Webcam modeling is war; real war, with real consequences. Before we can win this war, we must first acknowledge its existence. Then we need to identify the enemy. The opposing force.
The enemy is Resistance. But first, Camus.
In the final pages of his imperishable novel La Peste ("The Plague"), Albert Camus gives us picture of the thoughts of the good Dr. Rieux, as the town of Oran celebrates its recovery from a terrible visitation of disease. Rieux determines to remain lucid and to "complete this chronicle," in order that:
"He should not be one of those who held their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice and outrage done to them might endure; and to state simply what we learn in a time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." -The Plague
- excerpt from the introduction to 'The Portable Atheist' by Christopher Hitchens
When I read The Plague I see a story about Resistance.
The concept of Resistance--the capital R is very important--was introduced to me by the book, "The War of Art" written by Steven Pressfield. The War of Art is essential reading for every webcam model new and old alike.
This introductory chapter to CAM 101 relates concepts from that book, while paraphrasing heavily or overtly stealing, to webcam modeling. Rather than, citing every paragraph, I want to do one big citation here. The War of Art is brilliant, you need to read it, it might save your life, it certainly saved mine. Everything after this paragraph, until I specify differently, is an excerpt (block-quoted) or paraphrase of ideas (regular formatting) from The War of Art.
What I Know
There is a secret that successful webcam models know that wannabe webcam models don't, and the secret is this: It's not the camming part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to cam.
What keep's models from sitting down is Resistance.
The Unlived Life
Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.
Have you ever bought a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless: to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn't a write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.
Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling. A writer writes with his genius, an artist paints with hers, everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul's seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star's beacon and Polaris.
Every sun casts a shadow, and genius's shadow is Resistance. As powerful as is our soul's call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine. We're not alone if we've been mowed down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us. And here's the biggest bitch: We don't even know what hit us. I never did. From age twenty-four to thirty-two, Resistance kicked my ass from the East Coast to West and back again thirteen times and I never even knew it existed. I look everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.
Have you heard this story: "Woman learns she has cancer, six months to live. Within days she quits her job, resumes the dream of writing Tex-Mex songs she gave up to raise a family (or starts studying classical Greek, or moves to the inner city and devotes herself to tending to babies with AIDS). Woman's friends think she's crazy; she herself has never been happier. There's a postscript. Woman's cancer goes into remission.
Is that what it takes? Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance? Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don't do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us. If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.
Look in your own heart. Unless I'm Crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I'm crazy, you're no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn't real? Resistance will bury you.
You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I'll say it anyway; it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.
Resistance's Greatest Hits
The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance.
The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
Any diet or health regimen.
Any program of spiritual advancement.
Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.
Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
Education of every kind.
Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
The making of any principled stand in the face of adversity.
In other words any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.
Now, what are the characteristics of Resistance?
Resistance is Invisible
Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It's a repelling force. It's negative. It's aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.
Resistance is Internal
Resistance seems to come from outside ourselves. We locate it in spouses, jobs, bosses, kids. "Peripheral opponents," as Pat Riley used to say when he coached the Los Angeles Lakers.
Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.
Resistance is Insidious
Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify, seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that's what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.
Resistance is Implacable
Resistance is like the Alien or the Terminator or the shark in Jaws. It cannot be reasoned with. It understands nothing but power. It is an engine of destruction, programmed from the factory with one object only: to prevent us from doing our work. Resistance is implacable, intractable, indefatigable. Reduce it to a single cell and that cell will continue to attack.
This is Resistance's nature. It's all it knows.
Resistance is Impersonal
Resistance is not out to get you personally. It doesn't know who you are and doesn't care. Resistance is a force of nature. It acts objectively.
Though it feels malevolent, Resistance in fact operates with the indifference of rain and transits the heavens by the same laws as the stars. When we marshal our forces to combat Resistance, we must remember this.
Resistance is Infallible
Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North--meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.
