Just a warning up front: this will probably be long, and it is going to touch on, though not go into very deeply, some more mature themes such as drug use, and skirt around some sensitive sexual-adjacent content. If these topics are triggers for you, I hold no will will towards you for not reading or pushing through. There is no need to relive your trauma on my behalf. Though some of these topics push (or blow past) the rules here on BZP, I have been specifically asked by the administration to post this after some topics of conversation had elsewhere have recently come up.
The rest will be under a spoiler.
First, I want to make a few things explicit. I do not care how those who have been writing about our big friend group breakup in 2016 are framing things. I am not interested in re-litigating who hurt who, or trying to create an "us vs them" mentality or saying "we did nothing wrong and they went our of their way to hurt us". I do not believe anyone in this situation was blameless, innocent, or can or should make any sort of "we are victims and did nothing wrong, period" comments. Including myself! Trust me when I say that I wish things were that cut and dry. It would certainly make all of this way easier. I'm also aware that there are several former BZP members who are saying that even allowing me to write something from my perspective is evil or immoral. I hope that the rest of you read this, engage, and make your own choices. And while some of the stories I am going to tell (and, due to the circumstances, I will be using names for clarity where appropriate) do not cast the others here in a positive light, I am explicitly not setting out to say "here are bad things they did too, don't trust them". I am interested in an honest, open, and transparent dialogue of issues that have been brought up from my (slash our) perspective. This includes many places where I am going to be a lot more frank about issues around my own mistakes, relationship histories, etc than, honestly, I feel I should have to in public, but I have been watching those I care about be thrown under the bus the past few weeks and so here we are. I want to make a few more things very clear: I am not now, nor have I, in my life on BZP staff, been a TERF. Trans-women are real women, trans-men are real men, and non-binary people are valid and their pronouns are not up for debate. If you attempt to engage in this history with me off-site (I am willing to talk via discord or twitter, though I will probably lock this) and do so using any deadnames or incorrect pronouns, I do not care what kind of support or desire for support you are expressing toward me, I will block you. I may not have any real desire to be involved with this group or individuals in it, but I will not allow for any sort of bigoted language to be used towards them or anyone else.
I'm going to start with a few quick hits before getting into more detailed and emotional areas.
Yes, in May of 2010 I was fired from a Target in OK, over sexual harassment. But it wasn't mine- In May I had a vacation scheduled to go to Austin with a friend, Mike. The second-to-last day of work before my vacation kicked in, I witnessed an Executive Team Lead, Trey, who was my age (22ish) trying to coax the cell phone from my 17 year old female co-worker, Anna. He told her that "cellphones aren't allowed on the floor, they need to be in a locker. Give it to me so I can put it in one, though you better hope there are no pictures on it I might be able to see". I clocked in, got behind the counter in the Starbucks kiosk we worked in, and very loudly informed her she was off so she could leave. After my shift I stayed an hour late, went to the HR office, and reported him for sexual harassment. It was not the first time she had mentioned he made her uncomfortable, but she was terrified of him both due to his power in the store and his actual physical size. So I reported it myself. The HR manager told me "I think the issue is that you (me) and him are just two different types of people, you wouldn't hang out as friends, so you're just misunderstanding". She refused to file anything for me. I asked for a transfer. The next day I came to work, did my entire shift, and as I was getting ready to clock out, I was called into the HR office. I thought it would be about the transfer, but instead I was told that "unfortunately" I had taken my lunch break inside the Starbucks instead of the break room, which was against the rules, so I was being terminated. I was ALSO told that I was welcome to file legal action, but that she would not hesitate to say it was about something else. But luckily, I was "welcome to shop there" still. So I did. Every day. After a few weeks I was met outside by that same manager and told I was no longer welcome in the store. Fair. The next day the girl who was being harassed called corporate HR and complained about the ETL. Both he and the HR manager were fired a week later. I told this story at length to my BZPower friends on our secret staff forum (yes, those very obviously existed), and several were friendly enough to donate money to help me pay for brickfair that year, which meant a lot to me. Plus, that's the year I met Maddison.
