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Own Your Shadows

Confessions of Harassment and My Journey to Become Better Than I Was

I've always had trouble with social media.  It causes me anxiety getting on there, and, after I'm done, a lot of times I just want to die.  I've struggled with mental health all my life, eventually being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, but I also have PTSD. It seems like the stories that triggered me online are getting more numerous, and for good reason.  I can't breathe most of the time now. I can't get on Twitter without shaking or feeling sick to my stomach. It's everywhere. News of more harassment. More sexual assault. In both the entertainment industry in the fields I wanted to join, but also everywhere.  Every job.  Every walk of life. Harassment is an infection that has been their since birth.  It's the rape culture we live in.  It enflames my PTSD. It also makes me think of how far I've come as a human being and feel guilty over my own mistakes. I think back to all the times I've hurt someone. All the secrets I have about both being a monster and the thing the monster eats. I've been on both sides of the coin. I've seen both the darkest parts of myself and come into the light. But I don't want to ever be someone's hero. I don't want them to think I'm a good man. I want them to see my flaws. I don't want anyone to eventually want to be me or look up to me. I want them to be better. I'm writing this to the future. I don't want to build expectations.  I'm writing this so that others that are following a similar path can make changes to make this world better for women in our industry and outside of it. I don't want to keep looking over my shoulder and thinking can I never be better than what I was. I just want to make the world a better place for women and people of  color. Give them voices in the entertainment industry. Give them jobs as artists doing what they love and equal pay for it. I support the LGBT community, and I'm a feminist. But I wasn't always.

I'm not going to pretend I don't have a dark past. I'm going to embrace it. I attended the first UCLA Professional Program in Acting for the Camera in 2016. It was in one of my classes under instructor Andrea Bendewald that she suggested we own our shadows and don't let them own us. I'm embracing them and moving forward. I just want to be the best I can be, and I don't want to contribute to the infection that is toxic masculinity and the ugly patriarchy. We need to smash it together. So here it is. All my dirty secrets. You will know the darkest things I've done and the darkest things that have happened to me.

I am the victim of both molestation and sexual assault. It took a long time to realize and come to terms with that. It took even longer to trust anyone and let anyone in. The molestation was confusing, because he was only a few years older than me, so I don't blame him. It's hard for me to even consider it molestation for that reason. He's moved on with his life and has his own demons in his past and I honestly wish him well. But I truly believe he knew what he was doing. He had been through sex ed. He knew things and taught me what things were. He showed me pictures of naked women and said we'd play a game. And that's what I thought it was for the longest time. It was a fun new game but one we had to keep a secret or we'd get in trouble. He was a trusted friend, so I didn't think anything was wrong with it at first. But as I grew older it started to make me sick, and I could figure out why. He had infected me. It became all I could think about when I lay awake at night. I would cry all the time, alone in my room. I felt broken. Tainted. I thought, 'Will I ever feel good again? Will I ever be happy?' And I wasn't happy growing up for various reasons. It started when I was eight years old or a little younger. It went on for about three years. Three years where I said, next time I go to his house I'll tell him no. I'll tell him I don't want to. It makes me feel bad. But it was too long before I mustered up the courage to do it. I still feel bad about how it went. School kids had confused me and first introduced the idea that homosexuality was wrong. Gays were sick. And so I started to believe it. I felt so ashamed. So when I told him I wanted it to stop I told him by saying, "I don't want to."

"What? Why?"

"Because it's wrong, isn't it? Isn't it gay? That's wrong."

I still feel bad about how much I crushed him. He never spoke to me after that, and it all stopped after I finally confronted him. I was angry at him for a long time, but also crushed I lost my friend and a person I really looked up to. That's why I reconsider the word molestation. It's true he knew things and I didn't, and he had that power of persuasion over me. But I have to think about where he learned those things. He would say from friends and from reading, but I can't help but think he might be a victim, too. That's why I forgave him a long time ago, but I never told him. And I never will. I just want to move on. I really hope he's doing OK, and I think he is.

He's the first one who introduced me to porn. A lot of it. I was already addicted to porn at the age of eight. He taught me how to masturbate, so I felt what an orgasm was like before I could even ejaculate. It used to feel bad, tickly, and like my stomach was turning over... and then painful. I just remember how I loved those pictures of naked women. Women spreading their legs. I was just so curious, and I loved what I saw. I wanted to have sex with a woman so badly. I had to see every single picture in existence. I had to see every woman naked. They were all so different. So special. Beautiful.

