On October 17, 2015, in anticipation of my Golden birthday, I wrote a list of goals I wanted to accomplish before I reach the age of 31. While I still have more time to work on this list, I have realized that after careful reflection, I have worked towards these things since this post and that deserves an update on progress or completion.
I’ve been having dreams of saving the world. When I’m not dreaming of the men I can’t date, I’m running, fighting, jumping down from buildings. Doing good.
I’ve always known that girls can do anything. What frustrates me about this is that not everyone else does. I’ve always known that acting on my desire to do what the boys do was unique but I didn’t see exactly how different it was until a little over a month ago when I began working Security at church.
My first day in, I stood near the men and pulled my long brown hair back through my baseball hat. I eavesdropped on their conversations and fumbled with my ear piece. We prayed for the morning and walked out into the 7:00 a.m. air. I got partnered with one of the most experienced police officers I’ve ever met. One of the things I liked the most about the man, outside of his deep voice, and Godzilla-like stature, was his wife. I’ve yet to meet her, but she sounds like my kind of badass.
I walk around campus and feel so strong, so at home in stomping around, letting my gut lead me through. At the start of second service, a woman walks up towards the door, smiles at me, and says, “Oh, a female security guard, you know you’re the first one I’ve seen.” I smile at her, and think, Yes ma’am, that’s the point ma’am, but instead I just tell her to enjoy the service.
Each man I work with asks me why I wanted to start working security. I tell them about CI and the best job I ever had and writing parking tickets and 6 foot wall jumps and safety escorts and martial arts and investigations and nailing interview questions but still feeling like no one wants to hire you.
I dress up as Buffy for Halloween. I think back to college and how after watching the entire series, I wished I’d never seen it just so I could watch it all again for the first time. How I’d sit in English classes and say, “Well there’s this episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…” How the show helped me process my world.
I walk into karate for the first time after a long hiatus. As a first degree black belt, the students jump to call a salute to me. The bright eyed, brown skinned girls look at me like a hero. I smile because I had forgotten how it felt to be a role model, even just by the mere presence of being somewhere. I remember how 20 years ago, that impacted me, just by seeing the instructor whose dojo I was visiting. I see myself in their gi-tops and hair barrettes. I’m wrapping tape around my feet like Sifu Sue and trying to jump rope as quickly as she does. I’m six years old again and getting my sparring gear on. I’m practicing forms in a deserted dance room in college, and rewinding the video of her again and again to try to get my stance as low as hers. She’s showing me how to use my momentum to circle into a low stance and the kenpo punch. How to roll my body in a way that will help me really hurt someone.
We do a partner workout in crossfit, a light skinned black man with the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen in paired with me. A horribly misleading workout, the kind that you think will be easy: 4 rounds-400 run while carrying a 10lb medicine ball, 50 wall balls, 50 push-ups. We shared the weight the entire time, switched the medicine ball carry halfway through. Dropped the wall ball and let him take over. On the second round my arms began to really give out on the push-ups but I was determined to do as many as he could, to carry the balance the way a man would. We were both dripping in sweat, and he reminded us of the round, how many we had left, as we got up from push-ups or came in from the run. I felt so good to keep up, and even better that he was impressed. I wasn’t even sure how my legs were still moving on the run. I started on the medicine ball throws, then slammed it down and told him how many I’d done. When he couldn’t do as many push-ups, I did more. We left sweat marks on the floor. BAMF-ed our way through.
While working as an investigator, I learned just how much I intimidate people. My first case, I arrive at the employer’s site, a secluded space in San Francisco, and the receptionist asks me if I’m a lawyer. Injured workers cry in front of me. The witnesses tell me about the day their co-worker died. Stone-y eyed men pour their hearts out. I sit in my car and cry. The crazy ones try to rile me up. I drive through small towns and their stories echo in my mind. I get to UCSF and a researcher asks me if I’m the subject. I learn more than I ever knew I could about a human’s response to stress, work life balance, and the dynamics of feeling underappreciated at work. I realize how desperately people just need to feel heard.
In November, I walk around church again, SECURITY written on my back. It’s about 10:00 a.m. and an ittie bittie smiles at me as he walks down the sidewalk with his parents. I smile back excitedly and realize the significance of how I am walking through my life.