The Next Part of my Strange Sob Story!
So, I began my descent into sadness in the summer of 2012. The trigger was my crumbling relationship with WAW. The founders--John and our friend, Chris, as well as Billy-- were out of the picture and things felt very different. The family atmosphere we once had just wasn't there any longer. First, I had a small falling out with one former member (which wasn't actually a big deal, but others thought it was.) Then, another member who had been there as long as I had, whom I considered a close friend for many years went on a teenager-like tirade against me, accusing me of some sort of trash talking. (That was difficult, because we were both adults and it was way out of line. Also, I just wasn't accustomed to being spoken to so rudely in a text message.) Basically, one after another; things went wrong for me within my closed community-like social circle. I had my allies, but it felt like the whole world was against me. I began lashing out like a caged animal.
The cycle of depression raged on. In August, I asked John to meet me for lunch to discuss my feelings towards WAW, the promotion he helped build. John was furious that anyone there would ever judge or mistreat me. He threatened to get in the ring and spill all of their evil deeds. I told him I wanted to quit and he agreed I should. During an intense meeting a week later, I unleashed the depths of my rage and pain at our roster, before breaking down in tears...again.
|Pyro (with title), myself as Moody Starr, Falcon on right|
He fired back at anyone who may have disrespected me. He recalled my years of generosity and loyalty to the company and reminded them that they had no right to be throwing any stones. He said that I was going through a hard time and that after all I had done in the past, I deserved compassion. I read that email and my jaw just about hit the keyboard on my laptop. I had never hurt anyone in WAW; except John. He was the only one I hurt. Yet, he was the only person willing to publicly stand up for me and completely have my back. Not a single person responded to John's email. He was the king, and he had spoken.
|John inducting me into WAW's Hall of Fame after being voted in that year, 2008|
Around this time, I had an interesting conversation with John. He sent a chat message saying he had something to tell me but didn't want me to be upset. After all the time we had spent apart, he was finally in another relationship. He said he would still be there for me. I felt so comforted and happy for him. he was worried about me as he knew I was in such a hard place. I was so fortunate to have him as my friend.
What he didn't tell me was the strange coincidence in her location. One day, I was standing in my bathroom putting on make up and I saw John's car pull up outside. Not strange, because we live on the same street, seconds away from each other. Then, the girl downstairs got out and I watched in shock as he blew her a kiss goodbye--the car I had rode in so many times and the blown kisses like the one's that used to be aimed at me. It was weird. Not knowing how to react, i just started banging on the window, which he didn't see as he drove away.
So, he's seeing the girl in my small apartment building...what are the chances? I was shaken by that startling scene, but still trying to do my best to keep my sense of humor. I remember updating facebook saying: "Just when you think you couldn't be any more pathetic...you see the girl downstairs being dropped off by her boyfriend...and you recognize him...so you bang on the window like a crazy person" or something like that, I'm not gonna look it up, but it was meant to illicit lols.
As spring days came, I got sadder and weaker. I spent my weekends crying alone, sometimes not wanting to get out of bed. Fridays were so hard when the weekend date night was happening and I was alone (Falcon was a part time bf, usually Wednesday nights). Saturdays for years were spent putting on WAW shows, but now they went on without me as I sat alone in my apartment, gazing out at the world. Watching as John was apparently starting a happy little new life before my jealous, teary eyes.
One Friday night in April I came home from a quick thrift store trip with my sister. It was early, and I was feeling an eerie sadness coming over me. I poured myself a drink and let a few tears run down my face before taking a few depressing mirror/phone pics of my current state. I logged into facebook and added my new profile picture. Then a chat message popped up. It didn't say hello...there was no greeting. It was from John. It simply said: "My girlfriend saw your post about the other night and thinks you're talking shit. I have to unfriend you."
Thinking back to that moment, I can still feel the proverbial knife in my back. (By the way, really? That is not something an adult should say to another adult.) In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the main character is repeatedly stabbed, but it is the final blow handed down by his best friend Brutus that fatally puts Caesar down. I had lost all my friends...and now; et tu, John?
It was confusing. I called him, pleading with him not to do this. Begging forgiveness for any wrong I had done. In another metaphor, John was rowing a lifeboat with me in it. With so little life in me, I felt like I could survive as long as I had his support. Then, he kicked me out of the boat into the cold, dark water. Gasping for air, I struggled and cried for him not to let me drown. But he was rowing away.
That weekend was marked by uncharacteristic cruelty. After getting off the phone with him, I ran outside with tears falling. I said I would wait outside for her to come home and show her that I'm just a woman trying to hang on; I was no threat to her damn relationship. My landlord's son, Jesse, who is our age lives on the first floor. He took me in and I sobbed, telling my story. Eventually, I went back up to my place to sleep a few hours because I needed to be at work at my store job on Saturday.
I arrived at work the next day and my boss immediately asked if I was ok. I worked the morning shift and when I got out to my car to go home, I saw the text messages John left on my phone: "You can't go to Jesse crying about this." "You need to move on." The night before, he abruptly ended a 13 year friendship via facebook message and had the nerve to tell me to move on, less than a day later. As I let my tears flow again, I looked up and saw my mother running to my car. John had texted my sister, coldly telling her to deal with me. My mom had come to my rescue.
She brought me to my apartment where I was meeting up with Falcon before he would go to WAW. I couldn't stop crying. Neither understood what was happening. My mother had known John for as long as I had. Falcon knew him as the heroic leader of WAW, who only a week earlier came to the defense of a woman in WAW who was being targeted by internet bullies. Neither could seem to fathom that John would be cruel to me. Nor could I.