The workplace harassment leads directly into another story I've read about myself. When I worked for Starbucks here in Portland, I worked in a store with a shift supervisor named Heather. We got along on and off, mostly we were sort of anime rival frenemies? But at one point towards the end of my time there, she started sitting in the backroom when doing admin work, and we'd chat on my break or vice versa, me doing admin work and her on break. She started showing people photos of trans-women (not explicit, just standard model photography) and saying "do you think she's hot?" And when someone would be like "sure" she'd go "she's trans, so hot right?" This made a lot of us uncomfortable, but directly related to how my time at Target ended, I was too cowardly to report her. Things got much more explicit from her over the last few months before I transferred, and Sal (a friend I made at that Starbucks who a few Cascade and Brickfair folks have met, and who used to live with Avery before she moved out in the middle of the night leaving him with the lease) and I would complain about her in front of Avery. Somewhere over the years since our friendship ended, the story has turned into Heather and I swapping places and it happening at a completely different store. I don't know why.
I am sure that, as someone who did not grow up progressive, that I said several slurs as a younger person. But I have never said the "N word", and don't even say it when listening to music featuring it when in a car by myself. I am sure I have used the others mentioned at some point, though it would have been when I was younger, before I was a BZP staff member, during a different political and religious time in my life, before I "knew better". That's not to excuse those terms as they are still awful regardless, but as I grew into an adult and learned how they were used to harm and persecute, I cut them out.
Speaking of toxic behaviour, though, there is something a lot of BZP folks back in the heyday wondered that it feels passingly appropriate to mention. While we tried to NOT, there was definitely an "inner" group of friends in the staff, though the group obviously splintered several different times. And yes, several of us over the years would get together and complain about BZP members we didn't like, folks that bothered us, or just exchange gossip. I will never pretend that wasn't a strong part of all of our trips to visit other staff when we'd drive up to Canada. Or when Avery and I would hang out here in Portland, pre-California, we would often get together and just tear apart MOCs others had built together. These are all true things. To cast any of that as a "just Pat" thing is really really really exaggerated and false. We each had folks we personally disliked that became "group dislikes". Whether out of legitimate worry and concern for how they acted, whether out of petty jealousy, whatever, this happened a lot. There are plenty of screenshots out there on Tumblr from when our secret staff forum was hacked you're welcome to go find. Those screens are all real. We were all "the cool kids" and sometimes we acted just like you'd expect. That's dumb, it's toxic, it's gross. I've spent several several years befriending a lot of those people who we said mean things about and apologizing and creating some of the best, honest, lasting friendships I currently have. Making those moves was never a "haha now that our friends are all talking bad about this person, I'm going to befriend them and tell them all we said to make that group look bad". I have ALWAYS taken responsibility in those situations for the things I've said and my own role. Several of you reading this will know that- because you know who you all are. I don't think any of that is truly surprising when you remember that as "the cool kids" on a BIONICLE website we were mostly all maladjusted folks living out power fantasies and group dynamics we were often too poorly socialized to recognize "in the real world". And for this group of us specifically, the Internet and message board and social media culture is something we, for better or worse, got to be the beta test generation for. As a quick focus point story, I flew up to Bricks Cascade in 2015, and there were two different and distinct BZP groups there, Rob, Becca, Bryan, Jen, Nate, Avery, and then the Rileys, Rene, Trisha, etc. Those two groups had different evening parties, and I remember going over to the hotel room Rob and Becca and Bryan were all in one night, them all doing nothing but making fun of the "not cool BZP" group, and then going to spend time with the other the the next night. I really wanted both groups to enjoy Portland and the convention, and while it hasn't always worked, I've tried at lots of cons to bridge the different BZP groups. Not to make one or the other group look bad, but because I genuinely liked most of those people on both sides and wanted to be a good person. Even when I wasn't. I remember Sal, Jen, and I getting lunch during that con at Red Robin and venting about how our friends were being jerks who didn't seem to care about the convention or the other people there, as they kept just... not showing up. Which is really fine, but we were there for the lego convention and the socializing, and they simply were there for just the latter. But we, as a group, did not always communicate these things well.