We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Resistance is Universal
We're wrong if we think we're the only ones struggling with Resistance. Everyone who has a body experiences resistance.
Resistance Never Sleeps
Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear don't go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.
Resistance Plays For Keeps
Resistance's goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death.
Resistance is fueled by fear.
Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possess comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it.
Master that fear and we conquer resistance.
Resistance is Most Powerful At The Finish Line
Odysseus almost got home years before his actual homecoming. Ithaca was in sight, close enough that the sailors could see the smoke of their families' fires on shore. Odyssues was so certain he was safe, he actually lay down for a snooze. It was then that his men, believing there was gold in an ox-hide sack among their commander's possessions, snatched this prize and cut it open. The bag contained the adverse Winds, which King Aelous had bottled up for Odysseus when the wanderer had touched earlier at his blessed isle. The winds burst forth now in one mad blow, driving Odysseus' ships back across every league of ocean they had with such difficulty traversed, making him endure further trials and sufferings before, at last and alone, he reached home for good.
The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we're about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it's got.
The professional must be alert for this counterattack. Be wary at the end. Don't open that bag of wind.
Resistance Recruits Allies
Resistance by defintion is self sabotage. But there's a parralel peril that must also be guarded against: sabotage by others.
When a writer begins to overcome her Resistance--in other words, when she actually starts to write--she may find that those close to her begin acting strange. They may become moody or sullen, they may get sick; they may accuse the wrtier of "changing," or of "not being the person she was." The closer these people are to the awakening writer, the more bizzarrely they will act and the more emotion they will put behind their actions.
They are trying to sabotage her.
The reason is that they are struggling, consciously or unconsciously, against their own Resistance. The awakening writer's success becomes a reproach to them. If she can beat these demons, why can't they?
Often couples or close friends, even entire families will enter into tacit compacts whereby each individual pledges (unconsciously) to remain mired in the same slough in which she and all her cronies have become so comfortable. The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket.
The awakening artist must be ruthless, not only with herself but with others. Once you make your break, you can't turn around for your buddy who catches his trouser leg on the barbed wire. The best thing you can do for that friend (and he'd tell you this himself, if he really is your friend) is to get over wall and keep motating
The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.
This ends my extend excerpt of The War of Art. The book then goes on to list the symptoms of Resistance, procrastination being chief among them. And then opens up into a brilliant strategy on winning the war.
I can't define Resistance any better than Pressfield has. So I didn't want to do you, the reader, the disservice of trying. Now that this idea has been introduced, I can talk about webcam modeling.
I couldn't before, you see. It's simply impossible to talk about webcam modeling without talking about Resistance. I could try, but you wouldn't be here long enough to hear anything I say. A prospective performer comes to us surrounded by a minefield of Resistance. Almost anything can and will trip a wire that sets off a bomb and blows this whole thing to pieces.
But if I can get you to pause, just for a moment, long enough to hear me shouting "watch out for the mines!" then we have a chance. There is a safe path out of the minefield, and I'll show it to you. But first you have to be aware that you're in the minefield.
In fact, there are two paths out. One is the correct path for you, the other is not. I can't tell you which path is right. But you'll know, and you'll make the right choice.
Whatever you think webcam modeling is, it's different from that. You can't predict how the experience of camming is going to go for you, you just can't. It is going to go differently.
Describing the experience of being a webcam model to the uninitiated is like describing a Vermeer painting to someone that's never seen art. Really, you just have to see for yourself. But I won't leave you empty handed. Empty handedness goes against the very nature of webcam modeling. I'll do my best to give you a glimpse into our world; that world that might soon be your world. But you won't know what it's like until you're in.
Imagine being a naked side show street performer.
This is kind of like that. This is live performance art. This is improv. This is sex for money. This is war.
You come face to face with your deepest fears camming. This is public speaking and being naked in front of strangers simultaneously. It's engaging in behavior that some may deem immoral or at the very least of ill repute; that can lead to being ostracized by your peer group, or mocked. You will be judged and some people won't like you.
