Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding My "Me"

I came across a couple stories at work today that dealt with domestic abuse and self confidence. I swear, some days I think there really is a collective consciousness and the world's journalists tapped into my mind and all decided to make me confront one of the last steps I need to face.

There are a lot of people (especially guys) who have said to me lately, "I wish you would just let it go / get over it." I don't talk about "it" a whole lot these days, but I've realized just how little people understand of the effects of emotional abuse. When someone beats you, you have a bruise. Everyone can see it. It's easy to point out and identify.  When someone tells you you are worthless, or that no one likes you, or that you are stupid, or useless, or a slew of other things over and over and over again, you can't just point your finger and say, "Ah ha! That's abuse!"

Though I've been able to let go and move on from the person who did this to me, I cannot simply let go of what was done to me. It doesn't go away with a magic word. I wish it did.

People who have not suffered from emotional abuse don't understand how hard it is to just pick yourself back up again and be "normal." I think it's something we all wish for, because I can't imagine anyone wanting to live with so much fear and doubt in their lives. I also don't believe people understand what emotional abuse really is.

Before all of this, I may have not been the best or kindest person. I was selfish and acted impulsively at times, but I believed in myself. I had a sustained ego that allowed me to go forward and never doubt myself. I was strong. And before "it," I was working towards being a better person to my friends and being more understanding of others, while blossoming with self esteem and wanting to share the things I loved with the world.

Now? I am constantly needing reassurances that my friends, are in fact, there for me. When I get angry and defensive, or find myself speaking poorly about people, or some other negative trait; I obsess over it for days and constantly call into question my worth of a human being. The idea of dating terrifies me, not because I'm afraid I will find myself in a similar situation, but because I don't think I have anything to offer a partner who will want to put up with me. I doubt my value at my job, or if I should pursue the dreams I have, because I haven't achieved them yet, so therefore I must not be good enough. I just don't believe in myself anymore.

I'm also deathly afraid of hanging out with people outside of my "Iiiiinnnneeeer Ciiiiirrrcllleeee." I worry because I feel I now have to hide myself from those around me. No one wants to see a broken and beaten woman, no one wants to hear the woes and sorrows of a person in my position. I'm afraid to be myself and open up about what I am going through with new friends. I worry if I let slip my fears and paranoia about my feelings of self value, who will want to deal with me? As I've been told enough lately by newer people, "Just get over it."

I wish people would understand what I went through. I wish the world would grow a little and take a serious look at what abuse does to a person, and this isn't one of those things that you can expect a person to recover from in a handful of months.

On the other side, I am really thankful to the friends who have stuck by me this entire time. I know I say it all the time, but really, I am blessed. The people who know the full extent of what I went through, and are still having to deal with my anger and sadness, well... they are amazing. I feel like a worse friend (for not just dumping my issues on them!) when I do start doubting their friendship. See the vicious circle the mind plays?

I chose to make this post public because I want people to understand. I hope if you read this you will do some research on the subject and be a little more sympathetic to the those around you. I'm lucky, I will recover from what I went through, in my own time. But there are people who have been through much worse, or at least it affected them a lot more, and they may not have the strength to speak up about it.

I also wanted to let my friends know that I am in this place of recovery. I want to find my self confidence again, and I want to be a better person than I was before. I am just not really sure how to get there, and maybe someone out there has been where I am and can offer a helping hand.

Friday, September 9, 2011

When the law works, it's a lovely thing.

It's been a few months since I've been here. I haven't been avoiding this blog, just my life has been so non-stop that it hasn't been in the forefront of my mind to come here and dish out my scars to the world. Somewhere along the way they not only healed, but some magical Mederma erased them completely. It almost feels like what happened to me was to a completely different person, because who I was even two months ago is nothing like the person I am today.

It's good to grow.

Unfortunately, my life hasn't been all roses and cupcakes. Back in late July I had to make a decision, a very difficult one that I knew would alter many people's view of me and put a lot of people at odds with one another. But in the end, I'm glad I stood up for what was right and tried to fight my abuser through the court of law.

As my loyal readers know, I had cut all contact with him back in April. Removed him from all social media networks, had my phone company block his number, put in place (what I thought) were fail safes to keep him from not only contacting me, but finding out about my day to day life. Apparently it wasn't enough. Some people when you ignore them, just grow all the more impatient to dig into your life. I found out that my personal email was being hacked and real and fake Gmail chat conversations and emails were being sent to professional and personal contacts alike.

The worse of it, how I discovered any of this was happening, is a (doctored) chat conversation that was sent to a person who had caused much grief in my life in the past... A person who had threatened to kill me on multiple occasions, harassed and stalked me, and made my life a living hell until I first moved out of my previous state of residence. It was during all this that the ex and I became friends, and he was the only person I opened up to about all of it, how it made me feel, and all the dark thoughts I had at the time. So of course, to receive a threatening email from said person's new wife, brought back a flood of memories that paralyzed me for a day. Until I realized that there is nothing these people could truly do to me. If they tried, I had an army of people by my side who would protect me, vouch for me, and otherwise stand up for me. The worse they managed to do was leak some semi-nude photos on a website, which I was able to obtain the IP addresses of those who posted them, and have them on file in case I need to use them in court again (see, always document everything. It helps your case!) And it also helps to have friends in powerful, internet places ;D.

Readers, you might remember me saying before that my email had been compromised back in April, and my friends and I suspected the ex had something to do with it, so I knew what measures to take to find out who had been in my email. Also, it doesn't hurt having a very tech savvy mother who's whole job details working in Internet security. I was able to obtain his IP address in my email and had two people independently verify it as the one from his house.

I was left with only one real option. Since ignoring him had done no good, I hired a lawyer. Within the day she had a Temporary Restraining Order in place, and I was shipped out of town until the trial date to get the full restraining order in effect. I would like to say everything worked in my favor and I am now free of that cancer, but the problem with abuse law, cyber crimes, and what I went through is there isn't a whole lot of precedent for it (especially in the county we took him to court in) and it's a very difficult thing to get to stick.

I had some pretty solid evidence. Screen captures with time and date stamps of his IP in my email, witnesses who could attest to him hacking previous exes emails and the horrors they saw of how he mentally abused them or the claims he would make as to what he would do to his exes if they crossed him, my own testimony which was compelling and not over the top.