I apologize if this is and continues to be rambling, I've talked this out at length with a handful of close friends several times now, and I've written 1000 of these entries in my head the past few weeks.
I'm not even sure how to organize the rest of this to be honest, so I apologize if it bounces back and forth a bit.
I moved to Portland in 2012, and that's when Maddison and I started visiting Becca, Rob, and Jen in Canada a few times a month. We treasured those friendships and trips, and for a bit before Maddison and I got our own apartment, they were some of the only times we were able to truly feel free of all the weight of depression and poor homelife situations. I want to stress how important these people were to us. Rob was my oldest friend, someone I'd kept in close contact with since we were 15. These were good people, and these were good friendships for a long time. They helped us through bad times, we were at their wedding, we cared about them like family. All the rest of the drama aside, there are still times where I dream everything has fallen away and we are all friends again, and I used to ache for that immensely. I don't anymore, but I say this because, as I said above, I'm not interested in painting them as evil. While during the original fallout in 2016 I was very very hurt, years later I can look back and see how much of that time was all of us, separately, grappling with massive changes and identities and one hundred percent not communicating as friends or people who cared about one another, and it's easier to see where the fault lines grew and how they were taken advantage of. It's easy to see how we allowed our own issues, each of us, to warp how we expressed our care for each other and allow it to turn to resentment. I'm just as guilty in this situation as anyone else.
In 2014 Avery moved to Portland, and it was awesome! We had another BZP friend, another MOC builder, another friend to spend time with who we were excited to have here. Avery is the same age as my youngest sibling, and from the beginning I turned Avery into a surrogate sibling, as I'm thousands of miles away from my family, so I'm estranged by distance. It was nice having someone too who took MOCing as serious as I did and who was just as good (if not better!) than I was to bounce ideas off of and to talk history of techniques and all of that with. Avery had a car and we didn't, so Avery often drove when we all went out and hung together. I truly believed we were helping Avery grow out of an oppressive childhood, and we tried to create safe spaces for her. There were times where it was hard, there was the obvious age gap, the various depressions that would flare up, and money was constantly an issue. At one point Avery's first roommate situation fell through and we helped her find a new roommate, though we didn't know at first that she did not tell her first one she was moving, and that roommate had to find a way to pay Avery's part of the rent and the lease termination fee. Maddison and I both were excited to see Avery better express herself, we complimented her outfits when we thought she was being more "portland", we helped pay for the trip to NYCC for the G2 launch, we were family and friends. Avery was going through a period of self-discovery with sexual and gender identity, the first we knew, the second we missed almost all the signs of until after the friend group imploded. As older friends we tried to allow Avery space to talk about her identity with us, at one point getting TOO excited about the idea of her and another BZP member we thought would be cute together (god we even had a cutesy portmanteau nickname for them if it ever happened). Avery was like a surrogate sibling, but also due to proximity became one of my best friends. We talked about religion, politics, life, relationships, etc. I was not always as cognizant of the power imbalance in our age gap, and always thought of myself as a "wise older brother" (lol) imparting wisdom to a younger one. Years later I have discovered that, due especially to the age difference, this has been seen in hindsight as me pushing my religious and political views onto her and trying to mold her into a younger me, I guess? I hate that, but you can't change how someone feels about a past situation.
