My Adventures In New York.

*****I am editing this after the fact because I did not realize what I wrote about cabs versus walking made Jane sound like an awful person!!  I tend to have this issue where I think I am being funny or clear about something, and it turns out, I am being a jerk!  Jane was NOT mean about the walking/blood sugar thing!  I meant to emphasize that we walked because she does not like cabs, and with all of my fears, I would never judge someone based on theirs, so we walked.  Jane is NOT out to kill me!  I feel terrible so I want it known publicly that Jane is a wonderful friend, hostess and attender to my fears/phobias – she would never try to kill me or intentionally make me do something bad.

Here we go!

My adventure started by driving to the Kia dealership to get my oil changed and my tires rotated and all that.  About two weeks prior to leaving on my trip, I estimated I had a certain amount of money, and I was completely fine with that.  When it came time to leave, I had about half of what I expected.  No, I did not spend it on soft things or candy, I actually paid bills.  So anyway, my mom went with me so she could use her credit card to pay for my car stuff (and add it to my never ending tally that my dad keeps of money I owe him).  While at the Kia dealership, we got into an argument about that commercial where little girls use the F-Bomb to show that it is shocking to hear kids saying that, but it is more shocking that women are so unequal to men.  Here, you can watch it, too.  Our argument had nothing to do with what was said in the video, it was because my mom said that all little girls think they have to be sassy and have an attitude and she hates that.  I told her that was completely not the point.  She said she didn’t care, the girls in that video are acting like jerks.  I said they were acting.

Anyway, I started on my drive to Pennsylvania because I was staying with my friends Steve and Jane.  I got there after getting lost and adding about 40 minutes to my drive.  I was promised ice cream upon arrival, so Steve and I went and got ice cream.

We woke up at an ungodly hour the next morning so that Jane and I could get on a bus and go to NYC.  Bus rides are boring.  They are also scary.  It was 2 hours or something.  We were deposited at Port Authority where we searched out the nearest Starbucks and (for Jane) the bathroom.  I had a glorious venti iced peppermint mocha.  We got into a cab and went to our hotel, where I got out of the cab and proceeded to drop my glorious beverage on the ground.  It was horrible.

We dropped off our stuff and went to see If/Then.  I wanted to take a cab because I am really bad at factoring in exercise and insulin, and my blood sugar would undoubtedly go low in the middle of the show.  Jane did not want to take a cab because as much as my fear of flying or buses is, that is her fear/dislike of cabs.  I can’t argue with that!  So we walked and we got to the theater and stood by the stage door because we were early enough to catch the actors coming into the theater.  We didn’t know it at the time, but we basically saw the entire cast come in – the only people I knew were Anthony Rapp and Idina Menzel, though, so we pretty much ignored the others.  Anthony came and was adorable and I didn’t say anything because I knew he was in a hurry, so I just stared at him.  Then it got later and later, and no Idina.  The show was at 2, and it was 1:45.  Everyone else (in terms of patrons) had gone into the theater, but Jane and I were resilient and we stayed by the door.  I knew not to say a single thing when Idina came, because she was obviously late and would be in a big hurry, so I basically flattened myself against the wall by the door, and then, like the goddess she is, she came.  She was carrying her sick kid, which just proves she is beyond normal humanity, because the kid was pretty big, and she is pretty small, and she was carrying him for a long time.  She went into the stage door and I, flattened against the wall, stared.  I was within her breathing space.  I might have inhaled her kids germs, which could have made me sick, which basically means Idina Menzel is my BFF.