That night, my mom wouldn't let me stay alone. She burst in and had me pack my bags to go home with her. On our way home from my apartment, we drive by John who was getting into his car. I insisted she pull over so he could see what happened. I don't know what I meant to say, but went back to sobbing and saying, "they're taking me home! I'll be safe now!" John responded to my mom's "hello," but never really looked at her. She was dragging her sobbing daughter home for safety and he could barely acknowledge her. As we drove away, my mom asked, "who was that?" in disbelief. Like he wasn't the person she remembered.
The next few weeks were some of the hardest. He decided to erase me and live a brand new life...right outside my window in what was once my sanctuary. I was apparently supposed to become a stranger and steer clear of this woman who disliked me by virtue of being in her place first. I didn't know what to do, but nothing could've prepared me for what happened on that horrible night in May. I give you the firsthand account of what I refer to as the "bullying incident" from this semi-private entry written the day after.
From a note on facebook May 21, 2013
Last night, I returned to my apartment to find another tenant, ML outside with her male roommate and 2 guests who appeared to be teenaged girls. As some of you know, ML is the current girlfriend of my beloved former boyfriend Ioanis "John" Kourtis. She has forbidden John from speaking to me or having me as a facebook friend. A few weeks back, she refused to attend a comedy night where John performed because I was in attendance.
I was returning from my medication provider's office with instructions for medicating myself due to severe emotional distress caused by my severe depression. John has made it clear to me that I must never attempt to speak to her, for some reason.
However, I was not about to get back in my car and wait for her to be gone. I figured that I would make a quick escape, leave my bags in the car and get them later. I walked by quickly, and in an attempt to break ice, smiled and said, "what's up, neighbors!" Immediately, one of the girls, a big gal shouted "ooh, strut, strut!" which is interesting, because I've always walked with mad swagger. "Yeah, that's how I roll" I called back with a smile, hoping to defuse.
Did I mention the severe emotional distress? Upon getting into my home, I could hear them laughing and singing out my window, climbing on her car. I started crying in a panic of the awkward situation. I gathered myself and looked out the window to see if it was safe to go out to my car. There was ML walking with John, the best friend anyone has ever had, toward his home. By the time I made it out there, (and this is what Ive been saying about John and ML's bullshit with the cars and walking--they're constantly driving and walking around out there) John was now driving right next to me as i walked down Canal st. He would not look over in my direction. I just had to stand there as the man who was my closest confidante and my hero up until a month ago refused to look my way.
Can't handle it. I cried once more, sitting down on the back steps of the building to call my mom. Then the door opened, and there was one of the girls blowing smoke at me, as I cried. "Does anyone want to talk?" I asked, assuming that ML had gone, because i saw her leave and thought maybe John drove her to work. The girl said no because she was ML's friend. The roommate opened the door, and I asked him if he and I could speak briefly. He didn't respond, he just turned and ran back in.
Still in tears, I stood up to get in my car when ML and the big gal came out telling me to go away. I responded that I lived here and was hoping to have an adult moment with the other tenant, seeing as though I have never, ever done anything other than be John's former girl that would piss her off. Big gal said, "you were just sitting on our stoop!"
She is not a tenant, and has no claim to our building's stoop. "Your stoop?" I replied incredulously through my tears. "I live here," and I got into my car, immediately texting John to inform him that he needed to call off his damn chick. The big gal yelled, "you're being rude!"
My own tears had messed up the touch screen, and it took forever for my message to send. ML was now blowing smoke and swigging from a beer bottle. She yelled to me (exact quotes) "Go kill yourself, nobody cares about you!" She literally mocked my tears, pretending to cry loudly. "You're John's psycho ex-girlfriend! Psycho, I fucked your old man (?)"
She refused to speak to me, and sent the girl with braces to interpret. I looked past her and said, "I'm calling Colleen (our landlady) we will work something out."
In the brattiest tone I've heard all day she cried out "Ugh. She's calling Jesse's mother!" Jesse lives on the 1st floor, wasn't home. As I cried into the phone, telling Colleen there was an altercation in the parking lot, another car with two more friends pulled up beside me. (Apparently, ML thinks it's her personal parking lot) She drunkenly hollered the situation to her new guests. Now 6 jerks are standing out there drunkenly taunting me. "Colleen's coming over," I cried. "We will work something out."
They all went inside. I'm guessing that for some reason, John didn't inform her that Colleen is an extremely close family friend. She's my mom's bff and they work together. She was soon pulling up and I got in her car and told her what happened.
I sent a couple more messages to John. In no way did I do anything to provoke this bullying I received. He did not respond. And that's what is so horrifying. This is not a random ex-boyfriend; this is John. A few years ago, I broke it off with him after 11 years. Even after hurting him and making him despise me, he and I remained close. The man I knew was a remarkable human being, full of compassion and kindness. He was brave and loyal, and always did the right thing. Last Fall, after I quit WAW, I told him of feeling disrespected by the roster. John stood up for me and ripped everyone a new asshole. In our group, known as WAW, I had only hurt one person and that was John. And John was the only one brave enough to stand up and defend me.
After that, I made sure to tell John how important he was to me and how much I appreciated having him in my life. When he moved in down the street, I got him an Xmas/apt warming gift and made sure to tell him I'd always be there.
For a while, I've been going through a deep depression. In my darkest hours, one who always believed in me was my beloved ex. He never gave up on me. When he started dating ML, this is what he told me: "I don't want to upset you. I am seeing someone. But I will still be there for you."
A tear of happiness rolled down. His words were like a warm blanket or something. I told him how happy i was and that I wanted the best for him. I wanted to meet her, assuming that since it was John's gf, she must've been a caring, kind soul like he is. I was wrong
To be continued tomorrow with part 3: the aftermath and current situation
(spoiler alert: it gets worse)