I Was Stalked, Cyber Bullied, and Harrassed Continuously Online

When somebody does or says something I don’t like I can typically ignore it and let it roll off my back. And the general advice for when somebody does this to you online is to block the person who is annoying you and remove yourself from the situation in which the other person is bothering you. However, this advice is not as easy as it sounds and it does nothing to discourage bullies, harassers and stalkers from continuing their inappropriate behavior towards their initial target and/or others in the future. I had people coming at me from all different directions and the local law enforcement’s attitude with respect to protection was basically unless I was actually physically harmed then they were unable to do anything or be proactive.

So, unless I were actually raped as I had been threatened, the police did not care to protect me or prevent the crime from happening. Thanks, I feel so safe living in a town surrounded by military personnel, plenty of pumped up guys who felt as though they could take whatever they wanted and they knew they were basically above the law as well. In addition, I was being harassed by my ex-husband and his new wife online and they only way I could do anything about the would be to hire an attorney with the money I didn’t have and attempt to haul my ex into court for contempt of court for interfering with my daily life.

There were three basic sources of perpetrators who were battling against me. There was my ex and his wife as I mentioned. There was a small group of women who were enamored with a guy I dated off and on and wanted me out of the picture, although they battled me individually, not as a conglomerate. And then there was the forum. A secret group of guys who for all intents and purposes gathered together online to gossip and post about their pursuits of women. And many of the women they gossiped about became targets of other forum members to pursue. They would compete against one another for bragging rights seeming to earn clout for each level of contact they were able to achieve with their subject. The main objective seemed to be to obtain seductive photos and if the girl was worthy, a date for an intimate encounter, regardless of whether that’s what she wanted/expected or not. A guy I met online via a dating website and decided I did not want to go out with as in the course of our flirting I ended up having sex with my ex-boyfriend so the online guy decided to take his vengeance out on me by sharing my photos, email address, instant message addresses and phone number with the forum. And for some reason, I became a mini-celebrity on the forum and a prime target of pursuit by the members. I was receiving hundreds of visitors on the dating websites I was on daily and dozens of messages. I was completely clueless that anything out of the ordinary was afoot. I figured that there were just that many desperate men on the internet. I didn’t know cyber-bullying existed, I had no clue that if I was being followed by so many sycophantic men who were creating incredible stories about me without having met me or even speaking to me.

There appear to be different types of cyber-bullying. Cases in which the mainstream public gets their hands on something and through a sort of peer pressure they pass the content on and dehumanize the target, removing all associations of realization how closely connected they or somebody they know could have been to the same circumstances as the content takes on a stone rolling down a mountainside sort of velocity as it gathers momentum and speed. By the time it hits a target or whatever causes it to cease movement, the damage will be colossal as was seen in this article Cyber-Bullied Girl Photo Goes Viral With Extreme Consequences. About a girl whose photo of her performing oral sex at a music concert which was spread around the internet and she was ridiculed and joked about while the guy in the photo seemingly didn’t suffer any consequence at all. She was so distraught that she had to be sedated in the hospital.

And then there are cyber-bullies who create fictitious details about the person they are harassing and spread the stories around the internet to all who will listen in hopes that others will join their crusade against their victim. Cyber Stalking Moral Crusade Victim stories are abundant on this site put together by a girl who was cyber-bullied for three years until she banded together with other victims and found her harasser and took action. She offers tips to help others avoid cyber-bullies and in fighting them if you are a target online.

And there are cyber-bullies who seem to fit a profile more like the case I dealt with online when the Forum decided to make me the object of their attention seeking games. Similar to Fraternity bonding and hazing rituals in which a bunch of immature males come together in an attempt to show sexual prowess by trying to conquer women as their playmates. Adult Woman Stalked Online profiles a story which is similar to my encounter with the Forum if you consider that I was generally dealing with one person at a time and didn’t realize that they were all connected together. These cases are characterized as a single male cyber-bully who harasses and stalks his prey as a show of sexual dominance where the intended end-game is ideally to meet his victim in person and to dominate her if things go his way.

Gender roles are still alive and strong in our society in that males continue to pursue females sexually in an almost primal way with no holds barred. And the veil of secrecy they are provided behind their computers online allows them to push the boundaries without any repercussions. Slut-Shaming in the Digital Age is a good discussion about how women are considered shameful just for engaging in sexual activities and how modern technology has had an effect on feminism. I talked with one of my harassers about how the information he apparently thought he knew about me was fictitious as he tried to figure out what was real and what was made up about me from the information he read online. But irreverently he always reverted to trying to lure me into going out with him and he claimed he would find a way to trick me into having sex with him. He was convinced that at least some of the stories he read about me on the Forum by its members were true and that I had engaged in sexual activities with some of the forum members even though I had not. Apparently I had even starred in a pornographic film with several guys at once. I stated that I would like to see the film to see how good of a match my body-double is.

