot. Fans stood outside in freezing temperatures for 2-4 hours (then queued inside for autographs another 2-3 hours).

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Many waited only to be turned away at the door, as passes had sold out. Nearly everyone I talked to drove quite far to attend because of the amazing caliber of guests brought in.

I was joined at the table by my haiku and dirty comic book writing friend Nik, along with his sharp witted wife for the weekend. Plus one of my favorite artists in the entire world, Jay Fife.

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Stripper Viking 2 debuted (Here-> http://www.aprilhunter.com/store/), as did Jay’s new Scooby Doo “Daphne”  print (Here-> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jay-E-Fife-Illustration/215290038586) and both were wicked NEAT.

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Our section of the convention remained empty until about 8 pm. A blonde stopped by and admired my 8×10’s. “These are really cool pictures. Are you in any of them?” The entire table snickered. Insert dumb blonde joke here…maybe along the lines of “all redheads look alike.” As we were cleaning up to leave at 10 pm, a PA blared announcing that HH was staying open an extra hour. I had a photo shoot early in the morning before the convention, so I groaned. I also groaned over the handfuls of people who stopped short at my booth and exclaimed, “April Hunter! I didn’t—“

“Yeah, I know. I’m here.” Thanks, HH.

“Yeah! If I had, I would have brought the WEW DVD I have.” Awesome! Maybe I’ll sign it when I’m back in the area again-in two years. I don’t like to work a certain area more often than that. Meanwhile – get yer ass on my newsletter. It’s free. HERE: -> http://bit.ly/ahnewsletter Or twitter (@AprilHunter). Or my facebook (AprilHunterOfficial).  Because I’m really good about letting people know when “I’m going to be there.”

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My freshly issued key didn’t work.

FOR FUCKS SAKE.

I walked for what felt like a half mile to the front office with hurting feet in whore clothes lugging my huge bag of shit in 34F degree weather. Somehow, I managed to be nice when I got there. Yay, me. This trip is full of firsts.

(TO BE CONTINUED HERE: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/05/11/chapter-10-there-is-no-i-in-cnt-but-there-is-a-u-pt-2/

Chapter 8: Staying Motivated To Workout!

(This was originally written and published for RxMuscle.com)

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If It Was Easy To Look Good…Everyone WOULD.

Baby, it’s COLD outside!

Some days the hardest part of working out is getting out the front door.  Fifty percent of Americans quit their workout program within a year of starting.  HALF! That’s a lot of quitters! To make sure you remain a non-quitter, here are some motivational tips to help you get your rear in gear during cold weather.

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Kick It Up To HIGH GEAR…

– Sometimes it’s liberating to tackle your workout first thing in the morning and get it done for the day. Tip: Trick your clock by setting it 20 minutes ahead and lay your gym clothes out the night before.  (hardcore peeps even sleep in theirs.)  

Not a morning person? Pack a gym bag and treat it like part of your job. If it’s in your scheduled appointments each day, you’ll go.

-Find the good reasons. Bikini season? A photo shoot? A genetic history of heart disease or diabetes?  Better Facebook photos? Find the reasons WHY you want to lean down and remind yourself every morning.

-Squash Cheating While Out. If you don’t want to be tempted while out at a restaurant by something like bread or fries, ask them not to bring it to the table. If they do, ruin it quickly by dumping half a shaker of salt or something equally as vile  all over it. Temptation squashed.

-Use fear and guilt for GOOD. Guilt is generally a wasted emotion unless you can use it to gain something positive. In this case, fear and guilt are powerful tools.  Fear of getting fat. Guilt for cutting out early on cardio. Use that to do better tomorrow.

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-Naked Reality. The reality is most of us could look better naked. Turn on all the lights, strip down nude— and jump up and down in front of the mirror.  If anything shakes other than your “bits”, you can lose bodyfat. Mirrors don’t  lie. Or, EAT NAKED. If you’re letting it all hang out while eating, you’ll be very aware of what’s not covered up.

-Get a workout partner…or hire a trainer. You’re less likely to blow off a training session if you know someone’s waiting for you or you’re paying for it.

Tip: Hang out with fitness-minded people. Their good habits tend to rub off on you. Search online if you want to venture out of your comfort zone. Meetup.com is great for activities like group walks, Mommy fitness classes, hiking & mountain bike excursions, salsa dancing, park yoga, boot camp, pole dancing…

-Add some new kick ass tunes to your ipod/mp3 player. You may love Coldplay or Clapton, but in the gym, fast paced dance music or heavy rock work wonders.

Set multiple small goals. A monthly goal, a by-your-birthday goal, a yearly goal, a competition goal…whatever they may be, they’ll keep you going forward.

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-Keep a training & diet journal.  Record your gym activity. Try to beat last week’s log, even if it’s by just one rep, one pound or one minute.

Related Article –  Weird Foods: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/02/14/weird-foods/

-Treat yourself!  Invest in some new gym clothes.  Get that cute low-cut Lululemon top or those skin tight Brazilian flared pants. The better you look, the better you’ll feel.  I’ve also found that grabbing a few fitness magazines is inspiring. Not only are the photos motivational, but new articles and recipes are always helpful.

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-Recognize your progress. Date & record your weight and measurements. Check it every 2 weeks. If you’re down in pounds and/or inches, you’re going to become even more encouraged.  Once you get to a certain point, donate your loose clothing to charity. Let someone else wear your fat pants.

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-Change things up. Remember when you were a kid and exercise was FUN? Try another gym, some classes or sign up for boot camp.  Belly dancing, stripper pole, Zumba or hot yoga can be amazing workouts. How about ice skating or pond hockey for cardio? Find things you LIKE.

