She sent me a private message in Twitter asking if I would publish an anonymous guest post that she wanted to write. I asked her to send it and I would take a look. I read it through a few times, my heart racing and the urge to wrap her up in a warm blanket and try to make things better overwhelming me, then I messaged her back with a yes. She is a another blogger and I suspect many of you probably visit her blog regularly but for now these words of hers will live here. She needed to write them to set them free and now she needs them to be read. Maybe one day she will come here and claim them as hers and maybe not, either way it doesn’t matter. She knows and I know and the rest we shall just leave you to wonder……
Where do I begin? I suppose the following could be construed as a cry for help, except I don’t really do cries for help. I just deal with things and move on. As fast as possible. But this particular situation is hanging over me, because I don’t know how to deal with it. And, most likely, without being in my shoes, you won’t either. But there’s always a chance that a few words of wisdom might set me on the right track. Maybe, just maybe, someone reading this will have the edge of an answer, or a piece of advice on how to cope with life’s imperfections. And if not, I need to write this anyway, because the difficulty is too much for me to contain all by myself.
Last night I was followed. And I had a minor panic attack. Though not in that order.
Returning to university was nerve-racking. Last term I got involved with someone. An extremely charming someone. We tip-toed around definitions which makes it harder to write about him. To friends and family, I used the word “friend”. To some others, “lover”. We slept together, we worked together, we talked together, we watched films. It was a relationship of sorts – although endowing it with that name makes my blood run cold.
In any case, it soured. When I met him my heart had just been broken and although I quickly saw how poisonous he was, I held on because… well, the same reason anyone holds on: I didn’t want to be alone. I kept him in my life, but was kept completely out of his.
And yes, it soured. He became irrational, perhaps even dangerous. He was a complete mindfuck. It got to a point where his lies poured forth so fluidly that my entire perception of reality seemed off. I would be talking to good friends, and they would tell me stories, and I couldn’t believe them because I was so used to listening to his lies. I began to doubt everything he had ever told me about himself. I began to doubt his name, his age, his occupation, his family… I even, in the middle of the night, restless, wondered if he actually existed. Was I just overtired? Was I homesick? Was all of the drama just a figment of my imagination?
And still I was concerned for him before I was concerned for me. His messages and calls were so full of depression and sadness that I couldn’t sleep for worrying about him.
Then one night, he was staying in my flat with me, I looked at him, and just couldn’t help any more. My life was falling to pieces. I had insomnia. I had coursework stacking up. No matter how troubled he was, I realised I needed to sort my life out first.
We stood either side of the bed. He wanted to fuck. And I said no. And we climbed into bed and went to sleep.
I woke up two hours later and he was inside me. I felt sadness, deep in the pit of my stomach, but only half awake I didn’t fight him. I remember thinking that I had to be quiet, had to make sure I didn’t wake up my roommate.
It was shortlived. He rolled over and went to sleep, and at some point I gave into exhaustion as well.
Two days later term ended and I went home to my family for Christmas. I didn’t think about that night at all. It seemed so beside the point. One night of awkward sex seemed like small fry when compared with the distractions he had caused to my life elsewhere. I spent Christmas sorting out my sleep deprivation and getting back on top of my school work. The idea that I had been assaulted didn’t even cross my mind until a friend at home asked about my sex life and somehow I ended up describing the situation to her. Her anger and worry and outrage shocked me and I began to think of that night differently. There are a lot of different types of rape, and I realised that I was a victim of one.
But still, even with this realisation, it seemed beside the point. Thinking about it seemed like a step backwards: my sleep was better, my pile of work was getting smaller. I felt fine.
He contacted me several times during the holidays, always with a pile of psychotic bullshit, all of which I ignored. Even in his most depressed, desperate states, I simply didn’t reply. Being at home gave me perspective. I wanted my relatives to know how much I was enjoying studying; I wanted to be a hardworking student and someone for them to be proud of. I did not want to be the naïve daughter who fell prey to a predatory headcase. Of course I talked enough to deal with my emotions, but mostly pretending all was well made me well. It was a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ kind of thing.
I was fine. I was on track. I was ready to come back to university and do better, work harder, achieve more. Yesterday I had my first lecture. Walking to the campus I could feel my heart rate increasing and by the time I was in the building I had to duck into the bathroom and take a few moments to breathe. My mind was racing, my pulse pounding in my ears, my body shaking. I put my head between my legs and waited until the dizziness subsided and my breathing was normal. Until I couldn’t feel my heart in my throat any more. Still I was determined; he wouldn’t defeat me. How bad could it be, really, seeing him? I walked into the hall where my lecture was being held and immediately spotted him.
I spent the lecture sitting with a group of my friends, and made a point of letting him leave first, so that I could slip away and take a slightly longer route home with my friends, to avoid him. We walked and I spotted him heading off in the direction he and I used to walk together – a pathway that led to my doorway and further to his. I was glad to see him disappear, and my friends and I went off in the other direction. About four hundred yards from my building I parted ways with my friends, confident that I didn’t have anything to worry about.
Two minutes later, he walked right past me. To my knowledge – and I know his comings and goings quite well – he had never walked this way, never suggested there was anything in this direction that was of interest to him. This was the first time I’d walked this way, and the first time I’d ever known him to either. I knew he had followed me. He walked past me fast, and then ahead of me, and I kept my eyes down and crossed the road. As I reached my building, I spotted him across the road, watching me as I ducked into my building.
And here I sit, a day later, the prospect of university looming in a matter of hours, and I can’t help but feel nervous. Scared. He’s done nothing I can take to any authorities – or at least I have no evidence for them to take into account. And, strange as it may sound, my main concern now is that he is a negative and distracting presence in my life. I am at a point in my life where the ability to focus and be productive are extremely important. At the very least I want to be able to shut out thoughts of him, for a while at a time, and be able to take the most I can from my studies.
Alongside this I have another concern. Elsewhere on the internet I have a blog. A sex blog. One I write under a pseudonym and under the cover of night. He knows about it. In fact he knows a lot about my life and could make things very difficult for me. Furthermore his awareness of my dual lives mean that I am unable to write about my emotions and the myriad ideas and thoughts this experience has given me, in my own space. And that is really, on a day to day basis, the hardest thing. I cannot even express what is going on inside my head to my most loyal readers and some of my good friends, because all the time, I can feel the possibility of his presence. That is where I feel violated.
I have had to censor myself in the past for the good of people I love and care for, and was happy to do it. Having to censor myself because I could be in danger is completely different. And utterly horrifying. Anyone who writes, or composes music, or paints, or does anything creative at all, I’m sure, will be able to imagine how difficult it is to stifle your own therapeutic creativity and put on a bright face on every day, just to hide from something that is making you sleepless with fear.
So I’m writing this, in the hope that someone will publish it for me, anonymously. Then, at the very least, knowing this is out there, on the internet, being read, might allow me to move on somewhat, to be able to breathe and take rational steps to deal with this awkward and exhausting situation.