We went into the theater, the show was amazing, and my blood sugar DID go low at intermission, and I had nothing to treat it with, so I just unplugged my insulin pump.  It still went lower anyway, so I figured I’d buy a coke after the show, but after the show, all the Coke people were closed.  There was still Stage Door Stalking to do, so I ignored my low blood sugar and stalked Anthony Rapp.  He remembered me!   I have told this story before, but long story short, many years ago in the pre-Broadway tour of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, my friends Catharine and Mo and I went to see it in Detroit.  We Stage Door Stalked after the show, and were some of the last people to meet Anthony.  He said “Do you guys know where I can buy contact lens solution?” and Mo, being the native Detroit person, said yes, but that it was not within walking distance.  Then she said “Do you want a ride there?” and he said “yes” and we all nearly died as Anthony Rapp got into Catharine’s car and we drove him to Rite Aid.  He helped me pick out a birthday card for my friend, and we talked about Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.  So there was that.  And then when he and Adam Pascal were back in the tour of RENT in Cleveland more recently, he asked about vegan food in Cleveland (not directly to me, it was via Twitter or something), and I brought him vegan stuff.  That was a very quick interaction, though.  So anyway – he remembered me!  This is sort of strange, but because Catharine (who is now dead) was with us, and because RENT was a big thing for me and Catharine (who is now dead), Anthony Rapp has a meaning for me beyond just fan girl appreciation.  I have been watching him for nearly 20 years (not quite, but nearly) and it was all with Catharine and so to me, seeing Anthony Rapp is very familiar and for me, it is like seeing a Comfort Person.  I do not have many Comfort People, so this is a big thing.  Idina is not a comfort person, that is totally a fan girl thing.  Part of the reason Anthony is a Comfort Person is also because his voice is the only one I can sing with in the car.  So Catharine and I would sing RENT and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and I would sing all his parts and she’d sing everyone else.  So anyway, even though he does not have any idea, the man means a lot to me.

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I basically died – not just because I love him, but because my blood sugar was still super low.  Jane and I crashed into the only restaurant we could find that didn’t have a line out the door and I drank Pepsi.  Mmmmm, real Pepsi.  Not diet.  So good.

Then I said we should take a cab to see Cabaret, because I didn’t want my blood sugar to go low again, and Jane said no.  But she said she’d buy me a preemptive Coke/Pepsi just in case.  We got to the theater, and I finally had to pee (more on peeing in future posts, but as most of you know because I talk about it so much, I rarely pee).  Jane said the bathrooms were normal, but maybe I am just used to luxurious midwestern bathroom stalls, I thought it was the smallest stall I had ever seen.  I had to lean back over the toilet to close the door!  And then….well….and then my bra popped off.  Only my friend Mary knows the second part of this story, but the part I will share is that my bra popped off.  It just unhooked, all by itself.  So I am in this microstall without a bra.  Because of my wrist issues, I cannot reach back and just rehook it, I have to take everything off, hook it while it is off of me, and put it on like a shirt (TMI, sorry).  So I did that in the microstall.  It was difficult.

Cabaret was *amazing*.  I hate the show because, you know, naked.  Lots and lots of naked.  I’ve seen it before in NYC, but not with Alan Cumming.  Words cannot describe how amazing he is.  He brought depth to the role of the Emcee that I have never experienced, and it went from being a show that I didn’t care for with very little plot that meant anything to an actual story that I cared about.  He was flawless.  His improv was perfect, he was funny and charming, and while he was basically naked the whole time, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  Even when he wasn’t the focus, I just watched wherever he was.

Then….Stage Door Stalking.  We were not allowed to take pictures with Alan Cumming, but he came out and said hi and signed things and we still took pictures of him, just not of us with him.  I had the beyond brilliant conversation as follows:
Me:  Hi Alan Cumming I am reading your book and I read your other book too but I did not like that one I mean I liked it but not as much as this one.
Alan Cumming:  Thank you.
Me:  I did not mean that I did not like your other book, I just like this one better.
Alan Cumming:  I do, too.

Sigh.

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On Sunday Jane and I had our official “Meet Every Friend on Facebook For Coffee” date, and then went to Jane’s mom’s house for her (Jane’s) birthday dinner.  This is their dog, Bella.

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I went back to NYC on Monday by myself, on the Scary Bus.  I had four coffee dates!  I also pet roughly 20 dogs and saw about 50 of them.  It was fantastic.  I am going to detail my coffee dates (all of them, not just the NYC ones) in a separate part of my blog, so I will just talk about the time between coffee dates.

Hotel – very cool and modern, but very much like a New York apartment.  Here is the distance between my knees and the wall in the bathroom.

