I met Michael online when I was 17. Nothing was going on, we just chatted and then stopped talking for a few years. During my relationship with R we had started talking again. He was my respite from my controlling relationship. Michael had things to talk about. He talked about the social issues I was learning about university, he told me about the webshow he and his friends were creating and we told each other about our pasts with no judgments. I told Michael about my relationship and he kindly listened while I described the emotional abuse I was experiencing. Little did I know it was making him upset. I remember the day I told Michael I liked him. I was nervous. What if he didn’t like me back? I remember stressing about it to my friend and she told me that it was a chance worth taking. On MSN I typed, “Michael, I like you.” and he responded with, “I like you too.”
Here began the constant attempts to get together and met in person and my constant cancelling of plans. I was afraid to let R down despite feeling worthless in my relationship. R knew that I liked Michael and he might as well have been holding onto the collar around my neck. I suddenly wasn’t able to hang out with my girl friends anymore.
From the moment I told Michael I liked him I began planning when and how to leave R. I planned for 9 months with my social worker. What are the pros and cons of leaving R? What are the pros and cons of being with Michael? What are the pros and cons of being single? Lists upon lists but finally I asked my social worker, “What would you do?” She hesitated, since she wasn’t really supposed to give me her opinion like that but I was running around in circles. She told me, “I dated an R once but I left him and now I’m marrying my Michael.” That was it.
I’m excited to be attending this event!
Check out my review for Mad Matters!
I recently had the opportunity to read and review Robert Jacoby’s novel, There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes. You can see the review here. I would like to share with you the second part of my exploration into this novel with a guest post from the author Robert Jacoby. I would like to thank Robert for this post and the upcoming interview and book giveaway.
How a Novel Can Jump-Start a Conversation
By: Robert Jacoby
In the U.S., last month was Mental Health Awareness Month. Last week, on June 3, President Obama opened the National Conference on Mental Health. Its stated purpose was to start a national conversation about mental illness. The government even launched a new website, mentalhealth.gov [link to http://www.mentalhealth.gov].
Still, for all the “advocacy” and “awareness” and “facts” that are out there, it seems that mental health issues still very much carry a stigma among friends, family, and colleagues. Tell someone you’re feeling feverish and chilled, and they’ll be happy to recommend any number of remedies (get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, see your doctor, etc.). Tell someone you’re feeling “down” or “out of sorts”….can you?
It’s not much of a conversation.
Part of the problem may be lack of empathy. Many people genuinely struggle to imagine experiences they do not have, or what others are feeling and thinking. If all you have is yourself as a yardstick, your worldview is your “comfort zone,” and it can tend to be limited.
Reading fiction (literature) can help expand a person’s range of experiences. It does this by allowing us to explore human experiences we might never have. And it can deepen our appreciation and understanding of human experiences and, thus, of what it means to be human.
I wrote my novel, There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes, [link to http://www.amazon.com/There-Reasons-Noah-Packed-Clothes/dp/0983969701] in part, to give people an experience they very likely will never have and most probably never thought possible. It’s the story of 19-year-old Richard Issych, who wakes up in an inpatient unit after a failed suicide attempt. The novel follows Richard on his journey over several weeks’ time as he tries to find his way to a place where he wants to live. Along his way he encounters new friends and foes, and re-encounters his family.
The novel tackles serious issues and explores extraordinarily raw emotions in a fictional setting. I wrote it through Richard’s eyes and mind so that I’d be able to focus entirely and intensely on his experiences. In certain parts of the novel I use stream of consciousness and poetic elements to convey Richard’s anguish, confusion, and (yes) wonderment at life and the world around him. I wrote it so that readers could experience something they might otherwise never experience (never want to experience): what it feels like to be a suicide survivor.
Nothing is sugarcoated, nothing is hidden. There are no neat, packaged endings. Life is too complex for that. You’ll need to figure it out on your own, as you go along. It’s what we all do, what each of us must do. I hope my novel can deepen your life experience and prompt real conversations with a friend, a family member, or a colleague.
“Is this how it feels?”
A simple question may be all that it takes.
“No. I mean it: how are you really feeling?”
Author’s homepage: http://robert-jacoby.com/
Author’s Goodreads page, blog, and book reviews: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14571.Robert_Jacoby
Contact the author for interviews, book club events, appearances, etc. at robert-jacoby.com [link to www.robert-jacoby.com].
I’m going to be very busy these next two weeks. I’m going back to school in September to get an Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma and I got direct entry into second year which is requiring me to do a two week crash course of first year. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of new information being thrown at me each day so if you do not hear from me it’s because I’m trying to figure out what I’m being taught!
(I have dated two guys with the same name and both have left a lasting impact on my life. This is about the second R so he is named R-2)
I was with R-2 for 14 months.
He first contacted me on MySpace back when I had a profile. I was 18 and he was 22. I was dating someone but he treated me horribly so when that relationship ended I went to R’s place with my friend. He met us in the lobby of his apartment and I was floored. I thought he looked great. He was 6’3, big guy, black hair, tattoos, lip ring and spacers. This is the guy I thought I had been waiting for.
