I've changed names in this story. But these are in fact real people and this is in fact based on a true story.
This is a story that I've been harboring for many, many months now. It's taken me quite some time to face the true spectrum of my feelings, to heal and to build the courage to share this as authentically and honestly as I can. Reason being is that this 36 year old man-child implemented a lot of fear into me. Who he really was slipped between the cracks... But we'll get to that.
Let's rewind to 2016. I went to Costa Rica for my first time with someone I considered a close girl friend - let's call her Izzy. Izzy and I were originally united through our shared love for dance. We had the same birthday and shared a special sister-like bond. We flew out there to perform our styles of dance at a music festival together. The night before it began, I lay in my bed at the AirBnB. I put it out there into the universe that I was ready for my person, wherever he was. The next day rolled around and as we arrived at the front gate of the festival, I noticed a group of guys nearing us - one of them walked ahead of the group and stood right next to me. I immediately felt his fire, his bold presence and charming essence. Izzy pointed out that he was a rapper and seemed to think very highly of him and I was influenced by her admiration. Let's call him Dale.
At some point during the festival we were all hanging out. I mentioned that I was moving to Vancouver from Vancouver Island and Dale told me he lived in Vancouver (what a coincidence!). Sometime within the couples months following that Costa Rica trip - he reached out to me once I had moved to Vancouver. It took us hanging out once one-on-one to shoot us into an amazing relationship. He was bold, passionate, assertive, generous.
It started with little dates that grew into gift exchanges and heart-expanding intimacy and conversation. I was wildly in love and my heart and spirit was on fire. He welcomed me into his friend circle and his family as I did for him. I was so electrified and happy that my projects and work thrived all the more and I was totally content and had never felt such a strong connection with a partner before. Leading me to believe that he was indeed the closest thing I'd ever experienced to what some would describe as a twin-flame. Someone I felt I had felt before I had even met him. Shit, maybe that's really deep but that's exactly how it was.
Over time, I felt a growing stagnancy within the relationship. He spent a lot of time at home and I started to insist that I was in need of more nature-time but we wouldn't make it further than a few blocks before he'd seemingly have an excuse or just give up on the trip and we'd head back to his place. It was kind of sad really. My heart started to hunger for more. I was still fairly new to Vancouver after all - I wanted to explore and expand, I craved nature. I was ready for however that was going to manifest into my life. Sooner than expected, it did - in the form of a human.
This new man came into my life as a friend first. Let's call him Marlin. I'd known of Marlin for a handful of years already as an incredible circus artist and we were somewhat acquainted already. He emerged into my life - We had shared passions that we were able to share and he was eager to get me outside and introduce me to new things. In numerous ways, I felt like he was a gift from the universe. The manifestation of my prayers to explore, expand and connect with nature as well. His energy was naturally healing for me.
I told Dale about Marlin from the beginning, as we had cultivated a very clear, open, honest dialogue within our relationship (I wouldn't have it any other way). Dale was not pleased but he tried to understand and considered opening up the relationship for me to explore. He saw and expressed how happy I appeared and yet, he stayed up all night just to tell me one morning that he couldn't do it. He couldn't share me or my time.
This was challenging for me because I didn't want to end the relationship, there was love there - but it was also feeling very stagnant. My heart was calling me to further connect with Marlin... Oddly enough, both of them were planning for a trip to LA at the same time. Dale and I intended to travel there together for our birthdays while Marlin extended an invitation to me to teach circus to kids at a massive festival during the same timeframe. After some deep consideration, I decided that I needed to take a step back from my relationship for Dale's sake and for my own. I wasn't asking to break up but I needed to listen to my hearts desire for freedom and exploration and so, I invited Dale over and gifted him something precious that relayed as many of our insiders that I could think of. It brought him to tears and that was the first time I'd ever seen him cry. But when I expressed my desire for space afterwards - a switch flicked.