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Another MicroBathroom.  Also, there was a window from the bedroom (which was the bed plus about 6 inches on either side) into the shower/bathroom.  See?

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Here is the view from the bathroom into the bedroom.

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I basically spent all my time just wandering between coffee dates, and petting dogs.  When I got back to my hotel at night, it was FREEZING in the room.  The window had been open when I came in, and I shut it, so I knew it wasn’t that.  I tried turning the heat on, and just cold air came out.  So I called the People Who Fix These Things and they came up and said that the heat would not come on until it was below a certain temperature outside, and it was not yet below that temperature.  But then he looked at the window, and it was open at the top!  Who ever heard of such a thing, a window opening at the time.  I thought all the street noise was especially loud, but I knew I closed the window, so I figured the walls were just thin.  He closed the window and all was well and I offered him a Hershey Nugget and he did not accept.

Coming soon – Coffee Dates!  It will be its own section on the home page with a drop down menu.

I Went To NYC And Did Not Get Hit By A Cab.

You may recall I went to New York and got hit by a cab.  Well, I went to New York again and this time I did not get hit by a cab.  SUCCESS!

I am going to write all about my adventures soon, and hopefully be better about writing blogs in general, but in the meantime, I present to you….

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My mom’s winter set up.  We keep her on the porch usually, so she can watch tv and smoke.  I decided she is too old to be stuck on the porch through the winter anymore, and I suggested we move her into the kitchen.  I thought we would just set her tv up on the kitchen table, but this is what I came home to.  It is hilarious.  Mr. Meow Meow does not know what to make of it.  And yes, the kitchen table is now on the porch.

While I was gone, another thing that happened is that my iMac “died”.  It has not actually died, I think the hard drive needs to be replaced, but my dad panicked – he checks stocks multiple times a day and keeps track of where my mom is by watching charges appear on the credit card, and in his panic, he called a neighbor who declared the iMac dead, and my dad ordered a new computer (a Dell) all in the span of an hour.  The iMac is not dead.

More to come soon!

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This Post Is About A Lot Of Things.

There are Amish men building a new roof next door and it is extremely loud, but because I have superior sleeping powers, I slept through most of it.  Now that I am trying to watch tv, though, it is much more annoying.  Because I cannot hear the tv, you see.  So this tells me, Darcy, you should not watch tv, it is a lovely day and you should go for a walk.  So obviously, I am writing a blog post.

I am mostly over my Sociopath Series.  Mostly I just miss AJ’s cats a lot.  I do not have confidence that they are being given proper attention.  I know that he would never hurt them, but I do know that he would willingly leave them alone for most of the time to pursue a female person, and I do know that he never, ever stops pursuing female people.  So I fear they are sad and alone and I have no way of knowing if they are happy.  This next part is really, really weird, even for me – but also, AJ was the voice of Sabrina.  You know how you make your pets talk?  Well AJ was Sabrina’s voice.  He wasn’t always, before I knew him, but when he gained control of that aspect of my life and renamed her Smurf, he also became her voice.  But it was funny and cute, so it was ok.  After Sabrina died (this is the part that is weird even for me) it was a great comfort to me to make AJ talk in her voice, and to have “Sabrina” tell me she loves me and is ok.  I took it very seriously.  Knowing I will never hear Sabrina’s voice again has been causing me grief.  And then I realized that Sabrina’s Facebook page “liked” AJ’s actor page.  I felt like my own cat was betraying me from beyond the grave, and I could not remember her log in information.  AJ also posted as her, even though I set up the account.  He posted funny things and it would make me tremendously happy when I would be at my house, and he would be at his, and all of a sudden my cat would post something on my FB page (this was when she was alive).  I did not want Sabrina to “like” AJ’s actor page after the things he put me through, so of course, I panicked and completely freaked out.  Then a very lovely and kind young man who knows a lot about computers (and makes me realize how much I do NOT know) told me how to get back into Sabrina’s page and all is right with the world.  I do wish I could hear Sabrina’s voice again, though.

