In college, I dated a boy who threatened that if I ever broke up with him, he’d kill me. He also made similar threats to my original family. It was a very, very dark time of my life. Back then, he attempted to carry out his threats on several occasions, saying he wanted me to know that he had control over whether I lived or died. (How I got to this point and how I escaped him are two other stories irrelevant to this post.)
Flash forward from my college days, about forty years.
Last year, I told my cousin it was the fear of this man finding me was why I wouldn’t have anything to do with my high school or first college. Because of my husband’s job, our family moved enough to confuse even the best of our friends’ Christmas card lists. My cousin encouraged me to look up my bane and see where he was. It was such a casual, non-fearful suggestion. I said I didn’t want to know. But her comment nagged at me. As a Christian, I knew I’d always be free at death, but with this guy somewhere out there, there was a teardrop of his black threats quenching me, holding me back from doing anything very public. I never minded the quiet life. When I got home from my cousin’s, after decades of trying to ignore that deep-rooted fear, I finally googled my stalker’s name. His was a unique spelling, so it came up right away, in the town where I knew he last lived, doing activities I knew he’d loved. It was an obituary. There is no doubt this was my stalker. Plus, the obituary was only in the on-line paper for one more month. Had I googled his name a year before or a month later, I may not have found it so readily.
My reaction to this discovery (and you may ask my critique group to confirm my flood of relief): I felt like one of the minions after the death of the Wicked Witch of the West, jumping around, singing and shouting, “Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!” I hadn’t heard from this guy in forty years, but the memory of what he did to me and his threats — oh, those threats — were always buried somewhere deep inside me. At the news of his death, those threats flew away like a caged wild bird. I was free.
Along with the combination of reasons listed in additional posts in this series, this new-found freedom led me to not be afraid to have my name out there. Like, having my name on book covers! Hence, after a lifetime of writing and learning the craft of writing, I now am totally free to be published. I don’t want to wait the two to ten years to be traditionally published. I am free to be published NOW.