-Make an inspirational photo wall. When I’m dieting, I’ll often rip out a few photos of women that inspire me and magnet them to my fridge.  Whether it’s Ava Cowens’ washboard abs or Erin Sterns  rock hard butt,  these photos are constant reminders of what I can look like if I keep doing what I’m doing.

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-Go to a local fitness show or convention. There’s nothing quite like being in the middle of it all to light a fire under your ass. Check the SCHEDULE page on RxMuscle.com (http://www.rxmuscle.com/contest-schedules.html  ) or the NPC site (http://npcnewsonline.com/contestdates.cfm )   for shows near you.  In Canada:  http://www.cbbf.ca/events.asp )

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-Change your attitude.  If you can’t change your situation, you CAN change how you see it. Decide to view your workouts differently.  At the end of the day, remember that you’re doing this for no one other than yourself.  No one can work out for you, and no one will enjoy the benefits of your  sweat BUT you. Sometimes you may not receive the encouragement that you’d like from family or friends. But this is your life, your body, and your chance to make yourself happy.

You’re out the front door. The hard part is already behind you. Now, go WORK your BEHIND!

 

Thanks for reading! I love getting feedback  & ideas, so please check out  http://www.AprilHunter.com & follow me on http://www.Twitter.com/AprilHunter

-April Hunter

Professional Wrestler, Pinup Centerfold & National Figure Athlete

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Related Article – Weird Foods: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/02/14/weird-foods/

 

Chapter 6: Weird Foods.

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Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.

The USA spends more on healthcare than any other country (per person) and gets the least for it. I think there would be half as many issues if we knew how to eat better. The problem is, there’s a ton of misinformation out there. Or someone is trying to SELL you the info…for profit.

The other night, I got hungry and thought: Toast with nut butter and honey. Mmmmm.

As I stood over the sink, munching my  (gluten free) Ezekiel spelt “bread” slathered with organic almond butter, raw local honey and washing it down with a half glass of tea, I suddenly realized…

I’d become one of ‘Them’!

You know. The ‘Weird People’ who ate ‘Weird Foods’.

Ick! I’d always tried to avoid that. Growing up, I was friends with a girl named Aura. Her mom was a midwife and they were moneyed hippies. Their house ran on solar panels. They had hard wood floors instead of rugs. They took supplements. And I’m not entirely sure her mom shaved her legs. They ate things like…organic almond butter, Ezekiel toast and almond milk. We made fun of them.

What the hell had happened?

When I visited my Mom’s recently, my brother threw a fit because I’d needed to go to make a special grocery store trip to pick up my own things. He made fun of my ‘Weird Food’ needs.

But he himself looked like shit. Bloated and overweight with thinning hair and adult acne. He was also on several different blood pressure medicines, had a red face and looks much older than I do, despite being four years younger.  I don’t suppose it ever resonates with enough people that “We are what we eat.”

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The Hippocratic Oath declares: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” Yet most doctors loathe to address their patients diets. In fact, most doctors have little or no nutritional training. Before these recent designer drugs, all we had was food and herbs. Cola syrup or ginger calmed nausea. Aloe for cuts and burns. Honey for cuts and dry skin. Hydration and caffeine for headaches. Rice for diarrhea. Yogurt for constipation. Tea trea oil for breakouts. Hot peppers for arthritis. These things still work.

I don’t believe there isn’t much that can’t be eased or even cured by the correct diet.

Back in the day, food used to be food. It was simple. Chicken, eggs, green beans, apples, honey, peanuts, steak, bacon, oatmeal… If you were having apple cake or soup, your mom had to make it. Or you (and your father) starved. I blame the lack of easy food for all three of my father’s rushed marriages. He only had two weeks between relationships before the weight loss really started to show and all the fried eggs and bacon he was eating every meal got old fast. It was time to find a cook…erm…wife.

Now, the WEIRD ‘franken-food’ IS packaged food. Everything comes to us processed with added sugars, preservatives, coloring, and fillers. There’s a list 5-lines deep of ingredients on a roasted chicken. Most of it we can’t pronounce let alone have a clue what it actually IS.

The majority of what we eat in America has been altered. It’s called Genetically Modified Organism, or GMO. It’s not long term tested on humans, so we are essentially lab rats. The actual lab rats being fed GMO’s have developed huge, bulging  cancer tumors and organ damage.

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Almost 100% of US corn and soy are genetically modified. Those are the two most important things to avoid. Which is hard,when they’re fed to our NON-organic/non-free range livestock as well. Choose carefully for you and yours.

To make matters even more complicated,  GMO’s are owned by a nasty corporation called Monsanto. To give you just one small example,  Monsanto created Agent Orange…the same stuff in the pesticide called RoundUp that’s being used on all of our food. Agent Orange killed and maimed millions during the Vietnam war and it’s responsible for a half million or more birth defects.

Monsanto is a direct financial contributor to most of the people in our government and have been for quite a while.  They line pocket. Heavily. It’s no wonder so many healthy things have been banned or removed and corn syrup (GMO) has infiltrated all that we eat. Even bread, meats and cheese. (High Fructose Corn Syrup is a direct cause of Type 2 Diabetes. It spikes insulin much harder than sugar. When it’s in everything, eventually with enough spikes, your own ability to create insulin shuts down.)

To further put this into perspective; our food is so toxic it’s internationally banned in all other countries.  Half our skin products are as well.  We’d be smart to clean up our food and boost our  economy with delicious “Made in the USA” product exports, but it seems we’d rather parasitically profit off our own getting sick.

 

Of course, this is all for another blog, but please google and research for yourself. 

It’s no coincidence that we’re fatter and sicker than ever. If you follow the money, I’d be willing to bet my soul that the FDA is in bed with the For Profit Medical System we have here in the USA. Healthcare is our # 6 most profitable business in America. Coincidentally, prescription drugs are our #1 killer. Obesity and heart disease are # 2. How many doctors and drug co reps can buy oceanfront vacation homes on those kinds of profits?  And when it comes to REAL health and weight lose, you can’t just pop a pill.

