Last we talked, I promised to share that message from my ex-husband. Hope your popcorn isn’t cold! Also, apologies to the estate of Dr. Seuss for the Rodney Writes a Ruse thing. It just sort of happened.
That’s it, folks. That’s a screenshot of the first email from the ex-husband. (If you noticed my use of the word “first” here, you might wonder if I’m implying there is already a second email. Yes, yes I am.)
For some context: Rodney sent that message to me on November 20 via my contact form. He is writing in response to my post, So My Ex Wants to Read My Memoir. Although my blog post wasn’t for him, I do take some responsibility for the parenthetical toward the end that directly addresses him. I should’ve known better. I DID know better. I just really wanted to name-call.
Despite egging him on, it remains my position that if Rodney
were an emotionally whole person, he would’ve recognized from the full context
of my post that contacting me was likely to be perceived by even the most objective
reader as a dick move.
Anyway, I don’t want to spend too much time on this today. I think the quickest way to cut through the crap is to take a line-by-line approach, so I’m excerpting as I go here. His words appear on a gray background because I couldn’t make superscripts work to do footnotes.
OMG! Busted! LOL! Ok … enough about being glib. Yes, I am interested in the memoir because you’re a good writer. In ten years or so, you have an uncanny knack for capturing rage in the details and showing my scumbaggery. I highly encourage you to continue writing. It appears you have a good audience, engaged, and it appears to be growing. That’s good!
The praise of my writing and self-debasement in these opening lines are classic Rodney. You may choose to interpret them as genuine, but I couldn’t if I wanted to. Not after the life I’ve lived. See, while Rodney’s emotional development is irreparably stunted, he’s not incapable of complex reasoning. He has learned during his forty-something years on this planet that if he wants to be likable, he must concede things he doesn’t believe. He’s also learned that he needs to be considered likable, at least some of the time, if he’s going to get what he wants. That I was already confident in my assessment of his character and in the quality of my writing before he made these comments is probably lost on him, but he didn’t write them for my sake. He wrote them for his.
(I bounced in when I learned of your post “Who You Gonna Trust,” which is chapter 4). And, yes, I have read all of the chapters. AND, I’d like to read the rest of the chapters too.
That is, in fact, not the title of Chapter 4. It’s actually Liar, Liar. That he can’t get this small, easily verifiable detail right indicates to me that there’s a glitch in his internal matrix. I’m not a shrink, but I can tell you from about five years of intense observation that Rodney gets the little stuff wrong when he’s struggling to maintain a solid grip on the lies he tells himself.
AND, no, I am not trying to intimidate you.
Bullshit. If he wanted to read the memoir, he could have easily done so without the dick waving. He could have used an alias and never said a word. He could have simply waited to read new chapters during the promotional periods I occasionally offer—periods when all Patreon content is open for public consumption. But he didn’t do that. Because Rodney wanted me to know it was him, and he wanted me to acknowledge his presence. That’s why when I initially refused to be baited and ignored him, he kept pushing buttons.
AND, yes, I knew by joining, Pateron’s system would out me. I’m ok with it … obviously. You’re a damn good writer, that’s all. AND, you’re writing a damn good story.
I know I can write. It was my vocation for many years before the brain tumor. I’m not sure whether Rodney wants to make himself look generous here or what. Maybe? Maybe he also wants to take a stab at minimizing Who You Gonna Believe by framing it a ‘story’ and suggesting it’s not entirely factual. If that’s the case, meh. Memoirs are not biographies, and the preface clearly explains what kinds of liberties I have taken and why I have taken them. Most readers, especially fans of the genre, know this without being told. My disclosure is just a formality.
On another note, I hope you and Dan are doing well.
You’re also welcome to use any or all of this message in your story or other content.
Just for the sake of clarity: Rodney wanted me to post this. I have weighed my choices in handling this matter and decided to post his nonsense despite his narcissism, not because of it.
I swear, when this is all over I’ll have all the experience required to teach a masterclass. I’m going to title it, This Still Isn’t About You Rodney: How to Include a Narcissist in Your Memoir. And people are going to sardonically use the name Rodney like they use the names Karen and Becky.
If you’ve had the chance to read the first few chapters of my
non-fiction webserial, you know quite a bit about my marriage to a guy I call
Rodney. (For those of you who haven’t had a chance or aren’t interested, let me
give you a little background: Rodney is a self-professed compulsive liar, an
unrepentant cheater, and an egomaniacal, manipulative boob.)
Although Who You Gonna Believe isn’t ABOUT Rodney per
se, he’s a prominent character in early chapters. That’s because I’m recounting
pivotal moments in my life that give context to the larger story and support
the theme of my work. You know, basic storytelling shit.
Unfortunately for me, Rodney—who is at best a creepy lurker and
at worst a cyber-stalker—has a keen interest in my memoir. And not in that harmlessly
curious way your ex might wonder what you’re up to these days, either.
