Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Letter from my Son on my Birthday

Dear Mom

My, my. How did you get to 47?? It feels so strange for me that just s few short years ago you and I were living in Cole street, you just a few years older than I am now.And yet, that yesterday also feels like a lifetime ago, a brother, another brother, a new husband, a company, a property, another, another and another, our dog, Shadow, another, Dori, another Zac, primary school, high school, university...all this 'stuff' that has moved you from a person my age to a person a little older. A little wiser.

It's in this watershed year where I've really begin to marvel at, and appreciate, the gutsy shit you did to keep us whole and safe. I understand, more and more, the ordeal it was to do this, and for a single mother with barely a penny to her name in 1995 to have built the life we have today, twenty years that is a biography worth writing.

I say all of this because I want you to remember what is is you have already done, already overcome, and know that it is seen and appreciated by one of your principle beneficiaries: me. It's a long road we've walked, you and I, and i count myself lucky to be one of the supporting roles in the Trudy Smith/North/Green production.

I know the recent steps have been tough. I know the world has felt as if it were piled high on your shoulders. I am sorry for your hardship, I truly am. But my glimmer of lights this year, seen in your ordeal, came in September. Mom, you asked for help. You really asked, and that both humbled me and made me feel so proud.

Strong is the leader that can honestly wear her fallibility.

Your very human admission that even the great Trudy 'Supermom' Green doesn't have everything together all the time allowed me both the space to step up and contribute and the ability to acknowledge honestly, my own very human flaws. Successful imperfection. Progressive problems. Suddenly these aren't complete paradoxes any more.

I want to tell you I'm here. I want to tell you  I'm paying attention. I know I have yet so much to learn, but I want to keep standing next to you, as you have for me for so many years.

Know that you are not alone. Know that I love you so very dearly and will continue to do so no matter how much we irritate each other! :)

Happy Birthday!

So much Love

It's my Birthday

I'm in a beautiful little beach town in the Eastern Cape with my little family and some close extended family. I was woken this morning to them all singing me awake with the prescribed Happy Birthday song. They'd baked me a lovely gluten free cake and we just had a happy morning opening gifts.

Then my oldest son told me he was taking me out sea kayaking for my birthday, and the two of us set out. It was too lovely for words. We paddled out into the big sea swells far away from the shore, and then came across a school of dolphins frolicking in the waves. We followed them for about half an hour, until the wind came up and we thought we should head back to shore. What a magnificent way to start my new year, out there, doing something so very soul filling with my child, who is now so much a man!

But the most precious thing of all about today has been the gift my sons created for me. They bought a little journal book for me, for them to write to me in. It's purpose is described to me by my son as follows:

We have walked next to you through this time of grueling growth, and felt both your triumphs and your pains. If this time has taught us anything, its that open, honest communication is the most important thing. 
That's the purpose of this book.
It's here to act as a private way for us to interact with you - because we know how you worry about our emotional state of minds (even though boys don't have feelings, only muscles). It's a place where anything goes: happiness, sadness, joy, frustration, love, anger, whatever. It can also be a letter, poem, song, picture, comic, anything.
Each of us will write a piece intended only for you whenever we feel the need or desire, and, in turn, you can reply to any of us, whenever you like.
In the years that come, we want to stay connected with you because we love you and so appreciate having you as our mom. Some things are best expressed by writing them down - and these pages are for those things.
Happy 47th Birthday, Mom
So much Love!
Your Boys

This feels like such a beautiful conversation to begin. And I'm just moved by these boys of mine.

It's a good way to begin this new year for me. In a loving and safe place with those people of my tribe who love me unconditionally.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

An Interesting Date at 100 Day Mark

I didn't think it would come off. I actually had a date, in Cape Town, with my Banker boy. It was confirmed at the very last minute, just as I was sitting down with Nesta and her family and my family for a braai. I said I could only leave there at 9. He said his whole family was out of town so he had his house to himself for the night. The drive from my place to his was about 45 min long. In the dark. He asked me to drive through to him anyway.

I decided to humour him. After all, it was my 100 days' final day. I could easily have a sexy date with maybe some delicious sex to mark the occasion. So I drove across town. Late at night. But I was nervous. Banker boy is intimidating. He's clever. And a straight talker. I have huge respect for him as a businessman and leader. He's fit and strong. And fuckoff sexy! Cycles. Works out. I was nervous that I wouldn't match up to him. Meet his expectations. I am also clever, and we have good and engaging conversations together, but I sometimes feel out of my league with him. And that doesn't happen to me very often. And physically? I'm nowhere near as fit and lean and strong as him. I'm just out of a year of rehab for my RA. I've lost 15kg, but I'm still on the soft, curvy side of womanliness, and I'm proud of myself when I manage to walk 10 000 steps a day, which is only 7.5km of walking. I can't run. Or cycle. In fact I have absolutely no idea why I interest him at all. In those 45 min I managed to talk myself right out of any confidence I may have been feeling before, and was relieved that he chose a bar near to his home to meet, instead of his house itself. I don't think I could have handled being completely alone with him that night.

This man and I have been flirting on and off for years. In fact, he was flirting with me before I even noticed, so caught up was I in my addictive relationship with John-the narc, that I didn't even give Banker much of a thought. We'd flirt in meetings. Maybe share a text message or two. But I was committed to John, so not taking down new potentials at all.

When John and I crashed in May, and I was floundering around trying to grab onto any blade of grass that would reassure me that I wasn't a complete and utter reject and loser, he was one of the boys I upped my flirtation levels with. Just to see if anything came of it. It's become quite a strange relationship and I don't really know quite what to make of it.  When he's away from home, he contacts me out of the blue, sometimes after months of silence. Tells me something suggestive like he's in this really beautiful hotel room but that the bed is really lonely. And I'll rise to the bait and play with him about that for a bit, and then suddenly it's over - no phone sex or anything like that, just playful stuff - always short of getting too explicit. If I contact him in between those times, he may or may not respond - he seems quite happy to leave me hanging, and then reel me in when he has bandwidth for me.

Mark is exactly the same - and it really hurt me earlier in our relationship when he did that. I felt like he was just playing with me. But I've come to realise with Mark that he's actually just like that. He really cares for me, as I do for him, but he has very little bandwidth for me, and will check in when he can. And because I know now that we do care for each other a lot, that feels just fine. I could call him from Russia at 2am and he'd be on the next plane to help me, if that's what I needed.

It's possible that Banker boy is a Narc. That he's developing me for supply in the future sometime, and is just toying with me to see what lengths I'll go to to be with him. A few months ago he popped into my inbox at about 7ish at night, saying he was alone in his hotel room in Rustenburg, and wouldn't I like to join him? That's about 2.5 hour's drive from my hometown, and along a very dangerous road. I declined, saying I was on my own with my kids. But I do wish I'd just said 'No'. It's too far. Instead I said 'Ask me again': I'd like to do that. He said he would. But I feel a bit sad that he's not really concerned about my safety on long dark roads at night. He's not protective in the least. Red Flag?

So there is a lot of innuendo and brave suggestion when we text each other. All of which seems to evaporate when we meet. Because then we are mostly about business. We talk about ideas and strategies and leadership concepts and such. And catch each other up a bit about what's going on in our lives. But we don't get sexy. At all. It's so weird. Are we both just actually shy of each other?  But he just doesn't seem like the shy type. And I'm sure as hell not going to make the first move in case he's really just being lighthearted with me and I'm reading him all wrong.

Or maybe he's into the slow seduction? Seems unlikely. He feels like the kind of guy who has done this kind of thing before, so I would have expected him to be more forthright with me about his intentions.

But again I catch myself doing the 'pick me' dance. I'm not really asking myself whether I want HIM or not. He really is a clever and sexy man. I'm very attracted to him. But when we're sitting opposite each other at the table, I'm not feeling that intense chemistry that I first felt with John-the Narc. And feeling intimidated by someone you're considering for an intimate partner is probably not the best emotional response to a man? If I think of how easily I chat to Berlin, and Mark, and the CEO, and my Lawyer, then this one is definitely a tough customer.

He drank a lot of whisky that night. I didn't. We left the bar at 12. No sexy lingering kiss in the car park - just a warm hug and then on our way. That lean body felt great under my hands.

And that was that. A very inauspicious way to mark my 100 days. Which is fine. I do think I need to watch myself with this one. I think I would really enjoy some sort of intimate relationship with him. It would be engaging and stimulating. But I have no idea whether that would ever come to be. Or whether I actually want it.

The Contempt of the Narcissist

John-the-Narc is driving a car in my name. It seemed like a good idea at the time. He wanted to buy the car and his own driver's licence had expired and he had a couple of judgments against his name so wouldn't qualify for financing at that time. It was an easy hop, skip and a jump to me standing in for him, taking the finance out in my name, and running the payments of the car through my company, and simply deducting the amount through payroll off his salary. Easy peasy. And when you love and trust a man, there's really nothing to it.

Except now. Now that I know that the love and trust I had for him was completely misplaced. Now that he's driving that car around, which is still in my name, without a licence, and without paying me a cent for it, it's not so simple. When we agreed to part, part of the agreement was that he would take the car on in his name and continue to make the payments on it. Except that he hasn't. He says he can't  - that he cannot raise the finance himself because he is unemployed currently. And possibly still has an adverse credit rating. And still has not got himself a new drivers licence. And the implication is, of course, that it's MY fault that he finds himself in this position. Because I fired him. Not because he stole money from my company. Not because he behaved so badly that my top execs walked out because they couldn't work with him any more. Not because he bullied and abused me daily as his boss and colleague. No, because I fired HIM. In court he says I fired him because he broke my heart. Period. Fuckwit!