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In other news, it turns out that even though I am riddled with anxiety about every single thing in the world, and I spend 99% of my time thinking about animals who are suffering, biological warfare, terrorists, fire, etc, etc, I am actually one of the most calm people you could ever meet.  I found this out at work.  I have suspected it for some time, but my suspicions were confirmed when I was in a conference room with my supervisor and our reactions to the exact same thing were him jumping  up and down and saying “balls” and my reaction was “Ok, that’s fine”.  He was not freaking out, he was being super funny, but the core of our reactions was there – I was totally fine with anything thrown at me and it did not phase me in the least, and he….was phased (though completely able to take care of and fix anything that comes along).   I have a feeling people think I actually do not care because I do not get stressed out at work.  I DO care, I am just realistic.  We have 300 things to do and only 3 people available to do it?  Ok, we will all just work our asses off, do what we can, and that is the best that can happen.  It is something I can attempt to fix, but not control.  Now if the situation were that one person (or everyone) was completely slacking and not doing their job, I WOULD be stressed and I would take action to fix it, but there is no one like that where I work.  I know that people are doing everything they can, so I figure, why stress out about that when there is nothing I can do about it when I can be spending my time having anxiety attacks at the thought that I might someday have to fly in an airplane in the winter, or that there are animals without homes, or that I might get Ebola, or that those Isis people are bat shit crazy and want to behead us all, or that I might have to go to the grocery store and I HATE the grocery store, or that I might get kidnapped?  THOSE are worthy of my fear and anxiety!  I am…help me out with the word.  An oxymoron?  An anomaly?  A living breathing contradiction?  I am not sure, but all I know is that work does not stress me out in the least and I love it there.  I mean, really…Henry sticks his tongue out at stress.

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I am going to NYC and seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret from amazingly awesome seats, and I will also be seeing the Goddess Idina Menzel and the adorable Anthony Rapp in If/Then and I WAS going to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime BUT I read that the point of the play is to have the audience experience Christopher’s sensory overload issues and thankyouverymuch I experience that quite enough on my own and do not need to be trapped in a theater having it forced upon me.  I am also going to have coffee with several people.  I have had my first Coffee Date, but I cannot decide if I want to make a physical scrapbook of my Coffee Dates, or if I want to make a section on my website for it.  So more to come on that, try to contain your excitement until I figure it out.

Oh and also in NYC, I will absolutely be stage door stalking the following people, whether or not I see the production they are in:  Alan Cumming, Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Rupert Grint.  If I get a picture with Ron Weasley, I could probably die and be happy that I have accomplished everything I could have hoped for in my life.  If it is anything like the stage door when I saw Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business, though, I may have to continue throughout life without that picture.

I am listening to a podcast by Librivox of Anne of Green Gables and it is very well read and all the voices are great except….Anne’s friend Diana Berry is read by like, an 82 year old woman.  It is the most off-putting thing ever.  I am not saying she is read by an adult trying to sound like a kid, I am saying that it is read by an elderly adult making no attempt to sound like a kid.  When Anne is talking to her about school and boys, and an 82 year old woman answers, it is just…really unsettling.

Meow Meow is sitting in the bay window watching leaves come down and it is super cute.  His little head follows them on their journey down to the ground.  Oh and also I got a squirrel to eat a peanut out of my hand and I pet him.  Here is Meow Meow watching a leaf:

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I left that one big because I like the colors in it.

I COOKED SOMETHING.  I made chicken in the crock pot and Jocelyn told me how to make it and I will now tell you, dear readers, how to make it and it is delicious.   You take the chicken, all raw and nasty and gross – oh but it should be boneless skinless chicken breasts, not like, actual nasty gross parts.  I did six of them.  So you put them in the crock pot and then dump Hidden Valley Ranch powder on them, and also you dump McCormick’s Chicken Gravy Powder on top of it and then you put a stick of butter on top of it and then I put it on low for 6 hours and it was the most tremendously amazing chicken I have ever consumed in my life.  Ever.  It does not actually make gravy which is good because I do not eat gravy, it just makes it have flavor.  Normally I am opposed to flavor of any kind, but in this case, it was very good.

