Lessons and Tears

Today, I learned a lot about guns. I’ve wanted to learn as much as I could for many years now, but I never really had anyone nearby who was reliable in helping me to that. However, my man is of the hunting variety, and has connections with people who’s re very much in the know about guns. So, today, I took a class on guns.

It was, basically, all day, but it included lessons on the guns and things about and around them, as well as actual time shooting guns at a gun range. I was mostly totally okay for the lesson parts in the classroom. I had, obviously, some research ahead of time to familiarize myself with the general information that might be covered. I had studied more than we covered specifically, but it was a perfect foundation for understanding what was taught in the lesson.

We had a little quiz/test at the end of the lessons to test our grasp of the material. Without using any notes at all, I scored confidently a 100% on the test. I like to know my material, and I did.

However, things took a turn once we were at the range itself. As the others started taking out handgun after handgun, picking them up and setting them down again on this wooden table at our area – all unloaded and taken apart, of course – I started to grow increasingly nervous. Within maybe five to seven minutes, I was standing back from the group, full-on crying. Quietly, but crying, nonetheless.

My man tried to comfort me physically with touch, which is usually the go-to way to comfort me. However, something about the whole situation had me not want to be touched… at all. It doesn’t happen often, but, when it does, I seriously do not want to be touched or crowded in any way. I feel almost claustrophobic if anyone tried to touch me or get too close to me in these times. Today was one of these times. My man asked how he could support me – great job, honey! – and I told him just not to touch me and to let me be, away from abetting, him included. He allowed it, though clearly still concerned for me, and went back to the gun table fun. (Think little kids all showing off their cool TechDecks or Hot Wheels…)

When the instructor saw me, he very easily and, obviously, knowledgeably stated that I was nervous, with the edge of a question on the end. I nodded. “Okay, you and I are gonna go work on this together, all on our own, away from everyone else, okay?” I nodded, as a new wave of tears began to pour out freely. He told me he’d do the one thing with the first group first, then would work one-on-one with me. I nodded more.

Once the tears started, I just allowed myself to feel the feelings coursing through my veins. I never fought it, tried to hold it back. I just let it be, allowed it to express itself.

The instructor had me help load magazines for the guns, using this cool little tool that makes it a million times easier than doing it just with one’s fingers alone. That way, I got to be nearby for the shooting, and could see the drill he was having us all do, but didn’t have to do it myself yet. And I got to grow more comfortable with the guns simply by doing the simple activity of loading the magazines.

I had to step away, though, when the firing started. It amazed me how freaked out and panicked I was. I looked into the panic.

It was an outdoor range without any dividers in our specific area – just single barrels to ‘define’ the lanes. Was it that?

A little bit. But it wasn’t enough for my level of panic. So, what else?

Eventually, a thought popped up, and I began to see very clearly what was going on for me.

*****Warning: very sad material is about to follow. I am safe and well, but this is sadness from my past. You have been warned.*****

On Christmas Eve, many years ago, my uncle shot and killed himself, intentionally. It was unexpected on every level for me, and the delivery method and manner of the news didn’t help anything for me. This uncle was my godfather. Yes, he had been dealing with alcoholism in a bad way lately, the previous few years or so, and had even divorced because of it. But he was still a man whom I loved and respected, who had taught me many things and whom I had always longed to impress with all I learned. He never needed to be impressed, which was probably why I so wanted to do it. He was great… when he was himself. Alcoholism can truly remove a person from the world, however, long before his or her conscious body leaves this world. He was certainly progressing on that path. But I still loved him.

Now, back to the class.

Seeing the guns, seeing so many moving hands and parts all at once – despite it all being done to the book and as safely as possible – really got me thinking about that incident for my uncle. I got a little lost in the swirl of thoughts and brain patterns that could lead a person to choosing that as a path, as well as the ones that then actually pursued such a path. Even now, it hurts so much just to say this, though I’m somewhat avoiding going any deeper than my words right now. Anyway, it really got to me there at the range.

