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Tied to the Past

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Plagiarist. Coward. Thief. Liar.  That’s what I’ve been called, and in some circles, what I’m still being called. Today’s blog is twofold: a confession and a testimony.

Chris DeLaune is my pseudonym. My name is Terrell Mims. For most of 2010, I plagiarized my old blog. You can find examples of it if you search my name. I did it because I was being lazy. I had blog goals to meet and when posting time came I copied so I could have something to post. I did it sloppily. Just copy and paste. I copied from Cracked.com and other sites. The authors found out and I there was fallout. No one wants their work copied and then have a plagiarist accept credit for their hard work.

When I was exposed, I dropped the blog and went crawled under a rock. Did I ever think I would be caught? No. I knew what I did was wrong, but I didn’t think my blog was popular enough to warrant attention. Still no excuse. I, however, was connected with people whose blogs did warrant attention and I shamed them due to my sin.

I write this knowing that what I did was wrong. It took me over two years to come back, but I come back humbled, repentant, and truly sorry for those I hurt. Thankfully, before I posted this I shared my sin. Those of you who are reading this due to some other blog or article, I admit that I was wrong and from this day forward, plagiarism will not be associated with anything I write.

If you are still reading this and see where I am coming from thank you. If you want to lambast and call me all sorts of things, I know it’s coming. I asked for it due to my past, but one thing I assure you is that you won’t be able to find a shred of copying from what I do now.

We all have a past. This is mine. We all have something that we don’t want people, especially the world, finding out about. The news is rife with stories of celebrities whose dirty laundry is aired for the world to see. Most of us, don’t get to that point. We hold our secrets in, hoping no one ever finds out. Today, in the Internet Age, all someone needs is a blog or webpage and your dirt is forever uploaded.

Many people hold their secrets in out of fear of being exposed and to a greater degree, fear of running someone away.

No one is perfect. We have all slipped up, messed up, screwed up. Some, like myself, have done it to greater degrees than others. When someone meets friends or a potential partner, the thought of their past weighs heavily on them. Fear screams to them, “They won’t love you. They will judge you. They won’t accept you. You are a horrible person for what you did. You aren’t worthy of love.” Those statements are not entirely true.

Your past will alienate people. Some will judge you and/or stop accepting you. They will call you every despicable name they can think of. There will be people who will accept you and forgive you. The person who you love, will love you despite your past. Why? They have a past themselves.

It’s not easy to open up and reveal your sins. I did to a few people a year or so ago, and now to the rest of you due to fact I copied a blog recently, but took it down. Never again, shall I give into laziness or my selfish desire to seek unearned glory. I may have forever killed my writing career, but I will not stop writing. I will do it honestly on forward. I know that my future wife will know what I did and not worry about the past which is tied to me, but be part of my future.

Again, to anyone I have lied to, stolen from, hurt, offended, I am sorry. I was wrong. I was lazy. I sought unearned recognition. I know my past will not go away and if you want to dwell and talk about me because of my past, I can’t stop you, but I have a future to look forward to and this blog will be a constant reminder that I did do wrong. It’s my scarlet letter, but I do it no longer and I’m moving forward.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “Tied to the Past

  1. Terrell/Chris,

    This is a good first step–and I mean that. But if you’re serious about making up for your mistakes, you have to recognize that your mistakes go beyond just the *behavior* of plagiarizing content. It’s easy to say “Oh, I was on deadline and took shortcuts,” but what about what happened next?

    What about how you used the reputation you built with that plagiarized content to justify an editing service that you advertised among those who called you friend? What about how you charged money to those friends for that non-existent expertise? What about how you betrayed everyone with a false reputation? What about how you continued that betrayal by hiding behind the name change? What about how you went to that SAME group of writers you’d already victimized and added to the lies with this new, hidden persona?

    Great. You say you’re never going to plagiarize again–what about all those other character-defining crimes? Are you just changing your BEHAVIOR to not plagiarize? Or are you determined to change your CHARACTER? That’s the real question. Because until you’ve changed that character, you’re not by any means “cured.”

    I challenge you to do what I said on Twitter: label yourself as a (former) plagiarist on your blog banner, about page, Twitter bio, and every other platform. Don’t hide it. If you hide it, you’re saying that you can’t really face what you did. But if you admit it, *and* if you make true 12 step progress, including making amends to ALL those you wronged (not just those you stole the content from, but also those you betrayed), then I, for one, might be willing to forgive you.

    That forgiveness isn’t going to happen today, maybe not even this year. But eventually you could make a name for yourself as someone who freely admits their crime and moved forward from there. So for as much as you might hate me for “outing” you today, know that at least I’m willing to let you try to move forward. That’s more than you’ll get from others, I’m sure.

    I know none of this is easy. It’s especially not easy because I’m also going to ask you to include this link to the background of your crimes so everyone can see how this is bigger than just stealing content: http://jamigold.com/2011/10/how-bad-is-plagiarism/ But there is a way past this, and it takes you being honest with yourself and others.

    I hope you can get there. I really and truly do. Every one of my stories has a theme of redemption, so I believe it’s possible. However, I’m not convinced you’re serious about change. Maybe it will take you doing everything I laid out here as far as freely admitting your past, maybe it will take a year or more, or maybe you’ll never convince me. But I’m willing to say you have the right to try.

    Posted by Jami Gold | January 22, 2013, 10:48 pm
    • Thank you. I know you feel as an author words are everything, but in this case mean nothing without action. I will take the steps you suggested and I thank you for outing me. That means there is nothing left to hide. I want to convince you and everyone else I changed and I know only time can do that, but my character has changed and I am not going back.

      Posted by Chris DeLaune | January 22, 2013, 11:18 pm
  2. I wish you wouldn’t have gone into hiding again.

    Posted by Jay Donovan | March 14, 2013, 2:02 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Behave…The Internet Never Forgets | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author - January 24, 2013

  2. Pingback: The Finish Line | Terrell Mims's Blog - September 19, 2016

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