Clarifying

I received 2 emails expressing care to me about my husband and PTSD. It was only 2, but if 2 thought it maybe more do, so I wanted to address it.

My husband does not have PTSD. That is not to say he does not have some lasting effects from serving his country, but my post about PTSD and those in my life who have it wasn’t about him.

The paragraph where I talked about him was more about how neither of us like to discuss things that are difficult or painful in general, but also combat. When he came home from Iraq he carried a lot around with him for a while. He did have some issues, but not PTSD.

When my husband returned from any tour, he didn’t talk, at all and I let him not talk. It has only been in the past few months that I have asked him things and he has started to share with me. I don’t want to talk about him and his feelings because I don’t want to make his feelings more than they were/are nor do I want to trivialize them. The point I was trying to make yesterday is that I have had a long habit of not dealing. Of sticking my head in the sand and making the world a very rosy place inside my head. I have always supported the men and women in the military, but I have not let myself see the full measure of their sacrifice until very recently. I certainty have not done enough to support those who suffer from PTSD or their families.

In my growth I have seen not only how I have let myself down, but how my thinking has caused me to let others down as well.  Lately I have been accepting what my responsibilities are to myself, my family and those who fight to keep me free.  As with my husband, I had put the full burden of my life on the shoulders of others and I haven’t even had the decency to pay attention to what I could do for them(I have done things in general for service members, but not specifically those with PTSD).

So, for those people in my life that do have PTSD I have been getting more involved and doing more to be supportive to them and also trying to do more to support those I don’t know.

Yesterday’s video and info was part of that effort. Just one more way I could bring awareness to a cause I believe in and a group of people I think deserve all the support they can get.

Pink or Camo…Men or Women

I have been seeing a lot of things in the shooting world geared specifically towards women and for the most part I support that. Women are different and I think it is smart for companies to address the things that are unique to women and what might appeal to them. That is good business. There are a lot of different choices in the world of guns for men too. It is smart marketing to try to reach as many people as you can. Offering a variety of products to meet the diversity that exists is wise indeed.

I am not a pink gun kind of girl and I really don’t want pink anything.  I like pink, I wear it a little, but it’s just not that important to me.  I am a function over form kind of gal.  When my husband buys running shoes he looks at color and style.  I look at fit, period.  I could careless what color my shoes are or if I have a single pair of running shorts to match.  I want the lightest shoe that will support my foot, so I can run as long as I want with the most comfort.  I am like that across the board.  Give me a gun that works well for me and you can make it any color out there.  If the thing that fits my need also comes in a choice of colors my choice probably isn’t gonna be pink, however, I have 2 daughters that adore it and having a pink rifle is just the thing to get them excited about heading out to the range.  Thank you pink gun manufactures.  I would prefer that when I walk into a store to buy a gun item that the sales person doesn’t automatically assume I want pink, but then when my husband walks into a fabric store they assume he doesn’t know anything about fabric(he doesn’t, but you get my point) because typically men don’t shop for fabric. We do that as a society, we generalize and stereotype, it can be an annoyance, but for me it’s a minor one.

Offering several colors in guns opens up options and I am all for options.  Purchasing a pink rifle or not is a personal choice that anyone can freely choose to buy or not.  If a lady would prefer something in camo she may opt for that.  If there is a man out there that sees a pink revolver that tickles his fancy, he can buy it and shoot it to his hearts content.  Most men probably would not choose that option and therefore the pink marketing really is aimed at women and I am dandy with companies doing so.  I say use whatever you can to bring more people, women, into shooting.  Pink should not be your only strategy, but I can’t argue with the results.  Lots and lots of people are buying these itms.  I think it is a win for the individule that prefers pink, for the company that wants to make money and for the community at large who benefit from more folks join us in our passion.   

My issue is not with the things, but with the attitude of some. My problem is with separating out boys from girls. I am not taking about equality or fairness. Sometimes it is nice for a group of men to get together and engage in boy-ness and to be honest sometimes I get a little sick of being around all that boy-ness. Go do it without me once and a while, please. I also understand that it is nice to be in the company of only women sometimes. I know that many women feel more comfortable with other women and I am glad there is that option.  I am not knocking classes that are exclusive to one gender or the other and I am not knocking those who prefer to be in a class of all men or all women, but for me, it seems limiting.   

