On "Adult" internet videos…

I use to shrug off the idea that American’s had a porn problem.  But I am a data driven person.  And today I saw some data that totally changed my mind.  American has a porn problem. Let me elaborate.

I was looking data today at work from a company that compiles data on who looks at what websites.

I am new to the data, so I was clicking through report trends by industry.  I saw I could look at a report on “XXX Adult” websites.  So I did a basic report on the number of people that look at “XXX Adult” websites.
Ahem.

So.

There are about 235 million US adults that used the internet in February 2013.

Of those 235 million – 91.8 million (give or take) – or about 40% of the US looked at an XXX adult site.

That means four in ten US adults looked at porn in February.

Next question, how much porn?

Of the 91.8 million folks that looked at porn, they spent roughly 86,000,000 minutes looking at porn in February.

How much time is that really? (Bri of Leah or Jamieson – check my math if you are reading this – I was in go mode when I wrote this)

86,000,000 minutes is about 1,433,333 hours (86,000,000/60)
86,000,000 minutes is about 59,722 days. (1,433,333/24)
86,000,000 minutes is about 163 years. (59,722/365)

So – in one month – the population spends the equivalent of 163 years looking at porn.
How much is that in terms of man power?

Well, the French Revolution was 10 years .  So – the time the US spends on porn is the equivalent of 16 French Revolutions.

And the Industrial Revolution was between about 1760 and 1830 – so about 70 years.  So the time the US spends on porn is the equivalent of about 2 ¼ Industrial Revolutions.

That is a lot of friggin time.

This doesn’t even include porn DVDs.

I didn’t even both to look at Facebook, but I am sure that is even more of a time spend.

I understand averages, and that time spent will vary.

As a sociologist, I understand that porn does have societal benefits.  It can reduce certain sexual crimes… and it can meet sexual desires that are not met in relationships thereby preventing divorce, etc etc etc.  I was in gender/sex studies – I am not oblivious to rhetoric on both sides.

However, you cannot deny that 163 years is a lot of time.  And you cannot deny that people can likely be doing better things with their time.

All of this begs the question, which we must ask… what else could we have been doing with that time?

Talking to our families?
Building something?
Creating something?
Helping someone?……….

Think about it.

On forgiveness…

Task one: housekeeping.  I am going to be honest here – I started this blog for self-affirmation.  I started when I was in a transitional period in my life, and I needed something to make me feel good.  Almost a year later, I am at a different place and the blog has morphed into something else.  Our church talks a lot about doing things to glorify God – and not yourself.  I feel as if this blog has morped into that.  I am not saying “Listen to me because I have all of the answers from God” because I DO NOT.  I am not saying “I know how to do everything – follow me!” because in the context of an entire life I know very little.  What I am trying to say, is that lately I feel called/forced to write about topics that do not really benefit me.  I feel a different urge to write about topics that can help other people.  I feel like what I am supposed to write about is topics where I have struggled and/or failed, and the lesson I learned.

Task two: blog.

This is about to get real personal.  If you don’t like heavy topics click to something else (click here for happy kittens).  It will also end on a positive note.  So – heavy then positive.

Perhaps the greatest failure in my first marriage (I’m divorced and now remarried) is that I was not very forgiving.  My ex-husband would fail me in some way, and I would not forgive him.  This led to anger and resentment – and obviously – a marriage that did not work.  In my defense, the marriage needed to end (more on that some other day).

Ok – deeper story.

When I was about six years old, I was molested by my babysitters.  The babysitters were about twelve and ten.  Eventually, my parents found out.  The police were involved.  The court system was involved.  Lots of counseling was involved.  Our entire family was hurt.

For years I was embarrassed by the event.  I felt like it was my fault.  I felt sad.  I also felt a lot of anger towards the babysitters.  When I was sixteen years-old I was sitting in a counselor’s office telling her about the event.  The counselor said to me “I would bet anything that those girls were being molested in their own home – probably by their mother or father.”

That day, I began to forgive the people that had molested me.  There are lots of terrible things in this world.  Being molested by your babysitters is a terrible thing.  However, I can imagine very few things that are worse than being molested by your parents.  That day, I saw that the people that hurt me did so because they had been hurt too.  That day, I realized that the people that hurt the most people……… are usually the ones that have been hurt the most by others.

