Sunday, November 11, 2007

finding my voice

I’m taking a self defense class this weekend and next. I cannot begin to describe the intensity of this class.

The class is hands-on, meaning we practice the techniques we learn full-force with our adrenaline pumping. The “assailant” is a gentle man who shares a name with one of my boys, and I’m amazed at his commitment to end violence against women. So committed he’s willing to dress in a padded suit and receive our blows.

I expected the class to be intense. In fact, I slept little this past week and consumed more than my share of snickers bars in an effort to quell my anxiety.

The biggest surprise yesterday? How hard it was to yell. In fact, I found it easier to kick the tar out the pseudo attacker than to use my voice to yell, “Back off now!” or “Get out of here!”

The yelling feels unnatural. Wrong, even. In the midst of a simulated attack, I have a hard time finding my voice.

I need to find my voice. And as I learn this lesson myself, I’m aware that I’ve never given the noisy boys permission to be loud. “That’s inappropriate,” I tell them. “Use your inside voice.”

But they need to know that sometimes being loud IS appropriate. They need permission to use their voices.


A Musing Mom said...

A little reassurance: in a real situation you'll find your voice. I'll never forget the time, when I was in a foreign country, left alone at my hosts' apartment. I was sitting in my room reading when a man appeared on the balcony outside. First he tried the door, shaking it hard. I sat in petrified silence. But then he smashed the window by the door handle in order to break in. Me? I screamed at him, "What do you think you're doing?!". Of course as soon as I did I thought to myself, what am I doing? It all turned out well, in part, I suspect, to my screaming at him.

spaghettipie said...

Interesting realization, LM. I agree with AMM that when true adrenaline kicks in, it will probably be easier, but in the broader context of life you pose an insightful question. How much do we suppress our voice, not giving ourselves permission to really use it?

Llama Momma said...

Thank you for sharing your story, AMM. I have also been in dangerous situations...and been paralyzed.

SP -- We all react differently to adrenaline. I'm trying to train myself to use adrenaline to my advantage, rather than a disadvantage. (Which some people, myself included, experience.)

I cannot say enough about this class. I wish every woman I know could take it!

Craver Vii said...

Yes, and you MUST find that yell. I found (having practiced Tae Kwon Do) that the hell also helps when one has to take a hit. It's better to bark than yelp. LM, you are in some ways like a gentle lamb; tender, kind-hearted, etc. But for this class, you must be a lamb who is capable of ROARING!!!! Go get 'em!

Llama Momma said...

Craver -- yes, I'm getting it. We spent a lot of time yesterday on verbal skills.

I can now very assertively say, "I don't want to talk to you. Go away now." Without even smiling.

And in a fight? I'm a NO shouting machine! (Next weekend is my graduation, and I'll get a DVD of some of my fights...I'm hoping I can figure out how to post one. The mild mannered llama can definitely get rowdy when she has to!!)

MamaToo said...

this post has had me "processing" and thinking a lot. I don't struggle with speaking out, but my experiences (like yours) made me realize I did not have a voice - or perhaps, was not heard - when it was important.

Children and women are most often victims of somebody they know, so this post & your class have stirred up many thoughts. Our voice, our words, and our willingness & ability to speak out at just the right time can indeed protect a physical, emotional, and spiritual life.

hope you're feeling a little better this week!

Llama Momma said...

mamatoo -- thank you for your comment. I've also been processing all of it. You're right -- most women are hurt by someone they know. Timing is everything. At what point does a situation move from uncomfortable to dangerous?

In our practice, we tried to think through some of the gray areas. In the end, it's better to be emberassed than to be hurt.

So much to say on all of this, but I'm not sure exactly how to say it yet. So, I'll keep processing!