Dating Magazine

Those Bad Feelings Are There For a Reason

By Aussalorens

by Aussa Lorens

Those Bad Feelings Are There For a Reason
I'd been living alone for about three months when I finally had to acknowledge a persistent thought in the back of my mind: " I feel like I'm being watched." I was 18 years old, out on my own for the first time and doing everything to keep people away -yet I couldn't shake the feeling that I was under almost constant observation. It was a very subtle sort of paranoia, and one I tried to resist. It seemed far too arrogant and self-indulgent to assume anyone cared that much-yet a part of me wanted to step onto my front porch and take a deep bow.

My apartment was a one room efficiency in the back of a large colonial style house about a block from campus. I'd later discover that despite hanging curtains over the windows, there was a gap between the venetian blinds that would allow someone to stand outside and see every inch of the place, except the bathroom and walk-in closet. But why worry about something like that? Surely no one cared enough to bother looking.

The other tenants in the house were grad students, quietly tucked away in the midst of research and lesson planning. The one exception was a middle-aged man with a fake sounding name who lived in a shed just a few feet from my front porch. His "house" was a tiny pre-fab building that would normally be used to store lawn equipment. He'd built a fence around it and seemed quite content to live a cozy life of self-sufficiency. I mentally dubbed him The Shanty Man, and enjoyed his intriguing one-sentence conversations every few weeks. One night I came home at 1AM to find him standing in the walkway outside my front door, spraying a water hose into the night sky.

"I'm making it rain," he said.

The Shanty Man didn't own a car and only ventured out a couple times a week, traveling by bike. He didn't seem to have a job and never had any visitors over. We were a match made in recluse heaven.

Just before my 19 th birthday I went to visit my Grandparents for Spring Break. They lived several hours away in an oasis-like world that smelled of breakfast and orange trees. One entire side of the house was floor to ceiling glass that opened onto a brick terrace overlooking an endless scene of orchards. It was paradise.

I returned home at the end of the week and unlocked the front door like normal. Everything seemed just as I'd left it-slightly messy and with cobwebs in the windows-until I sat down to log onto the computer. It refused to boot up, sitting on my desk with a blank screen. Assuming the cord had come loose, I pulled the desk from the wall and got down on my knees, ready to jiggle it back to life. But it was nowhere to be found. I sifted through every other cord and wire, refusing to accept that it had vanished after months in the same position. I scoured the house, looking beneath the fridge and in the laundry basket, as though it were perfectly reasonable to assume my computer equipment had merely gone on walkabout.

Eventually, I had to accept that I wasn't going to find it. I did the easiest thing possible and blamed myself. It was better to believe I'd somehow misplaced it than to acknowledge the creepy instinct that told me someone had been in my house, touching my things. There was nothing I could do about it, so I laid down to sleep in a house where the windows didn't protect me from the world. I ignored the feelings you're never supposed to ignore. I told myself it was nothing, when really it was a hell of a lot more than nothing that was about to happen.

Do you ever blame yourself for things you know aren't your fault? What place in the world is your "paradise?" Have you ever felt like someone was watching you, even though you couldn't prove it?

Filed Under: Tagged With: Gooseberry creepy, fear, I feel like I'm being watched, isolation, paranoia, recluse, scary, stalker, stalking, weird, wtf

And I've just realized a major benefit to being too chaotic to have an actual underwear drawer (they're shoved in some box somewhere in my closet somewhere somewhere)- no one can sift through it

Those Bad Feelings Are There For a Reason

"I'd later discover that despite hanging curtains over the windows, there was a gap between the venetian blinds that would allow someone to stand outside and see every inch of the place, except the bathroom and walk-in closet. But why worry about something like that? Surely no one cared enough to bother looking." Yeah not comfy with that put a cupboard or something because I am an eccentric fuck and love me some privacy

Those Bad Feelings Are There For a Reason

They took your cord? (Thank you for spelling cord properly) That's low. Ted Falconi, the guitarist for Flipper, took about a half-dozen of my audio cables once, and later tried to store them at my house, When I spotted them and confronted him he said "How do you know where I got those cords?" After I told him that I had made them myself and recognized my own work, he gave me a fire-damaged 12 string guitar as a peace offering, which I still have.
So what kind of creepers are we talking here? Was it a theft, or did they not want you to be able to use your computer in some twisted "No porn for you, little red-haired girl" scenario? Sorry if I sound jaded about this, I really do understand the feeling of violation you get when someone gets in to your space, as it's happened to me a few times. But some of my best friends for many years were recreational paranoids, who went so far as to coin an expression for when their "I'm being watched" paranoia was getting out of hand. It was "the cops are in the cupboard" and it meant "Yes, I know this is crazy, but I'm doing it anyway, so stay out of my way or maybe bring me a cheeseburger."
Personally, I do advocate listening to your inner voice when you feel like you're being watched, it usually means something isn't right.

"Harder to unload"
Probably much more likely that the thief was not so smart. Didn't know that a book could be worth anything...

Oh. So you are just like everyone else? Good to know.

Those Bad Feelings Are There For a Reason

I hope you're going to let us know what happened!

When I know other people are around I feel like they're all watching me, but when (I think) I've got privacy I'm always convinced I'm completely alone. So I'll remain oblivious to the home intruder until...

Those Bad Feelings Are There For a Reason

My very first apartment, I had all of the precautions, extra lock on the door, heavy drapes that got closed at night. And one morning, as I was up and getting ready for work, I saw a face peering in - in between that little crack in the curtains... the little crack that no one every thinks about. I freaked and hid in the closet for probably an hour. I was late for work. The police weren't interested at all. That night I holed up in the apt, shivering, and someone knocked on my door, wanted to make sure I knew that not only were there foot prints outside my window, but a very clear hand print where he had leaned in to peer.
I hung up three blankets over that window. And it's the only time I've seriously considered owning a small hand gun.
Can't wait for the rest of your story!

Yikes! That's a scary story Aussa. I'm late to the post as I missed it in my e-mails. Sorry. Paranoia can be your best friend. I always was a bit naive but have developed a healthy sense of paranoia. Turns out when you are right, it isn't paranoid. It's like the difference between bravery and stupidity is whether you survive or not. Michael Dell the multi billionaire owner of Dell computers, once attributed his success to a "healthy paranoia". I'm of the belief that covered windows and locked doors keep the honest honest - and good fences make good neighbors.

It is really hard when you are young and have little experience outside home, to know when to listen to paranoia-that comes with life experience. You were brave and resourceful to even get to where you were Aussa.

"Paradise" - wow, I guess I hadn't thought much about it. I'm not sure I have a paradise. I could magine one by putting together pieces of other scenes - but that would only be imaginary. Is that sad?

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