February 26, 2013


This past Friday, I had my final simulation for a Rape & Aggression Defense Systems class I’ve been taking at Biola… easily the most anxiety-inducing thing I’ve ever had to do for a class. Each of us girls in the class was led into a room alone with our eyes closed while 7 men (RADS experts that come in for the day) jeered at cackled at us. We were allowed to open our eyes and start fighting when we felt the first person attack us… and let me tell you, waiting for that first move was AWFUL. When I went, my first guy bear-hugged me from behind and pulled me to the floor with him, which happens to be the only move we didn’t practice in class. But I head-butted him a few times (we were both wearing padding) and it was all a blur from there. I think I only had to face two more men after that, and I mostly knee-ed them in the groin. My teacher (also the Campus Safety chief at Biola) was waiting at the door to give me a high-5, and I vaguely remember barreling into him a little too enthusiastically.

Even though it was terrifying and I’d been having stress-dreams about it for days beforehand, it was very, as they say, “empowering.” None of us girls wanted to go into that room, but we were all so glad that we did. The whole experience fits weirdly into my Rookie project (I am continuing my piece into this semester as my Torrey Senior Thesis), because it was one of those rare moments where I was extremely aware of, and proud of, my female-ness.

Also, all the days I spent watching Alias over interterm finally paid off…I just pretended I was Sidnay Bristow, and that made screaming “No!” over and over at the top of my lungs seem way cooler. Plus, for real, some of the moves we did I definitely recognize from the show.

Which brings me to the other topic of this post…I gave up TV for Lent. And life is worse without TV. TV is my primary de-stresser, one of the only times where I feel like I can actually STOP THINKING (which also means I watch it to fall asleep each night), and I MISS TV. I especially missed it the night before my RADS simulation.

But missing is okay—actually, it’s good, I think, for the purposes of Lent. I feel far from understanding Lent, but one helpful thing my priest said about giving up good things for a season is this: “We are only free to enjoy things from which we are also free to abstain; fasting develops the ability to say no and, thus, the ability to say yes in the right way.”

And here is one thing I am learning: saying no is empowering! Kind of like learning how to best defend yourself is empowering! I promise I am not making that connection just to make this blog post coherent…Maybe I just have too much time to think these days…