Shelley Rae, chief awesomeness officer over at GunUp Magazine, and I are friends because of shooting, but our friendship reaches far beyond just the range. As she discusses in this piece, we have, along with many other women in the shooting industry, formed a supportive, empowered and treasured sisterhood. For many of us, it can be difficult to articulate to our gun-skeptic friends just what it is that we love so much about shooting. If you have found yourself in that situation before, look no further. Shelley has got you covered:
Most women start writing blogs to inspire other women, or talk about themselves, or if we’re all honest a bit of both. But what is it we are trying to inspire other women to do? Protect themselves, to be sure, but there’s another element of our community we can’t overlook and that we, as a group, can do so much more with.
I get teased on a fairly regular basis about being a “tough independent woman,” and while the cliché is overdone there is something to be said for the label itself, the problem is that a lot of women seem to be interpreting it in a way that only harms them in the long run. Being tough and independent isn’t about being angry, it isn’t about rebelling against the status quo but rather about being confident in yourself and in your actions.
While shooting is a start towards confidence, it’s not an end. There are a lot of other things we can do to feel better about ourselves and our lives. Most of it’s mental, of course, positive thinking and feeling good about ourselves, but there are other things we can do, other activities we can partake in, to continue an upward climb towards true inner strength.
Shooting does several things for us, the first of us which is (for many) pushing the boundaries of our comfort zone. Having an explosion detonate in front of our face is not something we are conditioned to handle, which is why for many shooting can be perceived as “scary” before they have tried it. Participating in an activity we might not have expected to participate in, and then training to become good at it, requires a lot of self-confidence, which is why shooting pushes us in that direction every day.
Also, as has been pointed out many times, shooting gives us a sense of equality, a sense of safety, a sense of being in control of ourselves. That sense of control is empowering, and is something we should seek in other aspects of our life. This, along with the “tough woman” image of shooting guns, gives us a more positive self-image, which is a powerful thing.
Participating in fitness activities and other sports can have the same effects shooting does. Since I started shooting I’ve taken up weight-lifting and started studying nutrition and trying to eat right. It has made a huge difference in my self-esteem and helped me to realize the extent of control I have over myself, much as shooting does. I would encourage every woman shooter not to stop there, but to continue to step outside of her comfort zone and find other activities that energize and empower her to be the best she can.
When you start shooting, you adopt a lifestyle, and if you embrace that lifestyle there are no boundaries to what you can achieve.
Let us know what it is that you love about shooting below in the comments section.