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April 22, 2021

What Chris D’Elia can Teach us about Healing from Toxic Behaviors.

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*Warning: well-deserved cursing ahead!

I’m a pretty big Chris D’Elia fan.

I’d been watching his most recent Netflix special, “No Pain,” and laughing my ass off, like usual. Eventually, I think of things like, “How old is Chris D’Elia? Does Chris D’Elia have kids?”

So naturally, I visit Google and do a search.

As I am looking up his name, I stumble across an article about a lawsuit he’s currently going through, saying he solicited photos and sex from a 17-year-old girl who goes unnamed.

I was so saddened by this. Many of my favorite male figures seem to have an instance of this. My natural instinct is not to believe it, but as a feminist, I also want to stand behind women in the #MeToo movement.

It’s a tough place to be.

I read through a few articles, coming to another where a few other women have spoken out with similar accusations.

But then I came across a video Chris released himself titled “It’s been a while.

Articles don’t do a great job of summarizing all of what he said in this video, so I watched it on my own. (By the end, I was in tears.)

In the video, Chris talks openly about his sex addiction, how he had been led astray, how he had manipulated others, how he felt like this was normal, how he had hurt many in this pursuit of sex.

As he spoke so openly, he also apologized. I could see the remorse on his face, a stark contrast from his usual smile and laughter on stage.

In his candidness and vulnerability, you could see a man really trying to work through some tough shit—some toxic shit that he didn’t know how to stop.

In the video, he said something like this “needed” to happen in order for him to stop and see that his actions were wrong and he was hurting people and himself.

He goes on to say he is doing the work, that he is sorry, and in the remaining few minutes of the video, you can hear him choking back tears.

I know people will look at this and say, “Fuck him! He did what he did, and he is wrong.”

And maybe you’re right. Because of how I even think of men at this point in my life, you would think I would go to that same place too. Finding just another reason to gut-check men and swear them off indefinitely.

But I don’t. When someone is hurting, and you see it, you have compassion. And it is clear: he is hurting.

Telling someone sorry, admitting you were wrong, apologizing for hurting someone—those are all fucking hard and terrifying things to do, especially in the public eye.

We have seen men in places of power who flat out ignore the accusations, get defensive, and go on as if business is normal, without acknowledging this behavior may not be so great after all.

Brett Kavanaugh is an example of that. Trump is another example. Marilyn Manson too. How they responded to their allegations made them look even worse, even less likable, and they didn’t have to face the consequences for it. It made them look even more guilty. It made me not like them at all.

On the other hand, you have people like Chris and then Louis C.K.—who also publicly apologized for his inappropriate sexual conduct—coming forth and doing one of the hardest things ever, not only admitting this was wrong but accepting that this behavior was a part of them and that it needed to be corrected.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I would rather see the men accused of such acts come forward and admit they were wrong, admit they are doing the work change for the better, and apologizing to people they have hurt in the process.

I would rather have them do that instead of just trying to explain it away or pretend none of it happened at all. At least then, you can see that they are not sociopaths, that they actually have emotion.

If people tell you you hurt them, you don’t get to say you didn’t.

And if someone tells you that you have ears, a tail, and a long face…put a saddle on because you’re probably a horse.

It takes massive courage to admit that you were wrong and then also do it in the public eye, and that’s exactly why I have respect for it.

We have all done things we weren’t proud of, things that are painful to admit and painful to apologize for, and most of the time, we won’t even do it because the shame and the guilt we feel are so crippling.

So yes, while it is fucking awful to see some of my favorite male comedians do things that have hurt people who admire them, and I fully empathize with the women who have gone through any of that, it is encouraging to see those same men trying to heal.

It is encouraging seeing anyone try to heal and overcome challenging shit. But each time they do, they raise this world’s vibration. I wholeheartedly believe that.

And when we see people are in the healing stage of such toxic behaviors, we have to learn to be more forgiving and understanding of that journey because it is definitely not an easy one. Anyone who has been through it knows that it isn’t.

Those who try and swipe their toxic behaviors under the rug and pretend like they don’t exist are probably the most fearful and pain-ridden of all.

Only people who are really hurting or really lost do terrible things. If you look close enough, you’ll see their fear and insecurity in their posture. Plus, Ego can be a very loud voice.

My point of all of this was that I hope, if anything, we learn how to have respect and compassion for people doing the hard work within to heal and be better humans. It’s easy to keep knocking someone down when they are already there, beaten and bloodied.

Even though this is the best self I have ever been, I know there are still things I need to work through to heal and be better.

Much love to Chris. I see you, buddy. That video couldn’t have been easy.

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