Jihane

Part II

During thanksgiving week I began having panic attacks daily. I didn’t exactly know what it was but came across an Instagram post which described anxiety attacks, which I’d been experiencing for 2 - 3 years now, and panic attacks, which were very new to me and even more unnerving. They were happening multiple times a day, more and more often, and growing in intensity. I had to consciously breathe but felt my body was out of control. On Tuesday I started having pain radiating through my left side, from my neck, to my chest, and down my left arm. It felt like my arm and shoulders were being pulled down by some gravitational force. My chest felt compressed and my entire left side was numb. I was also sweating uncontrollably. When I looked up the symptoms online I panicked and told my brother I was possibly having a heart attack. I wanted to signal that to him just in case something were to happen. I told Pedro but he didn’t react. I didn’t expect him to be concerned but I did want to log his reaction. It lasted until the next day and went away, but the panic attacks returned. I took it easy and rested but was very concerned for my health. I kept those concerns for myself and just prayed on it.

On thanksgiving day, I was having lots of anxiety, and felt ill. He would come around and I’d just start to sweat. It was like a running faucet; it just didn’t stop. There was nothing I could do about it. I resorted to conscious breathing, sound healing, and meditation to soothe myself. Whenever Pedro interacted with me, my hands would shake and I’d light one up to calm myself. I was trying to hide it but he could see it. He saw me shaking, hyperventilating, sweating, but not once said something about it. He’d watch me crumble, pretending not to see that I was in distress. He was hovering, talking on and on and on about his latest idea on how to earn money in the crypto world. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and asked that we picked that conversation up later. He perfidiously asked what was wrong and I lied that it had to with my stomach. He said he was going to take the dogs out and needed to discuss parking spaces with our neighbor who was supposedly slightly bothered about Pedro’s new truck. He would be right back to watch a movie with me. He wanted to watch “True Story” with Kevin Hart. He put it on, and paused it. I just sank into the couch. The minute he walked out the doors with Maya & Rio, our neighbor - Michael Blum - called him over from his patio. I could see him through the window. I had gotten up to feed my plants. I filled a pitcher with water and went around the room to tend to all of my plants. When I approached the wall in the dining area, my entire body suddenly started to shake. I felt something was very wrong. I just felt it. Pedro and Michael were on the other side of that wall, sitting on Michael’s front porch, where they used to meet up and chat. The dogs were playing. I could hear them. That’s when I picked up on the fact that they were speaking a lot lower than usual, and my body just wouldn’t stop shaking. I got closer to the wall and heard the unthinkable. The neighbor was reporting to him on my latest conversation with my brother, telling him that there was a sense of urgency because something was definitely about to happen. He had heard me mentioning the fact that I wanted to consult with a lawyer. He also referred to “that thing” they had discussed. They started chatting about my pseudo insanity. Pedro was claiming that I was regularly assaulting him, that I was out of control, dangerous, instable, and so on. He claimed my family had a history of mental issues, that he was doing everything for me, while I was sitting around complaining. He painted me as a spoiled brat. Claimed that my family was into weird practices. That I was an ungrateful burdensome wife who constantly nagged him and that he didn’t know what else to do but to get me the hell away from him. In short, he had tried everything and it was time for him to drop the towel… I nearly fainted. I just couldn’t believe it. It went on and on for over an hour. Layers upon layers upon layers of falsehood. They spoke quietly, but our house was completely silent. Although I couldn’t catch every bit of it; I heard most of the conversation. They started discussing plans to have me removed from his life. I heard him ask « Ohh, so how long you’d think that would take? » and I panicked. Our roommate Bruce was home. I didn’t known what to do so I texted him and asked that he held my computer for a few days, just until I could safely meet with a lawyer. I didn’t explain much, other than the fact that he was a violent man, and that the neighbor was currently warning him that I wanted out. Bruce agreed to hold it. He asked if I wanted to meet up outside to talk but I said that I typically didn’t leave the house much and didn’t want to raise anymore suspicions. When Pedro came back, I was in shambles. I was shaking and couldn’t hide it well. We crossed path, and it greeted me with the biggest and brightest smile. I was petrified. He asked if I was hungry and I said to him that I needed to take a shower. He wanted to grab some food. I walked past him and rushed to the bathroom to hop in the shower, where I had a major panic attack. I sat down in the shower for a very long time, playing everything over in my head. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t slow my breathing rate. I was stunned. When I came out, I went downstairs, faking it as best as I could. He asked what I wanted to eat and I suggested we go to Gelson’s before it closed; I wasn’t feeling too well and wanted a nutritious meal, as opposed to something like a burger, pizza, or spicy food. He was busy on the computer and I pointed out that all grocery stores were likely to be closing soon due to holiday hours. He just kept at it. I was sitting in the chair behind him, watching him. When we finally got up and out, the store had shut its doors a few minutes prior. He asked what I wanted from The Oaks and I told him I wanted nothing at all. I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go home. He was visibly irritated and pulled into The Oaks parking lot, across from Gelson’s. He said he was going to get himself something to eat. I waited in the car with the dogs. When he returned, he handed me a burger - with bacon - knowing I had removed pork from my diet a while back. I thanked him and ate it. I could sense him watching, waiting for a reaction of some kind. I played dumb and kept eating it as if I didn’t notice at all. I felt like I was in a movie. Everything was so surreal… When we got back the house, things were getting ever stranger. The both of us were on high alert. He later asked if I wanted to go on a walk and I declined. Later on, he said he still wanted to watch that Kevin Hart movie. The story was about entrapment; a set up for emotional and financial blackmail. It started with a girl being dismembered in a hotel room, and her body being disposed of so as to never be found. That night, I slept in the studio. I became afraid of the possibilities as I finally realized just how long he had been working on a perfect discard plan. He used to say that he was a master at playing the long game and would position people exactly where he wanted them to be, unbeknownst to them. Well, it all started to make sense… During our entire marriage, he had laid the tracks to prepare for that moment. He had everything to lose. Knowing what I had learned about NPD, this was the discard phase. This was the end, and I knew then that he was going to harness all of his brainpower, resources, and deceitful strategies to take me down before I could make a move.

I lived in sheer terror for 2 days, avoiding him at all cost. What frightened me most is that he had become nicer than ever. He was suddenly referring to me using sweet names he wasn’t even accustomed to saying. Him & I had virtually no physical contact, aside from the violent ones, but all of a sudden he would rub my hair and kiss my head. I was trembling, smoking non stop, although I wasn’t deriving any gratification from it. It was wrecking my lung health and cause me to cough a lot. I played sick and stayed in bed the following day, while he was doing whatever he was doing downstairs. I alerted my brother that it was time for me to walk away from this mess. I expressed my fears. Told him that I couldn’t speak freely in the house but the situation was dire. He asked that I keep him updated on my next moves. I pressed two attorneys for urgent meetings; I needed to consult with someone right away. I was able to book a meeting with one of them for the following day. Pedro came up to the room several times to check on me. He kept on asking if I wanted to go on walks and kept on offering me food. The last thing he had given me triggered diarrhea, and I had mentioned that. Of course, no reaction. I couldn’t know for sure, if it was just my stomach acting up, or if my food had been tempered with, so I stopped eating and claimed I was fasting.

