A Girl’s Guide to Self-Defense

The world is shit. How’s that for an opener? 
The world is shit. People are cruel to each other, selfish, and dangerous. It’s true. Since Cain first brained his brother over a fit of jealous rage, we have lived in horrible times. We will never live in time or place where crime doesn’t happen and where being a woman isn’t a threat, especially in America.
I have been living on my own since I was 17. I left home and in almost 10 years only came home sporadically to help take care of family members. Even then though, I was going to school and/or work alone, grocery shopping alone, going to movies alone, answering doors alone, and anything else that would make me a potential target largely on my own. Like every other girl, I have been told since birth how to stay safe. “Don’t wear short skirts,.” “Park under a light” “Don’t walk in an alley” “Tell your friends when you get home” “Stay on the phone while walking” “Don’t take drinks you didn’t pour” “Don’t get in a car of someone you don’t know.” I was a neurotic, paranoid mess all through college. I watched over my friends and was the typical fat, loner hen of the group, cockblocking the shit out of all my friends. It wasn’t until later in my freshman year, when a close friend had come back from a party bleeding from between her legs, held up by her roommates that I realized a terrible fact. There is nothing you can do. She was a sensible, conservative girl who never drank too much and stayed with her friends and yet, she had been drugged and raped. 
It was several days when she told me about it. We were having a sleepover with close female friends when she described what happened. She sat down her drink, came back to it immediately and when the drugs took effect, a guy she had been dating said he’d take care of her. When her roommates came to take her home, they found her passed out with him on top of her. I was horrified. I had been aware that things like this happened all the time to women across the world but I was horrified that she didn’t want to do anything. She did not want to go to the police, to the hospital or report him to campus police. I begged her. She didn’t want to, I did what I thought was best and I supported her and her decisions. 
I found a picture of the guy, I printed out a million copies of it and wrote “DO NOT DATE ME. I AM A RAPIST.” And posted it all over campus. That was all I could do. For her. For other women. For my anger. 
My point is that it doesn’t matter if you park under a light, if you wear skirts down to your ankles, if you never drink anything at a party again, people will target you. There is no proof that blondes or short women or white women get attacked more often, people attack people. I don’t want to scare anybody. I don’t believe in putting all of the blame on the victim or on the woman and not perpetrators who should be stopped, prosecuted and punished extensively. I also believe in education and that if you can’t change one thing, you have to do everything you can to protect yourself. So here are some ways to defend yourself if anything ever does. 

  • Pepper Spray

This was my mother’s gift to me when I left the house at 17, and also a bible. It was a small, black device in a leather case with a keychain, it looked like a dominatrixes lipstick case. I’ve never had to use it, but i did accidentally spray myself and let me tell you it was gnarly. 
Also called Capsaicin Spray because the active ingredient is not actually pepper but a chemical derived from a chili plant, that causes the eyes to close in temporary blindness and cause intense burning and pain. It is used by police and riot control but also in defense against wild animals and dogs. It is a non-lethal device and does not require a license to carry (except in Massachusetts). Most states require you to be over 18 years of age, but the state of Washington allows you to carry pepper spray over 14, if  you have permission from your legal guardian. Check local laws for specific legality.

Incase you needed to match your puns to your defense to your manicure.

If you are attacked, you flip up the top of the spray (that usually is a lock to prevent accident spraying), take aim at your attacker and press the trigger button. The spray is released and works immediately, the pain is VERY intense, like the hottest fucking hot sauce you’ve ever had in your life splashed into your eyes. Unless you travel a lot (you can’t bring it on planes), you should buy one, they are cheap, discrete, compact and effective. But it can be hard to find it in a purse or when you are panicking, try to attach it to a place you can grab easily. 

  • Taser

Also known as a “Stun Gun”, this device uses electroshock to incapacitate a person. There are two weapons that these come in a CED (conduit energy device) which fires probes connected through thin wires and stun guns which shock through direct contact. 
I have to admit I am really horrified by the overall effect of this weapon but I also really want one too. Jesus I’ve seen men as big as houses be reduced to crying, self defecating children. So scary. Much Taze. Wow. 
What happens is that the electrical current sent to the person paralyzes the persons muscular function, through involuntary muscular functions, sending waves of pain through the receiver body. 
This weapon while non-lethal, has still resulted in serious injury, and even death. In the United States tasers are not considered firearms and can be carried without a permit in 45 states (not including the states of DC, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. In Connecticut, Illinois and Wisconsin they are legal with some restrictions.

