|“Have you ever thought about who you would be without the fame, the porn, the past? Would you still write? Maybe model with clothes on? Maybe be a UCLA student?”|
An incredible question from Bubbha the Texas Man, and an incredible prompt for the day and the end of summer. What would have happened had none of it happened?
There is something in questioning and then rewriting my own past that I find subtly damaging, as if I actually could have taken different turns and gone to a different place. What I’ve started to tell myself over the past three years, whether or not it is true, is that no matter what turns I’d made, I would have ended up in the same place.
I would have ended up at a bottom.
I would have ended up in recovery, with a different story and the same feelings.
I would have ended up writing about it in the blogosphere, but without the incredible readership that came built in with this one.
The story? Let’s play with the story.
If I had not turned to porn in my first year of college, I am positive that I would have become more deeply invested in the San Diego county-wide distribution of marijuana. My small, dorm-based operation would have eventually necessitated an entire warehouse, and after making a certain amount of money to drop into a larger investment, I would have followed in the deeply printed footsteps of my former mentors, the fine people running Oakland cannabis clubs. This is how I imagine every day would look in my twenties, after I dropped out of college to pursue a productive career in medicinal marijuana.
I would wake up and take bongloads, roll a blunt, and then get coffee. I’d smoke the blunt while driving the San Diego coast and heading Morena Blvd., where my warehouse full of marijuana would be planting it’s roots. I’d check in with the stony friends I’d enlisted to work in the pot warehouse, sample the product, and then make rounds to local pot clubs. I’d work with people from all over California, finding the best way to grow, the safest way to distribute, and the quickest way to make money.
Because everything good must come to an end, I would end up being busted by the Feds, roll on other distributers, and as a result of my court mandated sentence, be required to attend anonymous meetings and test clean for a probational period of three years or more. During those three years, which I believe would have occurred somewhere around 23-26, I would have discovered the joys of alcohol as a substitute for marijuana, and though I would test clean for marijuana, alcohol would have started to run my life. I would fail to show up for court mandated drug tests. I would have gotten actual DUIs (as opposed to my Lake Havasu, jetski, OUI). My family would have quit talking to me, because alcoholism in my family has a way of disintegrating relationships. I would have ended up in a drunk tank one too many times, and an old prostitute who’d been picked up for workin’ one too many corners, would have let me have it.
“You’re just a garden variety drunk,” She’d say, and laugh while picking at junk scabs on her arms. “You’re just a garden variety whore,” I’d retort thinking myself better than her, but she’d still laugh at me and walk away. Under her breath, she’d mutter, “At least I know I got a habit to feed. Denial is a bitch.”
Something in what she said would stick.
Because I’d be doing a 30+ day mandatory sentence, on account of the multiple DUIs, various anonymous programs would make their way into the system and I’d be exposed to many-a-story that were different than mine but contained feelings that were exactly the same. I’d get my first thirty days clean because I had no way to drink in jail, and I would think I was too classy to drink potato booze. Once I got out, I’d have started a blog, about learning to live without, instead of with. I don’t know if it would have been the success that BecomingJennie is, but someone would have seen it, something would have happened where I got in touch with an agent, and the book would be only slightly different in title and cover.
Instead, I started selling myself because it was easier to sell than pot. I wouldn’t have been a picture of health. I wouldn’t have been the kind of girl you hope your daughter admires. And I wouldn’t have made any better choices than I already made.
The thing about my past is that the situations, the people, the circumstances, all of those things are transient. Even in my memories, they are shifting, morph from face to face, a series of hair washes, of rinsing, of repeating. The only thing that is consistent in my past is me, my poor choices, my inability to connect intimately with you and my fellows. I could have made different choices, but I could not have made healthy ones.
It takes a healthy person to make healthy choices. Today I am grateful to be a healthy woman who can make healthy those choices.