When a rifle was pulled out, I noticed that I felt little fear, almost a feeling of ease around it. Okay, I thought, so guns don’t necessarily terrify me into a panic by being guns. Handguns, however, do.

When I talked with my mom about it later, I was describing the different feeling between using two different handguns. One was heavy and reliably helped people hit their target consistently. The other was smaller and lighter, but still roughly the average size of a handgun. The smaller, I told her, filled me with much more ease when I used it, though it was quite so easy to hit the target precisely. It felt like a gun to me. The larger, however, could only be described by my head as, “a (definitive) killing device”. It was funny how the thoughts were so different, and the corresponding feelings were so strong yet clear. Guns themselves aren’t petrifying for me. But certain ones – the killing device-type ones – are.

Our instructor mentioned a man who has a pink handgun. Perhaps, if I ever want to get a gun, I might get something like that. The typical black handgun can be really rough for me…

And so, after trying the both handguns with a lot of coaching and near-constant crying, I used the smaller one to do the actual exercise he’d intended for us all to do.

For one thing, I cried almost the whole time. For another, I somehow got the crazy luck of the draw today that the casings from the person to my left kept hitting me. Never hard or anything, but, boy, were they a definite surprise while I was aiming on focusing my breathing to shoot effectively myself. In addition to those two factors, my hands were shaking almost constantly.

What’s more, my eyes, as they cried a bunch, struggled to hold focus. They kept doing their, ‘Hey, I don’t really feel like working right now,’ thing, making me have to work extra hard to get them to focus back. Usually, it takes a second or two to get them back focused when they decide to relax. However, the exercise was intended to be with time limits on each round or set of rounds. It took a lot in the pre-practice I did with the instructor just to fire more than once in a row without putting down the gun and shaking all over while crying some more.

And, finally, my hands kept sweating up a storm, and my glasses would fog in if I had them too far against my face.

Despite all of this, the instructor said afterward that I didn’t an amazing job. And he wasn’t being generous. I have a whole – there were two, both very much alike with their hole locations, but I only kept the second – target sheet of a person who had clearly been gutted and shattered in the center torso by my shots. I had a total of four shots that didn’t hit right in the center area, and they were when I moved back to farther distances to shoot. Out of roughly a hundred+ rounds fired, only four weren’t in the target tires area. Even the other four, though, were still very clearly on the target’s body, just not properly centered like the rest.

I’d say I was blown away by how well I did, but I guess that was more the targets… 😛

The final gun I shot was a really cool, really light one, and it had much smaller bullets than the 9mm guns had used. I actually really enjoyed shooting that one. The kickback wasn’t so scary, nor was the bang, and it was great. Granted, this one actually burned my finger. However, it was pennies compared to how great and comfortable I felt using it as a whole. Plus, this one was green(!). I shot well with that one, too, but I didn’t have an official target, and so attacked one of the extra backstop signs, the letter O, using it as a target, as well as a small bit of bluebonnets on the sign. It was great. I kind of destroyed them both, really.

The instructor told me that it happens every so often, that someone will cry when learning to shoot. It he was proud of me for how I stayed calm and just kept going. He also commended me for the fact that, even though casings kept flying on my way, even hitting me multiple times while shooting, I never once reacted dangerously. I always remained calm – shaking and crying aside, of course – and stayed focused on what I was doing. Any time I had to pause my shooting, from getting hit in the face or hand or whatever, I always kept the gun pointed perfectly down-range and downward – I never turned it in a dangerous direction… not even a little bit.

So, suffice it to say that I am so glad and grateful that I went to this today and that my man got me connected there. The instructor invited us to go shooting with him and his daughter when they go monthly to a certain range, and I accepted the offer. I told him that I am still terrified, but that I want to keep going with it all.

Yes, it was a very good day, tears and all.

Thank you, God. And thank you for the blessing in my childhood that was Uncle B—. Thank you for that love, for exactly as much as it lasted. And thank you for helping me grow through the pains. Please, bless those who helped us in the class today. Give them comfort, grace, and ease, through your love. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Scary

Tomorrow, I will be doing something scary. However, I don’t feel scared about it right now. Perhaps that is because I am busy doing different things tonight still. Perhaps, though, it is because it’s something I have wanted to do and know will be valuable for me and my life going forward, so the fear is minimal when shown next to the value.

