I just came home from San Diego, another amends trip with another ex-boyfriend I magically disappeared on. Until I looked these men in the eye, I never really understood what vanishing on someone you love creates. This sense of unfinished business. Questions that beg to be answered. An open door, and someone standing beside it awaiting my return. I’ve managed to disappear on many people in my short 26 years. Changed my number, moved homes, avoided coffee shops, all in the name of protecting myself, and I had convinced myself I was protecting them. Seeing the pain I caused helps me to understand why this is something I can’t do anymore. If I want to end something, I must be a stand up lady and do it. No running. No vanishing tricks. No Houdini shit. Somethings take years to learn, and seconds to understand. Progress…not perfection Jennie.
An interesting thing happened while reading over the comments tonight. Someone, (sorry I forget who exactly now), asked that I quit talking about my former identity. That all they wish to read about is me, Jennie. I’ve struggled for awhile now, separating the two, my identity as Penny so distinct from my identity as Jennie. And I’ve spoken with Reef about this, my brain shrinker, and in the early days of our sessions, he allowed me to dissociate from Penny in an attempt to find Jennie. But a day came where I walked into his office and told him that I am Penny. And Jennie. And that we’ve never been two separate people and that everything I did as Penny I did as Jennie, I just wore a mask and pretended it was someone else. That was about three months ago. He laughed and said it’s about time I figured that out. Fucker.
I read the comment tonight and realized that while I can quit porn, and walk away from an identity, deciding to use my name, it isn’t something that just disappears over night. I know that seems silly considering I’ve dedicated an entire blog to “Becoming Jennie,” if it were so simple I could post one page and be done with it. But it really hit me because I felt myself defending…myself. A character I spent 8 years creating. Loving. Fawning over. Hiding behind. I would be a liar if I were to simply say “Okay, good, that’s over. I’m done talking about that part of my life now.” It isn’t over for me yet. It’s like the wikipedia page fiasco, I am an ex-pornstar, and now I’m writing and painting and doing the things I love. But until I’ve built the latter to the point where it’s all I see myself as, I will continue being an ex-pornstar first. I’ve surrendered to this idea. It’s just easier that way. Just like I can’t rewrite my past, I can’t ignore that it happened, and when things come up, I will address them. Otherwise they will sit inside me, rotting my heart from the core. If I don’t examine every part of why I needed the facade, I am likely to pick up another in place of the one I’ve just put down. Perhaps more articulate and well rounded, but a facade nonetheless. I’m striving to be authentic, and in doing so must recognize the moments in my life where I am being unauthentic. It isn’t that Penny wasn’t me, I was just inauthentic pretending to be her.
It’s like the people in my life that I run away from. I leave when the relationship turns intimate. When I start to feel deep and serious emotions, the gentle rumbling in my heart terrifies me and causes flight. The men and women who cause these rumblings have done nothing wrong most the time, except to love me, which is something I used to find unbearable. So I would disappear. But that never meant that I didn’t think about them every day. That I didn’t dream about them, or worry about running into them in bars or clubs. It just meant that I shoved the feelings down inside and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. Nothing happened. But something did happen. Something tragically romantic, extraordinarily standard. I cared for someone and they cared for me. When I leave without a word, without saying goodbye, the doors are wide open. If I am going to shut the door on the past 8 years, I at least owe it to myself– and the fantastic career I’ve enjoyed and learned from, a chance to answer some questions, and to say goodbye. And I don’t know how long it takes to say goodbye to a lifetime. This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this, and I want it to be the last.