“Maybe sometimes you have to lose who you were to find out who you are.” – Unknown

Mawāna Two months ago a close friend of mine called me up to ask if I wanted to take a gun safety class with her.  I will never forget how strong my response was, “Hell no, why would I want to do that?!”.   I remember telling her that I had never picked up a gun so why would I want to take a safety class on something I had no interest in.  My friend counter offered me an opportunity for her husband (who was licensed ) to take me to the range so I could try it.  Again, I was adamant about my response, “No, no thank you.  It’s just not me!”.

I don’t know why but that conversation lingered with me a few weeks after the phone call.  Although I found myself drawn to the conversation I was steadfast to resisting any indulgent thoughts about it.   Until one afternoon I had the courage to explore my attraction to it.  It was right after a session I had with my coach when I had realized that I was no longer connected to myself.  So what better way to connect with myself then taking the time to ask why I didn’t want to go shooting.  Besides the fact that it scared me to use a gun, here were the headlines:
     “Girls don’t fire guns. “
     “Guns are dangerous.”
     “What purpose would that serve?”

Once I was able to let those thoughts surface I immediately knew that I had to go to the range – I had to at least try it once.   What became clear to me was that these weren’t really thoughts, they were little stories I told myself.  Stories that started to crumble the minute I brought them into the light.  First, I am a woman, not a girl.  I can fire a gun if I choose to.  Second, yes, guns can be used to hurt people but what was being proposed to me was using it in a controlled manner with instruction provided and safety measures abound.  Third, it would give me the opportunity to try something new.  And more importantly, it would provide me with an experience from which I could form real thoughts about guns, not just made up stories about what I thought was expected of me to believe, think, and feel about them.

On February 1st, my friend’s husband took me to the shooting range!  Wow, what an experience!  As I predicted, it was nerve wracking..signing a waiver in the event of my accidental death while at the range, shells flying all about, noise from the various weapons that shook me to my core, and the firey blast that shot out the side of the 40 caliber I used.  However, despite all that I became empowered about myself; learning how to do something new, pushing through my physical fear, and doing something I never thought I would.

Before this experience I was a girl who believed in stories about who she was and what she was capable of.  And now, I am a woman willing to take risks for the sake of finding out who I really am and what I am truly capable of! 

Suzanne Hermus“Maybe sometimes you have to lose who you were to find out who you are.” – Unknown