To subscribe to updates, find me on Twitter: @AmyNeises.
I'm writing at a new address now: http://www.amyneises.com/journal/.
To subscribe to updates, find me on Twitter: @AmyNeises.
I don’t have much left to say about my stalking story. Knew this day would come. Expected it even while I was starting this blog. At time would come to sit back. Assess my writing. Take the lessons learned. Use the new knowledge to go in another direction.
This blog's original purpose was to provide a reference for other stalking survivors. Providing information that I couldn't find while my next-door neighbor stalked me. I’d also intended to churn out a book. Blogging was a means to keep focused on writing while gauging reader response. Telling me what was working. What needed scrapping.
It was thrilling, realizing this writing exercise gained regular readers. It morphed into eye-popping shock when the story became televised. Not many writers can say their work got a screen adaptation. What a cool outcome.
Working on the adaptation lead to a realization: the parts that mattered about my stalking story were being made public. What else was left for me to say? Did I really need to keep writing about it? A book, at this point, would be duplicated, no, triplicated information. At that, persisting with blogging the story started feeling dangerously close to jumping the shark.
So, sure, I could say more about being stalked. But, truth be told, I don't see a need to keep writing specifically about the Dark Years.
I won’t abandon this blog. I like writing. Makes sense to keep writing under this address since I’m paid up on associated blogging fees. But, there will be a different focus, with stalking making brief appearances, as it pokes its head into the room. I’ll never completely be able to rid myself of it. It’s like an ink drop splashing into a glass of water: one event that irrevocably altered my life, and dramatically changed my perspective on a good many things. Not all of it was bad. I’ve gained freakish amounts of new skills and knowledge, both from surviving the crime as well as by talking about it. Stuff I’m still exploring. Looking forward to continuing to put it all to good use.
So. Mission accomplished for the first stage of the journey. Let’s see what else is out there.
I woke up screaming at myself.
The screams came from a memory. The type of memory that surfaces during the transition between the Sandman’s realm and the waking world. The one that brings clarity. New perspective. It was myself, five years younger. Mid-way through my stalker, The Neighbor’s attempts to destroy me. Desperately trying to get help, and being dismissed.
The facts? Too “out there.” Quickly dismissed.
My witnesses? Refusing to help.
The Neighbor’s past victims? In the police reports, at their request, firm black marks obstructed their names. Preventing me from contacting them, saying, “We share a stalker. Can we work together to stop her?”
That missing piece of information especially jabbed me. I grasped my hair. Until knuckles turned white. Desperate. So very desperate. For someone to come forward. To acknowledge. Collaborate with my experience. Why didn’t any of The Neighbor’s altercations make the news? Why didn’t her past victims go public with the information? Without that public witness, I was only one frustrated woman bellowing outrageous claims. Yelling loud enough …
… for the echoes to reach me, five years later, while pulling out of sleep. The day after writing my last post. Where I (somewhat logically) spelled out why I’ll never (ever, ever, ever) reveal my stalker’s name. The younger Amy read that post and freaked out. Then, confronted me: “How could you write that? Why did you go silent? Knowing how much I needed that information! Your silence protects The Neighbor. It is killing me.”
Younger Amy was right. Demanding I spill the beans. Knowledge is power, or in her case, much-needed evidence. Leading to protection.
But. Now that the Dark Years are behind me, I've changed. Erring on the side of caution, and not being a public bastard. Fearing consequences of drawing too much attention to The Neighbor. I acknowledge that by adhering to sense and sensibility, if The Neighbor is now fixating on a new victim, that victim would have to fumble for evidence like I was fumbling.
That means I’m passively protecting my stalker.
Which makes me a jerk.
A few months after I started writing this blog, a reader posing as a stalking survivor contacted me. He forwarded his own blog: a fantastic story of a targeted stalking campaign. He included photos of himself. He looked like a Used Car Salesman. His posts didn’t quite ring true. When comparing the Used Car Salesman's experience to mine, it seemed a bit too simplistic.
Used Car Salesman also didn’t like my writing. He began badgering. My blog wasn’t cutting muster. I needed a different angle. One that was truly helpful to victims. Like him.
My hackles always rise whenever an outsider tells me how to write. Victim or no, I snarled at Used Car Salesman’s suggestions. Thought to myself, “Don’t like my approach? Write what you like your on own damn blog.”
