I had been a “wild child” a tomboy, but in my upbringing I was inundated with the idea that peaceful solutions were the only solutions, which was difficult for someone who is really naturally as aggressive I now realize I am. I always struggled to keep the violence under control, always suppressed it. It never worked very well, but did keep any rage I did express mostly vocal rather than physical. I had no idea about how to actually channel it instead. I did become obsessed with fitness, but in the ’70 and ’80s the messages to girls and women about strength were even worse than today, but I did try.
The turning point was, as it sadly is for many women, a sexual assault that I experienced in my late ‘teens. I realized the world was not safe, that in a violent world sometimes defensive aggression was needed. At the time my answer was to seek out someone who could protect me, but I was fortunate. While this ex-Marine, Viet Nam vet and I had truly little in common, while politically we were opposed and it turned out he was a racist and I had to get him out of my life when I learned that, he was not inclined to see himself as just my protector. He believed I should be stronger and know how to defend myself and was the first to teach me more effective ways to weight train and gave me my first lessons in self-defense. This would be the only time I would look to a man to protect me, as I left that relationship more confident in my own abilities.
Through the next few years my interest in the warrior path grew, I studied historical and mythological women warriors, I became interested in the reclamation of ancient warrior Pagan traditions. I became involved in groups working on this and continued to try to learn to strengthen my body and my skills. Most often I was the token woman or the only woman involved who was not the wife or girlfriend of another member. These women seldom saw themselves as serious warriors, but more a auxiliary and seemed to view me as some sort of an abomination. I found no close role models, only stories of women in the past. This made it harder to know what I was striving for, to know what I could expect from myself. It perhaps kept my expectations lower than they might have been.
Then some of the men in a group I was working with started to talk about this woman, but their attitude didn’t give me much to go on about what her story was. Others I knew at the time, who I hadn’t expected to have much interest in such things, began talking about her. So I sought her out. Sarah Connor.
As a heard her story, I was amazed. How she had gone from being a young woman who saw a very conventional future for herself, to losing family and friends and realizing she had a destiny that she would have to fight to protect. While her story of machines from the future took a leap of faith on my part, I saw in her the role model I was seeking. And that other women were.
I took on the training I had started with more earnest. My fitness goals were more clear as I became a Personal Fitness Trainer, although I quickly learned that a normal career in a business still so focused on helping women get thin and not strong was not for me. I continued various Martial Arts and self-defense training, eventually even picking up and learning to use guns, something I’d at one time not been comfortable with. I was at first mostly comfortable only with shotguns, which I had had some past experience with, but eventually started training with pistols and rifles. I began preparing for the future in ways I never expected to, for even if Sarah’s machines don’t come, something will. Something always does. And I continued to study our culture and other cultures and how women have been warriors despite the struggles it has meant just to take on that role.
Realizing how Sarah Connor’s transformation from Waitress to Warrior could inspire other women, women who still constantly get messages to be thin, don’t take up too much room, don’t be “too masculine,” don’t be aggressive, only men are warriors, men are naturally stronger than women, …. I convinced Sarah, who was always looking for more recruits for the future Resistance and often frustrated by the lack of women among them, to start the Sarah Connor Charm School. To have a place where women struggling to find their transformation from what ever they have been raised to be to Warrior could train. And so this started.
I am currently Dean of SCCS and am one of the more out-and-about from the Charm School, seeking out other women who Sarah’s story can inspire. There are now various branches of the school, we will be prepared.
Scáth na Feannóige–Saigh’s project exploring fénnidecht (Irish Outlaw Warrior path) in service to the Irish War Goddesses Badb, Macha and the Morrígan
Major Waldron Sportsmen’s Association –one of the places Saigh received continued education
AWARE (Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment) –Another place she trains