I’m noticing (again, again…) that when I get scared, I get – dammit, I want to avoid saying “harder, stiff, more rigid” – I’ll just have to make do with “more inflexible” even though it’s a bit clinical and indirect, so as to avoid any confusion with erection metaphors.
I mean that fear makes me throw up boundaries, and they’re not permeable boundaries, they’re unbreakable.
How I notice this is that when I’m fearful (like I am today, in preparation for facing 400 fellow Buddhists for the next 3 days, being out as trans for the first time), I catch myself much more ready to “assume a position” in discussion and argument. Even to start arguments. Because my Self feels under threat, I’m assuming threat everywhere.
In fact, it’s a useful feedback system. Since I’m not usually that opinionated or angry, when that kind of nonsense kicks in, its usually a good fear litmus.
The blog-thing I wrote about autogynephilia is a fine example of the genre. I’ve spent a year as a trans forum mod, fielding posts about AGP, and then “all of a sudden” I’ve had enough and need to blow off steam about it. Don’t get me wrong, I meant everything I wrote. But I’m angry because I’m scared. My lizard brain is expecting trouble, and there’s a limited amount of talking-to that I can do to it. The best I can do is to keep reminding myself that it’s all imaginary until/unless it actually happens, and try to catch myself going into Combat Mode unnecessarily.
I count myself fortunate that I have some kind of Buddhist perspective to apply to my PTSD experience – mainly in not hating it, and in being able to remind myself that whatever I’m experiencing is never the whole of me. Now I just have to remember to apply it!
I prefer myself with boundaries to without – but only if they’re permeable. Rigid boundaries create isolation. As I’ve said before – a castle’s no different from a prison, if you can’t remember where you left the keys.
[PS: Mohs, Rockwell, Janka – they’re all scales of hardness. Google is my collusive friend.]