Then Used Car Salesman’s stalkers contacted me, as well as others on his social media feeds. They forwarded articles about the innocents he crushed. Turns out, Used Car Salesman was a con artist of the worst kind. What he called “stalking” was actually all of his victims coming forward. Unmasking the fraud.
I realized that Used Car Salesman had lifted ideas and images from this blog, and used it on his stalking blog. Repurposing my writing. Giving legitimacy to his new cover story. If I’d listened to his writing critique, he would’ve had an easier time plagiarizing content from this blog. Allowing him to more easily play stalking victim and continue swindling others. He couldn’t write for long about a topic he knew nothing about.
I blocked Used Car Salesman from contact. Stopped writing this blog for about a month. Cutting him off from new information. When I returned to the keyboard, I focused on writing details from a story that was uniquely mine. I couldn't keep him from lifting ideas. But I could force him to re-write anything I posted.
And who really wants to work at a con?
His blog died immediately.
Never heard from him again.
I overlay the encounter with Used Car Salesman with The Neighbor. How a little piece of information protected me and thwarted him. What would have happened if I started talking as openly about The Neighbor, as Used Car Salesman’s victims talked about him? If The Neighbor had new victims, could my openness help them?
After writing that last paragraph, felt myself stiffen. It just doesn’t feel right. Outing The Neighbor like that. Despite remembering my desperation during the Dark Years.
It’s one of many gray areas I encounter. Amy of the present wrestling with Amy of the past. On days like this, we disagree sharply. One demanding truth. The other demanding caution.
We don’t like each other very much.
My stalker, The Neighbor, is an enigma. But, you knew that. In fact, many of you left quite a few questions about her:
Who was The Neighbor?
What was The Neighbor’s name?
What was her motivation for stalking me?
How did she support herself?
Did she ever get mental help?
Hypothetically, what if The Neighbor jumped one of you a back alley?
All valid questions. But, I’m a little disappointed: I’d hoped Pat—my loyal friend—would’ve gotten the attention, instead. She deserves at least some recognition for being all-around awesome. Both now and during the stalking years. But. I get it. I really get it. And understand. The unbalanced villain always gets the spotlight. It’s too bad. Pat is fun, smart and a bottomless pit of practical knowledge. Like, how to dismantle and clean a malfunctioning dishwasher. And put it back together. Clearly much more valuable to your well-being and peace of mind (have you ever had to pay for a new dishwasher? A repairman? It’s not pretty) than on the off chance that you’ll also one day cross swords with my stalker.
But. I get it. You want details about The Neighbor. So, let’s go back to your questions. Especially the ones about her motivations. Her mental state. How she supported herself. It’s not the first time I’ve heard them: Pat and I asked similar questions and were usually stumped. If we did unearth answers … well … instead of providing resolution and peace, they lead to deeper and more disturbing questions.
As a recovering English major, lifelong bookworm and hopeless keyboard nerd, I know: if I want to write a good story, I must answer difficult questions. A sophisticated audience expects these elements from a well-written story. Making it complete. Keeping reader interest. Explaining why The Neighbor chose a life of evil. Fleshing out weaknesses—things readers can empathize with—to give reasons for The Neighbor’s horrible crime.
But. This is where real life departs from good writing. For the most part, I’ll never fully know nor understand my own stalking experience. The motivations you're looking for as readers, I'm also looking for, as a survivor. Describing them (at times) is like upending a kitchen junk drawer—coupons, pencils, random telephone numbers, cell phone chargers, fingernail polish, bottle openers, rubber bands, doctor reminders, and tchotchke door prizes all spilling onto a countertop—then trying to sort the mess. Then, giving up in frustration. Throwing it all back into the drawer. Shutting it firmly. Deciding to deal with it on a better day. That’s what it’s like, writing about the layers of The Neighbor's lunacy. I do what I can. Knowing it’s not enough.
Maybe I’ve failed. Maybe one day, the literary police will knock at my door, and bellow, "Surrender the laptop!" Wave dictionaries. Call me a disgrace. Demand I clean up my act, already.
Then I’d have no choice but to take a simple rout. Choose a simple solution: start making crap up. Something easy for the masses to understand and therefore accept. Then, keep a straight face as I type. Knowing any other stalking survivor would read and cry “Bullocks!” to everything I pretend to be truth.
In the mean time, until the literary cops find me, until my muse delivers complete clarity, I can only write about little slivers of truth, here and there, if they choose to reveal themselves.
There’s another reason for being vague. The belligerent refusal to reveal my stalker’s name. Keeping the discussion about the little I know about her life to a minimum:
She’s a real person.
