[Thieved with love from @gbPizzaCo]
Note: Some information/names have been changed to obscure identities
An order of a large, plain cheese pizza was sent to my address on Monday night. It was after 11pm, I was asleep, so it was only my flatmate who endured the repeated ringing of our doorbell, mildly concerned for her safety. When insomnia woke me at 2am, sure enough I had six missed calls from the pizza place and the delivery driver. And the email confirmation of the order itself. Hey! Your pizza is on its way!
That’s my ex, by the way. Like me, he has a common name with an uncommon spelling.
I spent the next three hours quietly anguished, grateful for friends in different time zones who kept me sane. I fell back asleep around 5.
The upcoming Eroticon weekend marks a full year since this all began. Maybe you remember Joy and I tweeting baffled statements about pizza deliveries and password resets. I remember sleeping less than ten hours over two nights in the hotel, being irritable and confused, and the reassurances that this would all die down when I was safely back home.
A year is a long time when you’re waiting for something to die down and stay dead.
Friday 15th March 2019 – On the way back from the Friday night Eroticon social with Joy and LLL, I get an email stating “your pizza is ready”, and brush it off as spam. Walking from the bus stop to the hotel, a second email “We’re in the lobby with your pizza.”
Weird, don’t delivery drivers usually ring or text? But anyway, I didn’t order a pizza.
When we get in, there’s a delivery driver in the hotel lobby.
We go up to our room. The phone rings “There’s a pizza for you.” We tell them we didn’t order that, and when they ring again a couple of hours later, and then again later still, we repeat ourselves, tired and confused.
Saturday 16th March 2019 – It’s hard to concentrate, hard to connect with friends. We’re so tired. Everyone we repeat the events to is baffled. We go back to the hotel early to crash, stopping by the reception desk to ask them to please not put any calls through to our room.
Joy heads off to the Saturday Social and I relax in the bath.
The phone rings.
We didn’t order a pizza and we asked you not to direct calls to the room. This is harrassment.
Joy comes home early. I’m distraught. She stops by reception to give them a piece of her mind.
We don’t sleep much Saturday night either.
Sunday 17th March 2019 – The password resets. Email addresses, social media, blog.
Easter weekend 2019 – More password resets.
June 2019 – I’ve gone home to visit family for a few days. Unknown number calls, leaving a message about the gym induction I booked.
That I didn’t book.
I burst into tears and ask my mum why someone is doing this to me. Why they hate me.
They can’t hate me as much as I already hate myself.
Summer 2019 – My personal and work emails are signed up to
- Christian prayer newsletters
- Weight loss companies
- Niche adult sex toy brands
October 2019 – Missed calls and an email at work from a wedding venue in Cumbria Congratulations on your engagement. A few days later, missed calls and an email at work from a fertility clinic in Manchester, with the information you asked for. They are appalled when I contact them to curtly advise that someone has pretended to be me. The website form message from ‘me’ says I have pcos and am worried about my viability for having children in the future.
Have I mentioned that I’m tired?
I change my email address at work.
December 2019 – Postal spam from Tena Lady and a letter from a Harley Street Cosmetic Clinic. I grit my teeth and post them back to the sender, not known at this address.
This person knows where I live.
Friday 28th February 2020 – A catalogue for a caravan park in the Midlands arrives, addressed to a Mrs M Davies.
Mr M Davies is my ex.
Sunday 1st March 2020 – A text from an unknown number congratulations on starting your weight loss journey.
I burst into tears.
I’m so tired.
Monday 2nd March 2020 – The pizza.
Tuesday 3rd March 2020 – The password resets.
I’m sure I slept normally once.
Back in the days when we were all convinced it would be over by the time I stepped off the platform at Piccadilly, I was more or less convinced it was the staff in the restaurant attached to the hotel – service had been poor and when they finally left the bill with us, I was infuriated that they’d added a service charge and refused to pay it. I’d paid by card, the same one I’d used to book the hotel, and so to me it made sense that an aggrieved employee might use that information to wreak a little havoc in my life. I said as much to the numerous managers we spoke to that weekend, who eventually refunded us £100 of our stay. We thought that was that.
Until it wasn’t.
Well it was and it wasn’t. There’d be weeks or months of nothing and I’d think “Well now it must be over. Phew.” And then there would be a call or an email and back to square one, suspicion, anxiety and nausea.
October was dogshit. Made me feel the absolute worst about myself. Reminded me that my bed is empty and my body malformed. That I am broken.
And why would immature bar staff take it that far over a £7 snub?
The fertility clinic contact came a few days after I’d commiserated with a fellow writer over the curse of PCOS, on my locked twitter account, with (at the time) fewer than 100 followers (I am now down to under 50). Using more or less the same words I had used.
Earlier on in this time period I’d had to come to the decision it was someone ‘in the industry’. It was the choice of adult products they’d signed me up for that gave them away. So niche. So indie. Bad Dragon, Jimmy Jane, Mystery Vibe. It’s one thing to have someone sign you up for Fleshlight updates when every hack comedian and his dog has a joke about them. The average person on the street probably wouldn’t be au fait with Bad Dragon and their anatomically correct mythical beast dildos. It’s a pretty specific territory.
This sort of ruled out the other suggestion – my ex and/or his family. Hate me though they did/do, it had been more than a year since the breakup when this started, and I can’t imagine making me miserable via the medium of visiting sex toy websites would be high on their agenda.
Consumed, I tried to think of every person I had slighted, rubbed up the wrong way or subtweeted about in the weeks and months leading up to this nightmare. There are many, beef is plentiful and you can’t get along with everyone. But is a brief bust up and a judicious soft block any justification for doing this to me? I didn’t doxx anyone or run over their dog. Can’t help feeling this is an overreaction of epic proportions, whoever it is.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
You might have noticed that I faded away. Restlessly, angrily, petulantly, but the days I was here were fewer and fewer, and angrier and angrier until it was less painful to leave entirely with occasional glances backwards.
And I couldn’t write at all. From 3-4 posts a month, between November 2019 and March 2020 I had made two entries, only one of which was fiction, the other being a brief note about letting go of a piece of jewellery with painful memories attached. For four months, all writing felt like torture, like Sarah Waters’ description of shitting a brick but worse. It wasn’t pleasurable any more. There was nothing left inside me that wasn’t sadness or self-loathing, and neither of those is the best source material for porn.
Besides, I couldn’t trust you any more. Occam’s razor – the simplest explanation is usually correct. The simplest explanation is another blogger is doing this to me. Another member of this community, which supported me when M broke up with me, that championed my work and praised me and cared for me. Now all I can see is you protecting this person who’s spent the last twelve months drip feeding poison into my life. I watch you interacting and how is that allowed when I’m miserable? How is this person still there, still accepted whilst I am isolated and angry? How is that fair?
It is irrational. I highly doubt an entire, international community of people has closed ranks to protect one bellend with a vendetta.
Still, I can’t help how I feel. The ache. Remembering how I used to feel as a part of it. The association of things I used to love with something that has made me feel worthless and small and lost and alone.
Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back
So what now? This is writing after all, and therefore blogging. I am doing my Subject Access Requests like a good girl. Refining my timeline for the police report (although Covid 19 might push it to the back of the queue somewhat). Feeling bruised, and tired – did I mention tired? But…. resilient, I guess.
The cogs keep turning.
And maybe I won’t find out who this weaselly dickhead is. But if I do…
Just call me Shagatha Christie