Every time I see that post that’s been going around tumblr- you know, the one that talks about how to throw a punch, how to end a fight quickly- I kind of make a little bit of a face and scroll past.
It’s a good thought. It’s a fuck of a lot better than telling someone, for example, to simply avoid getting into fights. No. That’s not helpful. The fact is that if one is visibly something other than white, cis, male, able, etc, the fight will come to you and you will have to deal with it. Preparing for that is the rational thing to do.
But in my experience knowing how to hold my fist or whatever was not what I needed to know. Personally, my big thing was to learn to stop worrying about whether or not I’d just lost a tooth whenever I got hit in the face, or especially the jaw. I would always stop and try to feel my mouth and check that everything was still there, and then just get hit again even worse. After a few incidents I made a real effort to come to terms with the fact that even if I did get a tooth knocked loose, checking to make sure right at that moment wasn’t going to help anything, and I should really just pay attention to the person beating the crap out of me.
And I guess it could be that everyone has a difficulty of some sort or another, and you can’t really know for certain until you’re in the thick of it, in which case it may be too fucking late.
I feel like I have some sort of militant-type reputation here because, I guess, there is the whole dcs tattoo thing, but I think it also has to do with the fact that I am someone who is capable of being physically intimidating, in addition to my particular attitude towards pain and, frankly, some unpleasant behaviors and attitudes I engaged in before I got sober but which have a tendency to echo in my actions to this day. These sorts of aggro attitudes are given a lot of space and respect and I’m afraid that may lead to people harboring unreasonable expectations.
So here’s what I want to tell you all. The past few times where I have been assaulted, I have not stood my ground or whatever. I didn’t roll my hand into a perfect fist and strike back. I fucking ran. I turned and ran until I couldn’t run anymore, and only then did I turn to check if I was being followed. And yes, there are times when running away isn’t an option, and in that situation absolutely do whatever it takes. But the goal here is to end the fight as quickly as possible. Sometimes that means trying to stop your assailant, but more often than not breaking away and running is seriously the best option.
Beating up your oppressor and bashing back and all of that is grand if it’s possible but I just want to remind people that the most important thing is to stay alive.