One of the most disconcerting things was there were countless men who knew what I looked like and I didn’t know what most of them looked like to recognize them if I saw them in public. And I didn’t trust anybody who asked me out for a date, so my hopes of finding a real relationship were dashed into the ground as I felt incapable of screening any potential candidates for genuinely decent guys interested in getting to know me and spending time with me. I didn’t even trust my ex-boyfriend who told me he had received emails from one of my stalkers stating that I was going to end up being driven right into my stalker’s arms and that he was going to enjoy pounding me and taking advantage of me sexually. My ex wouldn’t show the emails to me though and says he deleted them. I had no way of tracking them, and I didn’t have anything to bring to the police. I only had the word of a man I really hadn’t known all that long.

And even if I had known him for long, I had been with my ex-husband for over twenty years and he had turned out to be a very awful person. What is it about me that makes these bullies like to stalk and harass me? Is it because I can be so tough and continue to fight back and I don’t let them bother me? Am I a challenge for them to conquer? I recently re-read some of the research I had come across twenty years ago when my husband, whom I was only dating at the time, told me that he was inappropriately attracted to young girls. I was trying to come to grips with dating a pedophile and I read that they don’t feel as though they are adequate sexually; they feel unable to satisfy a woman so they prefer younger girls whom they will never fail to satisfy. Later, my husband’s emotional disorders compounded with depression, alcoholism, anorexia and his general feelings of inadequacy despite my constant adulation and him surrounding himself with the type of friends who tend to look up to him and support him he seemed to develop Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

He did not like my strong, independent personality and it was clear that he would have been much more comfortable with a subservient wife who in addition to performing all of the traditional wifely duties such as cooking, cleaning, bearing children, etc, kept her mouth shut and backed her husband’s stories regardless of how tall the tales he spun were, and wouldn’t say anything to make her appear smarter, stronger or in any way more adept than him. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself at a comment he made to me during our separation in regards to my wearing heels, “I’d forgotten what it’s like to look a woman straight in the eyes.” I figured he was enjoying the feeling of emotional power from the girl he was dating, thirteen years his junior, having to literally look up to him. I wish he were the one who was being stalked and harassed so as to keep enough of a spotlight on him that any parents of young girls in his area think twice before allowing their children to go play with his daughter. Because he is not a good person, he was arrested for trading child pornography on the internet and I wouldn’t put it past him to spy on young girls or even to try to convince them to put on a show for him.

I wish I could warn residents of San Jose, California to check the arrest records in Virginia for their neighbors, friends, playgroups, meet-up groups, etc. Because while his daughter is only a baby now, she won’t be forever, and he will cause trouble. I knew not to have a child with him, even though I loved him so much, but his new wife was too stupid and selfish not to think seriously about his pedophilia. And his only other behavior issue was depression when he was arrested so many years ago before we married. But since then, he has changed so much and has become so calculated. But I have gotten so far off my original topic! I was just surmising if these online harassers feel somehow inadequate and in their attempts to dominate inconspicuously they feel as though they have a better chance at achieving their goal. Or, if they fail they don’t have anybody to face but themselves. Nevertheless, they are pathetic.

The Beginning

Spring 1991

I trudged down the darkened hallway, filled with adolescents on all sides of me, rows of lockers up against the walls and a couple of feet of airspace between our heads and the ceiling where the overhead glow of florescent lights served as the main means of lighting inside the corridor, except for the rectangular flash of light every twenty feet or so from the window in a classroom door. I neared my best friend, Kelly’s locker, and I arced closer to her side of the hallway so I could shout out to her as I walked past. The crowd began to thin as I reached the end of the hall where Kelly was leaning into her locker grabbing her books and stuffing them into her book bag at her feet.

“Goodbye Kelly”, I called out, as I continued to walk past on my way to catch the bus home.

“Goodbye Amber,” my heart skipped a beat as the cute boy beside Kelly looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and called out to me as I walked past Kelly’s locker. I almost tripped I was so startled and almost hadn’t heard Kelly call out my name before he had. How else would he have known my name, since I had never seen this boy, who was obviously standing and talking to Kelly. I later found out his name was Mark. He was a Freshman on the swim team whom she had met while she was at dive practice. I was so envious when the two of them started dating. I wished I would meet such a handsome, charming guy who would be interested in me.

