Showing posts with label Journal Entry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Journal Entry. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

And She Hit Me

In the years since I realized she was being silly, maybe even neurotic.  It had me plenty worried at the time, though.  In the summer between high school and college, I was nearly beaten to death by a woman who was upset that I didn't close my eyes during a moment of physical intimacy.  That's an exaggeration, of course.  I wasn't ever in any danger, but getting hit by somebody who wasn't supposed to try and hurt me went against many things I assumed were true.  

That summer, I was less than two years from the peak of my physical strength and development, and her tiny fists beating on my meaty flesh weren't much of a mortal threat, but it was a great surprise.  I wasn't even aware that I was supposed to keep my eyes closed or that not keeping them closed was some sort of rude crossing of the lines of polite exchange.  Without meaning to, I offended her to the point where she felt violence, ineffective as it was, was necessary to correct my behavior.  She also cried, which hurt me considerably more than her fists.

All boys are taught that they should never lay hands on a girl.  Boys my size are especially reminded of that rule.  There were two times when I broke that rule without meaning to.  One was a day in the fifth grade when, during the physical education period, we boys were playing and practicing moves we'd seen on MidSouth Wrestling on TV, mixed with a few Godzilla movies.  Since I was the biggest, I got to be the bad guy, and everybody tried their best to take me down as elaborately.  Being boys, we were playing pretty rough.  Young bodies are more resilient than older ones, so nobody gets hurt.  

Our games excluded girls.  Pretty much everything we did in the fifth grade excluded girls.  I never really considered that might be an offense, as they never showed much interest in playing our games.  Unaware as I was, at least some of the girls were watching, and wanting to be included.  

Among my many attackers, I felt someone smaller jump on my back.  Although I didn't know who it was, I assumed it was one of the boys who always played these games with me.  That was a mistake.  Without looking, I grabbed the arms grappling around my neck and threw my assailant over my shoulder.  They performed that sort of move on TV wrestling all the time.  I'd done it in the gym like we were then and on the grassy yards outside.  I expected whoever I threw to jump back up and come at me again.  That was the point of the game.  This time, once thrown, my playmate didn't move.  They lay in a lump on the gym floor, all arms and legs and gym clothes--girl's gym clothes.  I'd made a terrible mistake.

Her name was Tiffany.  Weeks before I admitted to some other boys, I thought she was pretty.  This started an argument about which girls were pretty and who we thought was prettiest.  She lay on the ground, frozen in shock and crying.  A teacher rushed to her and made sure nothing was broken.  Nothing was.  She wasn't injured, but nobody could believe what I'd done.  I was sent to the office.  

I tried to argue that it was an accident, that I thought it was a boy who jumped on me, that it all happened so fast I didn't know what I was doing.  The grownups tried very hard to make sure I felt guilty.  They didn't need to.  I felt unredeemable.  Playing rough with boys was one thing.  That was expected.  Playing rough with girls was just alien, a violation of the code kids lived by.  It was difficult enough just to talk to girls; they weren't for wrestling.

Later that year, I tripped someone, without looking, that I thought was another boy, my friend, but it turned out to be a girl who had run ahead of him.  After getting in trouble again for the same thing, my days of wrestling with anyone, boy or girl, were over.  Clearly, I couldn't be trusted to do it safely.  

Disciplining a child like me couldn't have been easy because, knowing I was wrong, I became frightened about what made me do these things.  I worried that it must look like I wanted to hurt people, which I thought wasn't true, but since I did hurt people, what really was true?  I tried to explain that I hadn't meant to hurt anyone, but that wasn't good enough.

These incidents were enough to change my behavior without ever really doing much damage to one of my classmates.  After that, I spent most of my life afraid to ever raise a hand in anger to anyone or lose my temper.  

That summer between high school and college, whatever events shaped my behavior hadn't shaped the woman who was angry at me.  Yelling at me, even hitting me, were permissible in her rules of engagement, even though I maintained that I didn't know I was supposed to keep my eyes closed.  I didn't know what I did was wrong.

It didn't matter that she wasn't physically hurting me; she was making me feel very guilty of a transgression, even though I didn't know it was a transgression.  In the moment, it seemed like my ignorance of the transgression was yet another transgression.  I should have known better.  

