Monday, October 29, 2012

Madame, get your gun. Part 2.

After I successfully didn't die or make a complete ass of myself (debatable) during my private gun lesson (see yesterday's post), I was a seasoned pro and ready for my real gun class the following weekend.   

What my friend and I thought was just an intense, all-day educational class in preparation for later classes turned out to be THE class for receiving your concealed carry permit.  A fact that didn't really register until about 20 minutes before class began.

There were tests.  Written by hand and by bullets.  Shit got real, y'all.  

So for the first half of the day, my friend and I sat in a trailer with some grandpas and watched slow motion gun porn.

This is exactly how I thought it would look.
One grandpa, who we'll call Tea Party Tom, had been shooting for several decades but still didn't have his carry permit.  This class might seem like an excessive requirement for someone with his experience, which he reminded us of at every opportunity, until you learn that he managed to shoot himself in the thigh recently while trying to remove a gun from his pocket.  

I know this because he showed me the bullet hole and a large part of his hairy, white groin in the parking lot during our snack break.  

Already getting my money's worth!

Unfortunately there was no polite way to decline Tea Party Tom's offer to dine with him at Burger King when it came time for lunch.  Over our fries he loudly regaled us and Burger Kingdom about the gruesome details of his accident, how he wants to get a carry permit because he's terrified of the world around him and other general cantankerous yelling.  I'm not sure, but eating a fast food hamburger together might mean we're common law married according to the Tea Party.  

I really couldn't stuff down that hamburger fast enough so I could go shoot.  And not think about Tea Party Tom's thigh anymore...

During the range test I did slightly worse than I wanted.  I think I shoot like I bowl - I start out on FIYAH with a few strikes but then I tank and throw gutter ball after gutter ball.  I need the firing range equivalent of bumper pads.  But in my defense it was 117% humidity and empty cartridges kept hitting me in the face.  I had an actual forehead bruise.  I believe this is called street cred and I haz it now.  Me and 50 cent.

My victim.
Shockingly, I did slightly better than Tea Party Tom with his 20+ yrs experience and his gun that kept misfiring even though 'that has never happened before!'  Performance problems, hhmm??  He probably didn't have time to properly clean his gun because he was too busy telling me about the things I was doing wrong even though he's never seen me shoot.  He's considerate and sexist like that.

Well, at least I'm consistently inaccurate.
But don't worry, Tennesseeans.  I passed with an A on all portions of the exam!  I feel in no way comfortable enough to carry a gun right now nor do I actually want to but we completed the class so...     

The class was great not only so I could get my learn on but also for the gun porn and entire day of being immersed in all the suggestive firearm vocabulary used.  I think it does something to your brain (and your yes yes parts) to repeatedly hear about unloading, cocking, hammer, single action, double action, 'a hot casing jammed in the magazine lips' (I swear to gawd there was a slide that said that) and my favorite - 'tap, rack, bang.'   It's like this hobby was made just for me!

In the end I was right about myself.  Once I got past the physical terror and mind fuckery, I really really enjoyed shooting.  I've been on Youtube a lot watching other people shoot guns because I can't wait to do it again.  Maybe it's the Texan in me.   I'm like a creepy gun voyeur now.

WARNING: serious discussion about feelings ahead!

What I wasn't expecting was all all the crazy "emotion" things that I started to "feel" in my "emotion area" after my classes.  It was like therapy with gunpowder.  It's not about just shootin shit cuz shootin shit is cool - that's the fun part, the sport part.  Instead it was about - and I hate myself for saying this - the... *cringe* ...power.  


My new (rented) friend, a .40 Sig Sauer that I took my test with. 
At the most basic level, I feel much more knowledgeable about a subject that was previously scary to me and that in itself feels powerful.  However I don't think I feel any more comfortable shooting at a person for my personal protection should the need ever arise.  In fact, I think about that situation with much more apprehension and gravitas now.  With great power comes great responsibility, y'all.

Even though it seems cliche that a lady person picks up a gun and immediately feels the power of Thor's mighty hammer, there was a twinge of truth to that.  It certainly didn't feel cliched when I had the gun in my hand and was destroying Mountain Dew bottles on the practice range.  (DO THE DEW!  Or at least the dirt all around it...)  But that's just the fun part.  

There's something affirming about the amount of control you must exhibit to create an explosion in your hands and manage it in a way that is safe and graceful.   The amount of body awareness necessary to shoot well feels powerful.  Kinda like being good at playing the flute or tap dancing if those were skills you could use when the zombie apocalypse comes.

