The people who are the most jealous of you are usually the ones closest to you. I learned this lesson in my last relationship. My ex didn’t approve of me being a writer.
He, like many people, felt that writing wasn’t a “real” career path. This would become a point of contention for us within months of dating because I wouldn’t give it up.
Writing has always been my calling and it was my confidence in my path that kept me from venturing off of it. He resented me for this because it meant he couldn’t mold me. It was hard for him to use because I didn’t have any money.
Everything came to a head during a phone call in December 2019, when I asked him if he felt like I brought value to his life.
His response was, “not really”.
He went on to reason —
What you’re doing with your life is not as important as what I’m doing in life because writing doesn’t bring in any money. You can’t even give me any money if I need it.
I never forgot those words.
I never forgot who said them either because it was the moment I finally understood that I didn’t just have my heart to protect from him. I had my writing to protect from him too — because I was, in fact,
Sleeping with my own enemy.
The Enemy Was Always Closer Than I Thought
Beware of the following red flag
At the beginning of the relationship, I shared my writing with him, specifically my poetry. He would often tell me he was jealous of the way I write, and my ability to do so.
He said he didn’t feel he was good enough, or as good as me, and that he wished he could write the way I did. Everything that took place next would be the life lesson that taught me — this is not a compliment.
This is never a compliment.
There is nothing complimentary about envy because that’s what this was, envy. You have to watch people who say things like this to you because they mean it.
These tend to be the people who —
- don’t congratulate you when you win
- act oblivious to your achievements
- keep an eye on your progress, without engaging
- encourage you to use your logic, not your intuition
These are the people whose concern feels like micro-management and whose support feels forced. These are the ones who need to see financial proof of your success before they can believe in it.
These particular people will try to get in your way, one way or another. My ex was sadly no exception to this rule.
In fact, he would be the one to teach me the people who try to urge you off your path are usually the ones who can see it the clearest.
“Writing Isn’t a Real Job”
Since it doesn’t offer secured benefits (like a 401k, or a pension)
To him, I wasn’t taking a practical approach to life and was banking my entire future on a dream; and to an extent he was right. I was absolutely banking on a dream —
But I was banking on my dream.
And something in my heart was telling me that I could afford to do it. So I did it. I worked my ass off throughout that entire relationship. Often, in our three years together, I was found in bed —
- smoking weed
- transferring what I wrote into word documents
This consumed a massive amount of my time.
To him, I was being lazy and doing nothing with my life because there was no monetary gain. He couldn’t tangibly see the outcome — but I knew better. I knew I was building a foundation and that the money would come later.
You can’t make money with no material to make it with
Even then it wasn’t about the money, it was about the message. I lived through experiences and stepped into the shoes of people I thought I’d never be able to understand.
Once I was done cosplaying as familiar strangers I wrote about what life was like through their eyes, as well as my own. Not only for my own healing but to offer a new perspective to anyone who comes across my platform.
So, although my entire relationship was spent smoking weed in bed, it was also spent creating the catalog you are all reading today. This was always overlooked, because “writing isn’t a real job”.
Until I started working.
He Cyberstalked My Professional Accounts
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
He became a threat to my creative safety
I started numerous Instagram and Twitter pages to begin building my writing platform, sharing my photography, and networking my work.
Suddenly, I’d lose my morale and scrap it — and he was always the reason for this. I started feeling like I was being watched because I was.
He was keeping an eye on my progress, without engaging, to micro-manage me. He’d create accounts to watch me and eventually it sent me into a rage,
For two reasons —
I didn’t know this was actually happening until he’d get caught (each time)
This wasn’t just my job — this was my purpose
He knew what my passion meant to me.
He had no reason to do this but would proceed to make fake accounts and follow me over and over again, each time I tried again. This is when I started learning the value of choosing your support systems carefully.
He Gave Me a Wake-Up Call
This is when I realized he was my biggest hater
I felt the need to hide my wins from him because he ruined my moments whenever I shared them with him.
I’ll give you an example —
I was approached by a Medium publication, asking me to submit a self-published article to them. It was about how some men offer women alcohol on a date to make it easier for them to sleep with her.
When I told him about this, he somehow turned that into an argument, despite me writing from my own personal experience.
Instead of letting the pressure discourage me, I actually used every point he made against the piece to revise it and make any argument against it airtight. But I never forgot his response to my good news.
His influence was subtle and that’s what made it effective. As a result, my success never lasted around him. I felt betrayed because as a writer, I deserve to feel safe enough to write.
I should be safe enough to share what I write
I’m a sharing person in my relationships. I like to communicate; I like to tell my partner what it is I’m up to. It’s a natural impulse to share my creative thoughts with the person I trust and bounce my ideas off of them.
