A letter of apology

There are some apologies I need to make.

I want to express my feelings of remorse for being so mean to Carrot. Over the years, I have not been kind to her, and it took recent events for me to fully realize the extent of my behavior. I’m embarrassed to reflect on how my words hurt her. I allowed myself to act poorly, making disparaging comments that were unjust and in poor taste. I’ve realized that the negativity I let control my interactions with her was toxic. Using my platform to damage her reputation was callous and unacceptable, and I truly apologize for that.

I also wish to apologize to my ex-girlfriend Diana for being such an awful partner to her.  I’ve felt crippling guilt over the way I treated her back then, but have purposely avoided contacting her, lest I cause her further emotional suffering. Diana, if you read this, I am so sorry for being such a terrible partner to you. I feel awful for the way I treated you, but that pales in comparison to the way you felt dealing with me at that stage in my life. There is no excuse for the way I treated you, and I’m sorry you’ve had to relive your experiences dealing with me by writing those words. Nothing I can say will alleviate the pain you experienced, but I want you to know I have deep remorse for how I behaved towards you. No human deserves to be treated with disrespect, and I’m sorry for failing you.

I’m not writing this with any expectations that the people I’ve hurt will accept my apology, nor do I expect our community to give me the benefit of the doubt in regards to its sincerity.  But I am approaching this with humility, and I know that the private apology I sent weeks ago wasn’t enough, not only because so much of my behavior towards Carrot was public, but also because a private apology doesn’t hold me publicly accountable for both my past and future behavior. I’ve already deleted my Facebook account since it doesn’t feel right sharing my learning experiences there until I have completed further rehabilitation.

I have heard people saying they’ll “withhold judgment” until they hear “my side of the story”. But my side of the story is irrelevant if I’ve made people feel the way they do. Enough of it is true that to parse it all and nitpick the details would be an attempt to put up a defense of actions that are, on the whole, indefensible. And it would inevitably lead to a continuation of a cycle of accusation, anger, and acrimony that doesn’t benefit anyone in the community. I must own my past, apologize for my mistakes, and continue my efforts to be a better person. I plan to take a huge step back in my participation in the hiking community, completely distancing myself from all social gatherings and groups, as I need to focus on continuing to build the foundation of positive change I’ve started to construct.

EDIT-

I feel the need to point out that this apology addresses what really happened, while attempting to tactfully ignore the inaccurate accusations regarding my actions. I purposefully didn’t address the untrue things said about me and decided to take the higher road.

9 Replies to “A letter of apology”

  1. So good Lint! Way to take the High Road. Your hiking achievements are inspirational to me, as are CQs. Your path to personal awareness and growth are also very meaningful to me. My path has been a bumpy one, too. Keeping my ego in check takes my full awareness . Look forward to crossing paths with the outstanding trail community again and again.

  2. Lint, I’m posting what my response was to the threads being shared on FB here, because I want you to see it and know you won’t since you’ve shut down your account. I for one do not want you to take any back seat in our hiking community. Not for a minute, because you have so much to offer us. We all have past transgressions that (thank God) aren’t all given public airing. But I respect you even more for what you’ve written above. I love you, man. Keep up the good work — you’ve done at least as much of that as you have screwed up in the past. Forgive yourself first. Namaste, brother. So, here it is:

    Respect.

    I respect and feel for victims. I respect their right to be heard and believed. I believe the law should be on their side.

    It is because I have been a victim of sexual and physical abuse in my life, like so many others that I feel vindicated in a movement that exposes the ugliness and crime of predators.

    It is because of my truth that I find Carrot Quinn’s accusations against Clint “Lint” Bunting extremely disturbing, but the reason I am disturbed by those accusations may come as a surprise.

    You see, I think we need to be very, very careful about who we consider a victim, and what the degree of “victimhood” really is. “Victim” is a word easily tossed around, and can be used in our vocabulary to describe a broad range of scenarios. One can be the victim of anything from pesky insects or an email scam to rape, assault, or murder. You can be the victim of anything unpleasant that happens to you.

    So the examination of this information becomes to be a matter of degree. From what I read in Carrot’s account, the only thing she was a victim of was of not being spoken to or regarded the way she wanted to be regarded. Words were said to her that she did not like. There was an energy present she did not like. She claims to have felt afraid. Feelings are neither right or wrong, they simply are. Plainly, Carrot didn’t like Lint’s words or vibe and she felt afraid.