You have to see it as a lifestyle change. Not a diet.

This is called “Clean Eating”. 

(That makes the alternative “Dirty”.)

We need the KISS theory for our food. Go back to SIMPLE in order to be healthier. Chicken, eggs, green beans, apples, honey, bananas, nuts, steak that actually comes from grassy pastures, etc. Food that doesn’t need to a label because what you see is what you get. Does it cost a little more? Sure. But if you weigh that against the cost of medical bills, lost wages and suffering, I think it’s pretty clear that you’re either going to spend a little more now, or spend a lot later.

If anyone can look at the photos of Agent Orange…the lab rats…those around them who have gotten cancer…diabetes…sick…Autism cases…crazy amount of food allergies…and still have excuses for not eating clean, then they are simply beyond help.

Too many people throw their hands up and mutter “genetics”. This is an abused word and cop-out that allows us to place our fat blame on something else.  “Oh, it’s out of our control, it’s my genetics.” BULLSHIT. Genetics don’t play much of a role in your life as far as what you CAN look like. They can be ‘undone’ by diet and exercise.

Genetics determine if you have wide shoulders. Habits determine if you have a wide ass. 

Just because your mom has a fat ass, your sister has a fat ass and your grandma had a fat ass does NOT mean that YOU should have a fat ass.

…If you don’t WANT to.

Fact: Your daily habits matter far more than genetics ever could. Take responsibility for yourself.

Eat ‘Weird Foods’.

Look better.

Feel better.

BE BETTER.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Photos: Kelly O’Neil

FEEL.

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Winter grey beach.

Step gingerly into the soft ocean. January icy water. Pain.

It’s not enough.

 

Among the beautiful shells and soft sand are cigarette butts.

Bottles.

Then, a sand castle.

A reminder that children are better than the slobs who raise them.

But won’t they too grow up to be slobs? Ignorant cunts playing music too loud, refusing to move out of the passing lane, bringing 18 grocery items into 10-or-Less and carelessly leaving cigarette butts and bottles on beautiful beaches?

We are disgusting.

We are parasites.

Over breeding.

Thinking only of ourselves.

Ruining the beautiful host we live off.

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I choose a path broken shells to walk on. They cut into my feet, and I am aware of every single step I take.

This is why we  asphyxiate for orgasm.

Pierce ourselves.

Cheat on those who love us.

Slice into our arms and leave scars.

Steal.

Race cars.

Fuck in public.

We want to feel.

Shell cuts my foot. Sit down on the rocks.

The blood waits, then flows. It matches my chipped red toenail polish. Instead of crying out, I’m fascinated. I feel.

 

Constructive. Destructive.

We  all have the same choices.

Ruin our lives, our credit, our careers.

Or skydive. Salsa dance. Scuba. Visit a country that won’t speak our language. Try new food. Give.

 

Then…there are None Of The Above.

They do nothing. Live in monotony. Live in fear.

NUMB.

Never trying for dreams. Maybe they ruin dreams for others.

Dead while alive.

Fucking pathetic.

A complete waste of space. Their lungs breathe air into an empty soul.

 

“I’m bored.”  This is not possible.

There is so much to enjoy, see, taste and learn.

What is meant to be said is: “I am boring.”

 

Seagulls screech overhead, the waves hit the rocks, the blood trickles down.

I breathe deep the salty air.

Feel the chilly sand.

I feel.

I am Alive. 

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COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Chapter 5: My First Meeting With the Big Brass In Life. Pole:1 – April:0

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Before I became a well-traveled and fairly in-demand burlesque showgirl, (which led to modeling…then fitness competitions…and eventually professional wrestling) I got my feet wet dancing in perilously high heels as a go-go dancer.

Previous to THAT, I had a “real” job. Several. Usually work that barely paid my half of the rent, so I had one or more roommates. Such was the case in this particular story. It went a little like this:

What the shit? I knew something was wrong as soon as I walked through the front door. It was eerily quiet. The roommate was nowhere to be found. Neither was his furniture. I darted to his bedroom and was greeted with bare walls. His stuff was gone from the bathroom. It was interesting to note that of all the things he could have stolen, he’d only taken my aspirin. That mutherfucker had split on the first of the month.

I rang my friend Mike in a panic. A little background: at this point I was barely eighteen, had been living on my own for just a few months and my waitressing hours had been cut to part time. I graduated high school early and was planning to return to college after I’d sorted out what I wanted to do, instead of wasting time and money taking random classes like I’d been. Plus, I wasn’t ready to sit in a classroom any longer at that point. I wanted to be free to do things and enjoy life instead of endless studying. Mike came over with the newspaper and we searched want ads. Everything sucked. I needed the entire rent by the 5th , or face eviction.

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One ad caught my eye. “Dancers Make Dollar$”. I pointed to it. He gave me a look, eyebrow raised.  THAT look.

“What? What else can I do right now?”

“Are you sure you want to go that way?” He knew that regardless of how wild I appeared, I was pretty conservative on the inside. I never so much as removed my clothing when with my boyfriend. Unwilling to admit defeat and crawl back to my mothers, I was painted into a corner with exceedingly few options.

I located the tiny dive bar in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Salvo’s wanted to bring girls in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to boost lagging business. They had no license for topless dancers, but were related to mafia, so this niggling issue was of no matter. I met three other girls, all of us baby faced, barely legal and 100% natural.  