In 2015 Maddison and I moved to California. Contrary to what I've also heard, while we were nervous and I was definitely bummed to lose our newly established friend group (the three of us and Sal), we were EXCITED to move, and we were very hopeful for the new life. We felt bad that Avery had just moved to Portland, and that we were heading out, but she lived with a friend, had Rob and Becca a few hours away, and we hoped she would be able to make new friends through work and art. We had taken her with us to Portlug meetings, to NYCC, to conventions, events, invited her to every party we went to, so we were hopeful she would be able to have a solid support structure underneath her since we were leaving and wouldn't be those people for her anymore. We were glad to know she was not isolated and had her family back in Colorado if she needed as well. But I hated living in Escondido. I'm not going to mince words, my job sucked, the area sucked, I hated the weather, we were away from an easily accessible city center, and we had one car Maddison used for work. I felt trapped, I was resentful, Maddison's depression got bad for awhile, and I felt alone and angry and upset and depressed. All of my Skype convos with Avery turned into "I am building this MOC, what the heck how did you build yours so fast, and also I hate California and I want to be back in Portland". It wasn't fair to Maddison, or to Avery! But it was all I could think about. For my birthday that year we flew back to Portland for a weekend and stayed with Avery and Sal.
During that time, we became aware that Becca, who had recently expressed she felt she was polyamorous, was suddenly dating another BZP member. We showed up in Portland and one of the very first things a very very very angry Avery told us was that Becca was dating Bryan and that Rob was devastated. We learned later that a lot of this was worked out between the three of them, and I DID reach out to Rob and Becca both a few weeks later to talk about things more, and as things came into sharper context I talked with Becca and told her I was sorry for the confusion but that I definitely supported them and wanted them to be happy. But at first we were blindsided by what Avery told us, and, in the context of our own issues, we took out our anger on Becca and Bryan anonymously on a tumblr ask. Again, contrary to the story that has been told, this was not my idea, we were told that Rob was near suicidal and we felt very angry about it. Avery sent a tumblr response, then I did, and lastly Maddison did. I remember specifically that they got meaner as we sent them. This is not okay! We should have just left ourselves out of their personal business, but we were all too deeply entwined in ourselves and each other to do that. Once we realized that things weren't as we were originally told, we sort of pretended we hadn't sent those and let them be a mystery as we were embarrassed and had already caused too much harm with them. We should have apologized and let the fallout be what it was. I should have apologized!
As an aside, this is probably the clearest "okay maybe someone here is an actual victim" moment. If you'll notice, I have almost never mentioned Bryan. Somewhere along the line the story became that I was cutting him out until "the whole poly thing settles" or whatever. The truth is, honestly, probably worse. While I had always seen Bryan as a close friend, to be honest I never saw him as the same level of friend as the rest, simply because he was farther away and didn't get to be involved as much in our group shenanigans. And I never reached out to him to see how HE was doing during all of this. I didn't even think about it. God I was a terrible friend. I don't remember saying that I didn't get why people thought he was funny, but I also wouldn't put it past the angry and resentful version of myself that existed as a selfish fiery supernova at that time. He had never done anything but help me out over the years, and I never even once even texted him. And it's not like I didn't have his number! Heck, I think I still do, since I never delete contacts.
Eventually Maddison and I both broke down and we moved back to Portland. It felt like things were good! Jen came to visit for the New Year and it was nice! But things unraveled very quickly. While Jen was visiting we went to a NYE party, and were supposed to meet up with Avery after to do the countdown. We were running late, and so Avery said "never mind", got angry, and went up and posted an IG image of herself at midnight being angsty and alone. We felt bad about running late, but she had always been welcome at our celebration. That said, I felt very guilty for being so adamant about moving back, and Maddison started talking about maybe looking into a job at LEGO HQ at some point, and having JUST moved back I had an internal panic at the idea of moving again. I felt like I had JUST found a part of myself in Portland and I HATED the idea of leaving again. As you can guess, we were not communicating effectively at this time. I spoke to Avery about this a bit, but at the same time, I had started to make friends at my new Starbucks who were my age with closer life experiences, and I started pulling away from Avery too. Avery would invite me to lunch or dinner and I would text her that I already had plans. I vividly remember us hosting our first large group Star Wars movie night in February 2016, and Avery just up and leaving about an hour in. Everyone thought it was very odd and she did not attempt to come to another, even though we invited her. I also remember her coming over so her and I could get lunch, me standing at the sink as I poured a glass of water, and her asking me point-blank why I liked spending time with Stevi and Kirsten and Zack. I remember it was awkward and I could not get across "they are my age and it is easier to talk to them about things that makes more sense to us due to being at closer life experiences" effectively.
