Category Archives: Politics

Guest Post: How to Conquer Life with These Five Self-Defense Lessons by Kelly Wilson


My friend and colleague, Kelly Wilson, shares how the current political climate has prompted her to build her self-defense skills.


Building my self-defense skills was not a priority to me until Donald Trump was elected president. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse and related trauma, my pattern was to choose the “Flight” part of the Fight or Flight response.

I decided that from now on, I wanted to choose when to run, and when to stay and fight.

The combination of Trump normalizing rape culture even more and millions of women marching around the world lit a fire deep in my gut. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to be in control. I wanted to know that I had options should I find myself in danger. Because now I would be in the Resistance.

I signed up for my first self defense class for women in late January. Even though it was an hour-long introduction to self defense, my life and outlook were fundamentally changed. Here are five important self defense lessons I learned that continue to help me conquer life.

 

Be a Problem

Women are taught to be quiet. To smile. To be nice. In self-defense, these skills don’t work well.  Being a “nice, quiet woman” means that you are an easy mark.

One of the first statements my self-defense instructor made was, “Be a problem.” Nobody wants to try and take down a woman who knows how to handle herself. In life, being a problem could simply mean showing confidence and asking for what you need from others. Or drawing boundaries so that you can take care of yourself. Saying that one magic word – “No” – as a complete sentence, and meaning it.

These new behaviors might be a problem for other people. You know what? Their problems are not your problems.

wendy-g-shrink-yourself

Draw Attention to Yourself

Women especially are taught to “be polite.” Having good manners means to avoid calling attention to yourself or showing assertiveness or strength. We should be quiet and wait to be recognized.

Self-defense teaches us that in order to stay safe, we need to draw attention to ourselves. Make ourselves bigger. Make eye contact with everyone. Be loud. It seems counter-intuitive, but refusing to shrink keeps us safer.

 

Decide If You Will Fight

One of the advantages of taking self-defense is feeling more in control of yourself in uncertain surroundings. This includes whether or not to fight or to run. Some people take self-defense classes because they want to be able to incapacitate someone if attacked or in danger. Others take classes because they want to know how to get out of dangerous situations safely.

Both reasons are good. During my class, the instructor encouraged us to take some time and decide on our primary reasons for learning these skills. Do you want to be able to run? Great. Do you want to be able to fight? Great.

Safety is the ultimate goal.

 

Run Away If You Can

When I first began going to counseling, I discovered that I thought I was weak when choosing “Flight” instead of “Fight” when I was abused. I was ashamed of it, as if running was wrong or weak. It took me a long time to accept that running is not weak, it’s a way to protect myself.

It wasn’t until self-defense class that I fully realized this truth. Our instructor was a big, burly guy with meaty fists and a crew cut. He said, “Always run if you can. You don’t have to stay and fight, even if you decided that you wanted to. Run to people, because most people are good.”

Something about this big guy telling stories of how he ran from danger cemented it for me. Running is good. Running is strength.

 

Most People are Good

Building self-defense skills is like going over the emergency card before an airplane takes off. There’s a good chance that you won’t need to use the information at all. And just like – logically – most planes don’t crash, when it comes right down to it, most people are good.

Most people are not scoping us out and deciding if we’re easy marks. As we make eye contact and say hello to others as a protection, we begin to realize that most people do not mean us harm.

The irony is that building self-defense skills can help us see more humanity than we would if we were shrinking and afraid. That is where we can find our strength – in each other.


kelly-wilson-headshotKelly Wilson is an author and comedian who entertains and inspires with stories of humor, healing, and hope. She is the author of Live Cheap and Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Kelly Wilson’s The Art of Seduction: Nine Easy Ways to Get Sex From Your Mate. Her latest book, Caskets From Costco, has been chosen as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, the 10th annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. Kelly Wilson currently writes for a living and lives with her Magically Delicious husband, junk-punching children, dog, cat, and stereotypical minivan in Portland, Oregon. Read more about her at www.wilsonwrites.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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Filed under Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, Politics, PTSD, Real Life, Self-Defense, sexual assault, Survivors, Writing

