My new face: all of me!

Dr. Barry Eppley had finished removing the stitches and staples from my lips and scalp. We were chatting about how I now looked, and whether I might be content with where I am or possibly want him to do more.

We talked about each aspect of my face. As we were dissecting my features, he asked if I knew the word, “gestalt.” Before explaining that, consider this.

Picture your favorite hamburger, with all the fixin’s you like. Mmm, all the flavors together taste so good.

GE Brow Bone Reduction result oblique view Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis1

What if you were to eat that same burger, one part at a time. First, the patty. Then, the bun. Now, the ketchup, then the mustard. Chomp on the pickles, and finish up with the onions.

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How do you like that hamburger, now? It’s the same burger, and yet it is not.

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Here is what “gestalt” means: “A configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.”

To be enjoyed, a hamburger must be a unified whole. How much more the human face, and the entire human body?

As I used three posts to roll out my face surgery, showing you my brow, then my lips, and finally my neck—especially placing together before and after shots—was okay, but not nearly as satisfying as showing my entire face. Even more, in my transitioning, my face could not alone be addressed, but also my chest and bottom, along with my hormones—even my legal name. I needed to be a unified whole.

Gestalt, baby!  Here we go!  I’ve arrived, the completed Gina Joy Eilers!

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We got home from church on December 17 and I put Julie to work with the camera.

Before I had my face surgery, I told folks that I will still look like me, and I will look differently. I do believe that idea has worked perfectly.

So, here I am. And, not only my face, because, as I said, my entire person was part of this transition.

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Because I get asked all the time, yes, I wear heels.  These are three inches.  I love wearing them!

A favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  The Lord strengthens me spiritually, and He gives me earthly gifts to do the same. My greatest earthly gift is Julie.  With Julie, I have been able to do all that I have needed to get healthy!

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Where I love to be—next to Julie.

 

Referring to the two photos, below, I still love the Detroit Tigers and hot dogs with mustard and onions, and shows like The Simpsons.  I am dazzled that I have done everything a person can do in transitioning, and in every important way—my Christian faith, everyone and everything I love and value, my personality and sense of humor, and how I live my daily life—did not change a bit.

And even got better, deeper, and enriched, including my faith in Jesus Christ growing much stronger.

Finally, after a nearly lifelong struggle, and closing in on four years since I became suicidal because I was in such mental and emotional anguish, I am healthy.  Indeed, I find myself the most healthy in mind, body, and soul as I have ever been.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all of your goodness to me, both now and forever!  Thank you, Julie, for living your marriage vow to me as thoroughly as a person can!

 

 

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My new face: neck

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Left: now you see my jowls.  Right: now you don’t!

I continue the move down my face, from my brow to my lips, now arriving at my neck.

That I had this work on my neck is not specific to facial feminization. I had a standard face lift, something which any person—I’m trying to refrain from saying, “Something for any older woman or man, who has been afflicted with the nasty affects of aging!”—might desire so as to enjoy a nicer, more youthful look.

By the time I hit my late fifties, my neck had sagged quite badly and I had formed some nasty jowls. I especially noticed my neck when I shaved, the flappy, floppy skin right below my chin flipping and flupping as I ran my razor over it. The other giveaway was a side view of my face, which had me greeting myself, “Hello, turkey!”

Thus, there was no question that a face lift would be part of the work I would have Dr. Barry Eppley perform on me. That, however, created a situation: I had thought I would have him sculpt my jaw as part of the feminizing of my face. but I couldn’t have both during the same surgery.

Why my jaw? As with brows/foreheads, male jaws jut more than females’. As Dr. Eppley smoothed out my brow line, I wanted him to do the same with my jaw. He informed me that he could not work on the jaw and do the face lift in the same operation; it simply was too much for one area, in one operation.

I definitely wanted the face lift, so the jaw was out. Now that I am post-op, I am finding my jaw to be in the same neighborhood as my nose, that is, not terribly male-looking.  And, with my jowls gone, my jaw—which had become more square because of the jowls—was nicely round (see the photo at the top).  When Dr. Eppley removed my stitches and staples, I told him that, so far, I am pleased with how I look and don’t anticipate having him shape my jaw.

