Hating Evan

I’ve decided that I no longer hate Evan Rachel Wood.

You know, as if it’s just that simple to change your mind about hating someone. It sounds kind the kind of statement that a five year old would make about a kindergarten classmate who bogarts the crayons, but then afterwards drew them a nice picture.

I think it shows some real growth.

Evan Rachel Wood is not somebody I know personally. We’ve never met. She’s never done anything to me that really merited me hating her in the first place. She was famous and she was pretty and that was enough. I hated her for it: probably in the same way that flat-footed, red-haired Skipper hates pointy-toed, blonde haired Barbie. And much like Barbie, I sometimes fantasized about the satisfaction that might be gained from popping off her head.

What did she have that I didn’t have? Whatever it was, it somehow got her closer to the things that I loved than I’d ever be able to get myself. If I obsessed about Marilyn Manson, there she was dating him. If I fell headlong into Julie Taymore’s “Across The Universe”, there she was starring as the ingenue. If I developed a celebrity crush on Katherine Moennig, then there she would be in the tabloid headlines in a new romance. Wherever I looked, there she was: critically acclaimed in “The Wrestler”, appearing for an arc on “True Blood”, smiling at me from theposters hung in the hallways of USC.

She haunted me.

She was everywhere.

I began to resign myself to the fact that our paths would inevitably cross.

Somehow our fates were tangled up together. Somehow we had the same tastes. Somehow we were cut from the same cloth. Someday we would meet and discover we’re actually the same person, violating the laws of physics and causing reality to collapse.

But, I mean, there are worse ways to go, amiright?

In truth, I was painfully jealous of her.

I still am.

She’s still younger and prettier and more famous than I am and she always will be, but I have to admit (through the tatters of my pride) that I respect her now, which I didn’t before. I recognize her struggle now, which I didn’t before. I recognize myself in her now which I didn’t before. To hate her now would just be small and weak of me: it would be hating myself.

But fuck does it sting to have to admit that I was wrong. Necessary, but painful. And of course I had to actually admit it. Out loud. To another person. These feelings had been a part of me for years. I’d been adamant and vocal about them then; I couldn’t just change my mind and pretend like it had never been a thing.

It had been a thing.

I was going to have to eat some goddamn crow.

The thing I realized is: the hardest part of changing your mind is admitting that you were wrong. I mean, here I was deciding that I no longer hated a woman who’d never done a single bad thing to me and who didn’t even know I existed. And I was feeling sorry for myself because I had to tell one single person: my husband, that I’d been wrong about her.

“I’ve decided that I don’t hate Evan Rachel Wood anymore.” I told him.

Ok.” He said.

That’s about the smallest, daintiest portion of crow in the whole wide world and it still took me a couple days to choke it down. Can you imagine if I’d been wrong about something big? Like a race? Or a political candidate? Or a religion? Can you imagine if it had been somebody who had actually hated me back and I’d had to loudly proclaim to all the world that they were right? Can you image how hard it would be if there had been gloating?

No wonder we’ve become so entrenched and polarized. Being humble about being wrong is tough.

But also freeing.

I never realized how much my own resentment weighed until the weight was lifted. It feels… good. It feels like a part of me has been made new and I am somehow better and stronger than I used to be.

Who knows: maybe someday our paths will finally cross and I’ll be able to tell her “thank you”.

Right after I say ‘I’m sorry’.

And right before reality collapses.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 15, 2018.

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