I Am Only Me; Feeling Triggered by You


I’ve struggled for the past week and change over whether to post this. I started writing it the day after elections, because I felt as if, like the girl in the image, that my mouth had been sewn shut. (I REALLY needed my therapy session last week.) I rarely engaged in any political discussions throughout the election process, and refused to “unfriend” or stop talking to anyone who supported a different candidate. But felt that if I spoke my mind the way others did, those others wouldn’t be so understanding of my opinions, which differed from their own. But this is MY blog, MY platform. If I don’t feel free to express myself HERE, then I might as well shut down the site, because I will have allowed others to silence me. And that, I cannot allow. I must be true to ME.

I did a lot of research and soul-searching and praying over the final candidates. I believed (and still do) that neither of them were/are the best our country has to offer for its highest office. But I weighed my beliefs and convictions against their platforms, connections and histories, and made my decision. And I stand by it, though it may cause conflict. Even now, as I type this, my heart pounds, my hands shake and anxiety fills me, as I agonize over the effects this post will have. About half of my “friends” and connections are liberal; I’m conservative. Not ultra-conservative (after all, I believe that prostitution should be legalized and voted for medical marijuana in my state…pretty sure that puts me more toward center field), but moderately so. I’m tolerant of views not my own, even if I don’t agree or understand them, and try to be open-minded. I hope you’ve gotten to know me well enough to lend me the same courtesy.

_________________________________________

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I am only me:

Jewish

Christian

white

female

woman

a survivor of child sex abuse

a writer

a poet

an editor

a traveler

conservative

lower middle-class

highly educated (multiple college degrees)

living with anxiety

and depression

and ocd.

 

I am only me:

a descendant of legal immigrants and indentured servants

a natural-born American citizen

prejudiced against illegals (why not come here LEGALLY? would YOU be happy if I snuck into YOUR country like a thief in the night and then tried to claim the same rights that YOU – a LEGAL citizen – enjoy?)

prejudiced against immigrants who refuse to assimilate and learn English – the official language of the U.S.A. (yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a mother

a single mother

of a son with ADHD, and ASD, and ODD

an American who believes in:

a strong and well-funded military

freedom of speech

freedom of the press

right to bear arms

innocent until proven guilty

protecting our borders against illegal immigration

a person who tries to make the best of things

a person who votes her conscience

rather than what the mainstream media tell her to vote

heterosexual, after choosing not to be homosexual or bisexual

open-minded

a loyal friend

tolerant, accepting of views not my own and people who do not look/dress/live like me

 

I am not:

mixed race

an illegal

Muslim

LGBTQ

black

liberal

poverty-stricken

a descendant of slaves.

I am not:

an advocate of abortion

a woman who has had an abortion (though one of my doctors advised that I should)

a skilled foreign worker (isn’t that what the EU is all about? why can’t we have the same restrictions here?)

hateful or a hater

racist

intolerant (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

a degrader or a deplorable

a violent protestor

a fair-weather friend

xenophobic

homophobic

judgmental (unless you refuse to assimilate and learn English if you’re an immigrant to America – yes, keep your culture and language, but have some respect for your host country)

oppressive

offended by opinions, beliefs different from my own

 

I am only me:

am I of no value

because my opinions and beliefs

are different from yours?

I am only me:

afraid of speaking my truths

for fear of retribution

or losing networks and connections

 

I am only me

triggered

and oppressed

by your vitriol.

 

Where is my platform to speak my truths?
Where is the audience to hear my voice?

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Filed under Anxiety, Depression, Emotion, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Poetry, Politics, Real Life, sexual assault, Survivors

Here are the Reasons Why I Think Prostitution Should Be Legalized


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Darius Soodmand

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Darius Soodmand

 

Whether “Your Choice, Your Vote 2016” results in a Republican or Democrat president, one piece of new legislation that I would like to see on his or her agenda is the legalization of prostitution.

To all those in my “conservative” circle of friends, family and acquaintances, please don’t beat a path to my door to tar and feather me. I’m addressing legalities, NOT moralities. I have valid reasons for wanting to see prostitution legalized. Prostitution has been called a “victimless” crime. Many people disagree. I’m not one of those people.