In the miniscule kitchen, Mr. Salvo was cooking authentic Italian food and we’d learn to never refuse, lest risk insult. On that day, the kitchen served as our dressing room. I went out and auditioned behind a row of folding tables with a few dozen or so dubious, dirty blue collar men on the other side near the bar. The jukebox played the same songs over and over. It smelled of beer and cigarettes. I was barefoot because it was the only way I could dance at the time. I wore a bra size 32 A and was sure I was wasting my time. I felt clumsy, terrified, self conscious, bold, my heart was racing. Wearing a peach colored short top and matching thong – the only thong I owned – at the end of the song, I swallowed hard and unbuttoned it, flinging it open. I earned more in that quick audition than I had working a double shift at the restaurant.

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I paid my rent. I made friends with the other three girls who worked there.  We banked at that tiny hole in the wall and worked as often as possible. We pushed for a third day to be added to our shifts and won Saturday afternoons. The Salvo’s treated us like family. We were invited to Sunday dinners and two of the girls were dating the Salvo boys.

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And, then…we were closed down. Someone stopped paying somebody off, and that was that.

Instead of hanging up my g-string and ever the entrepreneur, I employed the two of the other girls to work for me as party entertainment for a while. I took out ads, had business cards made up and we got rolling. We surprised CEO’s in offices, crashed nightclub parties and occasionally did the odd stag party. The money was sporadic and unreliable. The bachelor parties were horrific. If we booked in too late at night, the guys were already drunk, out of control and wanted far more than just dancing girls. We brought in a fourth girl, Wendy, who was a prostitute for these parties. I soon learned that if the guys could have Wendy, they didn’t want her…they wanted the girls they weren’t allowed to have. Getting out of the parties without a huge issue became, well…a huge issue. I wanted out.

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I searched for a more reliable (and safer) income. Seventh Heaven was a biker titty bar (think Sons of Anarchy, but more Piney than Jax.) The club…and I use that word loosely…had a tiny stage with a brass pole smack dab in the middle. I scooted around it, trying to dance. Held on to it to do a few high kicks. Accidentally whacked my elbow on it. The pole and I were not getting along.

As I counted my tips at the end of the shift, I watched as a pretty blond from Poland flipped upside down on that pole and hung on with just her inner thigh. She then spun around the pole, still upside down to hover gracefully midway, and step off…in high heels. She was amazing. Impressive. Beautiful.

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As an athlete and gymnast, I was intrigued. Could I not learn how to do this, also?

“Can you teach me how to do that? Please?” Her slanted Slavic eyes twinkled. She laughed, which I would soon find out she did often, usually at me…and she agreed.

“You try,” Sascha said.

“What…now?”

“Yes. You try. I see.”

I eyed the cold, brass pole doubtfully. It was smudged with fingerprints and God knows what else from the busy Friday night. I glanced at Sascha. She pointed. I was strong. She was skinny. This should be no big deal.  I took a deep breath, grabbed the pole and hoisted my legs up…and slid down in record speed to hit the hard, wooden stage. It sounded like when worn out windshield wipers scraped and burned like fire. Stunned, I looked to Sascha, who was doubled over in laughter. And, our lessons began. At the end of the shift when the bar closed, I’d stay after and get pole dancing lessons.

I’d love to say I was an instant success. A sexy whirling dervish in leather lingerie. “Wow, look at April, she’s so athletic and sexy!”

Sadly, this was not the case.

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As a matter of fact, I fell. A lot. On my hip. On my ass. On my head. And Sascha laughed. I was not athletic and sexy. I was clumsy and slippery. My tender inner thighs, not used to gripping unyielding cold brass for dear life, were horribly bruised. Purple, black and an interesting shade of green. They were tenderized. And still, I tried.

After some time, I was flipping upside down, spinning, hands free. Or holding on at the very top with just my ankle while my other leg was fully extended and my back arched gracefully. I was amazing, because I had a great tutor. Who laughed at me.

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While my technique had gotten much prettier, my bruises remained quite ugly. I covered them up in heavy dermablend makeup to work but hid them under clothing on my off hours.

My family invited me to the Jersey Shore for a weekend. Oh, no. Swimsuits. Mom announced that she and I would be leaving for the beach shortly, to get out of earshot, I learned. While trekking towards the sand on that hot, sunny morning, my mom suddenly turned and grabbed my shoulder, stopping me. “Tell me the truth. Are you a prostitute?”

“WHAT? No! Wait, why in the entire world would you think THAT?”

Her eyes were wide with concern and panic and her fingers dug into my shoulders. “The bruises on your thighs…men…”

“Oh God, Mom! NO!” She looked unconvinced. “OK…fucking hell…OK…I didn’t really want to get in to this, but I’m a dancer. At a topless bar. “

“A…what?”

“Uh…a stripper. There’s a pole. I’ve been trying to learn how to use it…”

“A what?”

“A pole? You know…a brass pole? I try to hang off it and spin…it looks cool, but my legs bruise up…are you mad at me?”

“You’re  not a hooker? Oh, thank God. That’s all it is?”

“Yes. I swear. You can come to work with me on Wednesday. It won’t be busy; you can meet everyone and see what I do.”

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And, she did. She met the bartender, girls and some of the regulars, who treated her with respect. Mom had been a model while attending the Art Institute so nudity was never a big deal to her. It became a family business when I got my brother a job there as a bouncer working opposite shifts as I. The rest of the family wasn’t so keen on my current career choice, but they grudgingly admitted that at least I was open about it. 

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I’ve learned a lot from stripping. Three of the biggest lessons:

  1. It doesn’t matter what you look like or how big your breasts are. What matters is your confidence & smile. This is not bullshit. But perky nipples help.
  2. The word NO is the biggest aphrodisiac in the world to men. Males are hunters by nature and inspired by a challenge. Anything gotten too easily bores them and signals that it’s not worth much.
  3. You really can hang off a brass pole with just one leg. Who knew?

Eventually, the bruises went away. And Mom would often sit on the floor with me and help straighten out the dollar bills.

