Gabe White asks this question in each of his Pistol Shooting Solutions classes, where he gathers students for two days of high-level shooting with a focus on skills and tactics appropriate for regular-person concealed carry and armed self-defense. It’s an excellent class and I took it for the second time earlier this month. I could share with you how Gabe leads a journey of pushing to and past your limits, and finding new ones. I could share with you how to visualize your capability as a shape, one that you can overlay onto a problem to find a solution. I could even share with you some of the really neat technical tricks and tactics that are gold for someone who intends to carry a gun as a truly usable tool and not a mere talisman. They’re important, but even more important is this question. How Gabe talks about it is what sticks with me and what drives a substantial part of On Her Own.
When we are on our own, we often shoulder responsibilities whether we like it or not, because there is nobody is else to help us carry the burden. It’s one half of the answer to Gabe’s question. If nobody else is there to do it, and it has to get done, then there is only one answer. There is only one person to clean the house, do the laundry, figure out the bills, pack lunches, whatever else is on the neverending list of necessary tasks. We can ask for help, even pay for it, but the sorts of ties that the rest of the world might normally rely on for assistance aren’t always available to us. It’s the essence of being on our own, and it can be hard and lonely work. But we can and do pull it off. We juggle and dance, and even though not everything gets done perfectly and things fall between the cracks, we manage.
That’s the answer to the question that can be filled with despair.
There is also an answer filled with hope and strength, though.
Everybody who takes this class, and everyone who reads OHO, is at an above-average level of skill and interest in learning how to be safer in their daily lives. You might not feel like it, but making the effort and taking time out of your day to improve your preparation against the things and people who might hurt you is a far bigger step than most take. You are not blissfully ignorant that problems exist, and you are not content with your current ability to respond to dangers and challenges. You strive for more and you are capable of more. The question was asked, and you discovered that you were the very best person for the job not only because nobody was available, but because nobody else can be you, right here, right now, with as much as you bring to the table. It’s not that nobody else would step in, but that nobody else can do it as well as we can because our precise brand of beautiful disarray is the best of the imperfect solutions.
Excellence is certainly desirable. Who among us does not want to be good at a thing, at a skill, at life? The challenge is that it can take enormous amounts of effort to get there, and we might never reach the lofty heights to which we aspire. However, we need not achieve them to be competent, to be enough to meet the threats and solve the problems. Perhaps the dishes get washed but not put away. Perhaps our budgets only scrape by from month to month. Perhaps we just barely fend off an attacker or narrowly avoid a car accident. And yet we survive and we survive where others might not. We have the power to step forward and up. That is no small thing, and should be recognized for the incredible accomplishment that it is. If not you, who else could get it all done?