Me Too. Again.

Yes. Ok. You’re a woman who has been extremely triggered by this whole fucking Weinstein situation. I’m in the same boat. I’ve been there. I’ve been abused and silenced and gaslit and lost friends who didn’t believe me because “he seemed like such a nice guy.” Guess what. I don’t give a SHIT about losing any more friends or allies over admitting how shitty my last relationship was because if they really were my friends and allies they would believe me.

Dan Ricker was an asshole. And let me count the ways.

When I first started “seeing” Dan I had just come out of a really horrible emotionally and eventually physically abusive relationship. He showed up at my door after I got out of the hospital to comfort me. That wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was when he would half-jokingly say well “I’m definitely better than that guy, the bar’s set pretty low so it’s not like I have to even try that hard to keep you.”

I laughed. I thought it was a joke. I was used to masked abuse dressed as sarcasm. That’s how I dealt with trauma too. I’m not saying it was a good thing. And hey, someone liked me despite all my baggage, how cool was that? I considered myself LUCKY that I wasn’t considered unlovable because somebody else raped me. Like it was my fault for being undesirable. Difficult. Emotional. Hard to handle. Easily triggered. I know now that’s not true but at the time I was emotionally vulnerable, weak, and looking for love wherever I could find it. That was the first red flag I should have noticed. Shitty men prey on weak women because they’re easy. Because we expect so little of them to begin with they can do whatever they want and all is forgiven because hey at least I’m not alone.

That sucks.

The first night we hooked up after an open mic we usually go to I asked to go back to his place. He insisted we hook up in his grimy basement because it was his ex-girlfriends birthday and she was sleeping upstairs in his bed. Months after they broke up. RED FLAG RED FLAG. But hey, I was drunk, and he wanted to hook up with me even though he had someone upstairs waiting for him. Probably wondering where he was but I was happy. I thought, “I won, I’m more desirable, he wants me, how lucky am I?” This was shitty on my part. Being better friends with his ex now I feel so bad about that night because that was internalized sexism on my part, but he always told me, “Oh she was crazy, she mistreated him, she broke up with him, she was broken and he was so happy to be with a “nice girl” for once.” RED FLAG RED FLAG. Most men that say how crazy and shitty their exes are usually projecting their own shitty behavior. I know this now, for a fact, and I’m sorry I didn’t believe you K. You are a beautiful, strong, amazing woman and I’m happy you’re in a healthy relationship now.

He had/has a serious drinking problem. But hey I’ve dealt with worse right? He would get so drunk sometime’s that he would say the most awful things to me and forget about them the very next day. He would black out so often I can’t even count on my fingers how many times I’ve had to drag his drunk ass home from wherever we were. He would drop glasses, piss his pants and leave them under the bed, shit himself, hit on other people and of course deny it later, punch holes in the wall or punch the wall above me while I was sleeping because he was upset he drunkenly left really expensive music equipment at the mic that HE WORKS AT and when I would get upset because violent tendencies were triggering as hell and I would leave in the middle of the night he would say I was “Acting crazy.” I’d find random underwear and other women’s clothes on his floor and he would say “Oh those are my sisters they got mixed up in the laundry.” “Oh those were probably from a threesome we had.” Some of that could be true but he’s admitted to cheating before and I’ve been with serial cheaters so sorry if that was hard to believe. He also accused me of cheating. There’s that projection thing again!