At the same time, she took up cannabis as a hobby which caused some strife in our relationship. We did not care if it was something she did in her free time, but she would smoke outside, come up, and the fumes would still be so strong our couch would smell like it after she left and it would burn our eyes. She would ask to smoke on our balcony, and since it was against our lease we said no. She would get very upset about this, saying we were being too "straight edge" while we just wanted her to respect our boundaries in our home. I remember her drawing a few random comics that said "I hope I burn your eyes". It was frustrating. It was hurtful. We had ended up at the same Starbucks, and she missed a few shifts, and the other supervisors and our manager noticed she would go back and forth from irritable to lazy on shifts, and our manager knew we were friends and asked me to check in. This was construed by Avery as me being invasive and trying to get her in trouble, but I was trying to keep her from getting fired. I don't think she knows, but at one point the paperwork for her separation had been already been written out by our boss. At one point she showed up at the store so stoned, with cupcakes she had made for the store beforehand, that the cupcakes weren't even cooked. I was worried about all of these negatives, and I reached out to Becca. She said Avery was mad at me, but also that we needed to be more supportive. She also dismissed my concerns regarding the work situation as lies. I remember being frustrated then and there, and I remember Becca hinting at some conversations I'd had with Avery in private regarding both the weed and Maddison and myself. It was very stark to me in that moment how deeply our group was intertwined and that none of us had any secrets with each other. I remember being angry. I remember Avery saying something to me, verbatim, a few weeks later, that I had said to Becca in private, and I remember snapping "Becca needs to keep private conversations private". I should have also kept things private! It's much easier to see from years later, but our group was gossipy and overly-involved and it was just waiting for a big fire to be set. I want to be very clear that I am saying that I was just as guilty of this as they were.
At the SAME time, Maddison and I were not talking effectively and I had started to build a wall there. We had a small falling out with Avery that we thought was resolved after she visited with her sister and aunt (i think?), and the three of us went to Seattle for Maddison and Avery to sell art at a convention. After one night, Maddison went to bed, and Avery and I saw Batman v Superman (it was v bad!) and walked from the convention center to the Space Needle and back. During the walk she talked about how Maddison and I needed to break up, how we were dragging each other down, how especially Maddison's health was dragging me down. I remember it was really dark out, and really emotional. It was the first time I'd had that conversation out loud. I thought she was probably right. We texted about it several times between that and Brickcan. Avery was very supportive but also would text unsolicited advice about how to breakup, often using a rollercoaster metaphor. About a week before Brickcan I was at a point where I was pretty sure it was what was going to happen, and Avery and I went out to the lego store or somewhere, and on the way back I told Avery I had started glancing at apartments or rooms for rent if it came to that. I remember she was mad. I remember being confused as I thought it was what she had wanted to hear, and that she would be proud of me, tbh. But later I learned that she thought I was going to do what she had done to Jason and leave Maddison with rent and a lease and nowhere to stay. That had never been my "plan". I wanted to know if I had the funds to pay for a place IF it came to a point where we no longer lived together. A few weeks later we DID break up, and we stayed roommates. At Brickcan I had a one on one emotional conversation with a BZP admin about how I thought Maddison and I were going to break up, during an event where this group of friends was trying to break a different BZP admin and his new girlfriend up. I remember telling her that things were bad, that I was emotionally exhausted, that I couldn't be there for Maddison like she deserved. I remember that BZP admin telling me that it sounded like it was for the best, and that maybe BZP relationships weren't a great idea for most of us. I agreed and we laugh cried about how neither of us would ever date another BZP member again (which I guess I followed through on, since I went back to the SAME BZP member a few years later, so it doesn't count). I remember hugging her and desperately wanting to tell her about the other woman I was interested in back home. I remember chickening out. I remember hating myself for it. Later I remember reading her say she wanted to push me in front of a train during that talk. I remember being broken hearted and betrayed when I read that. We had cried together!