Post-a-day 2022

Golf!

I had my first golf lesson today. We started and ended early, because a massive – and I truly mean massive – storm was rolling into town. I even had to go alternate routes to get home, though it wasn’t far from the driving range, because the pouring rain filled the streets so badly. I couldn’t even see more than a few feet for a bit.

Anyway, golf lesson. It was awesome. I hit the ball and everything, and I even hit it well a handful of times. Two of them were just like… Whoosh!… That was nice… And the coach even said so on those. It felt really good on those, having good form and balance and everything, blowing the ball out onto the range smoothly, as though I had done it before already. My body liked it. It liked it a lot.

So, it looks like I will enjoy this new hobby, specifically going to the driving range. We’re already going to Top Golf next week for my man’s birthday (the whole reason I took a lesson now in the first place, since I couldn’t even hit the ball when I’d gone with my brother to a range once, several years ago). But the coach let me hold onto the starter club for now, so I can practice, and I intend to practice. Boy, do I intend to practice. I can hardly wait to fulfill one of my dreams of hanging out at the driving range, hitting balls alongside someone I love.

I was nervous, a bit scared. But this has turned out perfectly. I’m so glad I got ahold of the instructor the other day so easily, and I trusted the feeling that he would help me beautifully as I needed help.

Dear God, thank you. Thank you. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

P.S. God, please, help us both keep level heads – literally and figuratively – when we go to the range together. Please. Thank you. Amen.

P.P.S. I even had a sport skirt and cute shirt to wear, like I knew what I was doing. No collar required at the range, but I still looked very nice and very cute! Woohoo! Thank you, again, God. And thank you to my man for making this all possible. I love you. 😉

Plenary

I think we are finally starting to get involved in some of the really cool learning stuff for Roman Catholicism. We read each night from the YouCat, the youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. That’s been a good start. But it has been a lot of low-brain topics so far. This week, however, we have found ourselves truly talking about whatever is presented from the YouCat topic, actually looking up further information on lots of it. And it is awesome.

Tonight, in an almost-bizarre twist, we ended up on the topic of plenary indulgences (Just look it up – it’d take me too long to explain them here now!). We even called my mom for her input and read from multiple online articles and dictionaries! What a fascinating topic! And, in doing that research, we got into the topic of how to address clergy properly. So, I found a fun Wikipedia article on how to do all of that for the different clergy (Yes, that, too, is a bit complicated, by the way.)! It was a very good time tonight.

Thank you, God, for this oddly fun surprise. Keep it up, please, and keep us with you. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Tum Tumm

I’ve had this drum for almost two years now, and I still am not very good at playing it. I haven’t had any lessons of any kind, because I don’t know drum players (for this kind), and I’m just not an internet lesson person (despite my encouraging others to do it regularly!)… man…, how do I sort out my life enough to be able to do all those internet lessons I have been wanting to do these past few years???

I think part of it is financial security. Another part is the predictability of my schedule and life that usually comes with financial stability and security. That makes the routine possible, and having the routine is something I both want and need for my learning things of all kinds. At present, though, I don’t allow myself the mental space for such things, as there is too much else that is more important that I still need to figure out, versus these things I just want to figure out. Yeah…

Hmm…

I’m hoping Thanksgiving week has drumming in it for me(!!!).

Post-a-day 2021

Learning

I began last week learning something entirely new to me. Okay, so it isn’t exactly entirely new to me – I first learned some foundations for it back in middle school. Mrs. N**** taught us in computer lab. I think most of the other kids, the girls especially, weren’t huge fans of it and didn’t really get it too well. But I was and I did. It was HTML.

Hypertext Markup Language, that is.

And, you know, though I didn’t ever realize that I could pursue learning HTML, I did pursue learning other languages. Remember, languages and math are all the same thing to me. So, a computer language just feels like a fun cross between the human spoken/written languages and the math ones. No wonder it was easy for me to pick up, and no wonder I loved it back in middle school.

