05 September 2013

The Sisterhood of Shooting

While I don't avoid my identity as a woman shooter, it's not a perspective I've focused on here because I believe a lot of the beauty in shooting is not gendered. That said, this community is where I've found some of my best female friends and, indeed, sisterhood, which is why I invited my good friend, Tracy Hughes, to help capture what it is about getting together on the range that makes us want to get together off the range.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about "the Sisterhood" with regards to gals who enjoy shooting. The fact that I’m guest writing for Beauty Behind the Blast is, itself, a testimonial to "the Sisterhood.”

The Urban Dictionary defines “sisterhood” as “a bond between two or more girls, not always related by blood. They always tell the truth, honor each other, and love each other like sisters.”

Annette Evans (the Beauty) and I (the Therapist) couldn't be more different on the surface. We come from different cultural backgrounds, more than 20 years separate our ages, she’s petite and athletic and I’m, well….I’m neither of those and we are in very different stages of our lives. One thing, and one thing only pulled us together…shooting. But once we started talking about shooting, we discovered that there are entirely more similarities than there are differences between us like the love of the color purple and eclectic music choices on our MP3 players that range from Mozart to Slayer.

And so it is with the sisterhood of shooting. There is a bond between women that shoot that defies definition. The sisterhood is made up of different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities and viewpoints but get us on the range or in a discussion about guns and none of that seems to matter.

We Support Each Other in the Sport
Just like biological sisters, we support each other as sister shooters and competitors. We talk about competitions, new holsters, training and anything else gun related. We seem to know whether we should push each other or hold each other’s hand. And although many times, we face each other in competition, we celebrate each other in victory.

We Support Each Other in Life
It’s not all about the range or the guns. Although we bonded over the guns, we’ve taken the time to learn about each other. We check in to talk about families, jobs, illnesses and day to day challenges. Recently, when my mother passed away, girls from all over the country were text messaging me, emailing me or calling me just to let me know that they were thinking about me, praying for me and there for me if I needed a shoulder. Their messages held me up and really got me through a tough time.

I still haven’t been able to pinpoint why this sisterhood is so tight. It could be that we, as women, cannot always talk about our love of firearms or perhaps just don’t feel comfortable bringing that up in casual conversation. It could be that we have so many other things going on in our lives, like careers and kids and school. Shooting becomes the common recreational outlet and we don’t have to feel weird about enjoying it when we’re among friends who have the same kind of fun.
In addition to Annette, there are so many gals that I never would have had the honor of knowing had it not been for firearms and shooting. And now I can’t imagine life without them in it. Firearms have made us more than friends…we are a sisterhood!

I know a lot of people think about guns as just a violent tool, a "guy thing", or just a mysterious machine in some kind of vacuum. Firearms for me, though, have been a route to empowerment, enjoyment, fun, and friendship. Getting to know Tracy, and other women like her, is one of the best parts of going to the range!