• VPEC

Telling About Telling

The following story, which will be included in the highly anticipated MyPwr App, is all about “TELL,” the fifth principle of empowerment self-defense.



During and after taking IMPACT, an adrenaline-based form of empowerment self-defense, the storyteller struggled with events in her past.


But sharing her story with just one person played a bigger role in her healing process than she’d anticipated.



“One night while I was waiting for my martial arts class to start, I happened to mention to a friend that I was beginning my ninth hour of training that week.


‘Nine hours? What else have you been taking?’ she asked.


‘Oh, I'm taking IMPACT,’ I told her. ‘I had my first class this week.’


She got this look on her face. ‘Oh, f$*^!!!’ was the response that eventually came.


I was a little surprised. We were friends, but I didn't know her that well (yet). Clearly, she'd figured out, even though I'd never shared anything that personal with her, that I was taking self-defense for a reason, and that there were some not-so-nice things in my past.

📷 VPEC 2020

She'd taken IMPACT, and she instinctively felt that it wasn't going to be easy for me.


She went on to say, ‘Make sure you create a support circle for yourself. I'd be happy to be part of that circle if you need.’


Then class started so the conversation ended.


I thought the subject would just fizzle, but she didn't let that happen. From that moment on, she started to check on me regularly.


It was hard for me, because I'm a really private person. But she was right. The five weeks of my IMPACT class, and the three months that followed, were excruciatingly difficult for me.


And she knew it.


She checked on me regularly, and eventually, she sent me a text asking, ‘Someday, you're going to tell me what's bugging you. Right?’


It took me a while to say yes. I wanted to make sure I was ready, and more importantly, I wanted to make sure she was ready. I know my story isn't an easy one to hear, and I feel guilty burdening anyone with it.


After a lot of negotiating, we finally agreed that we'd talk in person. We chose a space where I’d feel safe, and set a date and time.


When the time came, we found a couch to sit on and made some awkward small talk.


Honestly, I could barely even bring myself to look at her. But she was patient. She put a pillow behind her head, sat back, and just waited.

Honestly, I could barely even bring myself to look at her. But she was patient. She put a pillow behind her head, sat back, and just waited.


When I could finally speak, the first thing I wanted to do was set ground rules:


  • I don’t want to overwhelm you. There are things I might not share unless you ask.

  • You can ask whatever you want, and I will decide whether or not I am comfortable answering.

  • If either of us needs a break, we will say so.

  • And if the conversation becomes too much for either of us, we’ll end it and revisit at another time.

She agreed. And finally, I started talking.


For the first time, I told my story as a story.


For the first time, I got to hear myself tell my story.


And finally, I started talking. For the first time, I told my story as a story. For the first time, I got to hear myself tell my story.

Yes, a few people already knew the highlights. But I'd never heard it like this. My trauma was now a story with a beginning, middle, and enough of an end for me to be able to move on.


The whole thing took two hours, and I shared more than I was planning to.


To my surprise though, a lot of that time was spent laughing.


The experience wasn't dramatic or awful. There was no thunder or lightning, and the lights didn't go out.


When it was finally time to go home and go to bed, I told my friend it was going to be weird when we saw each other again.


She said, ‘It will.’


We laughed again because we knew it was true.


The next morning, though I can't tell you exactly how, the world looked different. Brighter, somehow. My body felt more relaxed.

The next morning, though I can't tell you exactly how, the world looked different. Brighter, somehow. My body felt more relaxed.




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Before I could text her to thank her for listening, she texted me to thank me for sharing.


At the time, I didn't understand what she was thanking me for. Now, I think I'm starting to get it.


Yes, it was weird when I saw her again, but the weirdness didn't last long. It was also a relief to know that I wasn't the only one who knew my story. I've always felt like I'm responsible for knowing my story, and sharing that responsibility felt good.


In case you're wondering, yes, we're still friends, and we share a special bond that I will always treasure.”



Why do you think the storyteller’s world looked “brighter, somehow,” after sharing her story? Have you ever found healing in sharing your story?

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