“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple”
After three weeks staying at a sober house, I’ve come to realize more about myself than I could have ever hoped. The relationships I’ve built, destroyed, attempted to rebuild and then tossed out have been crucial in forming my current state of mind, a state bigger than Texas and with a singleness of purpose I’ve never experienced before. It could be because I have 110 days of sobriety, more days than I’ve ever had before, and it could be because I’ve allowed myself to stop living in fear, and start living in the now. There are some things I’ve been asking myself that I can answer simply, regardless of the complicated nature of the question. There are other questions I cannot ask myself because to pose the question would require me to commit to an answer, and some things are just not ready to be revealed. There has been this whole dialogue in my head about who I am, what makes me me, what I been doing for the past 8 years that was so worthwhile I thought I could make a career from it. There have been serious arguments about whether or not I’ve made the right decision in being so public about my disappearance from porn, battles of the Penny/Jennie dichotomy, and moments that expand into days filled with grief over identities shed. Dr. Seuss knew what’s up. And while I’m no Seuss, I’m starting to figure some things out, one day at a time.
I’ve always been me, deep inside, hiding from the bright lights that hit my face at work, or the sunshine that pounds my back during play. I’ve just been afraid. Living in fear has prohibited me from truly living, and now that I’ve had a taste of what this life is, of what my life can be, I refuse to return it to the kitchen, refuse to be dissatisfied with my dish, refuse to be closed to the possibilities that life holds. I refuse to be afraid of anything. Except perhaps walking down a dark scary alley where I have every reason to be afraid.
I’ve been terrified of being hurt. So much so that when I felt a connection with a man, woman, friend or passerby, I’d dissociate and perch on a cloud above the action, observing, but never fully participating. When asked a question, I’d give the answer I thought the person asking wished to hear, and wouldn’t pause to consider my thoughts or feelings on the issue at hand. Times I thought I had no voice I wouldn’t cry out, because what’s the use if what I say doesn’t change anything. I’ve learned my voice doesn’t have to change the outcome, and it only matters because it helps me to change. It helps me to be true to myself, to my heart and soul, and reminds me that the noise in my head is more than just white noise. It’s feelings, and these are the things that decide movement, actions or reactions.
I’ve been terrified of feeling. Anything. So much so that I’ve been numb since 13 years old, always looking for a bigger high, a better bang, and a more lasting numbness. Now, with feelings on high, and the floodgates open, I will not let myself become emotionally detached. I’ve done far too much work and invested way too much energy into my future to turn back now. This is one of the first times in a while I’ve enjoyed feeling, be it sad or glad, and I’m learning to let those feelings resonate in my entire body until they stop naturally. As Jilly Beans says, “Feelings will pass.” The lessons must stay.
I’ve been terrified of becoming Jennie. But in the past three weeks, I’ve never felt more alive, more confident, and more sure of myself as Jennie. That’s not to say I’m so sure in my abilities or foundation as a woman, but with every layer of shit that I shed, every identity I allow myself to let go-penny the pornstar, Jennifer the mother- I experience a grieving process. And this grief is documented in the pages of this blog. The good days the bad days, the incredible days and the terrible no good very bad days have all brought me to this specific point in time where I am happy, and closer to a point in time where I can say “I’m lovable” without breaking down in tears.
I’ve learned through this process that I must stand up for myself, for what I believe in, and state my needs and goals, because if I don’t, nobody will. I’ve learned that just because I build strong boundaries and maintain them, it doesn’t mean persons places and things will respect them. But that is not my part.
I’m learning to look at my part in life. And accept my past and look forward to my future. But most importantly, I’m learning to live in the now. My name is Jennie, and I’m an addict.