Recall that back in November I wrote about Rodney signing up to be my patron. I wondered then whether he was just not bright enough to use an alias or whether he was using his real name and email address intending to intimidate me. The post was my way of signaling that I wasn’t going to quit telling my story. I shared a link to it on Twitter, like I do everything I write, and not long after received an email from Rodney via my website contact form.
The letter was a laughably, transparently desperate attempt
to blow smoke up my ass and make himself look better. Rodney all but ASKED me
to share it with the world, so publishing it was the last thing I intended to
do. “Just ignore it,” I told myself. “He gets off on the attention.” But the
thing about ignoring a narcissist is that it’s simultaneously the only hope you
have of getting him to leave you alone AND the best way to ensure he will keep
Not getting immediate gratification from seeing his letter on
my blog, Rodney tried needling me again—by favoriting one of my tweets. When I
saw his nauseating face in my notifications, I immediately blocked his Twitter
account. Then I asked a few people I trusted to help me determine the best
course of action. We all eventually agreed that refusing to acknowledge him would
cause the most suffering and ridiculed him mercilessly behind his back. (Hey, I’m
only human.) Then, feeling much better after a good vent and a belly laugh, I
went back to not thinking about Rodney for a while.
That is, until Saturday night when he signed up for my
Patreon a second fucking time. “But I thought you said in your other post that he
deleted his account,” I hear you saying. He did! And then he signed up again after
I published Chapter 9:
Corpse Pose—again using his real name, again using his real email.
I was in bed listening to the Sleep with Me podcast when I got the
notification that Rodney’d shelled out another buck to secure his title as the
World’s Biggest Slice of Dick Cheese. I rolled my eyes, scooted down the hall with
my rollator to my get my laptop, and blocked him. Again.
Sunday morning I woke up, still slightly annoyed, and tweeted about this second Patreon sign-up. My sister-in-law texted me when she saw it.
“I’m stuck somewhere between ‘don’t give him airtime’ and ‘try to make money off of the drama,’” I confessed.
“Make that money, honey. Make it rain all day,” she said.
I have no idea if putting Rodney’s present awfulness on display will generate interest in WYGB, but I haven’t had a new patron sign up in a little bit, the appeal against Lincoln Financial Group is ongoing, and our SNAP benefits are fixing to be cut again, so I figure why not try? It’s not like I owe Rodney a single courtesy.
You guys might want to make some popcorn. I’m planning to post his letter soon-ish, and it’s going to be annotated.
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
“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
“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
“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
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?
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!
Become a Patron!
It’s the 30th again, and that means there’s a freshly released chapter of Who You Gonna Believe over on Patreon. Chapter 4 is titled “Liar, Liar”, and this month we reach the part in the story where Rodney, my first husband, confesses to being a compulsive liar. (Yes, of course, he picked after we were married to come clean about that.) I also spill the beans about the night I confronted him for cheating.
Anyway, thanks to my Patrons for supporting this project! Without it, I’d be a right mess. As it is, I already spend way too much time languishing somewhere between “this brain tumor is killing me too fast” and “this brain tumor isn’t killing me fast enough.” (What can I say? Cancer is depressing. Medical bankruptcy doesn’t really help.)
However, knowing that people out there are reading my words gives me a sense of purpose, and I really need that right now. So thank you.
If you’re not a Patron yet but you want to be, it’s pretty simple:
- Go to patreon.com/emilysuess.
- Make a $1 pledge.
- Read my memoir.
Every time a new chapter of my memoir is released, you’ll be notified. Plus, you’ll see your name in the spotlight with all those other wonderful people when I post next month.
Today I’m saying goodbye to June and hello to another chapter of my serial memoir, Who You Gonna Believe. Chapter 3 is titled “Suicide is Painless,” and though I don’t want to give away spoilers, I will tell you it deals with my mother-in-law’s suicide in 2006. The title may sound flippant, but I assure you it is entirely fitting.
If you’re already a patron, you can read it right away. If you’re not, you’ll need to sign up at patreon.com/EmilySuess.
Not familiar with Patreon? Patreon is a place where writers like me (and artist, musicians, podcasters, etc.) can run a subscription content service. We make things you enjoy; you support those efforts with a monetary pledge of as much or as little as you can afford.
For instance, with just a $1 pledge, you get access to Who You Gonna Believe Chapter 3 as well as all previously published content. (Also, a quick reminder: you can catch a sneak peek her on emilysuess.com if you’d like to try before you buy.)
So hop on over to Patreon to catch the latest installment of my memoir. Don’t forget to share my Patreon page with your friends, because I publish bonus chapters when I hit new goals!
That’s it for now. I’ll have more for in the coming week on the latest developments with my fight against Lincoln Financial Group, for those of you watching to see how that saga is going to unfold.
Until then, have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy Who You Gonna Believe Chapter 3.
Become a Patron!