On November 27th, I experienced some sort of electrical short circuit as I stepped towards the living room window and reached for the tilt wand. My body started jolting, my vision went blur, my mind went completely blank and the frequency in my ear drastically changed. My body went ito shock, like a surge of electricity, or maybe the exact opposite. For a moment I had no idea what was going on and had zero control or understanding of what was happening around me. I lost my balance but couldn’t reach for the wall which was right there in front me, I couldn’t aim for the chair to my left, or the sofa behind me. I couldn’t do anything. I can say how long it lasted, perhaps less than a minute; I don’t know for certain. I felt sheer terror as my body experienced violent compulsive spams. Then I suddenly stopped shaking and everything fizzled back down to normal. I just stayed there, dazed, looking around to assess that everything was normal. Rio was laying down by the record player and witnessed that. I’ve never had a seizure in my life but I intuitively knew it couldn’t be anything but else. Circling the room with my gaze, I felt Ri’s energy and looked at him, my eyes and mouth were wide open I think. He recognized that I was disoriented and frightened. I didn’t say a word but it’s almost like he heard me screaming inside for help. As our eyes locked, Rio ran straight to me. He just knew to give me comfort. I carefully reached for the ground, sat down on the floor with him and held him tightly. Maya, who was napping on the couch, jumped and did what she does each time she senses that I’m distressed. She licks my face uncontrollably, moans, and jumps all over me. She give me handshakes and tries to grab a hold of my hand, arm, or shoulder with her paw. She just jumps and licks and licks and licks and just won’t stop until I too stop hyperventilating or crying or yelling or whatever kind of crisis is going on. That’s just what she does. She is a fierce protector and takes her job seriously, particularly when it comes to Rio & I. Maya was there through it all. Perhaps not every single fight, but the most horrid ones she witnessed and often tried to intervene. People may not understand this but she is my guardian angel. My love for her is infinite. It irritates Pedro down to his core that we have grown to be attuned to each other’s need and would instinctively  sense each other’s distress in a way than him and I could never even achieve. I’ve also protected Maya from Pedro’s wrath on countless occasions. I have many more stories to tell but it would surely turn into a book if I tried to bring everything up. My bond with Maya & Rio are deeper than he could ever imagine; he doesn’t connect with them. I see them. I honor them. I am immensely grateful for their love, and in return they love me back. They see me too. They feel me. And their love is pure; there is no agenda whatsoever, they have always loved me unconditionally. That’s not something I could ever get from Pedro. I doubt I would have reached this point without them. All along, when I had absolutely no one around to remind of who I was, back when the unique reflection I was getting from the man who was supposed to be my protector strictly shed light on the ugliness and worthlessness and shame and guilt ridden aspects of me, they reminded me that I was lovely. I could be myself with them, which reminded me of I used to be and was still capable of being. They taught me to appreciate the smallest things. They extracted genuine laughs and smiles out of me during  excruciatingly painful episodes. They always saw me for who I was, as opposed to that distorted image which was being impressed upon me and shoved down my throat by my husband daily. They have been some the most valuable teachers in my life and have helped me get through every step of this self reclamation process. My wish is to continue to care for them and it’s not something I’d like to compromise on.

Pedro’s report his riddled with lies. My husband & I met in the Spring of 2018. I had just left an absolutely chaotic relationship with my previous partner - Igor Comes - one that involved several violent domestic incidents and the involvement of law enforcement. He physically assaulted me, often under the influence of alcohol, on several occasions. He routinely chased me around the neighborhood when I would attempt to get away from him during raging episodes. If I couldn’t get away from him, I would fight back, and the situation would escalate very quickly. After he had punched a hole through my bathroom and unhinged my bedroom door so I wouldn’t be able to lock myself in, the police came on site, landlord was eventually alerted and had to handle the repairs. My living situation quickly soured. He had moved in with me soon after our friendship evolved into a romantic partnership because his living situation had tanked. He was renting a room in Sherman Oaks and thought the couple he lived with was problematic. He claimed the male was visibly addicted to pornographic content and that the female also had strange and compulsive behaviors. He thought that the apartment was filthy and had poor air quality. Things were not going well. I was then living in a townhouse with female roommates at 203 Cancion Way. Things deteriorated between him and the couple so he had to find a place to stay. He began spending quite a lot of time at my place, but was always joyful and pleasant to be around. We had known each for many years and were really good friends. He was recovering from a divorce and struggling to find anything that could accommodate his budget, while also matching his space requirements. As a sound designer working in the film & advertising industry, he possessed tons of equipment with high processing power. At first, I was living in a 4 bedroom house with 2 young women. Both had been there a little while longer and one of the rooms was being used as an office. At some point, my closest friend at the time - Anais Kaya Awaza - was planning to move back to LA from San Diego and I proposed to the girl that we welcome her in by turning the office into a bedroom that she could occupy. I was elated to be reunited with her again, plus it was lowering the rent for everyone so they readily agreed to my plea. Kaya moved in. Kaya & Igor hit it off, as he was spending lots of time at our place. We morphed into the 3 musketeers. Igor & I were now dating and it seemed we had a good thing going, although I had concerns our amazing friendship would be ruined if things didn’t go well. I valued him as a friend and felt he hadn’t healed from his divorce. Although he still believed in love and was eager to pursue something more serious with me, I wasn’t sure it felt right. I was still reeling over a painful breakup and didn’t want to be tied down. But then again, I had enormous affection for him. He was a breathe of fresh air after a traumatic abortion and a soul crushing experience with a guy - Adrian Wilde - who ended up stalking me and threatening my life over a significant period of time - nearly 4 years. I was reticent at first but he was fully in. I expressed my fears but he truly felt we should give it a chance. I wasn’t aware of it then, didn’t yet have the vocabulary for these dynamics, but we were trauma bonded and had become extremely codependent. It felt comforting to have someone to rely on for emotional support and what seemed like nourishing companionship. Our friendship had been solid for years and our budding relationship was very nurturing at the beginning. My mother came to visit me for a few weeks, traveling from overseas. During her stay, she witnessed a nasty altercation. Generally speaking, Igor was extremely polite and loved to entertain my mother. He would bring her fresh croissants in the morning, as well as flower bouquets. He would make her laugh and treated her with the utmost respect. Although I was resisting the attachment at the beginning, it started to grow on me. I believed there was potential. I wasn’t yet in love with him, but trusted him and absolutely adored him. One night, I had gone out with him for a couple of drinks after we had dined with my mother and she had gone to sleep. We picked up a fight that seemed to have no resolution. I asked him to drop me off, which he did do, but things went south as we got in front of my house. The argument turn to loud screaming, me trying to shush him and go inside, begging that we stop before my mother woke up. It was late. My bedroom was right above the front door and my mother did get up as the heat rose. He tried to restrain me as I reached for the door trying to get inside. I tried to walk away from the house so my mother wouldn’t become aware of such kind of drama. It was too late. Things turned physical and my mother rushed down to let me in. That’s the only thing which could have stopped him at that moment. My mother was beside herself but after a couple of days, and countless apologies, we squashed it. He begged my mother fir forgiveness but she had decidedly crossed him off her list. Following that regrettable incident, she was no longer supportive of our relationship and told me I was wasting my time. That I wasn’t seeing clearly. I made excuses for our problems and tried to rationalize but she was angry at him. She left angry, we both could sense it. Still, she respected my decision to give it another shot. As the situation fell apart for my ex regarding his rental, one of the girl I shared space with - Eunice Kim - announced that she had been hired for a new position and was forced to move to orange county in order to be closer to work. My ex was then still searching for a place and struggling to find suitable options in centrally located areas. He was very stressed by it and was eager to settle somewhere else. I thought his situation was awful and proposed to my other roommate - Sarah Elhers - that he moved in with us. Kaya was of course on board, as we all got along magnificently and had formed a support system to assis one another. He was already coming over on a daily basis and often spent the night. He loved to cook us dinner and was always considerate, helpful, friendly. I brushed off our power struggle and focused on the good stuff. We proposed to the girl that we assume responsibility for the master bedroom, which I occupied, as well as the fourth room, which would be converted into a studio if he was allowed to move in. No one had any objection. The dynamics were already long established and it was helping the girls save a bit more on bills. That’s how Igor moved in. Things started to spiral soon after that. There was lots of alcohol consumption on his part. Jealousy and controlling behaviors began to surface, leading to physical violence. II had been in my fair share of dysfunctional relationships, but it was limited to verbal and emotional abuse. Things I assumed every couple was periodically going through. This was was my first time experiencing such high level of destruction. I will elaborate on some of those incidents a bit later as they have played a significant role in my subsequent relationship with Pedro. With Igor, we oscillated between euphoric moments of pure bliss and mutual acceptance, to truly ugly moments were I simply wouldn’t recognize him at all. Nor myself. Seemed liked we brought the worst out of each other. He was very insecure about the fact that I couldn’t profess my love to him. I was attached but had reached a plateau and he could feel that. Still, I couldn’t declare things I didn’t mean and I asked him to let go and give it time. It was putting too much pressure on me over long term commitments. With all the property destruction that had occurred in the home in such a limited time, our landlord became aware of our trouble. He had broken many things, which had to be sorted out and paid for once I kicked him out. It was a painful separation but it had become quite obvious to me that cohabitation was not a viable option. Not long after he moved out, he came back in full force. He was aware of his alcoholic and anger issues and wanted to work things out. I got sucked back into being in touch for we were so enmeshed. We had grown to be deeply involved in every aspect of each other’s life and both felt a bit disoriented by all that had led to our breakup. I was gravely missing that comforting feeling. Not too long after he moved out, our landlord - Antonio Ceja - announced that his daughter was going to college and he was planning to move his family back into the home within a couple months. Meanwhile, Kaya had found a job in Santa Clarita and was forced to move closer to her job site, near Porter Ranch. I spent a month looking for a place and eventually found one I loved, which would have significantly shorten my commute to work - from Koreatown to Beverly Hills - were my office was located. This is also an important piece of information which will come into play in my relationship with Pedro. It was a brand new development. The building was still under construction but was nearly finished. Through roommate ads, I connected with two lyoung professionals - Celeste Atchinson & Jackeline Rigal - who were set to move to LA to start new positions. I had found this amazing condo and was seeking like minded young woman to share that space with me. I had started to buy and sell furnitures as a side hustle and was making a killing at it so I offered to furnish and equip the entire place and pay the lesser portion of rent. That way, they could just move in with a suitcase and not worry about setting up. We all agreed to move forward and commit to that plan. Units were meant to be ready for occupancy by May 1st. It was a tentative schedule but the building was basically finished aside from adding appliances, landscaping, and clean ups. The workers were mostly working on the outside. I gave the girls a virtual tour while they were still out of state. I showed them the furniture I had and design layout, we worked everything out, signed the lease. I was overjoyed for they seemed liked a great fit. We were chatting a lot, ahead of their arrival in town, all very excited to move in together. The place was spacious, brightly lit, ultra modern, and in immaculate condition. I started furnishing it, took responsibility for the move and worked out an arrangement with management so they would allow me to stage the home. I pleaded that they do me this one favor so it would save me from having to shoulder the cost of moving twice, plus having to pay for storage. They agreed to let me do that.