A real person with a history of violating previous victims’ stalking orders. Who, remarkably, has actually honored the terms of our legal settlement. The terms of my stalking order: leave me alone. Forever.
A real person, who, if she’s like any one of us, occasionally runs Google searches on her name. How incredibly awkward for me if she finds her name associated to this blog. Thereby enraging her again. Thereby, with the logic of her misfiring brain, giving her a valid reason to stalk me again.
Legally, my stalking order protects me. The terms of our out-of-court settlement put the exclamation point on it. If The Neighbor attempts any sort of contact—directly or indirectly—she will be arrested. Before that point, though, there will also be a lightly terrifying and awkward moment of defending myself while waiting for the police to arrive.
With that in mind, I’m cautious as I write.
I’m keen to not break this current peace streak.
I’m not the only writer-turned-stalking-survivor who takes an “I’m-not-naming-my-stalker” stance. Take “Kate Brennan” whose book In His Sights talks about her decade on the run from her stalker, an ex-boyfriend with the wealth, and associated power, to permanently stalk her. Not only does “Brennan” give her stalker a pseudonym, she also writes under an assumed name. Identifying herself and her stalker would put her at further risk.
As I read her book, noticed other tactics Brennan used. Her plans to thwart her stalker have the feel of being over-simplified, for the sake of not revealing all her tricks, if he found the book. Her allies are also likely also protected under her literary slight-of-hand. Something I also do with my allies, as I write.
Or, James Lasdun’s book, Give Me Everything You Have, which I’m reading now. Lasdun also refuses to reveal his stalker’s name, as well as the people closest to him.
This book, especially, is similar to my experience. Like having a female stalker. Or, Lasdun's overwhelming agonizing over what he should and shouldn’t have done, to prevent the stalker’s attack. (I constantly have to stop myself from second-guessing everything, wondering how such little actions on my part, lead to such a horrific attack.) Questions that Lasdun, despite his attempts to write about the situation clearly, never seems to have gotten answers. Or peace.
Besides. Who knows. Maybe The Neighbor became a better person. Maybe she got help. Maybe she changed her ways!
If she really did decide to never again stalk another innocent
(both new and old prey ),
that would be better than the prison sentence that, as far as I know, The Neighbor has not gotten.
If she did turn that leaf, how awful it would be for some mook (me) to rat her out on the Internet. Reminding everyone who she was. Preventing her from a fresh start.
Pat says my Pollyanna theory is far-fetched. My dad agrees with Pat. I should agree with them. On some level I do, but can’t do it completely. If I do, it becomes another layer of unanswered questions to face:
Why would anyone willingly choose evil?
Why was the lure of trying to destroy me?
How can you go so far as to be arrested (multiple times), do jail time (multiple times), and be unrepentant?
How? How?! How can you willingly choose to harm another?!
It’s best to not ask these questions. There are enough already left unanswered.
Regardless. Even if The Neighbor never reforms, I’ve seen what happens when other bloggers write about abuse. The ones I respect keep a level of class, only writing about themselves. The ones I stop reading are the ones who rat out their assailants. Name names. Engage in online wars. Use their readership to fuel the fury. Their message, the lessons, the wisdom to impart, all lost in an Internet firestorm.
It’s just trashy. Naming my stalker has the feel of going tit for tat. Repaying my stalker’s attempt to ruin me, by therefore attempting to ruin her.
There are better things to write about.
Are you sure you don’t want to hear about Pat’s dishwasher prowess? She saved herself a serious chunk of change.
Stalking is a misunderstood, hard to identify crime. When survivors come forward and talk about their experience, it opens doors to understanding. Helping others who have experienced stalking, or those in a position to help victims, get help.
If you are a woman in the United States who has survived stalking, and are interested in being considered for sharing your story, contributors are currently being sought for Season 2 of Obsession: Dark Desires.
The series explores the subject of psychological obsession (erotomania, stalking, ORI, erotic delusion, obsessive friendship and so on) and how it affects those that become a target or victim of it.
The series focuses on one story per episode and uses first-person testimony as its primary source of information about each case, allowing people to put their experience into their own words and tell it from their own point of view.
If you are interested, please send an email with your name and a brief description of your stalking experience to: email@example.com.
Two sentences. At first glance, not remotely connected.
First. If you missed it the first time around, my stalking story—"Just a Wall Away"—is rerunning on March 25-26 on Investigation Discovery.
