“IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME”
Why I wear goggles
The first time I gave my testimony was at the church my family was attending at the time. The sermon series was titled “If You Really Knew Me.” So I’ll start this off with, if you really knew me, then you would know that I’m a huge fan of Superman. Ever since I can remember, Superman has been my favorite hero. If you really knew me, then you would know that I am deathly afraid of spiders. This fear is probably borderline unholy I think. I can’t even look at pictures of real spiders. I do not like them at all. Couple more; if you really knew me then you would know that I really want a motorcycle. I love to ride. It’s a whole other kind of freedom being out on the open road. I love it! Lastly; if you really knew me then you would know that I struggle with an addiction to pornography.
I was about 9 or 10 years old. My family was at my grandparents house. It must have been Christmas or Thanksgiving or something, I just remember my whole family was there that day. Now my grandparents were not Christians. I can remember maybe a handful of times that my grandparents ever stepped foot into a church. But they were some of the most caring and giving people I ever knew. So that night I’m running around the house with my cousins, playing, probably getting into trouble and I come across this magazine. I pick up, start flipping through this thing and my jaw just drops. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. All I could think is “where are these girls clothes!” It made no sense to me. I didn’t understand what this was. Well my mom saw what I was looking at and BOOM! I feel this slap to the back of my head. Then my mom starts yelling at me, telling me to never ever look at those magazines. I knew then I was in trouble. What for? I wasn’t sure. I didn’t understand what it was I was looking at. Now in hindsight, I wished she had talked to me and explained that these magazines were bad and not resorted to violence to my head first. That was my first encounter with porn. Back then though I was way more interested in catching snakes and scarring my grandma to death. Those weird magazines were the last thing on my mind.
I grew up in a Nazarene church and practically every time the church doors were open we were there. Now in the Nazarene church is seemed like talking about porn was a huge NO-NO. It was just one of those things you do not talk about. Now that is obviously not the case but that was the feeling I got when I was a teenager. It was never preached about, never talked about within small groups or Sunday school and we never talked about it in our youth group, and I was apart of an amazing youth group too. All my best friends were in it. Now being a teenage boy my hormones were definitely present. Girls and sex were more and more becoming an interest to me. I would stay at my grandparents house all the time with my cousin. I wanted to spend time with them. I also knew that Grandma would let us stay up as late as we wanted. Stay out as late as we wanted, and we got to have as much soda as we wanted. It was great! That kind of freedom for a teen was awesome and probably a little bad. Remember the magazines? Well my Grandfather had stacks upon stacks of these magazines. No joke, about 6 feet high, 6 feet long, 3 rows deep. It was a wall of porn. Needless to say they were everywhere. I knew these magazines were bad. I think I still had a handprint on my head to prove it. I’d stay the night and grab a magazine. Finish with that one and move on to another. And another. And another. Till I just felt so empty, so alone that I physically looked depressed. I felt so embarrassed. I knew this was bad. I knew porn was wrong. So not being able to shake this feeling, I put back the stack of magazines I went through and I would pray this prayer. “God take this away from me. I don’t want this. PLEASE take this away.” I loved staying at my grandparents house, and every time before I’d go over there, I‘d tell myself, “OK! No Porn! You can do this!” Every time I failed. And I’d pray that prayer, “God take this away from me. I don’t want this. PLEASE take this away.” I felt more and more empty every time I went over there. I was so weak and so embarrassed to this thing that had a hold on my life. I felt I had no one to talk to. Nowhere I could go to share and get help. I was alone.
During high school I met Janaque. Who is now my wife. She took up a lot of my time, which was a good thing cause it limited my porn intake. We graduated high school and I asked Janaque to marry me. We went to college in Idaho together. A year after we were at Idaho, Janaque and I got married. Yes we were very young. We were both 19 years old. While I was at college though, I didn’t seek out porn. I had no urge to pursue it. That was probably because I was busy doing other things like; playing pool, watching movies, hanging out with my fiance and friends and NOT doing my homework. Kids do your homework!