You may ask:

  • What about the families of the men (and women, because prostitution isn’t solely a female occupation) who avail themselves of this service?
  • And what about the customers/clients who come away with a sexually transmitted disease of some kind? Aren’t they victims of prostitution?

I submit to you that they are not. There are no “victims” of the act of prostitution itself. The “victimization” occurs when a client assaults the professional – rape, battery, etc., robs them of their fee, drugs them, frames them for murder (clearly I’ve been reading too many crime thrillers and watching too many police procedural shows on TV), or numerous other crimes, including sex trafficking and child prostitution. These crimes may likewise be perpetrated upon the client by the prostitute. Those are the ONLY  instances in which a simple transaction becomes a crime…just like any other simple transaction involving two or more individuals.

While adultery (and yes, having sex with someone other than your spouse is adultery, just in case you were wondering) is (morally) grounds for divorce, it is NOT a crime in the USA. Therefore, when one’s spouse has sex with a prostitute in the USA, it should not be a crime. Ergo, there is NO VICTIM – victimLESS “crime.” And if prostitution were legal, the word “crime” wouldn’t even appear in this paragraph.

If a customer/client’s sexual interaction results in a STD, that MIGHT be a crime, if the service provider knew they carried a potentially life-threatening or health-threatening disease and didn’t take steps to either inform their client, and/or use protection (usually termed “negligence”). The client and sex worker should use protection in any case, because probably neither one practices monogamy. There’s a reason it’s called “safe sex.”

Prostitution should be legalized and called something less derogatory, such as “Sex Worker” or “Licensed Companions” (a moniker borrowed from J.D. Robb IN DEATH mysteries).

Here’s my reasoning:

  • Prostitution is one of the oldest occupations known to man. It’s been around at least since the days of Lot (read your Bible, book of Genesis) and will be around until the Second Coming.
  • Prostitution is, at its core, a simple transaction – a trade of money for a service. As long as all parties are of legal age and ability to consent, according to the laws of the land in which it occurs, since when is a simple transaction a crime?
  • Here’s the important one: the government could tax and regulate the occupation of prostitution.
  • If prostitution was legalized and regulated, then it would be an insurable and licensed occupation; yearly health exams for sex workers.
  • If prostitution ceased to be a crime, then law enforcement would be able to stop wasting time trying to clear the streets of sex workers or setting up sting operations to catch clients.
  • People (and the media) wouldn’t care so much about who/where/when government officials and employees sleep with on their own time.
  • Clients could be assured of legal protection from unlicensed sex workers or those who haven’t kept up with their yearly medical exams.
  • Sex workers would have greater legal protection from unsavory clients.
  • Prostitution is legal in Nevada. (Why are they so much more progressive than the rest of the USA?)

prostiution2Another good reason for prostitution to be legalized: pornography (such as adult films) is legal in the USA, for the most part (with some qualifications, like no images/videos of minors, no sales to minors, etc.). And I can guarantee that adult film stars are better treated than prostitutes. Why is that? There’s really no difference in their occupations. Adult film stars have sex on camera for money. Prostitutes have sex …where ever… for money. How are these two things different?

We have a political policy of separation of church and state in the US. Yet, laws against prostitution are “morality” laws, which is a close cousin to “religion.” That’s a mighty fine line. So much so that it’s almost an invisible line. There are so many other things to worry about in our world – feeding and housing the homeless, ending child abuse, ending domestic abuse, ending rape and murder…why do we care if consenting adults want to charge and pay for sex with other consenting adults?

I was interested to see what others have to say about this topic, and found a lot of opinion pieces. Because this is a blog post and not a book, I’ll leave you with just a few of those pieces, just in case you’re interested.

What do you think? Should prostitution be legal nationwide in the USA? Or should we keep the “morality” law in place and continue to waste valuable law enforcement resources – and fire Secret Service members who solicit – enforcing morality instead of focusing on safety and chasing the real bad dudes and dudettes?

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Filed under Law, Legal, Life, Morality, Musings, Politics, Real Life, Sex, Writing