A Farewell

Two and a half weeks ago, blogs, podcasts, and tweets which we ignorantly assumed would be kept anonymous were linked to us. We had made an effort to stay anonymous because at times we used demeaning, harsh, and violent words that expressed hatred and fear towards women. This anonymity allowed our words to knowingly bypass the checks and balances of the community in which we live, and avoid the reactions of real people. The red pill community provided us with validation and adoration as we engaged in this regrettable behavior.

In the aftermath of us being identified, as the ripples spread, we offered separate and joint apologies. We were panicked and fearful, and the apologies reflect that. Our business was crumbling around us, with landlords, suppliers, employees, and customers distancing themselves. We felt lost, ashamed, and confused.

A few key community members and friends showed up and gave us the opportunity to face the anger and pain we’d caused. To lean into it. Notably, Trey Crispin gave freely of his time and boundless energy to challenge us and illuminate the possibility of sustainable, healthy change for us and the community. As we followed this previously unseen path, we discovered a newfound awareness – we realized that our words and motives truly hurt people we cared about. These words and thoughts also hurt us, by causing cynicism and bitterness. We realized that we’d quantified and objectified living, breathing people. People who deserved much better. We’d used cruel words to belittle them and relieve our own insecurities and fears. We’d shared private memories that should have remained secret and sweet. Our ignorance regarding what we have done is no longer present.

We make ourselves available to many of the people we’ve hurt – former partners, protesters, and community members. We are open to hear their pain and anger. We have discovered that some of it wasn’t about us, but was about a society-wide problem for which we’ve become the focal point. We are also experiencing so much grace, compassion, and forgiveness extended to us. We are taking emotions all along the spectrum seriously, and our awareness of the problem continues to grow.

We’ve begun the long process towards being better men, for ourselves and for others. We both are actively involved in counseling, and continue to be open to friends and family who speak into our lives. The firsthand knowledge of the pain and destruction our words have caused has allowed us to cast aside beliefs we previously held. We have a lot of introspection yet to do, and we’re committed to doing it. We will continue to make ourselves available and support the community as we are asked. We will gladly take part in the ongoing dialogue if and when we are invited to do so. We can speak from our experience regarding the hurt we’ve caused, and more importantly, from where this hurt came. We are currently addressing the red pill community in order to illuminate the damage this philosophy can cause.

Waking Life as a coffeeshop, as our livelihood, and as a community establishment is now gone. We are deeply grieving its loss. We poured blood, sweat, and tears into the business, and we were damn good at making coffee. We truly enjoyed our daily interactions with West Asheville, and we will miss them. We are being transformed as men. However, in losing the coffeeshop, a part of us that was good, real, and true has been lost.

As we seek healing and move forward with hope, we remember the good things about our little coffee community and are grateful.

Thanks for the good times, Asheville.

Thanks for the countless cups and conversations.

Thanks for the friendships that have been tested and proven true.

Thanks for holding us accountable for our behavior.

Thanks for the grace, compassion, and forgiveness you’ve shown.

Thanks for the support over the years.

Thanks for being our employees, regulars, and suppliers.

Thanks for rerouting our lives from the way of power to the way of grace.

Thanks for the smiles and the honesty.

Thanks for being a hometown of which we can be proud.

Thanks for giving us room to grow and change.

Thanks for helping us be aware.

Thanks for inspiring us to be better people.

Thanks for dashing our cynicism and humbling us.

Thanks for your big heart and showing up.

Be well, y’all.