He brought a circus. And the judge knew it. Unfortunately, at the end, she told me she could not grant me the restraining order, as much as she wanted to. But what I did get was just as good as any piece of paper (that probably still wouldn't keep him out of my life) - the judge warned him, in front of the entire court and both our accompanying circles, that if I brought another piece of evidence against him not only would I get my restraining order, but he would go to jail. She made it very clear that the evidence I had was criminal in nature, and if it was a criminal trial, I would have won.

It was a very difficult decision on my part. I knew I would lose friends over it, but more so, I knew the potential I had to ruin his life if things shook out in my favor - and even after everything, the idea of completely taking something away from a person was a hard idea to wrestle with. But in the end, I knew I had to protect myself and the people I love. And the strength my friends brought me helped me stand tall that day.

I wasn't surprised by the accusations he tried to make in court, what shocked me were the people he brought with him to try to testify against my character. People who willingly lied for him, despite swearing to do other wise. People I had barely known for a handful of months, but were the ones who I had first opened up to about the abuse. People, who for the most part are seen as respected in their circle, but to me, are now lower than dirt. I am sorry, but if you want to stand up for someone you know is abusive, lying, manipulative and otherwise a terrible person, when you ignore the words of  not just me, but a total of three ex-girlfriends, who are well respected and known in the community stand up with the same accusations and you dismiss them all as being crazy and liars, you don't deserve my time of day. And you need to take a serious look at your priorities in life if you would turn out an abuse victim and take the confidence she trusted in you and then stand against her when she is trying to stand up for herself.

These people might be able to fool the average person who wants to get in on whatever new project they are trying to sell, but more and more people have come to me and told me that what was done to me, not just by the ex, but by supposed friends, is shit. And I finally believe it. I have nothing to do with these people, or the people who want to ride the fence on this issue.

This wasn't a typical bad breakup. I understand not wanting to get involved. But when you cross a certain line, when you break into someone's personal, private world and disseminate it for all to see, when you support said person, stand up for them even when you have been shown evidence to the contrary, and when you choose to look the other way when abuse is happening - you are not a person. You are a shadow. You don't exist in this world, you exist only to serve yourself. And people know it.

So I may not have won my restraining order, but I won a bigger fight. I have myself, growing stronger every day. I have my amazing friends, and other people who continually come to me and say they are sorry for what I went through and that they will no longer have him in their lives. Because that's the thing, if you even continue a casual relationship with such a person, in a way you are supporting it. You are saying, "I'm looking the other way, because I don't want to get involved or create waves." Well how is change ever supposed to happen if you don't stick up for what is right?

So to the people who have heard my story, and the story of his other exes, and our friends who he has abused just as much, and have made a decision to cut him from your life - I love you and thank you.

To the people still on the fence about this, who want to play some game of placating us both, you can kindly pack up and get out of my life. I have no use for you anymore. I am tired of people causing needless drama, who tell me things I don't want to hear. I have cut him out of my life, he would be better off if he did the same, and I don't need monkeys in the middle trying to stir up things to make life more difficult for me.

This weekend proved something huge to me. I am strong. I have moved on. And that I have some amazing friends who will stand up for what is right and keep me safe and happy. It's a pretty good day when you feel like this.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Every picture tells a story" (CBS 48 Hours)

"It also doesn't answer one lingering question. How did a woman like Cathy - a strong woman with friends, family and money - end up a victim of domestic violence?"

While at work today, I came across this story on CBS 48 Hours. While it had such a tragic ending for the woman involved, it is a good piece of journalism that profiles the crime and speaks to the man who reportedly abused and ultimately was found guilty of killing his own wife.

There are some things to note, such as when his ex comes forward with her own story of abuse, and how the family finally came to admit how afraid of this man they were.

Sadly, it cannot answer the question stated above. I don't ever think there is one single, simple answer for this.;contentBody

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Date, Heat Rash, and Insomnia

It's 6 am, I think I slept for an hour and a half, and now I'm wide awake and my mind is thinking too much. Ah, the wonders of steroid pills. Luckily this time around I'm on them for a heat rash that decided to creep up my neck, but even on day two they are taking a toll on my system, and my insomnia is out of control.

Or maybe something has to do with having a stupid, shit eating grin on my face for the past two nights.

I went on a date. Well, two dates now, same person. They were... nice. Not to make it sound like the dates were bad in any way, because they weren't. In fact, they were super fun, amazingly fun really, and instantly involved him hanging out with my friends, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what they think of him. Quite honestly, I needed that litmus test, because it seems all of them were aware of what an unhealthy relationship I was in. So, you know, I guess if anyone can weather through that, it may be worth even going on a third date!

It's just different. He is someone I met at an art event, no prior history or friendship. Someone fresh and new. He doesn't know me, my baggage, what I was, what I did, and there isn't any prior notion of who I am and what I'm expected to be. It's refreshing and liberating. I can be *me*.

And while there isn't any notion of a Facebook status change in my relationship, I've pretty much made up my mind to see this person again, once my schedule eases up a bit. And more than likely again after that.

And so, in my giddiness and stupid girlishness, and my insomnia, it started creeping in. The baggage I feared that would inevitably be held over from my last relationship. Or I guess, what I mean to say is, my fear of that baggage. Wondering when it will start to affect my mindset, because let's be honest, you don't go through something like that and expect to have any shred of trust in the next person you meet.

It did come up tonight, the inevitable references to past relationships. I was hoping to hold it off, but I felt honesty is my best policy. And I came out and said, "Listen, I was in a very emotionally abusive relationship before this. Honestly, I probably shouldn't even be dating now, because it's only been a hand full of months since I kicked him completely out of my life. But here I am, I enjoy your company, and I don't want to stop a potentially good thing because of my issues. But I thought you should know so you can make the decision going forward."

He took it well. He took it beyond well. I mean, I often do say things to scare away guys, to see just how much they can take before they think, oh no, this one is damaged goods, let's walk away now. But this was different, I didn't want to scare him off, I wanted him to understand that when it comes to certain things, it's going to take time with me. And a lot of it.