I fell in love with doing stand up comedy. I still love it. In fact going to his mic helped me find my voice! That wasn’t the bad part. I became more serious about wanting to pursue comedy as a career (lol) so I started going to different open mics. Mics that weren’t his. He would come with me to those occasionally. He even went up one time but he bombed. Whatever. He was a musician. I never made him feel bad about being terrible at comedy because it wasn’t his passion. Who cares? Just like I would never rip on him after a music set he had absolutely no right to judge my comedy. Especially after only months of doing it. 2 months into doing stand up I was booked on a show. WOW! I was ecstatic. I’ve talked to other comics who said it took them almost a year to even be booked on a show, you should be proud! My friend who’s a comic who’s notoriously sort of a dick even said after my first show, “You’ll be the first one to get a half hour out of all of us.” This isn’t a brag status. After my first show all Dan can say is how I could do better, I rushed through my jokes, a listicle I did wasn’t as funny as this other performer’s listicle (she writes for vice btw of course it wasn’t) and another comic I really admire as well, he said well she definitely beat you out for best comic of the night. She’s also been at it YEARS and is brilliant and you know what it wasn’t a fucking competition in the first place. It was a showcase of hilarious women who were collectively funny. That’s what makes a good show. Other women lifting eachother up and creating shows that aren’t just cis white men talking about farting on dicks. Don’t get me wrong. There are some very funny cis white men out there. Not the point. The point was why give me shitty unsolicited advice that was in actuality INSULTS disguised as a helping hand. His excuse was he was on Out of Bounds which is a very funny comedy group at Brown University. He did comedy in college. He just knew better right? Wrong. You were on a writing TEAM in college. Also it’s college in rich white prissy town providence rhode island at an ivy league school. You think that kind of material is relatable in NYC? You tried comedy in NYC and you failed miserably so you did music instead. Stop mansplaining a career you understand NOTHING about. It was needlessly cruel.

I got booked on a few more shows. I was happy. I was starting to make a name for myself. Cool! I remember having a conversation with a woman at his sister’s wedding. I invited her to a show I was really proud to be booked on because there were really famous people on the bill. I had only been at this a few months. I was proud of myself. He actually said, out loud, “Yeah she’s being booked a lot. It kind of pisses me off.” Like there ya go another insult compliment sandwich. It was just sarcasm right? He really was proud of me? Right? Then November 8th happened. That sucked for me. It was my birthday. It was triggering, and hard and someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression since they were 15 it wasn’t easy on my mental health. Then someone very close to me died. I was a mess. I wasn’t fun to be around. I was drinking too much. I was fucking up at my jobs. I bought a one way ticket to California because I was depressed as hell and my “partner” was too busy with his band, and his projects and his own life that I was a burden to him. So I left with no intention of ever coming back again over a stupid guy. I saw family out in California. I saw friends. I applied to jobs. I called my close friends from NYC to give my tearful goodbyes because I left town without a fucking word. I needed to get sober. I needed to escape toxicity and little did I know alcohol wasn’t the only toxic thing in my life. It was my relationship. I remember calling him on the phone telling him he needed to change his behavior or he’d lose me. He told me he wasn’t going all the way to California to “win me back.” I didn’t expect him to. But hell, I’m a hopeless romantic and I hoped for the best. It was two days before Christmas. I called my brother in tears over what the past couple months had been like for me. He was upset because I had promised him I’d never end up in another abusive relationship like the one that lasted 6 years. But he was different! He didn’t hit me! But emotional abuse and gaslighting can be just as damaging. It’s not ok. Especially after what I went through, and I was very explicit with Dan about how I was treated he made the same mistakes Matt (my ex) made in the first few years before the physical abuse started and I wasn’t about to go down that road again. My brother flew me out to Michigan. I got to spend time with my family for the first time in over 10 years. I got to meet my niece Penelope. My sister-in-law Katie. My parents and her parents were there and it was wonderful. Dan made plans to drive 12 hours to see me in Michigan. Wow! A romantic gesture! Our relationship was saved! Katie warned me, “When he comes up here don’t let him sweet talk his way right back into your life. Remember how he made you feel. Go back to NYC because YOU want to. Because you want a career. Because you have supportive friends. Don’t allow that toxicity back into your life.” Of course I wouldn’t! He changed! It was better tralalala and of course it was better. For a few months.Then the shit started back up again.

