Updated: Jul 22, 2019
I fought long and hard with myself about writing and posting this post. How do I make this funny or entertaining, how do I talk about these dark things with my regular sarcasm and wit? Why do I want to? I've been asked many times where my true crime obsession (so many people have this, it's an interest, for most it comes from nowhere) and dark nature come from. Why I envision every scenario becoming murdery (it is true that in any public place I have an exit strategy planned, just in case). Why I don't have emotions in the same way that others do blah blah (my therapist says it's me protecting myself, and I am not a sociopath. Also I guess I do pay her to say that...hmmm). Do I think everything is a joke? (I do make a joke of most things, especially the difficult ones, it's a coping skill).
It's not as simple as one event or just a morbid fascination (although I'm sure some of it is just interest in the macabre). I did not have a 'normal' upbringing, whatever normal means. Mental illness is rampant in my family; narcissism and personality disorders alike. I was heavily disciplined (often unnecessarily) and emotionally battered regarding my weight as a child. As well, I was mocked for my lack of creative ability when I was growing up. I was known as the 'academic child' or 'untalented one' and the 'white sheep' of the family. I was called things like thunder thighs and porky by a parent who wouldn't allow me to eat lunch because I was too chubby. Although these are awful things, and I am sure contributed somewhat to my less emotional nature, also not the main events causing me to be me (aside from an obsessive tendency toward calorie counting and weighing myself, for this I 100% blame the aforementioned parent). I have a few major events and memories that I think brought me to be this quirky, morbid fun-time I am today and as you would expect they are dark.
We can start in 1983, I was a toddler in Toronto at this time. My brother was a 5 year old in kindergarten and we played regularly at a park with my parents friend's kids (2 girls and a boy, the son being my brother's best friend). Even though I was a toddler I have always vaguely remembered the commotion during this time and my parents concern and sadness (a rare thing so must have been pretty obvious). I remember the school photo to this day of my brother's best friend's sister, Sharin. If I close my eyes I can picture it now. Sharin (this is the correct spelling) was taken from the park we all played at together and her body found later in a refrigerator in a hostel apartment nearby. The killer's name is known (Dennis Melvin Howe) and he is still at large 36 years later. Our family spoke of her and her family often and over time as a child I wanted to know more and to understand it. Why has he not been caught, what caused this and why was it Sharin?
At a very young age (I can remember as early as 11) I was reading true crime. I had to understand. I've come to find, I will never understand. My parents promoted this as well (maybe just that they loved that I read so much) and my mom bought me the book 'Whoever fights Monsters' for my 13th birthday. It is a great read, if you are into true crime.
At the age of 7 (only 4 years after Sharin was murdered) a very close family member of mine was attacked inside a hotel room causing trauma and pain to my family for years to come. The injustices were great and the issue of personal safety for me was always in question. And although this incident could have caused my family to be more cautious and protective, it did not cause them to be more cautious or protective of me. Throughout my young life, their narcissism and their trauma caused me to survive basically parallel to them. No-one was protecting me or really concerned with me and I was learning as I went.
At 16 my father got me a job with his friend. He ran a store and I would go help out with administrative duties. His friend was always a questionable character. He didn't trust him around my mom but for some reason had no concern leaving me alone with him (in his defense, there was another female staff member). He should have, he really should have. I will make it short (it isn't funny at all) but I remember every detail of the room and every detail of the moments prior when he offered me a drink. He had sent home the other staff member early and said we would close up. He offered me a drink and moved his blubbery unkempt body toward the mini-fridge blocking my view and made me the drink. It was alcohol, I was playing cool because I was underage and getting a drink. A couple of sips in he began to massage my back (I was repulsed and had no intention of being polite) and I started to feel woozy. I knew, it hadn't been spoken about before (it was the 90s) around me but I knew he had drugged me. I stood up and tried to make myself large and said 'Take me home now'. In hindsight, why would I want him to be the one to take me home? I should've asked for the phone and called for help, but sadly, I also wouldn't have known who to call. He stood at the back door holding the door for me, I was grasping the wall to stay standing and as I approached the door to leave I was no longer conscious. I don't remember anything until I came to in the car, his meaty pale hand on my leg, desperately trying to hold my head up to see the car radio for the time. I had to try multiple times to lift my head and when I finally saw the time I realized 3 hours had gone by. The store was only 20 minutes from home, what had transpired for 3 hours I will never know. I like to tell myself it was just that hard to get my unconscious body into the car. For fear of my father going to jail for murder himself I never told anyone at the time. And now, my father who has changed immeasurably could not survive knowing he didn't protect me and I fear would hurt himself so this must remain a secret from him. It took almost 20 years for me to tell anyone and the person I trusted with this (my ex husband) was not the support I needed and I put it back away. I will never know what happened but it has affected me in many ways over the years. It comes and goes in my memory and occasionally surprises me out of nowhere. It takes me a lot to put my trust in anyone (and not just because of this), he took my belief in human decency away and I doubt every human's motives in any situation. I once told my therapist that I don't trust anyone and her response was perfect...'why would you? No-one has given you a reason to'. My needs were always last and in my relationships today (or lack thereof) I still find myself allowing that, when all I want is for someone to finally give me a reason to trust.
