“True You,” by Janet Jackson (part 1 of 3)

I make no secret of the fact that I love Janet Jackson: OMFG ILOVEJANETDAMITAJOJACKSON! OMG!

I think she is one of the most amazing human beings. EVER. I know it’s excruciatingly melodramatic for some of you to bear it, but my eyes water up just typing about her. I admire her for her heart more than anything else, and I have never been a fan who liked her only when she was skinny. I continue to contend with my own eating and body issues (though they trouble me less than in years past, thankfully), so I have never been in a position to judge her on that front. In fact, her new book, “True You” (a self-help book about compassion-for-the-self and attaining-balance-through-setting-sensible-goals), makes me feel even more attuned to her as an artist: All this time when millions of people have thought her stunningly beautiful, she has seen only her “flaws.”

That blows my mind completely out of the water.

But it is EXACTLY the same conversation I’ve been having with myself and with many of the people closest to me over the years. How many times over the decades have I said, “I don’t like (insert perceived flaw),” only to have someone gasp or say incredulously, “But you’re amazing as you are?” It doesn’t matter what someone else tells you, if you don’t believe it. That’s why one of my meditations is: “I am so happy and grateful that I am maintaining or improving, as well as learning to see and appreciate, the beauty in me that so many others already exalt, and that I am humbly luxuriating in that Gift.”

Of all the many quotes I highlighted in Janet’s book, this is the one that sticks out the most for me: “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Comparisons are almost always harmful. Comparisons mean there’s a winner and loser – and you’re the one who winds up feeling like a loser.”

True.

I really can’t think of a single instance during my past struggles with Anorexia or Dysmorphia, or my current struggles with feelings of inadequacy in Adult Entertainment, that didn’t grow out of comparison. But I also have to pat myself on the back in retrospect: There have been many situations where I recognized that contests, auditions, competitions, and/or pageants would have done nothing but fuel a fire that was already burning hot enough, so I have mostly avoided them. I don’t win in those types of scenarios: My esteem doesn’t hold under that type of pressure. I am best when I do what I enjoy within its own context. I am most beautiful when I’m allowed to nurture my own sense of presence and style. I fail miserably almost every time I have to “win.” I hate winning. I love excelling. I flourish when I’m allowed to express my “true you,” and I generally get aggressive, defensive, belligerent, or pessimistic when I have to do something that will be judged against something or someone else. It’s one of the reasons that I have never played sports, despite being athletic. It’s the reason I detest gyms, despite being a trainer who works out with a trainer. It’s the reason I am quite content NOT to get nominated for video/escorting/blogging awards – God forbid I should “lose” publicly. I am very happy to leave awards to those with the audacity to sell themselves on Twitter for votes.

I loathe that type of activity. It doesn’t motivate me. It makes me feel inadequate, I cease to try, I don’t “win,” it reinforces why I didn’t want to do whatever it was in the first place, and then I’m left feeling bitter.

That’s why I have to remind myself from time to time, in various ways, that I don’t want or need to “win.” I get an incredible amount of satisfaction from a job well done (whatever I might be doing), and I prefer enjoying the intrinsic value of accomplishment (which cannot be taken), rather than getting accolades from others (which cannot be maintained).

I hope you have discovered, or on the path to discovering, your “true you.” I hope I’m getting closer to that, too. Thank you, Janet, for reminding me to continue growing. (See the response to this in Part 2 and Part 3).

Author: Devon Hunter

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4 Comments

  1. I saw her live in Australia in 1995 show was brilliant, then in 1998 where the show was a bit too American but excellent just the same. I think with her is, based on reading and listening to her, is the way she not only overcame a lot of things but also the way she went against the Jackson clan and supported Michael Jackson. Those qualities alone, and to finally now go out and tour again, are what I admire, but also I feel she has has good production teams, Lewis/Jam and the other one, behind her. All Nite Don’t Stop and that last album of hers was very exciting. She just rises above the other R & B artists and her music has gotten slightly more edgy and even more sexually mature, ie you can be older and still hot.

    I also wanted to point out the bite you wrote about body issues. Lately, despite still dieting and being mindful of the cronic diseases that can occur from being fat, I don’t seem to be to concerned about my body shape. I was comparing myself saying if I was thin I would be happy and have more dicks and a husband. Life does not always work that way. How many times have we gone to bars and seen the hottest guy in the place go home with a slob? It happens because not everyone is concerned with looks which is a shock to many gay men LOL.

    I do know you are right when you say people can tell you things but if you don’t believe them then nothing will convince you. I feel very different at the moment and part of that is getting comfortable with self-praise and being worthy. I hope it pays off in meeting better gay men.

    I am getting closer to the true me, but what is true is individual.

    Excellent post hugs to you Devon you are very insightful, however, Black Cat by Janet is still awful and I still will not be happy if you film with Heath Jordan or Paul Wagner (though I am going off Paul a bit now LOL) 🙂

    Hugs from down under
    Michael

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    • Oh my friend from Australia!You’re right,it’s about personality not looks per se and I think I’m pretty reliable coming from the fashion business.Fashion standards are dictated by avarage normal people like you and me.Before seeing with my own eyes how models both male and female( and i’m talking about top models) are treated and live their lives I only envyed them and hated myself for not being hot enough to be in their place…Well I might still envy their salaries a lot lol but that’s it,saddest humans ever,they’re all secretly hated for being unaccessible and unreachable,besides it’s not like they don’t have a brain but nobody cares about that,it’s all about how they look for a couple of years.When a model dares to show some age or gain a couple he get the 2 girls one cup video reaction treatment..I still wonder how porn models deal with their “fans” constantly ripping them apart.They all must have “rhino skin” like Michal Jackson used to say about himself and his detractors.

      The saddest thing is as much as they (and we as well) don’t care and deal with it,it still have big impact on our self esteem and nobody is immune to that.fuck them.

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  2. Beautifully expressed, courageous honesty. Thank you once again for an inspiring post. It reminds me of a quote: “Never compare your insides to other peoples outsides”

    It sounds like you’re finding peace with yourself

    Bravo.

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  3. Keith that needs to be a mantra of gay and lesbians, well anybody, I know I did compare for years and it does not work.

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