Okay. First off, I have to say "hey" to everyone here. I realize that I made a few posts in the past and then *poof* I was gone. My reason for that was due to my 'contractual obligations' to NBC. I would have loved to stick around and offer insight into the show but I had to be a good boy.
I've been reading a lot of boards today and noticed a lot of people were wondering what has happened between Anna and myself over the course of this past year.
Here it is folks...
There has been a lot of talk since the end of the show last night that Anna chose me as a 'safety.' People have been saying that the show was rigged. People have been saying that her and I shared no 'spark' and she was coaxed into her decision. I can assure you that it was her decision and her decision ALONE. The producers of NBC didn't even know her decision until she delivered it to Rocky.
Anna and I made the decision (her decision obviously counted more than mine!) that finding a lasting friendship and seeing how things developed from there was more important than lust and good looks. She and I found equality in each other, common interests, common goals etc. BUT... we both left the show as friends and I could ask for nothing better.
It's been almost a year (wait... it HAS been a year) since the show was taped and over the course of that year, we've stayed in touch via phone calls and e-mails. Due to the 'secrecy' issue that follows almost ALL reality shows, we were not allowed to be seen in public together which meant that for the entire time we were all waiting for the show to air, we haven't been able to see each other. I'm sure this is what most of the viewers expected.
Currently, I am very happy in a relationship which developed unexpectedly out of a friendship pre-show. Anna and I are STILL in touch and she is extremely supportive.
I have to say... I've been reading boards and comments all over the internet and people aren't giving Anna near enough credit for what she went through on the show. She is truly an amazing person. She's caring, compassionate, intelligent and genuine.
So as things stand... I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish by going on the show. I've met some amazing people, done things I'll probably never have the chance to do again, done things I'll definitely never WANT to do again (ie. wear silly red wrestling outfits and eat 8-billion sloppy joes) and maintained my integrity and my self respect. The friendships that I've formed on the show I have no doubt will last for the rest of my life (included my friendship with Anna).
So although there are those of you out there who will probably respond with "I figured as much" ... I will say that NEITHER of us knew what would happen when all was said and done. Anna said "I can't promise anything" and I respected her greatly for that as I too could promise nothing... how COULD we?! We knew things would be day-by-day and there is no way to fully comprehend what tomorrow will bring. So regardless of the fact that Anna and I never found a relationship together, I can honestly say that I have love for her and will always treasure the experience we were both a part of.
So here I am... working my butt off on my illustration work which can be seen here at www.lumpstuff.com, preparing myself to go back to school, planning a reunion of sorts for the rest of the 'Average Joes' and living a happy life with my girlfriend.
Anna is working her butt off, trying to start her own business (which I think will be extremely successful), spending time with family and close friends and riding the last wave in this insane adventure.
I realize there will be a lot of questions and I'll do my best at answering them all. I just felt it necessary to let everyone know what's going on as of late.
And I don't know if I made the point I was TRYING to make so I will give it one last go...
... regardless of the fact that Anna and I are not dating, I believe what we BOTH got from our experience on the show was and will continue to be extremely fruitful both in our lives (and hopefully) the lives of the viewers. I spoke with her today and the both of us have had an amazing response from people... thanking us for being who we are, thanking us for giving them hope, thanking us for staying true to ourselves. We are both extremely flattered and AMAZED that something like a reality tv can affect the lives of so many people and to be honest with you... I still feel as though I don't deserve the response that I've gotten as I've done nothing but be myself.
So now that I've written a novel, I will leave you with...
"To those who have shown their genuine support of the castmembers on the show... I thank you. I hope you all had as much fun WATCHING the show as we had creating it."
Thanks (even to those of you with 'negative feedback.' As an artist, I've come to appreciate even negative criticism ;)