We’re married now for a few years. Lived in an apartment. I had a pretty good job. Janaque was taking classes at UNC. I couldn’t complain. I have a hot, beautiful wife. Life is great right? I couldn't tell her this dirty secret I had though. That embarrassment was way too much to bare. There’s one night, I’m up late. Checking email, surfing the web. (Do people still say ‘surfing the web?’) Anyways I’m a night owl and I’m on the internet and this pop-up shows up on my screen. So I do the dumb thing and decide to click on it. Well before you know it I got a bunch of images racing across my computer screen. As I’m looking at these images that empty, alone feeling starts to show up again. So I start praying my prayer, “God take this away from me. I don’t want this. PLEASE take this away.” Well my wife wakes up and comes into the extra bedroom/office where the computer is and catches me red handed. Now my wife whom I love ever so dearly has what I call her “Super Power.” It’s the spirit of discernment. She just knows when something’s not right. Her “super power’ kicked into overdrive that night. Woke up, caught me and we ended up fighting all night. She was screaming. Telling me she was done with me. Packing bags to go stay at her moms. She beat the crap out of me. I found out that night she’s really strong. She threw her ring at me. For some reason she like to throw phones. She threw our cordless landline phone at me. I’m begging and pleading with her not to leave me. Telling her I’ll never do it again and that I’ll get help and go to counseling. I was so embarrassed by what I'd done. She was pissed! And rightfully so. I had cheated on her with some images on a screen.
She ends up staying and we work through some things and the next day I start counseling with our pastor. Let me just tell you trying to earn trust back from your spouse is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It sucks! I had to ask permission from her to use the computer. I signed up for this thing called XXX Church. You sign up and it tracks all the websites you go to. You add people on there as accountability partners. All the sites you attend, if there are any that may be questionable, your accountability partner gets an email. Then they call you and say, "Hey what is this and why were you there?" It’s a truly amazing program. There is even a mobile version of this as well. I fully recommend this. There is also another program too that I recommend called, Covenant Eyes. I've never used this but I hear it's great.
I wish this was the end and all is well but there is a lot more. Unfortunately. I gave into this battle with porn more times than I can count and every time I did I got caught. Every time! My wife’s super power is strong. Every time I’d beg and plead with her to stay. She'd pack bags and threaten to leave. She ended up staying always. She probably should have left me. But she stayed and we’d work it out. There was one time she caught me, it may have been the last time she caught me, again I’m begging and pleading “stay, I won’t do it again.” I said something like “because I’m a man” or something, trying to justify what I’d done. When really all I was trying to do was explain why I was doing it in the first place. BOOM! She all out punches me right in the mouth. I go straight down to the ground. It was like in the Rocky movies. Those huge slow motion hits. My jaw, lips and cheeks waving about after getting hit. Eyes rolling into the back of my head. It was like that I’m sure. My wife’s got a mean right hook! Well she ended up staying. We talked and some got things worked out. And once again I had to fight for her trust.
A couple years pass and Janaque and I are taking the youth group to a festival in Colorado called Heaven Fest. There are lots of bands that I’m excited to see there. But there was one band that I wanted to see most of all. White Collar Sideshow. I had never heard of them before and wanted to know more. So I got on YouTube and looked them up. WOW. The best way I can describe them is if you take Blue Man Group and mix it with Rob Zombie. Check these guys out, they will change your life. Click Here. So we’re at this festival all day and finally White Collar Sideshow is up. They’re on stage doing their thing and the main guy T.D., gives his testimony. I cannot believe what I just heard! He just said he struggles with porn! Now remember I grew up thinking you can’t talk about that because it’s dirty and awful. As T.D. is speaking I look over and my wife has tears rolling down her face. These huge rock stars just bared their lives in front of everyone. Right then and there I knew I wasn’t alone in this battle. After their set we walked over and started talking to them. Telling them thank you for taking a stand against porn and for opening up their lives. As we talked we found out that our stories were very similar. We hit it off and became friends. The next year they came back to play at Heaven Fest again and asked if they could stay with us. It was so awesome and crazy to know that we were so similar in our likes and interests. These guys helped change my life!