So he sent my lawyer and I a letter, asking me to be lenient in the recall of the car. Could I find it in my heart to allow him to continue to use the car, pay it off, and he will fund me the payments every month.  I knew that he would really struggle without a car, and so I agreed to help him out - I know banks can be pedantic about these things, and that the chances were that he actually wouldn't be able to raise the finance for a while. So, again against my shrink's advice, I said we could put something in place, where he takes a debit order onto his account, for the car, the tracker system and the insurance, and gets his licence as soon as humanly possible so that my risk is limited in the event of a car accident.

I insisted on the debit order because I have watched both his ex wife and an ex girlfriend call him and email him and text message him relentlessly to transfer money to them that he owes. And I have watched him ignore their supplications over and over again, promising it's happening 'today' when it actually never does. I just do not want to be the person who has to beg him for money every month. I have watched him just hold them in contempt. Ignore them. Not explain when the money will really be there, or just never pay. I do not want to be another one of his exes standing in line begging him to pay me money that he owes me for HIS car that I'm STILL paying on his behalf every month!

So, of course, now that we have sent the letter saying I will be lenient, with the terms I described above, he has simply begun his contemptuous ignoring already. Just ignores all emails and telephone calls from my lawyer, in complete disregard for that fact that I'm actually doing him a huge favour by not recalling the car. Actually, who am I kidding? He knows completely I'm doing him a favour. He just doesn't give a fuck! In fact, this whole thing was probably just a stalling tactic to get use of the car for as long as he possibly can without having to pay a dime for it. I even saw him do that to one of his mates a few years ago who kindly lent him a car for a few months. When he wanted it back, John suddenly became very unavailable and ignored all calls from his friend so he could drive the car as long as he could. For free.

What a Narc! We all exist as their puppets to enable their lives. Nothing more.

Well I'm fucking done with that. We gave him a deadline for a response to our letter, which he ignored. So now I'm done with enabling him in the face of his obvious contempt. We have handed him immediately over to the bank's lawyers: the car is actually their's, according to the leased finance deal, and so they can proceed against him and I don't have to get into the fight at all, thank goodness. I  need to not have to deal with him on collections. And I need to not have to deal with him in recovering this car.

I was reminded again today about the abusive manipulation, stealing and lying nature of the Narcissist while reading Lisa E Scott's website again on narcissist recovery. This excerpt particularly, helped remind me about what I really am to him. Nothing more:
They analyze and assess whether or not you are worth additional effort, meaning are you even still good supply. You may be their cash cow, deviant sex buddy, place to live, ect... If none of those factors apply, they simply move on from you in their head and begin to think about WHO IS better at providing for them what they need and want.
They will get out their cell or go online and begin to contact either old supply who still has some potential or begin to seek out and preen new supply to fill your shoes. They do this automatically with absolutely NO THOUGHT of you and what they did to you or your feelings. They don't care how you are doing, and you will not hear from them at this point unless they want something from you.
This is WHY you see the cycles with the hoovering. You are being hoovered "in between" their efforts to secure other supply. If they hit the jackpot and OW takes them in, you don't hear from them. If OW becomes shitty supply for any reason, you hear from them. She is unavailable one night or she is getting demanding or questioning their behaviors.
Once they have secured new supply for ALL their needs you do not hear from them.
The problem for them lie's in the fact that we are all human and NOONE can be excellent supply 24/7, although I tired, lol. When other supply fails them for any reason, you get a hoover.
As their mask begins to fall we become suspicious and we ask questions not previously asked, we try to set boundaries because we now sense that something is off. We begin to feel uncomfortable with their behaviors and want answers.
THEY can immediately sense that we are on to them, so they begin the business of slowly tearing us down and placing the blame on us.
All of this is a smokescreen specifically designed to keep us off the track of their true nature.To create a cognitive dissonance in us where we begin to grow confused and vaguely uneasy with what they are telling us. Their ONLY thought is to have decent supply and they know from years of experience, THE ONLY way to keep you as decent supply is to get you off THEIR back and for you to begin to question YOUR actions and what YOU are doing wrong. They mirror back to you their defects of character. This way they can keep you off the track with what is wrong with THEM. Their NEW actions, create fear, doubt, and insecurity in you.
They tell you if you do not STOP this line of questioning and be GOOD, they will abandon YOU. They may outright say this or you may see it in their actions. ST, they go away for a few days, they don't call, they blow you off in either subtle ways or overt ways. All designed to create fear in you and to TRAIN you to BACK OFF and let them be. Narc speak: "I will do what I want when I want and no bitch is going to tell me what to do."
Basically this is the beginning of the abuse training for the abuse cycle. They act in unacceptable ways, you react and question, they deflect the issue back on to you, and create fear in you and place the blame on you.

And so this time, when he arrives with a big sad and sorrowful face on, asking again for me to be lenient with the car, or the lawsuit I am about to hit him with between the eyes, my answer will simply be 'No'. No explanation. No soft soaping. No conversation at all in fact.

Just 'No'.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

100 Days Today

It's today. I promised myself 100 days ago that I was going to create a space of Solitude around me that would help me heal and work all the really tough things I am dealing. I was getting myself into a deep and confusing hole, not to mention all the boys that were coming into my space and messing with my very VERY fragile heart. I needed to protect my space better than I was capable of doing just in my ordinary course of life. When I set it up I thought I might never be able to see it through - I felt so very lonely and lost at that time and I was so hoping that someone would swoop in and rescue me from all my pain. But of course it's my job to do. Only mine. And I do feel like I actually know that now - deep inside me I know I am the one who must save me.

So here I am. 100 days and 87 blogs later. I've done some serious serious work. A lot of that has happened here, in cyberspace, with you. And a lot more in thoughts and conversations and therapy sessions with the people of my Tribe.

I'm staying with my family at my dear friend, Nesta's place. My son graduated yesterday at Cape Town University and now we are all with Nesta and her family just all powering down and being together. Even my husband is here, and since I sent him my two blogs about his behaviour towards me in our family, he has really been making a huge effort to be kind. So peace is around me, and that's just an awesome outcome for now.

So Nesta and I sat on the beach together while our kids played and talked through the themes of the last 100 days and what has evolved. She started the conversation by reminding me of the Carols by Candlelight event we went to a year ago here in a beautiful botanical garden called Kirstenbosch. I had just Google-diagnosed myself with RA, and was starting to get my head around how to manage it. I had 6 more months to wait before I could actually see a Rheumatologist. My husband and I were in a terribly sad place, and had also already negotiated our open marriage. I was deeply in love with John the Narc and had no idea that he was such a con-man, stealing money from me or cheating on me with other women. My company was performing beautifully and I thought we were in for another brilliant year. Besides my autoimmune issues, my health was great.

So what are the themes of recovery I have shifted over the past 100 days?

Learning how to express my needs: my hospital crash taught me how isolated I have become. How unuseful my behaviour was of keeping people out when I'm struggling, only to tell them later how bad it got. I've learned about telling people of my Tribe when I'm not OK. And allowing them to hold and care for me when that happens. Letting them in when I haven't yet found the resolution to an issue rather than carrying all the stress of the problem until I take it to resolution alone. My parents taught me that I would be alone when I most needed people. They were wrong. I am unlearning that lesson.

That is connected to another theme that is nurturing and shifting my girlfriend relationships. I have expressed to them all this sickness of mine, and committed myself to bringing them in when I need them, staying much closer to them in our daily lives, and going to them to be with them when they need me. All of my close girlfriend relationships are blooming in richness because of this, with even more of that to come. I'm so pleased. These beautiful women will walk with me through seasons and life issues and we will love one another through that.

I CAN SEE THROUGH NARCS: the most destructive force that has themed itself throughout my life has been bringing these people close to my heart and making myself very very vulnerable to their destructive forces. I'm nowhere near healed enough to be able to tolerate them near me and they still scare me a lot, and I have not yet reached that place where I can tolerate and enjoy their charming fun-guyness. So for now I'm just happy that I will know them. And protect myself from them. And not let them into my heart. No more human hand grenades for me for now.

I am learning to take my life back for myself. To start to ask myself what pleases ME. I can see that I really don't often have an answer to that question, but seeing that, and remembering to ask, is such an important milestone. I love my children, and my work. And I will continue to support and facilitate the lives of my children, and lead and manage the people I work with. But I will no longer live for them and through them. I will need to find how to live for me.

I am learning how to keep my heart intact when dealing with boys. I can see clearly how keen I am to 'give the baby' away to any man who glances in my direction. But I can now feel what a bad idea that is. And recognise it when it begins to happen. And catch myself in the middle of the 'pick me' siren song, and remind myself - "Do Not Give the Baby Away".

I know I am on the right spiritual path towards healing my body. Living a healthy and vital life will mean walking very carefully and making healthy decisions about how I spend my living and even thinking time. Build a strong body. Manage what I eat. Choose my activities mindfully. Catch myself stressing, even in my thoughts, and find different ways to manage that.

I am not obsessing daily about my husband, or about John-the-narc: they were men I chose to be with. They are flawed and broken people, just like me, on their own paths. I do not need either of them, or anyone else to be me. Being me involves learning how to love this person that I am. I think  may be getting some glimpses of that. Finding compassion. Finding care. Finding love. In me. For me.

I have climbed many real mountains in my life. One thing every one of them has had in common, is that when you begin at the bottom, the top looks like it's just ahead. And when you get there, the next part appears, and more effort is needed to get there. And then the next appears. Climbing mountains always seems to happen in stages. And at each stage one should pause, and sit, and turn around to see the path already walked. And look out at the view for you will never see again quite like this. Breathe in deeply. And then face the mountain again.