    Fears are a complicated mix of subconscious instincts and the inputs we receive going through life. We become deeply hard-wired with our fears; they guide our choices and the course of our lives. I have a palm-sweating knee-shaking fear of heights, while others I know skip along with nary a concern for the same exposed sketchy ledge. The fact I feel afraid often has little to do with the actual level of danger I am in. If it’s truly a dangerous situation that I can’t handle, it serves me best to stay away from it. What I’ve learned doesn’t serve me best is trying to make everyone else afraid too, because that fear is a personal perception.

    So, from what I can tell, Carrot thinks Lint is a bully that she was afraid of. And because of this she has tried to make everyone else feel the same way. And I would say she is desperate to spread that concern and fear – desperate enough to seek out a man’s ex(es) to get them to side with her. And this is where I get most deeply disturbed. That is a step into ugliness, a step too far. It’s taking someone’s personal, intimate experiences – that have nothing to do with you – and using them as a weapon.

    I truly wonder how many of us would tolerate our ex boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives – anyone we were once intimately involved with who for whatever reason it ended badly – being questioned or given a public audience to our shortfalls. This is airing someone else’s dirty laundry, a nuclear weapon that goes straight to the heart. This is dredging up the past, that someone may have moved beyond, and making it public record. And to me, in so many ways, this is wrong.

    Try as I might, I do not find anything in Carrot’s account that constitutes any REAL wrongdoing. There was no crime committed, and the threat merely perceived but not necessarily a real threat. But the character assassination and smear campaign has done REAL harm to someone who has already admitted to former substance abuse in the past but has been walking a path of sobriety. Where is the humanity and caring in that? Since when does one’s fears entitle us to publicly tear someone apart? Does this mean there’s an open call for Carrot’s exes to come forward and spill the beans on her behavior in a souring relationship? And since when does someone put a jerk into the same class and treatment as a rapist in the court of public opinion?

    And that’s what I’ve seen occur. People I have respected have taken this cause on and acted like judge, jury, and executioner when the defendant has not had a fair trial. Evidence that is inadmissible has been submitted, and the jury has been tainted. All without the right to a lawful accusation, or due process of law. It’s happening in the news every day. People are ruined by accusations, and while many have merit, not all are deserved. But tell that to the court of public opinion.

    Carrot seems to me to be one of the thin-skinned new generation of young people, who are intolerant of anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s an epidemic on college and university campuses – the students want “safe spaces” and anything that makes them uncomfortable has to be eradicated. They don’t want their views challenged, they don’t want to be confronted with something disagreeable.

    Carrot has chosen to be a public figure. And pretty much any public figure you ask will tell you that the territory comes with people not liking you, what you do, or what you’re selling. There may be detractors or those who put your accomplishments (or lack thereof) under a public microscope to call it into question. You may find you have enemies you never anticipated.

    Not everyone is nice. Not everyone who is nice is nice all the time. Sometimes people have bad chemistry, or rub each other the wrong way. People can (famously or infamously) not get along. But launching a smear campaign, which I perceive this has been, is an offense in itself. It makes a victim out of the accused. It drags their name through the mud, turns their so-called friends against them. It causes doubt where there was none. It’s as insidious as it is ugly.

    But before I ever saw Clint “Lint” Bunting as a victim, I saw him as a dear friend. Someone I’ve known to have a colorful (!) and unconventional past. I know that he is a character of epic proportions, not blameless in life, but trying to live a better one. He reveres truth and honesty, and those who don’t are not in his circle for long. Lint is someone who has been nothing but good and kind to me, my neighbors, and to other hikers. He has been our guest on numerous occasions, not just as a hiker but as a personal guest. We have met dozens of times in various geographic locations, and in our home we have nothing but love and respect for this man. Which is where these thoughts began.

    Respect. And in my book, it’s Lint: 1, Carrot: 0. Unfortunately, this made me lose the respect I had for her skill as a writer. Not if that’s the crap she feels compelled to write. To me it just sounded like whining, that the big bad man was mean to her. Well, suck it up, Buttercup. Let the people who are really victims tell their stories.

  3. That was about 500% more than it would have taken for Donna to write about something she’s isn’t directly involved in for me to lose all respect for her. Carrot had a claim, Lint acknowledged it and apologized, and it’s between them, no matter how much of it either one of them decided to publicize about it, or rally any support to their side. The issue remains between them. No matter what any party directly involved says from here on out, is it any of our fucking business?

