Yesterday, I went to a self-defense workshop. I had met a woman on the island who created what she has named the Soteria Method of self-defense. I first encountered her when I went to a portion of TedX Cayman, where she spoke of her personal experience of sexual assault. After she was assaulted, she found that krav maga helped her feel strong and healthy again. When she discovered this martial art, she immersed herself in it, traveling to Israel to study, and eventually landing in New York, training employees of the DOA. In her journey, she found herself taking in all of the stereotypically negative components of the martial arts: paranoia, attack mode, protection to the highest level. At some point on her personal journey, she realized that she didn’t have a life that she felt was worth protecting anymore.
From there, she created her new definition of self-defense: “to arm oneself through creating, living, and protecting a life they love.”
I like this definition. It is part of what took me to the workshop. It didn’t truly sink in, though, until we were discussing an eye scoop (using your finger to try to scoop out the attacker’s eyeball). This technique understandably created a negative visceral reaction amongst the group. As we talked about it, one woman commented that in conversation with others, they had discussed that they would hesitate to use the technique to save themselves, but not to save the life of a child. As the leader spoke about this, she talked about the start of her journey where she couldn’t find the strength to fight from looking at her own life, and so she used her mother as motivation. She continued to talk more about working to make a life that she loved, which included letting herself be vulnerable. As she talked, I found myself feeling tearful, which is usually a sign that something is resonating with me. It was this:
I want to create a life that is worth fighting for.
Coming down to Cayman has felt hard at times. At other times it’s felt quite joyous. I’ve found myself looking at these experiences and seeing what I love, and what I would rather do without. It is all a part of the process of creating a full life. A life that I love. A life that is worth fighting for.
So in my moments where I get discouraged, or question what I was thinking when I left my stable, secure job in New York, I want to remember that this is my way of fighting for a life that I love. After all, isn’t that really what our lives should be about: knowing that you’ve lived the best way you know how? I like to think so.