When I met Pedro, I was working in consulting, helping to connect startups with Chinese manufacturers for product sourcing and branding. The grooming process started very early on. Soon after I moved in, he went through my emails, and scanned all of my social media. He asked questions about everyone. He wanted to know how I knew certain individuals, what they meant to me, and if there was any previous romantic interest he should be worried about. I answered them all but expressed that it was a bit much. He claimed he was craving radical honesty and wanted us to know all these things about one another, because that’s the kind of profound connection he was after snd nothing less. One where we’d be open books, never concealing or lying to each other. From that perspective, I was sold. He had verbalized just what it is I was longing for. He wanted to make sure I had no lose ties. He said that if I had, he expected me to handle that right away and let everyone know I was off the market. He dug and I told him about all of my past relationships, who they were, and what had unfolded. I easily agreed to tell off those who were still trying to make contact, and I did so. That wasn’t enough. Some time later, I started to notice that posts had been archived and male acquaintances had been deleted from my contacts, or unfriended without my knowledge. Some of them were previous love interests of no significant importance and I didn’t care much about that. However, some were childhood friends from middle school, high school, etc who lived in France or in the Ivory Coast. Most of the people I was connected to on my social media were leaving overseas. I felt it was an overreach and was simply not justified or acceptable. He was intruding and making assumptions without prior conversations so I brought it to him and expressed my disapproval for such kind of invasion of privacy. Still, I listened to his point of vue and reassured him that there was no need for that. I wasn’t the snoopy kind and had dealt with similar controlling issues prior to him. I didn’t want that to be a part of our relationship. We cleared things up and moved passed that. I was at first meant to only stay with him for a short while. Just until my living situation got resolved with the issuance of a permit of occupancy that would finally allow tenants to inhabit the building. Things did not go as planned. The longer it took for the developers to secure the city’s approval, the more difficult communication became. At the very beginning, they led me on by declaring each week that the project was just a couple of weeks away from completion. Because all of my belongings were there and I only had a small suitcase with me, I often had to drop by to grab more things. As mentioned earlier, the unit had been fully furnished. Kitchen cabinets were decked with dishware, glassware, cookware. Everything I owned was there and ready for use. My plants were there, and I had to make sure to stop by and water them. My clothes, shoes, beauty products, etc… all of it was there. Even the pantry was full. In my head, I was okay with waiting a week, or two, perhaps three, before I could move in. Weeks went by, but no living permit had been issued. Inspection had not yet occured. I would periodically check in with the leasing agent, foreman, and developers but was being reassured that we were just facing small delays. I was told that it would be resolved soon. The girls couldn’t hang around. Both had just landed in town  to assume a new position and had to figure out accommodation right away. l, alone, decided to stick it out. I really wanted to make it work and I had already invested and mentally attched myself to the unit. That said I was in limbo and had to find a place to stay. Igor with whom I was now in speaking terms, and helped move to a new location near Jefferson Park, offered to let me stay while I waited for the green light to move in. I agreed under the condition that it wouldn’t indicate that we were back together. He said he understood that, and I offered to contribute to rent. It wasn’t meant to be a long wait anyway, or so I thought.

