My intention for this post was to talk about all of the amazing things that are happening for me creatively. I intended to talk about how my personal beliefs that life gives us the same lesson, annoyingly, repetitiously until we learn it…and that I finally seem to have learned enough to move on to a new cycle!
That’s what I wanted to talk about, but instead, I’m here talking about a dangerous, repeating cycle that is reappearing in my life with the aid of a broken system. Now, where to begin?
A brief history
In 2019 I met a much older man and we dated for several months. The relationship came with very clear expectations and a nice three-hour drive that I actually enjoyed making. It kept this thing apart from my messy real life. Over time, he began to insist I integrate him more into my personal life. He wanted to meet my kids and suddenly insisted on spending weekends at my home instead of his own.
Due to the financial help he provided, I initially felt powerless to say no, but as he became more demanding, I began to put distance between us.
He did not take it well.
After I stopped communicating, blocked him, and told him specifically not to contact me again, he drove the three hours, uninvited, and showed up at my home. Unannounced. As I turned around to put down the box of my things he brought with him, he came into my home. Without invitation.
He asked for a book of his to be returned.
My books are in my bedroom.
I told him to stay in the living room, that I would go get his book.
After a moment of looking, I was surprised to see my bedroom door open. He’d followed me into my bedroom. Uninvited.
I live in a shotgun-style house. The only way out was through him. He is ex-Army and not a small man, outweighing me by at least one hundred pounds and standing generously over 6 feet tall to my five-foot-two.
Through a Herculean effort and relentless group support, I managed to face him in court and prove that he’d not only committed these violations, but also contacted me nearly 200 times after the intrusion at my home. This combined with his prior conviction for imprisoning an ex who tried to leave him and his own madness taking center-stage at the hearing, resulted in a full order of protection to be renewed yearly (without expirary) unless he came back, filed a request to end it, and proved I didn’t need it anymore.
One of the worst parts of the experience has been the explicit and ongoing threat to reappear in my life. He is not done with me. He told me so. “So for now at least, good bye”
He’s kept true to that promise, occasionally reaching out to send angry messages demanding clarity or to like a post. Some of these are from accounts I thought I had blocked. Some are from accounts he deletes moments after I’ve read the message.
Fortunately, my faun reflex doesn’t appear to extend to my ability to screenshot.
And so the cycle repeats.
Phase I: I’m traumatized, hiding, barely managing to work. Rarely able to create.
Phase II: I heal a little. I start to write.
Phase III: I create something I’m proud of and start to perform and post again
Phase IV: He pops up to remind me that he hasn’t moved on.
Phase V: I contact the authorities. Nothing is done. He goes quiet for a bit.
Begin Phase I again.
A new phase came into play this year. Back in June, after an effort of mine to be present on TikTok, he messaged me. I called the shriff’s department. I wanted to make sure to 1.) report the violation, and 2.) to reassure myself that the protection order was still in place. I had it in my hands, but I needed to be sure.
The officer not only assured me it was active, she filed a violation of the protection order. She told me that it was up to the prosecuting attorney whether they would re-prosecute or not, but I should report any contact because every contact is a violation.
Last week he contacted me again.
Here enters Phase VI.
Before calling the sherriff’s office, I tried to locate my protection order and couldn’t readily find my copy. Through a series of traumatic incidents, our house is in disarray at the moment. Despite searching, it was nowhere to be found. After verifying on Casenet that it it hadn’t expired, I called the police.
The officer who returned my call immediately told me my restraining order was no longer valid. A panic attack started, but I pressed forward. I explained about June. I told him about the renewal. He admitted there was no expirary date on the order, but insisted it was expired. I hung up.
I sat in the bath trying to regain my equilibrium.
A few minutes later, the officer called back.
I understand that you’re aggravated.
I’m not aggravated. I’m scared.
I walked him through the exchange in June.
I’m looking at that report and it says here that the officer noticed you that the order was expired, which is exactly what I’m doing.
No. She didn’t.
I hung up.
All paths lead us to yesterday. I ventured to the courthouse to retrieve a copy of the paperwork. I went up to the usual counter and handed over my ID. And was greeted with more than indifference. I was met with hostility.
I need a copy of my order of protection.
When’s it from?
*sigh* I don’t know if we can do that. Hold on.
*reappears with a postit*
Why do you need it?
Stunned at her tone and aggression, I am momentarily frozen
Because my stalker got back in contact with me again and I don’t–
You should have a copy
But I don’t
Well, when they issued it, they would have given you a copy.
Okay, if you can’t provide me with a copy, who can.
No one. You should have your copy.
*Taking my ID back from under the glass* You know what, I’m going to come back another time because you’re a bitch.
In the moment, I knew my voice was raised. I knew I was entering the world of PTSD. My therapist told me how to recognize it. Everything became dim except the exit and the courthouse security as they moved toward my shouting. Thirty feet away the clerk, I turned back to shout in desperation again.
YOU KNOW WHAT? IF I HAD A COPY OF THE ORDER, I WOULDN’T BE HERE ASKING FOR ONE. MY STALKER IS BACK. HE’S GOING TO HURT ME.
Security A: Ma’am.
Security A: Ma’am calm down
*Moving toward the exit* NO. I WON’T CALM DOWN. MY STALKER IS BACK AND NO ONE IS HELPING ME.
As I pushed my way through the swinging gate I told them my worst fear before returning to my vehicle.
HE’S GOIN TO KILL ME.
Fortunately, I thought ahead enough to bring a friend. I was incapable of driving. Shock settled in. I sat motionless for twenty minutes or more. Frozen. Letting the fear slide over me. Letting the knowledge take me.
He’s going to find me in person again.
He’s going to wait until I’m alone just like he said he did last time.
He might just kill me.
And the only thing those cops will remember about me is how I shouted in the courthouse.
A few notes: Privilege Please know that I am acutely aware of the fact that I was allowed to beleive in the system this long due to privilege. I was allowed to grow up thinking I would be protected by the system as long as I abided by the riules of the system. I know my experience is not 1/1000th of what BIPOC Americans endure every day and have endured for generations. Even in my shock, it was something I knew. Why would I post this? Why now? The answer is three-fold. 1.) I do not want this madman to steal my momentum ever again. He managed it last time. He won't this time. 2.) The police have made it clear that they are either too incompentent or too unwilling to help me with even the most basic portion of this, so I cannot count on them to protect me when he finds me again. My only hope for safety is to make this known, to make the stakes too high for him to show up. 3.) I want my online "presence" to be as raw, direct and pointed as my poetry. Until this point, I've been trying to cultivate an image, trying to find a niche, but my niche is bleeding onto the page. That's what I do. That's what I'm going to do. I stopped for a long time because of this man, because of this trauma. I'm all done with that. It's time for me to be me, and if I'm too hard to swallow, people can choke.
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