When someone blatantly lies to you, walk away. That is a sign of disrespect and very dangerous. It is a deliberate intention to deceive you. A red flag for any type of relationship is lying. Its toxic behaviour and potentially harmful for you. Cut ties fast from anyone who lies, they certainly do not have your best interest at heart. Usually when someone blatantly lies they will tell you because they get confused with all their lies. Confronting their behavior usually brings this to light. My recent experience: I wrote in I Got This about how I was bullied by that male artist I was fan of for setting boundaries with him. His response was to belittle me when asking to be seen as an equal for them not to not follow through on returning my writing. By confronting this behaviour, with screenshots I caught him in a lie that he told me about “supporting me now too back and stating he read my blog only to later reveal in an anger state that he lied. That is when I cut ties for good. Please read my book for what happened. It was one the most stressful experiences of my life and totally unnecessary. It was also one the most degrading experiences asking someone I was a fan of to see me as an equal and naively thinking a friendship could be formed. I would have left him on my website and just stop contact. I never got an apology for the lie and hurt he caused. It was all about him. I have intense compassion for him though, I know he is really hurting and in his attempt to hurt me, he lost me completely as anything. I am grateful he did the right thing, by stopping the behavior towards me. I wish the absolute best life for him- I wrote about the lesson- while it was not okay, I have processed the anger and grateful as it brought awareness of changing and healing I needed to address in me. I wrote to reach out and bring awareness of cyberbullying .
Healing: Therapy has been helping deal since it happened and the situation with artist is the partial reason I loss my job due to stress of cyber bullying situation. I also had another stressful home situation as well all of that stress combined in December 2018, for a brief moment I wanted to end my life, then I remember that promise I made my self- I have the power and inner strength to fight. So I fought my head and said ” Yeah, no.” that is not even an option Mia.
Cyberbullying is never okay. It can effect a persons mental health. If you have fans or in the public eye ensure you set strict boundaries with your fans and do not engage in activities outside the normal dynamic unless you are wanting a legitimate friendship with them or professional relationship. Dynamics must change in that case to be fair for both parties healthy relationships weather online or in person are a give and take and yes even between a public figure and fan . Moving forward any celebrities, artists I work with I am stating my boundaries and expectations immediately. As a writer with some fans doing the same 🙂 ❤️
Love and light to you all! This is such s powerful lesson to be learned .
Subjective note: No unnecessary contact Please. If we meet at a mutual event you’ll be met with a smile, no drama and over a latte, I would love to hear how you are doing! please let this go, you are not a bad person at all. I understand there other factors, you are not in trouble . However, what I experienced was not okay, especially as a fan. I will continue to speak up about it, in a respectful way. The behaviour at the end was unacceptable and bullying. I want the best for you, all I ask is to continue respecting me, my friendships as I respect yours, I will not say or do anything that will harm you and ask you do the same as I did nothing to you to deserve that treat except set boundaries with you. I am asking for respect and peace between us 💜 . This is the best I can do given the circumstances, I no longer trust you, but still care and love unconditionally as person. I want the see you succeed in your career and your amazing artwork- especially the paintings. If you want to have one conversation we can for healing purposes. This my boundary . Here is my story x
Sexy, Fearless and Fierce
By Mia Valente
What does it mean to be sexy, fearless and fierce? I surely didn’t have the answer at 21-years old. I didn’t discover it until I was 27. To help you understand, I will have to take you back to the beginning.