"Dude, come on," my friend would say, "Let's play video games."

"No, I want to see them all. I have to see them all," I'd tell him.

I felt exhausted after I got done. My eyes were strained. My back hurt. But I got through them. Every magazine. It wasn't until I was a freshman in high school that I saw a lot of hardcore porn. It shocked me and made me feel ill at first, but I wanted to see more. And it sent me down the rabbit hole.  Though I do support sex workers, I've seen both the dark and light sides of the industry.  I got into pretty much every fetish out there and, though porn has helped me get through some of my own sexual issues, it has also consumed me, back when I was going through porn addiction.

I remember when I first ejaculated around late elementary school I was so proud. It was clear and still not milky white, because I was still developing, but I couldn't wait to tell my friend about it. Even though I felt sick about what we'd been doing, I thought somehow he'd be proud of me. That was before I broke it off.

I was so proud of it I announced it at my lunch table in front of the girls that were there at school. They just went 'Ew.' Some of them were curious; some of them were shocked.

"I can shoot the white stuff," I said.

"What white stuff?"

This was before sex ed. Honestly, our school system was a bit more progressive than most. We had some form of sexual education in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th grades (But only if your parents signed the permissions slips, so many kids still thought oral got you pregnant). I was fascinated by sex while simultaneously feeling uncomfortable due to my past. It wasn't until 9th grade that they actually taught the mechanics of sex and how it works beyond sperm fertilizing an egg and bodies developing, which is way too late, if you ask me, because it was always the talk of the middle school when someone got fingered or pregnant. And they made sex seem scary and not worth it. They still emphasized abstinence over everything and talked about condoms. But they said the only way to truly prevent pregnancy and all these horrific STDs was to avoid sex altogether, which is what I planned on doing. I didn't understand why anyone would have sex when you can just masturbate. But I still desperately wanted it. I was just too scared to risk all those horrific things.

But I, too, have been pressured into sex and engaged in oral sex with both boys and girls. But every time I did, I felt physically and emotionally ill afterward. During, I would shiver and shake and feel sick, but it still felt good and I was aroused easily. But after I would go to the bathroom and cry. There was too much pressure to have sex and to be good at it. How was I supposed to live up to the expectation? I've been pressured, coerced, and seduced on many occasions. I've had oral sex with people I didn't even like. Other people I trusted, and they betrayed that trust. Like the boy who raped me in high school.

We had been friends since the 5th grade, but when we got into high school things changed. Honestly I'm not sure why we were close friends. He would hit me all the time and make fun of me in front of other people, especially in high school. Even when we were alone, and he would treat me better, he would still tell me everything I loved was stupid and that I shouldn't like the things I like. He made me think it was weird to be interested in girls at the level I was, but also insisted I'd never get a girlfriend. I was so desperate to have sex with women, but I didn't think they'd like me. It was just easier with guys. I thought girls didn't want to have sex but guys were up for anything. But there was also the stigma living in a small homophobic town in the middle of the Bible Belt. It seemed like there were more churches than people, and "You're so gay," was something they constantly told me in middle school. Gay became an insult. An instant shame. You couldn't be gay there, but then I found out you couldn't be gay anywhere. I was bullied mercilessly both emotionally and physically in those middle school years and they conditioned me to think being gay was wrong. I even said once in middle school that, "Gay people shouldn't have rights." Or course, my viewpoint would expand a little in high school to, "Being gay is fine as long as they don't hit on me," to, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with being gay," in college.

Even my mom would say as the other boys teased me, "But you know you're not gay, right?" But how would she know? Was it not OK? I didn't want anyone to know I'd been with boys. I was scared of anyone finding out. Scared they'd hurt me or even kill me. Just the suggestion of being gay could get you beaten up. What if they actually found out?

But then again, maybe I wasn't gay. There was a point in high school where I had never been with a woman even though I wanted to and found them attractive. I had only been with guys. Did that make me gay or bisexual? I had never enjoyed sex, so maybe I wasn't gay. Maybe I'd just been in bad circumstances.

