By Lynn Sherwood

Pondering whether to even brush my hair or just scrunch the wet mop out of site atop my head, don dirty yoga pants and flip flops or sturdy shoes and a sassy blouse, and whether the two extra minutes to swipe my lashes with mascara would be a good use of my time before my solo road trip last week, I thought “Why Bother?”

Women in bulky 90’s sweat-suits walk through airports across the country daily, go to the grocery store hiding their face and pray no one they know will see them, and do everything they can to look distracted when passing someone they know if they are not feeling ‘all they can be’ for a variety of reasons.  This approach works well for a lot of women.  I can DO this!  I’m going to get in the car and just not care what any stranger will think!!!

…And then I promptly brushed my hair and draped it gently over my shoulders, donned fitted professional clothing and sturdy shoes, and brushed my blond lashes with mascara for a trip during which (maybe!) 100 people in gas stations (whom I would never see again) would see me in the next two states…

Over my years, I’ve watched sweatpants stride through airports and flip flops glide through fast food chains in gas stations on road trips.  Yes, I’ll bet the folks wearing them might even be more comfortable squeezing into the little areas airlines call ‘seats’ and when they kick off the flops to let their toesies dangle out the window in the breeze along  the 101.  But I don’t SEE many of these people ~ I couldn’t tell you the color of the lady’s eyes or hair who passed me in the airport, if she wore a smile or had any identifyingly extraordinary or welcoming feature.  She swam past me in her oversized frumpy box store hoody as she texted her sister, not making eye contact or walking confidently as she sulked by hundreds of other people trying not to be noticed.  She succeeded – with me, at least;  I didn’t really see her.  She didn’t engage me to be her advocate.  As her chosen approach to face the world, I hope it worked for her.  And I hope that a bad guy did not interpret what I perceived as a lack of confidence and pre-occupation as ‘victim material’.

In pondering why I again took the time and energy to ‘gear up’ this week for my road trip, I realized that I tend to steer to the opposite end as I travel ~ and with purposeful intent.  Tennies, pumps or boots that I can run away in ~ functional in addition to being cute.  Clothing I look great in ~ so that I feel great in it, too!  My hair styled and eyes made up so no embarrassment about my excuse for appearance would lead me to not make eye contact with every single person I can connect with.  This is important, deep-seated work for me!  As I leave the cozy confines of my small home-town grocery store, in which on any given visit I’ll see and hug 22 old friends, I have to be more aware of my surroundings as I travel  and how I am perceived within them.  I WILL look you in the eyes as I assess my surroundings ~ you will KNOW I’ve got eyes on you, that I am confident and am nobody’s victim.  I WILL attract the attention of 49 ‘good guys and gals’ to help should a situation occur with one potential bad guy.

I realized that I WANT every single person in a given place to notice me ~ for protection’s sake!

If everyone in the gas station takes notice of this confident woman, the bad guy with mal-intent will be less likely to scope me out as a victim, in part also because everybody in there will have seen me.   I want these people to remember my smile, my confidence, my attitude.  Is attractive clothing and make-up the only way to do garner this attention?  Of course not!  In fact, it’s the tiniest, itty-bittiest percentage of WHY you will notice me.  (Remember this line if you start judging me as a stuck-up, vain witch with too much time on her hands while judging others. J )  In reviewing what others do for themselves, I’ve realized this is simply the final touch to my personal confidence-boosting routine.

Entering the gas station, you won’t know that I’ve spent hours practicing my four-point draw stroke last week, that I’m versed in situational awareness and that I’m a CrossFit maniac.  You won’t know that I’ve already prepared a path in my mind visualizing escaping a bad situation and engaging others if necessary to help stop a threat.  You won’t know that my will to live to hug my husband one more time and to be part of my grand-babies’ lives is as strong as it is.  You won’t know that I’m a strong businesswoman with critical thinking skills and outside-the-box creative ability that you might only dream about. You won’t know that I’m packing a gun, or three…

But as a bad guy, you WILL know that I am not going to be your submissive target.  You WILL see that 49 good guys and gals took note of me and might just get actively engaged to stop your bad ass if you try something stupid.  As a good guy or gal, you WILL know that ‘There’s something about that girl’ and might just be more interested in making sure I return from my bathroom venture down that long corridor to the rear of the station.  Will I actively engage the good guys/gals and prepare for the threat of the bad guy?  ABSOLUTELY and without apology.  And I’ve got your back, too!

WHY BOTHER?  In analyzing myself and why I ‘geared up’ before my road trip, I realized that adding the final small but tangible touches to my external presentation to the world as I travel, steering eyes toward me from the good guys rather than flying under the radar to only be ‘seen’ as a potential target by the bad guy, is just a part of my icing to my internal, confidently prepared self.

What’s YOUR modus operandi?  How do YOU present yourself to the world ~ and why?  Does it vary by circumstance, place and situation?  What final touches do YOU make and for what reasons??  Have you thought through how good guys and bad guys SEE you in various lights – and why?  Have you visualized your walk in this world, and your path out if you do find yourself in a sticky situation?

WHY BOTHER?!?  Why bother doing everything, EVERY THING within your power so you can remain in power??

Because we’re worth it.  

Lynn Sherwood is the founder of High Caliber Women.  She spends her time teaching women, men and youth to shoot defensively and for fun and enjoys working out in the wee hours of the morning to the grueling demands of her coaches.  She ‘walks the walk’ of a comprehensive approach to life and self defense with a mind-body-attitude connection.  Lynn is an NRA certified instructor for Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Refuse to be a Victim, and she co-owns and manages Jackson Hole Shooting Experience as a lead pistol, shotgun and archery instructor in this premier Luxury Entertainment Shooting Experience phenomenon.  She lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with her husband Shepard Humphries and her puppy Remington. Visit us at HIGH CALIBER WOMEN


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