I knew he would be a significant part of my life when we first met on that hot August day outside of the Soulpepper Theatre Co. in the Distillery District. It was the summer of 2007, I just turned seventeen. I was hanging out with my ‘Mija,’ she is still one of my best friends today and she introduced us. I instantly felt an attraction to him, he intrigued me. As life would have it, I was already in a relationship, so I didn’t act on these feelings. We became friends and remained in touch. The relationship I was in ended on good terms over the Christmas break of 2007. By early 2008, I was single and in the Youth Leadership Program at Soulpepper. He was also in this program. We just started hanging out together, in and outside of the group. I really grew to like him as time went on. In May we went on our first real date. He asked me to go to the movies with his friends, but when I got there it was just him. Later he admitted he used his friends as cover because he was too shy to ask me out. Pretty much the next couple months were filled with shameless flirting and while that was happening, I started falling hard and fast for him. The summer of 2008 we spent as much time as we could with each other. We were just teens in love, hanging out, swimming and exploring our city. One of my favorite memories is from the day we spent at the beach. Watching his face while I stripped down to my bikini and then asked him to rub lotion on my back. It was that kind of teasing love. It was one of the best summer of my life. I was truly happy! I had amazing friends, who are still in my life to this day and an amazing boyfriend. I also got accepted into college. I knew it would remain real even after the summer, we were totally in love. I really cared about him so much. We were always talking about the future and we discovered we wanted the same things. I wanted it all with him, to be his wife, have his children and to build a life together. It was a childhood dream of mine to find the love of my life. I remember I spent days by the bay as a child daydreaming about it. I had finally found true love and never wanted to let it go.
As a child, I was always very intuitive, loving, sensitive and kind of shy. I had friends, but I remember spending time alone deep in my thoughts by the bay. I could read situations around me pretty well and was usually right on. My mother used to say that my head was always in the clouds. I had for the most part a happy childhood. Of course there were tough times, ups and downs and hardships also. But overall I had two parents that in their own way tried hard to raise me the best they could and later at age nine, I gained two more parents. Together the four of them, along with my grandparents, raised and instilled in me the values and morals that I still have today. By my late teens as an overall happy child, I had close relationships with my step-sibling, all four parents, cousins and amazing friends. By May 2010, he and I were together for 2 years. Our relationship was way past the honeymoon phase, but the love was still there. He would leave me love notes, we would cook together and we travelled. I was so in love. It was such a pure unconditional love that I became blind to the signs that something was not quite right.
It started subtly, he would get angry at me for silly reasons and it would turn into intense rage. I couldn’t understand it.
It ranged from not giving him the right advice when he ask me for it, to wearing shoes that did not make sense in his eyes. In hindsight, it would have been best to leave then, however I was in love. I wanted to work it out and support him.
We were in the underground heading home, after a date one night, when he started telling me weird things like “I know how to manipulate people.” About a month later, he told me about the time, as a pre-teen, he hurt someone on purpose, out of anger and they ended up in the hospital. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. By the end of 2010, the relationship had gone downhill. The criticism was coming stronger, every time we were together I did something wrong. Then I would defend myself and he would apologize. The next time we were together this was repeated. I heard how I couldn’t take care of myself because I wore stupid shoes, how I wasn’t what he wanted, that he didn’t want to get married or have kids. Then the next day, he wanted it all with me. I remember going out drinking with my girlfriends. If a guy showed any interest in me I thought about running away with them and forgetting about the love of my life. I learned that this was probably the time my subconscious knew something was truly wrong. I was so hurt. I did not do anything about it, but I was tempted. I felt like I was on a roller cost for the last four months. He was doing and saying hurtful things and then apologizing saying “I am so in love with you!” I figured he was struggling and I was there to support him. So I stayed I was losing myself in the relationship, so I made a point to get reconnected with my friends before it was too late and never lose them again. That decision was the best one I ever made.
I also started doing things independently which made me feel better and started dressing more like myself again. I was looking and felt good at 21 years old. But the issues with my relationship continued. Where was the love? There was a nagging feeling in my gut telling me “Emilia leave, you are in an abusive relationship.” I ignored it, thinking there was no indication of abuse, we are only fighting. I chalked it up to fear and would not be overcome by it.
Then came that night, when I realized maybe my inner voice was right. I remember the moment, it was right after we had sex. He gave me a very hard slap when I wasn’t looking. I was so angry! I yelled at him, told him to never do that again. He kept hitting me until I yelled back loudly to stop. He did, but then he started to laughter and said “I wanted to see the marks it would leave, relax Em. I will never do that again.” I was so angry. I told him he needed to go to therapy or else I was done. He agreed, apologized and it didn’t happen again until a few weeks later. Then again and again. Each time he apologized and blamed his depression.
