Stress Relief

This week was rough. It didn’t start that way; I had a friend in town from home and I am grateful I got to spend time with her. But after she left, the rest of the week just sucked. To make a long story short, by the end of the day Thursday, I was so stressed out that I was drafting a two weeks notice letter, calling my sister in Ohio to let her know that she was gaining a new roommate and packing up my suitcases. I was pretty done. I told God that this was more than I could handle and I was leaving.

Pretty much me lately...

Thankfully, I’ve got  level-headed friends and family.

After a few friends talked me down and told me to keep hanging in there; I calmed down and realized that I was trying to run again instead of facing my problems head on. I had to stop allowing others to dictate how I felt.  So on Friday, I decided to walk into work, and do some much needed confrontation.

Not at all what happened, just thought this was adorable.

It took me a while to say what was eating me. When I first walked in, I didn’t say much which immediately alerted my boss that something was wrong. The downside to working with a bunch of counselors is that they are trained in reading people, so you can’t hide ANYTHING you are feeling.

My boss pulls me into the kitchen asked me if I was okay. I gave my usual scarily calm response: “I’m fine.”

To this she smiles and replies: ” You’re pissed. I can hear it in your voice and see it in your eyes.”

Damn counselors.

After a much needed talk about what was going on in my workplace, my boss tells me: ” Honey, you need to find your voice. It’s not healthy holding all that in.” She’s right. By Friday, my muscles were tense and achy, I had an awful headache and  since I had no appetite, I’d barely eaten since Wednesday.  I felt awful, physically, not to mention how strung out I was feeling emotionally. In no way is any of that healthy.

So after hugging it out and a couple of cups of coffee, my boss asked me if I had any tools that I used to release stress and express anger.

As a matter of fact…I do.

Prior to  confronting my boss, I had decided to go to a shooting range to relieve some stress. I starting researching gun ranges and found out that there is one 5 minutes from my house named Caswells. How convient. After a little more research I discovered that they have ladies night on Tuesday and Fridays where women shoot for free minus the bullets and targets.

Shoot for free...and get a pony!

Now when I decided to go shooting, I figured that I’d be like Carrie Ann Moss in the Matrix, doing flips and shooting targets while floating in mid air. I wanted to shoot with a rifle or shotgun with a scope, because that is what Carrie Ann Moss would do (I’m a huge Matrix fan…ONLY the first one).  I was certain that I would be a natural. I walked in Caswells like I owned the joint, the real HBIC.

Sue knows.

Apparently shooting on a Friday is a popular hobby in Mesa because I had to wait for an hour and a half before I could shoot. I wasn’t too bummed; there was a lot to look at in the gun shop. My favorite merchandise was the extensive library of books and movies about shooting. Some of  the books that I skimmed through were: ” Bullets and Babes”, ” Armed and Female” and my personal favorite,  “Glock Magic”. I wanted to purchase one of these for the humor factor , but most of the books were around 15-30 bucks.

Finally, my name is called. This is when reality set in.

Expectations...Reality. Really?! The eyes are in the forehead!!!

I don’t know exactly when my courage left. I know that I was fine while I waited in the shop and while I was checking out all the scopes. But as soon as the gunsmith started going through which gun to use and how to load them,  all that courage left with my deluision that I had any idea what I was getting myself into.

I was pretty worried about accidentally shooting myself or others, so I choose a really small gun. I don’t remember what I shot with because at the time, I was so nervous about shooting that all I could focus on was not causing an accident. Apparently the guys who worked at the range made a few jokes about first time shooters but I didn’t even hear them. I did catch one of the guys saying that I looked like a deer in headlights, and that I was cute because I looked so scared. They handed me my chosen weapon in a carrying case, UNLOADED, ear plugs, 100 bullets, zombie target and googles. They had me read this list of rules on the door that I never remembered and had me meet one of the gun trainers in lane six where they would show me how to shoot a gun. Super.

This would have made it less scary.

When I got to the back, my gun trainer taught how to load the bullets into the magazine, where the safety was and how to hold the gun so that I would have the most control.  He then went over the rules with me again, and advised me to try my best not to shoot anything but the target. I heard none of what he was saying. Then, he left me.

I now know how dogs feel

I stood around in my lane for quite a while before I picked up my gun. It took me another 5 minutes to load the thing because I was shaking so much. Finally I took a deep breath, aimed the gun and pulled the trigger.

I have to say that the first shot was the most thrilling and the scariest! I ended up doing pretty well and unlike most first-timers, I used all 100 of my bullets. I only got hurt once (not by a gunshot wound!!) when one of the bullet casings bounced back and hit my arm. Those suckers are hot! Other than that, everything went well.

I walked back into the shop, proud of my accomplishments. My pride was bolstered further when the gun smith complimented me for not shooting the clips that hold the target and mentioned that my experienced gun trainer still shoots them. I was starting to feel pretty proud of my myself when I showed the guys my target and they started giggling:

If this had been a real zombie encounter...I wouldn't have made it.

The majority of my bullets ended up not hitting the zombie, but hey, they stayed on the target. One of the guys joked that the zombie was running so that explained why so many bullets ended up in the white area. Haha.

Overall I had a good time and after shooting 100 bullets I did feel better.  Sure, not all my problems were solved, but at least now I had an outlet. Of course I plan on using other outlets like exercising and dancing, but when I really need to blow off some steam, shooting works.

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