Fast forward just a few years, I am 20 years old and I have a job at a trucking company. I am bookkeeping and training new staff on data entry. I clearly hadn't really figured out yet that just about anyone can be a predator. Here I met the man who I refer to as my stalker. A short ethnic man who wasn't very bright. In my younger years I lacked patience and professionalism to the point that I wasn't very nice to him (I was downright mean, he must really like that). To this day 19 years after I worked with him, he still tries to make contact with me. It started with an innocent can I have your MSN messenger email (this gives away how long ago this was) at the time I left that job. I thought what harm could keeping in touch with this guy be? To my detriment, I gave him the email. The messages were innocent at first and then took a very dark and inappropriate turn. I will spare you the details, they are awful. I once had to recount the messages to a police officer. He couldn't look me in the eye, just looked down shook his head and said 'Men sometimes'. I told Douglas (my stalker) that I was not interested in him, was getting married and to back off. When he didn't I blocked him. He then tried to contact me on Facebook when it became a thing, imessage, LinkedIn, twitter and any other means (which I would block him from) he could for years and years to come. Recently I believe he called my old office looking for my current contact info. Other than a breach of peace threat the police have never been able to do anything because he has not been violent (I assume threats don't count). Yet another reason I didn't feel protected, by the police and my ex husband who paid no attention to it at the time. I feel an obligation to warn people that spend time with me about this but also don't want to talk about it and it definitely is not something a new guy wants to get into bed with.
These weren't all the shocking and crazy things that have happened either but the best for insight. This doesn't include the cab driver who offered to take favors (and by favors you know I don't mean an innocent kind) to get me home when I was broke and missed my bus as a teen (no I absolutely did not take him up on this and I did get out of the cab on a very large city bridge and walk for hours) or the crazy day at 16 escaping a house with my friend after someone shoved a gun in her face. There's a rumor a curse was put on my family a long time ago and although I am a proud skeptic, I am starting to wonder if maybe there's some truth to this. It's crazy to think that one person has had all these experiences and I definitely did not intend to go overboard in the sharing (but I did, sorry).
I think it's no surprise now that online dating to me always felt like a risk. A risk of Douglas cat-fishing me, a risk of another stalker becoming a thing (almost happened with Hospital Technician Ted) and just a risk of meeting myself a murderer. I don't actually believe I will be murdered in this process but it's not that I don't believe there's a chance (I mean I was drugged by my boss and family friend). I definitely struggle with how to trust anyone especially people I meet online, but I do want to have someone in my life (and it just appears there's no other way to meet people now). I joke about all of this and being ghosted and the many ways I have been disrespected in this process. I do this because if you take it all seriously it would eat you up inside. I laugh at the hard things and make it funny so that I can move forward and I do actually enjoy it and actually see the humor in most situations (even when it sucks). I wrote this post a little as therapy for me and a little bit for the chance that there's a reader who could relate. However, I am not totally jaded and I will continue to try to believe in humans even though they rarely give me a reason to. One day that needle in a haystack will appear and I will no longer be afraid, and he might even live in the same country as me. I believe that good people exist and one day I will be surprised and damn happy about it.