….I went back to college and got boobs at age 19, all of which was paid for one dollar at a time.

 

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“One thing…one thing leads to another.” -The Fixx.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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Photos-

Black & white headshot: Julie Strain – Patriots Pole: Merika Rock

Chapter 4: 30 Days of Might. As In…Heaving Bags.

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(Continued From Part 1:  https://aprilhunterblog.com/2012/12/06/chapter-3-the-calm-before-the-wrestling-tour-storm/)

Day 3 – Paris: There I was, trying to negotiate the bazillion floors of Charles De Gaulle. I had to collect all my stuff in International, take it to Domestic, re-check in and fly to Strasbourg. Easy, right? NO. I barely made the flight, got lost, couldn’t find anyone who was willing to speak English (and my French is very limited), got bad directions (and a multitude of shrugs), had a wonky three-wheeled cart that kept tipping over, was sweating profusely and was nearly convinced I was going to miss yet another flight.

So far, this trip had taken me three days to get to France…and I still wasn’t caught up with my tour. A flight attendant got me checked in at Domestic (thankfully) and pointed me down the hall to International. As I redoubled back towards the elevator at the bottom floor of CDL after hitting another dead end, I started to cry from frustration. This was now the current winner for Single Worst Travel Experience in my book. A kind French woman took pity on me and pointed to the right shuttle. The shuttle driver came down and helped me with my 8764 bags. I just made my flight. One nice thing about Europe is that if you’re already checked in, they will usually hold the flight for you figuring you’re either lost or held up in the airport somewhere. They don’t do that in at home…but then again, a bottle of water isn’t $5.50 either.

Another thing I like about the French…they aren’t afraid of emotion or to show it. I saw a fed-up flight attendant go off on an idiot customer…it was refreshing! It’s not uncommon to see exasperation or emotional outbursts from professionals in this country, which is socially acceptable. I like that.

Day 3.5 – Strasbourg: Made it. Barely. Got straight off the plane from an all night and day flight and went right to the venue where I faced Portia Perez…and I got pyro! Bad ass!

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Portia was short and stocky, like a Japanese wrestler, I found out very quickly that she was as safe as one, too. I started feeling much better about putting my back in her hands and we began to have some pretty decent matches on the tour along with the help of her charming manager, Justin Shape.

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She would also be my roommate for much of the tour and had just gotten over a wicked case of swine flu. “When someone tells you it’s the sickest they’ve ever been, it’s no joke. I was getting blown up just eating. A meal. Had to stop because I was out of breath.” We were quite opposite on our schedules. I’d get up early and go find a gym with the Irish or hike the streets and she’d stay out late drinking with the Irish. As the tour bus left a city one day, Paddy said, “Well, will ya look at dat. There’s an entire city there beyond dat Irish pub!” I was wondering if the Irish ever slept…and I was starting to get jealous if they didn’t.

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Day 4 – Caen: A nine-hour bus trip, each day. In the morning we would meet in the lobby bright and early, drop off 689,000 pounds of luggage, have breakfast and board the bus for a long ass ride to the next city. France and its food to me were like a Vegas orgy to a recovering sex addict. After months of strict dieting, this was a terrible temptation to be dropped into. Warm, crusty bread…soft, oozing Camembert…smooth, creamy chocolate…flaky, buttery pastry with sweet, soft fruit inside…arrgghh. The hotel breakfasts were ridiculously, stupidly, balls-out amazing.

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And I did my best to avoid them. I got coffee. And shitty, mushy eggs, ham and any other protein I could find. But the routine of stealing “bus lunch” was that I’d grab as much fruit, yogurt, applesauce and hard cooked eggs as I could fit into my oversized purse for the days’ travel. The reason for this was that we were told once we got to Europe that our meals would only be provided on show days. On travel days, we’d have to fend for ourselves. We had almost as many travel days as show days and Europe ain’t cheap. This was Unexpected Financial Setback #1. I had been told that two meals would be provided each day of the tour. Also, Europe was in a recession, so many weren’t spending much on post-show autograph sessions. Our show pay was directly deposited into the bank at home so we were living on whatever we made in autograph sales. Some days it was nil. I often grabbed food for Portia (who was heel; heels never sell as well as babyfaces) or others and shared protein bars.
Joe E Legend, being the angel that he is, lent me his DVD player until I could get a replacement.

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The guys kept pissing up the toilet seat on the bus. I understand that even when toilets are NOT attached to lurching vehicles being driven by a crazy ‘chauffaud’ Frenchman their aim ain’t so great…so this was exceptionally awful for the token females on the tour to maneuver around. The “water closet” was full of …erm, “water”. All over. At one point, I thought I had it sorted…go out, close the narrow door to the tiny cabin…pull pants down and crouch/hover above seat while stabilizing by placing hand as far up on walls as possible…then we lurched around a roundabout and I fell backward into the seat…as did the rim of my pants. Disgusting.
By law, every French commercial driver must stop after a 3-4 hours for an hour. Long drives became even longer. I started to hate that stinky, wet, toilet with a passion. And the mood this day was sour because it was Ireland vs. France in soccer finals and the drive was taking so long we were missing the game. We’d left at 10 am and hit the hotel around 10 pm.

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I’m not sure the route of this tour was very well thought out. We started out on Strasbourg, which is on the German border, and proceeded into France from there. We ended our France tour on Nantes, literally the furthest west point FROM Germany…and then headed to Germany. Indyriffic.

What made things a bit better was that the bus was packed with bottles of Kronenbourg beer and water. We also had sandwiches waiting for us in the bus at the end of the night.

When we got in, Portia was feeling ‘swiney’ and went right to bed. Sid Vicious decided he was officially done with the tour, since the (not air conditioned) hotels were too hot for him. (They really were ballsac hot.) And, I adore X Pac, but he smelled kinda interesting. He was bring the party to the bus pretty hard. I solely blame him for all the pee I was subjected to in the tour toilet.

