On the night of November 1, I couldn’t sleep. So I grabbed my cell phone from my nightstand, thinking I’d play a mindless game until I eventually crashed. Before I could open the game app, though, an email notification popped up. I had a new message from Patreon. Normally, I’m excited to acquire a new patron, but on that night my mouth turned dry and my heartbeat became irregular. My large intestine seized and the acid in my stomach sloshed in waves.
“New $1 Patron! Meet [Rodney]” the subject line read.
Yup. My ex-husband had signed up to read my memoir. Only he used his real name and his real email address to do it, not the pseudonym I’ve given him. I know he still stalks me online and don’t usually give it a second thought, but that night I started to fill with rage. It began in my toes and had worked itself up to about my collarbone before I recognized it for the resurfacing trauma it was.
Writing the memoir can also trigger such a response, but I’m aware of what I’m doing to myself and can mentally prepare to deal with the feelings before they morph into physical malady. Being triggered unexpectedly by someone else—the asshole ex no less—well, that required time to gather my wits.
In the middle of defending myself to myself in my head (don’t pretend you don’t do it too), I stopped abruptly, letting the amateur therapist in my brain take over.
“It’s my story to tell. If he doesn’t like—” Me-Me was saying.
“Didn’t you tell yourself he would probably pull a stunt like this when you started the project?” Therapist-Me interjected.
“Huh? Oh. Yes.”
“And what was your conclusion at that time?” Therapist-Me prodded.
“Fuck him. Who cares?” Me-Me replied, somewhat unsure.
“Right. And what’s different now?”
“Nothing,” I said. “His existence literally doesn’t matter to me anymore.”
Therapist-Me paused, waiting to see if Me-Me had anything to add. I did. “OMG! This is absolutely hilarious! Is he trying to intimidate me by paying me $1? I have to tell Melanie. I have to blog about this. But first I have to block him from commenting on Patreon. He doesn’t get to make MY story about him. Do you remember when he hijacked the comment threads on my old blog? Narcissist gonna…narcissist?”
My thoughts trailed off as I opened the Patreon app to block my ex-husband’s account. The app notified me that the requested action couldn’t be completed because the account had been deleted.
I don’t honestly know whether “Rodney” meant to pop in for a minute to intimidate me and thought giving me a dollar was the best way to do it, or if he just couldn’t help himself. Maybe his curiosity got the better of him and he just had to have a look. Maybe he didn’t realize the name and email he used to create his patron account would be sent to me. (In which case, what a dipshit! Next time use an alias and a burner email, you twit.)
I don’t know if Rodney had enough time to read all the published chapters of Who You Gonna Believe before he bailed, but there’s plenty of time for YOU to catch up before a new chapter drops on November 30. Your patronage gets you all the juicy details AND it helps me keep the lights on.
Think about it!