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Of Stalkers and Why Writing is Hard



There was a time I didn’t live in fear of creating. A time when, after I had finally managed to regain my childhood wonder for the art of art itself, I no longer felt the need to hide the ideas in my head. I wrote novels, I wrote short stories, I wrote… darkness and light.

And I shared those stories with the world, or at least my own little corner of it. I loved being able to put those stories out there and have people read them, respond, tell me what they thought, whether they liked it or not. I loved interacting with the world.

For probably the first time in my life, I felt like I mattered.

And then he showed up.

I didn’t really understand what was happening at first. In a way, that makes sense. Some of my life experiences were geared towards me freezing up when an older man turned his attention towards me and offered me affection. I was conditioned to give in to that attention, to crave it. I hated myself for it, but it didn’t seem to matter. An older man told me I was special, and those were words that had been used forever to steal away parts of my soul.

I haven’t written in three years now. Oh, I’ve plugged away here and there. I’ve started a few times. I’ve written a couple of very bad short stories, much too short and far too little story… but whenever I try to commit to something bigger, I now freeze up. I imagine getting to the point that I put that story out there and someone, some other, old man looking to tell me I’m special, will show up and once again refuse to stop showing me attention.

No means no.

I shouldn’t have to tell an adult this, yet they seem to be the ones who can’t remember.

No means no, and some people don’t listen.

I think he started stalking me in 2014. Thankfully he never knew my physical location, but in every corner of the internet that I traveled to, he’d somehow find me. It just seemed like he was a dedicated fan of my work at first. He liked what I wrote, he related to the characters and to the themes… all normal things. I appreciated my fans and I tried to be friends with them, and so when he seemed friendly and non-threatening, I invited him into my life too.

But then things started getting weird. He started telling me that he loved me. Not my work, but me. This guy in his 70s just couldn’t leave that thought alone. He had to tell me, to pine over me and make sure I knew. He told me he knew me from a previous life, and, since I believed in reincarnation at the time, he was able to make that convincing. I bought into some of his story, because I… once, long ago, as a child, had a different older man tell me similar lies.

And I’ve always been conditioned to believe those stories. I’ve always wanted to believe that I was special, and meant for more than the pain of my every day life. Someone had robbed me of the ability to believe that I was worth anything on my own. Someone had robbed me of the ability to see myself as worth anything to anyone, unless they implicitly told me.

Those who sense that vulnerability are very good at exploiting it. Those who abuse can see those who have already been abused, and open those cracks wide enough to get inside. The man who stalked me was one of those. He saw the hidden, scared child who had suffered intense abuse by the hands of others and saw a way to use me for himself.

So he widened the cracks in me, and he made himself at home. He piled praise on me, so that he could try to get inside my heart, to steal what was left of my childhood soul.

I finally figured it out, about four years ago. I had finished writing just one more story about pain and darkness. I had figured out what life meant to me, and what I wanted to live for, and he was there… he was there telling me those same sickening honeyed lies. Still professing his love to me, a love I’d rejected countless times before. He was still there telling me that he wanted me, that I was meant to be with him. I had warned him that if he crossed the line again, I would never speak to him again, and I would cut him off from everything.

He didn’t listen. I cut him out immediately.

But the fear remained. The power he had over me remained in some insidious way.

I tried to write another novel. It’s the worst one I ever wrote, and that’s counting that atrocity against the English language and all known rules for plotting that is my first novel… It was a story about two men falling in love in a warped and nightmarish reality. It’s literally horrific, and full of abuse. I couldn’t stomach it.

But I wrote it, and then left it in disgust.

Because I know that it’s about him. It’s about all of them. It’s about every single older male who ever tried to groom, seduce, molest, and rape me. The fact that I can’t even count them on my fingers says something to the life I’ve lived. Those nightmares plague me still.

How am I supposed to tell stories to the world, when people like that exist? When a stalker could be hiding behind every keyboard? How can I keep sharing my soul, when some will latch onto it like a parasite because they no longer have their own?

I hope that I’ve healed enough that it no longer matters. I hope that the work I’ve done through therapy and a great deal of introspection has repaired those cracks enough that no one like that will ever find a way in again. I hope… but I still fear.

I’m going to try to write again, but know this to anyone who reads this.

If you ever attempt to manipulate me into trusting you so that I give you a piece of me I’ve told you that you cannot have, I will cut you out immediately. I will curse you with every curse I know. I will condemn you to every hell in the ears of all who know me. I will ensure that the world knows you for the monster you are.

Wherever you are, Don, Peter, Ehrhart, and all the others who dared to try to break me to your will, where once you may have succeeded, you have ultimately failed. I have escaped your delusions, your crawlspaces, and your basements. And I will never back down from tearing the likes of you from the fabric of this reality.

Going forward, there will be new rules with regards to patronhood. Those of you who are already here and already friends with me, you are the last ones I will allow in in that capacity. Anyone new will just have to accept that I am polite to my readers, but not friendly. Anyone new will just have to accept that the relationship between writer and reader ends at the last words on the page, or the last comment left on the chapter.

I will not be taking any readers into my life again. I’ll carry them generally in my heart, but there must be a line drawn and it is being drawn now.

Again, if we’re already friends, this doesn’t apply to you. Consider yourself already vetted. You’ve made the cut.

But this boundary is necessary for me to go forward, to write again, to share again. I need that to be clear. Stalkers and manipulators are not welcome here. If any of you see any behavior of that sort, please let me know so it can be dealt with. Again, if you’re here, I trust you already. Let’s make this world better together.

Much love to those who’ve stayed without demanding my love in return, despite my long hiatus. Your support means the world to me.

~H. S. Icarus (The writer formerly known as Cynus)

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Somehow I missed this when it was first posted.  I gave it a 'like' because I can't give a 'love' for all the abuse you've gone through.  I'll give a ❤️here as a gesture of caring.  I can understand your reticence about writing, since some scumball tried to take it and twist it into something other than it was.  Setting boundaries sounds like a good thing.  I hope you are able to find a place to write again.  :hug: 

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On 10/15/2022 at 7:12 AM, Valkyrie said:

Somehow I missed this when it was first posted.  I gave it a 'like' because I can't give a 'love' for all the abuse you've gone through.  I'll give a ❤️here as a gesture of caring.  I can understand your reticence about writing, since some scumball tried to take it and twist it into something other than it was.  Setting boundaries sounds like a good thing.  I hope you are able to find a place to write again.  :hug: 

Thank you, my friend. I have the same hopes as you. I keep trying to start, but I keep stopping. Hopefully I'll finally get out of the driveway one of these days.

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