He owned it. Like a manly mantastic man.

To be continued…

Photos – Emon Kazem Photography

Read Part 1: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2012/12/06/chapter-3-the-calm-before-the-wrestling-tour-storm/

 

Chapter 3: The Calm Before The Wrestling Tour Storm

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Getting Ready To Compete and Wrestle on a European Tour…

2009. There I was, in Canada on Christmas, so tired I kept falling asleep in front of the fireplace despite chain drinking cups of coffee. France, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, England, America, Canada. I’d done seven countries in one month (coming home to hop right back onto a plane to do TV for  TNA Wrestling’s New Years Eve special, land and hit the road for western Canada an hour later)…and I came to an understanding with myself that I am never, EVER again doing a fitness competition and a world tour back-to-back. Never.

Louisville KY: I suppose this blog would technically start with my Figure competition.  The planning for contest day was intense. Counting down the months, weeks, days, hours of nothing but plain, clean food, no socializing, cardio several times a day. Taking weekly photos and watching your body evolve was rewarding…then suddenly, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  

On contest day, I’d gotten up at 7 am after not much sleep due to being woken up five or six times the night before by crippling leg, calf and groin cramps due to the necessary diuretic to rid whatever water was left. I hadn’t showered in two damn days because I had five layers of spray tan on me, was so thirsty from dehydration that I’d happily stab someone for a cold, crisp apple. You stop drinking water the afternoon before to assure that every muscle will stand out on your dieted down physique…it’s miserable. And I was so very tired. The kind of tired that is bone tired. All I wanted to do was sleep and be left alone. Yet, I had to get on stage, pumped up, smile and radiate energy. And finish packing to catch a flight in a few hours. Oh, I was also definitely beginning to smell myself. No water means no coffee allowed…just kill me.

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But I placed third in the tall category (accepting a lovely sword as my trophy, how apropos?), which qualifies me for the NPC Junior Nationals if I’d like to go through this again, so we shall see.

Months ago, I didn’t think I’d step on stage for this contest. I’d almost quit several times. Shortly after starting the diet and training, my mom was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and my longtime relationship decided he needed ‘space’. He also announce that he planned keep our dog, Cosmo, too. I was completely gutted. I was losing all around me that I loved. It took all I had just to do the bare minimum each day. “I could never see myself having children with her because of certain personality issues and her website, the kind of pictures she’s done,” is what he’d written to a female friend about me. That truly hurt to read. I am as flawed as anyone else. I wasn’t even sure I wanted children. But to see words like that, in cold hard print, cut me like a knife. I’ve never lied about what I do. Maybe I should start. I don’t know if I could take any more men who said my site/career was an issue when they were perfectly ok with it when they met me. I felt like a failure, like I was losing everyone I cared about. My entire life was pretty much turned upside down between traveling to Philly and back pretty often. All I could count on was the gym twice a day. It kept me sane at one of the most unstable times of my life. I learned to live for the little things. Every time I took Cosmo to the dog park for some cardio, I realized it could be my last time with him.

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I took a road trip to Michigan and bought another Corgi pup from a breeder, a tri-colored female, because I didn’t want one to look like the one I was losing…Cosmo, whom I loved so very, very much. This hurt more than anything. It was horrible timing for a puppy, but she was a purely emotional purchase. I didn’t want to be Corgi-less in life. (Yep, still have her. She’s a terrorist and the best mistake I ever made in life. So far.)

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Traveling is not advised pre contest because it screws up your diet and workout patterns, yet I’d done it nearly every week. I know for a fact I didn’t put in as much work as most of the others due to this, but traveling was necessary.

Five Weeks Out:


So, after 3 months of grueling diet and contest prep leaving no time for anything thanks to double and triple gym training sessions (and a tiny puppy to take care of), I took the stage on Nov 14.  9:30 a.m. I left my house. 11:30 p.m. I returned with a third place trophy for the Figure-Tall category and qualified to compete in the Nationals. (Pretty cool for my first time out.) I stuck my sword in the corner of the living room, dumped my wash in the washer and started rolling up last-minute items for my suitcase. It was 3 am before I’d finished packing.

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Day 1: The morning of Nov 15th: overtired, still dehydrated, and having had to pack and repack my oversized bags to make weight at the Delta counter, I just barely made my flight to Paris. (Louisville TSA told me one of the girls had to leave her sword trophy behind–suckage!) Or rather, my flight to Atlanta, where my Paris portion would be unceremoniously cancelled after sitting four hours on the runway. Dammit.

I knew it was too good to be true. I had a window seat with no one next to me. Best of all: no screaming babies. I’d just gotten about halfway through “Julie and Julia” – a movie I highly doubted anyone would watch with me – when Air France ended up “deplaning” everyone sending all of us to a hotel with a scheduled flight for 26 hours later. I was almost happy, since it meant I could sleep for 23 of those 26 hours. And that was the last time I did. Sleep, that is. I emailed Anne from American Wrestling Rampage and she purchased me a flight to the town they’d be in by the time I got to France.

Odd fact: I’d had my contest bikini bottoms glued to my butt with Bikini Bite. When I ripped my suit off that night, my tan came with it, in the form of two ultra white striped on my cheeks. It looked ridiculous.

Day 2 – Atlanta Airport: I had to completely checked in all over again, but this time I got hit with a bullshit bag fee, thanks to getting rerouted through Delta instead of Air France…and no TV screens on this flight, either. From over-exhaustion, I realized 4 subway stops later that TSA hadn’t given me back my DVD player…FUCK. I felt so stupid. And mad at myself…finding something that played USA region 1 movies wouldn’t be easy. This SUCKED massive donkey balls.