I want to shoot next to the guy or gal that is better than me.  I want to be pushed and challenged and I don’t care if that person happens to be a man.  I want to train with the highest level of trainer I can get to train me and if that happens to be a man then so be it.  I don’t want to go to a Sniper School for women.  I want to go to Sniper School. I would love it if when I went to sniper school I wasn’t the only woman there, but regardless I just want to go to school. What chance is there that I could come out on top in a school like that, zero, but I can’t ever know what my top level is, if I am not pushed by the best. I realize that is some what of a limited goal because I am not ever going to get a chance to shoot next to Chris Kyle, but my goal is still to push myself to the highest possible level that is available to me. In doing that, I know I will come out a much improved shooter, competitor(not in matches, just generally speaking) person and that is always my goal. 

Sometimes a person just wants to go to an all female class because it looks fun and they are not interested in pushing themselves and that is dandy. I might even join you from time to time, but if we are talking about training, serious training, I want something better than just fun.When I take advanced classes I am always the only female in the group and while I am rarely the best in the class, I am in the top few. Some women can shoot better than some men. I shoot better than lots of men. There are many, many, many women who shoot better than me, so understand, this isn’t to say that I don’t want to shoot with women because women are not as good as men, many times they are better. It is to say I want to shoot with the best regardless of if they are a man or a woman and I don’t understand why anyone would want anything less than the best for themselves.

It’s Thursday, Right?

Man, I feel like I have been running non stop for a month.  When the kids were younger our summers were lazy days of lounging by the pool, but now that they are all involved in activities, I am one hopping mama.

On the other hand I feel like a lazy bum because it has been a month since I have done any training at all…no running, no shooting(mostly) and no fighting.  I have put on 4 pounds in a month which I don’t like, but good news the doctor cleared me to reengage into all normal activities as I feel able.  The x-rays showed everything healing well and I do feel much much better.  The mornings are the worst time, but even so, not awful.  The problem now will be getting Arete to find time in his schedule.  He has probably enjoyed the respite from my obsessive love to train, train, train.

I have been visiting American and Armed.  It is blog written by a young guy named Tyler.  He is a new blogger who likes guns and freedom. I thought it would be nice if you all popped on over to give him a little support and welcome him aboard.

The Give-a-Way winner will be announced a week from today!  I enjoy symbolism.  It is neat that someone will be winning a gift that helps move them into more freedom.  To offer that gift on a day our country celebrates it’s ideals of being a free nation, of being a free people is special.

I got an email from a lady who wanted me to share her story of success with all of you.  I am a happy story sharing girl, so I agreed, but let me give you a little background.  This woman entered the first Give-A-Way that I did.  She didn’t win, but she didn’t let that stop her from getting training, a gun and her CCL.  In addition to that she works in a gun-free zone that requires special permission from a judge in order to carry a gun into that particular place of business.  It was not an easy road and it has taken her almost 6 months, but she succeed on all accounts.  That is a big fat win!

BIGGEST NEWS EVA!!! AND YOU GET MAJOR PROPS!

So, boss has been being kinda nice since I let it be known that if I didn’t start getting more praise, and being treated equally, I would be gone. He was trying to justify not giving me a raise, and I let him think about it over night. His point was that the commissioners were the only ones who could give a raise. I told him “BS, I know you gave co-worker a raise last year. Now, you’ve shown me that I have absolutely no incentive to be a better worker, a better employee and most importantly, a better bridge between this office and the public we serve.”

The next morning, I walked into his office and told him there were three things he could give me and they didn’t cost a cent.  Respect, praise, and a sense of equality. Those things don’t cost a cent.” I then walked back to my desk. He didn’t come out of his office for a long time and when he did, nothing was mentioned about our conversation.

Today, the Circuit Court judge, the only one who can give approval for concealed carry in our gun (and security) free building had some time in between cases. Nonchalantly, I said to boss “Hey, let’s go talk to the judge about my CPL”. I fully expected him to hem and haw his way out of it, to find some reason to not follow up on his promise. Guess what? He said YES!!

We went to the judge’s chamber. Very scary for me. All he said to me was “Have you had the training? Are you mad at anyone? And then he looked at me for a long time, and said “Just be sure. When you decide to use your weapon, after you’ve pulled it out, be sure about what you’re doing.” I kinda gulped and said “OK”. I don’t know if he saw my hesitation. I was hesitating because, back when this all started all the cops had drilled into me that “you only pull your gun if you’re going to use it”.

And here’s where your props come in. I never would have stuck to it without your posts and emails. Your drive and dedication are awesome. You always make me think (I think my kids would be mad if I walked into the grandkids schools and asked to see their policies!) You’ve shown me, again and again, how to look at things from a different angle. So, sorry this is so long. I wanted to thank you SO  MUCH for all the encouragement and help. And if you feel any of this can help someone else, go ahead and post about it.

