Sunday, September 06, 2009

An Apology

Ideals, by definition, are one's vision of "perfect" behavior. Of course none of us are perfect; we all fall short of our ideals. That doesn't negate their purpose, however. Ideals offer us a benchmark, a goal to constantly reach for. In reaching for our ideals, one can usually manage to live up to them a majority of the time. When you do fall short of your ideals, and you realize it, you apologize, make amends and hopefully learn from that mistake.

This is the very concept upon which the Catholic Sacrament of Penance (also known colloquialy as "confession") is built. The Catholic Church recognizes that people aren't perfect, that we are all "sinners" and that we will make mistakes. The Sacrament of Penance offers one an opportunity to admit one's mistakes and confess to them. In effect, God forgives us when we have the courage to recognize our imperfections, admit to them and try to learn from them.

I'm not Catholic but I believe in God and go to Sacred Heart every Saturday to pray for the people I love. I chose a Catholic church simply because the persons I love most are Catholic. I have never participated in the Sacrament of Penance; I prefer to confess my mistakes in the open, ideally directly to the people they affect. Even my most personal mistakes I prefer to confess to people I love and trust, not a priest, therapist or counselor who does not know me.

Recently, I was guilty of a hypocrisy. I'm here to admit it and apologize.

During recent turmoil in my life, discussed at length in the pages of this blog, I frequently lamented the fact that people tended to judge me without even trying to get my side of the story. Most of these people were taking the opinion of a single individual who'd had a recent conflict with me as if that one opinion painted a complete picture of me, my life and who I am.

I know how frustrating it can be when people form opinions of you without ever even having spoken to you. That's why, ideally, I make a point of getting the other person's side of the story before I form an opinion of someone. However, recently there was someone online whom I judged unfairly without getting their side of the story.

I didn't do this deliberately; I didn't even realize I was doing it until very recently. Over the last few years, I've had many frustrations, some of which upset me to the point of affecting my judgment. That's what happened here; I ended up getting caught up in someone else's negative opinion about someone because I simply didn't have the emotional energy to investigate for myself.

Now that I'm finally clear of that former mess, however, I can look back on my own actions with a more objective eye. When I did, I was forced to realize that I was doing to this person the very thing others were doing to me that I found so frustrating: I was judging her without getting her side of the story.

I began to realize my mistake when I started reading her blog regularly. I first went there mostly to watch her reactions to my friend when he made digs at her (something he delights in doing, unfortunately). However, as I read more and more of her blog, and as she and I started exchanging E-mails (originally prompted when she wanted to discuss some comments I'd made to her blog) I began thinking, Hm. She doesn't seem anything like what I was led to believe.

I have since made a point of getting to know her, at least as much as she has been willing (her opinion of myself was also skewed by the opinion of the aforementioned individual with whom I'd had the conflict). That's when I began to realize how badly distorted my perspective of her was. As I got to know her better, I realized there was a lot more to the story than my friend's side. I should have known that but I was too blinded by my own pain at the time to see it.

Now that I have, though, I'd like to apologize publicly and for the record to "Bonobobabe." I castigated her for the way she runs her blog. Specifically, I criticized her choice to censor some comments and sometimes make the whole blog private in order to avoid my friend's comments. I thought she just didn't have the stomach to deal with the inevitable troublemakers blogging brings; I thought she should just get out of the proverbial kitchen if she couldn't stand the heat.

Although I cannot go into detail suffice it to say that, having gotten her perspective, I now understand why she did what she did. I still maintain she should open her blog up to the wider public (in my opinion, there's not much point in having a blog that isn't open to the public; the whole point of a blog is to express your ideas to society at large) but I now understand, and respect, her decision to make it private.

I'd also like to point out that I am, at this point, not on any side here. Having seen both perspectives, hers and my friend's, I feel that they both have made mistakes. I now consider them both friends. If, some day, they ever wish to try to come to some sort of understanding, I'd be happy to help them "clear the air." As someone who's heard both sides, I'm in a unique position to help; all they have to do is ask.

Even the best of us are hypocrites once in a while. To err is Human; we all make mistakes. The difference between someone who makes a mistake and a true hypocrite, however, is the person guilty of hypocrisy who refuses to admit it and apologize for their mistake.

In this situation, I was a hypocrite. I realize that now.

I apologize.


  1. Jon boy,you always seem in the middle of the perfect shit storm! You never seem to be able to catch a break, why is that???

    Take it easy, try to get back to your writing if you haven't already that will help you to focus.

  2. It's okay; you can say it; I _bullied_ her, and I apologize for it.

    You also didn't use that word in your e-mails to me about this, but one thing became clear from the perspective that you provided: I am an internet bully. How I became one, and which ones of my _other_ internet opponents I may or may not be able to eventually stop wasting my time with my hobby of bullying, is a long story. But in the case of the ones with the thinnest skins, of which Bonobobabe is by far the most extreme example, I _do_ need to stop.

    So, from now on, it's going to be just like I don't know the url of her blog: Even if I have a curiosity that's limited to just seeing whether she's opened it back up, I won't even peek for _that_ purpose.

    You say that you're not on her nor my side about this; but, she _does_ have you on her side to the extent that she has you to thank for making me decide this. (My other internet opponents aren't that lucky.)


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