I think I'm in that place today. Looking back. Looking out. Looking up. Breathing. I know for sure that there is a lot more climbing to do before I conquer this particular mountain. But today is just that day. The day to remember.

How far I've come.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Holiday Plans

My eldest son graduates on Wednesday in Cape Town, which is almost 2 000km from where we are right now. So we've set Cape Town as Stop 1 in our annual family Overland Holiday Road Trip. We leave at about 4am tomorrow, and will drive straight through. We'll stay with one of my best mates in Somerset West, and then hit Graduation in the morning. Then a few nights with my other dear friend, Nesta and her family, still in Cape town, and then final leg of trip will be a beach holiday at a little town in the eastern Cape with some cousins we've been needing to spend some family time with.

Today I stopped taking some of the tranquilisers and Beta Blockers I've been on since I was in hospital, so I'm feeling a bit wobbly and, frankly, nervous about how I will handle my stress and my life without 'mommy's little helpers'. Doc says it's time, so let's see. I'm struggling with a bit of fatigue and brain-deadness now - maybe that's just what the last day of work feels like this year...I really don't seem to have one more ounce of fight in me to make anything else proactive happen today. Most of my team have already gone on leave and it's a few of us support people left to mop up and get everything ready for closedown. Silly little things, like paying people's salaries, etc!

I also went to the Rheumatologist today. Great improvement in my movement and rheumatic flares, so the chemo programme is definitely working! Yay!! Which means keep taking it .....ugh....

I'm struggling to find a writing flow today - I think it's also because of stopping the meds. I feel like I have holes all over my brain, and I would rather lie down on my bed than do anything, including write. But I am looking forward to writing on holiday. I hope I will find the time and space to really get into some of the things I have been thinking about the past few days. And I will need to cry a lot too - I still have all those unshed tears in my voice, and stopping the pills also means that I should start to feel all of this stuff a lot more strongly, and the tears really need to flow now. My 100 days are almost done - 3 more days to go.

Terrible post. Flat woman.  Who needs this holiday a lot!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Online Dating and the Woman in the Mirror

So the past few days of standing next to Berlin while he crashes through this scamming thing have started 'telling' on me. I was all 'gung ho' last week when I decided to switch on my Tinder again and start gearing up for the end of my 100 Days of Solitude (4 more days left!!). But now I'm not so sure I want to play online. It's rough out there!

My first issue is online safety. Physical, Financial and Emotional safety. I've been reading up on 'how to spot a romance scammer'. Google it. there are plenty sites out there. This wiki that I referenced you to shows, with photos, how to go about being very discerning about how you filter out the bad guys. And the more I read, the more I realise that the "Alessandro" I met on Tinder last week is most definitely one of those. And another guy called 'Shane' who also felt 'off' most certainly was! Maybe one of the universe reasons for me witnessing Berlin's 'burning' was to help me be more careful in this space. I can see myself being very naive in some of my earlier blogs about online dating, and I'm glad I've had a real enlightenment before I got myself into severe trouble!

From what I've read, there are huge proportions of scamsters trawling the dating sites trying to hook people in my demographic mostly: we're older; not as hot as we used to be, some carrying middle aged fat and health issues, so not great catches. We're divorced or widowed, lonely, probably fairly financially well off. We are just so needy and may well drop our standards for fear of being left on the shelf completely! Now that I'm aware of the things scamsters will do, I'm looking much more closely at every Tinder photo series. Too good looking? Piles of pics of trappings of wealth? Slight language mistakes in profile descriptions? Foreigners just arrived in town and looking to make friends?

And if we chat: are they too intimate too fast? Accents that sound weird? Grammar issues? Fact issues? All sorts of excuses about how we can't meet up? Ugh. It's too much. While my heart is still in such a fragile space, I think I must just actually stay the hell out of those places for now. I'm just not up for weeks of trawling and testing and checking and second guessing.

But there's a deeper reason. Raw and vulnerable. When I went on Tinder last time, before my big meltdown, it was fun: lots of boys, lots of banter, and even though I didn't find anyone I wanted to be with (except Berlin), there were no really negative experiences. I felt upbeat and positive about my chances of 'landing' a boy there if I wanted one.

This time has felt so different. Maybe I'm much more aware of my internal processes this time, but I'm actually feeling quite vulnerable about it all. I'm not getting as many hits as I did last time. And even though I'm unmatching boys that don't really do it for me, I'm also being unmatched. Why? I find I'm taking it quite personally, and seeing each 'unmatch' as a personal rejection. What's wrong with me? Did you pick me on an impulse and now, when you browse through my photos, are you thinking I'm just not attractive enough for you? And if we banter back and forth for a bit, and then you unmatch me, was I just not sexy enough? Clever enough? Enticing enough? Should I change my profile description? My photos? Should I grow my hair? Maybe men will only enjoy women with long, sexy hair.

I have felt each unmatch with a little blow of disappointment. But together, over days, it's building up to a soreness I didn't expect. The thoughts I'm seeing flow through my head while I'm out driving are going to a very sore place: what if my husband is right? What if his lack of attraction to me is the universal response to me  rather than just his? When I started my relationship with John, he made me feel like a complete goddess. So beautiful and sexy. But what if that was also part of the Big Lie? What if he found me repulsive and was just actually manipulating me with meaningless flattery to achieve his evil scamming plan to steal money from me? And get his rocks off at the same time.

That sexy goddess feeling I had with me after John and I broke up, I managed to carry with me until now. For 8 months. I felt like that when I was with Mark (although he didn't actually comment on me physically or compliment me in any way), and I felt like that with Berlin (and I cannot remember whether he commented on me at all). I was carrying it inside me, and it didn't depend on my partner affirming me in any way, so strong was it after John.

But now. Now that I have had to face how much of our relationship was actually a lie, I have no idea where I stand at all. I feel the ground getting very shaky under my feet. Hearing Berlin confess that he was not particularly attracted to me either is also unsettling.

I look at my face in the mirror and I see a beautiful woman. She has lines on her face - testimony to her life of laughter, love, worry, sadness. But her face is alive. Alert. You can see she has incisive thinking. Her eyes are intelligent. Probing. Thoughtful. And when she speaks she's passionate and emphatic. And sometimes gentle and thoughtful. Animated. Strong. Confident.

But when I see myself naked in my mother's unflattering full length mirror at my dad's place, I see a middle aged woman. Plump waist. Protruding tummy. Boobs that sag a bit now, after about 45 years of pert youthfulness. Legs that no longer 'go on forever'. Maybe I'm now seeing the woman in the mirror that my husband always saw. Sexy curves here and there, but, on the whole, not the woman I would like myself to be when I don my bikini at the beach in a few weeks time. I know my mother's mirror exaggerates flaws, so I try to remind myself that it's not as bad as it seems there. But I am finding my body image shifting a bit every day now, deep in my soul. I am losing my story to myself about the sexiness of me. And my fear is that neither I, nor any man I meet, may be able to see me with the light I experienced with John, whether it was a lie or not. Am I to lose that too, in this journey of mine?

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Berlin and Trudy have The Conversation

It crept up on us. I don't think either of us thought we would have it now, in the middle of the chaos of the heartbreaking scam Berlin was facing. I was completely resolved to hold onto it for now, and raise it later when we both had the emotional bandwidth to deal it. But I guess I'm not completely the boss of when conversations will happen, and so this one just came, across half the world, on WhatsApp, and I finally had the peace of understanding what the fuck actually happened with Berlin all those lonely months ago!

SPOILER ALERT: If you want to catch up on the whole story before reading the end, do click the "online dating" theme filter to the right of this blog - then read from oldest to newest. I have just reread a few 'back issues' myself and am surprised at how raw and real this story has been for me.

So I'll pick up the story from the last three blogs: Berlin is spinning with confusion about the scam. Who are they? Was it a 'professional' team of scammers hunting anyone on dating sites? Or people targeting him directly? 'Tash' seemed to know so much about things happening in his neighborhood - school events, people from the same schools and network as his... Who was this really targeting him? So we'd been backing and forthing all day. I went out for drinks and dinner with a mate, and we sent him a playful selfie of us together. He responded with his own..he's always been very very camera shy so I was actually surprised:

10 Dec 6:32 PM - Trudy: Wow.  First time you've ever sent a selfie to me
10 Dec 6:33 PM - Berlin: Told you selfies don't work for me 
10 Dec 6:47 PM - Trudy: And yet you did it anyway. ... is Berlin stepping out of a comfort zone here? ??? 
10 Dec 6:52 PM - Berlin: Is Trudy stepping into some other zone?? 
10 Dec 6:52 PM - Berlin: Psycho analyst or so? 
10 Dec 6:53 PM - Trudy: I've been out of my comfort PLANET since hospital! !! 
10 Dec 6:55 PM - Berlin: I've been venturing out into new zones for the past couple of months as you know
10 Dec 6:56 PM - Berlin: Some of them turn out to be entirely and sometimes surprisingly open and positive
10 Dec 6:57 PM - Berlin: Others dangerous 
10 Dec 6:57 PM - Trudy: Yes. I've had all of those 
10 Dec 6:57 PM - Berlin: It feels artificial but it's real
10 Dec 6:57 PM - Berlin: Weird sometimes 
10 Dec 6:58 PM - Trudy: But my journey has been mostly internal
10 Dec 6:58 PM - Trudy: Lonely but necessary 
10 Dec 6:59 PM - Berlin: Maybe because you were always in one spot
10 Dec 6:59 PM - Berlin: I was on the road a lot
10 Dec 6:59 PM - Berlin: So busy with other stuff and not at home that much 
10 Dec 6:59 PM - Trudy: No. More because it's been the most important thing to do in my life 
10 Dec 7:00 PM - Berlin: To be framed,scammed and disappointed? 
10 Dec 7:01 PM - Trudy: It broke me.