I had to catch yet a third last-minute flight in Paris to Strasbourg once I’d landed since I’d missed the AWR tour bus. This would prove to be very, very stressful, since I had to find the ‘domestic’ area of the insanely big French airport without the benefit of anyone who seemed to work there or speak English and too many heavy bags to once again collect and recheck in. At one point, I started to cry from frustration and the realization that I was going to miss this flight, no one was helping me, I’d packed too much and was tipping the cart over going around corners and my phone didn’t work, so I couldn’t call Anne to let her know anything. I was stranded.

OK…so let me explain my luggage situation to you. I’d seriously tried to bring just one huge bag. It wasn’t happening. Clothing for a month in 4 countries with various temperatures and no home base, shoes, workout stuff, protein powders and food, books in English, full-sized toiletries, and then wrestling gear…I ended up with two fifty pound bags, a fifty pound carry on, a twenty pound purse and another small wheelie duffle bag with supplements and my coat stuffed in which I bought for the run over at the ATL airport. Honestly, I DID try to keep it down. And clearly I failed. Miserably.

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What was really pushing the weight over the limit were protein supplements (protein is a side dish in Europe) and full-sized bottles of toiletries. My penance would be to a) drag 180 plus lbs of luggage with me everywhere…and b) some places didn’t have carts. This is where I really paid for it. Or relied on chivalrous men who thought I was cute. But I had all I needed with me. Small comfort when you’re tearing your shoulder out, and tipping wonky carts trying to keep up.

Which is exactly what happened in Paris.

Continued – https://aprilhunterblog.com/2012/12/15/30-days-of-might-as-in-heaving-bags-2/

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Photos – Dan Ray & Joe Mays

Chapter 2: The Choice.

I stood in my room, surveying the damage. My closet had been ripped apart. Clothes were strewn all over the floor. My mattress was also across the floor. My makeup and hair tools swiped off my dresser, scattered across the carpet. It looked like I had been ransacked and robbed.

But it was just my father.

He stood in the doorway, still wearing his army flight suit, dark with anger. He’d gone through my closet while I was out and found birth control. It was just before my sixteenth birthday. He clutched the pills and condoms in his hand and demanded, “Where did you get this?”

Looking at the floor, I muttered, “A clinic.” I was then informed me that I was grounded, indefinitely. Not just from TV, telephone and going out, but also from wearing makeup, doing my hair or wearing contacts. I’d be relegated to wearing my glasses and “being a kid again”.

I lived in Alabama with my father. While Mom and I had had talks about sex, Dad preferred to largely ignore it in regards to his kids and kept the household very strict. Meals were eaten with family at the same time each night. I made my bed with hospital corners and could bounce a quarter off of it. Curfew was 10 p.m. sharp on weekends and no socializing during the week. I called everyone “sir” or “ma’am” and always said please and thank you. And…I had floor-to-ceiling windows in my bedroom I’d sneak out of to see my boyfriend. I would describe him as a decent looking redneck football player. He introduced me to drag racing, Hank Williams Jr, four-wheeling and a few recreational drugs. I don’t think I even liked him that much. But he had a car, which got me out of my oppressive household of drinking, violent mood swings, early curfew and a strict military upbringing.

A few months later I was so tired, I could barely stand up. I had been granted the privilege of wearing makeup again, but began skipping it, because I barely had the energy to get to school. Normally a sugar fiend, I lost my craving for everything except protein. I’d scavenge our refrigerator for all the meat and cheese I could snack on between meals. I was nauseous all day long and dropping weight. I thought, “I don’t know what’s wrong, maybe it’s mono, but maybe I should take a pregnancy test just to make sure.” I dragged myself down to the nurses office, and when she came back with a “you’re pregnant”, a flash of hot terror sliced through me. FUCK. Fuck, fuck, fuck. What the FUCK will I do? My dad will KILL ME. He thought nothing of completely trashing my room over just finding condoms. This would be my end.

I now know that kind of severe sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum and women usually end up in the hospital due to extreme dehydration for most of their pregnancy.

I needed to think. The clock was ticking. Every day that passed, I was running out of time to make a decision, as I was already past the two month mark and hurtling towards last call. Twelve weeks was the cut off for termination.

The sheer panic and stress over making this decision is unlike anything you can ever feel unless you yourself go through it. To this day, I’ve never experienced that same kind of gut-twisting panic. The boy and I had been seeing each other for 2 years. We talked and were on the same page as far as deciding that neither of us was in the position to take care of a child at this point. Our only option for abortion underage was to get married or tell my parents. I was so terrified of my dad, we decided to get married, but we’d have to do that in Georgia, since Alabama didn’t get underage kids get married. We planned it and I felt even sicker and what a fucking mess my life had suddenly turned into. I had ten days left.

I was stuck between a two very bad options, but I didn’t think I could go through with marriage at age 16. I knew I had to tell my Dad. It was the only way. I sat there, sick to my stomach with cold sweat for hours, trying to work up the courage. I casually walked by him sitting on the couch and said, “Dad…when you have a minute, can you come into my room? I need to talk to you.”

I sat on the bed and waited. My heart was pounding in my throat; my palms were slick with perspiration. He appeared in the doorway. I looked at him, took a breath and blurted, “I’m pregnant.”

He stared at me and didn’t say anything for a full minute. Then, he started to cry. I had NEVER seen my father cry. I was horrified. Through losing friends after Vietnam to a terrible divorce, he had never cried in front of me. Gutted, I realized how bad I was hurting him. Worse, I’d disappointed him. He turned his back to me and went into his room. I just sat there. He returned to my room and said, “Tomorrow. 8 am. Be ready.” He’d made an appointment at a clinic in Montgomery, a distance from us. Clearly, he didn’t want anyone to know about the trouble I’d gotten myself into.

