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“Kicking ass is comfort food.” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The other night I walked from my house to my car in the driveway and the motion light didn’t come on and I didn’t even notice.

I was fumbling with a plate of food and my hands-free thingy for my phone because I was gonna call my bestie en route to see if she needed me to pick anything up on the way to her place. The damn light never came on and I wove between everyone else’s cars, dropped my phone, located my phone by feel, picked up my phone, got my ear buds plugged into it, got into my car, started it, and had my finger on bestie’s “favorite contacts’” number when I froze.

I didn’t check the bush by the edge of the house. I didn’t peek under the cars or scan the driveway or look behind the shed. I didn’t even try to wave my arm over my head to trip the motion sensor (seriously, someone fix the motion light) because again, I didn’t notice it was out. The nights are getting longer and I should’ve been very aware of the darkness but maybe…

I’m not afraid anymore?

As soon as I had that thought, I recognized the conditioned instinct to look in my rearview mirror, not for collisions waiting to happen, but to make sure no cars were parked at the tree line to the left or right of my driveway. I recognized the instinct, and I resisted it.

Basically, I kick ass.

Or I will if, god forbid, you’re ever hiding under a car or between trees in my driveway. Try me.

I’m learning that we can re-condition our brains and bodies. This is as important as when I had to learn that trauma re-conditions our brains and bodies. These are empowering revelations. You can’t always crotch-shot a would-be assailant to feel powerful and in control of your own body and life, but you can discover how righteous your own brain is and help quell the desire to deliver crotch shots.

Or, if that desire persists, you can make a plan to sign up for self-defense classes, like me.

What, you think I’m content to climb mountains, bench press 30 lbs of squirming toddler, and not be afraid in my own driveway anymore?

If you’ve lived through trauma (whether abuse/assault or not), at what moment did you realize you had let go of your fear, or that your fear had let you go, or that you at least weren’t afraid all the time anymore? How did you get there?

And once more for #DVAM15:

Click here for more info on Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2015. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1­-800-799-7233–share it if you have to. Consider donating to your local DV shelter (trust me, they need the funds). Believe people when they say someone is hurting them. It takes so much just to say it.