Second. My dad’s favorite movie of all time is Flight of the Phoenix.
I’ll explain the connection. It has to do with overarching themes.
Buckle your seatbelt. There’s a long story behind this. Starting with an explanation of a “theme.” That’s a story that lurks in the shadows, driving the main story. Something Pop taught me, ages ago, through Flight of the Phoenix. I think 1983 was the last time I watched it with him. But, thanks to spending a good part of my entire life listening to Pop discuss plot points—while we watched the movie, and even while we weren’t watching the movie—I remember the key themes. Mainly, man’s struggle. Against the desert. The airplane. Against the water supply. The hostiles. Against himself. Despair. Then Pop pointed out other nuggets, as they appeared on-screen. How the soundtrack mocked the German’s pouting rage. How only men were physically in the movie—women only appeared in photographs or mirages.
Ever since, I can’t watch a movie without analyzing themes, color usage, dialog and a whole bunch of other stuff that drives the wrong movie buddy crazy. So. When I heard that an overarching theme got chucked into the episode telling my stalking story, I squealed like a little girl.
This might come as a shock to you. Me, completely geeking out over themes and whatnot in the TV re-telling of the worst four years of my life. Especially if you left condolences and encouragement after viewing the episode. Especially if you walked away from the episode feeling disturbed.
I’m now pulling back the curtain and telling you a little about me. First and foremost: I’m a writer. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a crime victim who writes about being stalked. Rather, I’m a writer who realized, even before the stalking ended, that if I survived my stalker neighbor, I'd have a hell of a lot of great source material to write about. For a very long time.
That’s how writing, and any other art, goes. It's talking about horrible stuff, and making it beautiful. Laying yourself bare. Knowing someone else could find value with you walking around open kimono. I rambled a bit about the artist mentality here. And if you can take another reference to the artist mentality, my favorite author, Neil Gaiman, spoke about this eloquently during his commencement address for the University of the Arts in 2012:
When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.
Granted. At times, all this stalking talking is emotionally draining. And scary. But nothing good comes from playing it safe. That’s the risk of art. Otherwise, I'd only be producing commercial art. Worthy of the IKEA bargain bins.
But, other times, there’s a lot joy involved with frowning at my laptop. Still other times, there's a reckless feeling. Like I’m just throwing dice. Seeing how they fall. Spontaneously running in that new random direction. Making good art in the process. It's why I’m geeking out that a theme worked its way into the televised version of my story. (A theme! A theme! A real theme!) While I’m trying to make good art from a crazy life event … someone else also got to make good art.
Because that's cool.
Because not everything about this stalking tale should be about on reliving the horror of events that ended two and a half years ago.
See? Told you it would be a long explanation.
So. All that said … did you catch the overarching theme in the "Just a Wall Away" episode? If you didn't, the episode reruns March 25-26, if you need to give it another watching, to jar your brain cells.
In the mean time ... want a hint? The theme is something that’s incredibly similar to one of Pop’s observations about Flight of the Phoenix.
Think you know the answer? Leave a comment with your guess.
The next episode of Obsession: Dark Desires, airs on Tuesday, March 18 on Investigation Discovery.
The episode summary is:
Kathleen Baty is a fun loving high school cheerleader with the world at her feet.
Well used to male attention, she doesn't notice when a quiet kid from her class develops a crush.
Out of the blue, three years later, he turns up in her life, heavily armed with horrific plans to abduct her.
So begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse in which Kathleen is hunted from city to city, from high school to college and on into her married life.
In Kathleen’s own words, play that game long enough and "sooner or later, the cat's gonna get you."
My stalking story, Just a Wall Away, is part of the series. It re-runs on Investigation Discovery on March 25 and 26.
You can also download that episode, and others, from iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.
Pat banned me from the Internet last week.
OK, wait. I exaggerated that sentence. Twice.
First. Pat—my incredibly supportive, awesome-beyond-belief-friend—technically doesn’t exist. The literary term for what Pat really is, is a “composite character.” What’s that? OK. For example. In Little House on the Prairie, Nellie Oleson is a composite character. Three women making Laura Ingall’s life hell during the pioneer years. Condensed into one easily recognized villain.
That’s what Pat is. Minus the Machiavellian tendencies. When I write her, I don’t pretend she’s real. Instead, I see her as a loosely stitched together mismatch of body parts from five (or so) women. Crudely stitched together into a Frankenstein’s monster.
