A week ago, I was sent a link to Abbey's blog. Filled with distrust, I checked it out and was initially unimpressed. The bottom line was that in the first entry I read (randomly in the middle), I got a very hostile vibe and reacted, negatively, from my gut.
The good thing about this LJ, though, is that it provokes thought and confrontation. Yeah, it provokes a lot of wank, too, but I strongly believe in confrontation (if you haven't noticed). Turning the other way, living in denial, deliberately ignoring that which is wrong or harmful to others... these are all bad things. Those are the behaviors that allow things like child abuse to take place. When good people are aware, but do nothing, the bad have free reign. The world doesn't get better when people turn their heads and pretend nothing bad is happening. The world gets better when people examine situations, bear witness, and take a stand.
So, in my usual freight-train-like fashion, I pointed people toward Abbey's blog. The first result of that provocation was that Cherie aka "Diamond" contacted me, for the first time since 2004.
Just seeing her first letter was a joy for me. It was honest and heartfelt and made me teary to read it.
By way of history: "Di" herself told me exactly one lie: After the detective came to my door, she told me that she had seen "Jordan" with no shirt on, and confirmed that "he" was a boy. That sent me off on a skewed journey, but in the end, it's one fib and I know "Jordan" pressured her, HARD, to do it. In the end, one lie is not hard to forgive.
There's also the matter of the loan on which she defaulted. I remember the first time I called "Di" and asked why she hadn't made any payments. I felt at the time, and I still do today, that she was as stunned as I was by the news. She explained that she'd been handing her paychecks over to Amy because Amy had "taken responsibility" for the household finances. "Jordan" knew about the loan, knew payments were due... Cherie had assumed that "Jordan" was sending the appropriate checks.
I was angry with Cherie, but I never felt, in my gut, like SHE was ripping me off. By then, I'd caught onto Amy as a thief and liar, and I knew Amy was ultimately to blame. Sue and the twins and I begged Cherie to get away from "Jordan" and wake up to the fact that she was being conned--but she sided with "Jordan." I was angry with Cherie for that--for letting "Jordan" win, basically--and I bawled her out many times to stop hiding behind "Jordan" and repay her debt. But despite all the anger, frustration, and disappointment, part of me knew Cherie was being lied to and manipulated, and that was why she was behaving so badly. I knew in my heart of hearts that if this friendship had developed under different circumstances--that is, without the poison of a con artist twisting everything up with lies--things would have turned out waaaay differently. Because at heart, Cherie was an honorable person.
The letter came from that person.
Cherie and I have exchanged several letters in the past few days. She has a long story to tell. She's just starting to do so, at her own LJ, here. Cherie originally posted a link to her journal in a comment to one of the entries I removed, so I've deliberately re-posted the link here. She's only barely begun to talk about her experiences with "Jordan." I'm both curious and filled with dread about the stories she might tell.
The next result of provoking Abbey was that Abbey also responded. Like me, she reacted from her gut at first. We did a little public sparring (although not much--most of it was done by other people, actually). I gotta tell ya, however, that I was extremely amused to learn that Abbey was the "minion" who first tipped me off to "Andy Blake" back at the end of 2009. This story just keeps on twisting.
The important thing is that Abbey went on to write me a private letter. A long, thoughtful, sincere and gracious private letter. I was reminded of the person I'd met back in 2003, the fun, smart, snarky, generous, and creative gal whom I liked the minute I met her. I won't go into the letter's details, although I think they will eventually come out. It's still too early in this process of reconciliation and healing, at this time.
But I do want to share the most important and touching part of her letter--the part that meant the most to me, and convinced me that this was The Real Abbey speaking:
I am sorry for using your hospitality. For putting you through all the financial stress. I'm sure you remember how incapacitated I was by panic for a while when we were looking for an apartment. I remember you taking care of me as I sat in the middle of panic attacks. And I never thanked you properly for that. Nor for loaning us money, or the loan you cosigned on, or cosigning on our apartment. You did those things and I was and am grateful. No matter what came later.
I cannot TELL you guys how much that meant to me. A simple, genuine thanks for something that I'd done just on autopilot at the time. It spoke volumes to me. I could see that Abbey has spent some serious effort reflecting upon her past. Not just in a "poor little me" way, but in a strong, "gee, I had some good things that I fucked up" way.
I've personally found, for myself, that when I look at things from what my weight management coach calls "the gratitude piece," things become a lot more meaningful and change becomes more permanent. In "Fat Camp," I've learned to be glad for my health, and to concentrate on that gratitude, rather than to internally whine that "other people can get away with hot fudge sundaes, it's no fair that I can't eat one." It's hard to wallow in self-pity when you're feeling gratitude--they're kinda mutually exclusive. And if I can't eat the damn sundae either way, well, I'd rather not eat it while feeling the pleasant emotion of gratitude than the depressing emotion of self-pity.
But I digress. The point being that seeing this "gratitude piece" in Abbey's letter was heartwarming to me. It made me feel, as with Cherie, that this is the Real Abbey--not the fucked up, presumed-criminal, living-a-lie Abbey that I've dealt with for the past few years. I am SO FECKING GLAD--for her, for her family, for myself, and for the world. Everyone who takes the time to reclaim their personal sanity and become a better person is a benefit to the whole human race.
I still find it hard to read Abbey's blog, because just as this LJ has always been a place for me to vent, so is her blog a venting place. But we're continuing to exchange private letters, and in private, it's possible to talk more and wank less.
It's crazy, too, because of the whole "feast or famine" aspect--for years nothing, then suddenly I'm having long, difficult, and heartfelt conversations with both these gals. Cherie spoke first, so I've spent more time talking to her, but woof, there's just SO MUCH to discuss with both.
Anyway, so that's why I cleaned out recent entries in the LJ. I really feel like it is possible to mend fences here, and I'm glad of that. And while the provocative entries originally spurred these discussions to take place, they'd served that purpose and were no longer needed. I decided to change them out for this entry. I want to express that even a hardnose asshole like me can see that both Abbey and Cherie have a story to tell that's worth hearing. Stories that involve making mistakes, being horribly manipulated and used, fighting their way out of a hostile, unhealthy situation, and coming back to life.
I can't quite say I'm looking forward to hearing these tales, per se, but man, I'm glad they're both around to tell them.