It's recorded and on the internet, a permanent record. It requires immense behavior change; new habits that will be more difficult than any diet or exercise plan that you've ever failed at.
You will, all at once, be confused as to what you should do for your performance and doubt whether or not the decision to do any of this in the first place is even the right decision for you. You will think more about college and education, or starting a family, or that other idea that maybe is better. You will come up with every possible task that you must get done instead of working.
Fear, doubt, discomfort, awkwardness, uncertainty, and fear again. That's the path forward if you choose the red pill.
it all begins and ends With fear.
We all suffer from it, whether you cam or not. That inescapable, undeniable, quintessentially human fear.
"The fear that you aren't as you should be, and that you're not enough."
We carry this fear with us all the time. When life is normal and stable and we're content, the fear might be almost silent, you might even forget it for a little while. Then something changes. You find yourself in a new situation. Circumstances change or are out of your control. Something you were emotionally invested in goes wrong. This is when the fear returns. The fear will kill you if it can. It is not neutral. It is an evil, protean force seeking to destroy you. This fear is Resistance.
We are not powerless in this war. We have a superior arsenal if we're willing to look at it and deploy it against this enemy. We are humans with consciousness and imagination. Our human nature behooves us to fight against this fear, to conquer it, to live and be alive. We can win the war.
On cam, you wage this war more frequently than average people. You are consistently in unfamiliar situations, interacting with strangers, improv acting, and violating societal norms. All of these activities trigger the fear response. They try to make you stop action in order to "analyze". Giving in cripples you, as the action of performance art is the only thing that causes it to exist.
As you progress through your career the fear will get more difficult to spot. It won't be as simple as "I shouldn't cam, it's bad." It will evolve and change into different thoughts, "I need to go to Trader Joe's first, and cook dinner, and then I'll cam." and then, "it's late, I'll get a fresh start tomorrow." It's the same fear, deploying different weapons. It wants you to fail.
Even if you reach the heights of success on cam, you won't vanquish the fear forever.
It's time for me to finish the thought that the good Dr. Rieux began at the close of The Plague:
"And indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the towns, Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city."
So how do we win?
Not camming is an option. You don't have to be a webcam model. You don't have to keep reading this. You don't have to do anything. This is not the right field for everyone to work in. Not everyone will be good at it, even if they're hot. It might not be right for you. That resistance to becoming a webcam model that you are feeling might be your conscience not your ego.
If you decide not to cam, you won't have to wage this war on cam, you can do it with your clothes on in another field. But as soon as you pursue what you have to in this life, Resistance will be there, and I hope you'll beat it.
I can't make the decision for you. I don't know you, and I wouldn't want to anyways. What I can do is tell you how I make decisions, and give you the tool to make the right decision for yourself.
This is a thinking tool that will allow you to make the best decision possible in any circumstance. I hope you can use it for a lot more than camming, but it is an essential consideration here. Camming is a life changing decision. The life you will have in 6 months will be drastically different if you decide to cam.
Take this big decision seriously. Think about it for as long as you need to. Once you've made your decision, just stick it out come hell or high water, don't second guess yourself ever, second guessing is just fear talking, it's Resistance.
This process is called reasoned confidence. It is a structure that pushes you to analyze everything that matters in making a decision. If you do it, you will make the best decision that you are capable of making. With that, you will never have to regret or apologize to anyone for your decision. No one is allowed to expect you to do more than the best you are capable of. If anyone tries to, avoid them.
This process involves checking in with the three reporting centers in your brain that govern are used in decision making. If you get a green light from all three reporting centers, you are good to go. Make your decision and proceed confidently in it's execution. You won't have to try with the confidence, it will just happen naturally for you. Let's begin.
1. The Logical Center
This is your conscious, thinking brain. It is how you reason things. It is how you pass math class. It is what you know. Logic is based in language, thought, words. It is a relatively new tool as far as humans go.
