I’m sitting here feeling so different from even 24 hours ago.
I just got off the phone with some friends who’ve admitted to sending the envelope I received last Thursday. It was never intended to hurt me – and I know with my entire being that this is the truth, because I know how amazing and supportive and loving these friends are. The pamphlet was sent to me because they assumed it would make me laugh; that I’d see the obvious insanity behind it, and I’d shake my head at its pure stupidity.
What they didn’t know – what they couldn’t have known – was how I would respond. They couldn’t have known how eerily similar this event was to something that happened only a few years ago. They couldn’t have known that I had received hate mail taped to the door of the very same office which their envelope was addressed, because I’d never talked about it. They couldn’t have known because I’d kept that information to myself; I’d only allowed a few people to have access to that part of me because I had felt that keeping it hidden would somehow protect me – keeping it under lock and key would ensure that no one would feel the need to put me under a microscope to figure out why it had happened in the first place.
Am I angry at them for sending me the pamphlet? No, I’m not. And to everyone who has sent me their support and encouragement, and who have offered to be my personal bodyguards and hit-men, I ask that you aren’t either. Because honestly, I know as I sit here that I’ve been in a similar situation where I’ve done something expecting a particular reaction, only to learn that what was meant to be harmless fun affected someone in a way that I never could have predicted. I’ve been the bad guy and I know how miserable and sorry I felt because I had hurt someone I loved. So no, I can’t be angry with them. It’s not helpful or productive, and it won’t lead any of us to a better place.
Honestly, as I sit here writing this I’m trying to decide who I’m angry with. Am I angry at the people who would intentionally spread hate? Am I angry at myself for letting those people get under my skin? I think the answer is yes to both of these questions. Yes I’m angry that the world seemingly is filled with people who would choose to purposefully harm others, and yes I’m angry at myself for allowing fear to take over my life. But I am not, nor will I allow myself to be, consumed by this anger.
I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. The past week has taught me a few things about myself, and about how much the events of my past have truly shaped who I am. There are a million thoughts running through my head that I need to process; there are a million things that I could do – I just need to take some time to sort through them.
What I do know, and what I’ve said many times, is that I am a very fortunate man. This week I was reminded of this because of so many people who were willing to go to war to protect me because I thought I was being threatened. While this week has been a low one for me, I find myself humbled by your words, your actions, and your defence of me. I owe each and every one of you a hug, and I love you all for being there for me.
For now I’m heading to bed because I am exhausted in every way. But please do me a favour – please hug your kids, or your parents, or your siblings, or your partner, or your pet; tell the people you love that you love them, even if it scares you, especially if it scares you; forgive. Because these tiny acts are what keeps the darkness and anger and hatred at bay, and these tiny acts heal us. But most importantly, these tiny acts become a force of change if we want them to be.
And I want them to be.