Okay, I'm not really doing as okay as I'd like to be, or as I'd
like to claim to be. *sigh* I'm not worried about me --
I'm confident that I will be just fine -- but the process
of working through my mental/emotional reactions to what happened
is uncomfortable. And the old "I'm supposed to be both tough enough
to be able to find the shortcuts through psychological trauma" meme
isn't helping, of course. I keep wanting to ask my subconscious,
"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How much
longer? Are we there yet?" Feh.
One annoying pattern I've noticed is that just as I'm falling
asleep, I see the attack unfold all over again in slow motion, up
to about the second blow that struck my head. And then I'm awake
again, feeling agitated and annoyed, and filled with "shoulda"
thoughts: looking for what I could have -- should have -- done
differently. Taken a step to my left before the first one tried
to kick me. Turned my body fifteen degrees to the right. Paid
more attention to the one coming in from my right instead of the
one in front of me. Used the camera as a weapon instead of trying
to protect it. Ducked. Gotten a clue that I was in danger a
second or two earlier and started figuring out tactics then.
Tried to kick an exposed knee instead of trying to throw an elbow
at a face. Run into the intersection so the folks sitting on their
steps on Fulton Ave. would've been witnesses. Something. Ideally
something that would have netted me a souvenir chunk of hair or
flesh ripped from one of those guys.
I can manage not to blame myself for anything that happened
after the first punch landed; after the second head blow I was
too dazed to be effective, and the first one stunned me long
enough for the second to land. And I'm pretty solid on not
blaming myself for having gotten attacked for just existing as
a transgendered person (though there are a few thoughts of the
"could I have said anything that would have changed their minds?"
variety). But the moments from when they started to rush me
to the first swing that connected keep coming up for review.
I'm hoping that by sitting down and writing this, I can get the
annoying coach to stop waving that pointer at the screen where
the replays are showing and yelling at me for my mistakes and
poor technique, at least for tonight. (He'll probably be
chewing me out again from inside my skull tomorrow night though.
Dammit coach, remember that I'm only junior-varsity at best when
it comes to fisticuffs, and these guys were semi-pro -- give me a
It's not as though I expect myself to have been able to win
the fight ... Except in a few fantasies that involve my managing
a few perfectly-timed martial-arts moves that lay out half the
group on the street and thus intimidate the other half into
backing off, or get one of them into a lethal hold and use him
as a shield/hostage until the police arrive ... Well okay, more
like a stuntman steps in to do most of that and then I step back
in to deliver the really dramatic lines and as far as the folks
watching in the movie theatre are concerned I kicked ass ...
but those fantasies are just how my inner eight-year-old rewrites
the scene, not what the coach-in-my-head is yelling about ...
So it's not like I feel I should have been able to take on
a half dozen or so younger, faster guys who actually know how to
throw a punch, and come out on top. It's just that I can't help
feeling that I should've managed not to come out seeming so
utterly helpless. It's like it wasn't even a "respectable
loss". It's like getting into a head-cutting contest and only
being able to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", at half speed,
unevenly. Showing some ability and being seriously outclassed
is one thing; looking like you don't even belong there is another.
There's just enough "man" in my gender to feel that I "really
ought to" not look like a complete idiot in a fight. Even
outnumbered six-or-more to one.
And yes, yes, somewhere in the hundreds of comments to my recent
journal entries, which I've read and plan to reread at different
stages to see what sinks in when, and later reply to some of,
a few people, IIRC, have already pointed out that not fighting
back can sometimes be the right answer, ego be damned, and that
feeling this way about it isn't useful or rational. And some part
of me knew that early on, when I wrote that the attackers lost
interest after I went down, and that I went down pretty quickly.
I know, or at least I think I know, what's wrong with the attitude
I've expressed here, the meme-set with which I manage to torture
myself when I so badly want to just fall asleep. Knowledge isn't
understanding and understanding isn't having-internalized. One
more part of what I have to work through, one more bit of rusty
barbed wire on what looked like a psychological shortcut. One
more "gee Glenn, you're a lot like everyone else, you bozo".
I'd just be happy to have the nightly slow motion replays
stop. There's an anniemal I ought to be cuddling
instead of typing this. Still hoping that by writing this out,
I'll exorcise it for the night.
So one hemisphere is blathering about how I shoulda' taught
dose guys a lesson, yeah, if'n I hadn't been so dumb and let dat
foist one clock me so early and muttering under its breath that
it's important to teach clowns like them that femmy doesn't
mean helpless -- gotta confound those stereotypes -- and boy did I
blow it ...
... While the other hemisphere is sternly lecturing that
I am not crippled, nor dead, so I must therefore be okay; so why
do I not feel okay? and I must be a shining example to
those around me, showing that a minor thing such as being set upon
by ruffians is not enough to make me feel defeated; we must go about
with our heads held high and that means I myself am called upon to
lead by example with more than a little bit of I hate it when
my friends are upset so I have to Be Okay so that they won't worry
... And some lobe is looking perplexed and saying, I'm smarter
than this. I'm not supposed to fall into these traps. Why am I
feeling like this, thinking these thoughts? I'm not supposed to
take as long as anyone else to recover my emotional balance; I'm
analytical and able to rewire my brain and should be able to make
myself All Recovered And Fine with a quick pass through the debugger
and a few tweaks to some of the registers. Why do I still feel
messed up? and some gland or something is shouting, No fair!
Do over! But I get a sword this time to even things up!
Gee, no wonder I'm having trouble sleeping. (Maybe it won't seem
as noisy if I try to give them all the same accent?)
(Hmm. This reminds me that I've had an essay in mind for a month
or so about what I do to distract myself or shut up the too many
thoughts. While I'm in the middle of coping with a worse-than-usual
case of that might be a good time to finally get around to it. I'll
try to get to that this week.)
So no, I guess I'm not actually okay. Yet. But I'm sure I'll
get there. I'm just kinda hatin' the trip.
And reading back over this before posting it, I can't tell whether
how I'm coping so far (and how I'm approaching it and what I have and
haven't realized/recognized intellectually) is more healthy or less
healthy than average, or absofuckinglutely typical. But that
at least is merely a matter of scientific curiosity so far, not one
more thing to beat myself up over, thank goodness.
 To which the canonical response is, "We're there.
We're there. It's just a very long driveway!"
 Uh, for non-musicians reading this, that's
not as bloody as it sounds, really.
 For relative newcomers, and for folks who've been
reading a while but not when I've talked about it, I currently
think of myself as "intergendered" (which some would call a subset
of "genderqueer"). There are both male and female in my gender
identity, although the scale tips heavily to the female. (While
my body tips rather heavily in the other direction.)
 Hmm. I wonder whether this connects in any way to my having
so much difficulty asking for help even when I manage to figure out
what help I need and people have already offered ... ? Maybe I should
be in therapy.