10 Dec 7:02 PM - Berlin: What exactly did it break? 
10 Dec 9:48 PM - Trudy: My naive trust of people. My belief that people are inherently good. My sense of safety in the world. My heart.
10 Dec 9:49 PM - Trudy: All those words are true but they don't begin to actually define the truth. I don't have words for it 
10 Dec 9:50 PM - Berlin: I understand Trudy. Also know that I'm not quite innocent in that
10 Dec 9:51 PM - Berlin: Didn't mean to be mean though...
10 Dec 9:51 PM - Berlin: I still don't know what actually happened there 
10 Dec 9:52 PM - Trudy: It's a sore place for me. We'll talk about it sometime 
10 Dec 9:52 PM - Berlin: But I do know that I should stay away from this online stuff
10 Dec 9:53 PM - Berlin: If I want to meet a woman I'll go hang around in bars 
10 Dec 9:53 PM - Trudy: Yes. Right now it feels like a very dangerous place 
10 Dec 9:53 PM - Berlin: Traditional style 
10 Dec 9:53 PM - Trudy: Ugh. Who wants people who hang in bars tho 
10 Dec 9:53 PM - Berlin: Dunno...
10 Dec 9:54 PM - Berlin: Or parties, functions, whatever...
10 Dec 9:54 PM - Berlin: But I have a feeling that almost nothing is real out there... 
10 Dec 9:55 PM - Trudy: I think the real has to live in you
10 Dec 9:55 PM - Trudy: It's not about 'out there'. It's 'in here' 
10 Dec 10:00 PM - Berlin: No it's out there too! I haven't really done much on these sites (incl Zoosk, where I met your friend) but I had about 6 scams! That's a lot considering the total amount of contacts I had online! I fell for the last one. They were clever!! I'll stay away from this shit now! 
10 Dec 10:01 PM - Trudy: That site I went on yesterday certainly convinced me that dating sites are where the scammers hang out (
10 Dec 10:01 PM - Trudy: I'm just so shocked act the brutality of it
10 Dec 10:01 PM - Trudy: Manipulating you to love her
10 Dec 10:02 PM - Trudy: And then thinking you had killed her
10 Dec 10:02 PM - Trudy: It's horrific beyond belief
10 Dec 10:03 PM - Trudy: How can people knowingly inflict that level of pain on another. I'm actually really shocked by it.
10 Dec 10:03 PM - Trudy: And so sad for you that that was done to you.
10 Dec 10:03 PM - Trudy: It's so wounding!  My God 
10 Dec 10:18 PM - Berlin: Well I had a savior thank god! I don't know where I'd be now if you hadn't opened my eyes Trudy! 
10 Dec 10:18 PM - Trudy: The universe works in very strange ways 
10 Dec 10:18 PM - Berlin: I'm functioning on three levels right now
10 Dec 10:19 PM - Berlin: I'm worried about my kids
10 Dec 10:19 PM - Berlin: I want revenge
10 Dec 10:20 PM - Berlin: I'm seriously interested in the whole issue and would like to shoot a film on it! 
10 Dec 10:20 PM - Trudy: Geez 
10 Dec 10:20 PM - Berlin: That's what's on my mind 
10 Dec 10:20 PM - Trudy: Those are 3 very different levels
10 Dec 10:21 PM - Trudy: Ok. Kids first. Have you chatted to your wife some more? 
10 Dec 10:22 PM - Berlin: Tomorrow is last school day so I don't know how they would want to get to them 
10 Dec 10:22 PM - Trudy: You've had no threats tho? 
10 Dec 10:23 PM - Berlin: Only that hidden one I told you about
10 Dec 10:24 PM - Berlin: And if they send a threat like that it would be in combination with a demand for cash
10 Dec 10:24 PM - Berlin: The fact that they basically left me alone today 
10 Dec 10:25 PM - Trudy: Yes. I don't think this is about them Berlin. I know we can't be certain.
10 Dec 10:25 PM - Trudy: That's a good sign. 
10 Dec 10:25 PM - Berlin: Instead of keeping up the pressure or even raising it
10 Dec 10:25 PM - Berlin: Kind if tells me that these are not Nigerian professionals 
10 Dec 10:26 PM - Trudy: The best time for them to strike is when you're disoriented and vulnerable 
10 Dec 10:26 PM - Berlin: But I don't know what's still coming of course 
10 Dec 10:26 PM - Trudy: Every day they leave you,  the less chance they have of conning you
10 Dec 10:26 PM - Trudy: They would know that 
10 Dec 10:26 PM - Berlin: Yes and they gave me a day to gather my senses
10 Dec 10:27 PM - Berlin: I think they needed that day too 
10 Dec 10:27 PM - Trudy: So maybe they've already given up? 
10 Dec 10:27 PM - Berlin: We'll see... 
10 Dec 10:27 PM - Trudy: Pursuing other victims that didn't catch on in time
10 Dec 10:28 PM - Trudy: They'd be working multiple prospects simultaneously I would think
10 Dec 10:28 PM - Trudy: And maybe you're no longer worth the effort 
10 Dec 10:28 PM - Berlin: The amount of time I spent with that woman.... Can't imagine she had time for another "client" 
10 Dec 10:29 PM - Trudy: Surely not
10 Dec 10:29 PM - Trudy: How many hours a day? 
10 Dec 10:29 PM - Berlin: But she's probably part of a team
10 Dec 10:29 PM - Berlin: Full time
10 Dec 10:29 PM - Berlin: Starting from sunrise 
10 Dec 10:30 PM - Trudy: But you work. Go to meetings 
10 Dec 10:30 PM - Berlin: Yes there was time in between 
10 Dec 10:30 PM - Trudy: And mostly text? 
10 Dec 10:30 PM - Berlin: But not much
10 Dec 10:31 PM - Berlin: When I was home a lot of talk, when on the road mainly text but also talk
10 Dec 10:31 PM - Trudy: Shew 
10 Dec 10:31 PM - Berlin: She has a smooth sexy voice 
10 Dec 10:32 PM - Trudy: John dominated my time like that too 
10 Dec 10:32 PM - Berlin: With a Cape Coloured accent 
10 Dec 10:32 PM - Trudy: I can't believe how many hours I have free every day now 
10 Dec 10:32 PM - Berlin: The first pics she sent me looked totally different from the later ones I sent you
10 Dec 10:32 PM - Trudy: Interesting brainwashing technique 
10 Dec 10:33 PM - Berlin: Jeez how stupid can a man be... 
10 Dec 10:33 PM - Trudy: They're pros Berlin
10 Dec 10:33 PM - Trudy: Seasoned sociopathic criminals
10 Dec 10:34 PM - Trudy: You didn't stand a chance 
10 Dec 10:34 PM - Berlin: Yeah, but I'm a journalist
10 Dec 10:34 PM - Berlin: Seasoned 
10 Dec 10:34 PM - Berlin: I'm supposed to be a walking lie detector 
10 Dec 10:34 PM - Berlin: Fuck
10 Dec 10:35 PM - Berlin: I'm an idiot 
10 Dec 10:35 PM - Trudy: I know you feel like that
10 Dec 10:35 PM - Trudy: But you're really not 
10 Dec 10:35 PM - Berlin: That's where the vengeance comes in... 
And suddenly we move out of scammer territory and into a soul-searching, open and vulnerable conversation. Suddenly our talk takes on a cadence that I remember well from our early connecting days. We're real. Raw. Truthful. It was the space where, for a very brief time, we found our connection space.

I see us often talking past each other, though - we each have our own narrative, and they flow around each other sometimes. Typical of a texting conversation I suppose, but also sometimes not really hearing each other. It flows like a counterpoint duet - two different songs being played together, different, but finding the harmony anyway.
10 Dec 10:36 PM - Trudy: Although probably a good idea to understand what weaknesses they uncovered in you to hook you 
10 Dec 10:36 PM - Berlin: But that's not priority now
10 Dec 10:36 PM - Berlin: It's an obvious weakness that you know too well 
10 Dec 10:37 PM - Trudy: Not sure I follow 
10 Dec 10:37 PM - Berlin: Every second man probably has it 
10 Dec 10:37 PM - Trudy: Spell out please

