Monday, October 29, 2012

II

          Theo Keyes and I crossed paths on Twitter after I made a comment about a song I liked: Gary Numan’s “Metal”. He and I were avid fans of both Numan and the man who performed a brilliant rendition of the song: Academy-Award winner, Mr. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. I had long pursued the opportunity of forming or joining a band that either covered NIN songs or played similar music. This leads into his first promise: he had a band in Washington and he produced his own music through computer programs, just like Reznor. He also led me to believe he was well-known in the Bellingham music scene. It was a clever manipulation on his part, exploiting my strong desire to be in a band and achieve fame. At the time I also desired to leave Utah as it was all I’d known. After hearing of this desire, he promised to take me away and treat me like a queen, a line every woman wants to hear. But there was just one problem: he was in an online relationship with a Seattle native, someone he claimed to also love but had never met her. Although he held her in high standards and had me friend her on Facebook, he soon became disillusioned with her after finding out her involvement in the BDSM scene, calling her obscene names and violently denouncing the community as devilish and demonic. He then made me promise to not only unfriend her but block her, telling me she would only corrupt me. She became one of my closest friends after I returned to Utah.
In the month following the breakup, we began to message each other constantly. We communicated through Twitter, Facebook and text messaging. Eventually we used the Facebook video chat, which he used numerous times to jack off in front of me, a practice which bewildered me but didn’t entirely corrupt me as I couldn’t see much. It was during this time that he began to tell me about himself, painting a picture of himself as a man wronged by the world, misunderstood by everyone and abused by his “psycho Marine stepfather”. He told numerous horror stories of how he was forced to slave away in his home as a child, in which he would be beaten if chores weren’t done perfectly. He told me of how he was threatened in high school by someone who had been his best friend. Because of the fear of the threat, he believed he’d sacrificed a girl he liked. Then, in case I should accidentally Google his name, he told me the infamous story about how he’d exposed himself to a drive-thru coffee barista and was subsequently arrested. His defense? She deserved it, as she was apparently dressed in very skimpy clothing. I should have picked up on that single story as a clue to his behavior, but I didn’t. He used the stories of his home life to pay on my compassion and sympathy, and ultimately manipulated me into leaving with him.
Theo played his part perfectly: a loving boyfriend who would devote himself to me, who would be with me until, and even after death. In fact, he’d made me promise not to date anyone after he passed, promising he’d do the same thing for me. This struck me as odd, but not immediately concerning. But as time passed, inconsistencies in his story became more and more apparent. Within the first two weeks, he had me dress in showy outfits, but at the same time, instructed me to wear sunglasses both indoors and out, telling me not to speak to anyone, fearing I would not be able to control myself and give strangers the impression I wanted them sexually, in his words, the “fuck me eyes”, a practice he’d supposedly seen in his previous ex-girlfriends. This practice he condemned if I looked at men, but even further condemned if I did it with women as he had a bias towards all women and believed they were all lesbians and man-haters. How could he exempt one women from a stereotype he held of all women? This is a mystery to me, even to this day.
The women he did hate he objectified, allowing himself to point out features on any woman he found desirable, even going so far as to ask me if he could watch porn to relieve his extreme sex drive: irony at its best. The porn was only one minor example of the sex drive. He frequently took me into numerous public restrooms and jacked off or made me perform oral on him, often guilting me into it when I refused, using his irrational fear of me cheating on him as a tool.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I


           How do you go from being a victim to a survivor? From a victim to a fighter? How do you turn fear into something useful, like the motivation to help others in similar situations? How do you turn pain into strength? It’s something I struggled with for months, and still struggle with today. Seven months ago I abandoned life as I knew it for an intangible fantasy; a false hope. I was naive and didn’t--or couldn’t--see the evils of the world, what people would do in order to take advantage of others, just how manipulative people will become. I left my sheltered life in Utah on the morning of March 8th, 2012, and took a Greyhound bus 900 miles to a town only 20 miles south of Canada: Bellingham, Washington. Even from the first day I arrived, pieces of the perfect fantasy began to fall away, slowly revealing a far different picture than one that the man I thought I knew had painted for me. And yet I held on, hoping for something I could never have: a delusional fantasy. To this day I regret being so gullible, so easy to mislead. I dated not only a master manipulator, but a liar and a sex addict. I dated a man whose brain had been mercilessly warped by prolonged drug use, to the point where he was incapable of having a normal relationship with anyone. This man, Theo Keyes, led me to believe I was his incorruptible angel, his one and only celestial being to be set up on a pedestal for all to admire, but slowly that facade fell away and all I became was a sex toy for him to dress up and show off to not only men but women. I was an object of lust for him. He treated me as his possession: isolated me from the world, making me wear sunglasses both inside and outside to mask my eyes in case I should give or receive some subliminal message of love to or from anyone else. I was forbidden to speak to anyone he thought would corrupt me: especially the female population of Bellingham, who he stereotyped as dykes, fearing they were ready to turn me into a man-hating feminist. I was also expected to be silent in public, in case anyone should hear my voice, hear how naive I was, and rape me.
This is only scratching the surface of Theo’s possessive tendencies. It was something I didn’t realize until he started behaving this way frequently enough to develop a pattern. The first week or week and a half, he masked his behavior. It wasn’t until after that when his true colors bled through the disguise.
I subjected myself to hell for two months, not only praying (sometimes many times a day) that it would “work out”, but lying to myself, my family and friends that my situation was acceptable. Theo and I lived off his Social Security income (he claims to be disabled), which was roughly $800 a month, supplemented only by food stamps. We were kicked out of two apartments within the span of three weeks and were left living, homeless, in a tent for all but the last week of our relationship. No one should have to live their life constantly under the thumb of another, fearing every action could earn them a reprimand or lecture from their partner. This is why I’m choosing to tell my story: both to help others avoid the same situation and to tear down the world Theo Keyes has so carefully constructed.