Thursday, May 5, 2011

a little bit about me

I'm a storyteller. Not as in a writer, although when I was little, I always assumed I'd be a writer when I grew up. I admired them, I always did. Still do. I also assumed I'd marry Jack Lemmon someday, and we can see how well that turned out.

But I've always told stories. Not lies to others, but stories in my head, to myself. I'd see a worm in the rain, and he'd have a name (Fred, after the father I never met who wasn't my father) and a backstory (he was braving the elements to bring back provisions for the wife and little worms but he really wanted to work at a big company like CC Baxter) within a minute.  I make up stories for everything - animal, vegetable and mineral. Is it any wonder that Hans Christian Andersen was my read of choice as a child? Still is, did you know I visited his house in Odense? No, you didn't, because you don't know anything about me.

I become immersed in good art the same way. I can see what the artist had in mind, I'm inside that hot, dusty room, hearing the dull sound of the tools in Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers. I can smell the tang of the suddenly exposed wood. And the sweat.

Good movies and television can also wreck my head, because I embellish - I finish the filmmaker's sentences. I see where they're going, or maybe it's just where I'm going. I started weeping during the first five minutes of Amelie because the way Jeunet writes the beginning, telling people's life stories in less than a minute, that's the way I think most of the time.

In my face-to-face dealings, say a job interview or even just meeting someone new, I still go through dozens of different scenarios in my head, working out the different ways a conversation might go, to prepare myself for any eventuality. I analyze everything, and most of the time I believe in Occam's Razor: the simpler answer is often correct.

This works evidently in my disfavor also, in the case of "Jesse Jubilee James." The TV show Deadwood sucked me in, the density of the story, and how beautifully it was shot and acted. I wanted to talk about it with others. And then I met "Jesse." Who had a story, quite a strange one, but I've known real people with stranger stories. And stranger names. (No llamas, though.)

Why am I a storyteller? What made me like this? Who knows? I'm an only child - lots of only children have to spend a lot of time entertaining themselves. I had bad shit happen to me as a child, lots of upheaval, maybe that's one of the ways I dealt with it, and now it's just a part of who I am. My therapist says I have excellent coping tools, perhaps because they never stay in the shed long enough to rust.

Don't get me wrong, I have a great life, an awesome life. I'm not a sad sack who generally sits around moping about what Janna did to me. I deal with the aftershocks of Janna the way I dealt with the aftershocks of the rest of my life. The difference with Janna is that most of the other bad shit was accidental or exceedingly brief. They were short sharp shocks.

What Janna did to me was intentional and orchestrated to hurt me, over a long period of time when she was aware I was fragile. Who invents a purported love of someone's life and then has them DIE? Janna could have closed up shop anytime she wanted. All I had for "Jesse" was a cellphone number and PO Box address. She could have disappeared at any time, or said "hey, y'know, I found a nice local girl to date." I would have chalked it up to disinterest and forgotten about it. But she milked this, she fed off my grief with the personas of more than a dozen people. She watched me get sick and, impersonating "Jesse's" doctor friend, diagnosed me. (don't worry, it was a weekend when I couldn't see my regular doctor, and I did see him right away that Monday, I'm not that stupid). She could have not given me an address, or accepted any of the gifts I sent, or at the very least, not encouraged me.

It's the malice aforethought I have problems with. I was on that message board for a year before Janna showed up. She watched me, she learned things about me, and then she struck.

And yes, perhaps Janna and I are two sides of the same coin, perhaps that's how I fell for her scam - by being the kind of person who fills in the blanks, and for trusting that since every other individual I'd actually met in person from this message board had proved to be real, that "Jesse" would be too. And because, who does that? The other women that Janna scammed, I think they're all storytellers too. I think she chooses us for that reason. It makes her job easier.

Janna's a storyteller, too, but she uses her talent to take things from others under false pretenses. Doesn't that deserve punishment?