Forgiving others does not mean that we condone their behavior or continue to endure it.  It means that we choose to let go of the pain a certain behavior has had on our lives.

When I scroll through Facebook or when I talk to people I know, I hear from lots of people that have been hurt.  I know they have been hurt, because they write about being angry and post pictures about how they will never trust anyone.  I know they are feeling pain because they tell me they are bitter and angry.  I listen to this pain, and I literally cry.  I cry because I imagine that the pain they are feeling is crushing their lives.

For years, I held onto the painful things my ex-husband did to me.  Lately, I have started to forgive and let that go.  I let it go, because if I do not it will kill me.  It will turn me into someone who is angry and bitter.  It will kill my new marriage.

The Bible tells us that we are to treat others as we want to be treated.  If I never err or fail, than I never need to forgive.  However, I am human and I mess up A LOT.  If I am ever going to have any type of enduring relationship I will need to be forgiving, so that the other person can (hopefully) forgive me when I fail (which I will).

The Bible also tells us that we do not forgive others – we will not be forgiven by God.  I am not saying “Forgive others or you don’t get the ticket to heaven,” because I don’t think that is what that passage is saying.  I am saying that if you do not forgive others you will never have an understanding of Grace, and what it is like to be forgiven.  And if you never know Grace… well… then what is the point?

I cannot make someone else forgive what another person has done to them.  But I can promise you that if you do not practice the act of forgiveness, it kills you from the inside out.  When we hold onto pain, it crushes us.  When we choose to feel pain instead of forgive, it kills us from the inside out.

For me, forgiveness also takes time.  When I was sixteen, I started forgiving the people that molested me.  But to this day, I continue to say to myself “God, I forgive them.  God, help me forgive them.”  But a lot of the pain has passed, and now I wish the girls and their family well.  I hope they are happy.  I hope they find love and peace.

I have started to forgive my ex-husband.  He hurt me terribly.  But if I want to move on in my life, I have to let go.  So I pray “God, help me be forgiving.  Help me let go of this pain.”  The pain has started to pass.  I wish my ex-husband well.  I hope he is happy.

And I pray, God – let me see where I am holding onto pain.  Let me see where I have not been forgiving.  Help me to let go of the things that bind me – so I can move forward.  So I can live.

It takes time.  It takes patience.  It takes LOTS of effort.  But, for me, it has been worth it.  There are still days I struggle with what happened to me when I was a child.  There are movies I can never watch and news stories that shut me down.  There are days I cannot stop crying, and days where my husband cannot touch me.  But if I can forgive people the hurt me so deeply – I can forgive anything…………. and you can too.

On coping with this depression…A guest post…

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I cope with depression.  I told my husband that I really did not want to write the post, because it felt incredibly personal.  However, I wrote it because it seems selfish not to share something that might help other people.  I then told my husband that if one person might be helped by sharing (gosh, that sounds cliche, but whatever) that the whole post would be worth it.  After I wrote, I got a few responses from people.  I cried as I read the words people sent to me about what they were dealing with.

What brings me to this post, is that one of my dear friends requested to share her experience dealing with depression.  Bri and I met in grad school and have stayed in touch as we have celebrated getting jobs, getting married, buying houses….  We have also called each when we need help – like when I called a few weeks ago after a slight panic attack (thanks again for talking me through it).  So here are the wonderful words of a dear friend.  Honestly, she does not share very personal details like this to strangers very frequently.  So the fact that she was willing to share so much of herself means a lot to me.  I hope it is helpful.

On coping with this depression: A guest post from Bri…

After reading Steph’s great post on how she copes with depression I wanted to share some of my own ways of coping. She was nice enough to allow me to post that here on her blog (thanks, Steph).

I was around 2nd or 3rd grade when I started to realize I saw the world differently than others. By middle school I was diagnosed with depression. That was over 15 year ago and while I continue to struggle I also continue to survive. Despite years of self-harm, sever depression, endless anxiety attacks, and suicide attempts I am still alive. Here are some my coping strategies.

I Write

I began writing when I was about 12 after my therapist encouraged me to keep a diary. Though I never stuck with keeping a diary I did learn to write when I am overwhelmed. No matter where I write- on a napkin, on a post-it, in an unsent email, in a Goggle Doc-  it gives me a chance to get out of my head and sort through my thoughts and feelings. When something is bothering me my mind clouds and whirls with information. Writing gives me a chance to piece out each of my thoughts so I can see them and piece the parts I need together. I often find that writing in itself is enough. Sometimes, it gives me a sense of validation for my feelings. Sometimes, it provides answers. Sometimes, it just gives me a few moments to cry and let it all out. Sometimes, I use it to communicate by sharing my writing with others. No matter what the outcome writing has become one of my greatest coping tools.