I also felt like a horrible friend just for feeling any bit of jealousy. I was happy for my friend in her relationship with Mark. He was funny and attentive to her and of course I wanted my friend to be happy. I was so confused when Kelly told me that she had accepted a date with another guy, an upperclassman, while she was dating Mark. I couldn’t understand why she would be un-faithful, but I had never had a boyfriend, never been on a date and had no idea what it was even like to be in the dating world. And, I remained loyal to my friend and didn’t tell Mark that Kelly had cheated on him. I just silently wished that he would have noticed me. Their relationship lasted only two weeks, but they remained friends.

The end of the school year was near and I had been focusing most of my attention on a Summer program at the University of California at Berkeley where I would study Architecture even though I still had one more year of High School to complete. I wouldn’t receive any college credits, but it would help me to feel confident that I was ready to leave home for college and that Architecture was indeed the course of study I wanted to direct myself towards, as I had been dreaming since I was 13 years old.

Leaving the Sick Girl

On September 17, 2010 my husband admitted he had left me because of my illnesses. He just didn’t stick with that story for the duration of our divorce. He changed his tune when he realized he wasn’t getting much sympathy when people asked why he left me and his response was because I was ill. And he was angry with me because he wasn’t able to control me, so he began to take his anger out on me once more, just like during our marriage. More of the narcissistic personality disorder coming out to reveal itself in the lightness of day.

At least I have the conversation to prove for one slice in time why he left. However, he is a pathological liar, and I have been stirring up more evidence of his adulterous relationship as I piece together the puzzle pieces of my life. So, I am sure there was more than one reason driving him away from me despite all of my efforts to be the best wife possible to him. Still, in the end, I am so much better off to be rid of his tortuous ways. I deserve better, and he certainly doesn’t deserve me after all he has put me through. It’s just sad the way things had to be. I didn’t believe in divorce and I truly believed in love.

ME: I’m just disappointed that you saw me in a different light for so long and let it cloud the way you shared me with others.
I have always been a good, pure person and it always hurts me so when people don’t see that. This hurts me more than anything when it’s my best friend doing the tarnishing.
I’ve always been there to protect you, even when you have been hurling stones at me, and I still have to deal with the lasting effects.

HIM: I am sorry how I might have shared information. I don’t think you are being
completely fair
I think that there are a lot of things you’re doing now that just two months ago you told me you could never do

ME: I disagree.

HIM: so I was being honest and fair
for example
going to erin’s mom’s
I asked you to do that two months ago
and you told me how it killed you for a week after that
and you couldn’t do that anytime soon
and then 3 weeks later you went for the weekend
and again tomorrow
that’s all great
but it’s a 180 of where you were
So when i said you couldn’t travel
you couldn’t
you couldn’t fly, you couldn’t drive, etc
now you can which is great but when I said you couldn’t that was correct for the time

ME: I was wasting so much of my strength and energy trying to help you to be positive. It was sucking the life out of me and I just didn’t realize it until you left me and set me free.

ME: So I am thankful that you were strong enough to move on. And I always told you that if I knew you would be happier w/o me I would let you go. You gave up on us a long time ago and I just wasn’t able to accept it. I didn’t believe in divorce, but when there is only one person fighting, there is nothing to be done. It was apparently killing me, but I cared for you so much that I would let it. But you gave me a gift in leaving and now I don’t have the negative energy around and am able to keep all the extra positive energy for myself and let myself improve. I still will never be perfectly healthy, but I am SOOOOO much better. Thank you.

ME: I do not fault you in the slightest. I know it was incredibly difficult for you to leave. I know it was horrible for you to watch me suffer and be sick. I know you felt helpless/hopeless and felt as though there was always something else going wrong. It was just too much. You disagreed with my treatment and we just didn’t see eye to eye.

ME: you went your way to cope and I just could not console you or bring you around to my way of thinking. I needed to take care of myself my way for my body for my wellbeing. I tried so hard to help you, but you wouldn’t let me. We are different people and need to do things our own individual ways.Now we can and we can both be happier and healthier. I am excited for us both.
And I will continue to say how THANKFUL I am to you for having the strength to leave.

HIM: I’m just sitting here trying to think of what the correct reponse to that is
I mean it’s good
and nice

HIM: I just don’t know what to say

ME: I just hope that you might one day agree, accept it, and we can both have
our happy, healthy lives and be great friends.

