No Apologies: Week Six of Self-Defense

Tonight we had a very small class, and we did the most work. It was excellent.

I’m working through my fear. And each week, with each move and scenario, I’m overcoming it.

I worked with a woman I’ve been hoping to work with the whole time. She’s taken the class multiple times and really has it down. She’s also a very shrewd critic of how I’m making mistakes so that I can do the move correctly. For which I’m very thankful.

She is patient but also generous. She told me to slow down and make sure I’m doing all the steps. I was hung up on doing them fast, trying to prove something. I was also doing things wrong with my footwork.

She made me break it down step by step and really slow it down, so I understood WHY I needed to do it that way.

I’m seeing physics in this class. Bases, fulcrums. Ways to leverage my weight against my opponent.

I’m starting to really understand the value of plain ol’ repetition. I’ve been out of school so long, I miss it. I miss the routine, the structured classes, the opportunity to compete with my classmates. Right now, I have all that. I’m lucky to have wonderful classmates who are not mean or spiteful. We all help each other.

THAT is the point of Feminism. Our instructor is a male, but he’s on our side. No one is add odds with anyone.

We’re all a team.

I’m learning that I was freezing up sometimes, afraid of the pain. But in a real situation, I’m not going to have time to stop because it hurts. I’m going to have to fight THROUGH the pain.

And I will. I’m already doing it.

After repeating the moves several times and breaking them down, I’m understanding where I’m faltering, how I can correct it, and why it’s useful to do it the way I was taught.

Also, again I answered the question our instructor asked us. The answer was simple.

He asked, “What does it take to survive?”

Your will to live needs to be stronger than your attacker. That’s it.

When attacked, you take control and defend yourself. That’s what you do.

I’m not a victim waiting to happen. I am a defender. A defender of myself and others.

No one did any of the moves lightly tonight. The woman I worked with used real force– I was startled. I DID panic. But then I overrode it, with her help.

I also worked with another woman who is much taller than me. But she wasn’t self-conscious about it at all, which I loved. All the women in this class have healthy self-esteem and body images. I love that.

After I tried a move on her when I was the attacker, she did it correctly. Then she apologized to me.

“No apologies,” I told her. “We PAID to do this!” Anytime I get hurt a little, it toughens me up.

And I learn something. And I keep going.

This is a safe environment where we can make mistakes and LEARN from them.

And it continues to change my personality for the better. I’m not putting up with people taking shots at me.

I’m putting people in their place when they are being totally inappropriate, both women and men.

A co-worker asked what I weigh last week. She wouldn’t drop it, and was trying to guess my jean size. She told me hers. I told her it’s none of her business. She doesn’t need to know. I was just a broken record, saying I’m not telling her. She got annoyed and quit.

That’s what happens when your self-esteem is higher. A few months ago I would have told her out of habit, thought I didn’t want to. I know what she’s trying to do: call attention to how small I am. So what? I used to work as a weight loss counselor and a lot of the women did that to me. They didn’t think I could help them because I wasn’t overweight. But I did help them. I knew the program and I believed in them. I helped one woman lose 40 pounds! It was their loss for assuming that I was less skilled at my job than other co-workers.

I get asked that a lot by other women, who think they have right to comment on my weight or my size.

They don’t. No one does. It’s my body, my business, not theirs. I know they’re only doing it comparatively, anyway. What does that prove? Nothing. I never criticize other women’s bodies or weight. In fact, I always encourage them and tell them they’re beautiful the way they are.

Ladies, STOP comparing yourself to other women. I’m not judging you. If someone is judging you, that is THEIR problem, not yours! And if you’re assuming they’re judging you, you are being crippled by your own insecurity.

Don’t let anyone take your power from you, and don’t give it away.

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