And truthfully, I don't even know if I want a relationship out of this. Not just because of the ex, but I'm at a point in my life where a lot of things are being built up, put into place, and I am focusing 100% on me and my career. But, at the same time, I really don't want to piss away something else that could possibly be good for me.

I've learned something very important, something I think I always knew but never really practiced. I don't need to be with anyone. I'm actually very happy with myself and on my own. Other guys may have tried to tell me otherwise, say how I cannot cope with being alone, but the truth is I think they didn't want to admit to themselves that I really didn't need them. So they crafted environments that made me reliable on them, in one way or another, and couldn't take it when I felt suffocated and lashed out.

When I first moved to Atlanta, I did cling to my ex. I was alone in a new city with no real friends. It wasn't just that he was my boyfriend, but he was one of my best friends. I don't think he ever understood that. I was afraid. I was alone. And I wanted a friend.

All that is different now, coming on nearly 2 years of living here and I have amazing friends. Some of them I had even in the beginning, but I just didn't realize it and clung to the familiar.

So even with my insomnia, which usually brings the worse of thoughts to my head, I can't seem to find them. I think about how there should be things holding me back, other than the, "I want to take my time with this one, get to know him and keep the fun, exploring and learning about one another phase going as long as I can." Because, as I'm learning, that's a pretty fun place to be in.

Cheers to moving forward!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Letting Go

I know I haven't been very dedicated about keeping this blog up to date. I still feel very strongly about wanting to help other people in this situation, but as far as my own goes, somewhere along the road I just left that bag on the side and never looked back.

Unfortunately the same can't be said about other people. I added a stat counter to this awhile back and have been tracking and logging IPs for about a month and a half now. It's interesting to see who reads this page, how often, and where they come from.

I will continue to keep this blog up for future readers, and to link to stories and articles that will further growth and moving forward. This blog has allowed me to move on. By letting out all of my feelings and frustrations, I found they didn't have to dwell inside of me all the time. Am I 100% perfect and over things? No. But I have moved forward. And it's nice. There was a time when I never thought I would be able to smile, or not have a day without crying. The last time I cried was when I saw my mom last week because I was so happy to see her! I think that is a pretty good reason to cry. ;D

Thank you everyone who's followed my journey and have been a part of my growth and moving forward. It's nice to look forward to tomorrow, excited about what new adventure awaits!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cold War

(Janelle Monae)

So you think I'm alone?
But being alone's the only way to be
When you step outside
You spend life fighting for your sanity

This is a cold war

You better know what you're fighting for
This is a cold war
Do you know what you're fighting for?

If you wanna be free?

Below the ground's the only place to be
Cause in this life
You spend time running from depravity

This is a cold war

Do you know what you're fighting for?
This is a cold war
You better know what you're fighting for
This is a cold war
You better know what you're fighting for
This is a cold war
Do you know what you're fighting for?

Bring wings to the weak and bring grace to the strong

May all evil stumble as it flies in the world
All the tribes comes and the mighty will crumble
We must brave this night and have faith in love

I'm trying to find my peace

I was made to believe there's something wrong with me
And it hurts my heart
Lord have mercy, ain't it plain to see?

This is a cold war

You better know what you're fighting for
This is a cold war
Do you know what you're fighting for?

Bye, bye, bye, bye

Don't you cry when I say goodbye

Bye, bye, bye, bye
Don't you cry when I say goodbye

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Homefront

The other day I was asked to participate in a very amazing fundraiser that focuses on domestic abuse. In addition to just telling my own story and recovery, I've also offered to write some articles and get my stagnating journalist muscle flexing. In doing so, I've done a lot of research on the subject and am just shocked at some of the things I didn't know!

Some of the things just seem so... simple in a way, but it strikes home. If I had to do a piece on abuse while I was in the relationship, and furthermore read some of these things, would it have alerted me to my own situation sooner?

From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on signs of emotional abuse: Putting her down.Making her feel bad about herself. Calling her names. Making her think she is crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating her. Making her feel guilty.

I could have bolded every thing in that list. I know it seems almost common sense, but just seeing the stark numbers of it, next to charts against physical and sexual abuse makes me realize how prominent emotional abuse is in our society.

One of the things I hope to focus on is how society can take action against this. Like I have mentioned many times over, I have encountered a disturbing amount of resistance to mt situation, up to having people ask for proof on the situation. I have offered up names and contact info of people who would gladly speak of things they witnessed, but none have made the effort to get in touch them. It's alarming to me that we would bury our heads in the sand about this issue so much, because we don't want it affecting our little view of the world.

To an extent I can understand and forgive people who would call me a liar and believe what he says over me. As a friend put it, "[he] does a good job of destroying someone's reputation and character before they even get a chance to tell their side of things." It's true, I saw that enough.

I don't really stand to gain anything by going public about this. As I've stated before, I am not looking for retribution or punishment for my ex. If I did, I'd be a lot more public about who it is and a lot more forceful in having my story heard in places it would matter to him. No, what I want is a social revolution, of sorts, and for people to wake up and realize this does happen. Yeah, the guy you know may be funny, happy-go-lucky and "not capable of these things." But how well do you really know him? For four years of friendship I thought I did. I hate to be cliche, but how many murderers and sexual predators do you hear their friends and family say in news bites, "I never suspected that of him."

A sign of a good abuser, liar, and sociopath is they can hide these things even from their best friends and family. In my case, a lot of people were aware of this man's behaviour, but though that with me he was either better, or felt the need to not get involved because they didn't know me. And it is tough to get involved and speak out to someone who sees the good in this person and chooses to not believe the negative things they have been told before.

I will say the things I have learned about my ex since becoming public about this are disgusting. I knew he had some obscure tastes and bad judgment calls when it came to associating with women online, but the tales of underage solicitation for webcam pics and the level he weeds his way into women's lives makes me wonder how much he was hiding from me during our time together.

Some people would say that it is my job to make sure he gets what he deserves. But in all honesty, until every person who has told me what they know in private makes the choice to open up and speak about it, I am just one person with one story, and apparently in some circles, my word isn't worth much.

So until the time that other people feel they can stand up with me, and those around the world will stand with their friends who have gone through or are going through this, I will plug away here, and do what I can to encourage the world that we need to stand together and fight this.

