invasion of the barbarians: safe space

To support NaNoWriMo this month, I’m finishing the 30+ odd drafts laying about and posting them through the month of November.
I wrote a charming man sometime in 2008, but never posted it. I wrote a companion piece, Friends don’t let friends waste wine when there’s stories to sell over on LiveJournal within a day or two of a charming man, but that one I posted with glee. Why I posted one and not the other, I have no fucking idea. It is what it is, but it’s important to note that they were written the same day or within days of the other.
These two pieces are related to the the piece below, which I wrote sometime in late 2010 when I found out by sheer happenstance, almost right before TheHusband and I moved back to Grand Rapids, the TheEx was living and working in the Royal Oak area where TheHusband and I were still living. While nearly 2.5 years had passed since TheEx and I had seen each other at the time that I wrote the piece, I spent my remaining days living in the area on high alert that either he was going to find me or I would see him and kill him.
My idea, I believe, in writing this piece was to convey several ideas; namely that no matter how much you work through the pain and tragedy, no matter how much you can forgive, you are still always carrying around shrapnel of that hurt. And all it can take is just a very small trigger to bring the full experience back to life again. The second idea was that I felt, even selfishly, that I had pissed around Royal Oak, marking it as my own and how dare he come to MY land and disturb MY world. Irrational? Fuck yes, but I am thinking that I wanted to write that no matter how far you have come from somewhere, there is always at least something that can send you right back to that space, if not physically, at least emotionally.
The end does not finish cleanly, which I’m leaving as I wrote it last year. I remember now that I struggled so much writing the below, even without having read Friends don’t let friends waste wine when there’s stories to sell.
It’s been 3.5 years since that night when the events of a charming man/Friends don’t let friends waste wine when there’s stories to sell take place and I have not seen TheEx.
I hope I never see him again.
[This post may contains verbiage and/or descriptions that may be triggering to those who have suffered physical, sexual or verbal abuse. Educate yourself: Globally, 1 in 3 women will be abused in her lifetime. ]
I am a survivor of:

  • Physical abuse
  • Attempted gang rape
  • Several date rapes

This in addition to physical, emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of several partners.
Do I have your attention now?
I need for you to know the background in order to understand the various levels emotions that are going to spill out. In “normal” circumstances, finding out an ex-lover is living in your city is typically nothing to note. Finding out the abusive, predatory jackass you were once involved in, whom you thought lived far, far away, is another. Realising that you’re dedicated safe space has been invaded, even if unintentionally, can be traumatizing. If the safe space isn’t really “safe,” then where else do you have left to go?
Now let me begin.
A few years ago I met and dated someone I thought was the bees knees. I have referred to him, on and off, in the past as TheEx. We met, we fell in love, we lived together. Shit got bad. Shit got worse. Shit got downright awful.
The stereotype of what they say about abusers is true: They are charming, sweep you off your feet as if you were ever the only one and you have NO IDEA they are manipulative, controlling abusive assholes until your knee deep in their bullshit and wondering how the fuck you got here, because you’re a smart girl and you’d NEVER be blindsided by this shit. And then there is a slight humiliation to the whole thing because you thought you were “better than that” and by “better than that” I mean you thought would not fall for such trickery. You are, of course, wrong.
I knew TheEx had “problems” with his ex but his spin was the marriage had gone bad, there may have been a little something but it was a one time occurrence. TheEx was under advisement of several medical and psychological doctors, so how bad can it be? He’s getting help, right? Pish! It was nothing! Merely a trifle.
TheEx, of course, spun HisEx as the crazy bitch from hell and that in the grand scheme of things, he was the spurned one (of course). Even his mother would jump on this proverbial bandwagon that HisEx was a money grubbing harlot, low class with no talent who hurt her baby boy. Sure, TheEx has problems! But, who doesn’t?! And he’s under medical and psychiatric care so it’s not like the problems are being addressed! Who am I to worry!
And the fact that HisEx, after the divorce, not only left the state but would not give TheEx her address or contact info under any reason should have been a big red signal, but it wasn’t. Because the seeds had already been planted by him, for weeks at this point, about how he was scorned one and etc. And he so pitched the woo to me that I scoffed at the circumstances. Naive, I know. But my reasoning was that I had been involved myself with crazy people and while not abusive, there were some levels you just do not want to cross. I put HisEx in that category.
My burning hatred, which is now simmering embers but could go up at any time, can be best explained in this post on LiveJournal, which has been private for the better part of two years. It was public for a short duration, after it was written, and then made private a month or two later.1
1. The striking difference of my LiveJournal (before I started x-posting blog entries from here to there) and anywhere else was the easy, openness and laxness in which I wrote. Most of which was due to having security controls for each entry individually rather than an all or nothing setting found in most social networks. I could freely discuss my sex life, which I did regularly, without ramifications since I could privatize those entries. Upon beginning my MLIS program in 2008, I locked down the entire journal from public view to prevent any kind of “misunderstandings” about the content.

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