Hope is worth fighting for…
By Krista Hanley (Program Director & Lead Instructor)
It takes a lot of courage to take an IMPACT class. It doesn’t matter if it’s an online boundary setting course or an in-person Basics series with full physical techniques. It takes a lot of courage to show up to something new, that you’ve never done before, that you know very little about, and that might bring up past trauma. And yet, people show up anyway.
I showed up to my first IMPACT course in the spring of 2007. After years of living full of fear and anxiety, I was finally (cautiously) ready to face those fears. I was there to learn how to fight; though I had no idea if I’d be able to fight even somewhat successfully, having never done martial arts or even kickboxing. The physical parts of the course intimidated me. And yet, something inside insisted that I try, so I showed up.
Courage and hope are inseparable. Having some courage indicates a degree of hope. Personally, I have a complicated relationship with the idea of ‘hope’. For a long time, I didn’t believe in hope, much as some might not believe in the Loch Ness monster. I thought hope was a fantasy, only for people that hadn’t lived through trauma, who didn’t live with crippling anxiety. Hope was a self-help and spiritual word, a word that came with big expectations that were always disappointed in the end. It was better to not have hope, I thought I would never get hurt. Of course, that’s not how life works. We get hurt if we have hope or not.
I realize now that hope is especially for those who have experienced trauma, who live with anxiety, shame, guilt, grief, and fear. I think hope and courage are what arise when you have nothing left. You’ve been awash in pain for so long that hope creeps in and says, “What if”. Hope has a tiny voice when you deny its existence. It doesn’t yell. It doesn’t demand. It whispers. But it is there. Take a chance and listen.
What if I take an IMPACT class and face my fears? What if I learn how to fight so I can feel how powerful I actually can be? What if I learn how to set boundaries around my needs and desires? What if I could say something the next time that happens? What if I could protect my family? What if I don’t have to live this way anymore? What if I could have more freedom? What if I decide that I am worth fighting for?
It took some courage to go to my first IMPACT course, and every course I took after. It takes some courage every time I teach an IMPACT course (even online), and it takes hope. I first took IMPACT because I wanted to learn how to fight. What I found was a way to actually hear that whisper of hope. Hope still whispers to me, but I understand it a little better now.
It takes a little courage to do something new, and yet… what if you show up?