If you have pondered having a face lift, consider me to be encouraging you. I am very pleased with the result. Yes, the early days of recovery are significant, but, thankfully, they go by fast.

My neck grew very black and blue, and sensitive. I have a lot of stitches in front of both ears and up each lobe to the antitragus—you know, the hard thingy that sticks up near the ear opening.  See the chart.

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The sides of my face became totally numb and, even at three weeks post-op, are only now regaining feeling.

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This picture was taken the day after surgery.  After scabs formed, the stitch lines became more obvious.

My jaws were stiff for about two weeks. This, along with my very sore lips, impeded eating the first few days. If my lips had not hurt, my jaws, while stiff, would not have kept me from eating just about anything but the toughest foods. Now, at three weeks, my jaws are fine.

For you guys, shaving was very unpleasant until I got to the three week mark post-op. I am not done with electrolysis, and very few whiskers have been removed from my neck. It was a touchy chore to run my razor on my neck, and in front of my ears was very challenging because I was totally numb.

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This was five days post-op.  The camera did not capture how bad this was.  Thankfully, as with all of it, it cleared up quickly.

But, again, and with every aspect of these negatives of recovery, they don’t last and, truly, the time passes quickly enough. My philosophy is not to let a few weeks of discomfort overrule many years of enjoying the results.

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No more sagging neck!
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This is the best closeup I have to show both my neck and jowls.  I am delighted to see no more jowls!

That’s it—three posts to cover my face: brow, lips, and neck.  Now, to reveal the entire image.  In preparation for that, learn this word: gestalt.  As you do, ponder your favorite hamburger, and what it would be like to eat it one ingredient at a time.

On Friday, December 15, I get my hair done.  So I will see you again on Monday, the 18th, and you will see the entire from-the-neck-up new me.

My new face: lips

Every bit as clear as the contrast between the brows of males and females is the difference in our lips. In most cases, especially with Caucasians, females are lavished with larger lips and males sport smaller ones. (If this is not true for you, always remember that, as with a car’s miles-per-gallon, your genetics may vary.)

GE Lip Advancements result front view Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis
That’s me, before surgery and right after the stitches were removed.

As Dr. Eppley put it when assessing my face, “Your lips are pencil thin.” He was right, and so my lips were in play as an important aspect of my facial feminization.

While there are several ways to enhance one’s lips, Dr. Eppley quickly dismissed fillers and injections for me as they would leave me not with top-to-bottom larger lips, but with them puffed up and perhaps unnatural looking.

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Leading into the method he had in mind, Dr. Eppley said, “Vermilion is stretchy.” While this did not sound particularly surprising, who thinks about how stretchy are the lips? Even more, at what was he getting? He was interested in removing a small amount of skin from around the vermilion border, then reattaching my lips, making good use of their stretchiness and achieving the desired goal: I would have larger, feminine-looking lips.

Two things immediately presented themselves to me. First, how would we decide how far to go? Second—and for a short time of greater concern—how much would this hurt? I could easily imagine that the early days of recovery would be no-fun nasty.

I was correct.

Before I get to that, how does one decide how much increase would work well? I drew on my face. I began with a red lip pencil. After a couple of attempts, I had drawn on a respectable outline. I then filled in with lipstick.

My lips looked pretty good. I measured them. I had added about 1/8″ all around. I showed Julie. We were in agreement that this is what I would tell Dr. Eppley, and see what his idea would be.

He agreed, though he translated it to three millimeters, which is a hair under my measurement.

You can bet your tube of Chapstick that I asked how painful this would be, and whether it would affect my eating as I recovered. I don’t fault Dr. Eppley for giving me a pretty brief and simple answer, as I am now a veteran of four significant surgeries and I have found all of my surgeons not to have gone into depth as to the troubles of recovery.