  • Gun

Oh . Jeez. Here we go okay… I hate guns. I hate them. I hate my culture’s obsession with weapons, with not only murdering someone but obliterating them off of the face of the earth. I think the only way you should be allowed to murder someone is with your bare hands while starring them straight in the eyes until you can see the life wade out of them. Anything else and you are a fucking coward. I think that death should be real and weigh on your soul and not by drone or scope from a building next door. I think that people have been taught to deal with minor, everyday human trivialities with guns and that fucking horrifies me. That being said. In my country we have this fucking constitutional right that any fuckwad with a trigger finger has the right to own a gun. A gun, a weapon that send a projectile the speed of sound tearing through another man’s body. Why? Who knows. Who knows how anyone could even hold something responsible for the deaths of millions of people in their hands without the fear that their arms and eyes will melt right off their bodies. If you believe that the world is such a horrible place, while simultaneously being a place that you have an indelible and undeniable place to exist that you would kill another person for your right to live in such a shit place, then get a gun.

Marissa Alexander shot *at* her husband and was incarcerated, Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ laws only work if you’re white apparently. 
There are many types of guns; shotguns, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, handguns… I understand that some women brainwashedRepublicanwomen believe that guns make them safer as women. I can understand that. The fear of violence from men like boyfriends, husbands, partners and family members is the number one threat to women’s lives. That is real. But the idea that guns will keep you safe is a misnomer. Guns are a solution to one incident of attack that may result in the death of you or your attacker, or someone nearby, and does nothing  to change the cycle of abuse that led you to this situation. 
For those times when you don’t want anyone to sit next you in the doctor’s office.

A gun is a lethal weapon. It KILLS people. Dead. They are not coming back and if they do they are not coming back the same. You need a permit. You need to follow your local laws. With guns being as assessible as they are and the advancements being made with printable weapons, I may have to get a gun to protect myself against people with guns. 

  • Martial Arts

If you’re a woman who’s gone to college odds are that you’ve been offered a self defense class. These are usually promoted with the tag line about something about staying smart, not being a victim or how its necessary for any college freshman but how many of those campuses have you seen promote a class for men to teach them about how to prevent date rape? How many college campuses have classes that teach young men how to tell if a girls been drugged? Or what to do if their friend is an assaulter? How to help a person who has alcohol poisioning and needs help or is being taken advantage of? How to stop victim blaming and that the words “she was asking for it” should be eradicated from the human language. 

Regardless, a martial arts class is a good idea for anybody really, unless you are one of those abusive assholes that wear their gi everywhere they go and start fights with guys at bars to try and pick up girls. Those guys need to stop. I have always been interested in Judo, the skill of unarmed defense using your opponent’s body mass to defeat them. 
Damn Girl
I cannot stress enough that martials artis just that, its an art, it needs to be practiced constantly and your body needs to be trained and used to responding in those situations. Knowing martials arts isn’t just a good way to defend yourself its a good way to feel safe in any environment. You can practice to feel more confident and that confidence will prevent you from being afraid to be out in a world where you fknow the threat. 

  • Concealed Weapon (knives and such)

So you know that scene in the movie where the hero gets caught in a knife fight in an alley and theres that one guy that comes at him with a butterfly knife and he’s whipping that shit around like nobodys business and then boom the hero just punches him in the face? Yeah. You might want to thing about that if you carry around a knife. Ssing a knife as a self defense weapon is a double edged sowrd (haha!) on one hand you are carrying a dangerous tool that could be used to scare away or harm your attacker on the other hand it could be knocked out of your hand or used against you and you could be seriously injured. Knives really should only be handled by people who know what their doing but since most knifes are like totes illegal maybe you should stay away from them. 
Alley Cat Gouger its kawaii! – Pork Shop $10

Why You’re Single

Having recently renounced any search for a relationship in the bid for a more peaceful and internally beneficial life, I still have my hang ups. Why am I still single? Is it the negativity, the narcissism, the love of animated cartoon porn? I don’t have an answer for that. I just know that right now, here, at this age, I’m single and I don’t know when I won’t be. It may be soon it may be never. I just read this on Thought Catalog a couple of days ago and I wanted to share it with you.

