Mason Wyler?! Gasp!
No, I haven't gone crazy and no I'm not turning my blog into an adult-themed blog. But I am really posting a letter to a gay porn star. So get over yourself - take it for what's it's worth.
This post is about love. Not the kind of seedy, money-sodden, skin-wrapped travesty peddled by the porn industry, but rather real love. Love that goes beyond your friends, beyond suburban sensibilities, beyond closed church doors, and beyond comfortably predictable relationships. My letter to Mr. Wyler is about the power and necessity of love. Love that takes action, that won't be deterred by appearances, that outlives hatred, prejudice, fear, disgust and selfishness.
I'm not good at this kind of love. I'm far too judgmental. I prefer to love people who share my perspective, who live a similar lifestyle, who aren't too different from me. I get uncomfortable when someone challenges my perspective or holds up a mirror that shows my true self.
But here's the thing about love. Sometimes it prompts you at the strangest times. Sometimes love demands attention. Sometimes you just have to write a letter to a porn star who has opened your eyes to real love.
Which has prompted me to write a letter to Mason Wyler. He has inadvertently helped me in ways he never knew and taught me a great deal about myself and love. I'm in his debt and I feel compelled to write him this letter - just like I owe everyone else in my life a debt of love. Don't be jealous as I may yet decide to write a "love" letter to all of you.
Thus, a letter to Mason Wyler:
You don't know me and I don't really know you. I first learned about you in 2006 when I found you in one of my "friends" lists of friends on mySpace. This will sound strange and presumptuous, but at the time your profile reminded me of myself a few years back in 2003. I was in college then and had just been asked to leave my parents home. I was broke and sleeping on a friend's dining room floor.
I have no idea how you ended up in porn, but at the time I was approached by an adult film website and offered a lot of cash to participate in some filming sessions. At the time, I was flattered and more than a little tempted to accept the cash. It felt like an easy way out of a crappy situation and I didn't value myself much at the time. I didn't know what I wanted for a career, I was burned out with school, and none of my relationships had lasted for more than a couple of months. Easy cash, some stability and a whole new life were terribly alluring.
Then love got in the way and stopped me. I met a guy from Cleveland who turned out to be the cliched best thing to ever happen to me. He loved me and his love worked some kind of magic. I was motivated to get a job that didn't involve porn, I developed new self-confidence, I met new friends that are now like family to me, and I discovered I loved my boyfriend more than anything else. More than money, more than a career, more than success itself.
When I found you in 2006, I guess I still didn't appreciate how vital love is. I didn't understand that unless love was my motivation, I would be perpetually unhappy. I was unhappy with my job, with my personal life, even with my love life. Without love's guidance, I became self-absorbed and obsessed with finding my own happiness. As corny and trite as this sounds, the only thing I should have focused on was love. Real love that never quits, that motivates to action, that is the catalyst for self-discipline, that conquers hatred and fear. Love that has nothing to do with sex or romance (although they're nice benefits).
But in 2006, I didn't understand love. When I found you on mySpace, I became briefly obsessed with your life. You seemed so happy, so full of life. Your career was exciting and seemed limitless. You had thousands of friends and fans. You were confident, cocky and self-assured. You seemed to know just what you wanted and how to get there. You seemed to be that alter-ego I had rejected, your career the glittering road less traveled. And while I was surrounded by love from friends and family (including my boyfriend's never wavering love), I was envious of you and oblivious to the richness of my own life.
Time passed, years slid by, and the gentle nudging of love coaxed me into the kitchen. While my envy for the glamour of your life slowly relinquished it's grip, I discovered my love for food and cooking. It's funny how love can work - one moment I was cooking because I wanted to develop a few reliable recipes and in the next moment I was cooking because I wanted to show my boyfriend how much I loved him. And my friends how much I appreciated their friendship. As I started unknowingly cooking out of love, I began to value all the love around me. I began to see the undeniable and inseparable connection between love and happiness. Sounds corny, right? Maybe you have to live it to appreciate it.
Anyway, my envy for your life slowly changed to fascinated disgust. I had long since abandoned my mySpace profile, but I still occasionally dropped by your blog. It was almost nauseating to read your posts, even though I'm sure they were only performances designed to elicit responses from your fans. Certainly the porn industry is no beacon of love, but I was utterly disgusted by your complete lack of love. It's as if you shun love and avoid it all costs. It's as if you don't even want to experience love - just physical pleasure.
Perhaps I put you up on an unfair pedestal because I had built up your life as glamourous and enviable. Perhaps you hide love behind your persona to keep fans focused on your body, not your life. Perhaps it's none of my business because you're a grown man clearly capable of introspection. Or perhaps the disgust I felt was misdirected hypocrisy because I was actually disgusted with myself for ever contemplating a career in porn.
I know this sounds so patronizing and self-righteous, but when I read you had become HIV+, my disgust changed to pity. I watched as your career seemed to collapse and your blogs suddenly became filled with anger, dejection and something resembling despair. I pitied your self-absorption and disregard for love. I pitied what seemed to be a waste of vibrant life devoted to selfish self-indulgence.
Yet I have no right or cause to pity you, Mason. I've never lived in your shoes and I don't know what you feel or what motivates you. I don't know that you're life is void of love or that you are only motivated by your own self-absorption. And I have no right to assume you are unhappy even if you are self-absorbed.
And while you may never know or care, your life changed mine. Your life was like a mirror where I could watch what I might have become. You may be very happy with your life, but for me the image in the mirror is like a bad dream I narrowly escaped. Every time I catch a glimpse of my reflection in that mirror, I am overwhelmed by the love around me. It's hard to believe I could have missed out on my friends, my new family and my boyfriend. When I glimpse your life, it motivates me to live out of love - and stop obsessing over myself. Every time I pass by the mirror, I breathe a sigh of relief that your life is only a harmless reflection. I was fortunate enough to have found love - and I could never trade it for anything.
As I write this, it's hard to look into your mirror without feeling sad. Every time I look into that mirror, I want to reach through and bring you to my side of the mirror. I want to rescue you. I want you to feel love so powerful it will propel you to a life where you will feel the same richness of love that I have found. I want that love to guide you into a career where you can live that love. I want you to experience the happiness I feel every day when I wake up surrounded by a cocoon of love.
Mason, you helped me see the love in my life - I hope I can return the favor.