Here are a couple of sites I was researching today:

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Sometimes I live in a world of black and white and absolutes. I understand that life isn't at all like that, but sometimes it's hard for my sheltered mind to comprehend that there is a gray space in between.

And perhaps it is naive for me to think that because of what happened to me, I have a right to speak up, a right to be heard, and a right to be believed. I never once expected to have to face being called a liar, or having my story doubted.

It is so hard for me to understand, in this modern and learned society of ours, that I would encounter what I have since coming forward about my abuse. I'm not going to apologize if this embarrasses anybody. I'm not going to be made to feel bad if this makes life inconvenient for him. Furthermore, the negativity has given me an even greater reason to speak out about my particular story, because it means there are other people out there who are facing this, and they need a voice of their own.

It is ridiculous to me that I have been told to produce proof or ask his other exes to revisit their own pain and share their stories.

If they want to, they are welcome to. I am sure they are just done with that chapter in their life and want to move on, as one day I will even move on from this blog. I will not ask my friends to get involved, but they have certainly not shied away from anyone who has asked them what happened. (And, they know they are welcome to speak at length about what they have witnessed and known, and do not need to ask my permission to do so). They may not have seen the worst of it, but they saw enough to know what was going on was bad.

Someone told me the other day that they heard his side of the story, and that it didn't match up with mine. Well, of course not, I don't think he's going to say, "Well, yes, I did in fact put her down constantly and make her feel like shit. And no, no, I didn't hit her, but I did attack her. You know, it's just not the same as striking someone."

When he would tell the story of his one ex who claimed physical abuse, he twisted the story to some ridiculous version that you simply could not believe. When she told her side of the story, it was certainly a lot more plausible, but I discredited her all the same. I really believed, because of what this person had said and I had seen gone on through fights on the internet, that she was capable of fabricating such tales.

I still kick myself for not taking her warnings, and am shamed for doing to her what I am going through now.

I really thought that if I was the one to go public, it would make a difference. For all the people that read this and feel uncomfortable, or feel the need to lay blame on me, or call into question what I went through, get out of my life now. I don't need your negativity or your ambivalence.

What do I hope to achieve from all this? Someone asked me that yesterday. They wanted to know if I wanted an apology from certain people, or him to be shunned from society. I told them no. I don't want any of that. I want people to understand what happened to me. I want him to get the help he needs for his issues. And I want to do what I can to make sure other people who are in abusive situations know they have the choice of leaving.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thank You

It was a strange sense of freedom I felt when I woke up this morning. I didn't think I would sleep at all last night, after making this blog public. It's something I've been considering doing for awhile, not just to make my auxiliary friends aware of why I haven't been in the best of moods and mindset over the past year or so, but because I know that sharing my struggles and triumph over them can, and will help someone else.

 I was amazed at the response I had when I woke up this morning. I don't know what I was expecting (the worse, probably) but so many people emailed and messaged me to let me know I was doing the right thing... and furthermore, so many people shared their own stories with me. I simply had no idea.

I don't think abuse is something that defines us, or should be who we are. I don't say I am a victim. Yet, I am now among the members of a group of people who have gone through hell and come out better for it. That gives me something to smile about.

Because no matter what he says, or random people online who feel the need to make their negativity (anonymously) known, I can go forward knowing I am a better person for all of this.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Outsider

I've increasingly found myself feeling like an outsider in my own life. It's a problem I've dealt with for the majority of what I can remember, but it seems worse now. I think my friends have picked up on it to (or they found this blog and read a previous entry) and have been really good about making sure I know I'm important in their lives. And it's nice, great... really. But I still have some garbage dragging me down.

I can't stop help thinking about another group of friends I had, and wonder what I did that was so wrong to make them cease talking to me all together. This was a group that I really believed in, and thought, "Wow, these people get it. They'll be good. They're ambitious, and seem to want the best for everyone around them." Then, inevitably, like I do with any already established group of people I find myself in, I started to feel like I didn't really belong. I developed my usual set of fears that they didn't like me, based on a myriad of reasons, and on top of that, the ex would find ways to make me feel like such a horrible person about being a "diva, bitch, stuck up snob, elitist, etc" that he pretty much had me convinced there is no reason these good people should like me.

They were also some of the first people I came out to about my problems with him. The first ones I really opened up to, outside of a few friends who saw and knew what was going on and were trying to get me to leave the situation. And maybe it was my own fault this happened. Though they all expressed horrified sympathy with what I told them, I also encouraged them to remain his friend and not get involved (I really didn't think they would get involved, they are the type of people to kind of stay out of drama). But I didn't want my problems inconveniencing anyone. I just also thought that they would be there for me as well.

And they haven't been there for me like I wanted. But it's my fault for not telling them that I need them, too. And it just makes me feel like a shitty person.

I've recently learned I have a reputation (among the internet, and generally people who do not matter) as a person who burns bridges and goes through groups of people. I think if you don't know me, and know of my alter-ego (and mainly what is said on tabloid related sites that people who watched foriegn cartoons or play video games all day long lurk on) that I can see where it would seem that way. I have been a part of many groups, and usually within a year or two I leave them.

Other than two cases, I can't think of a single one where it ended badly though. And even now, I'm friends with a good majority of those people. Are we as close as we were? In some cases, even closer. That's the thing, friends do have falling outs, I accept that, and I think because of that, I tend to be extra shy when problems or "drama" arises. Also, every one of these groups I was a part of had one thing in common, nerd conventions and dressing up like cartoon characters. Outside of that circle of friendships, I'll be honest, I haven't had a single falling out with people that it wasn't able to be repaired in a week or a month at most. And that drama never found itself made public and on the internet.

I just think with artists there is an element of the dramatic, and we're all very creative, and emotional people, so tempers tend to run a little higher, and things are taken a bit more personal. So, I mean, I tend to be a bit head-shy when I start to see conflicts arise with those groups of people. My general response? Flight.

I really hate conflict. It seems almost like a lie, since I often find myself in it. But I will stick up for things I believe in, and it usually leads me to an argument with someone I can't hope to win. But that is usually on an individual basis. I just don't know how to handle myself in a group of friends. I think it's because I always felt like the outsider.