                                                               Why You’re Single

OCT. 17, 2012

You’re single because you’re single. It’s not because you texted too much or too little or waited 33 minutes to respond because he took 23. It’s not because you met up with your ex that night at 5 a.m. that no one knows about, or because you kissed another boy after a date with a loser.
You’re not single because you spit food on that date or tripped coming out the the movie theatre. You’re not single because you hurt your first boyfriend really badly when you were 15 or because you have yet, to this day, to apologize. It’s not because you were secretly jealous when your friend got a boyfriend or that a guy you dated for two months now has a really cute girlfriend and looks really happy. And you’re happy for him. But still ill that he found someone before you.
You’re not single because you slept with your ex boyfriend. You’re not single because half the world found out when you didn’t even want to remember it yourself. You’re not single because you think the guy your friend wants to hook you up with is ugly or not tall enough. It’s not because you’re not willing to put up with someone who doesn’t brush their teeth on a regular basis.
You’re not single because your standards are too high. Good for you for having standards. It’s not because you didn’t like that really, really good guy who wanted to take you on a date and you just weren’t feeling it. And it’s not because you like to wear pajama pants as soon as you get home and wash all the makeup off your face. You’re not single because you didn’t learn enough from the past or would rather chill on a Friday night with your blanket and a cold beer than shower, get ready, and go out. You’re not single because something is wrong with you.
You are single because you are single. It’s really as simple as that. You haven’t made the connection with another heart yet. You can get dolled up, dress cute, cut your hair, dye your hair, tweeze your eyebrows, put on lipstick and you may still. be. single. You can go out to a bar hoping to meet the love of your life and not find a damn one in the place attractive. And it’s going to remain that way until it’s time for you to find one. Stop hoping for it. Start living the life that you do have instead of wishing for things that you don’t have. There will come a time you’ll meet a boy and you’ll have to give up some of this single freedom you currently have. Start being more thankful. Start doing that now. TC Mark

Found here at Thought Catalog

Living with a Mental Disorder

From the film ‘Girl, Interrupted’

When I was 13 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was hospitalized and medically treated in a children’s ward, for three months. Since 13 I have had six suicide attempts and three additional hospitalizations. My condition has been improving, marginally since 21 despite not being medicated, but over Christmas break I had a sort of relapse. I was not suicidal but rather listless, depressed, and I refused to eat or get out of bed. My family was so concerned for me that they called a mental health center who came out and saw me immediately. I was put into outpatient therapy and am currently getting back onto a medication treatment.
There were days when I couldn’t eat.
There were weeks when all I did was sleep.
There were months when I would harm myself and cry myself to sleep.
It was terrible. Terrible for my family, terrible for my friends, and terrible for my significant others who wanted to help, didn’t know how, but were caught up in the windstorm of my emotions.
I failed many classes, lost a couple of jobs, and ruined several relationships because of this. I am filled with regret mostly because I don’t even have a clear reason for these things except for the fact that I was sick and unable to make clear decisions.
Since January I have decided to make my life the best that it possibly can be and I wanted to share some of my methods of living with a mental disorder.

“Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate)” – Vincent Van Gough
  • Admit it to yourself. Understand that you have a mental disorder, you are not a bad person, you have a condition that affects your emotions and brain chemistry. These things need to be treated, like any other health issue, and if you don’t treat it it may continue to worsen. Saying that, having a mental disorder is no excuse for being destructive you are responsible for the management of your condition. A person with a disease cannot expose themselves to other irresponsibly, right? 
  • Seek help. Inpatient treatment is admitting yourself to a hospital if you feel like you are a danger to yourself or others and/or if you cannot continue to function. You will have access to doctors who will asses your condition and put you on the proper path to wellness. If you are suicidal or homicidal I would recommend this option. Outpatient treatment are options like therapy, group therapy, and counseling, this may be once a month, once a week, or several times a week. If you don’t feel like you need extensive care you should seek outpatient care. Having a professional help you sort out your issues and ways of dealing with them, is the best way to come to terms with your disorder.
  • Let go of your old life. The way you used to do things is not working, let it go. The way you approached your health, your relationships, your career, your daily life is over and you need to accept the change. You may discover that the things in your life are contributing to your condition and they need to be changed or abandoned. I have panic attacks triggered by a fear of failure or looking stupid, and I have to start learning how to let go of that fear to live a full life. 
  • Research your diagnosis. This is your life, your health and you need to take responsibility for it. Look up what your diagnosis means, what is this disorder what are common symptoms and treatments for it. What are the effects of the medicine that you were given and what is the rate of success. Is cognitive therapy available for it and are you able to start enacting some personal therapy of your own to help you deal with the disorder. 
Designs from a candy store in Barcelona called “Happy Pills”
  • Take the time. Tell people that you are making moves to get well and have patience with yourself. You are not going to get well over night and you need the time, the space and the understanding to get well. If you are living in a toxic environment that is counterproductive to your health, you have to address this. You can’t get well on the inside if the outside is also a mess. Taking the time and making the steps to get well may require you to make changes to your environment. Evaluate the people around you and if they are not encouraging you to get well, then you need to move away from them and take care of yourself. 
  • Try some physical therapy. I used to hate when people told me to try exercising. I was like “are you calling me fat?!” but it really does work. Exercise regulates our bodies(to help you sleep), releases dopamine (the feel good chemical), and gives you an excuse to focus on something else in your life. There is scientific evidence that having a healthy body can help us mentally as well, sharpening focus, reasoning, and stress levels. Exercise is sometimes the last thing I want to do but I do it now because its a habit for me. It’s me time. 
Hopefully these things have helped you. I can’t tell you that I have completely recovered, it is a daily struggle to stay well and reach happiness. My goal in all of this is to live a peaceful life and come to an acceptance of myself. I am on the road right now, there are good days and bad but I am making the decision to keep trying. I hope you keep trying too. 
Here are some resources:
http://www.befrienders.org/ – International
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ – for Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual teens in the US

Being Single and Hating it!

