One thing I haven’t written about yet is the anger that Andy leaves in his wake. Not really, not with the gutting honesty I usually use. The shame, the fear, the sadness…those things are far easier to admit. The rage isn’t funny. And for a long time I have been very careful to keep it out of my posts, because I didn’t want to be vengeful in words or actions. I didn’t want to bolster Andy’s “bitter ex-girlfriend” defenses, or be carried away by a “tsunami of rage” like Jeanine was.

I'd rather just keep my head above water.

I’d rather just keep my head above water.

But the rage is a very real and healthy part of being out of the Cult of Andy – and for anyone who has escaped an abuser. It was in discussing this with a former DAYDian that I realized I had a more appropriate resource – my old LiveJournal, which I started within a month of leaving Andy.

This is a picture taken the same day the notorious FauxPology was posted.

This is a picture taken the same day the notorious FauxPology was posted.

When I got out, the urge to start writing again – for myself instead of as part of my therapy – was very strong. I knew it was essential to find my own voice again. Writing had been a central part of me until it was simply drowned out by Andy’s fantasy world, and it was the first place I knew I could rebuild.

Y'all

The second place to rebuild was community theater. I was Truvy in this show. The wig was enormous.

It was hard to get started. I had been without computer for years and felt overwhelmed with these MyFace and SpaceBook things. Worse, I was absolutely terrified that either Andy or Jeanine (who was still fully convinced I was an accomplice) would find me. I didn’t want to be connected to my old handle anyway (Orangeblossom), because I didn’t feel at all connected to my former self. Kumquat was a nickname my childhood best friend gave me, and I was pretty sure that it was obscure enough that no one would know. Since that handle was taken, I added “Writer” and tiptoed back into LiveJournal, starting the long, slow process of reconnecting with the world.

The one on the left just had twins!

Not just online; I made friends in the real world too, and learned how normal adults socialize.

Sharing these old posts isn’t just hubris; Diamond has thanked me more than once for showing her. And the fresh pain in those is a lot more helpful to someone just going through it than my calmer, reasoned, post-therapy writing.  Even a year ago, they were far too raw and open to share. But after all the forgiveness and reconciliation that’s come; after so many people have told their stories, it’s time.

Pic unrelated.

Pic unrelated.

I haven’t unlocked the whole thing; I’ve kept private things that were too irrelevant – or too intimate – to ever post publicly.  You can read through it chronologically starting here. If you would prefer, the posts I feel are most important are below.

June 5, 2007  This is one of the earliest posts where I was trying to separate myself from Andy’s world.

July 1, 20007 This is the first time I talked about being a victim while most people thought I was nothing but a con artist. A lot of pain and sadness there.

OkCupid.com! It worked for us!

In August, my shrink deemed me ready to start dating. I was starting to meet people through a dating site.

August 2, 2007 A description of an incredibly vivid nightmare I had, ultimately repeatedly for several years. My dreams have always been quite literal.

September 27, 2007 Pain and frustration over yet another attempt on Andy’s part to get me back.

Still friends with most of them, too.

That job rocked for a while, even if I did sometimes have to serve coffee to people I hated in high school.

November 19, 2007 Still being contacted but less angry, more distanced. Outside of LiveJournal, I was holding down a full-time job and had bought myself a car.

February 18, 2008 Feelings about Jeanine. This is also after Andy sent me a massive pile of Valentine’s Day stuff. This is also a few months into my relationship with my husband. (link fixed)

New Year's Eve, 2007/2008. No idea which year this was taken, as evidenced by Captain Morgan over there.

New Year’s Eve, 2007/2008. No idea which year this was taken, as evidenced by Captain Morgan over there.

February 26, 2008 Final direct contact with Andy, when I called him from my now-husband’s phone to tell him I was never coming back.

I realize that Andy’s defenders (and likely Andy himself) will howl about how that was ever so long ago and he has totally changed this time for real. However, the fact that people contacting me, asking for this kind of help (you know, how to deal with Andy treating them the same way he treated me) means they aren’t irrelevant. These are people who got out within the last three years.

That's love. And I hiked in Yosemite when I was seven months pregnant. That's love too.

Three years ago, we took a belated honeymoon. Not only does Chip know my past, he went to see it himself.

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