Author Archives: Amy Herdy

Reader comment: please don’t think of yourself as a predator

Comment: Dear Brent and Amy,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. People need to protect children and be aware of the suffering that not doing so creates. Brent, please don’t think of yourself as a predator. As our level of consciousness rises, so will the way we treat people who have been harmed and then harmed others. We can also reprogram our subconscious minds in many ways to heal past trauma. Teal Swan is a good example of this (check her out on YouTube). My hope is that in your lifetime you get time to experience nature, care for an animal (dogs are my favorite), and experience some kind of real connection and love. We all need that above all else – connection and love.

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Reader response: there is nothing between us as human beings. Nothing in the way.

Dear Brent,

Thank you for taking the time to write a letter to me. To say I was moved and touched seems trite, so I hope the following will explain the scale of which your words have made a difference:

Of your entire letter, these 10 words were by far the most powerful: “I am a human. Not an animal or a predator.” It took some time to compose myself and continue reading, following the sudden realisation of this transformation (and any part that I may have played in it). What struck me was the simplicity of the sentence and the magnitude of what it must have taken to arrive there, the scale of courage… I may not agree with everything she says but Marianne Williamson, (currently running for President, I hear) once succinctly defined a miracle as: “a perceptual mindset shift from fear to love”. That’s what occurred to me after reading that sentence.

When I finished reading, something else remarkable occurred to me: that despite the geographical distance between you sat at your desk or on your bed/bunk (I imagine) and me sat here on this wooden chair in my kitchen, there is nothing between us as human beings. Nothing in the way. We have different stories, we made different choices, judgements, took different action.. etc.. but fundamentally we have the same narrative: to request to be simply seen for who we are.

When politicians use language such as “vermin” or “swarm” or “cockroach” in reference to refugees they’re effectively de-humanising people and that is what you were doing to yourself. (I imagine the outcry: I dare to compare refugees to the Brent Brents?! Yes I dare. Both found themselves lost and far from home. Deal with it.) And yet, when I read the word “predator”, my brain for some reason linked it to the word “pursuit” which I recognised immediately in myself.. my pursuit of happiness, approval, perfection, intimacy etc… In my own ravenous hunger for these things, I have subsequently put myself at risk of abuse and dishonoured myself. This is not blame. I do not blame myself for experiences of my past. Victim blaming is not the game and neither is pointing the finger of judgement in the other direction. I’m looking with curiosity not judgement. I simply ask: how have I acted following my experience of abuse? Have I passed it on.. absorbed and turned it in on myself.. or accepted that it happened, taken the lessons and stepped out of the shame and constraint? Forgiving others for abusing me is one thing, forgiving myself for how I responded is another mountain to scale. And the view at the top is worth it.

Which is how I approach my thoughts as well now. I spent many years trying to stop intrusive, vulgar, violent and otherwise uncomfortable thoughts.. However hard I tried through meditation, mindfulness, distraction… still they came these mind monsters. The effort to stop them left me exhausted, depressed and hating myself. Recently though, the penny dropped: if to think is human, maybe the meaning that I attach to the thoughts is what matters? Where once I had a thought of rage, I tended to act on it or tell myself I was a terrible person for having the thought. I get that this is how I dealt with thoughts, my very survival depended on it, so I thought. And I was wrong. Now I look all thoughts as a fleeting friend – it pops up, I notice it, tip my hat to it, and on it goes on its way. I feel no obligation whatsoever to act on it. And this is how my thoughts tend to flow through me now. I get to choose which ones I respond to, not the other way around. (and yes, I still get caught up in my thoughts sometimes, I’m human!)