Right before the breakup, Maddison's parents were babysitting a cat we'd had before moving to California. I remember I had to work, but Maddison wanted to go see Sleuth and we didn't want her to be alone. Things were odd, but we were sort of hoping seeing the cat with Maddison might help Avery connect with us more and help us work through all of our differing angers. Plus, she had always liked the cat, and we hoped it would be a nice olive branch for all the awkwardness we'd all had (Avery had ridden with us to Brickcan and not spoken in the car once). I remember Maddison afterward said Avery had been mostly angry and quiet to visit the cat. The breakup, though, came after Maddison got out of an intensive care unit in a hospital. During that time there was a group chat that everyone above was in that was, on its face, there to "support Maddison" but instead turned into a "we hate Pat, let's fantasize about his murder" conversation. It's easy to see why and how they were angry, as things in our personal lives had been deteriorating, but considering the sensitivity of all that had just happened, reading them talking, however jokingly they want to cast it as, about murdering me was deeply terrifying and it made both Maddison and I feel very vulnerable and angry. It felt insensitive to everything that was going on with Maddison, especially as we had both on and off sort of cut them mostly out of everything, so the things they knew were all filtered through Avery, who was angry at me for both wanting and not wanting to break up with Maddison. That night we found out about the chat both Bryan and Rob texted Maddison saying that her anger was triggering Becca, that maybe it would have been best if Maddison had never made it out of the hospital, and that it would be her fault if Becca did something that night. Then they blocked her. It was one of the worst nights of our lives. So much for "supporting Maddison".
I have learned recently that the relationship with Avery has been cast in a very very different light than the one I remember having. Avery was my sibling and a best friend. She was smart, funny, and insanely talented at MOCing. I was so proud of every single MOC she built, I wanted her to get recognized, I wanted everyone to know how cool and talented my friend was! We even talked about doing a "BIONICLE and MOCING podcast" together at one point. Everyone around us knew we were friends, nothing about our friendship was a secret. Heck I was often proud of her and for most of that time showed her MOCs to anyone (including LEGO when they sent me the 2014 G2 launch NDA, because I thought she deserved to be involved too) who would let me. I also hate pointing it out, but it's also important for context, but for most of this time period Avery was presenting as the male she were socialized as as well. Her identity as a woman is not something we knew or had any inkling of until after Brickcan, well after our friendships had imploded. Neither Maddison nor myself had been perceptive to the hints Avery had been leaving us regarding her gender identity, something that even after we stopped being friends I felt incredibly bad about. I could see the moments she had created openings and I ran right past them concerned only with myself, my relationship with Maddison, or my anxieties about our life together in Portland, or trying to keep her from asking too many questions about Stevi. I remember very starkly driving together in our car (she drove us everywhere before California, and after moving back to Portland we had a car and did all the driving, especially after she got too drunk one night at an event with co-workers she constantly called "bible studies" ironically, and her car was towed and she never got it back) listening to Halsey, and Avery talking about Halsey's gender identity and sexuality and her music and how it spoke to Avery. I missed the opening entirely and talked about Maddison and myself. I'm very very guilty of being incredibly selfish, exhausted, and internally angry during this time. There are so many more stories and scenarios I could go into. I wanted the best for her. I don't know where any idea of anything more untoward came from. She was never someone I saw in any other light or had any desire to take advantage of. Especially as during that same time, I had strong feelings for a different friend, that I was trying to hide from everyone around me, who I was growing too close with in a romantic way while I was still dating Maddison. For years I've thought THAT self-destructive behaviour was (rightly) what Avery was most upset with, and to be honest that felt deserved, regardless of all the ways that group hurt us. For so much of the post-California period, I was basically deeply enmeshed in, at the very least, an emotional affair with Stevi. I consider it the worst decision of my entire life. It is something Maddison and I have worked together on for years, and it sucks that I even feel pressured by all of this to talk about it. To be honest, it really isn't any of your business. Really any and all of this isn't. It sucks in 2020 to have to be adding all of THIS baggage to everything else. But here we are I guess.
