Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We're here, we're queer, we're fabulous, don't fuck with us!

This past weekend was Pride here in my hometown. It's always one of my favorite times of the year - I love summer here in general, largely because there are so many festivals. And Pride, of course, is like one of those festivals... taken over entirely by teh gehys. Really, it's a queer takeover of downtown. And while I do love the festival and the parade, both seemed a little tamer this year than years past. The festival, in particular, felt more like any other fair held downtown, just with more rainbows.

In any case, though, Pride this year was no bust. My favorite part is the parties, and there was no shortage there. Friday night found myself and my roommate at a women's party, where I'd gotten comped admission so I could interview New York-based lesbian hip-hop and soul duo God-des and She. They were friendly, talkative, and, oh yeah, really sexy. I was so excited to meet them, and even more excited to watch them perform. They put on a wonderful show, and the crowd really seemed to love them. My roommate and I had a great time at the party, and she seemed genuinely glad to get out of the house for a girl's night on the town. Oh, yeah, and she got hit on. And kissed. It was a good night.

Saturday I covered the state's first-ever Dyke March, interviewing attendees (and Dykes on Bikes), listening to speeches, and running into the lovely Essin' Em and her partner, Q. I always love seeing her, and I've been looking forward to meeting Q since Em is always speaking so highly of her, I was just sorry that I had to cover the event as a journo and therefore couldn't really hang out with them.

That did make this year's Pride an interesting experience. Everything except for the party on Sunday was part of something I was covering for my magazine, so I felt I had to maintain a relatively professional demeanor. That meant just one drink at the party on Friday night, and wandering around awkwardly and approaching random people at the Dyke March. I wouldn't say it exactly hindered my enjoyment of Pride this year, but it certainly changed the way I experienced it. But the money will be much appreciated when it comes in a few weeks.

Sunday was my day off from professional capacities. I made it downtown just in time to watch the entire parade and meet up with The Pilot's younger brother, who had never been to Pride before. It was fun to show him around, and we got along more easily than I thought we would have. We knew each other casually from years ago, but haven't spoken in easily over a decade. I know he, like The Pilot, can have a tendency to be a little shy (as, actually, can I), so I made an effort to be a little more outgoing than I usually am. I think he had a good time - he also joined me for a BBQ back at my and my roommates' house. Where, lo and behold, Friend also stopped by! (I say this mostly teasingly because he and I have a tendency to go several weeks without seeing one another, despite living only a few miles from each other.) The BBQ went well, although I had to leave early to go to the official Pride afterparty, where, thanks to my fabulous coworkers at the magazine, I was VIP, as was my date, The Scientist.

The afterparty was, like last year, held at a club downtown with a great rooftop bar. As VIPs, we had a cordoned-off area, complete with bottle service. A few of my coworkers were there, and they seemed so genuinely happy to see me that I was really quite flattered. They said incredibly nice things to me, and insisted that they're sure I have the full-time job I've been gunning for at the magazine. (I have a meeting with the editor-in-chief and publisher next week to discuss my salary... so it's promising, but I'm not willing to believe anything until I sign some paperwork.) The party started early in the evening, and being that the sun doesn't go down until nearly 9pm lately, sitting on the rooftop probably didn't help my sunburn, which I began work on earlier that day, standing in the sun for nearly an hour and a half watching the parade. People kept commenting about it, asking if I'd ever heard of sunscreen. I have, of course, and I usually don't burn quite this badly. Oh well. It's already tanning out in all but the worst areas. I'll survive, I think.

In any case, The Scientist and I had a nice time at the party - it was mostly laid back, and we got a chance to talk, he met my coworkers, all around good things. Of course, being that I was in a good mood, I was due for something to screw it up. Cue...


Yes, you read correctly. Edward. Of 70+ phone calls and twice as many texts and a few emails and facebook messages. I swear he has some sort of radar for when I'm happy. Since all that insanity back in March and April, I have blocked his number, blocked him on facebook and any other social networking sites, and I hadn't heard from him until about a month ago.