Thank you for your acknowledgement, it means a lot to me. I’d like to acknowledge you for your part in my experiencing freedom from my past. As an example, I recently got to enjoy one of my favourite pastimes: skiing in the mountains. I went with a friend (male) and a friend of his (whom I didn’t know). Before reading the blog and corresponding with you I am certain this would not have happened. Indeed, I’ve refused similar offers before. I would not have allowed myself to stay with two men in this way. As it was, I had the confidence to trust, to be vulnerable and as such they were perfect gentlemen, I had an amazing time, that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. I’m still in the gym training with huge tattooed men, surrounded by banter and I’m progressing… a fortnight ago I deadlifted 100kg and squatted 70kg while listening to Pantera’s Nothing Else Matters. My hard assed coach who was watching, raised his eyebrows and chuckled to himself. I knew I’d arrived…

Now I’m left further inspired by the conciseness of your writing. I find it refreshing because I struggle with that. It appears that you have time to consider, reflect and engage in the creative process of editing your words with great care, to leave powerful, clear words that I aspire to. I get easily distracted to engage myself fully in that process and find myself rambling…  So, for now, I’ll shut the **** up and leave you in peace.

With love and respect.

E

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i have this feeling lately that i need to stop calling myself a predator.

Emily,

Thank you for explaining EMDR Therapy. Very powerfull. Your account moved me to tears of joy. Not at the pain or suffering you went thru in your earlier life, or therapy. No they were tears of joy for the empowerment and fight you have in you.

This last year and a half you have taught me so much thru your sharing. I have felt Deep sorrow, pain and empathy for you. Yet as i said i have felt great joy and pride in each step of accomplishment you have made.

You inspire me Emily to face my fears, my life as a whole. No one likes to face there Demons. Yet i believe you have helped many do so thru your posts on the blog. Your ability to share such deep personal issues has helped others I’m sure. Keep it up please.

So i have this feeling lately that i need to stop calling myself a predator. I am realizing that i am so much more than an animal. That is what a predator is. Yes i have these predatory feelings, I feel anger hate bitterness, frustration. But so do alot of human beings.

Yet i have a great deal of love in my heart, I have empathy, Sorrow, Compassion. I have joy happiness and just plain good in me. I am a human. Not an animal or a predator. Yes I have acted predatory, lived like an animal. Do i get fucked up thoughts at times yes. However there is good in me that overcomes these thoughts and feelings.

It has been very helpful Emily to enteract with you thru the blog. Just as you have grown from an angry frightened confused unstable victim. Into a strong empowered self confident woman. Who has recognized her humanity.

I to have grown to recognize my own humanity. You have had a great deal to do w/that. So i thank you for the trust, The sharring, and the wonderful accomplishments you have made. As well i deeply respect the depth of pain you went thru to get here to your humanity.

Thank you Always Brent.

Letter to a reader

Letter to a reader, cont.

 

 

 

 

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They know that i’m not going to act out

So I’m really hating this Pod. The tension sucks big time. These guys talk shit all Fucking day long. I know i’m not being very spiritual right now. Well i am doing my best ok. I can only say the Rosary so many times.

Any way I’m just fed up with the whole lot of them. I hope they’ll move me…Sure there will be one or two idiots in there. But its alot easier to ignore one or two, than it is to ignore eleven others…

Otherwise all is good. I keep to myself, and make my time as relaxed as possible. I read alot, which actually really helps pass the time. Like i said they talk shit Constantly. But i think they’re starting to get bored w/ me.

My level of maturity is on a whole different plain than theirs is. And they know it. They know that i’m not going to act out. So their shit talk is getting boring even to a few of them…

I like to read and Listen to my music and be by myself. More so than i realized. A couple of hours to stretch my legs is just fine. I’m not a big fan of eating breakfast w/ the other guys. It seems that guys are allergic to tooth brushes, and soap, water and deoderant.

Not me man 5:15 a.m. my ass is Butt naked, window covered and Birdbathing First thing in the morning. I Don’t even say my prayers until I’m clean. Teeth must be brushed before and after breakfast. Yuk i hate morning breath Gouls!

Hell I’ve even been known to give away Toothpaste, and tooth brushes First thing in the morning. “Here brush your Teeth and Tongue Dude!”

Told you I have issues.

