Thursday, July 3, 2014

Scars, Fighting Back, and the Power of 'Why'

On the way to Urgent Care
If you follow my blog for any amount of time, you'll probably already know that I have an interesting scarring disorder, fairly uncommon to Caucasian people. To spare you all the medical babble, I form keloids. What this is means is that I scar from just about everything, and the scars continue to out-grow the original wound long after the wound has healed - no matter how superficial. The scar tissue isn't just for show. For deep cuts and surgeries, it actually grows both ways - externally and internally. The growth rate is generally slow - especially for the deep ones. In my case, it takes about 2-3 years for the nerves under the wound to deaden enough to stop causing twinges of stinging pain - as if the wound itself was still fresh. At least, that's been my experiences. I'm a pretty lucky girl. I've been able to minimize the number of surgical procedures I've needed in my life, but I was pretty scared when I accidently sliced open my hand opening the box to my weight lifting bar. It wasn't the scar I was concerned about. It was the nerve damage I knew was coming.

While hands and faces are often blissfully excluded from the DNA that cause Keloids, this slice is right on the edge of the "WILL scar" territory and the "won't scar" territory, but as I suspected, the scar is going to be pretty epic. While it may seem like a new wrinkle in my hand, it reminds me (nearly a month later) that it's still very much a part of me forever, occasionally stinging and burning as if there were still a gaping slice in the side of my hand. I could have, should have, been a tad more careful opening the box. Now that tiny little experience gets to needle at me when I grip a pull-up bar or steering wheel. Over time, it'll get more numb and be less and less painful.

 I bring up the subject of fitness and scars because the Crossfit box that I did Murph in had a great class recently about self defense. Now, this isn't new territory for me. As a woman flying solo for a good portion of my adult life, I'm generally very aware of my surroundings. I was married to a marital artist who couldn't sit with his back to the door in any room for fear he wouldn't be able to defend himself and I was a decent sparring dummy for him to practice on. I know the general concept of "Get An Attacker Away From You and RUN!" I was brought up that there is one weapon that an attacker can't take away from you - your wits.

That said, keep your wits about you and you can often avoid a confrontation to begin with. However, not every fight is avoidable.
The class went over the basic things, and honestly, I was a bit skeptical about what I could learn.  I cut a fairly imposing figure (even before weight lifting) and managed to steer clear of trouble before it escalated into fist-to-cuffs.

In this case, our instructor was a good guy. One of the warmest personalities I've run into in the coaching world, he's a pleasure to lift with and work with. He was one of the first people to engage me in conversation during Murph and make me feel welcome in a box where I knew no one and at a time where I had expected not to be flying solo.

He also happens to be well over 6 foot and probably nearly twice my width. He taught us a few simple-yet-effective strikes and maneuvers and then came at each of us as an attacker for about 30 seconds. He encouraged us to find our "why" ("Why Do I Want To Get Out Of This") and keep that at the forefront of our minds.  It was a powerful drill.

It didn't take long for me to find my "Why".

I've had a lot of practice. My "Why"?

I don't want My Sailor to come home to an empty house. I don't want my family to HAVE to miss me. I don't want my dog to outlive me. I need to see where this journey - my life - takes me. Simply put - I don't quit.

For all of the challenges I have faced and will face going forward, I have unshakable faith that I can stare down anything and get through just about any situation I'm presented with - as long as I can remain on this side of dirt.
As a military spouse, I deal with the fact that My Sailor may someday not return home in the same condition he left (mentally, emotionally, or physically). It's a undeniable fact that all military, police, fire fighters and first responder families learn to ignore when we can or otherwise live with. It's an ever present roommate taking up residence somewhere in the back of our minds. It's an uncontrollable factor. And it works both ways. I'm sure My Sailor (and others like him) fear that they will return to loved ones who are in crisis (or worse) as well. Car accidents happen. Illness happens. Uncontrollable situations happen every day all around us that can forever alter (or end) our lives and the lives of those we love.

I've had several close friends that have come from backgrounds that include being victims of abuse or other such violent circumstances. They are scarred, and at times those scars ache, but what's left behind is a character often warmer than sunshine and tougher than nails. My Sailor and I are very aware that this same background will likely be the case for our kids, once the adoption ball gets rolling again next year. Sometimes, the most painful and traumatic scars aren't the ones on the surface, but the invisible ones left behind by circumstance.

But give me a controllable circumstance or threat to my 'why'.... and...well...
Knee to the face- a moment of my 30 seconds in the ring
I didn't go easy on the coach. He's a good guy; don't get me wrong, but I was picking a sliver of skin from the back of his neck out of my nails after my round with him. Every time he 'attacked', I pushed back as hard as I could.

I've been to other female focused self defense courses before. Most were trying to sell me something (and all failed since every tool can be taken away and used against me, at least the way I look at it - I'd rather use my hands. Obviously, I'm not shy about it.).

Maybe it's because the only thing this class was trying to sell me was how to react in times of great peril, but it gave me a great insight into the value of strength training - especially for the 'fairer' sex.  Not only has it enabled me to do everyday tasks, but it enables me to handle much rarer situations (like an attack) with confidence.

But perhaps the best lesson here is untold power to be found if we know our 'Why'.
*Photo credit and special thanks to Narrows Crossfit.

No comments:

Post a Comment