Besides, how would they do that? Patient: “Doctor, how bad will I hurt?” Doctor: “Let me put it this way: I hope I never have done to me what I’m going to do to you.” Yikes.

I always go into surgery the way that I try exotic foods for the first time. With food, I figure that folks of other cultures wouldn’t eat it if it tasted terrible. (The lone exception so far? Vegemite. You Australians must have some wacky taste buds.) So I reckon with surgery; they wouldn’t do the surgery—especially elective surgery, as my three 2017 ones have been—if it had in store a near-impossible-to-endure recovery period.

Where my brow made the early days of recovery problematic because of the new hole in my head (see yesterday’s post), the first week after surgery on my lips made eating and drinking nightmarish chores.

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This photo is not staged. For five days, I really did sip my morning coffee through a straw, allowing each cup to cool significantly before having at it.

My lips were numb. The stitch line hurt. On Black Friday, two days after surgery, with Julie back at work, in the mid-morning I was hungry and could not think of anything to eat that I would be able to eat. I couldn’t feel a fork on my lips, and moving them was painful.

An idea struck. I headed to the kitchen. I took out the milk, eggs, and sugar. I have now made homemade eggnog enough to recall the portions of each ingredient. I didn’t have heavy cream, so this would not be as tasty as usual, but it would do the job that I needed. It would be easy to drink through a straw, taste yummy, and provide me with the calories I needed.

It worked. I am now preparing a marketing plan for the Post-op Eggnog Diet. (Don’t be so quick to dismiss my genius!)

The day after surgery, Dr. Eppley revealed a bit of news which I sure did not want to hear. He had not used dissolving stitches in my lips. The stitches would have to come out. One day, during one of the two times a day I applied antibiotic cream to them, I counted the stitches. Their were more than forty. Ugh.

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Two days post-op.  Despite keeping the stitches moist with antibiotic cream, for a few days they were very crusty and uncomfortable.

 

I had somehow made it to age sixty without ever having experienced stitch removal. As I asked folks, everyone said, “It feels like a tug, but it doesn’t really hurt.” Then, some added, “But I don’t know about around your lips.”

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I’m never in so much pain that I cannot take a selfie.

They sure didn’t know about around the lips. Many of them qualified as the tug, very similar to the zap of the more-than-one-hundred-hours of electrolysis I’ve had done on my facial hair. The rest? They hurt. A lot. A few left me out of breath and Dr. Eppley feeling badly for causing me so much pain.

I survived.

Before completing the first week post-op, I could again feel a fork on my lips and drink from a cup. As I write this nearing the three week mark post-op, the stitch line feels tight. While I have full movement, when I laugh or smile widely the tightness is very evident. Dr. Eppley said it helps the healing to stretch my lips, so have at the laughing and smiling.

There is a red line where my lips were reattached. It makes my lips look a bit odd for now. It will take awhile to fade away.

GE Lip Advancements result oblique view Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis

Dr. Eppley has blogged about my lip procedure.  Sorry, to you who like surgery pictures; unlike with my brow there are no during-surgery photos this time.

http://exploreplasticsurgery.com/case-study-transgender-vermilion-advancements-lips/

Thankfully, I can envision the finished product. Especially when I smile, I find my lips to be what I had wanted. However, only looking at my lips does not provide context. For that—to see how my brow and lips look together—I stick my neck out asking for one more day of your patience. Before I reveal my entire face, I have a face lift to display and discuss.

My new face: brow

GE Brow Bone Reduction result side view Dr Barry Eppley Inddianapolis

Until 2013, I was not aware of the significant differences in the structures of male and female faces. Thus, since my surgery, I should not be surprised how many times I have heard, “I never noticed this!”

Because of the difference, it is not as simple as a genetic male, who is transitioning to female, to grow hair, and to trim eyebrows and apply makeup, so as to completely achieve a female appearance. This is why, on November 22, I underwent facial feminization surgery, which is commonly known as FFS.

In this post, I unfurrow my brow. In the coming days I will pucker my lips, then stick out my neck, and then finally reveal my entire face.

