Today marks the five year anniversary of my very first post on BecomingJennie. It’s hard to believe that five years have passed. It seems it’s just as difficult to know where to end as it was to know how to begin.
I suppose, like anything, I simply should start at the beginning.
April 6th, 2009, I entered into a televised rehab as a joke. My intentions were to gain national notoriety for being a sex addict and to rocket my career as an adult performer into the stratosphere. In process of detoxing from the incredible amounts of alcohol, marijuana and oxytocin that once ran through my blood, my feelings “turned back on” and I was left wondering how it was that at 26 years of age, I had no identity other than the one created for viewer enjoyment. 19 days after entering the rehab program, I committed to leaving the adult industry. Supported by powerfully compassionate individuals like Dr. Drew, Jill Vermiere, Reef Karim and Duncan Roy, I found myself willing to face life on life’s terms. It was time to change everything.
In the five years following that decision, I’ve severed financial ties to the adult industry, become a worker among workers and moved in the direction of a sustainable occupation and lifestyle. Professionally, my first job out of porn was as a hostess at a restaurant. Then I moved up to be a server. I started writing regularly for the Huffington Post, published my first book, been a guest speaker on a multitude of platforms including regular appearances on Dr. Drew on Call as part of his Behavior Bureau, completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and entered graduate school at University of Washington to pursue a Master of Social Work. Now I work as an office coordinator, live within my means and have no financial fear (impending grad school debt or not) Personally, I’ve developed the capacity to engage in authentic, intimate relationships, entered into a healthy relationship with a wonderful man, gotten engaged and we’ve started planning our wedding – which occurs August 31st of this year. To say that I’ve done this on my own would be a lie. Like Isaac Newton or Bernard Chartres, I stand on the shoulders of giants.
That being said… Still I worry about my ability to contribute financially while in grad school. Still I pick at my skin, my fingers being the only real skin problem. Still I worry about being attractive, feeling overweight, and still I have to work to talk about my feelings. I am in every way human, in every way happy about that humanity, and in every way sober. And all is well.
For quite some time, I refrained from taking a stance on the adult industry. I was afraid of being rejected, of losing the respect and love of the people with whom I’d worked for eight years. Over the past year and a half, I’ve come to realize that talking about the industry as an industry is not the same as talking about the people in the industry. The people are good people. Like every group of humans on this earth, porn people are are filled with energy, enthusiasm, and hope. They are filled with fear, compassion, inspiration and regret. They are not fundamentally different from any other group of people except for the fact that something has driven them to perform in an industry like pornography. Whether that motivation is economic, social, or cultural, motivation and choices don’t make for bad apples.
I want to address part of what I think made my personal and professional journey away from pornography so successful. Writing this blog and then writing my book played a pivotal role in developing a healthy and separate identity from the one I’d created as a performer. Whether the creative process provided a safe space for me to reframe the way I viewed myself and my life, whether the blog created a community of caring and empathetic souls upon which I could lean, or whether the book helped to legitimize my career as a writer, I don’t know that I’ll ever have the words to express my gratitude for the individuals who made this space a reality. To you, the reader, I owe my most sincere and profound gratitude. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today, and inspiring me to be unafraid of change.
I had been unsure of how to finish this project of BecomingJennie other than to develop a new site showcasing my current work. I heard on an NPR show that art is never finished, it is only abandoned. I had abandoned this space late 2012, and I will abandon it again today. I may or may not post again on special anniversaries. I don’t know. But not knowing is okay. In fact, it’s part of being human.
Before I leave here, possibly for good, I want to say thank you. Thank you for loving me and for letting me love you. Thank you for being a bigger and healthier part of my life than the porn industry could ever be. Thank you for supporting me, challenging me and pushing me. Thank you for being the giants in my life.