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Archive for October 13th, 2011

Rescuing Ourselves

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

A Passionate Subject

I got off on a rant last night with a bunch of dance friends. After an enlightening session with Sandi Amorim of Deva Coaching, who noticed strength in my voice as I discussed things for which I had true passion, I think I should share that constructive rant here with you.

Any time you have a few dozen women, there will always have a few in painful change. Our dance troupe is one of those groups. I told some of the dancers how powerful it was for me when I learned I could rescue myself. I’ve noticed some of the women in our group learning to rescue themselves, too.

Powerful Stuff in My Life

I know how to jump a car battery. In fact, since I have a habit of turning on my car lights even in the middle of the day, I may be considered an expert at jumping a car. It doesn’t take strength. It takes knowing how and getting it done.

I know how to change a tire. I really don’t enjoy getting dirty, but I love getting at my problem right away instead of sitting and feeling helpless while I wait for someone (a friend, a stranger, the AAA tow truck) to come and fix it for me.

My father, who was emphatically NOT a feminist, made me learn to change a tire (1972) before I could sign up for drivers’ education. He was wise. He wanted me strong, not a victim.

The last time I changed my tire it took me 22 minutes total. I was in charge of how it went. I didn’t love it, but since I was running early that day I was only about 5 minutes late to my destination. I’ve waited for a lot of tow trucks that took over an hour. The power of doing it myself was much bigger in my heart than having the comfort of someone else doing the labor.

There are still things I don’t want to do, things I will hire done if at all possible. There are things where I just plain need someone else to help out. However, I can sit there and wait for someone to notice the damsel in distress, or I can go ask the safest, most competent person in my circle if they would assist me.

Unwise Help

Once I let a boss (a very friendly and cool guy) help me jump my car. This was at least 15 years ago… well, he didn’t know how to do it but he acted like he did. He nearly blew up both of our cars until I hesitantly pointed out the need for change. ACK! Now I am triple-sure that the more I know about hiccups that *will* indeed happen in my life, the more I can assist my own rescue.

Now I ask people if I can please borrow the battery on their car. I tell them I have cables, I know exactly what I’m doing, I do it far too much because of an odd behavior quirk (lights on every day even when unneeded), and I just need to borrow a battery for a few minutes. They are relieved to not be the rescuer. I’m relieved to get the job done REALLY fast and be done with it.

I’m a little embarrassed every time I leave my lights on, but thanks to cool folks wherever I seem to go, it’s nearly a non-issue. (I carry gardening gloves in my car all the time now, and that way I get going without dirty hands. More minor rescue stuff, there.)

Big Rescues

Car hiccups are a small thing, really. It’s when you find yourself in a really wrong place in life that rescuing oneself is more important, and more difficult to imagine.

I have one friend who made a huge change 0n behalf of her toddler. She may not have been able to do the hard work of a new life had it been just herself to rescue. Many women turn into tigers when something goes wrong involving their child. I honor that inner tiger in each mother.

One Personal Victory

My worst times were 20 years ago now. I’d shriveled up into a tiny emotional ball of trying not to be hurt, trying not to need anything, trying to stay out of the way. It seemed every time the real Lynn came out, I was scolded or shamed for the life which came out with her. I remember the feelings more than the incidents.

In the end I walked away from the house where I thought I’d retire (and the marriage which those plans included). I sold that house, and bought a smaller, humble house FOR MYSELF. Without any co-signer.

Just a few years before that I’d given up credit cards and other unsecured debt. That action turned things around enough that I was actually able to buy that house for ME!

In some countries, women are property. In this country, I was one of the tiny minority of women who owned property in their own name. This victory is not lost on me.

I just found this quote:

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I just LOVE Eleanor Roosevelt. She was very shy when she was first married. In the end, she learned to STAND TALL. She changed the world by the time she was done with this life.

Once we rescue ourselves the first time… we know we can do the thing we once thought we could not do.

(The photos are of me as my persona Eudora, dancing with the Habibi Dancers of Lansing. Becoming a “belly” dancer gave me a love for my strong, female inner and physical selves. Don’t mess with a group of women! It may look strange from the outside, but from the inside it’s a strong female family of choice.)

Go forth. Be bold. Stand tall. Rescue yourself, even if that means calling for (safe, kind) help.