I was owed compensation for each day past day the schedule move in date, as per the rental agreement. Because they were not yet able to honor the contract, and had no clear idea on how much longer it would take to wrap up construction, the developers stopped giving me regular updates on the timeline. Instead, they started to encourage me to move-out. I refused. Couple of months went by and I was now at Pedros, I will elaborate on how I came to stay there a bit later, and what my living situation was prior to those events. It is crucial information as it related to our entanglement and the pace at which things moved between us. What I can say though is that, from the moment I stepped into that house, the urge was to make myself as useful as possible to everyone and show active participation. I’d come back from work to get to work. I cleaned the entire fridge from the inside out. Scrubbed the appliances. Did the dishes. Clean the stairs, the bathrooms, the windows. I baccumes regularly. I gladly took on the role of maid as to repay him for offering me temporary shelter. All was well, and the energetic exchange felt balance enough. I gave as much as I couod and contributed any chance I had. Meanwhile, thinhs got sour with the developers of my dream complex. They urged me out and refused to compensate me for the trouble, nor reimburse any of my moving expenses. I tried my best to try to make it work and salvage the situation. I was really proud of what I had made of the place. It was stylish, sophisticated, and yet inviting. It was bright. It was pristine. It was airy. It was cosy. It was centrally located. It was so “me”; I was beginning to define my personal style as a designer and that place was my favorite decorating project to date. Sadly, there was no prospect of immediate resolution. The certificate of occupancy hadn’t been obtained yet. I was very frustrated from that experience and felt taken advantage of. A lot of love, effort, time, and money was poured into it. Pedro had visited the unit while all of this was happening. He was quite impressed with the place and absolutely loved the idea that we were living about 10-15 min away from each other. I could simply take N Wilton Pl all the way up to Franklin Ave to reach his neighborhood, and vice versa. I was staying at his place and things were absolutely wonderful at the beginning. When I resolved to evacuate the unit and let that go, he immediately offered that I move into his place. I was floored, but truly elated. He seemed to deeply care about my well-being. We had opened up to each other about our deepest vulnerabilities, trauma, and pain. He appeared to be genuinely ready and willing to move things along. He affirmed his commitment and I was immediately on board. He was perfect in every way and just what my heart had been searching for. I fell madly in love. It was the end of July. We had only been dating for a month and a half but we were together day and night, whenever I was not in the office. He’d pick me up, and we would talk about everything, well into the night. As mentioned above, he had already volunteered to help me switch my ohone line so I could continue to operate. I didn’t have a SSN and could not open an account anywhere else. Igor forced me to lose my number, out of spite, which I had been using for many years. It greatly impacted my ability to work and get around. I was relying on ride sharing services at the time for my commutes and errands. Pedro put me on his line. He thought it’d be good to change my number anyway. His home was a frat house; sparsely furnished with mistmatched items and hand-me-downs from people who had previously occupied it. He had been there for some time, and many people had come and gone. We decided to sell what was sellable and donate the rest. The day that I was schedule to relocate all of my belongings and furnitures, after the situation with my Koreatown condo fell through, he naturally offered to come help. Although I had hire crew of three professional mover to quicken and facilitate the process. I was very grateful to have him there. That’s when the triangulation started to take place. On the way there he seemed very preoccupied with texting and troubleshooting something with someone. I quickly learned that he was conversing with his ex girlfriend. He told me she needed him, and he had to book her a ride to go some place. He was talking her through a bad situation she had found herself in. I absorbed the information and decided to let it go. I just wanted to get through the day and handle my move without friction. When we got there, the movers and I got right to it, but Pedro practically spent the entire time outside calling and texting his ex girlfriend. We had made significant progress by the time I really got ticked off by his behavior. He didn’t come in to check in or explain, he waited for me to finally come outside and ask what exactly was going on. He took offense to that and told me that she needed help and there was only him who could fix it. I asked if she didn’t have any friends or relatives and he said, he was her only support and she desperately needed his attention. I was visibly irritated that on a day where I needed him, he would drop the ball, but since I had booked extra help I just thought it wasn’t worth a dispute. It didn’t sit well with me but I convinced myself that she must have really been in a bad spot. It seemed manipulative but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, hoping we wouldn’t be running into these kinds of stories. I was wrong. After I went back inside and wrapped things up. He followed me in to grabbed the miscellaneous and most delicate items that wouldn’t be going in the truck. We headed back home to unload. An extensive 3 years long remodeling process started that day. I collected as much money as I could for him, from the items that were salvageable. I had relocated a 3 bedrooms house, as well as a two car garage packed with an overstock of pieces, and a brand new outdoor grill. It represented a high volume of indoor furniture, outdoor furniture, home decor, artwork, plants, etc. I was delighted to be so candidly given the green light to work my magic and enjoy the process with him. It meant so much that he was so open to the idea of fixing up or updating things around the house to freshen it up. I started planning major home improvement projects. He knew I was a consultant in the cannabis industry, but interior design was my passion. Buying and selling quality furniture is something I’ve done for many years and I absolutely love that lane. I got to work immediately. I began the process of uncluttering, room by room. Although the house was sparsely furnished, the kitchen, the closets, the crawl space beneath the house, the laundry room, and all other storage solutions were full of bric-à-brac. I cleared the house as much as I could without being pushy. Space was freed to create better flow but lots of clutter remained. Interestingly enough, not long after that unsettling incident with his ex. He took me to an underground party where we were meant to meet a group of his friends. I was new to that scene. He introduced me as his girlfriend to his group pf friend. A girl named Izzie was amongst them. I sensed something strange as she stared at me and Pedro for what seemed like too long. Her smile seemed to hide something, as if she was holding something in. As if she was stunned, quite honestly. She was respectful towards me and so but I brushed that off too. I complimented her and carried on with casual conversation. Pedro & I later stepped away to explore the venue and experience the music. Later on, when I questioned him about what I sensed, he revealed that they had been involved. He said it never led to something serious but she still had a crush on him. He said he didn’t expect her to be there, but they had friends in common. She was a nice girl in his eyes. She might have been a little broken over it but he was simply not interested. I didn’t question that. Sure. It could happen. A few months into the relationship, Pedro & I discussed contraception methods. He asked if I’d get on the pill and I said I never had and also never felt it was the best call for me specifically. We talked anout other methos, such as the depo provera shot. I had switched to that method a couple of years prior to meeting him. However, after getting that shot just once, my cycle was perturbed for nearly a year. Until that experience, I had never had irregular periods. It was always clockwork, no issues whatsoever, so I wasn’t sold on the idea of going through that again. He insisted that he didn’t want to have sexual intercourse while using condoms, that it affected its performance greatly and he basically didn’t feel any pleasure with it on. I told him I couldn’t run the risk of accidentally getting pregnant but he really wasn’t looking to compromise on that. We therefore researched different methos, and their possible side affects, for weeks. After going around, somehow the shot seemed like the most practical option. It was administered every 3 months and essentially suppressed ovulation by keeping the ovarie from releasing an egg. I didn’t want to take a birth control pill everyday, nor did I want to spike my estrogen levels. Back at square one, we opted to give it a try once again. That was a huge mistake on my part, I should have stuck to my original decision to stay away for it led many complications. The second time around was far worse than the first. It triggered an awful reaction and I began to experience acute burning sensations and swelling of my private parts. It became nearly impossible for us to engage in sexual acts without magnifying the symptoms. From that point on I started to experience ph unbalance coupled with successive bacterial vaginosis. I’d get treated for an infection and it would come back. Sex was incredibly painful, as if blades were being inserted inside my body. Out of the blue, pain could be felt on the left side of my body. I became gravely concerned with how long this could last and the both of us started to heavily research the adverse effects of the shot. The pain and discomfort persisted for month, completely erroding our intimacy. I went back to planned parenthood for a visit, explained the symptoms and they said it would subside. They advised me to take take advil 3 times per day to help curb the unpleasant sensations. They also advised me to stay on it for another round and allow my body to stabilize. The nurse said she expected my reproductive system to acclimate, and that these things had happened before, that I shouldn’t worry too much. Little did I know that countless woman had reported atrocious experiences after being advised to take the shot without being properly warned of the many potential side effects. I came across a plethora of testimonies and a study on the topic. By the time I reckoned with that fact, I was already on my second shot and things had gotten worse for the abuse of pain medication had began to trouble my liver and disrupt my digestive system. We got through it. I booked my first proterty staging gig in September 2018 and was excited to pursue this new path. The gig paid, roughly $4000 for about a week’s worth of work. I only had one partner in this business so we were meant to split the profit evenly. In this case, my partner couldn’t assist during de-staging due to a trip so we renegotiated how to fairly split the profits. I took on the responsibility of finishing the job and collect the furnitures. Pedro offered to take on the role of my business partner for this project so we finished it together and it got us both paid. I increased my margin by also selling all of the furniture at profit and recouped my original investment in the stock of furniture used for the project. My business partner was involved with other personal projects and was pulling out but I was fired up and ready to get my business off the ground. I kept up with the outreach to generate leads. About a month later, another staging gig was booked for a penthouse unit at the W residence which was about to hit the market. My partner declined participation. It was lucrative business, but remarkably strenuous work because I didn’t yet have the capital to contract a moving crew. I couldn’t delegate and had to handle all physical tasks. Pedro agreed to partner with me on this second project. We did it all and got paid well. It brought another $4000 ish - $5000, after the retrieval and sale of the furniture. I was happy but knew I had to find another strategy to execute these moves. In the midst of de-staging the previous unit, I had sprained muscles and pinched nerves in my left legs trying to relocate a massive marble top dining table. I developed a sciatica which was impairing my range of motion. By the time we wrapped up the second project, my body was heavily taxed and I was forced to take a break from staging until I could come up with safer protocols. I had nerve pain in my left leg that were unpredictable. My leg would randomly fall asleep when I walked or stood up. I would often get up and my left knee would collapse. I had to get up very carefully and be prepared to reach for things that I could hold onto so as to avoid clumsy falls. Felt at times like electrical currents were traveling up and down. It was quite challenging. I could not longer wear heels. Stairs were problematic. And I had to be very alert whenever I wasn’t sitting down. There were days I couldn’t make it downstairs, or had trouble getting out of the car seat. My knee would spontaneously contract and I’d instantly fall on my buttocks, squealing. Those nerve pain lasted about 4 months. My libido was shot. I was often exhausted.