But following my natural instinct made me feel unsafe with him. Showing him the platform I’d built, time and time again, made me feel like I’d just put my words on enemy lines.
I felt like a negligent parent, placing my children in harm’s way. And I did this, time and time again. But it became these repeated mistakes that became the reason I picked up this pattern, in the first place.
They woke me up.
- He was sabotaging more than my career
- He was sabotaging my creativity, and
- He was absolutely doing it on purpose
He was taking my ability to be open away from me, and he wanted to do that. I was scared for my material because I was, in fact, sleeping with the enemy.
I was in love with my biggest hater. My future was at stake and my path was unsafe. It was time to start cleaning up my creative atmosphere.
I Started Grey Rocking Him
Little by little, I started keeping my creativity to myself
I began removing him from my creative atmosphere. Specifically, my mental space because that’s where all the magic happens first. In order to do that I started by creating quietly.
This included my —
- creative plans
- creative ideas, and
- regular thoughts
I only wrote when he wasn’t around.
I hid my notebooks and any written material whenever he came around. I kept my ideas away from him and escaped into my creations all the time. In a way, the intensity of his influence pushed me to become even more creative.
He’d notice and ask me about my material and how my creative process was going, because he could tell something was off since I stopped voluntarily sharing it with him. I had to grey rock him in order to shield my creativity.
This was the only matter I ever utilized the grey rock method, my writing was worth that risk. My cautious rebellion was not in fear of him disproving my path in life. It was about a mother protecting her babies.
I conceived these articles
I was going to give birth to them. One way or another, I was going to carry each of them to full-term. They each had their own legacies to uphold and I was responsible for ensuring that that happened.
Once I got the hang of hiding my creative pregnancy, I waited until the time felt right to go into labor and began sharing my finished pieces here — instead of with him.
Keeping my creative process to myself kept the magic of my creations fresh and it catalyzed the power of my silence. Because I began succeeding on the low, as his successes rang in.
And he switched up.
He Justified Devaluating Me
My lack of funds made me an “unreliable partner”
The slightest signs of his success changed him.
At first, it was a new place. Then it was a promotion at his job. Finally, it was a brand new car. This come-up motivated him to use his success as leverage to further scrutinize my written path, and look at my life as inferior to his.
He became very arrogant, as he honestly began believing that his bank account made him better than me. He took note of the money I wasn’t making, and my inability to give any of it to him (if he should need it).
I was neglected and brutally devalued each time a blessing trickled in. I was also blamed for not being happy with his wins, despite those same wins being used as fuel to completely devalue me and my life process.
He justified my devaluation by saying my lack of funds made me an unreliable partner. He explained that it made building a life with me unsteady, despite us having two different views of what we wanted for our lives.
I was never a financial liability to him
I never asked him for money nor did I expect it. I was raised to keep my funds separate from any partner I’m with. I was also never going to give up my home to live with any man I date.
I’m not getting married and I don’t desire to have children. Therefore, financially, much of his argument fell through once you looked at the logistics of the kind of life we would be creating.
Regardless, to him, I no longer held value because of what I didn’t (and couldn’t) bring to the table, financially. According to his narrative, I was using writing as a scapegoat to be broke — and useless.
In reality, he was jealous that I was on my way and needed to see the monetary gain before he could call what I was doing a “success”. His lack of patience with my process created a pressure that energetically began to wear me down.
This was done strategically, to pressure me into getting a “real” job and to manipulate me into abandoning my path. He was trying to create an energetic atmosphere so triggering that even I wouldn’t be able to pull inspiration,
To follow my dreams.
I Was Finally at a Crossroads
The choice was not only simple — it was inevitable
I had to say goodbye to what I believed was “the love of my life” because in the end love is not what mattered. What mattered was knowing that staying meant never reaching my greatest potential.
Creativity is the very essence of art.
To attack creativity is to attack the vitality of life. And he did that, more than once. Maliciously and intentionally. Choosing him meant turning my back on my purpose. There was just no way I could do that.
Before I found my voice I found the written word, writing is part of who I am. This is where I made my peace with the reality that we were never going to make it because we were always headed in two separate directions.
I, ultimately, sacrificed three years for a lifetime — and the choice was simple. Nobody talks shit about writing. Writers make this world go round, we are the blueprint of creation.
From the movies we watch to the music we listen to, someone wrote that down. When all else fails we turn to art when we need hope. I am proud to be actively doing my part.
I know now my success was stalled until he was out of the picture because my blessings were being protected. Anything beautiful that would have come in would have been trampled by his presence in my life. These blessings were always mine to have,
But he was the reason for the delay.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Elisa Ventur on Unsplash