I’m an angry person. That’s probably not news to many of you. Those of you who have seen my twitter or blog accounts the last few days are most likely thinking that’s one of the biggest understatements you’ve heard all year. I’m also a Christian. Unfortunately, that probably is news to most of you. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that many of you are currently thinking there’s no way that’s true because I act nothing like one. Or, in what is even more upsetting, you’re thinking that makes sense because you may only know arrogant, self-righteous Christians who attack others and I more than fit that bill this weekend. I’ve been aware that I have a hypocritical problem for awhile now. In that sort of back of your mind but I don’t really like to think about it sort of awareness. It made itself a front and center issue this weekend.
To backtrack a little, I posted a blog entry on Friday about my frustration with the new Entertainment Weekly articles on shippers and on The Vampire Diaries. Some parts were agreed with, others taken issue with and what I knew could be a touchy article became a powder keg. At this point I’ve had more views of that article than of every other blog entry combined. I’ll come back to this in more detail further on (and if you were one of those who was upset, I ask that you please read until the end before forming or adjusting your opinion of me) but suffice to say, tempers flared. Being an angry person, my own temper was no exception. I found myself blasting back in comments, using twitter to vent my rage and bringing my friends into the discussion in private so I could vent further. That’s not a good thing.
So this morning, after much more frustration, I decided to take a break from twitter and all things internet to try and calm down. What I told myself was that I was going to take a break and then ignore the people who disagreed with me and just not focus on it. (If you’re thinking that’s a very immature way to handle the situation, you’re right. I just wasn’t there yet.) As I worked on cleaning my apartment and getting chores done, I received a phone call from a friend. She asked if I was free because she really wanted to talk about the fact that she kept being angry all the time, she didn’t want to be, and did I have any advice. To my shame, the first sentence out of my mouth was “well, here are a few ideas.” Thank goodness that I believe in a God who isn’t interested in letting me stay an asshole forever because as I tried to continue, I couldn’t. I sort of sat there speechless for a moment or two as the full weight of the hypocrisy of my words fell on me. And then I started to cry. What was I thinking? Here I’ve been raging against people, using completely inappropriate language and descriptions, and I’m about to start giving advice on not being angry? Believe me, I saw the absurdity of that almost immediately.
I so appreciate my friend because she immediately started talking things over with me and working through some of these issues. To explain a little more to ya’ll, as far as the anger goes, there are parts of it that I can trace and parts I can’t. My life isn’t perfect. No one’s is. And there are things that I’ve been through that I don’t talk about that make me very bitter and very angry. Therapy would probably be a smart idea. But over the last year especially, as I’ve let the discipline of my faith fall away, I’ve found myself reacting in anger over little things and building up resentment. For someone who already struggles with anger management, this creates many more problems.
The other background that might be helpful is my faith. The briefest version of my testimony is that I grew up in a Christian home but never bought into it until the summer before my senior year in a moment where it felt like God was knocking at my heart and saying ‘that whole put up a mask & not deal with life thing you do? Yeah we need to talk about that.’ After that, everything seemed to go to shit. It took several more years and some great mentors for me to understand that contrary to what a lot of people say, God isn’t a bandaid for a crappy life. He’s there with you, but there aren’t any promises that life is going to be sunshine and unicorns. At this point, I know what I believe and I know who I want to be. It’s getting there that seems to be the hard part. I also get very frustrated at people who shove RELIGION (not faith) down other people’s throats and insist that everyone should follow the same set of rules because they are the right ones. The morals that I strive to live by (I say strive because as many of you know and have witnessed, I fail a lot) stem from WHO I believe in, not WHAT I believe in. And because I don’t like to do the street corner preacher thing about rules, I tend to keep quiet about my faith. Clearly that’s becoming a problem. Not only am I disobeying one of the greatest commands of my faith, by not talking about it in any way, I’ve let the ugly sides of my personality take center stage.
As I talked to my friend, I initially tried suggesting what I thought was a decent compromise. I wouldn’t necessarily make a big public statement, but I wouldn’t talk about this whole situation with the blog post anymore or the people commenting on it. You’d like her because she called me out fast on that one, pointing out that if I felt convicted, I had an obligation to say so to all of my readers. She noted as well that while you may not believe my sincerity or may still be angry, the point was that I knew the right thing to do, and thus far I hadn’t done that. Which brings us back to yesterday’s blog entry.