10 Dec 10:39 PM - Berlin: Every man wants passion, sex and some kind of thrill... But only every second wife (if at all) has the same interest.. 
10 Dec 10:40 PM - Trudy: I think it may be more than that.
10 Dec 10:40 PM - Trudy: You feel in love with her
10 Dec 10:40 PM - Trudy: She made you do that
10 Dec 10:41 PM - Trudy: Good to know why
10 Dec 10:41 PM - Trudy: When I was first scammed there was no love or emotional stuff at all
10 Dec 10:42 PM - Trudy: They completely read my weakness for helping and rescuing people
10 Dec 10:43 PM - Trudy: and played me like a violin 
10 Dec 10:45 PM - Berlin: Yes maybe I'm looking for love Trudy. I am... 
10 Dec 10:45 PM - Trudy: No shame in that Berlin
10 Dec 10:45 PM - Trudy: Just shameful of them to use it against you 
10 Dec 10:46 PM - Berlin: I love my wife but it's the same way I love my sister or my mother 
10 Dec 10:46 PM - Trudy: I know. 
10 Dec 10:46 PM - Berlin: I want to feel butterflies again 
10 Dec 10:46 PM - Trudy: Sad moment for me. I thought we had that. 
10 Dec 10:47 PM - Berlin: And I felt them in the past 2 months or so 
10 Dec 10:47 PM - Trudy: Just breathing through that
And then.....after months of waiting...the real conversation begins. Kindly. Quietly. Respectfully. And raw, raw raw. 
10 Dec 10:47 PM - Berlin: Yes I'm sorry Trudy
10 Dec 10:48 PM - Berlin: I know you were very emotional then
10 Dec 10:48 PM - Berlin: Maybe also due to your situation
10 Dec 10:49 PM - Berlin: I know this going to be brutal and I should have said it a long time ago
10 Dec 10:49 PM - Berlin: But I never wanted to hurt you
10 Dec 10:50 PM - Berlin: I just didn't feel the butterflies Trudy
10 Dec 10:51 PM - Berlin: So I tried to hang in when you had your bad period 
10 Dec 10:51 PM - Trudy: I know. I felt you pulling away 
10 Dec 10:51 PM - Berlin: And tried to help with the health issues
10 Dec 10:52 PM - Berlin: Not fully understanding what was really going on
10 Dec 10:52 PM - Berlin: But I tried
10 Dec 10:52 PM - Berlin: But at the same time I started playing on AM again
10 Dec 10:53 PM - Berlin: Just playing and looking what's out there
10 Dec 10:53 PM - Berlin: Curiosity more than intention to do something
10 Dec 10:54 PM - Berlin: And then this message came in
10 Dec 10:54 PM - Berlin: And I made the mistake to reply
10 Dec 10:55 PM - Berlin: I know it was asshole behavior and I know it still hurts you
10 Dec 10:56 PM - Berlin: I really didn't expect that you would get so emotionally involved 
10 Dec 10:56 PM - Trudy: No. Of course you didn't 
10 Dec 10:57 PM - Berlin: So then this woman pressurized me 
10 Dec 10:57 PM - Trudy: My emotional train wreck wasn't your fault 
10 Dec 10:58 PM - Berlin: Saying OK when, where and what? Do you want to meet or not? Aaah you're probably too old for this... And stuff like that...
10 Dec 10:59 PM - Berlin: So actually I was thinking of showing her my middle finger
10 Dec 10:59 PM - Berlin: But something was wrong and I was wondering what
10 Dec 10:59 PM - Berlin: So I played the game
10 Dec 11:00 PM - Berlin: Said OK well why not meet
10 Dec 11:00 PM - Berlin: Then all hell broke loose
10 Dec 11:01 PM - Berlin: Berlin I knew you were a dishonest bastard... Stuff like that... Don't remember word by word but in that direction...
10 Dec 11:01 PM - Berlin: I was only chatting with you then
10 Dec 11:02 PM - Berlin: And you were the only person I knew that called me Berlin
10 Dec 11:02 PM - Berlin: Well the only person that I was communicating with at that stage 
10 Dec 11:03 PM - Trudy: Is there a part of you that still thinks it was me? 
10 Dec 11:03 PM - Berlin: And that person then basically told me to
fuck off
10 Dec 11:03 PM - Berlin: I was convinced it was you 
10 Dec 11:04 PM - Trudy: Still? 
10 Dec 11:04 PM - Berlin: But when you asked me months later for clearance what actually happened I suddenly doubted it was you
10 Dec 11:05 PM - Berlin: Why would you tell me to FO only to ask why I disappeared many weeks later...
10 Dec 11:06 PM - Berlin: So that's why I replied to your FB message
10 Dec 11:06 PM - Berlin: I don't think it was you. Wouldn't make sense from today's perspective... Or would it? 
10 Dec 11:07 PM - Trudy: I don't know. Sense seems to be a ridiculous word at the moment
10 Dec 11:08 PM - Trudy: So we're in this truth telling place
10 Dec 11:08 PM - Trudy: Please tell me what happened then when we first met
10 Dec 11:08 PM - Trudy: You weren't feeling it?  At all? 
10 Dec 11:09 PM - Berlin: When we first met? On Skype or personally? 
10 Dec 11:09 PM - Trudy: Online.  Skype.
10 Dec 11:11 PM - Berlin: I was feeling a very close connection! And it was sexy too! But I didn't feel butterflies Trudy
10 Dec 11:11 PM - Berlin: To relativize this
10 Dec 11:11 PM - Berlin: I've never really felt butterflies with my wife either
10 Dec 11:12 PM - Berlin: In fact
10 Dec 11:12 PM - Berlin: I haven't felt butterflies for at least 25 years
10 Dec 11:12 PM - Berlin: That's a quarter century 
10 Dec 11:13 PM - Trudy: Zanzibar girl 
10 Dec 11:13 PM - Berlin: But I'm longing for that
10 Dec 11:13 PM - Berlin: Yes
10 Dec 11:14 PM - Berlin: First Zanzibar girl and when she disappointed 419 girl popped up immediately afterwards
10 Dec 11:14 PM - Berlin: Midlife crisis maybe... 
10 Dec 11:14 PM - Berlin: Hormones
10 Dec 11:14 PM - Berlin: I don't know...
10 Dec 11:15 PM - Berlin: I'm acting like a teen suddenly 
10 Dec 11:15 PM - Trudy: Don't diminish yourself like that 
10 Dec 11:16 PM - Berlin: Well it's the typical age for that kind of crap
10 Dec 11:17 PM - Berlin: Other guys put on leather jackets and buy Harley Davidsons 
10 Dec 11:17 PM - Trudy: The saddest fucking thing for you and me is that the 'real love" that happened to us both was bullshit made up scams
10 Dec 11:17 PM - Trudy: Manufactured by people intent on stealing from us.
10 Dec 11:18 PM - Trudy: That's the brutal truth 
10 Dec 11:18 PM - Berlin: That's why I'm thinking this online thing doesn't work 
10 Dec 11:18 PM - Trudy: Mine wasn't online 
10 Dec 11:18 PM - Berlin: Yes you're right 
10 Dec 11:18 PM - Trudy: It was in my company. And my bed.
10 Dec 11:18 PM - Trudy: Fucking brutal 
10 Dec 11:19 PM - Berlin: But where did you meet him?
10 Dec 11:19 PM - Trudy: He targeted me
10 Dec 11:19 PM - Trudy: Came to my company
10 Dec 11:20 PM - Trudy: Offered help. Asked for help
10 Dec 11:20 PM - Trudy: Long story 
10 Dec 11:20 PM - Berlin: He charmed you 
10 Dec 11:20 PM - Trudy: Doesn't change the fact that we were both in relationships that didn't actually exist
10 Dec 11:21 PM - Trudy: Charmed me.  Seduced me. Made me love him. I feel like a real fool
10 Dec 11:21 PM - Trudy: Stole 1.5 million from me 
10 Dec 11:21 PM - Berlin: No. Well Zanzibar girl did actually exist. And we actually met...
10 Dec 11:22 PM - Berlin: WHAT???? 
10 Dec 11:22 PM - Trudy: Yup. 
10 Dec 11:22 PM - Berlin: Did you give him access to your accounts? 
10 Dec 11:23 PM - Trudy: He ran the accounts
10 Dec 11:23 PM - Trudy: And payroll
10 Dec 11:23 PM - Trudy: I loved him 
10 Dec 11:23 PM - Berlin: Yes you told me... 
10 Dec 11:23 PM - Trudy: And trusted him completely 
10 Dec 11:24 PM - Berlin: Well I was dumb enough to give a helluva lot of info to someone I've never even met!
10 Dec 11:24 PM - Berlin: At least you met the guy 
10 Dec 11:24 PM - Trudy: So I was still in the early stages of learning that when I met you 
10 Dec 11:25 PM - Berlin: Were in bed with him
10 Dec 11:25 PM - Berlin: Got seduced old fashioned style 
10 Dec 11:25 PM - Trudy: I was still trying to make myself believe that the money paid to him was a mistake.
10 Dec 11:26 PM - Trudy: Couldn't believe he would do that to me.
10 Dec 11:27 PM - Trudy: Still trying to recover from the shock and trauma of catching him cheating on me 
10 Dec 11:27 PM - Berlin: Fuck it's a vicious world out there
10 Dec 11:27 PM - Berlin: Dog eat dog
10 Dec 11:28 PM - Berlin: You know it but you never think it'll hit you
10 Dec 11:28 PM - Berlin: Well the cheating is one thing 
10 Dec 11:28 PM - Trudy: My company was tanking because he paid himself a 'bonus' of 645k in feb 
10 Dec 11:29 PM - Berlin: Men think with their dicks sometimes remember 
10 Dec 11:29 PM - Trudy: I only found out that in May 
10 Dec 11:29 PM - Berlin: But stealing is a totally different story