I'm very thankful for this "new" group of old friends that has built up organically around me. I feel safer here, because I didn't step in to an already established dynamic, and two of them I had a brutal falling out with and I feel we are closer, and better friends for it. They have been very supportive for everything I am going through. They understand this isn't easy, and I wont get better in a day or a week. They have even gotten good at picking up my slight changes in mood, and do what they can to cheer me up, or make me feel included, when I would otherwise retreat into a book or video game.

I think I would be in a very sorry state of depression if it wasn't for my friends. It's very hard combating the words my "dark side of the brain" will whisper to me. All the things he cultivated in me. Fears I had never known, this overwhelming feeling of "not being good enough" and the constant reminder of how horrible a person I was.

There was a time when I would believe I deserved all this. That I would push away even these good people because I felt I wasn't worth it. I see things a little bit different now. I know I have a lot to overcome, and I know there are things I've done that haven't always been kind, or right, or in the best interest of others. But nothing I've done is evil, nothing I've done can compare to what he did to me (and others, too). My friends are teaching me that lesson, and I am finally starting to learn it.

Thank you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

In Brightest Day

Tonight I went out to a movie.

Okay, that in itself is no great feat, but with how I've been feeling so anti-social and awkward, I'm pretty proud of myself for leaving the house. And pushing myself to spend time with a new friend.

We went and saw Green Lantern. It was terrible. If you know of my alter-ego, I will post a full review of the film on that site. But I did walk away better off than when I sat down.

There's this thing about the Green Lanterns. Their whole power is based on willpower. They're not fearless, but have the ability to overcome fear. And I think I did a bit of that myself tonight.

I'm not a super hero. I'm just a girl who, by some accounts, has had an extraordinary amount of garbage dumped on her in the past couple of years. I don't always deal with it in the best way possible, or in some cases, deal with it at all. Sometimes I just bury my head in the sand, like I mentioned earlier.

Tonight though, I made an effort to spend time with a new friend I think is pretty rad, despite having a prior friendship with my ex. Not knowing what she has heard about me, and fearing the worse, I invited her out to the movie with another super rad friend and I. I almost didn't. But when I saw she posted on Facebook about wanting to go see GL tonight and looking for people to see it with, I told myself to take that chance. We have met at a few events, and talk somewhat regularly online, and seem to have a lot in common, and well, damnit. I told myself I can't just piss away potentially cool people because I am afraid my ex is being his charming self and saying all sorts of wonderful things about me.

It was a huge step for me.

I'm usually very timid about making new friends. It's a social skill I never learned as a child. Add that to becoming downright afraid of what people think of me now, it's no wonder I rarely leave my house.

I was also very shocked today when another friend, who was telling me about how a mutual acquaintance of ours had been asking about me. My friend didn't divulge the details of what's been going on, but said how I've been going through some rough times, but am coming out better and more brave because of it. She told me she thinks I am brave. She also told me that I have inspired her through my trials and subsequent candidness about them and my journey to recovery.

It really, really made me smile. Like I said, I'm no super girl, but knowing that I can help at least one person makes all of this worth it. Even if her circumstances are different, the chances I take about opening up about this is not only helping me, but helping others. Thank you, my friend, your belief in me and your own courage, gives me strength.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Despite a great weekend, since I've been back, I've been locking myself up more than usual, and avoiding even my "safe" friends. Obviously the people I surround myself with now are aware of what's happened to me (if not first hand witnesses of it, and are the ones who helped me break away from the situation) but sometimes... I just don't know.

I just don't feel like I belong.

Everyone will be having a great time, laughing at an inside joke we all share, or a silly video on the internet and my mind will be elsewhere. I hate feeling like I'm bringing down everyone around me, even though they all encourage me to be open about this and not bottle it up.

Sometimes though other friends and acquaintances will come around, and I have to deal with the reality outside of this safe haven I've built up for myself.

Lately, more and more people have been coming to me and saying, 'I was talking to your ex the other day, and he said something strange/weird/awkward/ridiculous. He said that if I heard from you that he hit you to not believe it and you're making it up. So, um, are you okay/what's going on?'

The first few times this was brought up, my heart raced and the memory of that night would come upon me like some catastrophic event. Now I just sigh in exacerbation and say the same thing I have since the first time, "No, he didn't hit me. He shoved me and his hands went around my neck. Then he chased me out of his house, and when I got into my car, started banging on the window, then stood in front of [my car] when I was trying to get away." At this point any one of my friends who either rescued me that night, or heard him admit to this on a speakerphone conversation, if they are around, will jump in and say, "It doesn't matter is he hit her, chocked her, or simply shoved her. You don't lay your hands on someone out of anger. And... you probably should have run him over." I know they add the last bit to try and make me laugh.

Then the person who initially brought up this conversation would generally hug me, or tell me they are sorry, or more often than not lately, tell me how they thought something was up based on previous rumours of this person physically attacking other girlfriends (and not just the one everyone knows about).

It's still so hard to talk about this, even when I am "defending" myself. I really don't know what to do sometimes. I live in constant fear of this person, because I know once he has decided someone is his "enemy" he does everything he can to make them out to be a terrible human being, and find ways to take away the things they love. I know this, because I watched him do this time and again to so many people.

I should have stopped him from doing it to others. I should have run away when the first time I thought "if I ever leave him, or give him reason to doubt me, he will do this to me too."

When I first broke up with him I was in tears to anyone that would listen about the fears I had of what he would try to do to me. Everyone said he wouldn't, that he isn't like that, or the ones that knew him better said "What can he really do to you? You're too good, you have a real life, a real career, and real friends." But I still remember trying to find someone who would listen to me.

I've tried to bury my head in the sand enough to not see or hear about what he may be trying to do, but it still filters through. I also know that by continuing this blog, I invite more of his anger and the potential for him to continue on this path, or it getting worse, grows.

But I feel, somehow, if I document this and if it does happen, then people will know. Someone will listen this time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


It's something I've been in short supply of, but after this weekend, I found I can stand on my own two feet.

I don't know when it was I lost my self confidence, I know it wasn't around much when I met "He Who Shall Not Be Named" because I feel if I hadn't been full of some self loathing, I never would have been attracted to that person. Any bit of it was certainly destroyed while we were together.