My emotionally abusive friend in high school made it all seem normal. He would say that it was normal for guys to experiment in secret and that everyone did it even though no one talked about it. I believed him. Of course what wasn't normal was his constant fascination with asking if I thought my own sister was hot. He kept asking me if I'd measured my dick and how big it was. He'd go into the closet and masturbate and then come back and we'd play video games. But not before he'd wipe himself off on my face. I hated that. I told him to stop so many times and finally stopped inviting him over as much. Every time he'd stick his hand down his pants and then wipe himself off on my face. He told me I wasn't normal for not measuring my dick. "Every guy measures it." I didn't care how big my dick was until he started to talk about it constantly like it meant the world to girls if you had a big dick.

Finally he just whipped his dick out and masturbated for a bit in front of me. And then called me weird for letting him do it.

"You're the weird one."

But then he asked for a handjob. I was confused by my past. I had given them before. It felt like a thing friends could do for one another. Make each other feel good. So I told him it made sense. I thought why not. I'll do it. I thought he meant he wanted to give me one though, so I exposed myself. He looked at me weird and said, "No, I meant you give me one." So I put my pants back on. I was shaking so hard. He came right away. He felt sickened by me. He was angry that I made him feel good, probably ashamed by the stigma too. He went to sleep, angry. He was about to cry, ashamed at himself. He wouldn't speak. It was awhile before he invited me over again. I was hesitant, but I agreed. He asked me if it was a dream or if I gave him a handjob. I wished I could take it back, so I told him it was a dream. He told me it wasn't and I felt bad, so I said, "No, it wasn't, but it's never happening again. I don't want to."

He became angry, and every time I let him come over he would pester me about giving or receiving a handjob. It got to the point I stopped talking to him, but he started to promise me he wouldn't try anything if I would just come over. I finally agreed, but the conversation inevitably turned into how hard he was. We started playing a video game with scantily clad women. He told me how much he wanted to masturbate. We stopped playing. He pulled out some Victoria Secret magazines. We shared stories about which models were our favorite. It was a long time before I realized this was his plan. To show me almost-naked women and try to get me hard. And it worked.

"You're hard," he kept saying. "Let me give you a handjob."

I kept saying no. He kept insisting and was climbing on top of me. I hit him in the chest to push him off.

"Ow, you hit me!" he was outraged.

"Yeah, because I told you to stop."

"Come on, you want it."

He shoved me over and climbed on top of me pinning me to the ground. I was ashamed he could overpower me. He was a skinny, stereotypical nerd. No one would believe he could pin me down, because I was heavier than him, but I was weak. He grabbed my package and rubbed.

"See?" he said, "You're hard like me. You want it. See?"

I didn't. And I had told him that. Begged him to stop. I tried squirming out. Yes, him stroking me felt good but so bad at the same time. I wanted to scream, but if his parents came in what would they think? They'd find us. They'd find out I'd given him a handjob previously, and then my parents would find out. Soon the whole school, town, world would know. Those were my thoughts. Everyone said it was wrong to be gay. I couldn't tell them. I couldn't scream. I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible, so I said, "Fine." I stopped struggling so he could finish me off. A note for people who don't seem to understand, both guys and girls who seem to find it's an invitation: an erection is not consent (It doesn't even mean I want to have sex; it's just a thing the body does), and just because I ejaculate doesn't mean I enjoyed it or it even felt good.

I went home right after that. He popped up on MSN Messenger, and I was full of shame, disgust, and rage. I told him that he couldn't force me down like that and has to accept when I say no it means no, because otherwise that's rape.

"What?!" he was the hurt one. He was the victim for me accusing him. He then apologized but said he didn't think it was rape. It wasn't sexual assault; he was just so horny and couldn't help it. I then eventually apologized to him, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to call you a rapist. Maybe it's not rape."

But it was.

I didn't realize this until much later.

We then entered in to a sort of friends with benefits relationship I truly regretted. Not a lot, but every once in awhile. He wanted it all the time, and I never did. Occasionally we'd have erotic chats and that made me hard, and in a state of horniness my inhibitions were down, so I agreed to things I wouldn't want later. By the time he wanted to try things I just wasn't into it, but he pushed, so I agreed. The last time we were together was not long after we graduated high school. Then it stopped. I blocked him on all social media and eventually he stopped trying. He used to kind of internet stalk anyone I was trying to date on social media and was being creepy towards them. I was really worried he was telling them things about me.