It was the night I was meeting The Scientist's friends, and about halfway through the night, I got a phone call from my mother. She told me someone had broken into her house (where I also used to live). Nothing was missing, but they were still calling the police. And the only things they found rearranged were in my bedroom. And whoever it was made their entry through the basement, which was where Edward used to spend most of his time when he was at our house (which was often... As I said, he's been in my/my family's lives for 10 years.) It seemed like too much of a coincidence. Edward had sent me a facebook message about a week before (I hadn't realized that I hadn't blocked his sending messages), which was about the same time frame as when he showed up at my mother's house right before I graduated. So we don't technically have any proof that it was him, and since nothing was stolen, we couldn't do more than file a report, but I can tell you that it terrified me to be back in that house the next day. (I stopped by to assess the situation, I don't live there.) I am essentially convinced that it was him, because there's no one else I can think of who it could have been. I was hoping that when he went in my room and saw that it is very obviously not lived in (no clothes in the closet, bed covered in cat fur, nothing on the dresser), he would give up and at least believe that I really don't live there anymore.

And I didn't hear from him again until Sunday. He called me four times in the course of an hour. He was calling from someone else's phone. He left a message each time. In the third message, which was the nastiest, he actually implied that perhaps I just didn't have his number anymore, so he left it again. Of course, that also functions as evidence that that was NOT the number he was calling from. He didn't say anything directly threatening, but did swear at me some more and tell me how it's so obvious that I never gave a fuck about him. And he told me he was coming into town "pretty soon here." Which is just vague enough to be rather terrifying.

And I hate that I get so skittish when he calls. I didn't answer any of the calls, because thanks to him, I don't ever answer numbers I don't know. If it's someone who knows me, they'll leave a message and I'll call them right back. But just hearing his voice on the messages (which I've copied onto my digital voice recorder, as evidence should I need it), hearing his tone change from pained to angry to that sleazy, faux-pained manipulative tone I recognize all too well, really throws me. I was Skyping with The Pilot last night, and I eventually had to hang up because I was just so upset and I didn't want him to see me all curled up and teary-eyed and pathetic.

I'm not really sure what to do at this point. I am a little scared to do anything active, like get a restraining order. I'm worried that would provoke him further, and it's not like my holding a piece of paper in his face is going to stop him from hurting me if he wants to. My current address isn't listed anywhere, and the only people who know where I live are close friends and family, all of whom know about the situation and understand the need for secrecy. But I was reading over some resources The Pilot looked up for me online, and one of the recurring themes about how to deal with being stalked was to tell people. So, dear readers, I'm telling all of you. I've kept some of the details and events quiet over the past few months, but I felt I should update everything now. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I can rationalize that he probably isn't really dangerous, but his persistence makes me nervous. And I hate that. I hate being scared in my own city, where there are so many great things and beautiful people who I love so much.

And there's only so much anonymity I can assume. I'm a writer. I refuse to publish under a pseudonym (well, aside from here, but I mean for paying jobs), and I refuse to let my fear of Edward totally run my life. It helps that he doesn't know where I live. But I hate that he seems so fucking determined to contact me. The Scientist and The Pilot have both suggested I change my phone number, but, again, I have contacts, professional and personal, who have my current number. Changing it would involve calling all of those people and explaining the situation, and it's so fucking frustrating. And terrifying.

The night Edward called, I got sufficiently sauced (The Scientist and I took a cab back to my place), and The Scientist stayed with me, so sleep wasn't as nerve-wracking as it sometimes is. Last night, I took some Tylenol PM to knock myself out so I could sleep without freaking out and waking up at every car that drives by my window. But if this continues, I'm really not sure what to do. It's draining and I don't know how much longer I can tolerate it before it takes an even more significant toll on my life, my happiness, and my ability to trust people.

1 comment:

Amalthea said...

Blogger hates me. It has deleted a lot of my comments lately without them publishing. I went back and checked recently for them and saw that they were NOT there when I thought they were! :(

This one was important enough for me to double check and make the time to rewrite it now when I didn't see it here. (So I hope it's not just that you haven't approved them - if so just delete this one too!)

Sasha..... I'm proud of you for not giving in completely to fear. I have been stalked before - but not so relentlessly. I'm sure you know your fear etc. is entirely rational. I'm also proud of you for documenting things as best you can. Just in case he finally pushes too far and you do want to make a legal case - you've taken the right steps to be able to do that. That's important. Every time you do that - you're reaffirming that YOU DON'T DESERVE THIS. And that you are not going to let him manipulate you anymore. No matter how scared/anxious/etc. you are - you're still holding your standards.

I love you. If you need me - you should call me. I am so sorry he's doing this to you - but maybe it's strengthening you too??