Just got this email from one of our former group leaders Josh Richards. He is also leading a group in his church down in Pasadena. I love this guy, he is so honest, passionate, and humble too. He's an Australian so he's naturally cool and that accent is boss. We did an impersonation contest at ManiFest a few years back and he did one of me. Hilarious, he won hands down.
Be warned, this is about as edgy as I dare post. Many will be uncomfortable with this, but it should be known that this level of freedom is not only possible, but it is happening.
Here's his email. Enjoy.
Just wanted to take the time to share a rad testimony with you about my journey with God and growing up as a man. I remember when I started coming to group and it was my second or third week I think, you got up and told the men there that they can get to such a place of freedom that they could be in a room with a 100 naked Brazilian models and be cool. Well, I remember then, feeling the impossibility of that. I honestly felt such a longing for that level of freedom, even though I was stunned that it could be possible. Two years of group beat me into shape. Being married and starting my own group down here in LA has also kicked my teeth in, but in a great way.
The other night, I was acting for a buddy in his interactive, experimental horror show. Its gnarly and he's been asking me to come on board for about a year now. Every time I've said no, due to there being a bunch of full-frontal nudity and super, super hardcore horror themes. Finally he convinced me. He told me that I wouldn't have to interact with any of his actresses and that I wouldn't have to do anything I wasn't comfortable with. I read the script and lo and behold I actually liked it.
Turns out it was one of the most fun, freeing and enthralling experiences I have ever had in my life. I'm convinced that the Lord brought me this opportunity, regardless of it being horror, or glorifying evil and nudity. I love the guy who owns the show. And it turned out I had to be in a small motel room with a dead body, the part being played by a tiny, very naked and very fit women.
I can not stress enough how awesome it felt to suddenly realize when she stripped down in front of the crew and me that I was not triggered at all. I mean she was gorgeous. But apart from thinking that she is beautiful, there was no discomfort, no melt down, no inner lust or torment.
Man, I was so stunned that I had some how arrived at a place of freedom like this and could look her in the eye, see her completely as a human being, and fist bump her and say, good job with that last scene. I didn't feel shame talking to her. I didn't feel drawn to stare at her. At the end of the night, she gave me a hug and told me she had had a lot of fun working with me. I responded the same in earnest. I wasn't lying. It was a great to act again. And it didn't matter that she'd been naked or whatever.
Later on my buddy asked me to pose in my bloody makeup for a promotional picture for his website. There is a tone of bloody, gory, and sexual stuff on there by the way. I said yes, I was on a high from finishing the show. The actress, now showered and clothed, was told to undress once more, as she was in the show, I was told to take of my shirt and shoes and smoke a cigarette as I had been during the show.
It was at this time I realized that they were asking me to hold her, as if I was carrying her freshly murdered body over the threshold. The actresses looked me square in the eye and asked, "Are you okay with holding a naked women?" As if it was some sort of sarcastic challenge. I replied, "Yeah, no worries."
And so there I was, now hold this naked girl in my arms. Smoking away, shirtless and my heart was good and at peace. I accidentally placed my hand on her breast at one point and calmly apologized and she replied that it was not a problem at all. Mate, I couldn't believe myself. I felt so free, it was like being a new man.
I told my wife everything, and she was so stoked. Its cool that I didn't even have shame when telling her about it all. She saw my heart, and to quote my wife, she is proud of me and my break through. I guess it comes with the industry down here. And I'd rather men of character be in roles like the one I was, who can keep others safe-guarded as long as roles with nudity or sexuality are around.
But besides that, the show was so much fun and it felt so good to act again. It was literally the most fun I've ever had in my short acting career. I'm super stoked, so humbled and feel so loved by God and my wife. Its awesome!
Thanks for creating the room for me and the men and loving me well.
Love you mate,