I had a pretty awesome life, as a child. I really can’t complain. I had two parents in the home – my mother raised us, and my father worked. We were a religious family, so we obviously had morals. But, as I have come to understand people a lot better over the years, I have heard story after story of sexual issues occurring in their childhoods. Many of these stories have nothing to do with their immediate family members. None the less, that occurrence – yes, even if it is just one – messes them up for years. I know of some that are still not healed… It is very sad to see so many affected in such heart aching ways from pornographic or abusive images or encounters as children. But, guess what? I know first hand how amazingly powerful the atonement is in standing with us as we fight the scars. And I know I am not alone. I have recently been blessed to see so many others also tell their tales of fighting their weaknesses of sexual sins, and it makes my heart sing! That really is one of the toughest, and most popular, follies these days, and I am overjoyed to observe plenty of people helping courageously. I just recently had my seventh anniversary of…well…not soliciting myself anymore. I cannot believe how far I have come, and I also cannot believe it has taken me so long to speak out! At the same time, I also know one hundred percent that everything happens for a reason. There is a time and a place for everything, and this is my time and place! So, I will share with you something I recently shared with another.
As some of you know, I have been granted a huge opportunity with creating a semi video biography. Well, Heavenly Father loves me, and helped me find another who is also involved in projects having to do with people’s stories. And thus, I sent this individual two stories; one of them being a raw and simple version of my story (pre-marriage…). Some of these phrases might sound similar to you, as I recently released a video unveiling this past of mine, but this rendition is well elaborated. It is still quite a simple translation, but as always seems to be the case, if I wrote it all it would be a novel. I am quite sure I will write at least four books in my lifetime…you heard it here first. Anyway, here it is!
My first time being exposed to pornography was at three years old. It was soft porn, and some may not have even considered it to be pornographic at all, but it was, and it messed with both my mind and my body. After viewing it a couple times, I realized that I was physically attracted to the female body. We live in a day where homosexuality is becoming more and more acceptable, and oftentimes even praised! So, when high school came, I went through phases of openly claiming to be gay, and even acting upon my urges. But, let’s go to back a bit, to when I was in elementary school.
The first time I was touched in an inappropriate way was by two boys in my second grade class…and it wasn’t just once. That too did strange things to my mind and body. When you are a child, you take things as they are. I think that is why childhood abuse is so horrific. Children are constantly being molded by their experiences and environments. But, children still understand right from wrong. As a child, and especially as one being raised in a Christian home, I knew some of the encounters I was undergoing were wrong. So, I kept my mouth shut. I never talked about the porn, or the touching, with anyone, even though I really should have.
Fast-forward to middle school. In my eyes, I was a very unattractive girl. I don’t think I thought of myself as such until I was treated in such a cruel way by most others…even one of my teachers… Middle school is tough place! At least, it was for me. Apparently, I also came across as very obnoxious, and I quickly learned that I was also quite under-developed. All of the previously mentioned were verbally pointed out to me plenty of times, which is why I “knew” them to be true. Let’s just say bullying is a very real issue. I wanted the positive attention all the pretty, well-developed girls were getting. After being alive for only twelve years, I knew exactly what I had to do to get it, and I acted accordingly.
High school came quickly, and things were a lot different than they were in middle school. There were a lot more people – meaning a lot more “groups.” It was a whole lot easier to “fit in” somewhere in high school. At the same rate, there were also a whole lot more girls, and they were even prettier and more developed, and in less clothing, than in middle school… You could practically feel all the raging hormones in the air! Especially, taking into account that age of boys… Goodness… Well, the one boy that gave me the attention I wanted in middle school gave me even more in high school. I was dumb. I knew what I was doing. I knew it was wrong, but I was so happy to be getting positive attention! I was at a weak point, and I should not have kept so silent! Something was wrong, and I didn’t take the necessary steps to fix it. I actually doubt I would have, had most things been different. I don’t know if such young individuals grasp the inner workings of their brain well enough to confront issues in such mature manners. Anyway, I messed up… I lost my virginity at only thirteen years old… And, as if that would have made me realize I needed to scream for help, it did just the opposite. I simply kept staying quiet, and even felt I had to keep up an act.
A couple years went by, and I didn’t change for the better. (I recently heard that unrepentant sin just leads to more sin… So true.) And, you find what you want to. I have always been one who was highly influenced by others, and my surroundings – highly. Just little scenes in movies would affect me tremendously. Well, what are a lot of movies about? There are thousands of subliminal messages in movies. I don’t mean the technical “subliminal,” but how many popular movies out there have a sex scene, or a drug scene, or a bar scene? Well, the way my mind worked was that A + B = C. Simple. Sex, drugs, and alcohol equaled popularity. So, upon opportunity, I would find what I wanted. I wanted to be “cool,” and there were plenty of peers that could provide me with the necessary substances. It didn’t take me long until I became an addict.