I was sober for a month. Alcohol was making me sad and I cut it out of my life. I slipped once but it was ok. I did comedy sober, it wasn’t bad! I was saving money, my relationship was better etc. But one night I did a set at USM and I asked Dan “hey how’d my set go I felt nervous I feel like I’m relearning how to do this sober and it hard but worth it.” He told me I was better at comedy when I was drinking. I was devastated. I slipped. I decided to start drinking again. Heavily. We got into screaming matches and he had an easy target to blame because I was drinking again, even though he never stopped drinking the copious amount he always had. But it was my fault. Always. We had plans to move in together and the drinking wasn’t helping my mental state so I struggled with my jobs and life in general. It’s hard to get your life together when you’re battling a fucking disease. I’m not proud of it. He chased me out of his apartment one night after saying he didn’t want to move in together because I didn’t have my life together. Fair. I didn’t. But it was completely unnecessary to drunkenly yell “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE??!!” over and over again as if I didn’t already know as I crawled into an uber pool crying.

This was the kicker for me and probably the nail in the coffin for our relationship. I got pregnant. I was scared. This administration sucks for women and I didn’t have insurance nor was I in a place financially or emotionally to have a fucking baby on top of my relationship being utter shit. I was not ready to be a parent. He was great at first. He thought maybe I should go back to school, make some money, be the kind of guy that could be a good father and a good parent and a better man. Tearful conversations that were honest and real and fucking painful. We decided we weren’t ready. He took me to my appointments because he had a car which was nice. I took the pills and if any woman knows what that is like it is absolute hell. Vomiting and pain for hours. I felt like I was dying. I was so sick and so sad and all I wanted was a back rub, and ice cream and to binge watch Netflix which he said we were going to do. I wanted an Obvious Child kind of abortion. Too much to ask for, huh? I slept in his room alone while he played on his computer in the livingroom. Ok. I was asleep. Fine. I woke up to him asking me, “Hey is it ok if I have friends over? We were supposed to have rehearsal tonight but obviously that’s not happening anymore (sorry I ruined your rehearsal HAHA dickhead) so is it cool if I bring some friends and have a few beers?” I was too sick, and exhausted and frankly shocked to respond. I said ok. Whatever. A friend of mine came into the room to ask if I was ok. I didn’t tell too many people what happened. All I said was I wanted ice cream. That was it. It was in the kitchen in the freezer. She yells at him to get your girlfriend ice cream damnit, she just had surgery! He huffs and puffs and eventually succumbs to the whole 20 feet he had to walk to get me an old pint of ice cream. What a burden I was, right? How DARE I interrupt his night of fun to ask for a paltry pint of ice cream after having a fucking abortion. I should have dumped his selfish ass then but I was vulnerable, I was sad, I just didn’t want to be alone.

Our 2 year anniversary was around that time. We agreed we would do something later for it. Money was tight. Our relationship was strained for obvious reasons. He didn’t even buy me fucking carnations. We did nothing. He was always too broke even though he made thousands doing wedding gigs and has a steady teaching job he just didn’t have the time or money to treat me to anything. He had 0 problems spending that money on himself or booze instead. God forbid I brought that up though because I wasn’t perfect either. How did I get pregnant anyway, weren’t you on birth control? Yes. I was. But it’s not 100 percent effective asshole. Sorry to be a suck on your life. I got my own insurance and paid for my own abortion, thank you very much. I grew increasingly more impatient and bitter with his total lack of emotional support.

All of his college friends got married this summer. I was his date. They were fun! Weddings always are but it brought up questions for me…was he husband material? Where was our relationship going? Should we talk about moving in together again? We both got keys to eachother’s places but even dragging him to the hardware store to make copies of keys was like pulling teeth for him and it took weeks of conversation even for that. We’ve been together 2 ½ years at this point. Why was I so hell bent on turning this emotionally unavailable guy into husband material? I was crazy, right? I’m 26 years old, all of my friends are getting married, my brother has a family what the fuck was wrong with me? Why did no one want to share a life with me? I felt horrible. We were at one wedding he got particularly wasted at and I couldn’t find him anywhere. He would do that. He’s disappear and leave me alone with all of his old college buds I barely knew to do whatever the fuck he wanted. I walked out the bathroom. It was dark. I stumbled upon him and this other woman canoodling eachother. Not making out mind you, but very close. Holding eachother. She was whispering in his ear. They were both giggling. What. The. Fuck. I shoulder checked him and just stared at him in non-belief. I left him there. We all got on the shuttle bus without him and I didn’t even care. How could he? He eventually got home, he got a ride from that woman and HER HUSBAND. His excuse was she was married. He didn’t do anything wrong. I was making a big deal over nothing. Fuck that. What has ever prevented a sexual thing happening just because someone was wearing a ring? What fucking reality are you a part of? I was livid. I was done.