Moving into the new year, I started to feel demoralized. I was generally in pain but not properly medicated for it because I didn’t want to create a dependency to heavier pain killers. When I first met Pedro, I wasn’t a marijuana smoker. He introduced himself as a music industry jack of all trades. He also had his brand of THC vape cartridges that he had started and was pushing. It was yet another strange commonalities for I had been helping out with the product launch of a local cannabis startup around the time we met. It was the last client we had provided consulting services prior to me going off on my own to pursue my passion.
Back then, he had a vape in his had everywhere he went. I started vaping to help with bodily pain. My body wasn’t obeying me, and I felt restricted, frustrated, miserable. I wasn’t as joyful and kept busy taking care of the house on my good days. After months of pain in my lady parts, followed by months of pain in the left leg, my stomach lining became inflammed due to my reliance on nsaids to mitigate the chronic pains in my body. I had been working closely with an attorney since late august on this case involving my previous landlord. That situation was also stressful, for Igor had hacked into my emails and contacted the other party to interfere with my mediation process. At that time, me & Pedro were sharing the house with his roommates. There was a couple occupying the second bedroom, they were expecting a baby. What is now the studio used to be his business partner’s den, Dan Norton. They had converted the house’s garage into a room without the consent of the landlord. They also carved a smaller room within that room. This backroom is a key element in this story. I’ll be returning to the significance of this room soon. Please bear with me. Dan lived down there with his dog P2 and shared the guest bathroom with Edwin & Erika. We were in the master room so we had our own space. In the fall, Dan’s girlfriend moved across country to join him in LA. She moved in with us. It was then three couples and a dog living in the house and it started to feel pretty crowded, at least for me. We managed to share space but tensions quickly started to surface. Dan was then struggling with some demons. I learned that he had fought his was out of an heroin addiction, but was now supplementing with ketamine. He indulged in drugs daily and was often high to the point of not being able to make his was up the stairs. He had frequent outbursts. He was visibly struggling with depression and perhaps some other mental health issues. He would be angry in the morning, then singing out loud in the afternoon, and curled up in a ball by the evening crying every tears in his body. It was hard to watch. When Andrea first entered the pictures, things started to take a turn for the best, it seemed. He was more clear minded than usual and was stoked to have her here. Very much like it happened with me & Pedro, the honeymoon phase didn’t last long. They had explosive fights and both had a hatd time coping with their mental helath issues + addictions. I feel the space was also not suited for a couple. The converted garage has no window and is poorly ventilated. As we approached the end of the year, Erika & Edwin elected to look for a place of their own where they could welcome their baby girl. Dan & Andrea also announced that they were looking for a farm outside of LA where they could settle down together. I kept to myself. I kept on uncluttering and fixing stuff I noticed needed repair. I handled most of the cleaning and kept the house in immaculate condition. I wasn’t in the best shape but was looking forward to change. The plan was to turn the garage into Pedro’s recording studio so that he could remove all the beeping and blinking equipment that filled half of our bedroom. Pedro would have his buddies come into the bedroom to record, smoke weed, and hang out. I felt I didn’t have a space of my own and was simply not used to seeing that much traffic as I value my alone time. The house was always crowded wih visitors. By the end of the year, everybody else was preparing to move out but a couple of incidents happened with Erika & Edwin which tainted the atmosphere for some time. Since the garage was going to be turned into a music studio, I thought we should aim to reduce the number of people in the house from 6 to 3 by renting the guest room to a single occupant. Pedro agreed, but it had to be a female roommate. He was categorical. No man. I didn’t mind that as I preferred the idea of a female energy. We were going to raise the rent so we could pay a little less, which would save us a little over a thousand over 12 months. To hit my benchmark I was planning to repaint the entire house and do flooring upgrades in both bathrooms. I also wanted to completely update the kitchen. I furnished the entire house. I financed the renovation. I labored for months, working through my sciatic pain. I would climb on a ladder and my left leg would fall asleep. It was trying but I had a deadline to meet; everything had to be finished by the new year so we wouldn’t lose money. Since I was not working, I was on a mission to pay my dues. I always had equalitarianism in mind when it came to relationships. It was very important to me to contribute in every possible way, through act of services. I was constantly devising new strategies to help us save money while elevating our lifestyle. I fixed up most of the flooring myself. Pedro helped at the end and raged at me for allegedly not cutting a tile correctly and messing everything up. He later took credit for having done all of the work properly. He would watch me struggle as I painted every single wall of this 3 level home, but would often act too busy to help. He was spending more and more time on the phone, or entertaining other people. My health issues were neglected. After months of complaining about nerve pains moving in different parts of my leg, he began to question the fact that I was experiencing what I was experiencing by saying he didn’t think it was a sciatica, but probably just an issue with me not being active enough. He urged me to do specific exercises he was describing to me. I intuitively felt that streching inappropriately could in fact worsen my condition and so I told him that I wouldn’t just randomly experiment when I felt it may cause more damage. I started doing gentle stretching and icing it. His mother gave me some tips to try and regain my range of motion. The issue is that I was constantly putting pressure on my leg by moving around, climbing on stuff, lifting cleaning, painting, moving furnitures. It just got worse with time. One day, I put an ice pack on the back of my leg. The pain was so intense that I left it there until my leg went completely numb and I could no longer feel it. Well, that didn’t last for long. As I laid faced down on the bed, I was beginning to drift away when I started feeling a vivid burning sensation… Within second it was almost unbearable. I removed the ice pack but the damage was done. I was left with a large frostbite on the back of my leg, the size of my palm. It kept burning long after I ditched the ice pack and quickly turned bright red. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I screamed for Pedro. Asked him to look at it. Underlying tisses were frozen and it felt like there was a fire burning underneath my top layer of skin. The area progressively changed from reddish to dark brown, almost black. I quickly bounced back and carried on with the tasks at hand. It didn’t take long before I found us a roommate - Amanda Adams. She was an ideal candidate. About my age. She was a physical therapist at UCLA. She was sweet, quiet, respectful, and tidy. She had a holistic approach to living and was dependable. No drama whatsoever. I thought she was terrific and I shared my joy with Pedro on how great I thought things were working themselves out. I was determined to turn this house into a home where we could build solid foundation together. Just like our roommates, I wanted us to build our nest so we could both take flight. When I first met Pedro, he was producing music, mixing and mastering as well. Remodeling the garage into a studio was a sort of dream come true for him. I was very excited to hear what he was creating. I spent a lot of time down there helping him clean things up and reconfigate the space. I revered his creative abilities and encouraged him to push forward. As time progressed though, his business occupations started to take over most of his energy. Little by little, I was made aware that carts were not the only thing he moved. First, vape cartridges, then I realized he was also selling weed. Slowly but surely, I was introduced to all sorts of substances. Thought he only had access to them, but he started to uncover more truths about his dealings, I realized there was a whole universe he had hidden from me from the very beginning. Drugs were quickly mormalized. By February of 2019, a complaint was filed in court and settlement negotiations were in full effect with the developers regarding my prior living arrangement at Wilton Pl. It was promising. There might have been underlying dysfunction and verbal abuse, but the real nightmare had not yet started. I was completely delusional about his intentions. I had ni idea what I had gotten myself into. My gastrointestinal system was crumbling and giving me serious trouble. I had frequent heartburn, gas, and acid reflux. I was throwing up often. My stomach didn’t tolerate much and I could no longer eat tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions, cheese, processed food, chocolate, refined sugar, alcoholic beverages, spicy food, fried food… You name it. My diet was drastically reduced to a few things. I had lost my appetite and my vitality. My sleep became affected and I had a very difficult time maintaining a regular sleep schedule. I had insomnia and would stay awake even when I felt exhausted. I would be hungry at times but wouldn’t be able to eat or hold the food in my stomach. I put all of my work goals on the side and focused on remodeling the house whenever I could power up. Anything to keep me busy. We were starting to have problems but he was still perfect in my eye and I was confident that nothing could derail our future plans so long as we were both dedicated and remained truthful. I deeply caree for him. I absolutely wanted us to heal and grow together. I was buying and selling items, and regularly upgrading our interior. I couldn’t enjoy the same activities as I used to. Out sex life was terrible. Six months into it, I felt a shift. Pedro started to pull away and my gastric issued started to affect me mentally. I felt beat down. Pedro was always busy hanging out with friends who would come by to hang or talk business. There was a lot of hanging around. People came by at any hour of the day or night, constantly ringing the bell. In an out, over and over again. I felt bad being so sickly and needy. I felt I always always complaining about pain so I started suffering in silence. I also started to isolate from the world. Everything revolved around the needs of our relationship and I just had to do / feel better.