It wasn't until college I started rethinking the situation. We had mandatory online quizzes to prevent campus sexual assault. I thought, 'This should be easy. It's common sense.' But I got some of the questions wrong about what sexual assault was. By their definitions I had been assaulted multiple times in the past. I already felt like I was. And I definitely felt the effects. The flashbacks. The associations with shapes. The worthlessness, wanting to die. I was easily spooked, terrified by things in the corner of my eye. I'd have night terrors and nightmares about people raping me. It all came to a climax when my friend revealed to me that she had just been raped. It destroyed me to know she had gone through that, too, and I started to think about my own assault. I was the stage manager of a play dealing with rape, and she told me the day before we had to help choreograph the violent rape scene. It was a truly hard day. I almost left, but I swallowed through it. I just put it out of my mind until the run of the play was over. Watching the actor attempt to rape that girl night after night.

Then it hit me. And I started drinking heavily. All day. Every day. Just drinking alone, because not only did I love the taste, but I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted the memories to fade away. I was missing classes, missing play rehearsals for a project I was an actor in, and just started to give up on life. I did a lot of things during that period that I really regret. I got really sexual while drunk. I started harassing girls online. Being drunk isn't an excuse. I was scum.

Some of the messages seemed really nice when I read them back, like long drunken love letters about how nice I thought they were and how I thought they were really beautiful. But some of them were, "Have you ever been DP'd?" or "I'd love to see those beautiful lips wrapped around my hard cock." I apologized for all the messages when I was sober. The girl I asked about DP thought it was funny. Some girls were like, "It's OK, we've all had nights like that." Many people actually found my messages to be flattering or very funny. I'm pretty sure the "my hard cock" girl unfriended me on Facebook. That's fine. I didn't get a chance to apologize but I honestly couldn't remember if I sent the message or if I was just thinking about sending the message. I checked and couldn't find it, but she unfriended me after that, so I assume I sent it. I almost sent dick pics too, but instead I sent a picture of my ass to a couple of people. I sent it to a girl and cancelled it mid-send. I apologized if she got it, and she said she never did, but I think she did, because my friend Josh got it too, and he thought it was hilarious.

One message I can never forgive myself for though is a message I'm pretty sure I sent to my friend's sister who was underage at the time, early high school or middle school. I don't think I sent her anything dirty, but she doesn't deserve to have adult men treat her like a sex object or tell her how beautiful she is in inappropriate ways. I wasn't sure I sent that one either. I can't remember, but she, too, unfriended me on Facebook right after, so I think I did. So if she is reading this and remembers getting it from me, I am truly sorry. I hear you are a truly bright and wonderful person, and I'm sorry we live in a patriarchal society where you have to endure things like this. It needs to stop.

So yes. I've been harassed at work by various people including an assistant manager who kept rubbing his butt on my package, but I've also harassed myself. I want the world to know, because I think harassers should own their behavior, apologize, and change said behavior. We need to end rape culture and harassment.

When I was in middle school I committed an act I would later brag I got away with without realizing how bad it really was. I went through an exhibitionist phase in my middle school years where I would run outside naked for awhile, or ride my bike with my pants down. I would also masturbate in public places, whether they be restrooms during church or behind trees in a public park. I used to brag later, "Yeah I masturbated in weird places for awhile; that was a thing." The worst though was when I took my penis out during class, not for the first time, and masturbated. It was during 6th grade art I think. We were set up at tables and I had a wooden slab on my lap that we were supposed to draw on. Under the slab I took out my erect penis and stroked it, looking at the girl across the table from me, and the girls next to me. Then the teacher came and looked over my shoulder at what I was accomplishing (which wasn't much, given that I spent the whole class stroking it). My heart was pounding, thinking that she would catch me, so after the teacher left I put myself away. It doesn't matter that the girls didn't know about it. I exposed myself to them without their permission, and it was wrong.

