Dear Angry Friend
I receive many notes, posts and messages from a variety of folks from all over the world. It is a blessing that many of these correspondence are encouraging and supportive. Some of the messages are from those in difficult situations, pain, grief, confusion and seeking my viewpoint. I also receive letters of hate. I have as much compassion for the people who write these letters as I do for all of those who write kind things or who need reassurance or guidance. Below is my response to a very hateful note I received several years ago. Many circumstances in my life have shifted since writing this reply. I am very glad I responded in the way that I did, I can see, in retrospect, that responding through compassion has enabled my life to continue developing in a positive direction. When adversely confronted by individuals I have made it a practice to keep my friends close, my perceived enemies closer, and to persuade all who will listen to work towards improving the circumstances in the world around them.
Dear Angry Friend,
I send to you the hope for joy and peace in your tumultuous life.
Perhaps it will calm you to know a few things about myself and my circumstances.
You mentioned that I am a “selfish, Neanderthal, (I have corrected your spelling), famous, rich, diva, bitch with no regard for others and a lust for all things deprived,” (I will assume you meant depraved.)
1. Human nature can tend to lean toward the selfish side and I am no exception. I am making an effort moment by moment to modify myself and it is a passion of mine to reach out to others in an effort to help improve the world around me peacefully through art and words.
2. Neanderthal man has been extinct for between 120,000-35,000 years.
3. Although I am fairly well known in the highly misunderstood sport of competitive baton twirling, I do not consider myself famous. I am one of thousands of soldier athletes trying to make an impact and bring recognition to many well deserving people who have sacrificed much for our sport.
4. Perhaps you will sleep better at night knowing that I am not even remotely rich. Since my escape from my abusive ex husband two years ago I have been supporting my family of 7 entirely by myself through sport and art. My ex has not paid one penny of child support and has found every loop hole in the system which enables him to never pay. He also intentionally left me with all of his debt. At times, finances have been so scarce I qualified for food stamps. Because my oldest child is currently in his late stages of terminal illness I have recently cancelled my January tour and will not have income this month.
5. Diva. Hahahahahahaha! I’m sorry. Hahahahahahaha! I am currently covered in grout because I am tiling my own bathroom. I really can’t even approach this one because it is too far off.
6. I appreciate and love humanity. I hope that I can contribute to the betterment of the world around me by sharing my stories and living a life filled with kindness and service to others. I am so grateful for my hard earned talent and aspire to reach many who feel they are less than valuable . . . because I lived for a long time with that very feeling.
7. Lust . . . uuummmmm . . . guilty. But not for ALL things depraved; just a few of them.
I don’t expect everybody to like or understand me. Yes, I say off color things. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum line. But I do wish you all the best. From the depths of my heart I will send you positive thoughts so that you may pursue happiness and make choices that alter your path and bring you fulfillment, peace and the desire to create beauty around you.
With Sincerity and Aloha,