-Brent Brents

5-24-18

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Inspired by the Diary of a Predator story, this high schooler won a local competition with her play, and her troupe needs help getting to state

Ms. Herdy,
I read your entire book “Diary of a Predator,” read part of “Betrayal in the Ranks” for a school assignment, saw your Ted Talk and saw “The Bleeding Edge.” I wrote a play inspired by your story and the overall message is that no matter what hell we go through, we pay for the consequences of our actions. This was for competition since I act in a drama troupe, 0063. I won Superior for that play (highest medal) and we’re going to States an annual acting event. It is expensive so there is a Snap Raise fund where you can donate money to if your hearts allows it.

Your story should be told and retold as a lesson for humanity and compassion like you said. It has led me to see the dichotomy we all have and it has led me to see aspects in myself in Brents whilst at the same time seeing aspects in myself in the victims. It has expanded my empathy while at the same time has helped to be unafraid to show it at the most dire of times. Thank you.

Isabel

Note from Amy: In case any of you are wondering if this is a scam, it’s not–I checked it out thoroughly. And I hope that like me, you are heartened that a high school kid has the wherewithal and interest to tackle such a complex social justice issue. It gives me faith that our future generations will care enough to enact change. So if you can spare a few dollars, please help send Isabel and the drama troupe to state. Thank you.

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More from the deputy who knew Brents in jail: “the malice and instability that resided within him was so think it was nearly tangible”

It’s interesting to me that any time I think of Brents, the first thing that comes to mind is how he carried himself. He always hunched over, shoulders always curled in. He always tried to minimize himself and make himself appear non-threatening. My thoughts were always along the line of, “you’re not fooling anyone,” the malice and instability that resided within him was so thick it was nearly tangible.  I don’t know if it was a conscious decision on his part or a subconscious act to either attempt to hide the monster within or perhaps as a result of his own traumas. I think it’s the monster attempting to hide.
Did you ever have the opportunity to spend time with him in person? Did you notice that behavior as well? One thing working in a jail or prison setting does is give the cop a very good education in human behavior.  You spend hours each day watching people and how they interact with the world around them. I’ve read through some of the blog, some of his claims that he is working to be a better person, to basically chain the monster inside. My opinion, for all that it is worth (which isn’t much) is, since no one can visually witness him curling in on himself to hide the monster, he is now doing it with words. That monster will never be caged and will always seek an opportunity to victimize. It’s just a longer game for him now. I don’t believe he can ever be habilitated enough to be trusted around anyone he could possibly victimize. Given the slightest opportunity he will pounce and the words he is sharing now are working to groom and create that opportunity. Maybe I am biased and my armchair psychology certainly is irrelevant overall.
At the end of the day, I’m glad you put the whole story out there. It was a brave thing for you to do. I don’t believe I would have had the intestinal fortitude to walk the same path with him and deal with everything that comes with following this and continuing a relationship with him for so many years.
Thank you again for the book.
-Name withheld upon request
Dec. 4, 2018 10:21 p.m.

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Reader: Even as meek as he tried to make himself appear, your skin would still crawl.

I remember Brent Brents. Vividly. No, I’m not one of his victims but I am one of the deputies, now former, who worked in a jail where he was held… I bought your book, a first edition, shortly after it’s release. I was profoundly impacted by Brent during the time he was in custody. He was not a large man but had a very unique presence and one that would raise the hairs on your neck. I would say I’m fairly adept at recognizing danger and comfortable defending myself, if necessary. I also had several inches on him as I stand about 5’10” and I believe he was about 5’7”, if I remember correctly. He was housed in a maximum security unit and was allowed out one hour each day to shower, exercise, or watch tv, by himself.

Even as meek as he tried to make himself appear, your skin would still crawl. There was something fundamentally broken inside of him and that intuition we all have that makes you recognize a dangerous situation would fire off regularly, even when he was locked behind a 2 inch thick metal door. Even other inmates, in maximum security, were bothered by him.

Incidentally, he was right about one thing, the other inmates did want to kill him. We had a few really bad guys in that unit during that time. There is a hierarchy in jail, as I am sure you are aware. Child molesters are on the bottom of that with rapists being one step above. Since Brents was both, and notorious, you could say his reception was not exactly warm.

-Name withheld by request

November 14, 2018

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