I was very confused, in my head I figured out this was abuse, but I still had doubts because it had only been a couple of isolated incidents. If it is inconsistent is it really abuse? Yes! Inconsistent abuse is still abuse and the more you ignore the more consistent it can become. I really had no clue at 21 years of age, about how abusive people operate. The abuse escalated the more I asserted my boundaries. But I didn’t leave. One day I found myself pinned down on a bed and he spit on me. It happened out of nowhere and was really upsetting. I tried standing up but he pushed me back down hard. He was laughing as he was doing this. I remember breaking free, spitting back and hitting him in self-defense. He got so angry at me for disrespecting him. I cried that night. I was so confused, yet I couldn’t just leave him. He always apologized and said he didn’t understand what was going on in his head.
I was so torn, I wanted to help him battle his demons, but at what cost? I forgave him again, hoping that would be the last incident. It was not. A couple of weeks later a scarier moment happened, one that years later I realized could be considered sexual assault. I remember his hands around my neck during sex, him laughing down at my face saying “It’s fucking like I am raping you!” I was shaken to the core. I yelled at him but I should have left. He used his mental health issues as an excuse again. We booked a therapy appointment, a condition that I demanded if I was going to stay. We also had a trip to England coming up that was non-refundable. I wasn’t sure how to leave or what to do. I was feeling scared, embarrassed and I felt like no one would believe me. Here I was a confident young lady and I was allowing him to do this, for what? Love? I was pretty sure healthy love was not this. He would always apologize but I kept hearing my mama’s voice “Em, you don’t have to keep going through this.” I wasn’t listening. I didn’t want give up on us. I wanted to go back to 18 years old and feel that love again.
The weeks leading up to England, things calmed down and once there, things felt almost normal. He was kind of back to his old self, but we were still fighting and he was still saying cruel things at times. I thought, “Right, we will sort out his mental health, then work on rebuilding us.” I was committed to him for the long term.
He asked me out to a Soulpepper performance when we returned to Canada. I felt things were getting better. I told him as soon as I confirmed that I could get the evening off from work I would let him know about the performance. He said he would wait for my answer. Well, I did get the evening off. I told him about three nights prior to when we were supposed to go, while I was over at his place. When I told him, he stopped me and told me that he was going with someone else, because I took too long to respond. I asked him to tell me who he was going with since he was supposed to be working on repairing us. He wouldn’t tell me who but hinted it was another girl. I flipped on him. His response to my anger was “What? You’re not my wife or my mom, you don’t need to know.” I responded “No asshole, I am your girlfriend of three and a half years.” He turned on me saying I have trust issues. I told him “Fuck off.”
I was about to go home but he told me not to make a scene because we had dinner with his family planned. I did not give two fucks at this point. I started putting on my jacket. He stopped me as I was opening the door to leave the condo, his tears threatening to spill and he said “I made this up, so I could get a true reaction out of you and now this proves to me you have trust issues.” I was angry. He was playing mind games. This is not what I deserved. I would later learn that what he did that October night was called gaslighting. I felt so violated, but still I stayed for dinner and went to the movies. The deciding factor was that evening, I realized I just had enough. The next day I planned to break it off with him. I wanted one last nice night with the him. But once again he apologized and things were suddenly good. I asserted my boundaries again to him, saying that under no circumstances would this happen again. That he needed to ask me things directly, with no manipulation.
Later, after a peaceful dinner, we made our way over to the movie theatre. We were sitting at a table in the waiting area with our drinks when all of the sudden he grabbed my wrist hard and twisted it. “I am still so fucking pissed with you.” I knew right then how clearly in danger I was. I broke free and ran away crying, he laughed and said “What are you fucking going to do Em, cry?”
I walked away with my bag to the washroom. I stood in the mirror, my mascara running and said “This is not me; I am not this girl.” I heard a voice in my head saying “Leave safely. Don’t let him know your plans, stay and be safe. It’s not safe to just leave him.” I watched the movie and kissed him goodbye. The next day we meet in a local coffee shop. I broke it off. I was done, he cried. I later learned this was a manipulation tactic, I felt horrible, but it had to be done. I asked for space, he wouldn’t let up. I was being messaged all the time and he was confessing his unrelenting love for me.
