Back in November, I started doing something I’ve meant to do for a long, long time.
Changing my underwear.
No, that’s ridiculous; the underwear has to want to change.
What I REALLY started: self-defense classes. Specifically, a combination of Krav Maga and FAST Defense. I wanted to take one as a college freshman, but a Religious Authority Figure talked me out of it. He claimed that self-defense classes were full of evil men who only attended to learn their female classmates’ weaknesses. But then, he also believed every email forward he read, and that some people with STDs deliberately perforate condoms to spread their diseases, then wait until after sex to give their victims a tiny note in a coffin-shaped box explaining their nefarious deed. (He explained this to me and Crumble, whom I’d brought home to meet the folks. All very embarrassing.) When, as an insolent youth, I told this Religious Authority Figure that the word ‘gullible’ was being removed from the English dictionary, he said “Why? Perhaps some people find it offensive?” before he got the joke. He’s a good man, but perhaps not my top-pick for important life advice.
It’s also interesting to note that this man carries a concealed weapon but thinks self-defense classes aren’t safe for women. Fascinating.
When I first started taking this course, I could barely defend myself— not even verbally. During scripted scenarios in which our instructor pretended to be a threatening stranger, I was terrified: not that she would hurt me, but that I would have to say or do something rude to protect myself. Historically, I’ve often chosen to be a doormat or an easy target rather than risk seeming unkind and hurting someone’s feelings. Dude, all that “sugar and spice” conditioning is toxic. But I truly, deeply care about this particular young lady. If I have to punch someone out in her defense, so be it.
THE POINT: Consider taking a self-defense class of some kind. You will emerge braver, stronger, and better prepared to protect yourself from icky people.