globe and mail

Hanging Out with My Boyfriend and My Ex

Never thought I’d type that as an article title. Last night I felt like I was living a scene out of a reality TV show.

I’ll provide some background, 7 years ago to the exact day I started working at a restaurant in Vancouver that’s been open for 50 plus years. My first night at work I met a guy who I’ll call Joe. He started openly hitting on me as he does with basically all women that he meets. I remember specifically saying, “We should never been in a room alone together”. I thought he was attractive but I also felt like he seemed like a huge asshole. The prototypical bad boy. It took a few months for me to cave and start hooking up with him. I was so lonely at the time. It’d been a year and a half since I’d hooked up with anyone.

Joe was a player that was even more fucked-up than I imagined. After we hooked up for the first time he invited me over to his place in the morning. Once I arrived, this girl who I thought was his ex was there on his bed (clothed thankfully) and his male friend. They were all high on coke. Joe started rolling around on the bed with his male friend and trying to touch the girl. He then tried to come sit on the couch (aka which was really a backseat from a van) where I was and touch me. I wasn’t feeling it. Since it was early in the morning and they’d been up on coke all night, they passed out shortly after I got there. I made my quiet exit. Clearly that would have been more than enough to make a confident person walk away, but I wasn’t confident at the time. I was pulled in even more. I would make this guy like me.

The hook-ups with Joe continued. I became increasingly obsessed with him while he flaunted having sex with other girls and critiquing every part of my appearance in a negative manner. At work, he would yell at me and treat me like shit. And yet, I kept coming back for me. I wasn’t an innocent in all this. I was emotionally abusive myself. After he’d ditch me to go hang out with another girl I’d text him endless insults and harass him. We were both behaving in psychotic ways.

After months of conflict and continuing to hook-up, we got in an epic fight. Joe threw me down on his bed and put all his weight on top of me, without realizing my left wrist was being bent back. My wrist was sprained. I had never been in a physically abusive relationship before. Yet, this restaurant I was working at represented the first community I felt like I was a part of in Vancouver. I didn’t want to leave this community behind in order to stop being around Joe. Eventually, after a trip to the hospital for a night after a mental breakdown, I stopped all communication with Joe outside of work. Months after I had stopped seeing or texting him he yelled at me in front of the packed restaurant. That was the last shift I worked there. I quit and Joe stayed on.

My current boyfriend, Ian, also works at the same restaurant. I never hooked up with him until I quit working at the restaurant, but part of what helped me quit is that I felt like something could start with Ian and that made me excited and hopeful. I’ve been with Ian for 6 years now. I definitely don’t regret quitting the restaurant. I have a job I love that challenges me and is not in the restaurant industry.

Well, last night my boyfriend went to work and then he started texting me that the manager (who he was also in a band with and who he’s been friends with for over 20 years) told him that Joe smashed the Buddha statue at work and broke its finger off and lost it and quit the restaurant. Joe’s worked there for 17 years. Most people there have worked there for at least 10 years. People tend to stick around because there is a sense of community there that can be hard to find in Vancouver. But communities often have costs that come with being a part of the group.

By the time I picked my boyfriend up after work last night, he said that Joe had called him and was texting him. They’re not friends, but they have known each other for a long time. Joe was looking for some support.

We almost never hang out with Joe, but we invited him over since he lives a couple blocks away. Joe basically he said he reached his limit with another co-worker who likes to stir-up shit and he had to draw a line in the sand. He said he’s been working graves for this restaurant for 17 years and enough is enough, he can’t take it anymore.

This all led to Joe eventually apologizing for the circumstances surrounding how I quit the restaurant. He said sorry, which I’d never heard him say before. I also got an answer to a question I had always wondered about. The day I quit the restaurant 6 years ago, I went out to a bar that Ian and another co-worker (who Ian was fucking) were hanging out at. I had a crush on Ian but since he was hooking up with our co-worker, I didn’t know if anything would come of my crush and I didn’t think it was reciprocated.

I was sitting in the bar when Ian came down and sat beside me and said that the manager had called Ian to ask about me quitting. This made no sense since Ian wasn’t involved in the conflict between Joe and I. Apparently Joe told the manager to call Ian to find out why I quit. I was angry that Joe did this but also surprised. All of my feelings for Joe hadn’t been shared with anyone else. Joe had hit on me, but he was hitting on lots of people at that time–as he had just been brutally dumped by his girlfriend of 7 years. I was looking for someone that wanted to seriously date me. I didn’t want another Joe-like situation so I didn’t give in at that point to Ian’s advances.