HIM: I already understand that

ME: I love you so much for being there for me for so long. I feel SO badly that
you have suffered so much, that you were dragged along for such a horriffic ride

ME: It hurts me SOOOOO much that you had to hurt for so long
I won’t ever be able to get over that

HIM: Thanks

ME: It hurts me that I wasn’t able to protect you

HIM: again, thanks. This is just a bit to process
I mean they are all nice things

ME: but?

HIM: it’s just hard to accept that all this time
your illness was mainly because of me

ME: no, that’s not true

HIM: and now that I’m gone, you’re mostly ok
and you can take on the world

ME: I am still sick and will always be sick my battery does not hold a charge, think of it that way

HIM: ok

ME: And I choose to give up more power to you, because I loved you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much. And you were strong enough to pull away and let me have the extra power back. We didn’t realize what was going on conciously, but that’s what was going on.

ME: I am exhausted right now and in a lot of pain. But I was able to take a 30 min walk, and I will go out and meet a friend in a couple of hours. And “24” will come over later, and if I am up to it we’ll go to the shooting range tomorrow. And if I’m not, he won’t let me go.

HIM: That is all great news
I hope you are able to and have a wonderful time

ME: Thank you.
I didn’t know G’ma has been in a transition home this whole time.

HIM: I’m really sorry. I am totally ok with all of this but it’s a bit hard to take right now
I’m going to get my work done so I can go back home
thank you so much for sharing
I’m not claming up
but it’s just, I dunno, it’s pretty heavy

ME: can you at least tell me what part you aren’t swallowing?

HIM: it’s all swallowed

ME: what’s hard to take?

HIM: but the whole thanks for giving me up
which is not how you phrased it
but that whole thing is really wierd

ME: I did give you up though, because I love you so much
I always told you I would
And I HAVE moved on, no need to worry

HIM: oh I know you have

ME: But I promised, I will ALWAYS be here for you

HIM: I’m not worried about that at all
It’s just I went through so much for so many years

ME: and it hurt that you didn’t feel you could come to me

HIM: and if I had just left when I wanted to
and stopped telling myself I’d be a horrible person for leaving a sick girl
my life could have been so much better
I suffered for nothing
and I can’t take that right now
so while I’m really, really happy for you

ME: I’m sorry you didn’t trust me

HIM: it’s sorta crushing me right now

ME: it might help you in future relationships to think about why it was that you couldn’t trust me. Because I can’t imagine anybody being more open, understanding and trustworthy than myself.

HIM: noted
and I’m not being a snot
I hear you

ME: and I’m not being mean, but you really put us both through a lot of pain

HIM: it wasn’t just me

ME: I disagree

HIM: That’s a real shame

ME: I was reacting to you

HIM: that’s fine. I understand you have come to terms and that’s how you will remember it and be able to keep going

HIM: again, not being a snot
but that’s ok

ME: I hope you can rethink whatever you think it is that I did wrong that caused you to put me through so much pain

HIM: I don’t want to go down this road right now. Enjoy your day and again, couldn’t be happier that you are free and happy to enjoy life. That means the world to me

HIM: and that’s the truth

ME: If it’s the whole BS about getting a 2nd opinion, you really need to get over that

HIM: what what?

ME: whatever you think I did wrong

HIM: oh, no, no it’s not

HIM: A marriage involves two people and you see it as one person doing everything right
and the other just checking out and being a jerk
and I don’t see it like that
but it really doesn’t matter at this point
so I shouldn’t be upset about it
We’ve moved on

ME: that may be true, but it doesn’t mean that one might not be the instigator

HIM: can we please stop
I asked nicely
I don’t need to be taught a lesson right now

ME: just because it takes 2, doesn’t mean you have real ammo that I did anything to deserve all the crap you put me through. If that’s your reasoning, …

ME: I’m not trying to teach you a lesson, I just don’t appreciate that you feel I have to be “wrong” just because I was married to you

HIM: This is why we stopped going to therapy. She told you that you had fault in this, and gave you some reasons, and you said no I don’t

HIM: I can’t change that
that’s when i knew there was no chance

ME: because that’s the typical therapeutic response. I didn’t feel like dragging you through the mud and whining about ..you did this, and that, and said this and that…nitpicking,nagging….