He expressed a level of anger and intensity I'd never seen in him before. He screamed and snarled in my face saying he was going to tell everyone negative things about me along with other various comments that were intended to put me down and implement fear and shame. I was so shocked and shook by his reaction that I was literally shaking. He had more anxiety than anyone I'd ever met and it was almost like he passed that directly onto me in those moments. He left the artwork and slammed my front door while yelling at me and walking down my buildings hallway. I was traumatized that this person I had bared my heart to, this person that I'd shared so much with - wound up being a complete and utter asshole when things didn't go exactly how he wanted them to. But me? Well, I was weak at the time and I succumbed to my fear, leading me to text him and tell him I was willing to do whatever it took to make the relationship work. He took well to that and apologized over texts and we continued forth with our plan to fly to LA together the following morning.
But that point on. The resentment that started to build was unlike anything I'd ever felt in my life. The surrender of my power, the doing of that which I didn't want to do, the gut feeling leading up to the flight, walking onto the plane, arriving in LA and spending time doing exactly what he had planned.
He even went as far as to tell me to "just smile and look pretty" leading up to the trip.
We stayed with two of his friends in LA - one of which is a renowned musical artist that I really admired, which made it all the more unfortunate what happened next... We spent the day at Universal Studios the 4 of us. It was Dale's birthday. When it was just him and I, he started to tell me what our plans for all the following days were and my response? I stood up for myself and tactfully said, "Y'know what? I don't want to do these things. I'm harboring resentment towards you from that conversation before and I want to follow my heart and go to this festival with Marlin to teach circus to children."
Instead of being a decent human being he threatened to discard my passport, didn't let me ride back into town with him and his friends and left me stranded at Universal Studios. I realized more and more he was not the person I thought he was. Months went by before we saw each other again.
Things with Marlin ended up going South over time. His desire for me to submit and be the patriarchal submissive-woman type really didn't jive well with me so I split up with him. After splitting up, I was left to face the emotions that had been suppressed around the relationship that I had had with Dale. There was no denying that that cord of connection was unlike anything I'd ever experienced with a previous partner and given we never said a word to each other face to face for 5+ months after he stranded me in another Country - there was seemingly no closure between us and my desire to create that bubbled to the surface.
I reached out to Dale. I extended the olive branch if you will. But he refused to reciprocate. Tuning into the damaged connection was dreadful and brought me to the brink of what I could tolerate on my own. I thought that I had screwed everything up and the most realistic solution was to make amends. (Looking back, I wish I had just moved on. Things became so much worse between us over time...)
Sure enough, the annual Costa Rica festival was announced to be happening again shortly after I reached out. Me knowing that that was the place him and I had first met, felt that the romantic thing to do would be to fly out there. I also viewed it as a much-needed vacation so whatever happened, I'd be in paradise at least.
Leading up to this trip, I was starting to hear through people attending and involved that he pulled strings to make sure I wouldn't get to perform on stage, I also heard he was telling people I was suicidal and that I was his stalker (wtf?). But I ignored it because I knew that it was his ego and that he still loved me. That's the thing when you connect with someone deeply, you kinda just know when words are just words. You know when it's their anger speaking, or their ego.
I get to the festival and as soon as I arrive to the gate, he approached me. He proceeded to lie directly to my face telling me he didn't do or say any of the things that I had heard. But to make matters worse, he was there in attendance with the same girl friend that I had traveled to Costa Rica with the year before - Izzy. Izzy was someone I considered a sister. Turns out they had slept together behind my back and were dating - information that was withheld from me. Even though I had my intuitive suspicions, she told me I was acting crazy and because I loved and trusted her at the time, this psychologically messed with me and made me feel crazy. But alas, she was there with him too and she didn't say a word to me. Even to this day, not a single word. I lost all respect for her and couldn't look at her the entire festival weekend. The complete absence of respect I discovered for her turned into anger however and that anger grew so much over time that it impacted all of my other close relationships and my ability to trust people (particularly women) and even my own intuition.