I had always wanted my wedding ring tattooed on. You can’t ever lose it if it’s tattooed on. I designed so many different rings but was never happy with them. One day I was listening to White Collars album and looking at the album cover and it hit me. I found my wedding ring! So I got everything ready and pulled my wife over and told her I was going to tattoo my wedding ring on and I wanted her help on part of it. (I’m a tattoo artist incase you were wondering.) Then tattooed part of White Collar Sideshows logo as my wedding ring. I made a new commitment that day to my wife and to myself, to not look at porn again.
I also am a graphic designer. I do all the design work for Random Hero. I was working on a t-shirt design for the band and got a phone call. I thought they were wondering about the shirt. Turns out their bass player just quit and they needed a new one. This surprised me because I didn’t think their old bassist would ever quit. From what I knew of him he loved it. I told Aaron and Bertrand that I’d be praying for them, and that they would find the right bassist. They said, ”Well that’s kinda why we’re calling you.” I knew then what they were about to ask. “We were wondering if You would like to be our new bassist!” All I could say was, “Oh.” I do play the bass but all I ever played was praise and worship. So I told them give me a week to pray about it and that I’d give them an answer then. So I’m praying, asking God is this the plan you have for me? Is this what I’m supposed to do? I also talked to Janaque, and asked her what she thought. But as I’m praying all these visions of Steampunk come into my head. Every time I pray. It’s just steampunk. I’m thinking what in the world?! I like steampunk but I’ve never had this much thought about it. So the final day comes and I have to tell the guys whether or not I’m going to join the band. So I pray one more time and again, steampunk. But this time was a little different. It was steampunk goggles. These goggles were the only thing I could see when I prayed. I opened my eyes and it was immediately clear. I needed to join this band and wear steampunk goggles on stage. So I meet up with the guys up and tell them, yes I will join the band. I then tell them I’m going to wear these steampunk goggles and play my bass almost like a robot. The look of somewhat panic on Aaron’s face was priceless. I could tell he was probably thinking, “did we just make a huge mistake by asking him to join?”
See God was telling me to wear these goggles and get these people’s attention. Then, when they come up to talk to you or ask why you’re wearing those crazy things you can tell them. I struggle with an addiction to pornography and these are like a metaphoric way shielding my eyes from that temptation.
This past summer of 2016 we played a festival called Bash On The Farm. We pulled up, and started to unload. I heard this really familiar music. It was White Collar Sideshow! I was so excited! I hadn’t seen my friends for quite awhile. After their set and all the fans dissipated, I wanted to tell them how much they changed my life and show them my wedding ring. Just really thank them for being so bold. Tell them how they were partly the inspiration for the goggles. I asked them if they would stay for our set so that they could see what they helped create in me. I sure hope they liked it! Getting to talk and catch up with them, kinda brought it all full circle. One of the best memories of my life!
Now temptation will always be there and will always try to weasel its way in. I am still tempted to this day, I still get embarrassed by what I did, but it’s what you choose to do when that tempting comes that will help you. I now no longer pray that prayer, “God take this away from me. I don’t want this. PLEASE take this away.” I am excited to let you know that I have been porn free for a little over 8 years now and still counting.
So that's why I wear goggles. It's not for better stage vision or to look cool or anything like that. I want to get people's attention and for them to know my heart and to be able to share my testimony with them.
If you take anything from this, know this, you are not alone. There are people everywhere going through the same stuff you are. Talk to someone. Get some help and know that God loves you more than you will ever know.
-Rob “LOS” McDonough