Well, remember back when I was talking about “putting on an act?” I have always been a bit on the eccentric side, so I was not the kind of child to just “keep quiet.” I was the kind of child to pretend like all was well. I led a double life all throughout high school. Well…that was until I was arrested for possession (my first time) senior year, as a seventeen-year-old. Since my cover was blown, I narcissistically revealed all to my parents. And, after quitting everything cold turkey (which turned me into quite the monster), due to suspension, and a good move on my parents’ part of grounding me, I moved out of their house a couple weeks later. I really thought I was finally “FREE!!!” You know what I mean: free from religion, and parents who wanted me to be a “Mormon,” and blah blah blah – all my skewed opinions of life. Well, I skyrocketed down fast! More drugs, more immorality, more alcohol, and a whole lot more porn. Pornography was just a part of it all. It seemed like wherever I was, partaking in any one of my addictions, pornography was always right there along with it! Like the pornography just followed. I suppose I hypnotically followed it too…
As I was living “free” I met a boy and “fell in love.” He was addicted to porn (amongst other things), but I was quite aloof. The funny thing is that I was so good at putting on an act for so long, and I was also raised on good work ethic, that work was hardly an issue for me. And, somehow I had a pretty decent amount of money saved up. I ignorantly informed my boyfriend of the sum total, and he told me he could “quickly turn it into more.” So, we moved to the West Side of Phoenix, Arizona…to sell drugs… Of course we ended up using more than we sold, and became broke very quickly.
At the time, we were living in a hotel, and we had to pay for the following night on the only money we had left. It wasn’t actually money yet, because it was still in narcotic-form, so he was supposed to sell it while I was gone that day (celebrating my birthday with my family who had pointed out how skinny I had become). I came back to find that it had gone up his nose instead.
Once again, no matter what, I had an extremely good work ethic, along with a whole ship full of pride. So, when I knew that it was time to buckle down, I did what I felt I had to. Come to find out, the street we were living on was well known for prostitution. At that time, because I was “free,” I was dressing much older than I should have been. I was oftentimes quite dolled up, with too much skin showing, and the pimps we were living next to would occasionally stop my boyfriend and tell him that he “could make like six hundred bucks a night, if [he] turned [me] out.” At least, that is what he told me when he pitched me the deal. Of course, because he had no sense of morals at the time (as neither did I), he asked me if I wanted to have sex for money.I really just assumed that sex was “no big deal.” I mean, everyone did it, right? And when you fill your head with those images, that never seem to leave, they change you. You accept that as reality, and it skews your perception. Well, that is what it did with me anyway. So, when I was offered that, I didn’t give it a second thought. I just felt like it was totally fine, and I accepted it in a snap… I had no idea what I was getting into…
Yes…the night of my eighteenth birthday – the night I came back from a good time with those I loved, who were concerned for my well-being – I became a prostitute.
Prostitution was dangerous; repulsing; disgusting. I strongly believe, today, that prostitution – and all forms of pornography – is the most degrading thing a woman can ever do. The money couldn’t make up for how filthy I felt. And thus, three months after I began, I quit. It has taken me years to heal. And, honestly, at over seven years after I stopped, I am still not yet healed completely. But I finally know why!!
I hid my past in shame for many years now. I mean, when you learn to know that you are completely forgiven, and are also taught to “forgive [yourself] and forget,” then why talk about it to anyone, right? Well, that was my mentality. None the less, I have felt for quite some time now, that I wasn’t quite living up to my potential. And, I only recently figured out why.
I am going to tell my stories to raise awareness! My stories of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and the power of the atonement (of course), are some of my biggest ones! We need more awareness in not only our society, but our world, and we need more who are willing to speak out! I finally have the courage to be one of them. And, I am not going to stop!
There are too many out there who think that pornography is no big deal; that it “helps their marriage;” that there are “consenting women,” so “it’s okay.” Wrong, wrong, WRONG!!! It is time I share my stories and experiences (in the most tasteful way I can on such subjects) to help increase understanding. Not only is it time for me to raise awareness of the evil side effects of pornography and other abuse… It is time to raise awareness of the atonement of Jesus Christ! He and I worked together to completely change my life around! Trust me, if I can be where I’m at today – an honest, sober, child of God, anyone – I mean ANYONE can be!!
This is my mission, and I’m ready to speak!
As a prostitute, I felt like nothing. I felt so worthless, and I disgusted myself. It brought me so much heartache. One of the hardest things for me to forgive myself about was the fact that many of my “clients” were married men…some with children. I couldn’t get it out of my head that those husbands and fathers were not only cheating on their wives, but were spending money they worked for on me. That money should have been put to good use with their family, and instead, they were using it to get their jollies elsewhere. Inconceivable…
And, as an addict? That brought me some of the most devastation I had experienced thus far in my life as well… Thousands of dollars were spent on things I cannot account for today. I couldn’t see clearly, and I even lost a child. My first time knowingly conceiving a child was when I was “rolling hard” on extacy, for days. That I am quite sure of was the cause of my miscarriage…
But! I am not even remotely the person, today, that I once was. I know, one hundred percent, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is real, and that it is manifested plainly in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am so lucky that Father saved my life numerous times (and more than I am even aware of), so I could be right where I am today. I know that if I were not to do this, I would bow my head in shame at the tribunal of God one day… I don’t want that. In other words, I would be extremely ungrateful for all I have been given, if I did not help as many as possible, in the best way I can. And so, here begins my journey.