Shortly after the festival, once I was back in BC - The rapper Dale started messaging me again! Turns out he stopped seeing my so-called friend Izzy and wanted to reconnect with me. I was reluctant at first but I gave it a shot and sure enough we plunged into a passionate relationship again. As we grew closer, I started to express that I wasn't alright with Izzy being on his social media and it was also obvious I was not happy being at events where she'd just upright approach him right in front of me - How horrific can you be? But he would gaslight me and angrily express that I needed professional help and made me out to be this terrible person for expressing that I didn't want her in his life if him and I were trying to rebuild (which I still think is totally fair.)
I was still healing from the roller-coaster of it all and he wanted to go to Shambhala later that year. I wasn't feeling it but I succumbed to what he wanted instead again and wound up having a terrible experience. He promised me it would be amazing time and yet wasn't willing to do anything with me at the festival and we wound up going to bed around 8-9PM each night. I've never heard a voice so loud in my head in my entire life. This one was speaking to me of our need to breakup. The relationship felt toxic and almost inescapable. I lost my power and in feeling defeated, I lost one of the most awesome, well-paying jobs I've ever had. After that I moved into his place when I was hoping we could make things work at what was my rad as heck artist suite. Then I slowly deteriorated and lost my sense of inner peace - I lost me. I had moments where I couldn't hold back my pain and I'd feel my eyes welling up in tears, even in public. This deeply rooted pain that wanted the darkness-sponging, depressing, soul-sucking experience to end. It was horrible.
We left for a cross-Canada tour together with another band. During the tour, I got to see more to him that I wasn't comfortable with. His next-level anxiety, rudeness and speaking ill of the band we were with, his enormous ego paired with an intense case of entitlement, his manipulative and controlling nature and his inability to follow through with what he agreed to in terms of compensation for me. Which made me realize that another very well known artist in the bass music scene, whom he claimed threatened to extort his business - probably had good reason to!
Since the relationship has ended I've been hearing of how Dale scams and takes advantage of artists (particularly up and comers but not limited to). At the beginning, I thought the world of him. I loved and confided in him deeply. I feel like he saw my youthful energy, my spark, my light and he manipulated me however he could. It's quite sad really. I view it as pathetic and toxic and I am working on apologizing to myself for steering myself through all of those events, but I truly was just doing my best the whole way through and I admit and see clearly now that I was influenced.
I've suffered immensely living in fear at what others have thought about me by his mouth and that's not how I'm going to live any longer. I'm re-claiming my power for me and all lives I touch. I am a good person and I am worthy of a happy life full of love. I will not go unheard in this, I will not be a tortured slave in my own body.
I feel like I've been coming to a place in my life of grounding and healing where I'm able to breathe deeply and find the words for this story. It feels like, "Here you go - not my darkness to carry anymore! NEXT!"
Here are some of the ways that I have found resolve and healing through the utter chaos that I faced during and after the relationship:
Therapy - I started sessions way later than I should have but I didn't know how much I would benefit from them, I also wasn't aware of how badly I was suffering until it was almost intolerable.
Acupuncture - I was blessed to session with an amazing human who heard my story and taught me the value of forgiving the people in this story, she urged me to view them as toddlers learning how to walk and not having the tools they needed at the time to handle the situation better and this notion helped me out a lot. Then the acupuncture cleared my physical and spiritual body. I was literally crying and laughing on the table at the same time. Major release.
Grounding - I moved back to my hometown eventually. I wanted to ground, heal, shed layers and allow my authentic self to emerge again so I could love and nurture her after being burnt. (I moved 4 times within a short span immediately after the break up though. I was so un-grounded and un-centered it wasn't even funny. I had lost myself undoubtedly.)
Writing - In making sense of my story and the lessons within it, I've been able to articulate the whole experience in words and this makes me feel clearer about it all. I feel good about sharing this with you readers.
Yoga and dancing - There is something to be said about releasing tension and suffering that is stored in the body from high stress/trauma experiences. In cultivating flow and strength and expressing through my body I feel much more in tune with what my body, mind, heart and spirit needs to let go and heal, to create space and elevate.
I honor those that have taken the time to read my story. I can't tell you how challenging it's been to force myself to articulate this and share it. The time to let go and make space is now.