Thanks so much!

On Sunday I think I get to do some shooting on a little blogger road trip to a range I have never been to and I believe I will finally meet some people I have been anxious to meet.  That is if I can ever get an answer on the time of said trip.  I didn’t think I was going to get to go because of the ribs and a conflict, but the universe is conspiring to work out all the details for my benefit and I am beyond happy.  I think the Marine gets to come too.  A smokin’ hot man(not talking about you this time MSgt B), friends, shooting…really, is there anything better???

A New Holster

I know I already told you about the holster that White Dog Holsters donated to the current Give-A-Way, but now I get to tell you about the one they made for me!!!

The fine, fine folks over there contacted me and said, “we would love to make you a holster if you would like”.  You know how I just love to make people happy, so I made the HUGE sacrifice and let them make me a holster.  Isn’t she beautiful???!!!!!

Not just a pretty face though, she is also top notch quality.  My gun, M&P, fits nicely in there.  More snug than my gun fits in the Crossbreed I often wear.  I wore the holster the night I got it and all day yesterday and again today.  So, so, comfortable.

I like the Crossbreed very much.  It is a good quality holster, but the way it is made the barrel of my gun sticks out the bottom of the kydex which leaves a rather interesting print.  With the White Dog holster my barrel is completely covered and thus the print is more flat which is more comfortable and less odd looking.

Still a bump there, of course, but with a light cover garment, the good size gun disappears. These shots are never very flattering.  Moving on…I carry mostly concealed, so the look of the holster is more for me as not many people will actually see the design, but I like pretty things.  I wear lots of pretty things that are hidden from the view of the public, but somehow having them on makes me feel good, just like this holster does. 

THANK YOU again White Dog!!!!!!!

PTSD

Along with chivalry, I also have a fair amount of people in my life who are dealing with PTSD issues.  I would not say those two things are mutually exclusive. While post traumatic stress is not limited to those who served in the military, the people I am talking about are those who have. 

I would love to tell you more about what they go through, but the stories are not my stories to tell and I don’t think they would ever let me share.  I haven’t asked. 

As I have done with many things that are painful for me, I buried my head in the sand on this issue too.  Neither my husband nor I are much for chit chatting about what sucks or what hurts.  We are much more the type to deal alone and silently. There are lots of reasons for that.  Not wanting to burden others is the biggest, but also not wanting to feel the pain ranks right up there.  I have said it many times, these past 15 months has taught me the value in sharing and the healing in doing so. I do think there is a danger in staying in a place too long and reliving the event over and over to the point that one is not moving on, but instead anchoring themselves in that memory.  Not good.  There is a balance.  Finding that balance can be hard.  Recently I have become more and more involved with those dealing with PTSD. Contributing in some positive way to their healing has become a bit of an obsession of mine.

I wanted to share with you the Facebook page of some Army Wives that are reaching out and fighting for the lives of their husbands. Again let me say, I realize that PTSD is not a male issue.  We also have many women serving our country and paying a high price as well, but this group was started by a frustrated wife who’s husband was not getting the care he needed.  The woman was so angry that she said “maybe if I ran naked in front of the general’s building, maybe then someone would pay attention to me”.  Upon further reflection she decided that might not be the best idea, so instead she posted a picture of her “bare” body on facebook and from there a movement was born. 

I also wanted to share a video I saw over at BLACKFIVE.  The video is by a former soldier who became a film maker.  The video is about his journey with PTSD.  There are several flashback scenes that some might find difficult to watch, so be warned.

Chivalry

This is one of the best things I have ever read.  I am not kidding people…GO READ IT!

I am spoiled. I am surrounded by the kind of men who exemplify what she speaks of.  I see it constantly in my life.  I see it in the men I have met through this blog. I am married to that kind of man. A chivalrous one. I work with that kind of man. I am trained by that kind of man.  I am not a child.  I am not mesmerized by shiny objects.  The men in my life are not perfect.  Whether you realize it or they do, I am aware of the dings in their armor, but the core of who they, that shines through so brightly, it is blinding.

Of course, Brigid’s words speak to so much more than just the individual.  If you don’t understand why, you might be part of the problem. 