10 Dec 11:29 PM - Trudy: Berlin he cheated on me from day one. With every woman he could lay his hands on

10 Dec 11:30 PM - Berlin: Where is he now? 
10 Dec 11:30 PM - Trudy: So that was the train wreck you walked in on 
10 Dec 11:31 PM - Berlin: Yes I know and then the health issue came in addition
10 Dec 11:31 PM - Berlin: Fuck
10 Dec 11:31 PM - Berlin: I'm sorry I let you down there Trudy 
10 Dec 11:31 PM - Trudy: Bastard is now suing me for wrongful dismissal. Says I fired him because I was heartbroken 
10 Dec 11:32 PM - Berlin: But the case was dropped wasn't it? 
10 Dec 11:32 PM - Trudy: That is so humiliating. In Court. I'm being painted as the vengeful heartbroken woman 
10 Dec 11:33 PM - Berlin: Or he lost... 
10 Dec 11:33 PM - Trudy: No. 
10 Dec 11:33 PM - Berlin: Oh it's still going on? 
10 Dec 11:33 PM - Trudy: Only happening now
10 Dec 11:33 PM - Trudy: Will take 3 years 
10 Dec 11:33 PM - Berlin: Jeez... 
10 Dec 11:34 PM - Trudy: So the health stuff and the emo stuff are all interlinked
10 Dec 11:34 PM - Trudy: And you couldn't have known how fucked up I was
10 Dec 11:34 PM - Trudy: I didn't even know how fucked up I was
10 Dec 11:35 PM - Trudy: I had a very brief fling with a friend of mine before I went on AM. 
10 Dec 11:36 PM - Berlin: You told me 
10 Dec 11:36 PM - Trudy: like you,  he picked up on my vulnerability and kept me at arm's length
10 Dec 11:36 PM - Trudy: We only slept together once 
10 Dec 11:37 PM - Berlin: Did I pick up on your vulnerability? 
10 Dec 11:37 PM - Trudy: You told me you did. Maybe you've forgotten 
10 Dec 11:38 PM - Berlin: What do you mean by "pick up on"? 
10 Dec 11:38 PM - Trudy: But he encouraged me to 'get out there' and play the field 
10 Dec 11:39 PM - Trudy: Umm.... Just aware of. ..
 Nervous of. ..
10 Dec 11:39 PM - Trudy: So that's when I signed up for AM
10 Dec 11:39 PM - Trudy: I was trying to heal a broken heart by playing the field 
10 Dec 11:40 PM - Berlin: I'm in German mode up here remember...
10 Dec 11:40 PM - Berlin: Yes that's what I did after Zanzibar girl 
10 Dec 11:40 PM - Trudy: I wanted to have a few boys in play so I wouldn't get hooked on anyone
10 Dec 11:40 PM - Trudy: And distract myself from John pain 
10 Dec 11:41 PM - Berlin: But then you did... ️ 
10 Dec 11:41 PM - Trudy: Yup.
10 Dec 11:42 PM - Trudy: I kept telling myself it was just casual. Trying to keep my distance
10 Dec 11:42 PM - Trudy: But then I also got that connection.
10 Dec 11:42 PM - Trudy: I don't think I fell in love or anything
10 Dec 11:43 PM - Trudy: But the connection was strong and it felt lovely and mutual.
10 Dec 11:43 PM - Trudy: But I got sicker and needier.
10 Dec 11:44 PM - Trudy: And I could feel that was suddenly too much for you
10 Dec 11:44 PM - Trudy: I felt you suddenly exit.  From connected to supporting
10 Dec 11:45 PM - Trudy: I was losing you.  But I didn't want to acknowledge that. Or call it
10 Dec 11:46 PM - Trudy: I hoped we would find that connected space again when you got here
10 Dec 11:47 PM - Trudy: I was losing myself too.  Disappearing into a very deep hole. Was afraid for you to see me in that state. Was hoping I'd have a week or so to bounce back before we meet up
10 Dec 11:47 PM - Trudy: And then nothing at all. Fuck that hurt. 
10 Dec 11:48 PM - Berlin: I could feel that something was going on with you 
10 Dec 11:48 PM - Trudy: I kept telling myself stories about what had happened to you. Giving you a GIANT benefit of the doubt
10 Dec 11:49 PM - Trudy: I didn't want to contact you after that disaster with the masturbation message
10 Dec 11:50 PM - Trudy: Was afraid I'd time it badly and bust you in front of your wife or daughter
10 Dec 11:50 PM - Trudy: Wanted to protect you in your family space 
10 Dec 11:50 PM - Berlin: So it wasn't really a huge surprise when this AM trap happened. Maybe I was even playing with it... subconsciously... and to this day I don't know what happened there... 
10 Dec 11:51 PM - Trudy: Waited it out. Checked my phone a million times a day
10 Dec 11:51 PM - Trudy: Ugh 
10 Dec 11:51 PM - Berlin: After that masturbation message 
10 Dec 11:51 PM - Trudy: I didn't want to face the rejection and abandonment 
10 Dec 11:51 PM - Berlin: I have all notifications off
10 Dec 11:52 PM - Berlin: And always put my cell face down
10 Dec 11:52 PM - Berlin: Always! At home or outside
10 Dec 11:53 PM - Berlin: See how we change our behavioral patterns? Eish.... 
10 Dec 11:53 PM - Trudy: Hear me Berlin 
10 Dec 11:53 PM - Berlin: I'm just asking myself what stage you mean
10 Dec 11:54 PM - Berlin: When you say a million times a day 
10 Dec 11:54 PM - Trudy: From when you got on the plane.
10 Dec 11:54 PM - Trudy: Was the last I ever heard from you. 
10 Dec 11:55 PM - Berlin: ...for a while... But now you know why!
10 Dec 11:55 PM - Berlin: I still wonder what it was
10 Dec 11:56 PM - Berlin: So you had absolutely nothing to do with it?
10 Dec 11:56 PM - Berlin: It sounded so much like your language
10 Dec 11:57 PM - Berlin: The way I was wacked verbally
10 Dec 11:57 PM - Berlin: Calling me Berlin... 
10 Dec 11:57 PM - Trudy: If you knew how sick and broken I was by then you would never have imagined it was me
10 Dec 11:58 PM - Trudy: I didn't have it in me 
10 Dec 11:58 PM - Berlin: ): 
10 Dec 11:58 PM - Trudy: And I seldom take anyone out verbally or otherwise
10 Dec 11:59 PM - Trudy: You use the words ' a while'
10 Dec 11:59 PM - Trudy: But that 'while' was the longest 4 weeks of my life
11 Dec 12:00 AM - Trudy: This wasn't about unrequited love
11 Dec 12:00 AM - Trudy: For me it was about brutal abandonment and rejection 
11 Dec 12:00 AM - Berlin: But it wasn't that 
11 Dec 12:01 AM - Trudy: I couldn't understand how you would just say ciao and see ya later , and then go
11 Dec 12:01 AM - Trudy: I know that now Berlin 
11 Dec 12:01 AM - Berlin: Can you understand now? 
11 Dec 12:01 AM - Trudy: But I didn't then. And that's when it hurt 
11 Dec 12:01 AM - Berlin: I was told to fuck off 
11 Dec 12:02 AM - Trudy: And after 4 weeks of utter bewilderment you suddenly walk into my friend's dating profile 
11 Dec 12:03 AM - Berlin: Deja vu for me then
11 Dec 12:03 AM - Berlin: Was just like the first trap
11 Dec 12:03 AM - Berlin: Kind of at least
11 Dec 12:03 AM - Berlin: From my perspective then 
11 Dec 12:04 AM - Trudy: And that's when I did hit a wall.  I couldn't fathom how I could have spent an entire month waiting for you to contact me, trying to explain it away and trust you to connect. .. and then I realise you're out there hunting again
11 Dec 12:05 AM - Trudy: Fuck. I felt so discarded.
11 Dec 12:05 AM - Trudy: It was just a bridge too far 
11 Dec 12:05 AM - Berlin: I'm sorry for the pain I caused Trudy. It's the last thing I want to do! 
11 Dec 12:06 AM - Trudy: Thanks Berlin. A lot of it was of my own making
11 Dec 12:06 AM - Trudy: But it would have been kinder of you to tell me the truth.
11 Dec 12:06 AM - Trudy: But not easy I know 
11 Dec 12:07 AM - Berlin: About the butterflies? 
11 Dec 12:07 AM - Trudy: Yes 
11 Dec 12:07 AM - Berlin: In that situation? 
11 Dec 12:07 AM - Trudy: Yes 
11 Dec 12:07 AM - Berlin: No 
11 Dec 12:07 AM - Trudy: When you started moving on
11 Dec 12:08 AM - Trudy: Probably not feasible I know
11 Dec 12:08 AM - Trudy: Was an impossible situation 
11 Dec 12:08 AM - Berlin: Trudy I couldn't say that to you in that situation
11 Dec 12:08 AM - Berlin: I wanted to at a later stage
11 Dec 12:09 AM - Berlin: And it wasn't nice to think about it
11 Dec 12:09 AM - Berlin: But I knew I had to 
11 Dec 12:09 AM - Trudy: In my head we had decided to give 'Us' a go. I had closed off all my other chats and I thought you had too 
11 Dec 12:10 AM - Berlin: But it was impossible to do that when you were suffering like that
11 Dec 12:10 AM - Berlin: And remember
11 Dec 12:10 AM - Berlin: Oh I didn't chat either then Trudy!
11 Dec 12:10 AM - Berlin: At some stage I started looking
11 Dec 12:11 AM - Berlin: But I didn't send messages or anything
11 Dec 12:12 AM - Berlin: I got my messages from my 21-year old big breasted Spanish girls that didn't speak Spanish. I opened them and grinned at the Nigerians but I never chatted
11 Dec 12:13 AM - Berlin: Then one day I got a different message... The one I told you about
11 Dec 12:13 AM - Berlin: And that's when our communication died
11 Dec 12:14 AM - Berlin: For those torturous weeks
11 Dec 12:14 AM - Berlin: And I'm very sorry for that!! 
11 Dec 12:15 AM - Trudy: Shew
11 Dec 12:15 AM - Trudy: Marathon session
11 Dec 12:15 AM - Trudy: Thanks for hearing me
11 Dec 12:15 AM - Trudy: Do you feel heard? 
11 Dec 12:16 AM - Berlin: Thank you back. Much easier this way without getting my ears whacked!!
11 Dec 12:16 AM - Trudy: I'm all bark no bite 
11 Dec 12:16 AM - Berlin: No, I have to thank you Trudy!
11 Dec 12:17 AM - Berlin: Also for approaching me again after those weeks
11 Dec 12:17 AM - Berlin: I was as puzzled as you 
11 Dec 12:18 AM - Trudy: It took a lot of courage I have to say 
11 Dec 12:18 AM - Berlin: I know!!!!!
11 Dec 12:18 AM - Berlin: I was angry 
11 Dec 12:18 AM - Trudy: But I couldn't let go the connection of those first few days 
11 Dec 12:18 AM - Berlin: You were sad 
11 Dec 12:20 AM - Trudy: I kept telling my mates that there was more to you. That I knew you. I had felt you and connected with you and I couldn't believe you were all asshole no real person. There had to be more to the story 
11 Dec 12:22 AM - Berlin: I still have that image in front of me... You in lascivious pose on Skype while I was in Berlin... Showing that same shoulder I saw on your gym pic again now..,  
11 Dec 12:22 AM - Trudy: And I remember seeing you on Skype for the first time
11 Dec 12:22 AM - Trudy: We both went quiet
11 Dec 12:23 AM - Trudy: And just looked
11 Dec 12:23 AM - Trudy: And I was taking you in and thinking you were just perfect
11 Dec 12:23 AM - Trudy: And you said 'I so want to kiss you now' 
11 Dec 12:24 AM - Berlin: No I'm not perfect 
11 Dec 12:24 AM - Trudy:   bit of a melting moment
11 Dec 12:24 AM - Trudy: I don't mean perfect perfect 
11 Dec 12:24 AM - Berlin: Wasn't easy to say that 
11 Dec 12:24 AM - Trudy: Just perfect for me 
11 Dec 12:24 AM - Berlin: Via Skype ️ 
11 Dec 12:25 AM - Trudy: I know. That's what made it so lovely. It was full of vulnerability and realness 
11 Dec 12:26 AM - Berlin: You're a very sensitive person...
11 Dec 12:26 AM - Berlin: And on the outside you're tough 
11 Dec 12:26 AM - Trudy: Yes 
11 Dec 12:27 AM - Berlin: That's what I like about you 
11 Dec 12:27 AM - Trudy: Vulnerable.  But I'm also real and honest and brave.
11 Dec 12:27 AM - Trudy: people don't believe me 
11 Dec 12:27 AM - Berlin: Yes you are 
11 Dec 12:27 AM - Trudy: Weird
11 Dec 12:28 AM - Trudy: I try to be open and up front with where I'm at. Terrifies most people 
11 Dec 12:28 AM - Berlin: It's actually funny
11 Dec 12:29 AM - Berlin: Not easy to be honest these days..,
11 Dec 12:29 AM - Berlin: People find it scary 
11 Dec 12:29 AM - Trudy: Yes
11 Dec 12:29 AM - Trudy: But I'm naive about it
11 Dec 12:29 AM - Trudy: I keep thinking everyone will be the same with me