The fish at work are bigger and they had babies again (they ate the first babies) and hopefully these babies will stick around.  I get to give them fish treats twice a week and basically it is a cube of frozen Sea Monkeys and I pour hot water on them to melt them (they do not come alive, they are still dead), and then I pour cold water in so I am not dumping hot water into the fish tank, and then I dump it in and the fish go crazy.  They also get brighter, which is very neat to see.  I do not have a picture of the fish to post.

Do you live in New York or Pennsylvania?  My NYC trip is November 7th – whenever I decide to come back (5-6 days), so I can galavant around that whole area and have coffee with you if you live in those states.

Grumpy Cat Goes To The Zoo.

My dad’s birthday is October 8th and mine is October 10th and we both love animals so the family went on a field trip to the Akron Zoo today.  My nieces/brother/sister in law got me possibly the world’s most perfect gift – Grumpy Cat wearing a shirt that says “It’s not me, it’s you”.  I LOVE HIM.

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I carried Grumpy Cat all over the zoo and at one point a 3 year old-ish kid was looking at him and I made him talk to her and said “Hi I’m Grumpy Cat” and her dad literally said the words “hee hee hee” and took her hand and pulled her away.  Possibly because at that point I was alone, my family had gone elsewhere, looking at a lion and bouncing Grumpy Cat at the lion.  I guess what appears to be an adult woman playing with a stuffed animal and expecting an actual lion to respond is probably concerning for other adults.

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The lion liked me, I think.

I also saw a Capybara who I really liked and I am pretty sure is just like a giant ham ham and I do love the ham hams very much and I think my niece is getting one for her birthday and I want to buy the cage for him so it can be extravagant and big.  Basically a hamster mansion is what I’m going for.

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Grumpy Cat was forced to pose and he did not like it.  And yes, I know Grumpy Cat is really a she.

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I fed goats and that was fun because I also got to pet them, but I could not pet this doggy.

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My dad saw one of those doggies two houses down on his walk one day.  The neighbor said “Did you see the coyote”? and my dad said “Where?” and she pointed behind him and the doggy was just walking down a driveway like it was nothing.  I saw a dead one on the highway once and it was very sad.  Actually, I saw him many times because it took a long time for whoever has to pick up dead animal bodies off the highway to get to him.

Oh, and on the way to the zoo, we had many adventures.  I drove my parents, and I had no idea where I was going so they were supposed to tell me but they forgot to tell me to turn and caused me to make a very sharp and sudden turn which caused me to panic.  Then we were stopped at a light at a busy intersection and a squirrel walked under the car in front of us and I started yelling and gesturing wildly for the squirrel to get out of the street and it was extremely tense and my mom said “Darcy!  You’ve got your clompotin in you, just let it happen!”  Clompotin = Klonopin, which I had just taken because family field trips always make me nervous.

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I still have not had my first coffee date (see this post for details), but I might have one tonight if someone responds on Facebook.  I put up a post and said that I am available tonight.  If no one can, I might take a nap.

Grumpy Cat photobombs Mr. Meow Meow.

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Sociopath Series Part III

I get confused. I remember everything. I remember too much, and… some of its made up, and… some of it can’t be quantified, and… there’s secrets.

This is probably going to be my last sociopath post, but I think it might be the most helpful to future generations of Dar Dars and even normal people.

I have learned from my shrink that there are not just Red Flags, which I listed in my first post on this topic, but there are also Yellow Flags.  Yellow Flags are the ones that, in retrospect, you can tell were not quite right, but in the moment seemed charming and normal.  I have a lot of those.

First ask yourself – is the relationship equal?  This can apply to preferences of what to do or where to eat, privacy rules and a few other things.

When I first met AJ, I still do not understand why, but he was, or seemed to be, enamored with me.  It was adorable.  But that lead to some things like…

He would drive me to and from work every day, which meant he had to drive in the opposite direction of his house to come pick me up, then towards his house and past it to take me to work.  Then he would pick me up at the end of my shift.  I loved seeing him.  I would get very excited to see him at the end of the day.  It seemed like he just really wanted to spend as much time with me as possible.  But being picked up and dropped off every day meant I stopped doing things with other people after work.  I did not have my car, so I just went wherever AJ went.  I did not mind at all, I was happy to be with him, but this was the start of me alienating all my friends that I had previously spent quite a bit of time with.  He controlled what I did after work by appearing to just really want to spend as much time with me as possible.  And maybe he really did want to spend all the time with me.  In the beginning, we couldn’t get enough of each other.  As a result of this, though, it set the standard for me being so attached to AJ that I stopped interacting with anyone else.

