Why I Support Shimmy Mob

CW: stalking, emotional abuse

I was first introduced to Shimmy Mob by Natasha from The Lovely Dozen Bellydance in Grand Forks, ND, back in 2013. I loved the idea of dancing for a cause. In 2014 and 2015 I took over Team Leader duties. Since we moved to Albuquerque I have missed being a part of that, and I am very happy to be the team leader for 2019.

I have been pretty lucky in my life – great family, loving husband, good friends – but I know that a lot of other people have not. My wish is for everyone in the world to share my good fortune. To be safe, secure, and supported.

There were a few years when I was not so lucky. I started dating a boy I met in church when I was fifteen. It probably should have lasted for about 3 months, but it dragged on for five years. I believed that if two people loved each other enough and were willing to work hard they could make it work. What I was failing to realize was that I was the only one doing any work.

It’s very embarrassing for a strong person to admit that they were foolish, and that’s why I have not talked about this with very many people. I won’t go into too much detail, but some highlights of those five years include:

  • Him being so habitually late for dates my friends dubbed it “pulling a Mikey.” We’re talking 1-2 hours.
  • Telling me it was my fault I was upset because I should have known he would be late.
  • Telling me that I made him feel guilty when he wanted to spend time away from me, even though I told him repeatedly that if he wanted to spend time with his friends to just tell me and I would find some other way to occupy my time (I also have friends!).
  • Tricking me into asking my parents to help with his phone bill so he could call me (much of this relationship was long distance). He called me for approximately 5 minutes twice a week, always after 11pm, but had phone bills over $70. Hmmm…
  • Compulsively lied about things that were totally unnecessary.
  • Told me his mother didn’t like me because she though I was “holding him back.”
  • Told two of his college teachers that he had been missing class because his girlfriend (me!) had been in a car accident and was in a coma, or dead, depending on which teacher he was talking to. One of these classes was beginning typing, and he was using the class for an easy A. He barely passed with a D, out of pity.
  • Told me he would stop doing drugs if I asked. I asked. He was later arrested on drugs charges and spent time in prison. I dutifully visited.
  • Cheated at least twice (that I know of). Brought his second girlfriend to meet our mutual friend and seemed to think that it wouldn’t get back to me.
  • “It’s not fair that you withhold sex just because you’re mad at me!”
  • “Dumped” me three times as a means of control.

That third “dumping” is the critical one, because that was my rock bottom moment. He dumped me over the phone at 2am. At this point I was supposed to beg him to take me back as per the usual script, but I was over it. I was just angry. I went to see him that weekend, as we had planned to see each other anyway. I demanded he dump me to my face. He hid. When I finally tracked him down he made a big drama out of it. I said “fine, bye.” He got angry that I was done. He then looked at me like he was changing tack. He started talking about “remember when” and wouldn’t stop until he made me cry. Then he smiled. Clearly pleased that he thought he could still manipulate my feelings. He then asked me to get my parents to pay his phone bill (I did not). What a dirtbag.

After that I saw him a couple times “as friends,” trying to do the civil thing everyone tells you is right. But it’s not. I was barely tolerating him. Now that I was over him he suddenly paid more attention to me. I ignored him and started dating other people. People who are decent human beings. I relented during the next fall break and agreed to meet him for dinner for the sake of “civility.” He said he always thought we’d get back together. I was enraged. He tried to make me feel guilty for moving on with my life. It had the opposite effect.

I stopped returning his calls. I met a super guy who I am still happily married to today. I continued to move on with my life. Awesome! I felt so stupid because I realized I could have just walked away at any time. Right?

Wrong. I shouldn’t even be writing this blog post. This should be a distant memory that I rarely even revisit. I should never even think about it. But.

Sometime around 1995 he started calling me at work. He tried unsuccessfully to trick the receptionist into giving him my home number. He would call twice, then stop for a while. He knew that the third call would mean I could file an official complaint. Stable people don’t do this. A few years passed, I relaxed. Then he started calling me at work again! I hung up on him, he called back and demanded I listen to him. I made him swear that if I did he would never contact me in any way again. He agreed. But he’s a liar. By coincidence that was my last week on the job. He tried to call me at home just a couple weeks later. This was 1999.

The final dumping was in 1993. I have never been kind or polite, never given a glimmer of hope. I told him to leave me alone. We were never friends. But he sent me a friend request on Facebook. In 2015. And when I blocked him he waited a few months. Then he added me to his circles on G+. Blocked again. My feelings should be clear, right?

He has contributed to my last two Shimmy Mob campaigns in 2015 and 2019.

He has moved into a house a couple blocks from my parents. He has stopped by to offer them homemade preserves.

As a performer I live my life in public, so I can’t avoid this sort of thing 100%. This makes me feel creeped out and unsafe. Even though I moved to the other side of the country. No matter what I do I can’t get away. I do not want anyone else to feel unsafe. It is very stressful to know that a creeper is watching you. How many stories have we read about some entitled dude murdering a woman who has rejected him?

That is my story, but unfortunately it is not over. Please read up on the signs of emotional abuse here, and look for local resources to help you leave abusive relationships. You don’t have to experience all the signs for it to be valid.

If you see a friend who is being abused, please say something to them. I wish someone had for me. I wish I had known what to do when I was young, for the sake of another good friend who was also going through relationship abuse at that same time. Here’s a script:

“Hey friend. I know that you care about his person a lot, but you always seem sad and stressed out about them. They are hurting you and it makes me sad too. I would like to help you when you are ready.”

I do not like talking about this part of my life, but if it can help someone else it will be worth it.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brenda
    Mar 11, 2019 @ 20:53:26

    Wow! I never knew this. I’m so sorry this happened to you! I went through some emotional abuse with my ex husband, but not to the extent you did. You are an amazing person and a wonderful friend! Love you!


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