If you want to read the whole (summarized) story, read That Time a Fellow Church Member Wanted to Murder Me.
If you want to know what being stalked looks like, it looks like this.
May 1999 – Posing for prom pictures on the church steps (the black mold in the background should have tipped us off something was afoot.) This is around the time he started seeking me out at church events. Also, my sister is 10x prettier than I am, so obviously getting stalked isn’t about looks.
May 1999 – High School Graduation – If I’d been killed, I’m pretty sure this is the picture 20/20 would have aired.
May 1999 – My church presented me with a Bible as a graduation gift. My stalker was sitting in a nearby pew when this picture was taken. Five months later, my father would ask to take a temporary break from preaching because my stalker was sitting in the congregation. The man praying over me would tell him if he didn’t preach, we weren’t allowed to stay in the parsonage and needed to get out.
Summer 1999 – Wearing the same kind of outfit I typically wore to church. I’d later be told I was “asking for it” because of the way I dressed.
July 1999 – To be fair, if you wear something this loud it is pretty easy to follow you around. (The man who stalked me ate some of the PB&J I’m making in this picture. His attention was annoying, but I didn’t see him as a threat.)
August 1999 – About one week after the first break in. I’d find a pair of my underwear and a prom picture with my boyfriend’s face cut out of it in my church pew a couple of days after this picture was taken.
August 1999 – Moving into my dorm room. “Look at all this potential I have!” I hadn’t received any obvious death threats yet and assumed the whole thing would blow over eventually.
October 1999 – At a friend’s house on our last night in Arkansas. My bed had been set on fire and I’d found the obituary he made for me about a week and a half before this picture was taken. We moved out of state and in with a family friend for several months until my dad found a new church.
December 1999 – We’re broke, homeless, unemployed, and in hiding; but nobody tried to kill us today, so Merry Christmas to us!
January 2000 – About 6 months after the first break-in. You know what makes you grumpy? Not being able to unpack your belongings for 4+ months because you don’t have a permanent home yet. Also, nobody ordered pineapple on the pizza. What. the. hell.
September 2000 – One year after the first break-in. You know that movie, Son-in-Law, where the sheltered, country girl goes off to college and her R.A. cuts her hair and talks her into wearing animal prints all the time? The same thing happened to me during my Freshmen year of college, except instead of meeting Pauly Shore and learning to say “Buuuuu-DY,” it was a schizophrenic Christian Reconstructionist stalker and I learned to say, “Hey, make me a screw-driver, heavy on the screw.”
If you scrolled all the way down here looking for an inspirational lesson, there isn’t one. It’s just a series of pictures that starts out on a really happy day, moves through the worst time in my life, and ends about one year after all the shit started. This isn’t a Hallmark movie, y’all. It’s my life.
Okay… if you really, really, really need every post summed up with some nugget of wisdom, here’s the best I can do:
Bad things happen sometimes and you just live your life the best you can and buy leopard print shirts and shit.