HIM: can we stop now

ME: I didn’t see that as helping the situation

HIM: You’re clearly upset

ME: you can stop as soon as you get over your thought that I HAD to have done something wrong to deserve the way you treated me
You can just accept that you were dealing w/ a lot of pure emotions and may have taken them out on me. I have accepted it, but I in no way, shape or form DESERVED it

ME: I did NOT do anything wrong to you
I am not saying there is a fault to our marriage not working
but I don’t want you grasping at straws and saying that I caused your treatment of me

HIM: This seems like a really weird way to talk to me
it’s not very respectful
and it’s not very friendly

A typical narcissistic personality demands respect. Yet, why would I have any respect for a person who tortured me for six years, abandoned me, showed no regard for my well-being, continually placed his own happiness and interests above mine, showed malice and contempt for the animals in our home on a daily basis, and basically was an acidic piece of trash which I had finally realized was not the same person I had married and sworn to be best friends with forever. So, of course there wasn’t any friendship there

It only made sense that he might be depressed over my long-term illness. However, I had made it my mission to try to make him smile and laugh on a daily basis. I had worked so hard towards his happiness. I had encouraged him to continue to go out with his friends, even when I was unable to go out myself. I had allowed him to spend more time playing video games than I was comfortable with in hopes that it would ease his pain and depression. I went to family members to ask if they wanted to go in with me to purchase him game systems and I encouraged him to go on trips out of town without me whenever he showed the slightest interest. I continued to write him notes, letters and give him cards to show how much I cared and loved him.

And when all else failed, I spoke to our therapist and stated I was concerned about his depression. However, he put on an act in front of her and exclaimed that he was perfectly fine and that I was the one who had issues, but he was never able to state specifically what my issues were; he was always vague and spoke in generalities. At one point, he told me that our therapist had told him that she was surprised he hadn’t cheated on me because I was so difficult to deal with. I was shocked and figured that was his response to my trying to get him assistance with his depression. So, we ceased going to therapy altogether. He turned to alcohol as his pacifist, but this only served to turn him into an angrier person. I felt as though I was dealing with a true demon serpent whenever alcohol came into the equation. He could be downright evil and would spit insults as black and vile as though I were his sworn enemy. And I did my best to choke back any emotion and not show any effect his comments had on me by refusing to respond to his taunting with anything other than love. Who knows if I was exacerbating the situation or not. I thought I was helping. If anything, I kept myself from falling apart.

I did begin to grow tired of him many times, so I would sit and write out a letter to him, but I never shared those letters to him or anybody for that matter, because I didn’t want to hurt him by coming across as attacking in pointing out the behavior in which he was treating me with. I have recently pulled out some of those letters and they all pretty much say the same thing with several different examples of how he was treating me rudely, unfairly, or being downright intolerant of me as a human being. He continued to act as though he was the only person being burdened by my illnesses and never once showed any compassion for how I might be feeling myself.

He never seemed to care that I was the one who was in excruciating pain, that I was the one who had lost my ability to communicate with the world, that I was the one who had to give up my true passion which I had dedicated my life to since I was 13 years old and I could barely manage to hold myself up erect on the couch, let alone stumble along for a stroll with my husband, who would leave me several paces ahead as though he couldn’t be burdened by my slow pace behind. And I was the one who had to suffer all of the side effects from countless medications. And I was the one who put on 60 pounds from one of those medications, which didn’t even have ANY positive benefit. And then he would comment on how fat I was and ask me if I wanted to be that way.

When I began to have gallbladder pains in May 2009 and he decided I was just having a panic attack, which I had never had before and I am NOT a high strung person in the slightest, he decided to go out drinking with his buddies and leave me all alone at home. He called after a few hours to check on me and I was on the floor in the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. He ignored my symptoms and stayed out until five o’clock in the morning. And when he came home to find me still on the ground, he went to sleep in the guest room. My pains continued for two more days and I finally told him I needed to go to the hospital when he came home for lunch. He told me that I needed to follow him back to work first and then we could go to the hospital. By the time I had been sitting in the ER for 7 hours, and I was finally taken back into an exam room, the pains were so intense that I was rocking back and forth and moaning. My dear, sweet husband had the gall to tell me to, “keep it down.” I am a very peaceful person, but at that point I wanted to kick him in the gut. I was so relieved when a nurse told him to leave. He certainly wasn’t any comfort.

Leaving my Passion Behind

My friends have likened me to a superhero before in that I was capable of doing the work of ten people in the same amount of time as most normal people could handle things by themselves. My employers have always been astounded by the level of responsibility I have been capable of and the accuracy of my work has always been stellar. I have always had people singling me out for assistance and coordination on projects due to my abilities, speed and pleasant demeanor. But I paid a price for performing at such an escalated pace for the first twenty-seven years of my life and I ended up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Epstein-Barr virus as well as several other associated chronic illnesses which were my body’s way of telling me to slow down.