I was confused because a part of me wanted to believe him. I was determined to find out his true intentions and to gather proof of his abusive behavior. I was not to be played a fool, I was no fool. I was a beautiful, loving, caring woman. A friend told me to keep setting boundaries, that this would work in my favor because manipulators hate that. Then they will accuse you of trying to manipulate them. I swallowed my fear. I took him back with a hidden intention. I manipulated the manipulator to break free from this hold he had on me and to get the proof that I knew I needed. My final thought was “Not today, motherfucker, you will never control me.” Let’s just say this worked. Two weeks later I wrote “I’m done.” It worked, I blocked. No more second chances. He wrote this to me ‘I think it’s best we stop hanging out until you’re ready to. Call me when you want, I’ll leave you alone from now on. I feel the more I try to connect with you the more you respond in a way that disappoints me, the less I care and that’s not good. So to reiterate, don’t ask to hang out with me unless you’re willing to give it your all and want to be around me and you don’t have to worry about me contacting you too much.”
I felt free and empowered. I walked away and I could finally look forward. I wanted to move to London, start fresh. I was feeling pretty good. I wish I had known more about leaving abusive relationships. I didn’t realize how angry he was. He kept calling that day I wrote “Done.” It was November 5, 2011. I had forty missed calls. Many texts, demanding I talk to him. Then came the voicemail from him threatening to do something to himself or me. It was the only voicemail he left.
I called his brother to get him to a hospital, explaining that I broken up with him. I didn’t want him hurt. While I was on the phone, I heard pounding on the front door. He was at my house. His eyes were dead with no emotion. I remembered the threatening message. I knew if I opened that door, I’d be dead. I called 911, and his brother, telling him to come get him. His brother hummed and was stalling so I said “He is abusing me and I have called the cops!” I screamed and hung up and called 911 again and yelled at them to hurry up. I was terrified! Who the fuck was this monster? It lasted for 20 minutes, I was shaken up. I walked out of the washroom and yelled at him to “Leave me alone” and “Get off my property.” He eventually left, and I realized he knew everything about my house even where spare keys were. The police showed up, I showed the female cop the email. I had kept it, something in my inner voice had told me to. I played the voicemail also. They warned him. He did not come around again but proceeded to cyber stalk me for months and was continuously contacting me, my family and friends. I was getting anonymous nasty letters in the mail. I was living in fear, I was staying at my friend’s apartment for days, could not sleep in my own bed.
As months and days went by, the flashbacks and panic attacks were almost daily. I had to put on my brave face. I remember feeling alone, but I was handling and hiding it. I was applying for a work visa. I was hurting. I remember my mentor telling me on the phone, to think that I was ‘fearless, sexy and fierce.’ I rearranged it and that became my mantra. Even if I didn’t believe it, I would say it, I had no clue what it meant really, it just resonated with me. I was an emotional roller coaster between the six months after break up and before the illness manifested. Eventually it caught up with me, it become so intense that I didn’t sleep properly for 5 days and I developed hallucinations. My body cracked and I was later diagnosed with a serious chronic mental illness. The hallucinations were one thing, but the panic attacks, flashbacks and lack of sleep were always around. The emotions from abuse and the incident always around. I was always on flight or fight mod I now had mental illness to deal with and already faced some harsh stigma. I was afraid I was going to lose my friends, it had already damaged my relationship with some of my closest family members. There was so much fear. I hid my feelings of fear… from becoming ill again to being in another abusive relationship.
I didn’t want to burden anyone. My emotions were so strong the first couple of years. I kept being transported to the day I thought I was going to be killed. Day in and day out, any stressful event or any person that reminded me of him would bring out the fight or flight emotions. I was always on edge. It became so intense, I still couldn’t handle it two years after the break up.