Thanks to Dr. Eppley for taking all of the appropriate photographs. In the process, I learned that he is an active blogger. If you would like to read the expert’s rendition of his surgery on my brow, click the following link. Be prepared for several pictures of my actual surgery, with my forehead exposed. To me, they are pretty gruesome photos, so be forewarned if that kind of thing creeps you out.

http://exploreplasticsurgery.com/case-study-microplate-fixation-flap-setback-brow-bone-reduction/

I present my lay-person’s version of what Dr. Eppley professionally wrote. As he refers to it, my male brow provided a Neanderthal Man look. Though male brows of today are not quite so jutting as the Neanderthals, that is a handy reference as everyone immediately has an image to conjure.

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Ahhhh, now I get why my aunt always referred to her cousin Harry as a Neanderthal!

I had viewed loads of photos in anticipation of my surgery. I am pleased to report that these photos show exactly what I was hoping would be achieved.

Female brows are smooth, and don’t jut out.  See the difference in the photo at the opening of this post, the side view providing the most vivid angle to see the difference.

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Female eyebrows are set higher on the face. If you had not known these two things—the jut versus smooth, and the lower-set versus higher-set—pay attention. Look—but don’t stare!—at men and women. Now that you know the difference, you will see the difference. This quickly explains why we have such things as masculine and feminine appearances.  We’re simply built differently.

GE Brow Bone Reduction result oblique view Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis

These pictures fascinate me.  I see the same person, yet I see a dramatic difference.  With age, my brows were sagging.  Now lifted, my eyes look more alive.  And a bit more youthful?  Perhaps.

Dr. Eppley used a reciprocating saw to reduce my brow bone. He then performed a brow lift. Combine this with a scalp advancement—he was hoping to move my scalp forward about a centimeter, close to 4/10″—the other gain for me was both a less-prominent forehead and the removal of the wrinkles of aging.

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A surgical reciprocating saw.

Shaving the bone created a hole in my head.  (As if I need another hole in my head.) When he visited Julie and me the day after surgery, he warned me not to blow my nose for the next couple of weeks as the surgery healed, and if I were to sneeze to place the palm of one hand firmly over my forehead. If I were not to do that, I would feel a rush of air, and it would be very uncomfortable.

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Worry not, I sneezed. And I blew my nose a few times, forgetting to palm my forehead. I learned the hard way: I was officially an airhead.

What is the feeling of air rushing into one’s forehead? It didn’t so much hurt as it was just plain weird. The air seemed to rattle about for several seconds, like a pinball bouncing around the machine.

Two weeks after surgery, I was finally able to trust blowing my nose, palming my forehead, so that I didn’t experience the big rush. It got to where I felt about a dime-sized spot, between and just above my eyebrows, giving just a bit of a harmless puff with each blow.

As I am nearing the three week mark post-op, I am still palming my head, but I am no longer feeling even the dime-sized spot. Soon, I will have confidence to go all out, trusting that what Dr. Eppley had pulled back in order to shave my bone has now re-adhered itself.

My brow now completed, next time I will give you some lip.

“When Rhonda was murdered” removed

If you came to my blog looking for the post regarding Rhonda’s murder, I removed it Wednesday (12/6) afternoon.  On Thursday (12/7), I posted the following on Facebook.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I BLEW IT

Yesterday afternoon, I removed both my Facebook and blog posts regarding Rhonda’s murder. To all whom I offended by posting it, I regret that I did not use my head better in deciding to post this. Please, forgive me.

Before posting this, I ran it by some folks close to the events and no one said that I should not post it. While that propelled me to post it, the responsibility and error is not theirs, but mine. I sought to use this piece as a reflection of an event which profoundly affected many, and to share some of the valuable lessons from it, hoping to have a positive impact.

I left the post up more than a day because all of the reactions I received were of a positive nature. Indeed, I heard from some who were directly connected to the events, and not a negative word was said to me that I posted this. The piece was very widely shared and read.

