WHY I BECAME THE SEA
Dreamed 1980/6/19 by Chris Wayan
Night. I'm walking along a road with a group of retired or part-time cops, drinking beer. One of the guys is mad at me because I navigate better in the dark than him even though he's local. What does he expect, half-bombed? He can barely walk. But I help him to our goal, the Angry Man's house. In we go. We find the Improprieties are worse than we'd heard: naked, bedraggled men are scattered on the rug. The Angry Man denies he's gay, denies he likes to humiliate his partners, though it's glaringly obvious. The cops swarm around him--now HE's the one being humiliated. He's not happy about it--guess he only likes to dish it out!
Still... so what if I don't like him? Not a crime. Their stupid sex games are consensual. So why are we here?
Now I become one of his so-called victims--or maybe him, now that he's feeling as humiliated as them. I hate it! I flee the house, naked, and wander shivering on the shore. Come to a bath house and stretch of beach posted WOMEN ONLY. It's a nude beach, but segregated! No one's here at night, so I go on through, and round a little point. The cove beyond is reserved for men. A bath house. I feel virtuous: I'd rather go to the women's beach, where I'd not only find more sexual prospects but I'd feel safer and among friends. But see, I went to the men's beach like I should! I hang with drunk, macho gay-baiting cops! Now they'll have to shut up about my being femme.
Wrong. My clothes are locked inside the women's bath house! Desperate, I enter the men's house and steal a towel from a bench. Some gang members, New Yorkers by their accents, see this and start chasing me--not so much civic-minded about catching a towel thief, more just an safe opportunity to beat up someone vulnerable. I run out of the bath house, inland, thru the streets, yelling HELP!
And then realize... this is a dream.
So I transform. I become the sea! A sea whose tide is rising, a sea with big rocks they climb up on to avoid the flood... But I'm not letting them off so easy. I make hot springs pour from fissures in the rocks. Scalding hot water. Ow!
I leave the sea perking away on automatic, and re-form my body. Only this time, I have wings. I hover, watching them. A few try swimming for it, but I swim like a seal, too, and nip them from beneath. Ugh, men taste bad.
Hey guys--no escape! Tell me, how do YOU like victimhood? Learned yet?
No. They threaten me next. One even manages to hijack my sea and use it against me for a minute--it tries to scare me. Our subjectivities wrestle fiercely, but I recall the sea is mine, safe for me, it IS me, and regain control.
Because I'm not surrendering to a viewpoint like that. Never again. Not if every guy in the world sneers at me. Well, every straight guy. Well, every straight butch guy. Well, every straight butch violent guy.
Or to be concise: every jerk.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
No mystery about where this came from. I was regularly bullied and beaten in school. At age ten they broke my rib in the school library. I still haven't forgiven my tormentors--or the adults who knew and let it go on.
I saw it, and still see it, as a gender issue--violence against girls is unacceptable, but against boys? Well, boys will be boys. And grow up to be boys who let boys be boys, torturing designated victims like me--with tacit adult approval.
I was raised to be a pacifist, but I learned the hard way there are exceptions. Some people, most of them male, are deaf to moral argument. They have to be shown how their bullying feels, and then forced to stop.
Maybe I went too far in the dream, maybe I need to forgive. But isn't that truer of bullies? What do they need, what makes them change, if not a punishing lesson?
If you have an alternative, you're welcome to supply it. In the meantime (and this is a mean time), I'll be doing my best to trap guys of this sort and immobilize them--in hot water or not.
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