Sometime  in January, he handed me his phone to look up something when I came across unapproiate text messages from a girl named Nadia. She was commenting about his provate parts and pressing him to meet up. In response, he laughed at her lascivious joke. She asked if she could come over to give him some kind of bodywork treatments. With a very debonair tone he laughed it off and told her he had a girl. She said she didn’t care and could come by to give us both the treatments. She argued that him being taken didn’t mean they couldn’t maintain their “friendship” and that if I was a cool girl - good one - I wouldn’t see an issue with that. When I read that, I had been living with him for about six months already and was sharing all I owned with him. I unequivocally committed and wasn’t entertaining anyone else. I realized Izzie had texted him shortly after that night I mentioned before, asking him why things had to end, and practically begging to meet for coffee. He had agreed to it. I blew up and confronted him right away about entertaining these requests but he denied any wrongdoing. He accused me of overreacting and said he he had not done anything wrong; they were the ones pestering him, he had only answered back. I was not having it. Especially after he had purged all of social media and intruded into my past. Pedro’s face was all over my multiple accounts and I didn’t miss on a single opportunity to tell other suitors to stay away. I had publicly professed my love for him and honored him in every way I thought I could. He claimed he never had a meeting with Izzie, and proceeded to immediately told Nadia off. She didn’t take it well and got really upset. They argued and it ended on a terrible note. I was upset. She was upset. He seemed ecstatic. I didn’t understand then what I was dealing with. We moved forward into another’s love bombing phase. Everything was wonderful all over again; zero complaint. There was significant improvement, to the point where marriage was discussed. He was well aware that I had fallen out of status and overstayed my student visa, which was limiting my career opportunities. It was also a burden from an administrative / financial perspective. It made everything harder to achieve. Without a SSN, lots of lanes were closed to me. I was forced to freelance because I couldn’t formally be employed. I was hopeful that in due time, I’d be in the position to correct that. He proposed to marry me. I told him I didn’t wish to get married for the sole purpose of petitioning for a green card. The only truly evolved, empathetic, respectful, and honest man I have been involved with had made the same offer many moons ago. We met when I was 23 and dated for 2 years. He was in love with me, treated me with kindness, and proposed to marry me to help get me back on track. I was too young. I wasn’t at all ready. I declined and ended up running away from that relationship. I didn’t want to get married  unless it was for the right reason. I was still broken over a past relationship with another toxic man and my heart simply wasn’t in it. When Pedro asked, I insisted on knowing whether it was his true desire. I was head over heels and told him that I would love to spend the rest of my life, but I didn’t want to marry for help, I wanted to marry for love and build a life together. He got me a ring around Valentine’s day, and things progressed very quickly. Soon after that discussion, he announced to his parents that he intended to tie the knot and that they should come visit. Being separated, they came at separate times, but I got to meet them both and appreciated them very much. We decided to get married in May and keep things small. We were thinking of doing a courthouse wedding with few guests and plan for a bigger celebration for the following year which would include everyone. My parents gave their blessing. Based on the portrait I had painted of him, they absolutely adored him and trusted him with my life. At that point, so did I. We had our issues but my faith in us knew no bound. Soon, I found out that no one in my family was able to attend the ceremony. My brother couldn’t make the trip from Paris that summer, due to a new position he had started. My sister and I were not in speaking terms. Her alcoholism and incessant drama had gravely damaged our relationship. She was the only relative who was living in the US when I originally moved here for college. Because of her lifestyle, I consciously chose not to study in the same city as her and share accommodations so she went to college in Atlanta, while I moved here to study. Although it would have been a lot less expensive, my parents also agreed that it was best we didn’t live together. She eventually was forced to repatriate herself due to a cluster of DIUs she had collected over the years, in different counties, which nearly got her convicted. She had a long history of alcohol abuse but we only found out about her legal woes when I was in my junior year. My parents had to divert large sums of money to get her the help she needed and cover the lawyer fees. By the time I met Pedro, she had already left the US and couldn’t return. My parents couldn’t make that trip on such a short notice either. They were in a crucial phase of reconfiguration and expansion of their business enterprise which employs a large staff. They were responsible for many people’s livelihood and my mother’s health was declining. Because I was going to be alone that day, I was desperate to make it extra special. I suggested to Pedro that we book a wedding officiant and plan an intimate little ceremony in the backyard of our home - in the garden that I had been resolutely working to revive. I thought the garden was the perfect metaphor for conscious and resilient love. I wanted his mother to be our witness and it was important to me that we were intentional about creating our own special day. We originally planned to get married late May. I chose a simple dress. His brother was also set to come. He had visited before and had stayed for several weeks so I had also gotten the opportunity to spend time in his company. I was very sad that no one in my family could attend but  looking forward to the opportunity to do something a bit different. Small, but memorable. His father couldn’t attend due to work related commitments but his mother and brother flew into town a few days ahead. I had ordered my dress, which was supposed to be delivered the day of. I had locked in the wedding officiant for a sunset ceremony in the backyard and was scouting for the ideal restaurant to host a celebratory dinner afterward. My parents sent us $4000 to help cover our wedding expenses but that money was funneled back into Pedro’s business and took care of rent and bills for the month. He was expecting important shipments from Europe which never landed. I do believe it was drug related. His relatives arrived a couple of days ahead of the ceremony and the four of us went shopping for rings. He chose a simple band. I tried on a ring that I loved. It cost just $350 ish and wasn’t pretentious. Pedro remarked that it was too big, too flashy. He wasn’t a fan. I tried on the cheapest and simplest ring I could spot. We landed on that, paid and left the store. I had no connection to the ring we had settled on, but wanted to limit the expenses. I told him I didn’t care much about the ring anyway. We left to have dinner and drinks at a place nearby that we loved - Mezcalero, on South Broadway St - while the rings were getting resized. We lost track of time and almost missed the store closure. When we realized what time it was, he ran back to the store and picked them up right on time. He brought them back to the restaurant. I tried mine on and it fit better. We headed back towards Hollywood and visited a couple of thrift stores. Pedro needed an outfit. We did our best on such short notice to find something. I was trying to find joy in all of those moments but something felt off. He just wasn’t invested; didn’t seem to care much about the details and wanted to spend as little as possible. We found him the best / cheapest option to wear. His mother and brother were exhausted from a day of errands so we dropped them off and went back out to find him a pair of shoes. It was the evening and most stores were starting to close. He drove us to the Off Broadway shoe warehouse. It was all very last minute. We got that handled and left. When we arrived home, he suggested we exchange vows at the neighbors because their backyard was more beautiful. I vehemently expressed that I didn’t care about what ours looks like. It wasn’t as large or manicured but it meant something that we were getting married in our home, where we’d raise our kids. I refused to relocate the ceremony. I asked if he intended to invite a couple of close friends to the reception dinner. I was trying to confirm the dinner reservation and needed a head count. He said he’d get back to me. His friend - Spencer - had invited him out for the night. He had just broke the news to people that he was getting hitched, and some were clearly blindsided. Understandably so. Told him to have fun and stayed home with his family and our dog Maya. If I remember correctly, I believe they either went to a concert or a bar. Meanwhile, I was scanning restaurants menus to see what may work for everyone and who could accommodate our party. I sent him options via text so he could help me decide what would be most enjoyable for his family. He didn’t care where we went and said he would probably invite only a handful of people. I made a list of his closest friends and came up with 10 guests. I tried making a reservations at 2 different restaurants I favored, but neither could accommodate my request. I settled for the third and was able to book a table of 8. I thought we’d work it out somehow, if need be. He returned home late and we didn’t get to finalize that until the next day. When I pressed him to give me more details on who was coming to celebrate, he said he had told a couple of other folks whom I honestly felt were not that involved in our personal journey and shouldn’t make the cut. It was going to trivialize the event and possibly make dinner awkward. He said he had told his friend Dan and wife Andrea to head our way and they would be getting to our house later that afternoon to witness our short backyard ceremony. He had also told the neighbor to come by, as well as business partners. I was very confused. Everything was so scattered and disorganized. I reminded him that I was going to go through this wedding ceremony without the presence of any family member or friend and that was hard enough as it is, I didn’t wish for a number of people to show up at the last minute. We didn’t have proper seating to accommodate them, and everything was just going to be very odd. I started having major anxiety. He picked up a fight with me and said I was selfish and controlling. It was his wedding and his friends, why couldn’t they come, what was the big deal… I, again, reminded him that we had previously discussed that and I had asked those questions. If he wanted that, we could have planned for it. We argued endlessly. There was no reasoning with him, he simply wouldn’t hear me out. We started to raise our voices at each other. His mother and brother who were in the living room could now hear us. They were alarmed and it made me even more anxious and miserable. I didn’t want to fuss. I went in the bathroom and he exited the room. Later I came down to the studio to finish the conversation. I didn’t want to have that kind of day. I tried to resolve it by suggesting that we cater food or find a restaurant where we could have everyone join us. It would prove difficult to find a restaurant in our area that could accomodate a party of ten, same day, on a busy night. I believe it was a Friday. That said I was willing to try, and asked him if he could give me pointers on what kind of cuisine would be pleasant for eveyone. He then said he was already texting his friends and telling them not to come, and to just forget about it. He wanted me to calm down. Said I was rambling about nonsense he wad no interested in hearing and that I sounded like a broken record. I was dramatic, was overeacting to everything and was trying to control everything. He told me to shut up and said he was tired of hearing me nag him about the same thing. That no one would come and not to worry about booking anything. He said I could have it my way, he didn’t care. I told him that I cared immensely and wanted us to have a good memory of that day. We had been fighting the entire morning and I was exhausted. I was experiencing acid reflux and my stomach was messed up. I was just trying to get through the day with some tenderness. I tried many times to explain my perspective but he wouldn’t hear it. He kept on telling me to shut up and leave. He was sitting in his desk chair texting, while I wa crying and screaming for him to give me the attention and respect I felt I deserved. He said he felt I was spoiled and disrespectful of his family, that I was ruining everything as always, and he couldn’t believe just how nasty I was knowing his mother was upstairs. I gave up. His mother came to me, asking what was wrong, advising me to call it off if I was getting cold feet and no longer wanted to marry his son. Both his mother and brother were very upset with me. His mother called me out on my bad attitude, and on the fact that I seemed to never want to let things go. I tried to explain but simply couldn’t so I just started crying. I balled my eyes out and apologized profusely to her for disrupting the flow. I told her I had immense respect for his family and this wasn’t at all about doubting my feelings, but simply about struggling to make Pedro happy when he kept on feeding me mixed signals and being dismissive of everything I said. If we were to share a life together I needed to feel like my opinion mattered. I consulted with him regarding every step and simply expected the same in return. That’s all I could say. She tried to soothe me when she realized I was falling apart and attributed my emotional outburst to the fact that my family wasn’t present. Even so, the atmosphere was muddied. My dress got delivered at the last minute. I got ready alone because my “best” friend was still on the westside and was running behind. She got stuck in traffic and showed up late. She came up and found me in the bathroom. I was all dressed up but couldn’t come out. I couldn’t stop crying. Pedro only came up to check on me when Kaya arrived, pretending to be concerned. She was totally confused. She wasn’t aware of any issues between us, and assumed we were on cloud nine. She dug a little but the more she tried to get it out of me, the more I cried. The wedding officiant had canceled the night before due to a time conflict. She was presiding over another ceremony and wasn’t going to make it on time. She suggested another date, but Kaya was moving back home right after the ceremony and wouldn’t have been able to attend. She referred me to someone else who agreed to come the next day for a slightly higher fee. I agreed. I had never spoken to that officiant. All was sorted out via text. I just felt it was so wrong. I couldn’t go through it, not in that state. I told my friend Kaya that it was probably best to reschedule becaude we had been fighting the entire day over silly stuff, I wasn’t feeling well, my dress wasn’t ironed properly, I felt pain in my left leg from wearing heels, his clothes were wrinkled, we didn’t have a place to eat, nor food to serve guests, the wedding officiant was late and I couldn’t get a hold of them. It just wasn’t right. Although they had reached out and called me a couple of times, I had no opportunity to speak to my family throughout the day because I had spent most of it arguing, crying, and apologizing. I couldn’t bring that energy into our first day as a married couple. I had to postpone. Since we couldn’t get a hold of the wedding officiant, the lady showed up at our door. Pedro had to pay her for the trouble. I never came down the stairs. As this was happening, Pedro’s mother change their flight; they were levaing the next morning. They got up bright and early and headed to