Hello readers. I know I’ve been lying low. As I wrote the other night, I had a little vacation of sorts; a two-day trip to Portland, which was awesome for so many reasons. It’s Christmas time, so everything was lit up and decorated. I haven’t been to Portland proper in a couple of years – I think the last time I hung out downtown was before I started dating Chip. I love downtown, and sharing it with the boy was amazing. He’s walking totally on his own – in fact, we had many, many rounds of “If you don’t hold Mommy’s hand, Mommy will carry you.” I was not prepared for him, at thirteen months, to snatch his hand away from me and yell, “NOOOOOOO!” And although I used to laugh at toddler leashes, Santa is definitely bringing us one this year.

Also? Stairs. So many stairs.

He liked Pioneer Courthouse Square, because it was empty enough for him to run free.

Of course, by the time the evening came, I was almost as exhausted as he was. And then there was something else that was just as special: a visit with Diamond. We haven’t seen each other since she left Hollywood – there were several months before Andy unceremoniously kicked her out and when she moved away. For some of that, he was trying to keep her close; eventually she turned on us and that was the end.

La la la. No hobbits. La la la. No elves.

La la la, no Hobbits. La la la, no Elves.

It was extremely hard for us to reconnect at first. Andy had spent a lot of time playing us off of each other before he kicked her out. I don’t know exactly why. He created plenty of drama. When he encouraged us to work together it was better; we made a great team and were closer than sisters. But for whatever reason he turned us against each other. I am actually ashamed to admit this, but I will, because other people he has hurt (or is hurting) might recognize it, but he very deliberately seduced each of us – with different Others.

Seriously though, this picture is disturbingly on the nose.

But it wasn't cute.

The bottom line is that, since the Others were not the same person as Andy, they could have relationships with other people. So, it wasn’t any of my business what he and Diamond were doing; it wasn’t my boyfriend who was seducing another woman. This took a really drastic turn when “Jordan” died and “Andy” became the core, because at that time “Andy” was not in a romantic relationship with me. Ultimately, I think the jealousy was the death knell – although there was plenty of other stuff.

But it hurt. Oh god it hurt.

Given that his attention was the drug we were both addicted to, it makes sense.

We were also getting “therapy” (or “help” as I suppose he’d call it now) for our various “issues,” including things like self-harming. We both had some issues with that; I had a cutting phase at the end of my first marriage, and Diamond had some issues with biting herself. We both had body-image issues, though Di had an actual eating disorder. And, as I’d mentioned before, he convinced me that I had multiple personalities. He exploited these actual issues (and made-up ones as well) and blew them up until they were the focus of our lives for a while. And we all went along with it, because we honestly thought that he was the only one who could help us. And we were indeed hurting, vulnerable women, or we never would have fallen for him to begin with.

We were both hurting so much. We were easy targets.

An impulsive trip to Canada for St. Patrick's Day. Life in the cult wasn't ALL bad, or we wouldn't have stayed. He can make things very fun in between the anguish. That's how abusers roll.

It’s especially disturbing, given that I do in fact keep an eye on his tumblr, to see him openly seeking people who are hurt and vulnerable in the same ways Diamond (and Little Sam) and I were. He has been posting many, many posts with long, long appeals to people who are hurting themselves, considering suicide or who think they are completely alone in the world. These are the people who are most vulnerable to the kind of manipulation Andy specialises in. I debated long and hard (heh) about whether or not I would address his current activities, because I’m not interested in running a “revenge blog.” Hell, I’m not even that interested in writing a “cult blog,” but that’s where things are right now. And since this is a motherfucking me blog, that’s how it stands. So, when I see stuff like this:

I actually want to see you succeed, because I know you’re strong enough to do it.  I just don’t want to watch you pouring more on the street when the gas tank is empty.  I don’t want to watch you cut to get attention when all they’ll pay attention to is the shallow marks on your arms and not the deep needs on your heart.  I don’t want you to fuck someone to have them want you when they won’t want anything above your waist.  I don’t want you to take that major and go into debt to get that degree to get that job to get the things that you hope will finally maybe make you stop feeling so desperate.

The internet can provide kittens for any occasion.

"That seems kind of disturbing." "Yeah. It makes me uncomfortable."

It scares the shit out of me. Because that is exactly how he got me in. How he got Little Sam in. How he got Diamond in. That appeal is just the right mix for certain people – people who really, genuinely do need help. And he touches on this:

5. You’re a bad person and probably just want sex/to get them to like you/to get something from them/ANY FUCKING VARIATION THEREOF.

For shits and giggles, let’s say this is true.  Let’s say that I have every possible evil intent and want to victimize them ten different ways.  They have to be alive for that.  Which means that step one is me trying to save their life.  Whatever the further steps are, those could theoretically be recovered from.  Death cannot. And let’s not even get into how this sends the message that only if you pass some mythical arbitrary purity test are you allowed to try to help people, which is how a lot of people justify not doing it.

When things get sad, I go get kittens.

"That makes me really sad" "Me too. And scared."

He won’t address what actually happened to his previous victims. But he’ll use it as a way to try to lure in more. It’s hard to watch, but there’s nothing any of us former victims can do but wait and watch and hope nobody else gets their heart and soul demolished and warped, their lives almost ruined and their futures changed forever. Or worse. And talking about just how much damage there was, how many lies he told together, in person, really revealed how very far he went in the name of manipulating us. And all the while, he was endlessly claiming he was “helping” us. And now he’s reached the point of implying that he saved us because we are alive to get therapy and recover from how badly he hurt us.

Seriously. Kittens. For anything. Try it.

"At least we still have each other." "Yeah."

Yes, good things came from us being with him – namely, that we’ve found each other. And yes, we are still alive. But it was not a path I would ever recommend, and if the best defense you can offer is “at least you’re still alive,” that’s pretty fucked up. And although I wouldn’t trade the friendships we’ve built since he was gone, there are much better ways to get help. And no, I won’t be putting my phone number on the internet for any desperate person to call. I am not a therapist, not a magic helper, not the only person who will ever listen to people’s problems. No one is. The world is full of people who care, and it is deeply disturbing and legitimately suspicious for someone to go on such a binge of soliciting vulnerable, hurting people.

There are many red flags.

It's what you call a "Red Flag"

As for Diamond and me? Within minutes of being with each other again, we were hugging and tearing up and realizing how very strong the bonds we have are, even after all the years of hating and fearing each other. When Andy threw her out, he spent a lot of time demonizing her. As for Diamond, she left thinking (as many did) that Andy and I were a single unit, equally responsible for hurting her. Once we could talk, first online and then face to face, we could really see, heart to heart, how very much it was Andy all along.

Amazing, how few pictures of that life I have.

Monkeying around with our hearts. It's funny, except totally not.

I am very grateful to reconnect with Di, and with Sam and Bob. We’re all talking very regularly, and are even hoping to have a little get-together after the holiday season. It is incredible to be able to talk freely about the things we saw, heard and believed. And all of us are hopeful that, by sharing our experiences openly and without shame, we actually can help some people: The other people who have been hurt and used by Thanfiction, Andrew Blake, or any of his other incarnations. Nobody’s going on a hunt for them or trying to chase them down to make a desperate phone call to a stranger. But, if people he’s hurt see our own stories and know they are not alone, that might make a difference. And knowing that they don’t necessarily have to lose all their friends by getting out of Andy’s grips might help too.

We both laughed that we're so white all we need is some glitter and we'd be in Twilight. Irony!

We are not afraid anymore. And Di? Thanks for bringing the rum. ❤