Unemployment Watch Day 03: I loved the Monster

Open warning to the men of the world: I am a part of a powerful coven of witches. Since I have started hanging out with my witch mountain sister in power Jen, I have been on average getting my period twice as often as I should. This natural power combined with Jen and I's special ET style collective unconscious mental bond has cast some powerful spells. Sadly though, we have no idea how to properly wield this power. Our magic manifests itself mostly by way of weird coincidences, mostly social media related. We will be having a causal talk and a mouth breather from our past would make an appearance in passing conversatoin, and moments later there glaring on one of our screens will be a message from said dochenozzle. The phone lights up " Hey whats up?". "NOOOOOOOOO" we scream. "WE ARE OUT OF CONTROL!" "SHITTY DUDE MOON RISING!"

When I got fired It was the first day of my period. I go over to Jen's house to lay on her couch and eat spaghetti. A bunch tampons roll out of my bag and she sighs "girl do you have your period again?!" Last night at 1 Am my phone lights up and on screen is a message I never thought I would receive. It was from my ex boyfriend's ex girlfriend. The girlfriend he dated right after me. She said that a friend of her told her Venus was in retrograde and it was a good time to cleanse bad blood and wondered if I could meet her. I told her the bad blood isn't between us, and that I would love to meet her. Because women need to watch out for each other. Because despite what she has heard I am a very nice lady.

She sat across from me at the bar, she seemed a little uncomfortable but was well dressed. Her blue dress complimented her natural red hair nicely and I wondered to myself if I should have dressed up. I was half asleep and had shown up in a disheveled crop top with no bra on. (so like the usual Katie? Shut up Katie!) I wasn't nervous, I knew if she had contacted me it was because she has gone through and survived the whole sociopathic nightmare cycle that is dating my ex. I have had my time to deal with everything that I have had been through. It has been years. I just didn't want her to feel like I was even an iota upset with her. We escaped the same prison camp, we are practically old war buddies. As she started to tell me about all the lies he told her, about himself, about me, I felt a huge sick relief. All the cruelty and gas-lighting wasn't curated to punish me specifically, but is just a pattern that he is doomed to repeat in his own personal inferno for all eternity. Slowly she help fill in the cracks of the last days of our relationship, and as the feeling of awkwardness lifted we started to laugh. "Man, I am so fucking sorry" I say. "That guy is so fucking crazy." 

I would like to preface this by saying that my ex-boyfriend is the sort of lunatic that will read this and send me multiple empty threats in essay format so for the sake of putting a buffer on the inevitable I will make up a name for him. We will call him, i don't know whats an embarrassing name? Larry. sure. whatever. His ex who contacted me is really cool and she deserves a cool name. How about Xena? Aight cool. Glad we cleared that up.

Larry and I met after I had just started doing stand up. He pursued me aggressively at first but I had a boyfriend at the time. A few months later I would find myself single and suddenly there is Larry at my workplace waving in the front window. I had only been in a few relationships at the time and for me he seemed to be good to be true. He cared about politics and was smart and charming and he liked me! I had just gotten out of a tumultuous long term relationship where I was often told I was nothing and there was a lot of border line grey area sexual issues that I wont call straight up abuse, but I would not call fully consensual either. I was still very insecure about myself and hadn't figured out that I was totally hot yet, so attention from someone as attractive as him seemed special. I had only lived in Portland for about a year and had yet to familiarize myself with the "Career Activist" type. I had no context that there was a whole army of skinny dudes with clip boards that used progressive buzz words to try and get laid more. I still naively thought that people who did that sort of thing because they liked, cared. What a dummy! We were together for a little over two years.

Things moved fast, and he was vague about his relationships of the past. I knew he was divorced but i didn't know for how long or to whom. I found out he was seeing someone before me but I didn't know the extent of their relationship. Suddenly he was around all the time, staying over most nights. He had strong opinions about everything, all others were considered irrelevant. He was smarmy and smooth, if he wanted to he could transfix whole groups of strangers at a bar. However, he just as easily turned abrasive and obnoxious, I did not retain any close friends during this time period because of this. He had a huge drinking problem, I would often find him blacked out on street corners or passed out on the stairs of my apartment, unable to make it all the way up to my bedroom. He had a job at the time registering people to vote, it was non partisan, the goal was just to get people to vote. I admired it. He was always meeting with volunteers and chatting people up at restaurants or bars with a clip board in his hand. I told him I saw how much he loved charming people and that I would be okay with having an open relationship if we discussed some rules first. I brought it up three times and each time he said "baby baby please, I only want you!" He often talked to me about adopting kids and getting married. I am not totally sure when the cheating started but its safe to assume it was during the entire course of our relationship. I now have reason to believe that there are whole swaths of people who still didn't know we ever were together at all.

He had all the hallmarks of a narcissistic sociopath. Big romantic overtures, separating me from other people, he was paranoid and often thought people were spying on him, gas-lighting, purposely bringing me to events where there would be women he was cheating on with me with just because he knew he could, all that fun manipulative bullshit. We had a fake breakup that i told no one about and we got back together. Stuff got more and more twisted, things made less sense. He finally told me he hadn't ever stopped cheating on me near the beginning of January of 2014. He had started seeing Xena in October of 2013.