Then, yesterday/Wednesday morning, I received the first concern about it, and soon came the second. In the afternoon, a particular comment—not made to me, but which I picked up from another person—told me that I had not considered the great sensitivity which remains six years later.

I immediately pulled the piece.

It did not matter to me that I only heard three concerns where 1,800 had read the piece and dozens made positive comments. I am horrified that I hurt anyone, even one.

It was therapeutic for me to write this as I was profoundly affected by these events, but this was not about me. I have to remember that I am not some sleuth reporter, but I was the pastor to these people. Though I am not now a pastor doesn’t matter. I blew it. I am very sad with myself.

Please, forgive me. I intend to learn from this and do better. The Lord be with you.

I also got breast implants

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Throughout my transition and, specifically, as I was to undergo surgery on November 22, I had not been public about one thing. It seemed that it might sound like I was doing something frivolous, getting breast implants, when I had my facial feminization surgery (FFS), so I simply ignored it.

I should not have ignored it. It was not frivolous.

Now that I am nearing two weeks since my surgery, I have found that this is important to discuss. Even more, I have held nothing back regarding my transition, and that has been important to me. I am a wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of person, one who strives to be open, always honest, and use situations—including the most delicate—to educate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The decision to have my breasts enhanced was one that I debated with myself and which Julie and I discussed for a long time. I never wanted to undergo anything which was unnecessary. I didn’t like the idea of adding the implants to my body.  I struggled with what size they should be, not wanting them too large, but achieving a proper size. I researched the physical concerns regarding them, just as I had researched the side effects of going on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and the dangers of sex reassignment surgery.

I contemplated myself, my appearance, and how much breast growth I had achieved the past few years on HRT. When one begins HRT so late in life, its impact is way less than when a person in the teens or twenties begins.

For my age, I experienced nice breast growth. Even as I was pleased about that, a problem remained. Because I am a large person, my new breasts did not match up with my frame.

As I pondered implants and how I wanted to look when I considered myself fully transitioned, here is the thing to which I always returned, the equivalent of the ultimate reason I had my face feminized: Neither thing was as much for me as for everyone who sees me, especially out in public with those who don’t know me.

I undertook face surgery for the purpose of better being recognized as a female. The same goes for having vocal cord surgery, so that I might be able to speak with a higher pitch. I opted for breast implants for the same reason. With all three—face, voice, breasts—my goal was to better function in the world as the person whom I want the world to see.

I am also grateful for all of the procedures for my own sake. The person I am seeing in the mirror—the person whom I now embody—reflects the person my mind has been visualizing all these years.

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It has been a remarkable adjustment, having larger breasts. The first days after surgery, I was terribly tentative with them, with their almost feeling that they were not under, but on top of my chest, and that if I moved wrong or too quickly they might fall off.

As I grew used to them, another adjustment awaited: running. Two years ago, I added the wearing of a sports bra when jogging. That was an easy fix and, because of my breast size, there was nothing unusual-looking about this person, who certainly appeared to be a guy out running the neighborhoods of northeast Indy.

On Friday, December 1, when I saw Dr. Eppley nine days after surgery and he removed stitches and clips from my lips and head, he gave me the okay to resume normal activity, with the regular cautions to take care. I quickly replied, “Wonderful! I’m going jogging this afternoon!”

Besides some remaining tenderness, I was mindful of how much I might jiggle. I wore the surgical bra, with which I was fitted in the hospital, and it’s plenty tight, so I hoped for no more bobbing than previously.

As I dressed, pulling my t-shirt over my head, I anticipated my new look. No doubt about it, I will no longer be stealthy in the breast department. Now, whom will folks see as I jog by, as I offer my smiling hellos and friendly small talk to those I pass on the street? A guy? A gal? A . . . ?

Thankfully, I am not a self-conscious person. I am able to tell myself, “They will see whom they will see. For the sake of everyone, no matter where I am, or how I am dressed, I will smile, I will be friendly, I will only give them a reason to be pleased they encountered me.”

I took off running.