In December 2013, I was facing a particularly stressful situation and battling these intense emotions again. I decided I would rather be dead then to go through this again and again. So, I did it. I took many pills, after begging for help at a local hospital and being turned away. I felt hopeless, I let his darkness become mine. I was not worth it, I was a failure, I was used goods, he was right. Everyone loved him, not me.
I was in so much internal pain, the intensity of emotions so strong. I wanted to leave, finish off what he was going to do that night, be out of this hell. But I always had a voice in my head saying “You aren’t meant to die now, keep going.” I was living overseas at the time. I woke up in the ICU and then in a regular ward. I was disappointed because I had not died, but did not tell anyone. I felt like I would never be able to get over this. I was so angry, at him, God, everyone. But I never expressed it. Developing a mental illness so young showed me how cruel we all are to individuals who suffer from mental illness. We really are. Yet the inner strength that got me to leave, would always come back and say “No, not your time, you are sexy, fearless and fierce.” My intuition was strong. With the encouragement of my loved ones, each time I fell I got back up. This became a pattern.
By now, the stalking had stopped. He was apologizing and admitting the abuse. When I was 25 I was in my apartment, seeing someone when my intuition said to get over the fear and face it. So, I contacted my ex-boyfriend via email and said “I forgive you.”
Once I sent that we ended up emailing each other. He was really apologizing. I wasn’t sure if he telling the truth and eventually we met up in public place. I never stopped loving him, I will always love him, but I never again wanted to be with him or have him in my life. I didn’t want to ruin his life, if I did I would have pressed harassment charges. We met for a coffee, and found myself facing the man who I had become terrified of. It was strangely okay. To quote Beyoncé ‘My torturer became my remedy.’
We talked on and off for a year. In that time, he admitted to the abuse he mentioned in the emails. He apologized truthfully and admitted that on the night he was angry he was going to hurt me. It was the realest conversation we had together. The fear of him disappeared. There was nothing to fear, because I had already faced him and won when I left. When I moved overseas and dated again. There was no reason for me to be afraid of him. I tricked him and escaped, he seemed to be dealing with anger.
The best thing I did was leave. In his own words, “I am proud of you for standing up to your abusive boyfriend.” I told my abuser that he had no chance to ever do those things to me again, that I was happy. That even after all this I wanted him to treat his next girlfriend right. That I loved him but I was glad I had left. See my love was unconditional but my trust and respect were not. I told him we would have been together if he had not turned abusive and dealt with his anger. I was so madly in love him, I gave up everything to be with him. I wished him well. I truly understand his pain, it not an excuse, but I felt compassion for him. Hurt people sometimes hurt others. I cut communication for good October 2016, happy we came to an understanding and closure. It was liberating.
To my ex-boyfriend, “I wish you all the happiness that we both deserve. That you never hurt another person again and that you come to find peace within yourself. I will continue doing me and I am ready for my next stage in life. Thank you for teaching me my greatest life lesson, I am worth it.”
Then the healing began, I could finally let it all go. By 2017 I was feeling better. Now I only look back on everything with gratitude.
Then, I finally figured out that I was being sexy, fearless and fierce the entire time. I was accessing my inner strength all long and getting up after each fall. I had been so constricted by fear and negativity, I had an incorrect perception of my life. I am truly a sexy, fearless and fierce woman.
My experience is what is driving my passion for social work. I want to give back and be a source of comfort and protection to those in need. Coming to the realization that I had experienced sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse really shook me to the core. It happened in waves, and took years to process. I understand what it’s like to have experienced all three types of abuse, suffer from a mental illness and have intense compassion for those suffering. If I can help just one person discover and use their inner strength to heal, that would make me happy. We all have inner strength and should feel worthy of love and care. The world is both beautiful and cruel and I promise to make sure as long as I live to try and make it brighter. I am so grateful for everything that has happened, it has made me stronger. To the supportive friends and family for picking up in the moments I could not…thank you. My story is far from over and I am looking forward to experiencing it…as a sexy, fearless and fierce woman. ©️Copyright Mia Valente, Creative Publishing Group. 2018. Copyright prohibited. No unauthorized reproduction is allowed.