We were fighting constantly. We weren’t having sex anymore. We were miserable. We decided to take a break. Fine. Good. A week later we called it. It was hard. I still loved him. It wasn’t all bad and when you’re wearing rose colored glasses all those red flags just look like flags you know? We would still sleep together and he came to my friends wedding and begged to have me back. We would work on things. We’d put the effort in this time. It was going to be different! I was ecstatic. We had fantastic end of days sex that night! It didn’t take long for him to start ignoring my texts and calls again. He said he needed space. I said ok. I gave him his space but we ran in the same circles and we were working on things right? Everytime he saw me he acted repulsed by my existence. It was too hard for him. What did working on things really mean anyway? I felt like my heart got broken all over again. He ignored me some more. I felt used, cheated, stupid. His Facebook was full of woe is me posts when he was the one who ended things with me. He was playing the victim so well and he’s well liked in the community so of course everyone believed him. I was just another crazy ex, right? I’ll share with you the text exchange we had which brought me to a very dark place I never want to revisit again and you tell me if he’s a fucking victim:

Me: So it kind of feels like you don’t want to put in the effort to try to make things work. Maybe I’m wrong but you’ve been acting weird this whole week. Either way hope you’re well.

No response

Me: Why aren’t you responding to my messages? What is going on? This is really not ok Dan. I feel like you used me saying you wanted to work things out so I would sleep with you in the moment. That’s really shitty. Treat me like a human being Dan. I’ll give you a chance to respond here today OR I could come to your mic tonight and make you feel really uncomfortable. Your call.

Hours Later

Him: Hey I’ve deleted a shit load of messages I’ve wanted to send you. I’ve wanted to take care of you, listen to you, help you…but I’ve realized that’s a negative part of our relationship, so I didn’t. Also, space please! Please don’t insinuate shit like that. You really think that’s how I operate? After all this time? Maybe I came to a realization about us and about what I want. Maybe I’m not a piece of shit. Think of that? Feel whatever you want to feel but this is what space looks like. Ok? And don’t give me this “you’re not working on us” crap. Like always, whenever there is a problem it’s my fault, and I have to work harder and I have to change and I have to be more nurturing…I deserve passive aggressive bullshit on FB apparently..so I’m done with that. You’re not putting in the work Sarah. The work of treating me like someone who you desire and maybe deserves what he asks for: space!

****I thought ignoring you could bring out your nice side-maybe you’d beg me to talk to you, come crawling back, maybe you’d miss me-but fuck no (Let that special line sink in for a moment.)

Instead it’s about what a piece of shit I am. Lesson learned. The nicest thing you’ve said was “hope you’re well.” I’m fucking not btw. I don’t want to see you tonight. I’m working tomorrow in jersey but I’ll be back later. If you want to meet then or Thursday because you can’t stand to be away from me any longer or whatever le t me know. If you don’t, if you just want power over me, then…back to space.

Me: Thanks for responding. I think it sucks that ignoring me to get me to beg to talk to you is something you’d do. I’m a mess also. Ignoring someone wont bring out their nice side especially if you’re trying to work on things. I said communication is key so you completely cut me off? You could have said hey sorry you’re having a rough time but I need space. Ignoring me made me feel like you were just done with this whole thing. No communication leads to miscommunication you see how that works? We could have avoided this whole situation. Sorry I turned to FB to vent. I was frustrated. I’m not perfect. Forgive me. I understand you need space. I didn’t know that meant cutting off all modes of contact. You were still figuring out what boundaries were and I don’t know I thought we’d at least talk about that. Totally cutting me off felt really shitty especially after I feel like I’m the only one trying to initiate any contact. It hurts. I hurt. Sorry If I came off shitty. I just wanted some clarity.