I was on track to become an Associate at my firm as I was the onsite Project Architect in charge of a $100 Million project during construction. I was the team leader representing my firm in a yearly design competition/charity fundraiser event in which we received an award every year we competed. I was also chosen to represent our firm in job seminars and attended black tie awards banquets on behalf of the firm when one of the Partners or Associates was unable to attend. I was next in line to move up as soon as I passed my Architectural Licensing Exam, which I had begun studying for and had taken my first out of nine exams and had passed. I had other firms calling me requesting me to interview with them from chance meetings when I had come in contact with other head members of their staff in public. I had Owners contacting me requesting me to do side projects for them on their beach cottages and mountain chalets.

When I developed a cough which stuck with me for fourteen months I was annoyed and didn’t want anything to slow me down. I went to the doctor after a little while to try to get rid of it and was treated as though it was a common cold. I returned in two weeks when my symptoms wouldn’t disappear and my doctor tried a different cold remedy. I continued this way for quite some time but the only thing that changed was I began to grow more tired and the cough became more insistent. Eventually the doctor began to check for asthma and look more seriously at my symptoms but nothing conclusive showed up. Luckily, my insurance changed and I was required to find another Primary Care Physician and my new PCP searched more diligently and showed concern about my lack of sleep due to the couch as it might lead to Fibromyalgia. However, when she checked my tender points, she discovered that it seemed I had already developed the illness, and my cough still had not subsided.

I grew more exhausted as I continued to cough and was barely able to sleep through the violent fits of coughing. My new PCP was very proactive and sent me to several different specialists. Before too long I had been diagnosed with allergies, severe acid reflux or GERD and minor asthma along with the Fibromyalgia. With treatment for the allergies, reflux and asthma my cough finally began to dissipate. However, I was still unable to sleep and I grew more and more exhausted. I had also developed chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis. Later on I was diagnosed with chronic Epstein-Barr virus. I had continued to try to push myself at work, but my body kept telling me to SLOW DOWN!!!! I felt as though I was Gulliver as a giant and the illnesses were all of the tiny arrows being flung at me trying to bring me down. Eventually they succeeded and I came crashing down to the ground, hard.

My husband put his foot down and told me I needed to leave my job, at least for a little while, to go on disability. I needed to stop to rest because I was refusing to see what was happening to me. I could barely walk anymore, I was dragging myself through the halls of the office hand over hand on the handrail as my feet dragged behind me like lifeless limbs of a zombie. I had difficulty concentrating while at my desk and I caught myself yelling inside my mind. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, why I could not focus or even think. I wasn’t even daydreaming, I was just devoid of thought and my body wanted to sink onto the floor like a pool of liquid and lay there without any movement. My hours began to drop until I was putting in less than forty hours a week when once I was putting in fifty five to sixty hours a week. I was beyond exhausted and my body ached from head to toe. I was losing control of every part of me.

I finally agreed with my husband and my doctor and discussed it with my office. We agreed that my first day of disability would be September 17, 2003, the day hurricane Isabel hit our city. I thought I would be returning to work in several months, but it was just the beginning of my health decline as my downward slide continued. I struggled on a roller-coaster ride with my health, energy and personal life for years as I attempted to learn a balance which would allow me to live in such a way in which I would not run myself into the ground and wondering how long it would take me to recover, or if I would recover at all.

I spent most of my time slumped on the couch, barely able to hold myself in an upright position. So I used pillows to prop me up long enough to eat. My arms were like leaded weights requiring every bit of concentration and effort for me to guide my fork to my mouth. I typically rested my plate on a pillow beside my face and scraped and shoveled my food so as to minimize the effort required to consume food. When I was done I slumped down on the couch again, making sure to support every bit of muscle-containing appendage so as not to require any energy exertion and drain which wasn’t absolutely necessary. My brain began to shut down all non-essential functions and my vision turned to black and white, my hearing shifted so I could only hear static most of the time and could not discern different words or recognize the meanings of different sounds. I could no longer string two words together to form a coherent thought to convey what was going on inside of me to anybody around me.  I do recall at one point an experience where I felt as though I was out of my body looking in at myself thinking how glad I was that I was too dumb to realize exactly what was going on with me, that way I wouldn’t be upset over losing my intelligence which I used to value so highly. I was for all intents and purposes a drooling idiot on the couch.