I used to not be able to take any criticism, and when you put yourself out there for people to see and comment on, having a thin skin is akin to going into an ant hill covered in honey. I grew to ignore the mean comments anonymous people would say about me on the Internet and overtime came to laugh at them. A few years back, it could even be said I was too proud, and thought too highly of myself. Maybe it was mostly a mask, maybe because of it being so fragile, I ended up where I was - feeling worthless, taking the blame of everything laid upon me, allowing one person to determine my worth (and what he would say to and about me, it obviously wasn't worth a hey-penny).

For nearly the past two years I had been attending trade shows with this person as my partner. Not just my boyfriend, but someone who I would share the spotlight with, and would help me get to where I needed to be and present my topics and put forth the best foot. I also wanted to give him a chance to shine and show off. Plus, for me, it was always an excuse for a romantic get-a-way, to take us out of our day-to-day and maybe show that when the stress of real life was gone, we could just be happy with each other. It never worked, the shows seemed to bring out the worse in both of us.

I still remember the first time we went to a show as a couple, this was a big deal for me because I was a guest at a well known, well attended, conference. We get to the hotel with less than two hours until my first panel, and he tosses some clothes on the bed, tells me to iron them, and informs me he's going to wander around. I was in tears. It also should have been a big warning sign of things to come. I was so stressed out at this point, and just so hurt that this person I was so excited to be with at this show just up and left me. And when he found out how sad I was, I was told to "shut up and get over it." I don't know how many times I had heard that phrase from him in the course of our relationship. I apparently never learned to shut up and get over things though, since he would yell it at me so often.

But things like this wore me down, and I was scared coming out here this weekend. Not just because I was in charge of a large event, but my "real work" entrusted me with a big responsibility too.

This was the first show I did without his support, be it good or bad (because it wasn't always "shut up and get over it, that was usually just in response to me feeling overwhelmed, which was usually caused because my support structure wasn't sound to begin with...). Regardless, this weekend was on me. And you know what? I owned it.

Not for nothing I brought a great group of girls to help me this weekend, and they showed me how important having the right support system is when you handle big events, or even small appearances.

So today, I feel a little bit better about myself. I was who I was before I dated this person, and he cannot take that away from me.I was the one who shined. I was the star. One day I'll find someone to share my spotlight, all my love and adventures. And they will appreciate it and be worthy of it. But today, I stand on my own, and I can smile.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Courage and Strength

One day I'll be strong enough to say aloud what I finally said to my best friends tonight.

And maybe I should. Starting now.

Excerpts from a conversation tonight:

    Me: You know, I just care too much about people who shouldn't matter. I'm going to take your advice and just remove them from my facebook. I keep seeing things I don't want to, and then (name omitted) tried to give me shit today. Apparently people are upset about a blog I've been keeping...

   Me: I politely told him to fuck off, but he msged me while I was in the middle of work with a string of shit that I know came from him.

My friend then asked what blog I was referring to. One of my best friends who I haven't even told about this. I know some people read it, and more people know now about this blog than I imagined, but it's so hard to be truly open about all this. I still lack that courage.

    Me: See, it's so private you don't even know about it, but somehow HE does.

   Me: I've been writing...
    It's obvious to anyone who knows me
    what it's about

  Friend: I know it feels like it's passive aggressive but it confronts the issue without having to actually hear the other side's nonsense (about removing people from Facebook)

    Me: No, it's for the best
    I've been doing good with him removed
    and if it means I have to remove the people he is connected with, it will only help me get better
    I have you, (friend), (roomie) and so many more good friends to make in this world
    I don't need to hold on to people who will try to make me feel ashamed about what I went through
    So I know it's stupid but I was looking at photos (person on Facebook) posted
    and that new girl he is with apparently worked on this film
   And what upsets me, aside from seeing all my "friends" friends with her now. What I'm upset about is I  remembered all the times I wanted to work on [a project with this group] and he said no, what do you have to offer? you can't do anything, you'd get in the way
   and you know that overwhelming feeling I have had for so long about me not being good enough? that's why I'm upset right now
    it's just the truth of how I feel, so powerless, and that he made me feel so useless and not good enough. I thought I was getting past it, but I think the root of a lot of my problems is that right there
    How I feel.

And there it is.The dirty, ugly truth of it. I feel like I'm not good enough. He made me feel like I wasn't a good enough girlfriend, a good enough friend, a good enough person.

Three times, with three different groups of his friends, I found myself feeling awkward and like I didn't fit in. I went to him with these fears, and was met with, "that is your problem. You are a diva, you look down on everyone, you make people feel stupid, you're a bitch; it's no wonder people don't like you."

I am a proud person. I do think very highly of myself. It can easily be said by a lot of people who don't know me well, or knew me in the past, that yeah... I was a bitch. It was my armour. But all that went away a few years ago, when I realized how many good people I lost with trying to protect myself. I wish I had that armour now. I do not know how to feel worthless, and yet I do. I wake up every morning, and I wonder how am I going to meet this day. I go to bed at night afraid of what I will have to deal with tomorrow, either from him, but mostly with myself.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


There are days when I know things are getting better. Nearly a month with him completely cut out of my life, I feel less tied to the emotions I carried around for so long. But I worry it's not a sign of me "getting better" and simply I am growing numb.

I didn't notice it at first, I was just happy that the pain was receding. It was when I was out with friends, or watching something that should have had me howling, or in situations where I should at least be smiling, that I felt nothing. Sure, I would laugh and smile and jest, because that is what's expected of me (and what do I do best than pretend everything is okay?) but I just wasn't feeling it.

And it scares me.

When I was with him, I told myself how I need to build up walls, shields to protect me from his moments of cruelty. Because if I could take it, then I would be able to help him. That I would rather he took his rage out on me than our friends. I had convinced myself that I should be some sacrifice because... because what? I think, in the end, I think I deserved it.

When we started dating, we had been friends for several years. He knew me, as best anyone can from chat and phone conversations, but he knew me from a darker time in my life. I was in a loveless relationship which I didn't know how to get out of, and the friends I kept were not always the best of people looking out for anyone's interest but their own.

I'm not a great person. I've done a lot of mean things to people. I have let men love me only to turn around and laugh at them. I have lied to and about friends. I have been petty and cruel in my own right. And by the time I got together with him, he knew how terrible I felt for all the things I had done up to that point. I was determined to change. I was tired of hurting others. I was tired of being hurt. I just wanted to make things right.