Even actions that may not directly affect the girls in question I truly regret. In high school a nude picture of a girl in my class was being sent around. I told her I hadn't seen it, which made her feel better. And it was true. That year. But years later someone showed me. I told the guy no, but he showed me anyway and I looked. Late high school another girl's pictures were spread around. These I looked at. These I kept. And when nude celebrity photos would leak I was on it, looking them up. Later I grew out of it and realized these women hadn't given me permission to see the photos, so I shouldn't look at them. So when that big celebrity phone hack went viral I didn't look those photos up.

I remember another time I was guilty of predatory action was when I was about seventeen. My friend's sister and I shared a blanket while watching a movie. It was already the wrong move to share said blanket, but I wanted her, so I moved my hand closer to hers as my heart beat so fast. I had a huge crush on her but it felt wrong, because she was in middle school, eighth grade I think. We held hands. The movie ended and she asked if I liked her. I knew it was wrong, but I was fighting myself. I told her I was sorry but I thought I was too old for her and it shouldn't continue any farther than it already had.

That night the entire group of friends that were there all slept on the floor. I tried to put the girl's brother between us, but he refused and slept on the other side of me. So it was just me next to his sister. She climbed on top of me.

"I'm shaking," she said.

"So am I."

And I was. I was shivering violently. It's what I did anytime I had a sexual encounter. I later learned it's more what my body did when a sexual encounter felt wrong, like when I was first giving my rapist a handjob.

Then she kissed me, and I let her for a second, but it felt so wrong and it was so loud that I broke the kiss off. Then one of her older friends called her out on it and they got into an argument and made up by sleeping next to each other. I decided the best thing to do was to remove myself from the situation and leave the house, so I did.

But she wouldn't stop calling me. I kept telling her that I just didn't think it was right.

"But we have these feelings for each other, so we can't act on them?"

No, we can't act on them. And I kept shutting her down. I was trying to be nice about it, to let her down easy. But that wasn't working. Finally I asked if we could talk about it.

I went over to her house. Her father was there in the living room. I asked if we could talk, but her father kept asking 'About what' and protecting her, as fathers should.

"Anything you have to say to her you can say to me," he said.

Fine. And so I was very firm with her, and said, "This can't be a thing. I'm too old for you, and I don't want to."

Her father asked what that meant, and then finally she pulled me away to talk in private. Her older friend was actually the one I liked and she had indicated she liked me too, and unfortunately she created a narrative where the young girl was in the wrong and had acted as a predator and made moves on me. I agreed to this, even in front of the young girl, and accepted that I wasn't in the wrong. NO. I was very wrong. Yes, she was enthusiastic, climbed on top of me, and kissed me confessing her feelings for me, but that's because of exactly that: she's young. I was more of a person and more in control of my feelings than what she was capable of at that impressionable age. I was the one who first put her in that situation by agreeing to share a blanket and holding her hand. I was the one who was the predator. I was in the wrong, and I should have owned up to it, and so I'm sorry I put her through that. She's very happy now with another one of my friends, and everything is great with them, so she survived me, but she shouldn't've had to.

Things just got worse from there though. I had been through half-relationships and false starts with compulsive liars who broke my heart, girls who were very aggressive during sexual encounters (which made me cry for hours), and drug abusers, so I had had my fill with trying relationships, and it seemed like every time I turned a corner I found a new unrequited love. Finally I found a girl that didn't make me miserable, but I sabotaged it by being afraid of commitment. We really didn't talk. We also didn't have sex, because she was seventeen and I was nineteen, and I accepted that and didn't pressure her. Even though I kind of wanted that, I was also relieved I didn't have to face sex for awhile. We dated for four months, but then she broke it off just when I was promising to be a better boyfriend. It broke me. That was my last chance for love in my mind. It would take nine years to get over. And it would be a ten-year streak of not being touched sexually.

I turned into the worst sort of person after that. I spent a year in Manhattan, Kansas with some friends. I was extremely depressed and it was somehow simultaneously the best and worse year of my life for awhile. It was a great vacation, living with some great people and having fun. It's how I treated women that I would regret. I forced it. I let myself free sexually but went a step beyond that. I didn't even feel like myself while I was doing it, but I was trying to be a different person from the norm. I wanted to have a cold soul. I wanted to be hard. I wanted to be an asshole, and I made a promise with myself to be more of an asshole from then on, because only jerks were successful in life, it seemed. I constantly made sexual jokes and objectified women. I'd be like, "Damn, look at that ass," at almost every other woman on the street. Some of the worse things I said were things about sexual violence as a power tool for silencing women like, "I bet she'd shut up if I put a dick in her mouth." Or "Get her drunk and then she'll wanna do it." Just terrible things in general. I was really struggling until I finally broke down in the parking lot the movie theatre I worked at. I just sat there after a work thinking about the love I lost and crying.