the airport to jump on the first flight back to San Antonio. I hid until they were gone. In hindsight, I should have ran away from him that day, but my heart was in it. Pedro could care less. Shortly after they left, he was back to normal again. I attributed that to possible miscommunication. I just didn’t know what to think since he wanted to reschedule. We did. For the 7th. This time, we were just going to visit the courthouse and call it a day. I stopped talking about the wedding. I was very depressed. My best friend was now gone and absolutely no one from my side would be there to witness that moment. It didn’t matter anymore. I was in the midst of another GERD episode which ended up lasting most of the summer. My stomach failed an I couldn’t eat much. I was losing weight and my dress no longer fit right. The ring was loose. I didn’t seek to fix any of that. I was just drained. I told my family that we had to reschedule because of poor time management and mix-ups. I just buried myself further and further into delusional hopes and depressed cycles. I was still working with my attorney on securing a settlement and we were close to seeing the light at the end of that tunnel. I was praying that the tides would turn. I felt so guilty and shameful. I kept on apologizing to his mother and father and brother via messages, but Pedro held it against me for a very long time after it happened. I begged her to fly back and still be our witness. I offered to pay for her ticket, which she declined. However she agreed to come back. I was grateful for that. I felt we could not move forward without her blessing. Somehow Pedro was sweet all over again, as soon as his family left town. Both came back. His father still couldn’t attend and neither could my family. We got married at the LA county registrar located in Van Nuys. We arrived a little late, wearing the same outfits as we did on our first attempt. I suppose the day went smoothly, in comparison. I had written vows for our garden ceremony but felt silly reading them. Pedro hadn’t prepared vows so I didn’t go there. I was just glad there had been no fight. We dropped the family home to rest and refresh before dinner. I had booked a table for a casual bite on the rooftop of Mama Shelter, near our home. Nothing fancy. I couldn’t eat much so I was only concerned about their experience. I chose the place for the view, and because I thought Pedro would be fine with that spot. We had been there many times and it was only a few minutes away. We had a little bit of time to kill in between the wedding ceremony and our dinner reservation so he proposed to drive up to the Hollywood reservoir so he could have some time alone with me and snap a few pictures. He had a joint in his pocket. We smiled at each other and said very little. I sat on the ground on the bridge overlooking the reservoir because my left leg was collapsing due to nerve pain. I had to hold on to Pedro in order to walk, get out of the car, or climb stairs. He lit up his joint and handed it over to me, I took a couple of puffs and handed it back. There were many families taking a walk with their children. I didn’t want to smoke there. He kept at it. He snapped a few photos of me sitting on the ground. I was dazed and confused. A stranger who noticed us volunteered to take a photo. I politely declined. Pictures from the courthouse ceremony his family took would suffice. He finished smoking and we drove back home to congregate with the rest of the crew. The four of us went out has planned but it felt strange. I sensed that a lot of things were left unsaid. I kept a smile on my face trying to pass as happen. After our meal, his family wanted to go back and rest. They left shortly after that. My birthday came around 7 days later. I turned 30 but nothing happened. No celebration. No surprise. The kind of present it would give me were tools or stuff he could use as well, such as a hand vacuum, or the Chirp wheel. I was still feeling ill. For my birthday, I wrote him a note and dedicated a post to him. Seven days after my birthday, on june 24th, I received the news from the attorney that the settlement had been granted. We picked up that check on that day and cashed it out. All of the money sent by parents had been used up. The check showed up at a time where we barely had any money in our bank accounts. We cashed out close to $7000. Per settlement agreement, I am not allowed to discuss the resolution in details. Pedro wanted to reinvest it right away in his business deals. I had been seeking to buy a truck for my business but he thought it was best to postpone a bit longer. I took about $500 of it to plan a trip for us to celebrate those 3 milestones: our wedding, my 30th birthday, and the settlement. I booked a wonderful airbnb for us. Paid extra fees so we could take Maya with us as well. On our way there, we got into an argument in the car. We were on the freeway when he started criticizing the artist we were listening to. Of course. I was playing music. I guess I must have been annoyingly excited for the trip. He had nothing but criticism, and I felt they were unfounded. I highlighted a number of the artist’s achievement over the years and his indisputable contribution to the music industry. He turned the volume down and was arguing with me aimlessly about the silliest things. I turned the volume back up and he snapped, said he wasn’t done talking and I was rude. He instructed me not touch his stereo and mess up his settings. I got angry and asked him to calm down. I thought he was overly negative and childish. I expressed my thoughts and we started fighting. When I ignored him and attempted to turn up the volume again. He smacked me. I smacked him back. That’s when he hit me twice with his fist on the side of my head and pushed it against the window. The seatbelt caused abrasion on the right side of my neck. I hit him several times. In doing so, I slammed my right hand onto the steering wheel with great might and my middle finger flipped background. I was horrified. I looked at him and paused to look at my hand. Without thinking twice, I just flipped my dislocated finger back into place. I looked at it, then looked at him, only to notice he had that strange look on his face. A smirk. He didn’t ask if I was okay. It didn’t stopped the fight. Things escalated quickly into a full blown cat fight, while he was driving. Maya was freaking out in the backseat but was strapped. We swerved into neighboring lanes and almost crashed. A car which had been driving behind us picked up on what was happening and was tailing us. He noticed it and exited the freeway. The car followed. We drove around and into a parking lot. The car was still following. He mentioned it to me and said it would be my fault if the police was called because i had almost caused us to wreck the car. He called me dumb and insane. He had no regard for the state of my hand and the pain I might be experiencing from the sudden injury; I had done it to myself.  He drove for a bit and parked in a spot. That car was now gone. I shut up and sank into my seat, looking the other way. The adrenaline was subsiding and the pain was now radiating all the way down my wrist. I held my hand, crying in silence. He got very calm, started the car and got back on the road. We drove a couple of hours to the desert, not saying a word to each other. I was crying in silence the entire time. We didn’t go to an hospital, urgent care, or pharmacy. We drove all the way to Joshua tree and he dropped me off at the house. I checked myself in and Maya came inside with me. He stayed in. I didn’t even have time to grab my stuff that he took off and left. My phone was dead and my charger was in the suitcase. I checked myself in, not knowing if he’d be coming back. I just waited outside, by the pool. He eventually did come back, with food and supplies from the store. I went inside to grab my charger and the argument started again. He had bought some ice so I just filled a glass with it and stuck my finger in it. The glass was too short for the base of my finger to be immersed in it. By then, it had triple in size and I had completely lost my range of motion. I couldn’t bend it but there was no ice pack in the freezer. I did what I could with what was available but couldn’t dip it in ice for too long and risk experiencing another frostbite. I had no medicine. I isolated myself by the pool with maya. He followed and kept on arguing with me. He was a mad beast. I told him to stay away from me and he started pouring ice water all over me, throwing ice cubes in my face. He chased me around the pool so I went inside. I was frightened. He left me alone we spent the entire time in separate sections. There were several bedrooms and living areas inside the property so I secluded myself in the lounge room and cuddled up with maya in front of the TV, holding my breath. I was completely out of it, and I was stuck with him. That night he drank nearly an entire bottle of tequila. I could hear him raging on the other side, and pouring himself more drinks. I was just praying he wouldn’t come back to assault me. Later that night he walked outside to explore the surrounding. It was a picturesque area with boulders and stunning rock formations. He was very intoxicated from smoking marijuana and drinking the entire evening. Maya followed along to check on him. Her instinct is always to protect. I was worried she wouldn’t make it back but they did come back late. I couldn’t sleep until he was passed out. In the morning I woke up bright and early, in great pain. I spent most of my morning outside with Maya taking pictures and resting by the pool. He slept in until check out. It was time to live and I was already packed so I went in the room to wake him up. He looked deeply ashamed and his energy was leveled again. He didn’t know what to say and was hungover. I told him to just come outside. I wanted to show him something and he also needed to get ready quickly because of how late it was. He stepped out without resistance and moved into normal, happy, smiling mode. I was just so confused. I couldn’t even name my feelings at the time. I snapped a couple of pictures of them, we grabbed our things and left. It was a horrifying trip. That injury took months to heal. I was still wearing a protective wrap well into September and had not yet recovered my full range of motion. [See appendix ??] Forgot to mention! Earlier that summer, I think it was mid May, we had one bizarre incident. We had tickets to Lighting in the bottles festival. We were supposed to take a weekend trip. As previously mentioned, my friend Kaya was moving back home around that time. It was right before the wedding. She needed a place to crash at for that weekend. We were going to be away but that was no problem. We’d still have a bit of time to catch up. She came by. I was sick and bed ridden, unable to keep food in. Another GERD episode was in full effect. I knew I couldn’t really eat, drink, or even stand for long, so I thought there was no point in going. We couldn’t resell the tickets so we were just holding on to them at a loss. Seeing that it was a 3 days festival, I told Pedro that I might be up for it the next day, hoping to feel better. I still felt like crap the following day and had persistent nausea, but we had been planning this for a while and I didn’t want to waste the experience. I told Pedro i could make it. On the way yhere, we got into a fight in the car. I can’t tell you what it was about. It was crazy making nonsense, as usual. We had driven 2 hours and were just about to get there when he threatened to turn the car around. I told him to do whatever he wanted, and he did just that… He exited the freeway and headed home. I was so flabbergasted that I didn’t even know what to say. I thought he was bluffing but he drove all the way home from Bakersfield to Hollywood, just to prove a point. When we got there Kaya was confused. I made up a story, telling her I had gotten sick in the car and couldn’t stomach to go party. I spent time with her instead, while Pedro & I were pretending, not addressing what had happened. I guess we had become masters at it because she detected nothing and bought into my made up excuse.The next day he was in a great mood. I can’t explain to you how strange these shifts are. We decided to go back for the very last day of the event, as several of our favorite acts were going to be closing the festivities. We got in the car and drove there without any issue, I put on my best smile and tried to ignore my stomach pain, but I just couldn’t do it. We got there in the afternoon and spent most of our time in the car. It was too hot for me to stand outside for long. We went out for the shows that we wanted to see, but after 3 or 4 performances in a row, I was just done with and had to lay down again. I was dizzy and weak. We listened to the last show from the car and headed back home late at night. Every single event, surprise, romantic gateway, or celebration had to be tainted. I invested so much in trying to create wonderful memories but they’d always be ruined somehow. I lost the most weight over that summer. [See appendix ??] I was constantly sick and was struggling to find food that wouldn’t set my insides on fire. My stomach lining was badly inflammed and I started fearing that I might be developing an ulcer. I got on an even stricter diet and that was really hard for me. It affected my sleep and my ability to operate as I used to. I was very depressed then. I just felt very weak, physically, and mentally. I was the shadow of what I used to be. Pedro would minimize it often and I complaining because I did feel like a broken record. I desperately needed time in nature so I booked us another romantic gateway at a wonderful cabin in Idyllwild. [Se appendix ??] I was very excited to take Maya there as well. The day of our booking, another fight occurred, and he declared that he no longer wanted to go anywhere. I thought it was ridiculous to waste a trip like this over nonsense. I insisted that we go but he wouldn’t budge. He didn’t pay for that either so he could careless. Knowing this time that he probably wasn’t bluffing. I stopped arguing with his erratic self. Instead, I loaded the car with my stuff, took maya, grabbed his keys and left. I didn’t even have a valid California driver license then, and my intentional driver license had mysteriously disappeared soon after I moved in with him. I think I may have alrady mentioned that before. Anyhow, I left, and of course he snapped. He blasted me with texts and summoned me to bring his car back. I told him I was coming back 2 days later, as planned, and that I was simply not going to miss out on that. He would have his car, but later. He said he needed it for “work”. I reminded him that his workplace was the studio and that he could easily catch a Uber to go to the gym down the street, if he needed to do that. I drove all the way to Idyllwild only to feel miserable. Exiting the freeway, I pulled up on the side of  the road to take maya out for a walk and texted him. I wanted to squash it right away and told him to pack and get himself ready. I offered to drive back all the way home if he’d join me. Under one condition; I didn’t want to hear about anymore crap. He didn’t give me a straight answer until I was halfway there, but when I pulled in front of the house, nice guy Pedro greeted me. He was fine again. He drove us back, and we got there in the middle of the night. He started complaining about the area being creepy and about feeling uncomfortable there. I pointed out that we were in a forest and it was nighttime; that the cabin was lovely and we would have a great trip. He said the area looked like it was packed with Trump supporters and was giving him racist vibes… Paranoid as usual. When we stepped inside, the house was absolutely stunning. Pictures didn’t do it justice. I started cooking a feast and we played music and we danced and took a million pictures and explored the wood with Maya the next day. It turned out to be the most successful trip we’ve ever had. I hold many good memories from that cabin. Still, it had to begin in the most bizarre and unsettling way. I can go on and on with examples but it will never end.

