“Even After All this time The Sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens With a love like that, It lights the whole sky.”
A quote by the Sufi poet, Hafiz, from a friend (many thanks for this day opener).
The day began with a friend and a text message.
Yesterday as I was beginning to trudge through that which is behavioral statistics, I ran into a girl from my last semester’s Women’s Studies class, a totally delightful and compassionate young woman. At the time I was sitting with an old friend, the kind of old friend who not only knew who I was but was/is a young woman of the night as well, whom I’d also randomly run into in the coffee shop.
In fact, I should start this blog differently. Let me replay it.
I was sitting in the coffee shop trudging through my behavioral stats intro when I girl I used to know came in to get a latte. I thought it was her, but didn’t want to call out her fake name as that makes for awkward conversation openers. So I went to her and tapped her on the shoulder and she didn’t seem surprised to see me but she did seem happy which meant we could sit down and share a table. When the Women’s Studies girlfriend approached, the contrast of women was interesting, to say the least.
We started to talk about things passed, of the industry, the syphilis outbreak, the point of going to school and how simplistic pornography can be in terms of what comprises an intellectually challenging career. She mentioned how “stupid” it was, and I mentioned a research project that I’d like to create, looking at attachment styles, abuse etc. Which brought up the very obvious next topic of conversation. Whether or not being a porn star is a viable job option for someone who isn’t already suffering from some sort of attachment, intimacy, self-worth issue.
Now, what we discussed wasn’t as important as the fact that she was and still is performing in scenes. There are bills to pay. A mortgage. A life that has been created and she can’t just “stop” paying her bills and leave as I was blessed enough to be able to do. At the time though, I couldn’t comprehend how one could go to school pursuing the same degree as I, and then in the same week go to work to sell one’s body. To take strides for the betterment of one’s soul while participating in a soul crushing and self-shaming way of making money seems incongruent. Entirely incompatible. This woman is smart, sensitive, and compassionate, all things I felt I couldn’t be while performing and selling my body for much less than my soul is worth. Needless to say, when she compared doing a scene to working at Walmart or something of a similar nature — in regard to how, after a long period of time working either occupation, one will feel the need to do more with one’s life — I was sent reeling into the 4th dimension, and not in the fantastic way Bill talks about it.
I had to make calls after we spoke so that I could reaffirmed working in porn was not equivalent to working at Walmart.
I had to ask people if I was the only one who couldn’t handle the emotional and physical toll it takes on mind, body and spirit.
I had to seek confirmation that selling one’s body reinforces a fundamentally shame based self-worth (at least in this culture), and to do so seems to require some sort of predisposition where this body selling option is a viable option.
The truth is that whether or not she was okay doing what she was doing, I was not okay doing what I was doing. And there are parts of me that are still not okay with it, and I suppose that is because I am still afraid that one day, this beautiful life, this wondrous light that has filled my sky, will fade and I will be back in the dark where it’s okay to get blackout drunk, hurt people I love and sell my body for one thousand two hundred dollars a scene.
It’s the amazing thing about addiction, that at any point, I can lose everything for just one drink.
And so it is a staunch reminder that opens my school year. “I must work hard to stay focused.” “I must stay close to stay safe.” “I must stick with the ones doing what I am doing (in recovery terms, the winners).” And “I must remember that these feelings, love, happiness, wonkiness, discomfort, excitement, anticipation, anxiety, all of the feelings that I’ve ever felt and will ever feel, will pass.” These thoughts are contrasted to other, necessary ones, like “Sometimes, I take on too much,” and “It’s okay to take it easy,” or as Jill would say, “Some days are just wonky.” I need the contrast, not the black and white that create problematic thinking, but the spectrum of grey where the line from being healthy to unhealthy is no more than a misstep away and I have an umbrella, a large balancing stick and a safety net to catch me if my thinking begins to fall.