Pat Monster’s name is also in on the joke. A nod to the androgynous It’s Pat comedy sketches on Saturday Night Live. I have no idea what Pat Monster is, but it is speaking. This leads to chronic over-thinking. That one eager beaver will read all of my posts. Realize that Pat Monster has an inconsistent personality. Sometimes she’s patient and wise. Other times, she bellows the best profanity. Or, she’ll simply shrug her shoulders and says, “Whuzzup?” But then, on the Internet, people never fact check. Instead, only accept. So, I guess we’re good.
Despite its flaws, Pat Monster, like Nellie Oleson, is easier to remember as my one go-to good guy. Rather than chucking out names of all the random friends who were an incredible support during and after the dark years.
Now that I’ve come clean about Pat, its time to correct the second smokescreen. Pat Monster didn’t exactly ban me from the Internet. Just sounded like a great way to hook you into this post. (I’m such a cheap writing hack.) What really happened was a collective agreement from the women within Pat Monster that I needed to stop running Google searches on my stalker, The Neighbor. Trying to figure out her present whereabouts. Ensuring our paths never cross again.
Searches I no longer need to conduct.
During the Dark Years, the intrawebs provided tons of solid hits for The Neighbor’s stalking past. Evidence I desperately needed to build a case against her. Evidence I also believed would provide peace and answers. Instead, it only opened more questions. Questions that would make this post go completely off-topic if discussed right here, right now.
Anyway … after a point, that Internet source dried up. It now withholds any substantial information about The Neighbor. Including her current whereabouts ... after her eviction from her side of the duplex ... after her release from jail. Like she just vanished. Can a human truly vanish? Did that make her a demon of sorts? And if she was a demon, then …
That's when I need to stop the thought train. Remind myself that despite choosing to openly talk about being stalked, I'm not entirely logical when it comes to my stalker. In fact, if I let it, it doesn’t take much to unravel myself, in regards to her. Trying to find present-day answers only succeeds with making me upset. I know better than to let myself travel these roads. Most days, I do well with self-regulation. Flick my wrists when the "come on, just one quick search" thought enters my head. Tell myself "a quick Google search is never quick. Go rock climbing instead." Which usually works.
Except that last week I lured myself back into the myth of a quick Google search. Convinced myself that this time I could be balanced. In fact, I’d completely moved on from whatever fears haunted me. Internal logic took over. I needed, no, demanded answers. I could stare down whatever barefaced facts existed about my stalker. No big deal. Besides, I deserved to at least know what section of my city to avoid. If she was still in my city. What if she no longer lived here? That would be such a weight removed. Yeah. I deserved to know. Absolutely deserved to know.
So. I promptly lost distance and perspective. Got caught up the moment. Ran the quick Google search. And then DESCENDED INTO HELL! As expected, the Internet presented a hairball of facts. Finding names that almost matched The Neighbor’s, which I tried streamlining into a cohesive, flawless story. Resulting with creating a new Frankenstein monster, based on the mismatched mess.
One tid-bit said The Neighbor lived close. No! Another said she was far! No! She had a Facebook check-in at a nearby pub! No! She’s a preschool teacher! What if she ate the children? No! The Neighbor’s now works for a surveillance agency! HOW THE HELL DID SHE PASS THE BACKGROUND CHECK? WHAT WOULD SHE USE AGAINST ME?
I sent what I thought was a logical and balanced email to Pat Monster. Believing I'd presented my case clearly. Despite a Subject line of "MAYHEM!"
As these things go, I never truly realize just how irrational I’m being until after I click Send. Then quickly realized ... again ... I should have thought everything through. Not only the quick Google search, but also the panicky email.
Thankfully, Pat Monster quickly brings me back down to Earth. So, now I’m breaking form. Letting Pat Monster unstitch herself. Because sometimes, I need to hear the same thing multiple times, from different people, to make it stick. Pat Monster is now three women who last week banned me from running Google searches on The Neighbor. Ever. Again. I’ll call them Pat 1, Pat 2 and Pat 3.
Pat 1 said: “I love you. I don't know how much to trust the Internet. But stop looking up The Neighbor. It will only drive you crazy. I just got coupons for sandwiches. Let’s hit up the sandwich shop soon.”
Pat 2 said, “I have a hard time believing she’s holding down any job. Let alone get past the interview. I'd stop Googling. If you Google my name, it tells you I bullied a teenager until she killed herself. Google does not connect the dots well.”
Pat 3 said: “What Pat 1 and Pat 2 said.”