This is a LOT longer than I wanted it to be. It feels unfair to say "we were gossipy and that was bad" and then air a bunch of this in public. I've tried to mostly limit the story involvements from the other group, though I know I've gone into parts of that here in the past. But I don't know HOW to tell the stories illustrating that time period otherwise. I want to emphasize that I believe very strongly that we should believe victims. I do not believe that between Becca, Avery, and myself, that there are any victims. I think all three of us were going through massive life upheavals around who we, at our very core, were, I believe we were all blinded by our own issues, and that we took the stresses from these changes out on our friends. I believe both Bryan and Maddison got caught in our own awful drama and somewhat domineering personalities, and I believe Rob was used as an emotional chess pieces by several of us. I don't think that's fair. It is very true that I've never apologized to any of them, but also none of us have talked outside of a "hey your moc broke" at the one event we've overlapped at since. I don't want to harbor ill-will for this part of my life and those people anymore. I thought we were past it 95% of the way by now. I can see one hundred percent where some of the thoughtlines they have established about me could have come from, and I don't believe they are sharing them maliciously. But the deepest accusations are about as far from the truth as it gets, and I don't know how else to say or prove anything. I DO have screenshots of several of these conversations (I have every single text conversation Avery or Becca or Rob or Jen and I had from February 2016 on, plus some earlier from my pre-smartphone days) I documented up above, as well as the group chat that has been presented as "rob went overboard". As anyone who has been to our apartment can attest to, sometimes we have a hard time throwing things away, and I've never deleted those numbers. I'm not thrilled about the idea of posting "receipts" where Becca says "I'm not in a good place to have a conversation about this" and I say "that's okay! Let me know when you are, your mental health is important to me", but if that's what it comes to, that's what it comes to I guess. It shouldn't have to, but here we are.
Literally none of this drama has anything to do with any sort of patterned sexual harassment or anything of that nature. Any inappropriate relationships I had that were not with my girlfriend were with a non-BZP member (who I took to Brickcon in 2016 and she HATED it, and then we broke up). This entire thing is a frustrating lesson in poor friendship choices, poor communication, depression, lack of therapy, internalizing anger, and all of us growing up on a website where our friend group WAS the ruling power. It's messy, it's complicated, and it's full of heartache and blame and anger and regret. And while we tried our best to make BZP a safe place when we knew about things, I know there are things, people, members, that slipped past us, or that we simply did not pursue correctly. We were learning while we were growing and administering and we did a lot a lot a lot wrong. And there are things that, through this, I am learning about for the first time from conventions I was at! With people I interacted with right after events happened, that I had no idea were as serious as I'm reading now. The BZP staff tried to do the right thing when we could or knew how, but we were often very slow in catching up with social justice or progress as it occurred around us. That's not an excuse, we are one hundred percent to blame for a lot of hurt that still lingers here, on twitter, 4chan, wherever. We were loud, brash, proud of our site, proud of our success, and we flaunted it. I flaunted it! I have always attempted when informed of these hurts to try and make amends. Several members over the years, as I've mentioned above, are now my closest friends after once being someone I couldn't stand/ couldn't stand me. People are welcome to reach out personally if there is more that you're curious about. I know this does not address everything people may have heard or be concerned about. I'm not afraid to talk with you about it. I won't block you if you ask for proof of something. I'm not here to tell you "believe me or block me". While I don't have an endless supply of emotional energy myself (and boy has 2020 done a number on that), I'm still willing to communicate in good faith. You are welcome to take it or leave it, that is always your choice to make.