I Try to Know Myself

When it comes to keeping relationships, despite my depression, I find knowing myself and my depression are key. I know that if I don’t get sleep I cry, if I don’t eat I yell, and if I don’t go out I withdraw.  Because I know getting out of bed is one of my biggest struggles when I’m depressed I schedule things in the morning that make me get out of bed.  I have also  learned to recognize when my emotions may not match the situation (at least from others perspective). I don’t ever attempt to change my emotions but I do recognize it. That way if someone comments on it I don’t get offended because I already know. I recognize when I am depressed and need people around or to be out. Even if a big part of me is saying “don’t get out of bed” I know that I HAVE to get out of bed. I know that if I want to live, if I want to smile, I need to try to keep moving.  It all starts with knowing me and recognizing my own needs.

I Express My Needs

Since I “know myself” I also know my triggers and let others in on them so they can help me avoid them. So, when I yell my friends they normally pass me a cracker rather than engage in an argument with me (thus avoiding loads of useless drama). My husband has almost literally dragged me out of bed because he knows that I only get worse when I stay there. At the time I was not happy with it but he knew, because I told him, that it wasn’t good for me. He cooks me dinner and make sure I eat because I have told him how important that is to prevent me from picking stupid fights. Remember, those around you are not mind readers but they probably do want the best for you. So, if you can tell them what you need you could all be better off.

I Remember My Support Network (Even If I Don’t Use It)

A support network is something that Steph mentioned but to me it is very different since I don’t really utilize my support network, other than my husband. But I do remind myself that there are people who love, care, and root for me. When I was 16 I lost a close friend to suicide and as I watched those around him grieve I realized that everyone has people on their side who love and care about their continued well being, even me. I focus on those I love the most and remind myself that they need me in their lives just because I’m me. Sometimes it may be advantageous to ask your support network for help but remember you don’t have to, just remember they are there.

I Found a Hobby

Oh, hobbies. I remember when I was young being told over and over to find a hobby and it always fell on deaf ears. I never understood why a hobby would help. Now that I have one, I get it. A hobby can keep you active and engaged as well as help you feel productive. I was lucky to find a physical hobby. Steph didn’t mention it in her coping blog but she is an avid exerciser. She said to me once “now that I exercise if I go a day without it I just feel blah. You know what I mean?” Yes, yes, Steph, I know what you mean. When you are physically active  your body naturally produces “happy chemicals” (endorphins). It takes awhile but eventually you crave the activity because of those endorphins. Most of us don’t really notice the significance of physical activity until we do it for a while and stop. But whether or not you notice it, it’s still happening, and it has saved my life.

I Recognize When I Need Help

Sometimes shit is just too much. As Steph mentioned, none of us have it all figured out. When I find I’m really stuck, I get help. Steph talked about how hard that can be. It can also be expensive but I’ve decided my happiness is worth a lot more than a new pair of jeans. It can also be hard to find the right person that you can openly talk to. When I first started therapy and was about 12 and I went to at least 5 different therapists before I found someone that I would go back to. In the end that person helped save me so it was worth the trouble.

I Took Anti-Depressants

Drugs are not for everyone but I feel the need to touch on the topic since they did play a role in my coping. I was on antidepressants for 10 years. I fully believe that they are a big piece in me making it through what I hope to be the hardest times in my life. I lived through my parents’ divorce, death of people close to me, moving away from family, getting bullied, losing friends, lots of heartbreaks, and so much more (you know, like, being a teenager). All of that was hard but I know it would have been harder and possible unbearable without medication. Again, this in not for everyone, but if you are to the end of the line it may be worth talking to your doctor. Just like finding a good therapist this can also be a challenge. My medication and dosage was changed so many times I couldn’t keep track. But eventually I found something that worked and it helped me get to a better place with myself.

Coping with depression is different for everyone. Like Steph, I am not an expert or medical professional. Everything above is based on my experience alone. I hope that sharing my coping strategies will help someone with their own personal struggles.