Recently I had a conversation with a girl I follow on twitter about feelings like she will never find a boyfriend. It was one of those light-hearted, self loathing conversations that one has with a person when they genuinely feel distressed about something, but doesn’t want them to feel uncomfortable. But I knew something serious was going on underneath our jokes.

Certainly most people at one time or another have felt like they would be alone forever, and in their hyperbolic anxiety, felt bad about themselves. There have been many times where I have thought about the prospect of never being in love and it made me fall into tears. Most of the people I know (people in their 20’s) complain about never finding someone and I feel like they are being completely delusional. They are great people and if they want love and keep looking they will find someone. Probably within the next month or so. (*≧▽≦)ノシ
I am not going to lie, there have been times where I hated being single. I wanted someone to talk to, someone to tell me I would be okay, to tell me I’m smart or pretty. Someone to go to the movies with or to help me get home when I’m stranded at the mall in a thunderstorm. Someone to talk to at parties. Someone to share my hobbies with and tell my problems to. Someone to have sex with and get to know intimately. But these are all selfish fantasies and when I looked at them, I realized these were all things that I wanted from another person but could just get from myself, if I learned self-reliance.

For myself, I have never been in love and feel like I never will. I am just now in a place, mentally and emotionally, where I can handle this fact. Why is it a fact? Because I know myself. Firstly, I am a completely unconventional person in the way I dress and behave in a city where most heterosexual males are very traditional and small-minded. I am completely closed off and emotionally distant which would make most men turned off when they meet me. I am “complicated” (not in a cute, quirky Zoey Deschanel way lol) and make even getting to know me an ordeal. I have very high standards and (most importantly) I don’t feel as if I have the emotional tools to love another person. These are choices I have made to make my life easier and I stand by them. So why do I feel so empty?

Recognize propaganda when you see it! 

Maybe its because we have been taught by society to want a relationship. Especially as girls, we have been force fed the Disney prince fantasy/Barbie & Ken romance since we were babies, and this is hard to shake. We have to reprogram ourselves to not seek fulfillment outside of ourselves. We don’t need a person to make us happy, especially when that person may be using us or unreliable, you can always rely on yourself, right? See my earlier post about being happy while being alone
We feel like if a person doesn’t love us, we are unlovable and that is not true. Lets flip it. We all know someone in a long, loving relationship who is a complete psycho bitch right? Well just because someone hasn’t found out how lovely you are doesn’t say anything about you, with or without someone you are still the same person! Still fabulous! (。’▽’。)♡

I’m not trying to discourage people from seeking out relationships but consider the fact that in most parts of the (at least western) world you don’t need someone for financial assistance, to travel with, to have children with (hello artificial insemination!) or to have fun with

Being single has more benefits than being with someone.

  1. Come and go as you please! No one calling you asking you were you are!
  2. Spend all your money on yourself! No expensive dates for you!
  3. Masturbation! Come on, who knows how to touch you better than you! None of that awkward excusing and placating when they can’t get you off. All you need is a locked door and some strong batteries! 
  4. Watch the shows and movies you want to watch. If I want to watch The Housewives of Atlanta marathon goddammit I’m doing it. 
  5. No one to tell you what to wear or that they don’t like your friends or that they don’t like your mom’s homemade mac and cheese. None of that noise! 
  6. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do and you can sleep with whomever you want. 

And if I haven’t convinced you yet. Listen to her Highness Queen Bee tell you all about it. 

Advice – How to be Assertive

I found this on tumblr and I thought I should share it

How to be More Assertive

 1. Use the word “I” instead of “You” as it demonstrates the speaker has self respect, and believes that their feelings and opinions should be heard.

2. Don’t stare the person out – but maintain steady eye contact. If you look to the side, look down or look away, it indicates discomfort or timidity.

3. At the same time, pay attention to your body language. Make sure that you seem open, and not hostile and aggressive. For example, your hands and palms should be open and relaxed, don’t point your finger, or wrinkle your face, don’t cross your arms, or look angry and tense.

4. Also, pay attention to the way you speak. Try and moderate your tone of voice; and don’t swear, use obscenities, or call the person names.  However, don’t start to mumble or speak in a low voice as that can indicate a lack of confidence, and signal to the person not to take you seriously.

5. If you start to notice you’re becoming upset, then work on your breathing, and try and slow it down. Also, breathe deeply from your stomach – and visualise yourself as someone who is calm, strong, and being heard. 

6. Remember that no-one else is going to stand up for you. You deserve to have respect, and to be treated well by others. Also, you have the power to establish boundaries, and to set appropriate limits on the treatment you’ll accept.

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