Ask yourself, "Do I have all of the information I need to make a decision about this? Have I done enough research? Have I compiled enough data and analyzed it properly? Or do I need to wait a little longer?"
If you can answer yes to these questions and you're comfortable with the amount of research you've done, enough to make a judgment call, then you can ask the pass/fail question to your logical self
"Knowing what I know does it make sense for me to do this?"
It's a yes or no. If it's a no, do not do that thing.
The purpose of CAM101 is to give you enough information, enough data, so that you can give yourself a firm answer on this.
2. The Emotional Center
How do you feel about camming?
Humans have had emotional reasoning for much longer than we have had language and logical reasoning. Millions of years longer in fact. It would be false to say that our emotional centers are "smarter" than our logical brain, since smarts deal with logic/knowledge. But our emotional centers are extremely well developed and important in decision making. Everyone has instinctive emotional intelligence.
Ask yourself, "How do I feel about this? Am I good with this? If I do this, will I feel better or worse afterwards? Does anything feel off?" You shouldn't always throw things out because of emotional resistance. Sometimes it is just temporary fear, sometimes it is irrational, sometimes you don't have enough information. You can check in with your emotional center all the time until you get consensus.
Our emotional centers are slower to update than our logical centers. Something might make sense as soon as you hear it, and immediately be accepted as a belief. But it could take weeks or months for your emotional center to update and feel ok with it.
It's another pass fail. You won't get a yes or a no. But you'll get a good feeling or a bad feeling. good = yes, bad = no.
3. The Ethical Center.
Everyone has a conscience. Everyone has a personal code of ethics. The rules you live by, whether you realize what they are or not, are your ethical code. Ethics are how you behave when nobody is watching. They are your character. You should never ever ever compromise on them to make a decision.
Ethics can change, they do over time. A lot our ethics were programmed into us when we were children. As adults, we can now analyze them and reason out our ethics. So if you trip an ethical alarm on this decision, it might be the case that you have some out dated ethical code lying dormant that is saying no. But dealing with that is beyond the scope of this article.
There is no payoff in this world that is worth compromising your ethics. Any material or status gains that you receive will be hollow and they'll do more harm than good in your life. The cost of compromising your ethics is your self esteem. That is too high of a price to pay for anything. Without it, you're useless.
Ask yourself, "Would I do this? Is this comfortably within my ethical boundaries?"
Get a firm yes on this. If the decision is suspect be very careful. Not doing it is the safer bet. Do more research, focus on your own ethics and do research there, see how you feel about it in a year. Then revisit this decision making process.
When you reach a place of reasoned confidence on a decision, you get to ask yourself one more question. At this point, it's the only question that matters now.
"Do I want to do this?"
With reasoned confidence you can do anything. The world will be full of options and you'll be capable of executing on them. You don't ever have to explain yourself to anyone. You don't ever have to apologize. You're making the best decisions possible. Operating at a level way higher than most people's haphazard "sure I'll do it" reasoning. Now you get to pick.
Do you want to? If you do, do it. If you do not, do not do it. Life is that simple. Until we feel fear. As soon as you decide to do it, fear returns, something changes, and you'll start to feel resistance. You'll be tempted to revisit your reasoning and look at things differently. Your ego will say, "but what about this?" and give you a compelling reason to doubt yourself.
Steel yourself against Resistance by making big decisions one time, and then seeing them through no matter what. This is freedom. Commit to a course of action, and then know that that is what's going to happen, no matter what. Doubts will still pop up, but they won't have a forum to speak with you, so they'll pass with your mood and not be an issue.
This isn't freedom from fear or Resistance. It's freedom with it. It's accepting the obnoxious neighbor for what it is and then going about with doing what you want anyways.
In the rest of CAM101, I'll tell you everything you could ever want to know about webcam modeling. I'll spare no detail. All I ask is that you keep this decision making process in mind, and avoid stepping on any mines before we reach the end.
Founder of Pandora Modeling