Some of the most frustrating situations with Larry and I's relationship happened after the fact. I would tell people what happened, all the cheating and manipulation, how he used his job in activism to meet women, how he passed out face first at my step sisters wedding from drinking, and they would be unfazed. "Oh well I don't want to take sides." I wasn't asking for sides, I was asking to have my abuse acknowledged! I remember being on one of the first dates I went on during my seek and destroy all men tour of Portland Oregon. It was with someone who Larry used to work with and even kind of looked up too. I told him the most basic version of what happened, which still sounds totally nuts ("o well well he cheated on me with like 10 people? maybe more? Hahah whatever what kind of music do you like? O. cool. lets bone"). He looked at me and said "Well Larry is my friend, so I can't be that mad at him. If we get more serious I will have to tell him about us but we don't have to think about that right now" We didn't get more serious thank fucking god. But it was like the gas-lighting from my relationship had spilled over into my new life. Was I being crazy? Was I overreacting?  I know now obviously not, but god damn. Thanks for nothing chumps.

Now I have always been curious about all the various lies told about me to all those poor women over the years ( I want to say there was somewhere between 8 to 12 different women over the course of our 2 year relationship), but now here sitting across from me is someone who could actually tell me specifics. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know but I knew I needed to. When I wasn't horrified at the shit he tired to get away with some of them where just down right funny. I did a spit take after Xena tells me through a smirk that he would tell her about how "mean" I am and about how he was "responsible for introducing me to comedy". My favorite was that he told her that we did open up our relationship at one point but I got too jealous because he was seeing other girls but I could not nail anything down. Ha! Are you kidding me bro? Have you seen how I look in this dress? Why don't you go ahead and gag on that.

Mostly I was floored at how he started their relationship. The fucking gall of it. He met her at a bar down the street from our apartment. The apartment that both of our names are on the lease. He told her he had only been divorced for a year (lie) and that he was living on his friend's (lie, he has no friends) couch up the street while he gets his life back together. He would have her drop him off at some random apartment in an neighboring area, telling her he doesn't want her to see how he lives until he gets his own place. He would then stumble back to our apartment, acting aloof and irritated when I asked him about his night. He told her he wanted to keep her away from comedy, because he didn't want that toxic influence on her or whatever. In reality is because everyone in comedy knew we were a couple who lived together. He pulled a power move with her that he often did with me, and invited her to the birthday show for the beloved open mic host of the boiler room Kevin Michael Moore. When she later found out who I was she realized I was there, I don't have a memory of this probably because at this point I was very used to him parading women in front of me in an attempt to get a rise out of me. He promised to hang out with her on new years, he called her and said he would be over in an hour. Then he phones again and said he was at a house party, but her friends and her shouldn't come because it's mostly comedy people. In reality it was because I was there. He was acting cold that night when I was getting dressed to go out, he meanly turned to me and said "I don't even want to go out!" That night at our (my) friend's house party he came up to me on the dance floor and said "Iris's roommate is really cute, I totally have a crush on her." In a healthy relationship this comment would never phase me, I would even say something like "Oh totally! She's a manic pixie dream babe."  But by this point I was at my wits end and was in a state of constantly not knowing which of my feelings were true and what was an "overreaction" anymore. I pushed Him on the floor and shouted "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP?"

We broke up a week after that, but he refused to leave the apartment for another month. My mind was still so warped that I didn't realize I had all the right to just throw him on his ass. I remember him sitting on the couch and in a rare moment of honesty, probably the only time he was honest with me, he told me about how he never wanted an open relationship because he liked sneaking around. He also told me about how he didn't really give a shit about voters rights, he just liked the attention and accolades it got him, but that honesty evaporated as soon as it appeared and he immediately started crying and putting on a show about how "all his comedy friends abandoned him!". I comforted him. I was so gone it would take me another month and a half before I started getting actually mad. He may have still been living in the apartment for a few weeks but he immediately latched on to Xena. She still had no idea I existed until they had dated for about half a year and he brought her to a comedy show at the now extinct Tonic Lounge. My talented friend Stephanie was on stage telling a joke, and he heckled. I cracked and shouted "SHUT UP LARRY". Everyone laughed because either they knew me, or because I have impeccable timing since I am super duper funny. Stephanie smiles calmly on stage and says "Oh that is funny, Larry just texted me the other day to let me know he ran into my ex-boyfriend and he was drunk. I then immediately called Katie to say 'Hey! Your drunk ex-boyfriend is texting me to talk shit about my drunk ex-boyfriend! How meta!'" He stormed out and proceeded to send me threatening text messages to the tune of "You're mean! You are a mean girl!" and "You better keep my name out of your mouth our I will tear it out myself!" for about an half an hour straight. What I know now is he had this freakout because he got caught. Xena had no idea who I was, let alone an old girlfriend. 

Its crazy to fill in the gaps, and even crazier to think that this is just one story of many that happened behind the scenes of my own relationship. I got to say though, the worst part is knowing that its a cycle that never ends. I had no idea about the girl before me when we first started dating but now the trail of wreckage is visible. He is on to the next girl now, I'm sure. Xena and I talked about pitying her the way that I used to Pity Xena. But there is nothing to be done, warn her and you are a "crazy ex-girlfriend". So that is why I typed this out, I hope that maybe someone who is in a manipulative relationship right now might read this and say to themselves "maybe I'm not crazy after all. This really does make no sense."

Heres to the coven, for women looking out for other women. Because the sad truth is the shitty dude moon is always rising, and it never comes out of retrograde. Good luck and be careful.



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