And he supported that. He would call me out when I'd get petty about something, or lurk on websites that were the equivalent of grocery store rags. And I grew. And I got better. Or so I thought. The thing was, he did all those things and more.

As I was trying to grow, he would sit and stew and rage about the injustices done to him (never me, never our friends). At first I got sucked in. It's easier to defend other people than yourself, it seems less... selfish. But it just got to be so much. I didn't want to be a part of it anymore. When I started calling him out on the way he acted and treated others, I was met with such anger. It got to he point where he did nothing but break me down, to sink me back to his level.

I remember him telling me, several times, how I "came [to him] broken" and I started to believe it. I had issues, people on the internet and people who had never met me had poor opinions of me, so I must have deserved all of this. I was not a good person, we both would say to me.

Now I have to ask myself how such ridiculous, meaningless things mattered to me? Because, really, they had no bearing on real life. The friends and co-workers I had outside of this "scene" would scarce believe I was the person I felt I was. Why would my own boyfriend try to make me have such a low opinion of myself? Why wouldn't he want me to be a better person? The person everyone else seemed to think I already was?

It got to a point where all we could talk about was drama. I would want to talk about work, or news (which in my case is the same thing), family and friends or just life. He would sit at the computer and half-heartily listen to me. The moment I said, "Oh, did you hear about so-and-so going to this show and looking like an idiot?" I would have his full attention. It became a game, after some point, to see how ridiculous a story I could tell him, watch him eat it up, and then spread it around to all his friends.

See, even when I complain of abuses, I wasn't even that great in this relationship. I just didn't know what to do. Because when all was said and done, even after a fight where I would sit and be screamed at for a good thirty minutes about how pathetic, useless, uncaring, crazy, and a bother I was, I still loved him. We would calm down, take each other in our arms, say we were sorry and promised it wouldn't happen again.

It always happened again. Even after we broke up, even after the numbness started creeping in, even when all my fire went out and I just would let him rage and rage and I wouldn't even speak up in defense... it continued. I don't know how someone who claimed to love me so much could say such vile things about me. I never will understand that.

One of the last things he ever said to me was how I was "annoying." And I wonder, if that is something he had long felt even in the relationship. I know he complained to friends, good friends, mutual friends, of his unhappiness with me. They would say, "Why are you with her then?". I ask myself that too, why didn't he leave sooner? I gave him so many chances to get out of the relationship. I knew I wasn't strong enough to leave, but I would say so often, "If you want this over, then just say so." He would say, "No, I love you. We'll work on this." We never did.

It's not a nice thing to say, in any sense. But I guess when you are telling someone to "fuck off and die" that saying they're "annoying" is of little consequence. But it was that which has stayed with me.

When he said it, I just hung up. I was done. I had been screamed at, lied about, and assaulted verbally and physically enough. It was at something so... childish that I finally stopped caring about having him in my life.

I know the numbness has been there all this time. It's probably how I survived without truly going crazy. I know I didn't act like the better person sometimes. I would cry, have random outbursts for no apparent reason to the people around us, I would rage in my own right, and tell him how horrible a person he was when we fought. No one saw what was done in private. They never do, do they?

I also lied in my last post. I am angry with some friends who have chosen to ignore me in lieu of a friendship with him. I wish I could be numb about that.

But it sucks. It really, really sucks. To know all that has happened to me, and to some of his girls before me, and to be in a position in which very few people listen, and even less believe. I am thankful that what happened to me wasn't as bad as you read about with some people. I am able to walk away with my life, and a good bit of my soul intact. But I feel so strongly for those who have been victimized, brutalized, and are left to bare this burden alone. Even though my case may seem petty, and my friends who are by my side constantly remind me that these people are no better than him, if they choose to ignore what they have seen and hear and support him without even hearing me out. (And I can't help but laugh, bitterly, when a friend commented on how ironic it was that a group of people who did a film about abuse quickly turned their heads when it was happening to one of their own. I guess I'm not completely numb after all.)

I want to do more. Not against him. I know what type of person he is and there is little I can do that can make his life any more miserable than the life he makes for himself. I want to do something for women like me. I want them to know it's okay to speak out, and find a safe place where someone will listen to them. No one should feel alone.

Friday, June 3, 2011


As a child, I would watch movies or TV shows, where a girl would be in an abusive, or at least unloving relationship. It's so easy to yell at the screen and say, "Why don't you just leave him?" 'If that were me, I wouldn't put up with it. I'd just walk away."

Where was that 12 year-old-girl last year, or even three months ago? It's so easy to see things from the outside, and as many of my friends have reminded me, it's a different situation when you're the one in love.

Things never start off bad, though really, if you heard me tell things to my doctor the other morning you would wonder why I even stayed in the relationship past 2 months. It's not that he was cruel, by any means, but he still made me cry. A whole lot. And maybe that is my fault, I saw so many sides of this person... a great man who swore to protect me and love me and promised me he wouldn't ever leave my side. And this brooding, petulant child who at age thirty would throw temper tantrums if things didn't go his way. Then there was the victim. The guy who had been so brutally put upon by his ex girlfriend who made him out to be a monster and an abuser, but none of us ever took her seriously because she had a track record of being dramatic and lying. How were any of us supposed to know that somewhere she had a truth to her story? He played it so well. The drama she caused, the hurt she did to him. Then there was the second ex. The girl, a decade younger than him, who he loved and swore he would marry, but lied and cheated him all the same. She was evil too, we heard. Only to realize, she was a child, with no real notion of love and how the world worked. And still, she had stories to tell, to those still around to listen.

I heard these stories and I scoffed. It always sounded so crazy, how could this boy, slimmer than me and barely an inch taller, be so brutal? No, these girls are crazy, just like he says. He says I am crazy too, now. At some point when do you start realizing there is only one common factor in this equation, and it's not that all his exes were unnatural red-heads....

The last correspondence I got from him, about three weeks ago now, was this:

"It's funny, I actually haven't badmouthed you other than to be exasperated at the amount of shitspewing you've done. I know you were hurt, but really, you're an adult, your behavior is inexcusable. I accept your apology on one condition that you contact everyone you lied to and set the record straight."