I did some heavy reflection after that year about who I was and who I wanted to be. I made a deal with myself that I was going to get the love of my life back. We had one date after that, and honestly I found that I wasn't very interested in her anymore. I really tried to want to be there with her, but it was honestly just boring. She was really nice, but things weren't coming easily, and I didn't have the desire to force conversation.

I simmered down when I actually went back to college, after I took the time to make some dirty short films that I had written during 'The Dark Times.' There were a few girls I had crushes on. One I actually kind of wrote a love letter to on Facebook, because we'd had a lot of great conversations and she seemed like someone I really wanted to get to know. I walked her to class once after the letter. It didn't work. I didn't have anything to say and we walked in silence. I usually avoided social situations, and there was a reason for that. I decided, 'Nope I'm giving up.'

I even made special attention to not let girls know I was into them. I wasn't often interested in women anymore. I didn't understand the point of relationships and dating. I didn't even understand friendships. Why do people want to connect with other people? I didn't get it. Relationships were an emotionally draining roller coaster that went nowhere and they weren't worth the time and effort put into them. So if a girl told me she liked me, maybe I'd be OK with trying something, but I never let anyone know I wanted them on the rare occasion that I did. The only time I ever met anyone I liked it was on a film set, and I didn't want to put anyone in an uncomfortable position. I wanted to be completely professional and let them know I respected them as filmmakers and artists. I didn't want them to think I was treating them nicely because of some desire to be with them, because that wasn't the case.

I finally considered myself pansexually, aromantically asexual. I didn't want anything. Ever. But then came the woman of my dreams. I met her the first day of shooting a feature film. We were alone in a room together when I first arrived from LA to Missouri. I introduced myself. She seemed a little out of place, like she didn't know what anyone wanted her to do, and I felt the need to make her feel included and welcome there. Not only because I was the lead actor and kind of felt it was my responsibility to be nice to everyone, but I didn't want to scare her away, and I desperately wanted her to come back. I was instantly attracted to her and wanted to know what she was like. As she spoke I was just fascinated with her. On that first day I sat next to her eating my hot dog and asking her what her interest were, finding out she wrote comedy scripts. So I started asking about that. But I never went too far. I liked her from afar, even though it felt different this time. I thought about her every day. Honestly the only reason I wanted to get on set each day was because she'd be there.

We had some interactions, but I was very focused on my work, and I was sure it couldn't work out anyway, since at the time I lived in LA and I didn't feel like love would ever work for me. I mean who could ever love me? I wasn't worth it. But then we had our first unofficial date where we went on a Starbucks run and I bought her tea. My heart was beating so hard. I still didn't think she was interested though.

It turns out she had been trying to tell me she was interested the entire time in various elaborate ways like staging a party at her house and inviting me to go. I decided to go to bed early and focus on the work. I didn't go for various reasons like being afraid of the social interaction. I declined, regretting it.

Finally at the wrap party she walked me to my car. It was late and I had an early flight back to a city I actually kind of hated where I'd be alone, save for my three roommates (LA's expensive). On this walk, she told me she liked me. I couldn't believe it. I mean we'd had our moments together, where I thought she might like me. We had s'mores together and she kept showing me through various clues that I just never got. But here she was just putting it out there. No games. She told the truth. And that's what I like. Being upfront with people. I like you. Do you like me?

Yes. God, yes I did.

I never thought I'd find love in my life. I never thought I'd ever be happy. I spent so many years dealing with abuse, rape, PTSD, depression, Tourette's, and later being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I met her at a time where I had myself decently together. I was medicated and no longer constantly thought about killing myself (it was down to once a day). But then she walked in and changed me forever. She came to LA and we started dating there for a month. I already told her I loved her, because I did. Truthfully, that first month I already knew she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I never wanted to let her go. But she had to go. Back to Missouri. We started dating long distance for awhile, until I decided I just had to be with her. I couldn't wait any longer and I moved back to Kansas to be with her. Now we've been dating for about a year. I don't know how it's possible that every day the love gets stronger and stronger like I'm going to explode with it. I'm impossibly happy and grateful. I just want to make her happy every day for the rest of our lives. That's what I want for her. We'll achieve our dreams together, and I'll support her in whatever she does.