11 Dec 12:29 AM - Berlin: Stay like that please!!! 
11 Dec 12:30 AM - Trudy: You haven't read my blog, have you? 
11 Dec 12:30 AM - Berlin: You know one reason why we connected?
11 Dec 12:30 AM - Berlin: Because I'm the same 
11 Dec 12:31 AM - Trudy: I know 
11 Dec 12:31 AM - Berlin: That's why I fall in love with a Nigerian on the Internet
11 Dec 12:31 AM - Berlin: I'm doff
11 Dec 12:31 AM - Berlin: But I'm not 
11 Dec 12:32 AM - Trudy: I'm so sorry that happened to you
11 Dec 12:32 AM - Trudy: Butterflies and all 
11 Dec 12:32 AM - Berlin: No I haven't read the blog yet 
11 Dec 12:32 AM - Trudy: It's very long
11 Dec 12:33 AM - Trudy: But if you click on the 'online dating' theme on the right it will sift out "the story of Berlin" 
11 Dec 12:33 AM - Berlin: Still got a huge pile of documents and articles that I have to read through 
11 Dec 12:33 AM - Trudy: Read from the oldest to newest
11 Dec 12:33 AM - Trudy: Sometime 
11 Dec 12:33 AM - Berlin: Will do! 
11 Dec 12:34 AM - Trudy: No pressure.  When you're curious 
11 Dec 12:34 AM - Berlin: So it won't be deleted at some stage? 
11 Dec 12:34 AM - Trudy: No.  In fact I might publish a book.
11 Dec 12:35 AM - Trudy: It's all anonymous.
11 Dec 12:35 AM - Trudy: And I would publish as Trudy North 
11 Dec 12:35 AM - Berlin: Know what? I think I'm growing old 
11 Dec 12:36 AM - Trudy: Why? 
11 Dec 12:36 AM - Berlin: My vision is getting seriously blurry now 
11 Dec 12:36 AM - Trudy: It's almost 1 
11 Dec 12:36 AM - Berlin: Chatting on an iPhone all the time 
11 Dec 12:36 AM - Trudy: Way past my bedtime 
11 Dec 12:37 AM - Berlin: It's one hour behind here 
11 Dec 12:37 AM - Trudy: It's all those months with your Nigerian 
11 Dec 12:39 AM - Berlin: Don't mention them... Although she had a soft capetonian voice... Nothing Nigerian... They're not far from me... I'll find them 
11 Dec 12:39 AM - Trudy: I'll help
11 Dec 12:39 AM - Trudy: Goodnight Berlin
11 Dec 12:40 AM - Trudy: Thanks for truth telling. 
11 Dec 12:40 AM - Berlin: Sleep tight Trudy!

And so endeth this particular phase of  the online dating life of Trudy North. A healing conversation. Some real courage from us both. Patience. And believing in what my heart told me. Not every man in this world is bad. Shades of grey all around me.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Things are not always what they Seem in the Mirror

So, on with the Hall of Mirrors Saga from my last blog.

I get back to work after having a bit of reflection time. I know I'm feeling sore, but my need to support Berlin now outweighs any pain I'm feeling. And I know his pain is high. Bewildered. Disoriented. Coming out of the fog. Not knowing what's real and what's not. So I'm lighthearted about my own pain for now - absolutely the wrong time to call him on how he dealt me. Most definitely saved for another day!

I'm here Be. But when we're past this, whatever it ends up being, you're in for
a fkn huge bollocking from me. I'm a patient woman.
What's a fkn huge bollocking?
For not telling me about this girl and leaving me hanging for a very long time.
But I'm REALLY not going to bollocks you when you're
this taken down. I've actually got your back.
Oh maybe I should stay a little longer in Hamburg then and avoid Dubai in near future...
And Barcelona

let's see how you are by then. I may stalk you in Hamburg. 
Then you'll have to WATCH your back!
For now -- we focus on this very sore thing of yours.

Ok. Lighthearted banter done. He knows I'm not OK. I'm not pretending and hiding my feelings from him. But not nailing him with guilt and bitterness now. He's not in any state to hear or deal it. Good Trudy - GIANT steps away from how you would have dealt this in the past.

On with the practical stuff:

Have you Googled the images yet?
I'm on an iPad and for some reason I can't paste a picture into the search line
You don't want me to do it?
Ok I'll forward you a pic by email.
Too late. Load shedding just hit
My guys trying to start the generator now
Jeez load shedding is bad at the moment right?
Every time I communicate with someone in Joburg
they struggle with load shedding...
Was just settling down to search for some catfish doccies for you
How are you feeling Berlin?

Load shedding seems to knock out the 
Vodacom 3g towers too. My messages not getting through to you
It's every day now.
Ok. Generator on. Internet on soon. You can email me on my work address

OK will send you some now
I have a match
Can you send me a link?
Didn't get anything yet
Is she South African?
Yes. At Wits
Runs an event company
Does that mean she would be the one I spoke to or is it stolen identity?
Could be either
Search for XXXX XXXXX on linkedin
I only got a hit on the one image. White pants orange top
Others nothing
Berlin Google her
Something is definitely wrong
I'm so sorry
Yes I've got her Trudy. I even think it actually is her
She often spoke about Islamic topics

I have to dash to therapy now. But I'll check in with you again 
in a couple of hours
And often about Arabic topics
What do you think
Be strong. Be a journalist now, not a lover
Shall I send her a message on LinkedIn
Or pop up on her doorstep?
Wait. Find facts first.
Watch some catfish.
Someone means you harm. Don't tip them off
OK chief I feel much better now! Thanks!!
Just a reminder before I go in
You are in mindfuck mode now
You need some recovery time first
Trust me. I've walked this path. It's fucking horrible

I head into therapy and have the 'Hall of Mirrors' conversation with my shrink. I come out more bullet proof than when I went in. I am grounded and clear about what's happening here for me.

Just sent her a message on LinkedIn
I couldn't prevent it
Tried though
Any response?
How are you?
In your hall of mirrors

Yes she responded that she didn't get an email
And the brother of that "dead" woman just wrote that "hey those are pictures of my sister, this is fucked up"
I asked him if the name says anything to him and told him to Google the images
So you're most probably right Trudy
But there was real love in her voice
For hours
I'm sorry.
It's better than her killing herself over you
But a whole other level of mindfuck.
I'm here. I get this. I'll walk next to you a bit. You're going to need a friend.
Yip, good to know I have one!