My first steps were tentative. I noticed everything, from the twinge in what has been a sensitive spot in my right breast, to a teeny bit more jiggle, to the different feel of this bra from my sports bras.

Was I pushing it? Was it too soon to begin? If needed, would I have the sense to stop and walk?

Within two minutes, before I reached the first block’s corner, I was settling in. Then, when the voice on my running app called out the first five minutes, I rejoiced. I was up to my regular pace and running well. A wide smile burst from my face. I spoke a joy-filled prayer of thanks to the Lord.

I had been running six to seven miles this autumn, but I had not run for thirteen days. While I had only missed one week before resuming walking, even the five miles, which I had once again achieved on Thursday, is not as tiring or taxing. Though I felt good, I kept this first run to 3.7 miles.

The next day, Saturday, I bumped it up to 4.2. I felt good, but after I was done the muscles in my more sensitive right breast were calling out to me. I took some ibuprofen. As much as I want to run in the October-like weather we are having, I prescribed Sunday off.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Since I had FFS and the breast enhancement, I am happy to report that I have only been pleased. Even during the very difficult first week after surgery, when everything hurt, all but my nose was numb, eating was a miserable event, my activity was very limited for the sake of my healing breasts, and I looked just awful, I never asked, “What did you do to yourself, you dope?”

Thankfully, I have only had positive thoughts. I have been able to visualize the finished product and be excited about it. I have been on a high, having finally completed my surgeries and, for all intents and purposes, my transition.

Whew!  Yay!

I find nothing I have done to be frivolous. Quite the opposite, each procedure, every step of transitioning, has been a part of the whole of healing.

Finally, nearly five years after crashing under crushing gender dysphoria, I am feeling like a healthy person. I have pep in my step, a smile on my face, and a song in my heart.

Praise the Lord Jesus for all of His goodness to me!

What’s missing from the apologies

 

Tell me when you have heard this from anyone, especially the men of late who have finally been revealed for their sexual misconduct:

“I didn’t realize what I was doing. I now know it was wrong. I apologize to anyone who might have been hurt by my actions.”

Sure, lots of other things are usually said. I only wanted to hit the key, common themes. I find astonishing what usually is only an indirect admission of guilt, usually spoken to the public, rarely directly to the women. And, as in the final sentence, this is how it is said, “If anyone was hurt,” as if it’s not on these men for what they did, but on the women for not receiving it well.

Can you imagine this: “If you were killed by the bullet I shot into your heart, I’m sorry.” What’s the difference between that and “I apologize to anyone who might have been hurt by my actions”?

Now, tell me when you have heard this from anyone, especially the men of late who have finally been revealed for their sexual misconduct:

“I did a terrible thing. I knew better. I knew I was crossing a line. I knew this was not the same as dating, and romantically falling for each other, and giving ourselves to each other. Quite the opposite, I was no better than and no different from a rapist. I know that it was my actions which hurt these women, which hurt you (uses their names). I was not sorry at the time, and I sure hoped this would never come to light. Now that these women have spoken, and I hear the pain in their voices, and recognize in their words the offense I perpetrated upon them, I finally and fully realize what I did, how I used my position to my advantage and their disadvantage, how I put them into this spot of remaining silent for so long.”

That’s a lot, and oh how I would love to hear such direct admissions of guilt, but those words should not be the end. A key thing—perhaps THE key thing—remains missing. Here it is:

“Now, I dare to ask for their forgiveness. Please, (using their names), forgive me. No, I do not deserve it, but now that I am actually owning up to what I did, I am a broken man for it. Thus, I find that I really need your forgiveness. I am truly sorry for what easily were my unforgivable actions, Finally, I have opened my eyes. With your forgiveness, I hope to heal in such a way that, frankly, I can grow up and be the man that I always should have been. I am filled with remorse. I regret my actions. I repent of them. Please, forgive me.”

