I recently wrote that emotions are powerful. All emotions move us. Some move us to tears, some move us to take action, some move us to be thankful, and some don’t move us at all. In fact they paralyze us.
I want to talk about the one that has paralyzed me for the past 2 months…
I recently wrote about being a coward. A post my husband took exception with and one that elicited the only comment I have ever received on this blog.
I will keep the conversation between me and my husband private, but I will share what the comment said, or paraphrase part of it anyway.
He said something to the effect of…you will feel less like a coward when you realize you don’t need the gun.
I read that and thought, what does that mean??? I spent a great deal of time thinking about that. I am at the beach with my family on vacation and I am having a great time, but I just can’t seem to relax. This is not like me. I love, love, love being with my family. I don’t care what we are doing, I am the most most happy and peaceful if we are together. This week I have been anything but peaceful.
I have been thinking about the comment that was left and trying to figure out what it means to me. The comment reminded me of a post I had read by LimaLife where she said “when she carries her gun, she doesn’t “feel” safe”. In fact she said she doesn’t “feel” anything. She said feelings are not reality and just because one feels safe, doesn’t mean he/she is safe. While I understand that, I couldn’t understand how having a gun didn’t make her feel safe. Isn’t that the point of having a gun? To feel safe??
This has made me think of how I have felt over the past two months since my encounter in the grocery store parking lot.
Up until this week, when I thought about that moment, I felt tense and scared. Helpless and hopeless. I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. In fact I didn’t feel comfortable anywhere.
This week when I have thought about that comment and the statements made by LimaLife, I realized that nothing really happened to me in that parking lot. I was not harmed. My child was not harmed. I did not have a gun, and yet, I handled the situation. I was not a coward. I did not panic and truth be told, I do not even know the true intentions of this man who approached me. Even if his intentions were nefarious, he did not succeed in harming me in anyway or did he?
Whatever he wanted from me, all he got was a few bucks and umm, well, every ounce of security and trust I had ever felt. I came home from that day afraid and panicked and considering something I had never, ever considered before…
We bought a gun, so I could feel safe. So, I could be safe, but guess what? I did not feel safe and in fact I was not safe. My mind was always on “being safe”. On how I could get the most weapons and the most training and how I could get my mind ready to handle any situation, but no matter how much I trained, no matter how much I read, no matter how many guns I had, I didn’t feel safe.
If I had my gun, I was hyper aware of what could go wrong. I was on edge waiting for “the attack”. I didn’t want to shower if I was alone in the house because I was afraid I could not get to my gun fast enough. I carried everywhere I was allowed to, but everyone I saw looked like a criminal. I was more than alert, I was suspect of everyone, all the time. I was always “ready” to defend myself.
If I had to go somewhere without my gun, I was extremly nervous. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to go to work or to a state that didn’t allow me to carry. How would I be able to protect myself?
I was traumatized by the idea of what could have happned in the grocery store parking lot, so much so, that my mind could not see things clearly. If fact it re-wrote history in my own mind.
I have actually been extremely independent and comfortable in living my life. My husband travels and I go about my business. Sure I lock the doors, turn on the motion detectors and the alarm, but then I lay my head down and fall fast asleep. I get my kids ready and we head out for the day. I traveled to China to adopt my three children, one time without my husband, and I fly all over tar-nation to do whatever I need to do, even though I do not like to fly. In fact, flying scares the holy crap out of me, but I do it. When my friend needed me to watch her kids while she and her husband went to Africa to adopt their daughter, I hopped on a plane and spent a week in a town I new relatively nothing about. I have been afraid, but until recently, I have never let fear stop me from doing what I needed or wanted to do.
Now, I realize none of this qualifies me as the most courageous person on the planet. I am well aware of what freedom costs. I know that lives are lost and the heroic sacrifices that are paid everyday to defend my life and the values of this country. My husband has paid that price and to many of his fellow Marines and servicemembers have paid a much higher price, but for me, for my life, I did what I needed to.
While it was not heroic, it was not cowardly. At least not until that afternoon at the grocery store.
What I realized this past week was that the gun didn’t make me feel any safer. My mind told me that I was fragile and that I was a victim. My mind told me even if I had a gun, I wouldn’t be able to stop an attack. I was afraid and the gun did little to ease that.
Due to the trauma I felt, I let my mind rewrite history and define my future.
This past week I have had the luxury to think and be still. Thanks to my husband and 2 very kind people who took the time to share their experiences and knowledge, I was prompted to explore my feelings and figure out what was real.
The truth is safety can not be guaranteed.
Even with a gun, I can not stop a heart attack or a car accident or a plane smashing into my house. I know the risks and I do take measures to limit those incidents from taking place. I eat healthy, I don’t smoke, I exercise. I wear my seat belt, I don’t speed (seriously, I don’t) and I don’t live in the flight path of a major airport, although that part was not deliberate. However, I know healthy people that have died
way to soon. We recently had a girl at our daughters’ school die in a car accident, and when I lived in California I was a few blocks a way from a house that had a plane crash into it. Hey, you know what? I am not afraid of having a heart attack. I am not the least bit worried about getting into a car accident. I do what I can do and I trust the rest will take care of itself.
Ahh, now I get it. The gun is the tool. My mind is the weapon.
I am not a coward. I am capable. I can defend myself. I can take care of my family.
Last night with my pistol by my bedside, I fell fast asleep. Completely unaware of what might happen and completely unafraid.