Monday, July 11, 2016
30 Before 30: Day 22 - Red Roses Painted Black
Creating any film on a touchy subject isn't easy. That's one thing I discovered while producing Red Roses Painted Black.
This little short film, which should be released later this year, is all about a guy who's fighting a porn addiction. This is probably my most courageous and important film I've ever done, both as a actor and director. There are films a director feels they want to make and then there are the ones they feel they need to.
This is that story.
The short follows a character named Tom right at the point when he's decided he needs to make a change and seeks out therapy. We then see how his addiction is affecting his life between his therapist, best friend, and new girlfriend.
Now, this was a difficult short for me to get to making because of how personal it is for me. Of course, sometimes those make the best stories. They also make the most terrifying stories because now you're pouring yourself out to the world.
This post alone is very revealing and difficult to write but I've found that the things we hold secret often hold power over us. You may ask, why do I care so much about this topic? Short answer, because I've lived it. I've had a lot of friends who say to me, "No, you're not addicted to porn." No, not so much addicted anymore but I certainly used to be.
When it all started in junior high, I missed meeting, private musical lessons, isolated myself from people, and didn't seek out healthy relationships. I worked hard to look at women as human but more often than not I saw them as objects.
Yes, there was always part of me that could still see a human side, but at the same time I was scared; scared they would find out who I was, scared that I wasn't worth anything if they did, and scared of any and all rejection from anyone knowing about this dirty little secret.
And yes, my family knows about this and has for years. In various ways they found out. I'm sure at times one of us did not handle the situation with the correct response but the love still continues.
And that's the thing about porn. It kills love. One of my favorite organizations is "Fight the New Drug" (fightthenewdrug.org).
Their slogan is "Porn Kills Love."
Part of what I love about this organization is that it has no affiliation. Why do I think that's important? Because they can take an approach to the harmful effects of porn that reaches out to everyone, no matter what they believe. Scientific studies have shown how porn alters brain chemistry and therefore affects how a person approaches society and relationships.
Fight the New Drug posts articles from porn addicts, significant others, family members, and porn stars who share their stories of the damage that porn has done in their lives. It's a lucrative business that pays a lot of money... and destroys natural relationships.
People are meant to love and be loved. There is nothing in porn that showcases love. It causes people to see others at objects instead of human. You wonder why in a porn saturated society people say men only think of sex? Well, I can tell you that porn is not helping. Truth is, we all have more going on in our brains then just sex, even if there is a biological drive there.
I didn't really understand what healthy relationships were growing up. I think I learned a lot of things on my own... a lot of things that were wrong. Over the years, through some intense romantic relationships, some of which I was trying to find a way out of a porn addiction, I very slowly started to understand what a healthy relationship meant.
There is nothing about porn that really makes you feel "good" other than the quick sexual release. Outside of the that, it's a tornado of negative emotions and thoughts. You start thinking you're not good enough, you're a horrible person, there's something wrong with you.
It controls life and brings you down. See, love is a natural human response. We're made to love. We may have different ways of loving but we still all need love. It took me a long time to actually convince myself that I wasn't worthless. How long? Most of my 20's.
I spent a lot of my life bringing myself down. Even when I made friends, I'd still bring myself down. If something didn't go my way, I'd tell myself people didn't like me. When my girlfriend wasn't loving on me, I'd tell myself everything is wrong. I put my self-worth in everybody around me and then when I didn't feel like I found it, I turned to porn. It was always there, waiting to tell me that I was accepted.
But I wasn't really accepted. It was all a front. It was fake. A false intimacy.
There was nothing real about it. I was never really fulfilled by it. It was like being led on, dragged deeper into a hole I could never get out of. I was in such despair in my teenage years that I shed more tears than I care to admit, wishing it would just go away, not realizing that I had to do something about it.
I would need to reprogram my brain. I had to tell myself I was worth it. I had to find my confidence. I especially had to stop telling myself that if anything happened I was a terrible person. No one else could do it for me. And it doesn't happen over night.
It's still a good thing to get affirmation from others but we also have to take control of ourselves. Really, porn is a crutch and it doesn't create a healthy outlook on life or sexuality. If you don't take my word for it, just check out some of the testimonies at Fight the New Drug. Trust me, their powerful.
That's just a start to why I made a move about porn addiction. It's a passionate topic to me. It's important. A lot of people think it's harmless. Studies and testimonies prove otherwise.
This can't be taken lightly. And there needs to be love.