I came back to West Virginia from Maryland with $8 in my pocket at the beginning of the fall semester. It’s safe to say that this past school year was filled with many obstacles. To add to the stress, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer the following October. I found myself spiraling into a dark mindset where positivity and clear-thinking just didn’t exist.
It took me three months to change my thought process. I started taking yoga and changing my entire perspective on life and how to make the most of it. I quickly got rid of toxic people and habits.
I went back to Baltimore for winter break and came back a whole, new person. I came back ready to face any obstacle that awaited me. I came back ready to take on the world.
I found great success in my career as a young journalist immediately upon returning back to school. Things started lining up for me in ways that I never could have imagined.
I started to believe in myself again.
As time went on, more obstacles did appear. I got down sometimes but I fought to maintain my new positive attitude. I realized that life is not about reaching a level of success and being satisfied. We should be constantly growing.
I channeled any frustration I had into my writing and my overall health; the two things that I could always control and benefit greatly from.
After making it this far, I decided that It was time for a challenge: A physical one, to ensure that my mental and physical health were in clear alignment.
I thought what better way to understand how far you’ve come than by completely annihilating three or four men at the end of the semester?
Spring Break came around and while my fellow classmates were at the beach, I was happy to be back in Baltimore helping my mom recover from her double mastectomy. Seeing her smile as soon as I walked through the door made every minute of the 10-hour train ride home worth it.
My mom is the one who never stopped believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Her recovery ended up taking a little longer and I found myself having to miss my first few sessions of self-defense class. I emailed my self-defense teacher, as well as my other professors, hoping and praying for some understanding.
My self-defense teacher was the only teacher that didn’t give me a hard time. There are no amount of words that can describe how much that meant to me. That’s when I knew that taking this class was a vital part of me following my life purpose.
I returned to class a little nervous but eager to catch up. The girls in the class, who had no idea who I was, were happy to help me learn anything that I had missed. Not only did my faith in myself increase, but also my faith in others.
Simulation Day. The day we had all been waiting for. I spent a lot of time with my thoughts concerning this challenge and I was ready. I felt invincible as me and the other girls “geared up”. When it was my turn to defend myself against the three aggressors, who were really just our self-defense teachers pretending to try to get us, it was go time. This is a fight, I thought to myself, You’ve been fighting through things all of your life. Make it happen and push through.
“UGH,” I grunted as I struggled my way out of a grapple from one of my aggressors. The simulation had started. It’s go time, I kept thinking to myself.
Before I knew it, I had delivered a series of crushing blows and kicks to each aggressor and was on my way to the finish point. Empowered and short of breath, I muttered to myself, “I did it.”
This self-defense class was about defending ourselves as women and making ourselves feel safe. For me, it was more about defending my positive outlook against all suffering as well as my understanding of everything that I am capable of. I did it.