My first Indie Release book, Life Noir, just came out. In it, I chronicled some very difficult things in my life — complete 100% transparency. Trust me, it takes a lot for a guy to talk about some of the things I divulged in that book. And while none of it will atone or erase the evil of my past, perhaps it makes the context of my life a little more understandable.
Then again, there are some people who: a) just don’t understand; b) just don’t want to know; and c) are just too fucking resentful to give a shit.
A long time ago, I wrote an entry into this Ongoing Commentary entitled “An Open Letter to My Wife’s Family.” It was the olive branch to my in-laws, hoping to establish a peaceful reparation of the broken relationship for which I was solely responsible. Not-so-coincidentally, it was also the first time I’d ever let it known (publicly) that I’d been sexually assaulted in 1998. I didn’t want sympathy and I didn’t expect forgiveness, I just wanted them to maybe understand me.
I’ve been home for almost four years, and some of them still refuse to see me. But you know what? I actually kind of respect that. If you hate me to the point that you don’t even want to lay eyes on me, I get that — at least you’re firm in your stance. But what really pisses me off are the people who smile at me (and even go so far as to socialize with me) while all-the-while holding deep resentment for me. These are the people I loathe. I don’t hate the fact that you hate me, I hate the fact that you are a fake, false, bogus, disingenuous person who smiles to my face and grimaces in my absence.
I encountered the tipping point today.
In the mail, a wedding invitation was specifically addressed to my wife and daughter — not me. My wife’s cousin is getting married. But here’s the thing: My wife and I have socialized with her cousin on numerous occasions, and I was actually under the impression that there was no further ill-will between the two of us. Apparently, I was wrong. To paraphrase Seinfeld, this was definitely an “unvitation” — an invitation with the specific intention of ensuring I did not attend (otherwise, it would have said something inclusive like “The Brundage Family”).
Perhaps I’m not as surprised that this happened as I am surprised that it still bothers me. But when I really think about it, it’s not the “unvitation” that bothers me, it’s the thought that I honestly felt like I was genuinely friendly with them — on good terms — when, in fact, they smiled in my presence and grimaced in my absence.
If you don’t like me, tell me. But don’t be a fake and disingenuous person — that lacks integrity and character.
Granted, a few of my in-laws have graciously given me the opportunity to speak to them one-on-one, and whether or not they were genuine in their words toward me is between them and God. But as of today, several of them have proven their true character (or lack thereof).
But people who despise me solely based on the actions of my past: a) do not know me as a person now; b) refuse to know me as a person now; and c) lack the courage to learn about who I am now.
Two-faced people are cowards. Do members of my wife’s family honestly believe I went through two years of prison and four years of therapy, and I’m still the same horrible son-of-a-bitch I was when I resided in the valley of my life?
If so, it is simply hateful ignorance at its worse.
Hey, in-laws: Want to know who I am now? Call me. You have my number. But don’t pretend to like me when I’m around and then hate me when I’m gone.
Two-faced people do that.
And two-faced people are cowards.