At first, when I did interact with other people still, AJ would make it go wrong in some way that seemed very innocent and sometimes even charming.  I was at lunch with a couple friends and I did not realize it was near his house, so he texted and said he would come meet me there.  I told him no, it is a “girls lunch” and I would see him another time.  He insisted on coming, and I ended up leaving abruptly before he showed up.  My friends consoled him.  Another time, still very early in our relationship, we attended our first “big event” together, my friend’s wedding.  After the wedding we were socializing in the hotel hospitality room and one of my friend’s asked AJ where he lived.  He said “Solon” (a city).  My friend said “Where in Solon”.  This is a totally normal question – we are all from the same very small area and it is likely he could have said “My friend lives on that street” or something.  He wasn’t asking like “Give me your address so I can come over”.  AJ did not respond, he literally got up and stormed out of the room in a huff of anger.  This is where I made the wrong choice – I chose him over my friends.  Instead of letting him have his tantrum and staying with my friends, I followed after him and left the wedding at his insistence.  He did not want to be there anymore, he felt violated and invaded, and he wanted to leave.  So I left.  MY FRIEND’S WEDDING!!!  I left my friend’s wedding.  Bad decision on my part, but just one of the many times AJ pulled me away from my group of friends and refused to become part of it with me.  These are two small incidents, but they add up quickly to the point where it was routine to leave not just my friend’s functions, but family functions, early because AJ became depressed and wanted to spend time alone with me, or was annoyed by my nieces (they were little at the time), or didn’t want to be there anymore.  No matter how many times I gave him chances, he never allowed himself to become a part of my group of friends, he always found a way to take us both away from it.  My niece, who is now 8, has known AJ basically all of her life.  She was 1 when AJ and I first started dating and I had him at a lot of family functions.  In those 7-8 years that she knew and he was such an integral part of my life, he saw her so rarely that she did not know what he looked like when we met him for coffee one day.  I told her “Watch for AJ” and she had no idea who to watch for.  That is how much I was pulled away from family events and how short lived it was when we went to them.

Another way the relationship was unequal was in terms of privacy.  I did not know where AJ lived for at least 6 months.  He was a regular at my house, knew how to get in if no one was home, stayed overnight regularly (on the couch), etc.  When I was at the restaurant with my friends and he said I was near his house, I had no idea.  My phone/computer/iPad were always open territory – he knew the codes, he could pick them up and use them without fuss, I had nothing to hide.  I have never been able to touch any of his computer items, especially his phone.  He would go so far as to show me a picture, but refuse to let me hold his phone to look closer at it.  Yet he created his own thumbprint log in on my phone, just a few months ago.  If I would so much as glance towards his phone, he would turn his back on me.  As it turns out, this was because he was hiding about 5 different lives from me, so I suppose he had good reason.  But the point is, everything of mine was public domain to him.  I was/am an open book, I have nothing to hide, so I am open and honest about everything.  I only learned things about AJ when he “slipped”.  He is actually a really bad liar, so I always knew when something was up and I (almost) always found out what it was – those are the big red flags.  But the “yellow flags” were there from the beginning with his obsession with his own privacy and disregard for mine.

Another unequal thing was where we would eat/movies we would see, etc.  I thought the reason we went to the restaurants he wanted to were so he could impress me (he used his dad’s credit card and took me to really fancy places), but it occurred to me that he never even considered the option of going where I wanted to go.  He also always found ways to get me agree to his preferences without me even realizing it was happening.  He was in complete control of our dating life and I did not see it, I just thought he wanted to introduce me to new things – but it turned out he was forcing me to try new things whether I wanted to or not.

