On the best days, carrying a gun can be a challenge for many women.
There are many factors that can make us want to leave the gun in the safe. These can range from our pants fitting a little tight, the weather, our planned activities, to uncomfortable carry options, low motivation, and a lack of confidence.
This past few months has found me struggling with all of these challenges and made me painfully aware of the roadblocks, both physical and mental that can keep us from doing what we think we should be doing. That can lead to anxiety, and frustration, often directed inward, that may lead us to give up altogether. To make matters worse, many in the firearms industry poo-poo these challenges and tell us to just suck it up… and not all of those voices come from the men…
In fact many of the most painful voices actually come from other women.
As a firearms instructor with years of experience, I had found a way to carry my firearm that was comfortable, and easy. I may have even fallen into the camp that had little empathy for those who struggled to find the motivation to overcome the roadblocks that kept them from carrying daily.
Then my life was turned upside down!
Don’t feel sorry for me, it was chaos of my own making, and it was good and exciting… but chaos has a way of upsetting our routines, and creating opportunities for growth.
A year ago I started a new business as a life and wellness coach. This led to me dropping 50 pounds in 4.5 months and Todd dropping 35 pounds in 3.5 months.
With the success and location independent nature of of our coaching business I was able to pack my children into an RV and travel the Pacific Northwest with six children for 4 months. It was amazing and wonderful, but at times totally crazy and stressful!
When my husband was able to join us we headed south and decided to winter in sunny Southern Utah amongst the Red Rocks! By January my husband was able to join me full-time in our coaching business and we closed his contracting business in Alaska for good.
We have kept our home in Alaska, and Todd travels to and from to teach classes monthly for our Defensive Firearms School. In another month, we’ll hit the road and head north to spend the summer teaching classes in Alaska. Life is full of adventures these days.
Although these were life goals we’d been working toward and were excited to reach, carrying a firearm suddenly became more difficult.
Let me list the ways.
- I shrunk out of two different gun belts and my Can Can Bellyband. Good gear is expensive.
- My pants were alternately too big or too tight. Only a woman trying to carry IWB can appreciate this problem.
- I was traveling in a state where I didn’t have reciprocity for my carry permit.
- We settled in an area with very low crime. My motivation was low.
- As a health coach, I make a living looking great, and concealing a firearm on my person added unsightly bumps and lumps.
I can hear the gasps and groans from across the internet as I hit publish on this post…
But this has been my reality, and my thought process, and as I talk to other women about their roadblocks, I don’t think I’m alone. If we don’t talk about what’s preventing many of us from carrying daily, we are just sweeping the mess under the rug.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve still managed to carry more often than not… but not without A LOT of groaning, moaning, and complaining… and I took it off as soon as I legitimately could. And honestly, what keeps me carrying as often as I do is peer pressure. And that is sad.
Please don’t send me messages and leave comments telling me how wrong I am, heck, I’ve had all your comments dancing in my head for days as I’ve contemplated whether to write this article. Let me save the you the trouble…
- Buy more gear
- Carry OWB and wear an overshirt, jacket, or vest
- Don’t go where you can’t carry
- My gun doesn’t read signs
- You must not be serious about your safety
- It’s not the odds, it’s the stakes
- Vanity over safety?
Yes, I get it… but it doesn’t change the conversations we need to have.
This is why I am revitalizing Women Carry and I am determined to post more often here and on our Facebook page. It’s why I’ll be starting up the podcast again – as soon as Todd digs my microphone and equipment out of storage in Alaska.
I started Women Carry because I knew these problems existed… I let Women Carry sit because I was afraid to say what I was thinking… afraid of what “the gun community” would say if I shared the real struggles and thoughts I was facing.
I’m done being afraid!
As women we have to talk openly and honestly about where we are, what we’re thinking, what the problems are, and how to solve them. As a firearms community we have to stop standing in ivory towers telling others what they “should” do and criticizing people who aren’t as motivated as we are to overcome the roadblocks.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Do me a favor, will you drop me a note, leave a comment, or give me a call and share your challenges? I truly want to help, and if you have a problem, chances are there are many more women with a similar one. If you have the courage to share you are stepping into the arena to help the rest of us. Just Suck It Up – is no longer an acceptable response!
I hope you’ll join me again and participate in the conversation! <3