There it is. That’s what’s always missing, a direct, no wiggle room allowed, remorse and regret and repentance. Finally, and ultimately, the request to be forgiven—with a humility-filled “please”—so that the women and the world can believe you, is always missing. And it is vital to the entire process, to the mending of relationships, even if relationships might not, or cannot be resumed.

And, please, don’t tell me, “They might have been advised by their lawyers not to go that far.” If they are going to admit guilt, then admit guilt. If they are going to own up to their actions, then go all the way. If they want the women and us to see that they truly have been knocked to their knees by their ugly, vile—yes, let’s even call them sinful and criminal—actions, then go so far as to beg forgiveness.

Yeah, beg. Put some weight and emotion into that “please” which needs to come before the “forgive me.” And don’t manufacture it. We’ll see it, if it’s not genuine. You will be raked over the coals, and rightly so, if we think that you slammed your hand in a door in order to produce those tears.

Choke up. Break down. Fall apart. That’s what you did to the women, you punks. The equal and opposite reaction would be for you to do the same.

Let’s have all of these:

  • Remorse
  • Regret
  • Repentance
  • Begging for forgiveness

Do you deserve anyone’s forgiveness? Of course not. No one, who has done a terrible thing, deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is not about deserving or earning or clearing the air.

Forgiveness is a gift.

This is not the stuff of the courts, of guilty and not guilty and meting out punishment. This is about human relationships. Forgiveness is about healing human relationships.

If a relationship can be healed so that it can resume, then the reconciliation will be marvelous proof of the guilty party’s regret and the offended party’s generosity.

If it is impossible for the relationship to be resumed—and the hurt party need not feel it is their obligation to put themselves back into this person’s life—then they will have done all they could do, the offender repenting and the offended forgiving. As for the courts or lawsuits, they are completely separate things.

Apologizing and repenting are not the same thing. The word, apologize, originally meant to make a defense, to explain oneself for the purpose of being understood, a person making his case. Over time, it morphed into meaning sorrow for our actions and repentance.

The origin of repent is to turn one’s mind around, as in “I used to think it was okay to do this, but now I know I was wrong.” To imagine it vividly:

  • To stop looking at the person who is causing you to lust for him or her.
  • To take your eyes off the thing you cannot afford to buy so that you don’t covet it and spend money that you don’t have.
  • To not enter the casino where you know your gambling habit is going to bite you once more.

While my having been a Christian minister has me especially attuned to this, know that Christians do not have a corner on it. This is the language of all religions. Frankly, religion need have nothing to do with it; it’s common to all human beings, to every type of relationship.

If you blew it, admit it.  Let us see remorse.  Let us hear regret.  Let us reckon your repentance. Directly tell the person you hurt, mincing no words. With a humble “please,” ask for her or his forgiveness.

If you are the hurt one, recognize the sorrow. Realize that you are prone to falling short with others and have wanted their forgiveness so many times, and always were so glad to be forgiven, so you don’t want to do to them what you want no one to do to you. Regardless of whether or not you can restart a relationship with this person, melt your heart so that it is not hard. Forgive the person. Then, move on.

When these public figures, many of whom I have either appreciated or admired their work, some of whom I have really liked, who brought joy and laughs and fun into my life, actually show remorse, regret, and repentance, and then go so far as to humbly beg forgiveness, then—and only then—will the offense which they gave me be removed. Until then, they have lost my respect, and any affection I might have had for them.

I always have forgiveness in my heart, ready to give it to those who are sorrowful, and oh how I want to give it away as freely and immediately as the Lord does for me.  But, it has to be requested.  People need to own up, confess, and humbly ask.

Harvey and Kevin and Louis and Charlie and Matt and all of you men, if you are guilty, admit it to yourself and then admit it to the world. Repent. Beg forgiveness. Give the women, and give all of us, the chance to finally see your sorrow, perhaps even to respect you for your honest humility, and forgive you.

Perhaps—and I so pray it for the sake of the women whom you offended, and hurt, even brutalized—they can begin to move on.  To be healed—oh, to be healed!

Hopefully, all of us can move on and, dare I hope it, become better people in all of our relationships.