Long story short: I suffered CSA. I'm gay, haven't come out (though at 40 friends/family probably figuring it out). I have low self-esteem, low self confidence, i.e I don't feel any gay pride. I think I'm straight acting, but I don't know, I don't think about it much.

Last week I was walking home from work downtown and passed by a group of 5 teenagers, about 15 years old, they were trying to look punk-rock I guess, I didn't think about it. Right as the last one passed me he whispered "faggot". I didn't realize what he'd said til about 3 steps later. I kept walking, didn't look back. I felt scared, intimidated, angry, shamed, upset.

I keep stewing about it. How should I have reacted? What will I say or do when I see them again? They loiter around downtown a lot.

A couple of days later I was passing 4 different teenagers coming towards me, they were acting loud, agressive. I have a habit of talking to myself quietly, I'm not always aware I'm doing it. I was rambling something, not loud enough for anyone to hear. As they passed me one of them was loudly saying "better shut your fucking mouth bitch" and then I wondered if he was talking to me?

In my rational mind I think that I have to not give my power away, don't let others decide how I should feel about me, don't give them the satisfaction of upsetting me. But in my gut, all these feelings are triggered, part of me wants to take them all on, not let them walk all over me, stand up to them, etc. But I'm never going to get their respect anyway, I can't take on the whole world, or all the street kids I pass by on the way to work. That's another concern, that I'd become a target for verbal abuse from the them. Part of me is scared too. I don't know. I don't have a network of gay friends to support me, or give me perspective. Any feedback is welcome.

Digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt
--Peter Gabriel