Pure Evil—Live Pure

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Have you ever seen pure evil? Have you ever seen something – or someone – and just known for a fact that you were seeing something utterly and horrifically evil?

I have.

But what does “evil” really mean? How do you know it when you see it? Or can you actually see it? Can evil actually be acknowledged? Yes. But the problem with people is that we simply aren’t looking for evil, so when it’s staring us in the face, we glaze over it and move on like a stranger in a crowded elevator.

And that is why my behavior went so casually-undetected for so many years, living the entirety of my marriage as a philandering womanizing evil piece of shit. But my secret was simple: I was charming – I was funny and personable and helpful and friendly – I was disarming, like an old friend you’ve never met before.

Sure, there were people who saw through my bullshit facade, but no one ever said anything – no one ever called me out, or at least not to my face. But honestly, I wish they would have. I cringe – I physically flinch – when I think about the kind of person I was. Often, I think about it and it sends me into a depression that takes hours to let-up. I think of who I was and it just doesn’t seem feasible that a single person could be as evil as I was, while painting an outer picture of someone so lovable and faithful and charming.

I hate myself for being able to manipulate people so well.

I don’t blame anyone for what I was. I don’t blame my parents, or my upbringing, or the son of a bitch who raped me when I was 18, or the booze-life of college, or … anything. I blame me. Just me. And honestly, perhaps I blame myself too much. But regardless, I blame me. Sometimes I just think to myself, “Damn, I hate me so much!

Have you ever seen pure evil? Have you ever seen something – or someone – and just known for a fact that you were seeing something utterly and horrifically evil?

I have – in the mirror.

My biggest struggle as of late has been to sever the final ties that bind my identity to the devil I was, and only cling to the man I am today. Honestly, I’m quite proud of who I am now. I really am. I’ve never been so faithful and loving to a woman as I am to my wife right now. So why can’t that be the identity that occupies my forethought? Why can’t I let go of the pain of what I was, when I clearly want nothing to do with that life?

I guess I just need to hear it more from the people around me – I need reassurance that they can tell I’ve changed. Do they even notice? Do they even care? Granted, most people are so wrapped-up in the intricacies of their own lives that they rarely bother to care about the lives of others – unless, of course, they are able to demean that person in order to lend themselves the moral high ground (which is what I got a lot of when I was originally arrested).

Do people really believe I’m the same person after prison as I was before? Do people really believe I’m okay with what I did? Do people really believe I would keep living the way I was living? Because if they honestly believe any of that, then what the hell was the point of prison?

I admit and acknowledge: I was an evil person, and it sickens me to recall the memories of my behaviors – illegal or immoral. I hate myself for being that evil subhuman parasite. I torture myself almost daily about it. Sometimes the weight is so heavy that I can barely stand under the pressure. But every day, I find a way to move forward – I move forward toward a life worth living and away from the life of evil behind me. My only option is to live a pure and moral life. I can only say “I’ve changed” so many times; words are only worth so much.

We are human, so we are simultaneous optimists and skeptics; we hope for good but expect bad; we believe what we are told and question everything we hear; we believe people can change, yet expect them to remain the same. We are all riddles wrapped in mysteries inside enigmas. We are human.

Some people will never be convinced. To them, I will be evil – forever. And for many, that’s comforting to them.

People want evil. People need evil. People need evil in the world so that they have something to point a finger at and say, “See, he’s evil; he’s nothing like me!” There’s comfort in being able to draw a defined barrier between ourselves and the things we find morally reprehensible. There’s comfort in being able to put a face to moral inferiority. And to many people who knew me, I am that face, even though I carry no resemblance to the face they envision when they hear my name.

I challenge those people to talk to me, for a mere few minutes.

But few will, if any. I can live a pure and moral life, from this moment until I breathe my last breath; yet I will always be the face of evil in their eyes. Who I was matters more than who I am. However, people must acknowledge that it is entirely possible to be an horrible, evil person – and it is equally possible to turn from that life and become a good and moral human being. Saul did it. I’ve done it, and I am happy with the life of morality and purity toward which I strive daily. Am I a saint? Of course not – no one is. Am I a saint compared to who I was? Absolutely.

I am proud of who I am now. My wife, family, and close friends are very proud of who I am now. They care. And I have not yet met a single person from my past who has not noticed a significant difference in me. People do notice; people do realize that I’ve changed. The problem is, only a few will even give me the opportunity show it. Several people have sent messages through Facebook to my wife, asking her to pass along their phone number to me, and I’ve been deeply thankful for the opportunity to speak to some of these gracious people from my past. I have never had a negative experience with encountering people from my past, especially once they take a moment to simply witness the deep-seeded changes within me. And I am so thankful for those opportunities because they are very rare.

Honestly, most people would rather take comfort in their hate. And when hate is comforting, pure evil is just around the corner.

So seriously, if you’re reading this, and we haven’t spoken in several years, or even if we’ve never met…

Let’s talk.

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