As I sit here after spending 7 hours of my evening with 5 women whom I greatly admire, discussing the way your wrongdoings have affected us and how we plan to forge a way forward, I feel a number of different things.
A. ANGER. This is a feeling I can gratefully say I don’t experience often. I am diplomatic to a fault, always seeing both sides of the equation, and forgiveness comes easy to me. It does not now. I am on fire.
B. SADNESS. Sad for all those who were afflicted. Sad for your wife. Sad for your kids. Sad for your family. Sad for you. Sad that I, as your best friend, didn’t say a goddamn thing. Sad for our other friends who also let it slide. Did they even know? Will we ever know?
C. SHAME. I am beyond ashamed. So ashamed in fact, that it has taken me two weeks to even write this thing because I have had to dive deep and uncover years and years of denial, self-deception, and neglect that factor into the dreadful decisions that I chose to make for some time now. Ashamed that I went into business with you and brought the best of the best into the picture. Innocent folks who will now carry the burden of this unsavory disaster for some time, no doubt.
D. FEAR. I am smart. I am observant. I am a protector. How the FUCK did I miss this? How the FUCK did we all miss this? I am always the last man standing. I am always the one that is secretly disengaged staring out into the distance, looking or dreaming about what’s next. How the FUCK did I miss you hurting my friends? Did you not do it when I was around because you were doing it to me? Or perhaps I was distracting you long enough with laughs or conversation until we all decided it was time to go home?
E. GUILT. For not speaking earlier. For letting some of the most important men in my life impact my decision to not speak up. For being so WEAK that I let my decisions be affected by anyone but myself. I’m sick to my stomach at the end of the day because I still miss you and still feel for you and the pain that you are going through. Why and how is that even close to a rational thought that I should be having?
Almost two months ago, I lost my job, a job I intended to turn into a serious career due to inappropriate sexual behavior between myself and my best friend, mentor, and would-have-been future business partner. I need to make it clear that I never felt as though I was in a compromised situation during these times. When it got weird, and I asked you to stop, you always obliged.
For two years now, I let you touch me in the dark recesses past closing time when we should have been just innocently sharing a smoke. For two years now, I let you whisper and snarl detailed accounts of things you wanted to do to me where I would desperately try to change the subject. For two years now, I answered my phone when it would ring at 4 or 5 AM with you on the other line inebriated to the point where you can barely speak in fear that you were in trouble or something was wrong. But no, you were calling to tell me that you wanted to “bury [your] head between my legs and make me shiver.”
I let you do these things because I trusted you. I let you do these things because I was blind. Blinded by the good you did, yes, and blinded by the trauma inflicted on me in the past that I guess has made me so numb at this point that I can no longer feel.
I look to you, the audience, an audience that you so forced us to cultivate with our social media posts and our emails and our FUCKING #hashtags to develop meaning, to help us break apart the constructs of our current reality that find us passively accepting, forgiving, or turning a blind eye.
While you suffer for these mistakes, I sincerely hope that I do too. I deserve to burn with you for this silence. As humans, we have language, and our language is a tool for doing as well as an action in its information capacity. Words both provoke and constitute action. I chose not to use these words until now. I have learned that there was a numbness coating my existence that I mistook for indifference which convinced me that standing up for myself wasn’t necessary. I was wrong. I was wrong about so many things, but you were more wrong.
I suppose I should thank you (which is far more disgusting and goes to prove that the psychological damage that you inflicted goes too deep for understanding) for allowing me to recognize the impact of my taciturn response to what I experienced with you. I had no idea, like so many others and my awareness is now dialed up to the highest frequency possible, but unfortunately it’s a bit late for that.
Up until this point, I felt as though my story did not deserve a place in the public eye due to the fact that I cannot pursue legal action for anything beyond firing me unjustly for your sick, sick proclivities. However, this silence that we have all been tuned into on channel fucking four, is deafening. I’m gonna turn it down a little bit…