Most of you agreed with my letter to the editor of sorts. Apparently quite a few of you tweeted a link to my post before reading it in full though. I would highly encourage that you read any of my posts completely before sharing. I tend to think in rabbit trails so I may say something part way through that you do not agree with and don’t want others thinking you agree with it. That was the case with the postscript that I had in the post. I have since removed the comments and added a small sentence directing readers to this post to hear my apology and explanation.
Let me be clear, though you can make your own assumptions (and I’m certain some of you will), this apology comes from my own convictions, not from peer pressure. I don’t actually like apologies derived from pressure because they are nearly always fake. I do stand by my impression of the article. It is not the first time I have gotten that impression from an interview or article and I doubt it will be the last. I would love to say that I’m going to reread the original article with an open mind but that would be at best delusional and at worse a flat out lie. I know I have a bias. I tend to be fairly open about that bias. At this point in my life, I don’t think I could get past it enough to apologize for what I said. What I do apologize for is WHERE I said it and HOW I said it. I gave the impression that my post covered a very different topic and caused confusion among readers. In addition, there are appropriate forums and channels that I could’ve used to exorcise my frustration with the quote and wording and I did not use any of them. Considering my prior bias came into play, I also didn’t give enough background on that to you as readers, apparently leading many to get an extreme opinion. To be a little more clear, I don’t think Ian was being intentional in his words, but I do feel they gave a false impression. I was being intentional in my words and they were hurtful and unfair in their context. However, several of you demanded that I owe Mr. Somerhalder an apology. This is not an easy thing for me to do but here it is: “Mr. Ian Somerhalder, I highly doubt you will read this post or saw my other post. I’m a small member of The Vampire Diaries fandom and so it seems doubtful you read my recent rant. Regardless of your knowledge of my words, the manner in which I made my frustrations known was inappropriate. I should have taken issue with your words by directing my concerns to the magazine that printed them or to your publicist for clarification. My choice of blogging about it was inconsiderate and did a disservice to you and your fans. For that, you have my humble apologies.”
To continue on, I owe a couple other apologies. I ranted, rather pointedly but also slightly ambiguously, on my twitter account over some of the comments that stemmed on my blog and on twitter. (I have since deleted these comments, and my own replies, because I don’t wish to continue a fight that I never should have started. You are of course welcome to explain on your own to anyone asking about the situation, though I hope you will be more gracious to me than I was to you.) But I digress. “To those of you whom I ranted at, cussed about, or essentially dragged through the mud with my words, I’m sorry. You were, like me, stating your opinion about an article in a public forum and attempting to right a perceived wrong. I took the attitude of ‘I can say what I want but you can’t say anything back’, an attitude that was rude, inconsiderate and hurtful. I apologize. I should have talked directly with you and strived to find a solution.”
Finally, I owe an apology to my closer friends, several of whom I involved in this issue rather unfairly. “I’m sorry for asking you to come in the middle of a tense situation. We have mutual friends and for me to ask you to take my side against one of your other friends was, and is, entirely uncalled for. Please forgive me for putting you in a troublesome situation or getting you angry over something that didn’t need to involve you.”
To sum up, because this post is getting dangerously long, I’m going to be taking a more extended break from twitter. When I say extended, I mean several weeks. At least. I will still post the occasional thing on my blog and I’ll keep up with recaps because I’ve made a commitment there. But if anything, this situation has shown me that I need to take some time and reconsider the image of myself that I’m displaying to the world. I will respond to tweets tonight, and if any of you want to continue talking with me, I’m happy to send you my email. But I need to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities. I need to decide what sort of person I want to be from here on out and take steps to become and exhibit that person. I’m not entirely sure what that will look like yet. But it needs to look very different from the person I’ve been lately. A favorite quote of mine is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, wherein he says: “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” Clearly I’ve overlooked that in the last year. So I’m going to take some time for prayer, meditation and even some professional therapy to get my character back on track. Hopefully as I do, my opinions will reflect who I truly want to be.