All week long it’s been a celebration of Dispatchers, part of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. One thing I absolutely have to say about my supervisor – she doesn’t do anything by halves. Every day has had a theme, and food… God, the food this week… I think I’m putting on weight just thinking about it…
What the hell does this have to do with a photo of yours truly as a pig-tailed toddler sitting in a rocking chair? One of the things she was going to do was post “baby” pics of all the dispatchers (we have five full time and two part time…) and see if anyone could guess who was who.
Somehow, I doubt anyone will have trouble recognizing mine. Two of the dispatchers are 10-20 years younger than me and very Hispanic beauties, three are about 15-20 years older than I am and their toddler/baby photos will be styled accordingly, (no 1970s fashion there…) and one of the dispatchers is a beautiful African American woman, and I’m not at all sure of her age, except that I suspect she is younger than I am.
This is rather reminiscent of when I gave birth to Matthew in Grady Hospital, and I had no fears I was taking home the wrong baby, because he was the only white baby in the maternity ward at the time. (One of these days I’ll have to write about that particularly horrible experience. C-section, with an epidural that didn’t quite do what it was supposed to do… I haven’t watched Braveheart since…)
To add to the whole Throwback Thursday thing, I’ve heard from not one, but two people with whom I was “involved” at some point in my life. Both of them were people I have nothing but good stuff to say about – no horrible break-up, just a “not quite the right person for me” kind of thing, each of them sort of an oasis in the middle of a bunch of assholes, ensuring that I didn’t write off all men as jerks.
The first was at the beginning of the week, when I received a friend request on Facebook from an old college friend, followed by a message asking how I was doing. Naturally, I did what any experienced cyber stalker will do, and flipped through his photos and was happy to see that he has a very beautiful wife and a nice-looking son who appears to be close in age to my own kids.
The second contact was via email from an old friend I knew in my early to mid twenties. He, too, is doing well, and is happily married. Again, I am glad – he deserves to be happy.
It’s kind of nice to think back on the people who have drifted in and out of your life in a positive way. All too often we think and dwell on the ex-boyfriend/husband/whatever who did something really creepy and made you feel like you had to live out of your car for a couple of months as you hurriedly tried to move all your stuff out of the old apartment, hoping they wouldn’t show up to break in and hang another “Let’s get back together” banner on the wall…
For nearly a decade I didn’t write, or when I did write, I censored myself, assuming that anything I wrote would be found and read by unintended eyes. A lot of that goes back to a bad ending to a relationship in the late 1990s, followed by marrying someone who was rather controlling.
The stalker story:
I met him at work. I flirted, we liked each other, I had a room mate moving out, he needed a place to live because he was temporarily back at his parents’ house. He moved in and we got “involved.” (Euphemism? Yup.)
We were together for two years. He seemed nice, but he was a pot head. (I HATE the stuff…) While he was mostly kind, there were some red flags… the fact that he was head over heels in debt, couldn’t pay bills, but still found the funds (or borrowed funds) to finance his weed. The time he had the shit on him in MY van on a drive from Tallahassee to my parents’ house, and I was pulled over in a speed trap, and THANK GOD my van didn’t get “searched,” because it would have been MY ass in trouble, and my law career over before it started…
Then there was his internet activities…. This was toward the end of the relationship. He used MY internet log in from school to download a bunch of photos of Asian women in bondage. Creepy photos – some of them hog-tied and ball-gagged. MY internet… the one that comes back to MY name… Yeah. Not happy there. Look at naked women if you want, dude, but when it looks like you have some sort of rape fantasy, and you have no idea if these women are even legally adults, no excuses.
I’m not going to get into all the sordid details of how we broke up, but he broke up with me, moved out, and I asked him to sign off and break the lease with me, so we could both move on. He turned over his keys. I was in the process of moving out, was staying with a friend who was also moving, and I was practically living out of my car. I still had the van – I was in the process of getting rid of it as well…
I went back to the old place to pick up the mail and move some stuff to the new place. Opening the mail box, every piece of mail had a handwritten message from him, asking me to reconcile. There were more in the van.
What happened? Why did he suddenly want to get back together? He broke into the old apartment, trying to find some sort of closure on why things had gone bad, and he had read my journals and poetry books from college. Now, these were things I had written before I ever met him. They were very personal things, and many of them were about that time when I fell for the wrong person and it went totally wrong, as it is wont to do.
But when he read my poems and my journal entries, he was suddenly convinced that I was really his soul mate, and that we were destined for each other. He came out of his marijuana haze and started stalking me – calling all of my friends and family, camping outside of the church where I was in choir…
I made the mistake of talking to him, meeting with him, to diffuse the situation. Worse still, I let him know where I moved. Worse than that, my room mate at the time had a bad habit of leaving the back door open for the dogs.
So I’d come home from class and find him sitting in the living room.
I told him to stop doing that, and he confessed to fantasizing about putting me in the trunk of his Buick LeSabre and driving to the North Georgia mountains… That dot-dot-dot I will leave to your imagination, but nothing good could possibly come from that scenario if you’re the occupant of the trunk.
I told him at that point that he needed to move on, that I was moving again, and this time he would not get to know my address. Somehow, it finally got through, because after that he dropped off the face of the earth.
That one, I never want to hear from again, needless to say. I do hope he was able to get whatever help he needed to deal with his issues, and I hope he was able to find a sane relationship with someone, because no, I don’t wish him ill, I just don’t want to see or hear from him again.
For years, I didn’t write, because of that sense of violation. And now, here I am, telling the tale online, and not worrying about who may be reading it. What changed?
I grew up. I grew stronger. I left a marriage to a man who thought he had the right to tell me what type of cereal I was allowed to bring into the house. And I decided that I just can’t live my life in fear of what someone will read, what they will think, what they will do. And I’ve learned to realize that we’re all living under a microscope anyway, so I should go ahead and write my own story, because I am the master of my own fate.
But just to be clear, I have friends in law enforcement, and if anyone EVER tried to stalk me, or any member of my family, it would NOT go well for them. The laws are much better than they were in the 1990s, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them. *I can stand my ground.*