Chivalry isn’t dead. I see it all around me, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. Our society is intentionally raising men (and women) to have less and less character and then when there is nothing left but empty shells of what amounts to nothing more than lost potential, those same people scratch their heads and wonder why. I say look in the mirror people. Take a long hard look. You are wimpfying our country and eventually it is going do more than just make it difficult to find a mate or a good employee or boss or friend.  Soon it is going to destroy us. The results are getting harder and harder to ignore. 

Chivalry is not easily defined, but it is obvious when one encounters someone who has it and it is also obvious when someone is lacking it.

Another Weekend

I worked, so you know that means I had a great weekend.  Every time I work I wonder if I will get bored or have a hum drum group of people show up, but so far that has not happened.

This time John invited a guest instructor.  He taught loading, reloading and malfunctions.  Great guy!

The class was an eclectic group.  We had 2 young Marines take the class. One is on the Marine Corps shooting team and one is an armor/instructor.   They were sweethearts.  I should probably mention one was a male and one was a female.  Nice folks.

We had a couple of other young guys too.  Both were a hoot and a lot of fun to chit chat with. Also a mother and her daughter, neither of which had much experience.  Both left there much more comfortable with guns.  Always great to see.

Interesting story. As we were sitting around at break(something I rarely do because I usually putting up targets etc) one of the guys asked about my blog.  Not sure how it came up, but he asked what it was called.  I told him and he said oh I have heard of that.  Another guy sitting with us said something like “yeah, it’s a good blog”  Then he said, “That is how I found this course.”  I said really, you read my blog?  He told me that he was on a site either Conceal Carry or some defensive site he could not remember the name of.  People were talking about my blog on one of those sites, so clicked to it, found it interesting and kept reading and then decided to take a class at FPF Training  I thought that was crazy awesome.  I really enjoyed talking with him and working with him on the line.

I had the pleasure of talking extensively with a man who has taken several courses from John as well as from practically every other person in the business.  He has taken classes from Maasad Ayoob, Todd Green, Suarez as well as one of his associates, and Tom Perroni, just to name a few.  He is retired from the Army and is quite knowledgeable about all things guns.  With all his experience he chose to bring his wife and his priest(yes I said priest) to John.  I think that says a lot.  I am sure he would and maybe will have them take other courses from other instructors, but my point is he has trained with the top instructors in the world and he felt comfortable bring his loved ones to FPF Training.  I get a lot of emails from folks who wonder if John is that good or if I am just enamored with him because he has done so much for me.  The answer is both.  I am a fan because he is that good. No one needs to depend on my word for it.  He has years and years of student testimony just like mine.

I enjoying talking with knowledgeable people because of course I like to talk guns, but I also learn a lot and it is a good gauge to see much I have learned and know.  I like that I can talk guns and self defense. I can offer some insight, perspective and my own opinions. It’s cool. I still have a lot to learn, but I am getting there.  Although, the title “instructor” adds some pressure.

Up until recently, I have always been the chic who didn’t know anything about guns or shooting.  I never had any pressure or expectations.  I could go out and shoot and not worry if I did well or not, but now that I am an “instructor” and I am working on the range, I feel pressure.  Not overwhelming.  I do not stay up nights worrying or doubting myself, but I want to be able to help people learn to shoot and I want to display that I am competent. The pressure is from within.  It is not from anyone else.  The people who come to train do not know my story and they assume I can shoot.They assume I know about guns.  My pressure is because I do not want them to leave the range thinking, “Really, she is an instructor???”  That does not look good for me, for John, for FPF Training, for other NRA Certified Instructors, for women…basically that would be all around bad.  Anywho, that has not been the case.  I have performed fine, however…

We do a drill called “The Initiation Drill”.  The drill has two shooters stand side by side. One shooter calls a position such as 2(arms crossed in front of the body)  that same shooter then goes for his/her gun and the other shooter draws and tries to get a good shot on target before the first shooter.  I love this drill and I am pretty good at it, but I never have had any pressure before.  John calls me up to demonstrate the drill for the class(I have done it before in front of a class, but I had just hurt my ribs, so I had an “excuse” if I sucked. I didn’t, but I had an excuse).  I briefly thought, I hope I do not blow this.  First shot fast, dead center perfect.  Second shot faster, dead center.  I think, literally, “Oh, good I am shooting like I know how to shoot”.  Next shot, fast and way the heck up on the head.  Problem was I WAS thinking about being a good shooter instead of, you know, shooting.  No big deal.  I just called it a flier and we moved on, but lets hope next time I keep my head in the game and save the self acclamations for after the drill is over.

As is usually the case, every single person had fun(I am pretty sure) and added to their skill set.  That’s a win!