Week 3- It’s not the therapy….
Therapy was not terrible this week. I actually wrote breathe on my calendar for the week. The facilitator admitted in group therapy that the breathe in for 4…….. hold for 8…….. and let it out for 7 was too hard. She let us breathe how we wanted this week. I smiled.
I even shared about my TOM experience:
“I called my dad and was worried he didn't answer the phone (Thought). I was worried he was dead. (Opposite). His phone is probably on silent as he regularly presses the wrong button on his phone (Middle).
“Great job Adriana!” The facilitator actually gave me a great!
What was on my mind today was receiving a subpoena to appear in court.
“Jermaine vs. Adriana.” More about that in a bit.
I had only been stalked once in the last 25 years of doing community-based work with individuals and families who are marginalized. William was young. Maybe in his early 20’s. He was a client with our behavioral health side. William was experiencing homelessness after his mom kicked out. So that’s how he ended up sitting in front of me.
When we first met, William would talk about how he wasn't allowed to be himself at home. He was into graffiti art, and when his parents told him to get a job or get out, he left. He seemed depressed. Was not open to taking meds. A lot of the clients we served were not. I asked him what his art meant to him?
“Well, I don't know. It makes me feel, you know human.”
I nodded my head. “I get what you mean.”
When we had not seen him for a while. I figured maybe he went to Philly to do some graffiti art there.
I was new to Instagram. My account was private. I never allowed people to follow me unless I knew them. There was no photo on one invite. One day I got an Instagram message. The person requesting to follow me told me that found some poetry I had written. The person wanted to follow me. I let my ego take charge and accepted their friend request.
On Instagram I posted some of my other passions besides writing. I liked trying different coffee shops with my husband. I loved posting photos of coffee art. Some of the baristas are artists. We tried to find the most authentic scones in DC.
When William came back to our office, he admitted he googled me. Oh fuck. I have also googled me. I am not sure if you would be surprised by this or not. When you google me, my poetry comes up immediately. Poetry about my self-inflicted suffering. Bad decisions I made. Being a 1st generation Italian American who fucking hard that is. Feminist words. Harsh words.
“You write a lot don’t know?”
“Writing is like your art.”
William just stared at me. He smiled a bit and walked out. I figured out that he was the one person I let follow me that i didn't know. “My fucking ego,” as i pressed block.
I guess when he wasn’t blocked, he took note of where I went. Coffee shops. He was sometimes there. A few poetry slams. William said he was trying to get into writing to express himself.
When he stopped showing up, I searched his name on vine link. This site tells you if anybody is incarcerated in any state. I searched for him in DC, Virginia, and Maryland. He was locked up. I searched for the case that said open. Assault with a deadly weapon. I searched on-line for anything on the local news or newspaper. William had stabbed someone. I felt sick. I never got a restraining order, so there was no documentation of him following me around in person and on social media. I could have prevented this. Fuck. She didn’t die it stated it read in the paper. My palms were hot with sweat. I felt nauseous.
I signed up for the alerts on vine link. The alerts tell you if an individual has been released or transferred. I received alerts when he was out. William would occasionally sign in for me at the office.
“Please tell him I’m not here.” My colleague would go to the lobby and tell William just that. I would wait about an hour before I left the building. I finally got an alert that he was incarcerated again. Soon after I got an email alert that William was transferred. Usually that means you are sent to federal prison somewhere. I didn't google to check if there was a news story. I also did not look up anything up in the court filings. I just fucking let it go. I had to. How would I continue serving people in the community if i really thought about how freaked the fuck out i really was?
So, the week of group therapy session number 3, client his day in court with me. Now Jermaine was someone who always sent horribly offensive emails to lots, and I mean lots of people. Sometimes they were directed at me. Most of the time his emails bounced back. Most of the recipient were smart enough to block him. Jermaine had a very long and violent history. Especially with women.
I personally believe that being detained is a horrible intervention for 90% of people it’s used for. But for Jermaine and William, I just wasn’t sure.
Jermaine started incessantly viewing my profile on LinkedIn. He continued to call me out in emails as a person who left him in horrible living conditions (he moved 3 times).
When we went in front of the judge, Jermaine told her I let him live in abysmal conditions. He was savvy enough to know that you can only sue someone for $10k or less in small claims court. Jermaine was suing me exactly for $10K.
The judge ordered us to have 2 mediation sessions. The we come in front of her again if this was not resolved.
“Your honor, His statement of claim is untrue. We have since moved him from his abysmal living condition.”
“That is irrelevant,” Jermaine matter of factly told the judge.
“Now Jermaine, really?”
The judge reprimanded me for responding directly to him.
“You must speak to me. Then I speak to the plaintiff.”
“Yes, your honor.”
Breathe Adriana breathe…………I silently repeated.
“This is fucking ridiculous (Thought). I want to tell the judge to go fuck herself if she thinks i am going to meditation (Opposite). I am going to mediation (Middle).