We spent a lot of time together over the next week. I stayed at his house frequently which sometimes meant I came over and waited for him to come home around 11 pm from work. We got to know each other and I shared with him my past mental health issues and troubled relationships. I told with him that I had cheated on a few past partners and he shared with me how the first girl he loved cheated on him. He took this as a sign that he couldn’t trust me. I told him how many guys I had slept with and he shared with me how many girls he had. Despite our numbers being similar he called me a slut.
Maybe it was my fault for sharing, maybe I gave him a reason to not trust me or, as I like to think, he was just not a good person, but R began to keep me on a leash and he would constantly shorten it.
He texted me all the time. I thought this meant he loved me but I know now it’s because he had to know what I was doing at all times.
We spent most of our time in his room watching movies or at my house watching movies. He barely had friends to begin with and he cut himself off further to be with me. I had always had friends and I cut myself off from them to be with him.
R told me that guys and girls couldn’t be friends. I told him he was wrong. He told me guys and girls couldn’t be friends. I told him he was wrong. He told me guys and girls couldn’t be friends. I told him he was wrong. Fight. Fight. Fight.Fight. Fight. Cut. Scream. Cry. Stay.
I compromised, I tried my best. I wanted this relationship to work.
I told R that he could meet my guy friends but he said no.
I explained to R that we both have our pasts and it’s not right to damn each other for it but he said no.
I told him that I would only hang out with guys when he was around but R said no.
I threatened to leave if R didn’t let me see my guy friends but R said no.
I began to go behind his back every chance I had.
I would go on MSN while he was at work and quickly sign off when I saw him walk up to the door. R would sometimes see me jump from the computer and he would ask me why. “I wanted to see you of course!” I would say with a smile. The reality, and he probably knew it, was that I was speaking with my guy friends.
My friend B gave me a purse for my birthday. Because B is a guy R-2 wouldn’t let me use the purse.
When I would study for my exams R-2 would complain I wasn’t spending enough time with him. He would eventually tell my Dad that he was worried I was going to become smarter than him. He would break up with me before I went into a text and I would have difficulty concentrating, just wanting to finish so I could get out and tell him I was sorry for existing.
R-2 also came to the conclusion on day that my girl friends weren’t good enough for me and told me I couldn’t hang out with them.
He would start talking to his ex-girlfriends or other girls to get back at me.
R-2 said that he knew more than me because he was older. I told him that experience has more to do with wisdom than age. He told me I was wrong.
He didn’t believe people could change. Since he knew that I had cheated on partner’s in the past he believed I would do it to him. I had damned myself. I never cheated on R-2.
When the night finally came where I stood my ground and went to my friend’s party he had told me I looked like a slut. (I would do this one other time)
R was suspicious and in some ways rightfully so. He created the circumstances though. I did my best to give him and myself what we needed.
R read my text messages.
R went on my MSN account and yelled at one of my guy friends.
R went through my journal and that’s how he found out about Michael.
The song that sums up my relationship with R-2
“Any slight happiness I had about starting school is gone! I was already nervous when my Mom came downstairs and asked me if I want to move into a small apartment and I didn’t know what to say. I told R-2 and he started freaking out saying it wouldn’t work! He said he wouldn’t know if I was having guys over! He had his chance to move out so I want mine!” -September 4, 2007
“I had to turn down a job because it was in Ottawa (I can only do local DJ’ing now that university has started…M said that he could give me $300 since I need money…I’m talking to R-2 about it. He has his suspicions but they are far from being right…I know what’s going through R-2′s head is that M wants to fuck me hence the possible large amount of free money.” -September 25, 2007
“Back and forth between being together and not. I don’t know what I want because being with R-2 and not being with him both seem right. I do feel like he tries to dominate me. He tells me the opposite of what is really true or just doesn’t tell me anything. He talks to girls more often than he said. Everything is a complete double standard. I don’t feel like I’m his equal. I even doubt he sees me that way.” -January 28, 2008
I was getting ready to head out when Out of Control by Hoobastank came on my Ipod. This song reminds me of some very emotionally abusive relationships I found myself when I was younger.
I thought these guys loved me but I know they just loved the fact that I was so weak, unable to stand up for myself or make decisions and oh so eager to please. I couldn’t trust my mind so they told me what was right and wrong. I fought them on it most times but I just wanted them to be happy with me. I was willing to change and did change if it meant they would be happy with me and stay. I was always left bleeding, drunk, angry and crying.
I tried so hard to give them everything they wanted and didn’t care if I was given nothing back. It just broke me down and even these past four and bit years with my current partner has only been unable to undue a bit of the damage that had been done.
I just wanted to be loved for who I was not for who they thought I should be.
One day you’ll know what it is but for now I just need to tell you all that I have one and that I almost shared it with important people yesterday but I ran out of time and had to head to work.
This song has been lifting me up lately
“Nobody’s gonna see me comin’
Nobody’s gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin’
Nobody’s gonna bring me down
Nobody’s gonna see me comin’
Nobody’s gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin’
No stoppin’ me since I’ve found
My inner ninja”