Many of us have heard the story from Greek mythology of the phoenix. As the story goes, at the end of it's life, this bird lays in it's nest which then brutally burns to a pile of ash. And what does the phoenix do after it's been burned alive? It rises from the ashes, triumphant and strong, reborn and renewed.
I've experienced something similar from the whole world this past week. I've read all of your comments, messages, and emails. I've been burned and scourged, beaten and stoned, bruised and rubbed raw by the words of critics all over the world. Whoever first said that everybody's a critic was right, and when it seems like the whole world speaks against you with blow torch-like power, what does one do?
Well... in this case one arises from the ashes just like the phoenix. At this point, if I keep silent and wallow in my ashes, then that says to all of these incredible people I've connected with that they should give up too. So... I'm not giving up because my story is simply a representation of the thousands of people who have similar experiences.
"Woman reveals she CANCELLED her dream wedding just a week before the big day... after discovering her fiancé watches porn."
"Fiancé dumped over porn habit..."
"Woman cancels dream wedding to her "best friend" after discovering he watches lots of porn."
"Internet slams woman who dumped her fiancé because he liked porn."
"Bride dumps porn-addicted fiancé a week before the wedding."
It's officially everywhere and everyone seems to each have their own take on it. Overall, it seems as though I've hit a chord in the hearts of the men and women who have experienced great pain because of pornography. And I've struck a nerve in the men and women who indulge in and enjoy pornography. The internet is seemingly enraged and the fires in the hearts of the people are blazing as every person and their dog debates whether I did the right thing or not and other various opinions about me.
Again, it seems like a lot of people are missing the point. This isn't about me. This isn't about my ex-fiancé. This isn't about me trying to make everyone feel bad. This is not about me wanting to become famous (I do not want to be famous.) This is simply a representation of all the suffering going on in the world and a reason to stand strong and say that we don't have to live in a way that brings pain to others or ourselves. Among all of the mud slinging going on, I want to address the side of it that I've seen. I want to address the heartbreaking reality that has made itself very clear to me in the past couple of days.
Throughout the past week I have received a MASSIVE AMOUNT of emails and Facebook messages from women ALL OVER THE WORLD. These women have reached out to me and shared with me their stories of heartbreaking suffering FOR YEARS because of ongoing pornography in their relationship from their boyfriend, fiancé, husband, or any other man in their lives that they love and put their trust in. Clearly, I am not the first woman to leave or call a wedding off due to pornography. I want to reiterate now why I wrote this series of articles in the first place: I wrote them for THESE WOMEN!
"While we may not be cut from the same cloth, we share the same experience and pain."
"I have lived years of hell because of my husband's porn addiction."
"This happened that was similar to me and I never knew."
"I abhor porn and was deceived for years."
"Your story is my story."
The comments above are echoes of hundreds and thousands of women with all kinds of different religions and backgrounds who have expressed to me that they FINALLY have found some validity and hope. They finally feel like somebody somewhere understands the cries of their hearts. Are we (as a society) really going to mark every single one of these women as though they are "insane" and "delusional" just because pornography is such a widely acceptable thing? Maybe everyone else will... but I want to take a minute to address THESE WOMEN.
To the women who have reached out to me in the past week:
I want to thank every single one of you for your comments, your support, and your vulnerability as you've worked up the courage to share your personal heartbreaks with me. I want you all to know that I have read every single one of your messages, and I wish that I had the time to reply to each and every one of you individually. Given such large numbers of messages I've received, I can't respond to every single one. But I want you all to know that you are clearly NOT ALONE in your feelings and your experiences. I wish that I could wrap my arms around every single one of you and weep with you and talk with you. Know that my heart is now connected with yours. What we've done here is we've created an ARMY of women whose hearts are connected and who stand as witnesses that pornography is a threat to true love and to the family unit. We've created a voice that has power and hope behind it. We may not be able to solve the worldwide plague of pornography, but we can help fight this drug one person at a time.
I've also had the unique opportunity to read the messages of a few men who have fought the fight of porn addiction in their own lives, and have overcome it and no longer choose to indulge in such things. THANK YOU for sharing your story! Thank you for proving that not "all men do it." Thank you for expressing the truth that is repentance and change. Thank you for being the amazing men that you are. It's clear to me that these men still exist, and it's possible to overcome. These men may seem few and far between, but I know that there are more out there, and in light of that I want to send a worldwide message to the men:
To the men who do not indulge in pornography... to the men who once indulged in those things and no longer choose to because they have discovered deeper happiness and a deep cleansing made possible through our Savior, Jesus Christ: I KNOW THAT YOU ARE OUT THERE! PLEASE HAVE THE MORAL COURAGE TO SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT. PLEASE REACH OUT. PLEASE HELP US WOMEN TO KNOW THAT YOU STILL EXIST. This is the conversation that needs to be happening in order to make a difference. As Edmund Burke once stated: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Please don't do nothing.
As a woman, it's so much easier to keep quiet. It would be so much easier for me to "disappear, shut up, and stop writing." It would absolutely be easier for me to do nothing. But sometimes doing the easy thing that everybody is telling you to go do is not always the right thing. And when someone decides to do the right thing and nobody stands by her... it can be very difficult to endure. So feel free to reach out through comments and messages. If the only way that a woman or a person can earn respect is by keeping her mouth shut then I'm not sure why we're all put on this earth together. This conversation is so important, and we can all find the moral courage to refrain from doing nothing.
It's time for society to WAKE UP! Your women are grieving! Your children are grieving! And as far as I'm concerned, your men are grieving as well!
I want to take a minute to clarify something: My religion has never taught me that "sex is bad." As a large amount of people seem to think that's what I believe, let me explain what I actually believe: I believe that sexual relationships are so GOOD that they are sacred in which they should be held within the boundaries that God sets. This means within the bounds of a man and a women lawfully wed as husband and wife. This excludes anything outside of those bounds including pornography. This is what I BELIEVE. You do NOT have to agree with me. But I just want to express that living this way has brought ME great joy and happiness. The kind of joy and happiness that I wish all of you could experience.
The widespread use of pornography is a heartbreaking reality. But all of us can play a part in crushing that reality and striving to create happier families and healthier homes. The idea that everyone watches it and it's normal and healthy is just not true. We are CHILDREN OF GOD. We are not just sexual animals that need lust and sex the same way we need food and water. In a world filled with instant gratification, we've forgotten what really matters. LOVE. FAMILY. HOPE. LIFE. If love is truly what matters, then why are we all fighting for porn? Instead of fighting against each other, we can ban together and fight against the thing that is destroying those higher powers and higher levels of happiness.
I wish the healthiest and happiest lives for all of you, and I hope that we can all move forward with hope for healing one person at a time. We can all arise from the ashes, just like the phoenix.