After my lessons I realized that my fear of handguns had become normal for me.  And not just the fear of guns themselves, but the fear of being powerless and vulnerable felt normal.  So normal that I didn't even recognize it as existing in a state of 'less than' anymore, but as a permanent character flaw that must be overcome with grit, verve, meditative vagina pilates and gobs of Diorshow mascara.  That's usually how I usually psyche myself up - makeup and a stern talking to.  

Shiny things makes me feel nice.
And those feelings of vulnerability weren't isolated to activities where a gun might factor into the equation but everywhere - some ladies might be pickin up what I'm puttin down here.  It's been refreshing to take a step back and reevaluate where I feel complacently vulnerable.  Accurately seeing what I am in control of and what I'm not feels more powerful than how well I might shoot a gun.  Challenging my sense of normalcy feels powerful.

Maybe it isn't feeling powerful at all; maybe it's just about feeling a little more capable now.  Knowing I conquered a fear gives me more confidence for other endeavors without needing a king's ransom of designer mascara.  I'm not sure where my fear actually came from - possibly just being put in a new situation is enough to send me head first into a therapeutic bag of Sour Patch Kids.  

I did have a (somewhat distant) family member killed by a gun when I was younger so maybe that affected me more than I realized.  Oddly enough Mr. Instructor Man's name was the same as that family member.  Whhaaaat...??!!!  The circle is complete!  

But all this talk of power and confidence hasn't cured me of all my irrational fears and anxieties.  It took me two days to work up the nerve to call a range after class to ask them about their hours.  TWO DAYS.  Just because I'm the #1 download on hasn't solved all my problems like talking to strangers on the phone and working the cruise control on my car.  

When you type that out it seems a lot more insane than when it's just hanging out in your head...  I should probably start tackling those before my next birthday.

So even if no one reading this super long gif-tastic memoir gives a shit about guns, I hope your fortune cookie takeaway is how important it is to challenge your sense of normalcy.  There's only so far meditative vagina pilates can get you, y'all!

A friendly reminder to my dinner guests that they BETTER FUCKING LIKE MY FOOD.
I just wish my new skillz could be used for good like stopping hurricanes.  At the very least I'll be prepared for the Tea Party revolution.  I'll be one of seven liberals in the country fully armed!  I won't be able to drive anywhere at a consistent speed to help you but you could totally tweet me and I'll get there eventually.

Don't call.  I'm not at that level yet.  

Maybe we'll just develop a batcall that is a big sriracha bottle in the sky.


  1. That was the best blog post I have ever read! Thank you!

    1. Awww that's so nice. Thank YOU!

      But seriously, you don't seem to read a lot of blogs... ; )

  2. You, Madame, are amazing. I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to work "meditative vagina pilates" into a conversation.

    Did Tea Party Tom pass???

    1. Thanks! I do what I can. If you use meditative vagina pilates please let me know. I'd like to spread the word. We're going global!!

      And yes, Tea Party Tom did pass! According to my instructor, everyone has passed his classes. Let that sink in for awhile...

      Thanks for your comment, Alverdine. ; )

  3. I'll be with you during the Tea Party Rebellion, I just need to make sure I have ammo for my 410 shotgun ;)

  4. I am trying to figure out how you learned of my sister's and my new workout, Meditative Vagine Pilates. Pretty sure it will do well in google searches. By the way, you can visit the gun club just 3 miles up the liberal road from us here in Santa Barbara. Bring your rented gun but leave all Tea Partiers behind ... unless they want to volunteer as targets. More POWAH to YAH

    1. Your vaginas must have sent me a message during one of our mutual meditations.

      I KNEW I should have moved to California years ago. Not only could we start that meditative vagina pilates studio like we've always dreamed but we could shoot shit together. (It's kinda like meditating via explosions.)

  5. Little did my father know that when he put a gun in my young hands at the age of eight, taught me to reload both rifle and shotgun cartridges, and take out an animal in one shot (for dinner of coarse), he was arming a liberal. (I think he is sorry now!) There are many more of us gun tottin' liberals than Tea Party Tom knows and if he did, he would most likely shit a brick and run like hell. Congratulations on your accomplishment! More gun power to ya!!!

    anonymous, aka deb

    1. Ha! I'm feeling much more positive about the Tea Party revolution knowing there are so many more liberals packing heat (yeah, I say that now) than I thought. I just wish y'all lived closer! I'd like a buddy or two on the range... ; )

      Thanks deb!