Since my ex-husband walked out on me, he turned into a storm of fury. The more I stayed calm and quiet, the more he messed with me. I tried to save my strength for survival on my own after divorce. But his waves of menace and pandemonium only grew larger and more severe. It was as though I was dealing with an unchecked child, pounding his fists as if to say, “you will notice me!” It took me a long time to realize why he was reacting this way. I couldn’t figure it out; I hadn’t been the one to walk out on him, nor had I been the one to stop loving him or sought a substitution for him in any way.

He announced his other relationship almost immediately after he moved out. I knew about it, but was astounded by the calls from friends and family to ask if I was okay when he posted a photo of his new little tramp with her leg wrapped around his waif-like waist on Facebook as his profile photo. This was how most people found out he had even left me. It was certainly a shock to many people indeed. And it was less than two months before she moved in with him and a couple more before they were engaged. They were married a week after our divorce was finalized, and the child came a year later. Yet I am the one who has been living in misery while the two adulterers are living the high life. Nobody knows all of the evil things they have done to me and they continue to receive plenty of praise while I have been outcast.

He had been anxious to replace me and had merely felt guilty about leaving “the sick girl”. All of his feelings of guilt and remorse were tied to his treatment of me. But instead of doing anything kind and nice about it, he treated me worse and worse. He felt that if I were to react at all negatively, that he would somehow be justified in ALL of his treatment of me and then he could be assuaged of his negative feelings. That was the only way he could figure in his illogical mind to turn his feelings around. Because he wasn’t even thinking; he was acting on blind fury and emotion. As if it wasn’t bad enough that during our marriage he was cold, uncaring, hurtful and downright mean. His behavior towards me turned to maniacal in the years following his abandonment of me.

This is the thanks I get for treating him with love, respect and patience for 20 years. This is my reward for putting up with his terrible treatment of me and trying so hard to bring him out of his depression and anger. And had I known that he had wanted to leave, I would have let him go out of love. In fact, on the day he left, I did help him pack his bags, lovingly, not knowing he had plans to meet his mistress at a party that very evening. I received a call that night from a friend asking where I was, why I wasn’t at the party, and who the two skanks were with my husband. I told my friend that he had left me and that I had not been invited. That part was only insulting, but the things he and his mistress did to me to follow were without merit and downright unscrupulous. And I swear I only did one measly little thing to retaliate. And it was only to blow off steam and it wasn’t even directed towards him, nor was it in any way harmful.

My unfaithful hubby had written to me in an email that, “I think at 36 it’s time you put on your grown up panties on and make a budget.” So, I created a fake dating profile and used a photo of him which had been posted on Facebook of him wearing his trollop’s cheetah print hot-pants, except I blurred out the face. I figured that was his version of grown-up panties. All the rest of the information I included on the profile was true, just nothing which would identify him in particular. I responded to the following questions/comments on the site as such:

What I’m doing with my life: Not much, trying to find a way to get rich so I can buy some more grown up panties.

I’m really good at: lying, tall tales/exaggerations… you get the point.

The first thing people usually notice about me: My girlish figure.

The six things I could never do without: money, i-phone, computers, lackeys, alcohol, lies

On a typical Friday night I am: Getting drunk and harassing my soon-to-be-ex-wife.

You should message me if: You wanna have my babies and do all the work of raising them for me. Also, be sure you can take criticism and cook fantastic vegan meals for me. And by fantastic, I mean I decide if they are fantastic or not.

I also indicated that he drinks “Desperately” and “Likes Children”, but most people wouldn’t understand that it’s in a creepy way and they should really keep their under-aged girls away from him. In short, he’s an anorexic, alcoholic, pedophile with narcissistic personality disorder and he is only partially responsible for why I sum up my life over the past several years with the word, “Incredulous.”


Summer of Wonder

Berkeley Campinele from Wurster

View of Berkeley’s Campanile from the Architecture building, Wurster Hall

Summer 1991

Berkeley, California had been my dream since ninth grade.  When I got accepted into a summer program there between my Junior and Senior years in High School, my anticipation turned to fear.  I didn’t think I’d make any friends, life would be dull, I’d be treated like a little kid and various other worries one has when she is about to go off on her own for the first time in her life.

Nevertheless, after my arrival in Berkeley, my worries vanished.  I made many friends and had plenty of work, went to parties and was treated as an intelligent adult.  A typical day was packed with action.  I had my first class, Environmental Design, then Calculus or Journalism dependent on the day. I would then study in the library or go to the studio to work on my design project until dinner time. And from then until at least two o’clock in the morning I would do something with friends, such as play ping-pong, see a movie, talk or play games. During the days I spent much of my time on campus with other students in the program I was in who were also in High School. But, since they all lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and I was the only one out of 500 students from out of the area, I stayed in the dormitories with the college students. In the evenings, I hailed adventures with the older students.