I just want my life back. I want to move forward with my goals and take care of my babies without having to worry for my safety, shelter, and wellbeing. Pedro is trying is hardest to compromise all of that. I feel he wants to push me towards forced expulsion or voluntary repartition. He doesn’t want me in this town, without the ability to control my movements. I want nothing but peace but his paranoia and fear of exposure are getting in the way of that. He wants me gone, one way or another, and so does his partner Dan who also fear he might be compromised. They are like minded, that’s for certain. Pedro is not well and he won’t stop unless someone stops him. Happy to submit myself to psyiatric evaluation if he’ll do the same. I’d very much like to see proof that I’ve given him multiple black eyes over the years as alleged by Dan. I’d happily turn in all devices, bank statements, and phone records if need be. I highly doubt he could do the same for he doesn’t report his income. Not even to me. I can provide Venmo statement and proof of the income I’ve generated through my furniture sales. Pedro isn’t in a position to supply such information without incriminating himself. He has a moutain of transactions that he could hardly justify. He labels those sales as “mixtapes.” My parent’s accounting department have totaled up the amount of money sent to supplement our wages until my immigration status could be rectified. They have contributed $38,012 over the lenght of our marriage. $26, 600 was sent   to me, and $11, 812 was sent direcly to him after my passport was shredded. It happened around the pandemic shutdown and consulate services were restricted for some time. He is fully aware that I currently don’t have a valid id because I have delayed renewing my oassport. I also don’t have a state id due to my current immigration status. He has taken over my bank account and cornered me. I must stand up and expose his schemes for what they are; an attempt to shield himself while punishing me for wanting to leave / live. As if he hasn’t humiliated me enough, he sees no issue with blindsiding me with a baseless restraining order, claiming to fear for his life, while he’s simultaneously texting me to bait me into violating said order. To add insult to injury, he chose to do this over the holiday season and put me out on the street without the ability to take my dogs along with me. If he must assassinate my character, ruin my relationships, and compromise my future, he will do so. He has been. It’s clear he won’t stop until he has completely rewritten the story. However, this is our story. A sad one. I dare him to comment on the above statements or highlight whatever it is he’ll claim has never occurred. Naturally, he has selected his birthday as the court date to settle this matter - classic NPD behavior. Nothing surprises me anymore. I am just grateful to be away from him. That said, Pedro isn’t the victim, and he isn’t fearful of me. He is a fraud. Thank you for reading. The simple act of writing all of this out has brought me some relief. Eventually, I know that the truth with prevail, therefore I’ll wait.


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#SueMe

#NPDAbuse

#NPDSurvivor

#DefamationLawsuit


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