This wasn't the last time I suffered physical violence from a woman I was involved with.  We tend not to talk about this very much since it's less dangerous when it's a woman hitting a man.  It also makes the man look weak.  Women tend to be less inclined to violence, so it happens a lot less often than when the man is the aggressor, but It does happen, though.  Anyone can be abused.

People who suffer from any sort of abuse often feel like they did something to cause it, that they deserved it.  I certainly did.  Since she wasn't causing any physical injury, I usually just let it happen.  All I could think of was to take it quietly and just not call on her again.

Human interaction is terribly complicated.  We have all these expectations of how people should interact with us, and often, they don't meet those expectations, which can lead to frustration and anger.  It's not healthy to assume you're in the wrong like I did, but it kept me from acting back in anger, so it wasn't a bad trade.  Healthy interactions with others are required for life, even though they're sometimes challenging.  I was lucky that I was able to absorb an awful lot of abuse before it became a problem.  That's not ideal, but it helped prevent hurting anyone by mistake ever again.  

Friday, July 14, 2023

Journal July 14

I'm trying something different with my journal.  I can tell how many people read, so if nobody reads these, I'll go back to just keeping them to myself.

I went adventuring in Fondren tonight, using my motorized scooter.  I'm still hoping to eventually get to where I don't need assistance getting around, but that's proving slower than I had hoped.  

A new physical therapist is supposed to see me not next week but the next and work with me to figure out safe ways for me to use the leg press and the leg extension machine at Meridian Apartments.  If a leg press doesn't resolve my leg strength issues, I don't know what will.   Doing laps around my apartment in the wheelchair does a pretty good job of elevating my heart rate for aerobic fitness until I can use a stepper or something similar. 

My goal tonight was to find ramped access to everything I might be interested in entering in Fondren.  I found ramps to everything but Saltine.  I'm sure they have one; I just haven't found it yet. 

I've run thousands of bar tabs in my life, just not any in quite a while.  Getting a bourbon and branch at Fondren Public felt very comfortable and very familiar.    My doctor says I can have only one.  That's ok by me.  I exceeded my maximum allowance for spending the night obliterated long ago.  One slow one is just fine by me.

Rowan Taylor tried to teach me about really good whiskeys and bourbon.  My mother drank Cutty Sark, which I can't stand.   My dad drank Stolichnaya out of the freezer, sometimes with grapefruit juice if he was on a diet.

Eudora Welty drank either Maker's Mark or Old Crow.  That's fine by me.  If I'm just gonna have one, I'd like to have one with some local history to it.  

Fondren Public has a strong Cherokee Inn in the 80s kind of vibe to it.  From what I understand, it gets pretty lively after ten o'clock.  I, however, do not get very lively after ten o'clock, so I'll probably miss that.   There are three or four bars in Fondren, but this one's a pretty good fit.

I'm probably gonna have to haunt Hal and Mal's bar some.  I've spent many nights there with great music, sometimes commiserating with the local journalists and politicians.

A lot of my life was spent in bars, then after my divorce, I cut it off cold.  Part of it was that I knew my wife really liked bars as well, and I didn't want to make it awkward for her.  I can't spend my life avoiding exes, though.  There are too many of them.    

It took me a couple of weeks to adjust to living here, but I feel very at home now.  I'm still progressing, but it's a struggle to figure out what the pace is.  

I spent about six hours writing today, producing a little over 2,100 words.  Ray Bradbury says to aim for a thousand, so I figure I'm in the good.  Most of today was a conversation between my two main characters, discussing their positions on the main action.  At this point, they don't agree on the best way forward, which will become more of an issue as we go along.  

Even though that's not the point of the novel, I kind of want people to "ship" the two of them.  I don't think they'll end up together, but it'd be nice if people wanted them to if they were invested enough in these imaginary people I created to hope they find happiness.  

The thing about fiction is that all the characters are basically just the writer wearing different hats.  That's probably why most people think they're crazy and why so many of them spend their lives in a bottle.  I don't want to spend my life in a bottle.  I've known some really talented people who did, and I don't want to live that way.  Hopefully, I can create without lubrication.

I've spent a lot of time in bars with a lot of you.  I guess the point of today's journal entry is that those days are back, I guess, maybe in a measured sort of way.  I think that was inevitable.  

Official Ted Lasso