There was a time that hearing something like that I would jump, and run to everyone I know and say, "don't be mad at him. He's just going through a hard time. I am too harsh on him, please ignore my complaining, it's my problem, not his." Instead I showed that to some friends who were with me and overwhelmingly they said, "What a classic abusive move." And the consoled me that I had done nothing wrong. One of them had even heard a great deal amount of things he had been saying about me, which is nothing new. I don't know why he thinks he can lie to me and I wont know. Sure, I do not see a group of (former?) mutual friends who have chosen to take sides in the matter, but I still hear things. He couldn't refrain from speaking ill about me to some of our best friends while we were together, why would he think I wouldn't know what he says when we're apart?

I am proud of myself, though. I didn't jump. I didn't cringe. I stood tall and said I am done. Even though he is out of my life as much can be expected (we still run in same circles and I know I will have to see his face again someday), he still haunts me. I wish I could believe he isn't giving me the same charming he gives his other exes. I mean, what can you expect of me? When for a year and a half of a relationship, and nearly 4 years of friendship, all I heard about was how evil, crazy, spiteful, insane and downright shitty these people were? Not just his exes, but ex-friends, or random people on the internet or the anime convention scene who are out to get him.

I dated a paranoid schizophrenic for four years, and you don't think I saw the signs of plain paranoia going on? But I thought I could help him. I thought by showing him someone who truly loved him, and surrounding him with good people he would not have to feel the victim. It didn't work. Then I became the problem, the monster, the one who was wearing on his soul. He always needs to be the hero, and a hero always needs a villain. How could someone who all she wanted to do was love this person and have him love her in return be so evil? Even today, even when I want nothing to do with him, I still don't understand what it was I did so wrong... other than to love the wrong person.

I accomplished one thing. I brought him a new group of friends, and they seem like good and kind people. I don't understand why they have turned their back on me. I have never once asked anyone to take sides in this, if anything, I want people who are as unaffected by this situation as possible to remain near him, because even he deserves people who care about him. I just don't understand why I had to be left on the curb. Why is it I'm the one left feeling so ashamed for what happened?

I am fortunate because the friends I have are marvelous. They have been with me through the thick of it, saw the signs and stood by me even when I knew I should have left. They are my true friends. I know I shouldn't worry about what some people, who I only knew for a few months, may or may not think of me. But it hurts, to feel abandoned. That is why I would walk away and not cause too much issue with them, because even still, I do not want him to feel abandoned. I know that feeling all too well...

And still, there are people, his "mouthpieces" my friends and I call them, that would tell me to stop talking about this. That I am inciting drama, or making him feel bad, and that I should be ashamed to say such things. Ashamed.

And that is the worse thing a person who has gone through what I have can be left feeling: shame.

I always would yell at the TV, and tell that girl in there she had nothing to be sorry for. She put up with the monster and survived, why would she take it out on herself?

I wonder, why do I still take it out on myself?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Today is the first day of the rest of my life."

"Today is the first day of the rest of my life."

My doctor made me repeat that, over and over until I think I tricked myself into believing it. Maybe she is right, while each day brings new challenges and joys for us, some days are truly the beginning of a new era. I don't know what was so special about today, I spent half as much time crying as I did talking, and her listening more than speaking. But today was the day we decided I should keep this journal.

I made the joke, again, today that I had cut two cancers from my life this year. Both sinister, creeping and rotting. The one from my cervix was tossed out, well, biopsied and studied and who knows, maybe sealed in a glass jar. I wish the other one could be so hastily removed.

A lot got dragged up this morning. I'm feeling bitter... which probably isn't the best time to write. I am just so angry. At him, at friends, at this world that makes me feel because I am a woman, I am to expect this sort of thing. But mostly, I am angry at myself.

I have never been afraid to speak up before. I have never thought, if I say this out loud, I will be hurt. But that is what abuse does to people, it makes them afraid. For the better part of a year I lied for him, and for myself, too. I saw the monster that was there, and always in the back of my mind I knew it could easily devour me. I thought I was safe, I thought that because he had my heart he couldn't take my soul. Well, in the end I won both my heart and soul back, but the scars are still there.

It's only recently that I have come to say that word aloud. Abuse. Only recently have I been able to say it in mixed company, though I still look over my shoulder when I do. Will he be there, waiting for a chance to attack? I know he truly can't do anything to me. Even the one time when it became physical, if I hadn't been so shocked, I would have been able to defend myself. But it's the words that cut me, the words that made me so hollow and so afraid.

And it's the words I can't always fight against. Physical abuse is so easy to recognize. I would like to think that if people saw a man hitting a woman in public they would come to her aide. But when a person distorts the truth, lies, and manipulates those around him, how do you easily point that out? How do you defend against a barrage of "you're crazy," "I'm the only person who will accept you for who you are" or when that person knows all of your dark fears and secrets and uses those to keep you at his side? How do people see that and not say, "This poor girl, she is being abused." Because they don't know. They don't see it.

And I didn't help the situation any. It wasn't until the end that people saw me cry, and by then it was just outbursts, events he used to play the victim and to show how insecure, how unstable, how crazy I was. Even then, I still lied to protect him. I still put up with his paranoia and fears that people were out to get him, and tried to fight his battles. Why? Maybe I thought if I proved how much I loved him he would stop? I don't know, I don't have an answer for that. Even when he attacked me, I still went back. What we do for love makes us crazy, so in the end I guess he was right about something.

How do I talk about what I went through? How do I talk about the way he would lie to his friends, manipulate everyone around him so he could be the hero of his own story. How he would threaten to post scandelous pictures of a former ex if she ever became noteworthy, or how many times he wished people he didn't like would die in car crashes....

That one lingered with me. I was on a road trip, a few weeks back, with one of the people he did wish would die in a car accident. I couldn't help but think, "Does he think the same of me now? If we die, at least I know who to haunt."

It's a hard thing, to write so openly about such things. To bare the scars of my soul for all to see and judge. But I have never been one to shy away from standing up for what is right, or to let others see when I have failed. I just want to help; myself, others in this position, and find comfort from those who have been down this road before.

I don't know what this will be, but I hope it helps in some way or another.