The last unequal thing I can think of was appearance.  I have always worn jeans and tee shirts and hoodies.  It is what I do.  I do not dress up, I do not wear colors and patterns, I do not wear shoes other than tennis shoes.  AJ started pushing me to wear things I was not comfortable in, but I did it because he liked it.  I wore pink and purple shirts, I “dressed up” sometimes for nights out, sometimes I tried to not wear a hoodie, or if I did, I bought “fancy hoodies”.  My entire wardrobe changed significantly.  He would never listen to a thing I would say if he asked my opinion about his clothes.  I was always honest, I would say if something looked goofy or I did not like it, but it never mattered, he did what he wanted.  He had this awful hat he wore for quite awhile and just completely ignored me when I said it did not look good, but he would dictate what I would wear.  When we broke up, I got rid of everything that I hated wearing and replaced it all with my black tee shirts and jeans.  It was freeing.  I did not realize how much I had bought in an effort to make him like what I was wearing.

So in retrospect I can see that AJ put himself in control of who I saw, where I went, what I ate, what I wore and what I was allowed to know.  At the time, it was NOT obvious.  After he cheated on me the first time, it became obvious to all of my friends, but it was never obvious to me.

And a word about friends – if you are a friend who is watching someone go through this sort of thing, I can tell you that you should do exactly what my friends did.  After they realized that AJ was not a great person, and I was still forgiving and making excuses, they let me know how they feel in a very gentle and nice way, and basically said “I will never be Team AJ but I am Team Darcy and I will support whatever you do and continue to accept AJ if you keep dating him, but I have noticed things that are not right and I want you to know that he is not good for you”.  It must have killed them to watch me continue, but if they had pushed it, it would have caused resentment.  They supported me, told me the truth in a nice way, and never judged ME.  Karyn and Mary in particular, you guys could write a book on how to support someone in this kind of situation.  HPB friends, you were a little more “upfront” with it, but I appreciated your approach as well ;-)

I cannot believe I left this part out.  I do not know which category this fits into, but another huge thing AJ did to alienate me from what I love was convince me to stop doing theater so we could spend more time together.  At first, in what seemed like a really impressive and supportive way, he would do theater WITH me.  I would stage manage, he would work backstage.  But almost every night when we would come out of a rehearsal or performance, he would be so angry.  One time it got so bad with him raging about how much he hated theater that I tried to fire him.  I told him it was hurting our relationship to have us working together, and that I could find someone else to work backstage, and that he should not work on the show anymore.  He refused.  It was not a question on my part, I was TELLING him that he was not going to work on the show anymore, and he shut me down and did what he wanted.  He kept tabs on me by working in theater with me, and then wore me down until I agreed that he was more important than theater, and I was too tired and old to keep doing it while still doing a full time job, anyway.  I thought it was my decision, and in retrospect, it was not.

Once AJ became my entire life – no more friends or family get togethers, no more theater – that was when he started the cheating and the lying.  He had me where he needed me – completely dedicated to him and willing to accept whatever he did because he had become my life.  I thought I was his, but I was not, by any stretch of the imagination.  I was his back up for when all the other things he did didn’t work out.  I was the fall back, the stable one, the one who would always be there for him unquestioningly.  That gave him absolute freedom to go from normal cheating to outright telling me “I will be dating other girls, but you will remain my main girlfriend and you will not date anyone but me”.  I had to sit at home and wait while my boyfriend went on dates with other girls.  AND I DID.  That was a Red Flag.  I was essentially brainwashed into thinking that was normal and ok.  He was not happy with me – I wasn’t sexy enough was the complaint most often, or I was boring – so it somehow made sense to me that he should go find that elsewhere while I stayed and waited for him to come back.

I don’t think I would have done it any differently, in retrospect, so I don’t know that this would actually help anyone who is going through this, or a friend of someone who is going through it.  But it helps to share it now that I have that 20/20 hindsight, and maybe someone will see it and be stronger than I was and get out sooner.

And I am still so brainwashed that I miss AJ.  He was a constant in my life for nearly 8 years.  No matter how messed up it was, I miss him.  Bleh.

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