The summer whizzed by with a few interesting experiences.  I learned to grow comfortable with a co-educated dorm including co-ed bathrooms and showers. I wanted to giggle whenever I heard one of my male hall-mate hawk loogies in the shower. Consequentially his last name was Snodgrass, which just sounded too perfect for somebody gargling and spitting phlegm in the shower. I felt comfortable telling my friends I didn’t want to share any of their drug experiences, but was still happy enough to be around them. I did try alcohol one evening and tried to reach a point of intoxication but didn’t feel any effects after.

I also got to watch a partial eclipse of the sun. My meal card was blocked for two days so I couldn’t eat in the dining hall. I bought roller blades since I had been unable to transport my bicycle across country. And thanks to the earthquake entrenched sidewalks I sprained my wrist on my first day on them. I would occasionally receive care packages from my friends and family and my dad came to visit for a couple of days and we got to go Grand Prix racing. Without warning, the last week of my summer at Berkeley arrived.  I expected a grueling week of exams and no excitement, but I was quite wrong.

Monday night, I left the safe environment of the architecture lab building just as the sun began to diminish from the sky.  As I walked in the serenity of an orange and purple backdrop, at the edge of campus, I saw numerous unmarked  police cars drive to the corner, dispel officers and leave.  The officers formed several rows and marched down College Avenue towards my dorm.  I hurried along, parallel to the wall of uniforms.  Various street punks were jogging in front of the police and chanting, “Save the People, Save the Park!”

The “park” is People’s Park.  People’s Park is a vacant lot owned by the University, and it is also a refuge to the homeless.  The University wants to build on the lot.  Assorted projects had been proposed for the site, the most recent plan to construct volleyball courts.

Berkeley Riot PoliceDirectly in front of me, a homeless back girl was yelling across the street at a student, “You fucking white trash!  Take your tuition money and go back to mommy and daddy!  You’re no good!”

I diverted my glance from her troubled face just in time to see a shady object the size of a fist streak through the air and hit one of the policemen, causing him to hit the pavement with his back.  Cameras flashed all around as I ventured through the chaos.  I could only observe the rapidly unfolding drama; I had no time to react or experience emotions.

Upon reaching the dorms, I was met by a steady stream of excited students coming out the door and heading next door to the People’s Park.  I joined a group of my friends and went to observe the riot.

At the park, I saw the remains of a construction fence mangled on the outskirts of the lot.  Several people were chanting, “Save the People, Save the Park!”.  Their jeers thundered in my ears.  A few bulldozers lay overturned inside the commotion, and a small Fiat obstructed the road.

At first, people were standing around more or less peacefully observing.  Somehow, small groups would be herded out by the police and chased away from the crowd.  I ended up in one of these groups.  Ahead of me, one of my friends tripped and was trod upon by part of the group.  As I reached her, someone else pulled her to her feet, unharmed, but slightly shaken.

Cautiously I slowed to a stop.  As I gazed around, I was awed by the groups that periodically passed me by.  One group jogged down the street carrying torches and chanting.  There were several clusters rushing stores, breaking the glass with stones, and grabbing merchandise, and sprinting away.

I returned to my room to get a birds-eye-view of the turbulence.  Lights shone everywhere in the usually dark alleys.  Right in front of the park, a cloud of smoke mushroomed up to create a thick haze.   Back at the park, the Fiat had been set aflame.

2riotAFP_468x310A few hours later, when things had calmed down, my friends and I went to survey the damage of the night’s activity.  The Fiat was charred and soaked.  Not one building, save the houses, had been spared by the hurled stones.  Many employees were at work boarding up their stores.  The radical Blondie’s Pizza had slogans posted in their window, “Sorry, closed for the holiday.  Riot on an empty stomach.” And “Slash pizza, not people.”  Several small fires still burned, feeding on the piles of trash in the streets.  Pairs of cops stood on each corner maintaining tranquility.

The next night, I stayed in my dorm, not wanting to get hurt.  I heard several bullet shots and saw helicopters with search lights circling the area throughout the entire night  I heard rumors of tear gas and rubber bullets being used by the police.

By the next night, I was gone. My summer was over, my plane tickets Berkeley Riot SmokeBombhad been bought at the beginning of the summer, so I had no chance to see the conclusion of the riots.  The riot was only one incident in a summer of wonder.  I never stopped learning that summer, something was always denting my brain with thought.  I learned more about human nature than I did in my classes.  Just being out in the world made me realize the complexity of every incident in life.