Also when I’m alone with my own thoughts they tend to go to a bad place. I hoped you wouldn’t be the type of person to use someone but hey breakups are complicated and people do and say stuff they don’t mean. I think about that weekend often and how nice it was that you got to meet my whole family and suck really hard at lawn games. I think about that conversation we had with my brother about love and family and how badly I wanted for you to be a part of mine and how nice that was especially after what I went through with my last relationship. I felt like we were in such a good place and it hurts that we’re not there anymore. I want to get back there. I’d like to.

Him:

This is important. When you pull back, I get apologetic. When I pull back , you get angry. You saying sorry doesn’t cut it. I don’t forgive you. Because that’s who you are. You didn’t “come off as shitty” You said meanthings that were designed to hurt me to provoke a response. Hope you’re happy.

***Serious side note here: Where were those mean things I said designed to hurt him???

I feel mistreated. I feel undesired. I have felt this way for awhile. ***You always expected me to come crawling back, which is why you felt comfortable with breaking up with me in the first place. I don’t want to crawl anymore.

***(WRONG WRONG LIES) YOU DUMPED ME

I’m sorry your thoughts go to a bad place. But that doesn’t mean you can fuck with me.

Me:

I wanted to know why you weren’t talking to me. I don’t think that’s shitty.

Him:

Would you like it if I aired my problems with you as my status right now?

Me:

Whatever makes you feel better. I didn’t expect you to crawl back to me…I just wanted some sort of response.

Him:

“Please respond. We don’t need to talk if you want. Just let me know you’re ok.” Didn’t require passive aggressive put downs, nor insinuating that I’m a selfish turd. You’re not seeing that. That’s not ok. That this gets to the heart of how you treat me. What matters is what you want, and how I feel be damned.

Me:

That’s not true. I care about how you feel but how can I know what that is if you won’t talk to me?

Him:

This is how I feel. This is me talking to you right now.

Me:

I don’t get how you don’t feel desired when all I’ve been trying to do is reach you. I hope you’re ok. I hope the show is going well. I hope you had a good time when your family came to see it. I hate having to find out about your life via Facebook. I feel like a stranger. I miss you. I love you. I wish I knew how to respond to everything perfectly. Im so fucking confused. I feel like you go back and forth between wanting me and hating me for not acting ideal in a muddy situation

I wont come tonight. I’ll give you your space. Talk to you next week. Give you time to cool down or whatever you have to do. Take care.

I will admit. I was an asshole to him on facebook. But that was weeks after he never responded to that last message. He only responded after I sent him a sad poem and attempted suicide. I’m not proud of that either. I was weak. I was lonely. Depression runs in my family. I’ve always been with another person and he was so good to me at first. He put me back together after a horrible man broke me only to break me in his own way and I was the villain here? I felt hopeless, gaslit AGAIN, no one would believe me, no one would miss me. I no longer had my creative community that helped me find my voice again. I was lost. I swallowed a bunch of pills. Luckily I posted a goodbye message on facebook and my inbox was flooded with friends and family who were worried sick about me. My boss contacted everyone I knew in the neighborhood and my friend Laura basically broke down my door. I threw them up. People did love me. I wasn’t garbage. I was just hurting. People cared. Sometimes you need to be reminded of that. My friend Jenise came over too. We drank water and ate yogurt and made food and traded horror stories of all the bad men in our lives. The times we felt hopeless and what really put us back together. Sisterhood. Self-love. Therapy. Dreams. Art. Aspirations. There is a whole wide world filled with beauty outside of heartbreak but it’s ok to feel that too. Really feel it and then let it go. It gets better. It gets so much better.

I understand I will lose some “friends” over sharing this. I don’t need you. I need to be here. I need to be happy and Im worthy of life, love, friends, happiness and a fucking career in whatever I goddamn choose because I believe in me and at the end of the day that’s all you need.

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