I can't even keep track of how many times I've said that. It's become a sort of blanket statement -it protects me. It protects me from people who wonder why porn bothers me so much. I adopted it and even came to believe it because I felt so much shame when anyone would minimize porn.
I felt broken and weak because porn bothered me so much. Surely, something so trivial shouldn't cause such a WAVE of PAIN in a someone who dares to think of herself as a true, independent, smart and strong WOMAN.
It's just porn.
Their words echoed in my head.
"It's just porn.
At least he's not actually cheating.
It could be so much worse."
And then there's the...
"If it were just porn, I could handle it.
There's so much more going on here.
He doesn't connect at all.
He doesn't see me.
He doesn't even try."
The bigger picture message sent by society is the same:
"Porn is normal.
Porn is common.
Everyone does it.
Porn is no big deal."
And I believed it all. I knew I still wasn't okay, but I realized we had bigger problems than porn, and that's when I began adding, "It isn't even the porn" to the beginning of my story.
"It's the lies, the behaviors, the secrecy, the shame, the double life..."
AND THEN I was okay. Then I felt validated in my pain, I felt like I finally had ENOUGH EVIDENCE or something... accepting that porn hurt me just wasn't okay because porn is such a little bug in a sea of awful things that can plague a marriage.
Thursday night as we drove home from our grocery shopping, Danny and I had a lot to talk about including a big trigger I'd had earlier in the evening.
So I began, "It isn't even about the porn..."
And he said something that struck me to my very center... the kind of feeling I get when I hear TRUTH.
"Stop saying that. It IS. It IS about the porn."
I didn't know what to say. Or how to reply. Or what he meant. Was he being mean? or defensive? or was he trying to explain something...?
I asked him what he meant, and he spoke with such fire... between his fire and the fire lit in cavity of my chest, I didn't really know what to say or do.
The truth struck me. And it struck me hard.
"Alicia, saying it isn't about porn is minimizing. Porn is the reason for ALL of this... [meaning the issues in our lives and marriage]. Porn is where it all stems from: the disconnect, the addiction, the double-life... and I don't like hearing it isn't about the porn because it makes porn seem like no big deal. And it IS. It IS about the porn. When it comes right down to it, it IS about the porn."
And the truth is:
This whole thing IS ABOUT PORN.
So often porn is minimized by others around me, and instead of standing up and fighting for what I believe, I've given into fear of being viewed as weak in others' eyes and minimized along with them, thereby becoming part of the problem.
Is porn THE problem? No. Not alone it isn't.
But porn is a DRUG and one of the main gateway drugs into sex addiction. It was THE GATEWAY drug for Danny, and it is the main problem in what's wrong with our marriage.
My marriage has been RIFE with lies, yes. Shame, secrets, double living, YES.
There's also been disconnect, manipulation, controlling, rationalization! YES!
Danny has spent a decade with me and has never fully SEEN me or APPRECIATED me.
Because his brained was wired to look at the world from the point of view of, "What does this person or situation have to offer me?" instead of "What do I have to offer this person or situation?"
Because he looked at porn and became addicted. After seeing it once, ONCE, he began implementing patterns of thought and behaviors that would haunt him and his future family.
And I speak from the pain and depths of the soul of a woman robbed...
IT IS ABOUT THE PORN.
And he has cheated on me.
And I have spent an entire marriage unseen and in disconnect.
I vow to bravely live as my own husband dares to... acknowledging porn as the giant it is, giving it the credit is deserves, and standing up as a woman of God to speak my truth, "Porn isn't small. Porn kills. It kills love, YES. But porn kills souls, dreams, and youth."
I make this promise now to myself, to you, and to Danny:
I'll stop saying it.
I'll stop saying, "It isn't about the porn."
Because you're right, Danny. It IS. For me, for us... it most definitely is about the porn.
I have been hurt by so many I love that have minimized pornography. In an attempt to protect myself, I've adopted the attitude that porn isn't even on the radar of what affects me anymore.
That is something to mourn.
I should be posting statistics. I should be posting scientific findings and pie charts and prophetic quotes. But I'm not. Because I don't have to prove my pain anymore. I don't have to explain it or make you okay with it.
All I have right now is the experience on my back, and that Experience says, "Porn is worse than hard drugs, and you live with someone who battles an addiction to it. And you, great girl of God, are on Refiner's Fire. This fire will burn fear and shame from your core and replace it with Christ: His Strength, His Love, His Confidence in God. Walk on, and do not faint."
I can not live in fear of what others think -I can not act on that fear, live my life from that place!
I know that the Lord has never minimized my pain -the pain that has stemmed from a rottenly fertile seed planted in my husband's brain nearly 20 years before we ever met.
This whole thing? This pain I'm going through? It's about porn.
The rest is symptomatic.