“Okay.” Relief washed over me.

“I want more for you than this.” He stood in the doorway, tall and intimidating. “You’re too young and way too smart to waste your life. You can go places. But not this way and not tied to this guy. You would be tied to him and tied down for life.  For LIFE. And I am not raising another kid. I raised mine.”

I didn’t have the courage to say, “Well, you’re the one who took away the birth control. I was being responsible. Any idea how hard it was to get that being underage, with no job, no money, and no car? Not fucking easy. I think it was pretty goddamn resourceful of me. What did you THINK would happen?” I just sat there, saying nothing. I probably didn’t have to say anything. He knew.

Early the next morning, it was a near silent drive up to Montgomery from Enterprise. It was an all-black clinic. I’d never really been exposed to many other races before except Koreans on the military base. He paid the extra fee for a local anesthetic. A big Jamaican nurse sat down next to me, and patted my hand. “Look, chile…it’ll be ok. You’ll be fine. You have plenty of time for this later, after you live your life first.” I went in to a sterile, bright white room, got on the paper covered table and the doctor inserted a cold speculum. I heard the sound of suctioning. In less than 5 minutes, it was done. I got up; they put me in a cold recovery room with Cheezit crackers and a soda. I found out I had an extremely tipped uterus and was RH negative. The reason I was so damn sick is because my body was trying to get rid of the fetus naturally, and it was likely RH positive. They gave me an injection to change my RH factor. I was told to wear a pad and how to avoid infection. I was given birth control pills and told this procedure would not affect any future pregnancies. (It didn’t.) I made the judgment that all black people were kind and nice.

It was a surprisingly not unpleasant experience and the very first time I didn’t feel sick, stressed and wound up with anxiety in weeks. It was in Dad’s hands now and my stomach finally stopped churning.

On the ride home, “I’m sorry.”

Him: “I know.”

I felt better the next day. Human. The weight had been lifted. It was not a decision I’m either proud of or ashamed of. It just was.

Some of my friends have had children very young. They love them dearly and their kids add much to their lives. However, the story is usually the same. “I wish I could have waited longer.”

You wouldn’t be reading this blog if I’d chosen to have a baby. You’d have never seen me wrestle. You’d never see me model. I don’t know what I’d be doing, but it wouldn’t be this. No one has to live with the decision except me…and probably my parents, because they WOULD have had to step in.  I went on to go to college, travel and do interesting things people pick my brains about (usually in awe) all the time. I wouldn’t have seen a lot of the world or experienced life as I’ve been able to.

For me, it was the right choice. I wouldn’t change a thing. And I’m grateful that I had a choice to begin with.

This was a hard blog to write. I know some will be offended, but again…no one lives with my decisions except me. I later found out I have rapid cycling Bipolar disorder, which is genetically passed on. My father had it. I would never want anyone else to have to live with this. It’s a hard, hard thing to manage. 

The old boyfriend emailed me several years ago. He said he was doing random construction in Mississippi and has had a “shitty life”. My friend back in Alabama said he’d been in trouble several times for beating his wife. This, I know is true…I’d been on the receiving end of it a few times. It made me think that despite what we think of our parents when we’re young – or how much we THINK we know, that maybe, just maybe they really do know what’s best for their kids after all. 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

Photo – Chris Freeman Photography

Chapter 1: Time For a Change.

My name is April Hunter. You may know me from some of my non-writing ventures.

Regardless of how I’ve tried promote myself, or how you’ve seen me dressed at my public appearances, there has always been a large part of me trying to prove that I’m more than just a big set of tits. Crazy thing is – this contradicts what I sell.

Although these tits have certainly garnered me a lifetime of stories, I also lived a lifetime before I got them.

I grew up in a military household between Pennsylvania and Alabama with a bipolar, alcoholic father and a mother who had Aspbergers Syndrome, which a version of high functioning Autism. Both of whom I loved dearly. And they loved me, too. When my parents split up the second time, they also each took one of us, splitting my young brother and I up as well.  Needless to say – life under those roofs was interesting.

Being tall and thin, I started catalog modeling at 14. I was told I didn’t have the look for fashion when I was 17, so by the time I turned 19, I switched gears and headed into glamour modeling. I’ve been a Playboy model and adult magazine centerfold,  stripper-turned-burlesque feature-dancer, a personal trainer, a fitness & figure competitor, a professional wrestler, have several comic books out,  an independent film actress…and now, I’m a writer.

Well…that’s not true. I have always been a writer. I just couldn’t find a way to pay the bills in words, so I chose a life that gave me experiences to write about in exchange for not having health insurance, benefits or doing what I really wanted to do. However, I’ve had freedom and I’ve traveled the world, met all kinds of interesting people and have been in many, many “interesting” situations. There’s a lot people don’t know about these businesses and the crazy things that happen, or what it takes to stay in them and maintain yourself…it’s like The Wizard of Oz. What you believe and what actually happens behind that curtain are two completely different things.  With regards to pro wrestling, I’m not so sure I’d get into it again if I knew then what I now know. 

But, thanks to these trials, tribulations and sometimes kick-ass fun times, I have acquired many stories.

Now I plan to put the clothes on and take the gloves off.

These stories will be two things: 

1.  Random. There will be no rhyme or reason to the order in which they appear.

2.  True. Very, very true. And it will piss some people off. OK…maybe more than some.

You probably don’t know this if you’re a long-time fan and saw me work the stripper pole or a more recent fan who saw me clothesline a bitches head off, but I have always wanted to write. It’s been one of the consistently passionate things in my inconsistent life.

Join me in my journey to entertain you without removing anything or hitting the ropes.

-A.

http://www.twitter.com/AprilHunter

 

(Art: Martheus Wade. Main photo: Bob Pomeroy)