I've tried to be patient here, I really have. I've answered many questions over the past several weeks. Because it doesn't seem to be letting up and I'd like to continue to remain a non-sad sack, I'm going to step away from this for a bit. Rest assured, I'll be back at some point, and I'll try to answer your questions in a civil manner.

If something interesting happens with the case, I'll update, of course.

Monday, May 2, 2011

wherein the "moar llamas" people get their wish

Yes, this is about llamas. And other stuff.

Oddly, there are people out there seriously weighing in about the llama thing - like how could I believe that "Jesse" was a llama rancher? Don't I know how time-consuming llama ranching is? And he was an EMT? And a volunteer fireman? And a journalist?

First - I'm a city mouse, born and raised in cities all my life. What the fuck do I know from llamas? No idea what it takes to take care of a llama. "Jesse" had I think four llamas (hey a four-L llama! [sorry, old fire engine limerick memory jog]), the photo is archived and I can't be arsed to dig it out. The llamas were used more as pets/sometime work animals than for whatever it is llamas are used for when they're ranched.

Second - "Jesse" was mostly an EMT when we first met, and he wasn't in a big city, but a long way outside one (part of the reason he said he had a PO Box in Denver, since he only had some sort of rural route address - again, I know nothing of living in the sticks [ha! Styx!]). Point being, there weren't too many accidents, so "Jesse" wasn't that busy as an EMT. He then accepted a proper job with the US gov. fire service, but quit because it WAS too much for him. He was more an ex-journalist than a current journalist, although he'd do stringer or research work now and then for someone else's byline.

Third - most of the time I knew him, "Jesse" didn't work much because he was either recovering from his suicide attempt (which occurred prior to his bipolar diagnosis), or spending time in a psychiatric facility voluntarily so his sister (who was his guardian) couldn't commit him. Of course, during the brief interlude when we didn't speak, from October - December 2005, it turned out that "Jesse" visited Los Angeles to work on a story, but he didn't get in touch because he thought he'd be bothering me.

Jesus, it sounds nuts just typing it. But, like I said, I don't know from any of these professions except journalism, and "Jesse" was convincing enough about that, so why wouldn't I take him at his word about the others, especially since other friends of his (including Janna) corroborated the story?

I should do a timeline, but hell, I'm too tired for that crap now. Hope that was llama-y enough for you odd people!

a little bit about Janna

Because this does bug me  a bit, I'd like to clear something up that one of the LJ people has assumed. Some folks didn't like that I mentioned Janna's weight here. But what you all need to understand about Janna is that nobody hated on fat people more than Janna St James. As her alter egos, "Bean" and "Alice" amongst them, she would say hateful, scathing things about herself, all to do with her weight.

As some of her other alter egos, she'd talk about how beautiful and skinny and wonderful she was till those nasty Mexicans raped and nearly killed her in a cornfield. Janna would say to me as herself that she weighed 112 all her life until that rape, and she gained all that weight because she was in a hospital bed recovering from many plastic surgeries and operations and now she only had a single lung so it was hard for her to exercise blah blah blah.

Janna told me that she tried Weight Watchers, but they didn't like her because she wasn't born a fatty, that she had no respect for them because they were fat by choice and not by misadventure like she was. Not once did I care about Janna's weight, although I was sympathetic that she was upset about it. When I met her, I confess I was a little taken aback at her size, but only because I was trying to work out in my head how someone could go from 112 to 250 over a ten year period, especially when several of those years was spent eating hospital food, and some of that time her jaw had been reconstructed and she could only have liquid nutrition.

Of course, when I found out that all of her backstory was a lie, there was never a rape, never any sort of hospital convalescence, and she was obese for her entire adult life, I realized that she was completely obsessed with her own weight. Yes, my comment was mean, it was meant to be, but please understand it was meant to tweak her because of this history.

I can't speak for Josh's motivations in taking that angle, since he has never discussed his article with me at any length whatsoever. But for the record, yes, he is kind of an asshole, and everything is about him.