I've been a monster in the past. I've also been abused, raped, and harassed at work in my own life. I'm tired of it, so I can't imagine what it's like for the women who constantly go through it on a daily basis. Too many of my friends have been raped and molested. Too many would be one. Unfortunately I know several.

Also unfortunately, I was born a white man, and I feel—probably what people would call—abnormally bad about it. It makes me sick and think about killing myself. I feel like I have stories to tell, but somehow I also feel like I don't deserve to tell them, because so many white people are given the spotlight. I keep thinking what can I do for women and people of color in my life and in my industry. So I've been writing roles to be cast specifically with that in mind. With multiple scripts I have written films with an entirely female cast.

As an actor I have a plan for supporting equal pay during negotiations. We negotiate a fee for me to be paid that is either equal or less than what the woman or person of dolor makes on the film, and, once my agent gets their percentage I get paid SAG minimum and the rest gets evenly distributed as a bonus among the crew, because I also believe they are underpaid with how much and how hard they work (they are the first to arrive and the last to leave). So, that's how I will help promote equal pay. It will be pennies for those crew members at first, but more as time goes on (with any hope). And though I have been far too timid about this in the past, if I see something I will try to say something and defend my coworkers claims of harassment. And above all, believe them. I will also choose my roles as carefully as possible. If a prominent director has been accused of harassment, molestation, or rape, no matter how great the opportunity, I will heavily research the allegations and most likely turn the role down. Predators like that don't deserve the platform and the opportunity to hurt more people. And if I know a specific role is based off of another work and features a person of color in the role I am about to take, I will turn it down and suggest they cast a POC. I will also more often ask, why can't this be a woman? Or take supporting roles where I support strong female characters.

As a director, I plan on working as many times as I can with all female crews and with people of color behind the scenes making it happen. And all claims of sexual harassment will be thoroughly investigated and dealt with. I have a no tolerance policy for that. If you make someone that uncomfortable you will leave my set and you will not return. You are gone. I don't care what big time producers claim I can't do this, or what a contract says, or if I get sued, or how important you think you are, if you harass my crew members or actresses you are gone. No exceptions. You could be Tom Cruise; you'd still be out, no matter the cost to the production. If I have to shut the entire thing down because we ran out of money coming after you then so be it. This is important.

I've been bullied mercilessly in the past, but I have also been a bully. I've been harassed in the past, but I have also harassed. And I have let other people harass people I care about and done too little to stop it. I've been guilty of the "Come on, dude. Stop." Which is really the least anyone can do. Harassment, rape, and rape culture need to stop. We can't sit by and let human being's lives be ruined by this. And if you know anyone (and you most likely do) who has experienced this: listen to them, believe them, love them, and support them. And don't betray them. It's very hard to trust after something like that. I don't trust people very often or very much. I finally met someone I can love and trust, but it took a horrendously long time.

Also forgive, and accept that people have the capacity for change. In middle school I once said, "Gay people shouldn't have rights." Now I am a bit supporter of the LGBT community and pansexual myself. Sometimes, believe it or not, when people are confronted by new information they do their research, discover they've been wrong, and change their viewpoint.

Harassers, own up to your crimes. And everyone, own your shadows; do not let your shadows own you. And to anyone suffering from memories of past trauma, I know the world seems so dark and without hope, but I thought I'd never be able to enjoy sex. I thought I'd never be able to love. But my heart was open at just the right time, and I found the love of my life. Don't give up. Each day is a new chance and can surprise you. As a writer, I used to say 'Suicide or another chapter?' and ultimately I always chose that new chapter. And, if you really are struggling with the anxiety, depression, and hopelessness of it all, get help. Seek therapy and consider medications. They really can help.

I am truly sorry for any hardship I have caused another human being. I hope you will forgive me, though I don't ask you to and don't deserve it. I am just trying to make the next chapter of my life feature the best me possible. I want to make the world a better place.

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