I remember wanting to learn karate as early as the 6th grade. I thought if I could fight like Bruce Lee; no one would ever take advantage of me again.
It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I chose to become a student, competitor and teacher of the Martial Arts. My reason for wanting to study was strong; I was sick and tired of being afraid; I wanted to learn to fight.
In his book titled, The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker states: “Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.”
I was tired of being afraid of the man who took advantage of my childhood innocence. I was sick and tired of work environments where I had to look the other way or pretend that comments didn’t bother me.
Women and girls should never have to learn to fight just to feel safe in their homes, relationships, jobs and daily routines. I was angry that my childhood innocence was robbed from me. I was angry that the people who were supposed to be there to protect me were the people I needed protection from. I was angry that I was married to a person whose temper I did not trust. I was angry because I saw myself as a victim. I was angry that I had to work alongside men who did not know how to think before they spoke or had very little regard for women. Most of all, I was angry at myself for keeping quiet.
So, I learned to speak up. I learned to stop keeping quiet. I began my Martial Arts training because I wanted to learn to fight; I stayed because I learned how to fight so I didn't have to fight.
When you embrace the philosophies behind the Martial Arts, you travel a path of awareness and an understanding of self. The journey from white belt to black belt includes taking 100% responsibility for every single one of your choices and to face your toughest opponent; the person in your mirror. The opponent in our mirror is often our harshest critic and seldom shows compassion or love. Learn to love her, she is amazing!
Every single woman has an inner warrior, just waiting to be unleashed. Not because we are here to fight, but because we have an opportunity to show the world just how powerful the divine feminine is.
As women support other women, stop victim shaming, stop judging and stop trying to prove our value by trying to take another person’s value from them; this is how we honor who we are as women.
As we stand behind every woman who has the courage to speak out; regardless of how she shares her story, she will gain strength because she knows she’s being heard. When we’re angry, hurt, ashamed, fearful, resentful or vengeful, our story is often told from those same emotions.
To all my sisters who have a story to tell, you are a woman of inner strength. Share your story. Speak your truth, no matter how much your knees wobble or your voice shakes. Share passionately without maliciousness and your message will inspire, motive and empower women everywhere.