They were right. I'd created my own threat. After two-and-a-half years of silence, it’s best to live in the peace. That includes a level of confidence. Not allowing The Neighbor to continue terrorizing me. Including creating mental scenarios of another showdown. Which is what Pat 1-3 gently reminded me of. Still providing necessary support. Acknowledging my fears. While reminding me of life in the here and now.
Confronting the other monster I created in my head.
I slapped my wrists again. They're right. Absolutely right. Time to live in the moment. Employing mental strength to not let that horrible monster make me live in fear again. Sure. It's entirely possible my path and The Neighbor's path could cross again. It's also entirely possible that North Korea could figure out how to launch a rocket and attack my country. Until that day happens--The Neighbor and me having a second showdown--I need to choose to live in peace.
And keep a copy of my stalking order in my car. Just in case.
I decided to go for a walk. To cool off. Without worrying about who I’ll encounter.
Because that's my right, also.
The next episode of Obsession: Dark Desires, airs on Tuesday, March 11 on Investigation Discovery.
The episode summary is:
When 36-year-old divorcee Collette Dwyer moves to St Francisville, Louisiana with her two young children looking for a new life, she is forced to work two jobs to make ends meet. While running the cash register at the local grocery store, she meets a customer who begins stalking her.
Having already pushed his way into her house, a terrified Collette returns from work one night to find her children are missing. She is horrified to discover that the customer is a suspect in a recent murder case. As more murders are committed, Collette becomes convinced that her stalker is actually the serial killer terrorizing her community. Collette knows that she must prove her suspicions to the police before she becomes the next victim.
My stalking story, Just a Wall Away, aired earlier in this series. You can download that episode, and others, from iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.
Quite a few readers, over the past weeks, have asked (more or less) two common questions:
What is my life like now, after being stalked?
How traumatized am I?
Here’s the deal. Being stalked by my next-door neighbor? Awful. (But, you knew that.) It had rough repercussions for my life. Including dealing with lots of pain. That part is an ongoing, sometimes challenging, process.
However, the worst of everything ended about two and a half years ago. If I allowed the pain or the fear of a violated stalking order to be constantly at the forefront of my thoughts, I couldn’t function. Bills would go unpaid. Cat would go hungry. Coffee habit would suffer. Those things have to continue. Therefore, I must continue.
Since I've put a lot of work into dealing with the aftershocks, most days, the only thing keeping stalking at the forefront of my thoughts is this blog. Sure. On some days, writing about trauma is rough. Other days, it's rough because writing is rough. I'm actually more consumed with constant nagging writers' worries: “What the hell am I writing about this week?” and "Am I a hack?" and "There are better hobbies than this."
Anyway. Nowadays, the good days outnumber bad days. Even the sharpest memories fade, given enough time. Good days look a whole lot like today. Meaning, it was dull yet mildly frustrating yet had a few pleasantries.
I didn’t save any lives at work today. Nothing horrid happened either. So, it was a good day.
For dinner, I tried this simple recipe. It’s to die for.
After that, a settling down at my laptop. After poking random keys for a few hours, realized I’d lost complete control of the alphabet. The original blog post was not coming together. (Supporting previous comments of “What the hell am I writing this week?” and "Am I a hack?" and "There are better hobbies than this.")
Adding to my frustration, realizing my time could have been more productive if I’d just scrapped writing and hemmed my pants, instead. Instead, they’re still draped over a chair, staring at me accusingly. Those two failures … enough to make whatever part of Germany still lingers in my genetic code point an index finger in my face, saying, “Why aren’t you working?!”
You might think I’m being too hard on myself. But I’m conveniently forgetting to tell you that this new cat video also solidly distracted me from productivity. I just kept replaying. And replaying. And replaying.
When I finally stopped watching the vid, an auto-software-update announcement popped up. Forcing all my lap-toppy work to truly stop for an update. Disrupting whatever chance I had to appease my inner German. Adding angst on top of inefficiency.
Then I realized I forgot to charge my electric toothbrush.
On the other hand … all this is all rather small and actually quite pleasant in comparison to the dark years. Dealing with an obsessed neighbor, screaming at me through our shared wall. And other bad memories that are best to not write as I’m prepping for bedtime. So really ... despite frustrations ... meh, it was good day. A really good day. A day I longed to return to, and never thought I'd get back. And now, it's fully in my grasp.
And that’s what life is like, for the most part, after stalking.
Though, on even better days, I get more done.