But I never knew that this was the foundation upon which all of this ‘computer programming’ and ‘software engineering’ was based. Don’t ask me how – I don’t know how I didn’t ever make that connection. But, finally, I did last week.

And I’m doing beginner work on it all now, starting off with a course on HTML. Though I’m in this course to learn HTML, I kind of feel like reading the comprehensive list of code for HTML would be easier for me at the point. The blocks of text that attempt to explain things to me are often much more confusing that just looking at the actual code itself. I regularly go back to the text after reading the code, and decipher it that way – the code makes more sense seen than talked about. Does that makes sense, how I said that? I guess it is like just about anything else: you can talk to me for days about it, but, until you show it to me, it is just words and ideas, and doesn’t fully make sense or click.

But this stuff is clicking. And I’m liking it. A lot.

I’ll finish the HTML foundations course tomorrow or the next day, I think, and move into CSS or iOS app development training next. Or both…

It’s funny, though. I can tell this is important to me, because I won’t let myself cover too much direct information in a day, so as not to confuse it all later. And I am excited every night before bed, as I plan out when I will be working on it all tomorrow.

Man… did I mention that I’m a nerd? Well, it just got a bit more obvious. 😛

Post-a-day 2021

Double down

What if the work I really want to do really does involve spending hours a day in front of a computer screen?

Hmm…

I just don’t see it. Part of the day? Sure. Hours every day? Nope.

But I can still see it as a possibility, my having a semi-desk job, in one of those hipster-y-yet-not ways, of course.

I am thinking this all, because I have been looking to see what lights me up whenever I cross it as an opportunity. And this nerdy language stuff and language software really has me booming like firework finales on repeat.

And I mean lighting up the whole night sky kind of bright, here…

Duolingo, I might be coming for you in the near future. I don’t have the credentials for it yet, but it is all too likely that I will be figuring them out and getting the necessary ones soon… You are forewarned. 😉

Post-a-day 2021

The hard conversations

I talked openly about sexual abuse with someone yesterday. And about body parts. And sexual intercourse.

There was no anger or wrong-making or freaking out. We just talked. Questions were asked and answered calmly, honestly, and genuinely. And the conversation eventually comfortably and naturally moved onward into something else.

And nothing was weird. And we both gained an unexpected degree of value from the conversation.

And wouldn’t the world be a better place, if we could have informative, open, and safe conversations about more of these traditionally taboo and sensitive topics?

My world certainly has improved since they have become part of my everyday life. It was really, really scary at first, and difficult. And awkward and uncomfortable. Now, though, it has become quite normal and easy. And I am grateful for that every time such an opportunity and conversation arise.

Post-a-day 2021

^Right in the middle of typing it, I caught myself, and so got it right 😛

Learning… without teaching

Not all people are teachers. And that’s okay. And it doesn’t make someone a worse person, if that someone is not a teacher.

I need to remember that better. All of it. I keep growing current frustrated with people who are tasked with teaching something to someone – especially to me – but who are not good teachers.

Ugh…. such hair-pulling emotions ensue within me, whenever I am in a situation that requires me to endure bad teaching. And it is even worse when I actually am in need of teaching, when I am aiming to learn something that is new to me… just give me the written manual, please, and walk away.

::total face palm::

Okay, breathe… slowly and deeply, just breathe… let it go… there is something to learn here, though it is obviously not the information I was aiming to learn… find that something, and feel gratitude for its having presented itself to you… thank you… aaaahhh…

Post-a-day 2020

Next Step

Okay, training on my own (with mandatory videos) is complete! Now to do some in-person training and some solo study (because I want to do the latter, not because I have to do it).

I’m actually excited about the solo study that I get to start doing tomorrow. I really hope I start with it tomorrow. Things really do transform when we are interested, invested, and enrolled in them – I was rarely so excited about studying on my own for things in school… or even learning the information in the first place, at least for most of school… wow.

Crazy, huh?

Post-a-day 2020