On Her Own

Happy birthday to me!

Yesterday, On Her Own turned two years old. I’m honored and delighted that you’re with me on this journey, whether you’ve been here since the very beginning or you’ve come on board more recently. Some of my posts have reached only a few hundred of you and others, tens of thousands of you. I’m told that some of you have learned new things, embarked on new adventures, changed your minds, or improved your lives because of what you’ve read here, and I’m humbled that I may have helped in even the smallest of ways. It makes all of the time I put in here worthwhile. I am grateful. Thank you.

The work that you see here and elsewhere under the OHO brand is the culmination of thousands of hours of training, study, and exploration as I’ve pondered what it means to be a woman on her own. While I’ve learned and shared a lot, the most important lesson I’ve picked up is that there is so much more. I had an idea that physical safety was only a small piece of the pie, that self-defense cannot stand on its own without the mental and emotional underpinning that helps us decide that we are worth the effort of defending, that we have faith enough in our abilities to draw on them in extremis. I knew that the flashier and more exciting areas of self-defense, like specific weapons or techniques, were important but that they needed the quieter, less interesting foundations of communication, boundary-drawing and other soft skills.

I’ve also become increasingly aware that self-defense isn’t only about protecting ourselves from physical harm, or protecting ourselves from other people. Emotional, mental, verbal, financial, and other types of non-touch-based abuse can also hurt and cripple their victims even if they don’t come with or lead to physical or sexual abuse. As well, sometimes life happens to us or we happen to us. Accidents happen. Budgets blow up. Bad luck strikes. Our bodies or minds become ill or disordered. Being able to survive the bad guy in the alleyway doesn’t always help when our attacker lives with us, is already part of our regular world. Being able to wriggle away from an attacker, or stop them in their tracks with a well-placed shot doesn’t always help when the danger isn’t corporeal or doesn’t come from an identifiable individual who is front of us. And we can’t do any of that fighting at all if we can’t manage our day-to-day challenges in the first place.

It does mean that we go all over the place here at OHO. One day, we’ll be talking about weapon selection, and the next day we might be talking about money management. In the same week, we’ll dissect lessons we can learn from violent crime, and ways we can engage in productive self-care. We can, in the same month, navigate workplace violence, travel dangers, and intimate relationships, each fraught with their own completely unique sets of risks. Not every post is for every person, and that’s okay, because we are dealing with different problems at different times. I hope, though, that some of them are what you need to hear right then, and that some of them are there waiting for you here or in your memory, when you need them later. And I hope that they all speak towards one of the questions I started OHO with: what does it take to be our own heroes?

As I look to OHO’s future, I’d like to not only continue what’s been happening here, but expanding the venues you can find OHO content and expanding the breadth and depth of the topics we tackle. Where, and what? I have some ideas, but I’d like some ideas from you too.

PS – Speaking of going deeper, I recorded a podcast episode this week with That Weems Guy, where among other topics, we discussed what it means to be safe or secure, and how a multi-disciplinary approach like OHO’s can make us more of both. Think of it as the expanded version of what I skimmed over above. It’ll be out early Monday morning on all of the usual podcast outlets. Have a lovely weekend.

Hi, I'm Annette.

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