I'm stopping here for a moment. This bit really hurt. and it all echoes in that Hall of Mirrors. I remember saying just this to my friend Nikki when talking about Berlin and trying to understand why he had disappeared: "But there was real love in his voice. I can't have imagined it".

I remember a moment when we were talking to each other on Skype. I was so besotted with him and when I actually saw him on the screen I was just flooded with joy. I felt already that I loved him so. We just watched each other. Quiet. Taking each other in. Then he said "I want to kiss you right now".

Real? Mirrors? Fuck knows.

When are you leaving for Dubai?
And what's Tinder?
31 Dec
You reading my blog?
Oh. I mentioned it here. .. just wrote a blog about Tinder this morning so I was confused
Dating app
You should stay the fuck away from it right now

Tinder I mean
Not my blog
So something like AM?
Ja. But mobile based
Why stay away?
Thought you'd be broken right now
Not really up for more scamming
Well I'm a little dazed and confused but I'm not going to jump from a bridge
Resilient fellow
Or totally in denial
There aren't any high bridges here anyway
All flat

(Sent him a pic of the gym running track with my shoulder in it)
I'm here again
No I'm confused
That's a beautiful shoulder
Thanks. But I'm showing you the gym over my shoulder

Oh, not the cold shoulder?
Yes, looks pretty
That gym...
I'm doing the opposite
Should also be in a gym
But testing European wines
The brother of the deceased is bombarding me with messages now.
Asking what's wrong... I'm insecure...
Play along
You'll probably find out what they're after
For 3 months?
Watch the fucking catfish movies already
OK ma'khosi!
It's a hall of mirrors Berlin. Only you are going to be able to figure out what's real
And its going to take time
and land in stages
I watched part of one but was a little boring so got distracted
Some are
Some are sweet
Some are devastating

What some?
OK will get back into it
You carry on sweating in the meantime
Doesn't look very sweaty yet that shoulder by the way...
Takes a lot to make me sweat
Nice save! Cheers I'll have a sip of Bordeaux on you and for you
Hmmmm..... No drunk dialling phantom girl
The deceased
Heartbroken people do stupid shit when pissed
Just saying
Gotta go. Rehab session now
Jeez... you know me well !
OK cool
Will tell you what it's like to chat with deceased
So they said they would make a packet for me with
some things that remind me of her and I could
collect it from a certain Nadhreen.

Look what I just got here on FB:

my name is nashreen hendrix-nassiep ,
my entire identity , including my accounts , forged signatures , facebook account has
been stolen and used . I believe my phone number , pictures from facebook has
been posted on some dating sites . Very private information has been used to my
greatest embarrassment and Ive just received an email from aysungulerosman
saying that I have been dating you . Im a very proper Muslim woman from Cape
Town and I have a husband and three daughters . Is there any way you would talk
to me , i need to find all the damage that has been done. This isnt a scam saying
that you won money , call this number for lottery in the UK. My phones have been
cloned including my office line. I work from home . I humbly implore you to please
atlk to me. I have given all the information I have so you dont think Im a nut.
It starts to unravel
But when i searched for that chicks name it didn't come up
Which one?
Might still be part of the scam Berlin
It is
I checked her profile
xxxx xxxxx
Among her cover pics there are 1-2 that "Tash" sent me 2-3 months ago...
Animations that I've never seen anywhere else
It's xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx
weird. I really did search that name this afternoon and it wasn't there
The full name and parts thereof
It's on LinkedIn
I only found her on linked in
Just got another message from Nashreen in
Curiouser and curioser
This is what she writes now:

Feel free to look at my linked in profile , I've invited you to Facebook
so you see who I am , I just need to understand the damage done ,
there has been financial ones but the other damage is not quantifiable

See what i mean
These things land in stages. Be careful. Trust no one.
Just trying to figure out what they're planning
Or were planning
Her linked in profile said something about wits. Now cape town??
Driving home now. Can't type.
No it's not the same lady Trudy
The first one, the one at Wits (if it's not also fake) is xxxxxxxx
(or Natashia -Tash- for the past few months). This one is the
name that was given to me to collect the parcel with deceased
Tash's belongings for me. Now she says she was framed into
something..... But she has identical pics on her profile, she's
part of it.... Just not quite sure what they're playing

Heading inside to family dinner and mommy time 
now. I'll catch up with you in a couple of hours.
OK, Bon appetit
Hi. I'm back
How are you doing?
Any more supersleuth revelations?
Ok. It's very odd. I still can't find her when i search
Facebook. I wonder if her privacy settings are blocking everyone except
scam targets?
XXXXX XXXXXXX turns up nothing for me on my pc or my phone
Facebook phone or pc i mean
But you gave that name and when I googled she was on LinkedIn
Yes i Googled the photo and it turned up the linked in profile pic
But nothing on Facebook
You ok Berlin? What's happening?

We're now late into last night. Unpacking and thinking. I've started doing what I do whenever someone I care about hits a hurdle I don't know a lot about. I Google. And read. And find forums. And learn from people who have been through the same stuff. I start to send some of this to Berlin, but I get concerned that he won't read it all. Talk about co-dependent dysfunctional helping... I want to help people I care about even more than they want to help themselves!!

I'm going to publish the resources here in my next blog - if anyone reading this is in the middle of a suspected online con, these may help you also begin to understand what's happening. The more I read, the more I realise that this is SUCH a common thing. And that one of the boys I said 'Yes' to on Tinder a couple of days ago was one of these scamsters (the one that disappeared after I asked where he was, suddenly over a thousand miles away). So I was THIS close to walking into a similar trap that Berlin was in!! Flip, Online dating isn't just about protecting your heart. It's about dodging the thousands of scamsters out there just WAITING to work their way into your heart and wallet!!!! Fuck -people are evil!!!

I'm a little worried about my family now
What information did you share?
Of course I happily chatted away about my daughters and which school they go to a.s.o.
I wonder what it's about Berlin
Nothing sinister like spying?
Al jezeera cloak and dagger stuff?
Who found who on AM?
I don't know... Or they simply want to threaten me now or blackmail me with emails to my wife a.s.o.
I contacted her on AM after I thought I was set up by you
So I told my wife I've been chatting with another woman and suspect something dodgy
How would your wife handle this if she knew? Like how afraid are you of them. Blackmailing you?
She was quite cool
How come she so cool?
I told her a while ago that I'd go look to get what she doesn't want to give me...
And she was ok with that?
She basically signaled that she'd turn a blind eye
Maybe she's just happy that she doesn't have to have sex anymore
But honestly.... She really is OK, she's a great woman
Yes. That's a mature way to deal it. ..
She just isn't much into sex
And at some stage I was so pissed off I told her I'd go looking now
Did phantom girl know this
If she did then wife blackmail threats not the object
Not really
But they want to keep the kettle boiling, I'm getting requests on FB and LinkedIn from this other woman
Declined of course
Otherwise they'll post all sorts of stuff on my timeline
Ok. But then you can't keep playing the game w the 'BROTHER'. They'll know you're onto them
Although I'm a bit confused about how it all hangs together
How's your heart Berlin?
You've gone from your lovers suicide to being a con victim in 24 hours
While waiting for cancer verdict from your doc.
Mindfuck territory!
Yes but I'm quite OK Got a good friend by my side.
I am a little confused and puzzled
Just a little?
But not heartbroken like this morning
Well quite confused actually

Another HUGE ouch for me! Flip! Berlin has actually had the conversation he told me he wanted to have with his wife about sleeping with other people. When we were connecting, he was feeling too afraid of her reaction to raise it with her. It would have been such a perfect relationship if he had done that for us, rather than phantom girl: with both his and my spouses on board we could have had a legitimate relationship without hiding it from anyone. What are the chances of that happening, like,ever, for me with someone else. Fuck man! Talk about the road not travelled!!!

Anyway - back to the saga:

Now I see there's a missed call to my mailbox
From her or them or whatever
But it doesn't show as a missed call
Shit Berlin. It's weird
Only an SMS saying that my mailbox was called from that number....
I've been scammed twice. First time I lost 30k. It was to some arb guy who wanted my help. Bullshitter.
But it only lasted 3 days. He took my money and baled
How did they do it?
But it fuckn hurt for years. I was so angry and felt so stupid
I think these guys are pretty good hackers
Second time is now. With John. One day I'll tell you that story over a lot of wine
But I know this one will hurt for the rest of my life
Hackers? Why?
Well she even told me her brother was a hacker and these weird things with calls that don't appear as missed calls a.s.o...
Heartbreak doesn't disappear in half a day. Even if she was a con, you still felt what you felt. Once we figure what happened here you must have grieving time. You're dealing a lot.
What's the purpose of those invisible missed calls?
I don't know
Especially after I was told this morning that everybody is leaving that house (the call was from the landline)
So I've got a landline and several cell numbers
Which is not too bad actually
Might be worth googling those
But these people are tricky as you can see
What, just google the numbers?
Yup. You never know what comes up
Why am I a better sleuth than you? You're a journo...
But not one of those investigative guys
There are often patterns to scams
Like mine was "the precious gemstones scam'
Or there's the 401k scam in Nigeria
And some are very personal. John was acting alone in conning me
You mean 419
Yup. That.
I shot a little film on that up in Lagos
I now I fall for something like that myself
While you thought I was setting you up. .. Yes the irony isn't escaping me
well that's also something I'll explain to you over a glass of wine
Was very similar to what happened now
A fake account
Like fishing

Sigh. Ag. Whatever.

I think I'll post the resources in my next blog - too much info here, and the text messaging takes up so much space. Please go on to the next blog if you need to find help.