This blog entry may come across as a bit of a bummer, but please know that while my heart may be heavy, my soul is so free. I have an inner peace and a joy that I haven’t had in a very long time. Many will question why I pour out such personal matters in public, but you must realize writing is a great help to me. I know others identify with many of the issues I write about, and the emails and blog comments I receive from my readers encourage me greatly. Hearing the stories of others who face similar situations helps me realize I am not alone.
So begins today’s blog…
You’ve heard the term heavy hearted. The last few days I’ve come to personally know what it means. My heart literally feels heavy, as if it’s trying to drop into my stomach.
Two factors contribute to this feeling. First on the list is Belinda. The other issue can be summed up in two words: bill collectors.
First things first.
Since Thursday, Belinda has been in Los Angeles at an adult industry convention known as Webmaster Access West. Industry conventions are great places to network and acquire new business, but the highlights of these conventions and the reason so many people attend are the elaborate parties that continue until 4am each day. This particular event culminates in the mother of all parties: a night at the Playboy Mansion for those lucky enough to receive an invitation.
It saddens me that Belinda’s there, surrounded by people who pretend to be her friend while speaking face to face or while intoxicated, yet don’t really give a crap about her at any other time. The two of us have attended numerous conventions all over the country. That after-party letdown still exists while together, but it’s dulled by being there with someone who loves you. This time she’s there alone, with nobody to truly care about her when the party subsides. She’s called a few times and admitted to feeling depressed anytime there’s “nothing going on”. I emailed her a few days ago:
All of those “fun” things are temporary fulfillments of permanent problems. I know you have a hard time understanding why I’d give everything up to follow something I ridiculed for so long. What you don’t know is that Jesus fills that void for me. Once I surrendered myself to him he became so real. Up until the point of surrender it’s impossible to realize how nice it is to just accept him. It’s really a warm feeling inside. Even on bad days, it feels good to be free of the business.
She’s been attending “after parties” in the suite of one of Playboy’s Vice Presidents. I went on to write:
It’s so “great” to hang out with the bigwigs from Playboy but none of those people truly care about you, and you’ll hardly cross their mind until you meet them again at the next show or send them a content package. Think about this for a minute: a bit of attention from them, a handshake and a few hours of hanging out drinking buys them your devotion for the rest of the year. They don’t have to recruit the models and feel the guilt when daddies no longer want to speak with their daughters, because we do that for them. They’re insulated from the human toll it takes for them to make a living. They buy that insulation from you and I with a few thousand dollars per model and a handshake at a show. I doubt they’d have the back bone to take a phone call from a crying girl.
I know deep inside she feels the same way I do about this business. But without the hope of Christ she feels there is no choice but to continue doing what she’s known these last several years. I feel so inadequate talking to her about the Bible and God’s love because all she’s ever heard from me is the bashing I used to do. Those of you who read my blog before I surrendered my life to God probably remember some of the horrible things I said about Christianity. Belinda’s heard that for the entire time we’ve been together – almost 6 years. And now I’ve done a 180 degree turn in everything I believe.
Or was it a change of mind after all? The more I think about the way I used to profess believing, the more I realize that deep inside I knew I was wrong. I fought very hard against the truth, and my words and the opinions I wrote were one of the ways I tried to convince myself that I was okay following a selfish path. How do I show that to Belinda? I’m failing hard so far. As I wrote a few days ago, anytime she begins to question my conversion by throwing some of my old attitudes in my face I get angry with her. So much for showing the love of Jesus. I desperately pray for God to help me find a way.
The bill collectors have begun to call. I’ve been preparing myself for it but it still gets me down a bit. I can’t begin to describe how it feels to be able to work one day and make more than enough to pay both car payments, or even a house payment. I have a 2006 Honda Accord that I purchased new earlier this year. My payment is almost $600 for that one. And a second vehicle, a 2003 Chevy truck with a Duramax diesel engine, also runs in the mid $600s each month.
Had I been more responsible with the money I made in porn I’d have paid cash for everything. After a very poor background as a Pastor’s son, my ego loved nothing more than having to prove my income when making a purchase. It was fun to watch a salesman’s face when I pulled out documentation proving income that rarely dropped below $20k per month. The only reason it would even get that low is because I’d feel lazy and would decide to work half a month and vacation the other two weeks. If Belinda and I worked hard, our monthly income easily exceeded $50k, yet we’d have all that money spent within weeks. It was so easy to simply make a phone call, schedule a model, pick up a camera, and be paid by the end of the day, or at most 2 days later. My clients were great. I’d invoice them via email and many of them would wire the money into my account. Even the “slow” payers would fed-ex out a check for 1 or 2 day delivery. Saving was always something I’d do later. It was just too much fun to live life as large as possible.
What an idiot!
Now I have to prioritize where I spend the limited money I make (oh poor poor Donny – he gets to experience real life). My first priority is to Wendy and Caden (if you’re new here, that’s my ex-wife and my 6 year old son). I’d rather have to lose my vehicles and ride the bus than to make them suffer. Wendy’s already agreed to accept a fraction of the amount I used to pay her, but that’s still going to be a struggle to provide. Last month XXXChurch let the need be known and God came through for her. I didn’t ask nor want them to send anything my way because I didn’t want to diminish what was being sent to Wendy. I borrowed some money from Belinda, but there’s no way I’ll ever be able to pay her back. Besides, borrowing from her is still benefiting from porn and encouraging her to continue producing it. In part of the same email I referenced above, I wrote the following to Belinda:
It hurts my heart that I got you involved in this business, and it hurts it even worse knowing you don’t want to give it up. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that you’ve experienced all the same things I have, yet you wish to continue. I don’t want to be accusing, but Belinda, we ruined lives. No matter what excuses we made to justify TO OURSELVES that what we were doing is okay, the fact remains that we ruined lives. It is so selfish. SO selfish. And that’s part of the reason I don’t want any of our possessions. I don’t want things that we purchased with porn money, because it came at a really high cost to someone else. Personally, I won’t be surprised if both cars are repossessed soon. But I’m okay with that because everything I purchased while in the business was done so at the expense of models whose lives will be worse for posing for us. Poor credit is a small price to pay. I’ll almost feel guilty if that’s all I get in return for 9 years of porn production.
That’s truly how I feel, but it’s still very uncomfortable while sitting here right in the middle of the financial storm. I can’t wait for it to pass. I am encouraged by the fact that, even in the middle of said storm, I don’t have the slightest desire to resume my old life.
Thank God for that.