Therefore, I was like, why the hell is Joe telling the manager to call Ian? What does Ian have to do with my quitting? Yes, in my mind part of what helped me quit was the hope something could happen with Ian (and I didn’t want to hook-up with a co-worker again), but how would Joe know that? I held on to that question for 6 years.

Finally, last night I asked Joe if he remembered telling the manager to call Ian after I quit 6 years ago. I explained I’d never hooked up with Ian at that point so what made Joe tell the manager to call Ian. Joe said that his dick is 4 inches but Ian’s is 5. Ian’s is bigger than 5. Ian is well-endowed but I’m not sure how Joe knows that. Anyways, to me this was Joe’s way of saying that he psychically or perceptively knew I was into Ian more than him when I quit. That’s kind of what I thought all along.

Last night was cathartic, because I apologized for being emotionally abusive. Joe apologized for doing things like taking a call from another fuck-buddy while in bed with me. That situation did really hurt me. I had to convince and beg him not to leave me and go pick up this other girl (who was supposedly walking the street in a short skirt drunk at dawn). My self-esteem was so low back then. I’m still not nearly as confident as I want to be, but observing Joe last night with his red-wine stained lips, greasy hair and bad B.O. reminded me of how far I’ve come. I didn’t feel attracted to Joe. I felt bad for him and like he hasn’t changed one bit. His rage issues are still running his life. It sounded more like he’s been fired from the restaurant than his initial claim that he quit. The apology helped though. It really did. Also, it made me love Ian more for helping Joe out in a time of need by letting him have us to talk to and for helping me let go of some past shit.

Too bad it wasn’t filmed, because it would have been quite entertaining I think!

It’s That Bad In U.S., Eh?: “Guatemalan Man Calls 911 and Asks to be Deported”-People.com

Cesar Sanchez is making the best of an apparently really shitty situation. As they say, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! I hope if Cesar needs some lemonade (aka healthcare assistance) that he gets it in his home country of Guatemala rather than being held with no medical care in an American prison as that is what is supposedly currently happening).

Check out this link (People.com story) about a Guatamelan man who called 911 to turn himself in as an undocumented immigrant, because he is apparently sick. Makes sense then that he’d want to go home to get some medical care, rather than NO medical care.

This story is funny in a disturbing way. Like, the U.S. sucks so bad that people who once thought it was the lands of dreams are calling the enemy–the cops–to help transport them back to their different vs less developed debate country of Guatemala.

Update: I typed in Cesar Sanchez on google and found this Breitbart news article. I didn’t see things in the same way, but this article contains some more hopefully accurate information.

Dolly Parton Takes Some Shame Away from Suicidal Thoughts

I read this article (click here) on People.com last night, and reading quotes a new book called Dolly on Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton that has compiled lots of Dolly Parton interviews together. According to this book there was a time when she thought about killing herself with her pistol, because she was so unhappy made me feel undeniably better and less shameful about the fact that I’ve had two overnight stays in the hospital when I’ve been suicidal. Dolly apparently said that her dog saved her by running in and jolting her out of her depression and that he is her “spiritual messenger”.

I keep feeling bad because I didn’t actually kill myself and just talked about how I was thinking about killing myself.

That is the sick part about stigma in our society. It should be a positive thing that I received support and didn’t kill myself, but I still think there is a lot of judgment around people admitting they’re in a lot of pain and are thinking about hurting themselves.

I am thankful at my lowest points I was able to afford high quality medical support and I think my mental health problems improved.

Dolly Parton goes out on a limb by being so honest and frank about her own struggles with suicide, because we’re not supposed to admit openly that sometimes life sucks so much it can appear as if death would be a better solution. I hope it’s not. I hope that any individual who is having suicidal thoughts share them with someone who can help you, either at a hospital or with a friend/trusted person.

Dolly Parton proves that you can be incredibly successful and viewed as having it all in life and still be suicidal. Depression and suicide do not discriminate, but I still think that shame is the dominating force that shapes how we treat depression and suicide and that makes it less safe for people who are struggling with these issues.

Anyways, I don’t listen to Dolly Parton’s music on my iTunes but I love her persona and acting (Steel Magnolias, 9 to 5) and this candid revelation about being suicidal made me love her more. Dolly rules! Maybe I’ll make it to Dollywood one day.

On a side note, I saw this article up on People.com last night and it was already far down the page and not a big story even though I think it should have been. Today I went back to People.com to find it and I couldn’t find it was pushed so far down in the news chain of events. I had to type in Dolly Parton suicide People.com on Google to find the article. I may be wrong but I think how quickly this article disappeared from People.com is another example of stigma towards getting help and being open about mental health struggles.