    It’s always the ex-smokers that are the most self righteous about people smoking but doing no harm to anyone else when they do it. “I got over it, why can’t you?” Wow, how about, just for starters, because we’re not you? No matter how someone does something, no matter how someone tries, there’s already someone that hasn’t met you, knows nothing else about you other than what they think they might know about you, or just one thing that is pretty public already, and that person is absolutely certain you’re fucking everything up based on one thing.

    I’m glad you got over your history the way you have, Donna. Not everyone does. Don’t even for a second pretend to know about anyone else’s struggles. It’s not up to you to pick who’s been victimized and who hasn’t. Live your life. Judge your experiences as you wish, however you wish, but walk some miles in *my* shoes know *me* before you think about judging me.

  4. This is why I enjoy hiking solo.
    Who really cares how many trails or miles someone has hike? What does it matter how light or heavy ones pack is? Isn’t this just soap opera drama?
    Are you enjoying the outdoors? Are you caring for the outdoors and all life found there? This is the shit that really matters!!

  5. As someone who escaped an abusive relationship, I make it my policy to always, ALWAYS believe the woman. So, I read Carrots post… wish that I hadn’t.

    What a steaming pile of click bait bullshit.

    By her own account, you both acted very poorly towards one another. Probably would have been best to go your separate ways. But nothing she says ever deserves to be elevated to the label of ‘abuse’. Now she is removing comments from her site and sending cronies over here to demand that you ‘link back’ – it is clear that she intends to capture some fame by cutting you down.

    I want to thank you for not attacking back. Instead you took the high road and posted and apology that show real introspection and a willingness to change. I hope that Carrot will do the same.

  6. Continue to be positive, and speak well of others. Let your humility guide you to peaks and valleys yet unexplored. Know that your are loved and respected. Your apology is heart felt, and it is the best you can do.

    Freef’

  7. Thanks for posting this, Lint. You took the high trail and showed lots of lass (Class without the C).

  8. I don’t know what or more importantly, who, to believe. The person who was allegedly sprayed with pepper spray hasn’t spoken up nor are there any photographs, so the evidence is a bit lacking (I’m not trying to pick sides, I’m just saying it as it is). Men often make up stories like that to sound tough. Making someone “feel” afraid isn’t necessarily a crime. Sometimes men and women fail to express how they truly feel, then they get aggressive later on because they assume people are mind readers.

    If he has assaulted/sexually assaulted someone, the law should deal with that and it should be brought to trial. When I read Carrot’s posts, I see lots of stuff about men e.g. “hiking as a woman/queer person, dealing with fragile male ego and toxic masculinity in the hiking community (both on trail and online).” I see no mention of dealing with toxic femininity. When I read this, it instantly puts me on the defensive. I’m a man. I’d never mistreat a woman, and I almost feel like I’m disliked for being a guy. I can’t trust people who’re so biased and if I can’t trust them, it’s hard to believe all of this stuff about someone. It’s a bit like reading reviews. If someone is positive of everything Apple (women), let’s pretend, then it’s hard to trust them when they give a bad review of Microsoft (men).

    I can’t find many posts about the advantages women have when hiking such as hitchhiking. But her site would make it seem like everything’s harder for a woman. I believe internet fame is easier to come by as is money from hiking. Women also sometimes think the man should make conversation and put all the effort in. This filters out certain types of male characters from communicating with them. This annoys some guys too and they behave weird. It’s best to avoid them, not sleep with them.

    I can’t trust the apology because 1) it could be damage mitigation against false accusations 2) it could be outright insincere 3) it might be sincere at the time but similar events might happen in the future.

    A lot of people online, if I met them, I would think to myself “yeah… not worth my time” and I’d pretend I had diarrhoea or something to avoid them. The problem is that they’re left talking to sociopaths because decent guys won’t go near them, then they get mistreated and the cycle continues (the good guys avoid, the players play).

    I don’t know whether Carrot is telling the truth, I don’t know whether Lint’s apology is truthful and even if it is, what does she want us to do? Say he did a bad thing? This sounds facetious but for real, what can we do? If she is telling the truth, this apology doesn’t mean anything to me as a reader.

    Next time you park your van in a legal spot and someone is threatening you, call the police. Next time you see someone sprayed with pepper spray, tell the nearest person and report it to the police when you can. If there are no people around, video it. Do something, anything but simply talk about it. This might sound a little harsh but I don’t know what else to say or do.

    I’ve used a fake name. I don’t really want my business ruined because someone took offence to my opinion.

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