The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Only the adult you are can heal the Child you were

Yesterday I received an email from one of my 101/ TacFit Warrior students. It breaks my heart to say I've had dozens like it over the years. As with too many women she had childhood issues, and has struggled with her sexual expression and weight issues since that time. The following has been carefully redacted to protect her identity:

Dear Steve,

Hi, I hate to bug you when you're in the midst of such a huge move. I thought about posting to the 101, but there isn't really a topic this goes under and I don't know where to begin with backstory if I did try to post.

I've been giving myself permission to be pretty. I bought a few new things that look good on me and threw out some of the clothing so unflattering my friend K. makes me go home and change. I'm writing, and I even started putting up audiotracks for some of my poetry. I'm exercising (TacFit Warrior, pre-recruit) and deliberately nourishing my body. I'm losing weight, feeling good. People are noticing. I've been doing really good about not freaking out with all of my stuff. I just think of all the gorgeous women in my life who are not afraid to strut their stuff. Yeah, I can do that.

Then I get a facebook message from a total stranger who can't even keep his assumed names straight and I'm freaking out. Like I shouldn't have put up that profile pic where I feel all pretty and I shouldn't be posting audio tracks on my blog. I'm all kinds of down on myself like I should not be trying to get attention. I should slip back into the shadows where it's safe and stop putting myself out there like the weirdo magnet that I am. Yeah, I've got issues. I know I should not freak out over one message from a stranger on facebook. I mean I've had friend requests from strangers, I generally accept if we have a friend in common, but not if it doesn't feel right. I've just never been freaked out by a message before. I don't know if it's my baggage or his words, but it really got to me and I want to undo everything I've done in the past month towards allowing myself to be pretty. I'm gonna cut and paste our exchange and I'm sorry to bug you when I'm sure you're overwhelmed. I just want to know a) is he creepy or is it just my baggage setting off so many alarms? b) any suggestions on what to do about it, other than hide under a rock until I'm ninety? Any wisdom would be appreciated. It's been a long time since I've been this creeped out by someone.

Thank you,


(There followed a very obvious come-on from the "facebook friend." Yuck.)

Dear X:

Yep, he's hoping for a hook-up, but I wouldn't call it creepy. Just inappropriate. You dealt with it fine.

The other issue is the fear. You can 100% guarantee there'll be more, and you have to get ahead of it. Use the Fear Removal technique before you do TacFit, once a week ONLY.

If you don't remember:
1) be in a private space. Spend ten minutes thinking of your very worst case scenario. Really let yourself get scared, angry, guilty, whatever--do this until you are crying openly, and really feel the emotions.
2) Begin TacFit IMMEDIATELY. Just perform it. Don't think about the worst case any more. Just follow the directions. Tire yourself out enough to reach "second wind". This last part is CRITICAL. You must reach "second wind" at least once.
3) Work for flow. Follow your breaths, seek proper form, let the magic in TacFit do the rest.

Every time you do this, you should notice your fear decreasing by about 30%. This technique is absolute dynamite. Remember that you have decades of encysted emotion, hon. There is a way out, but you're going to have to process the pain. This will do the job incredibly well.

You need to figure that you'll be processing your emotions the rest of your life. It's what we all have to do, X. You have some special challenges, but nothing you can't handle.

much love,


The important things to consider about the above:

1) When you wear armor to protect your emotions, as it begins to slip away, you WILL experience the fear. And that fear WILL sabotage your efforts unless you have coping mechanisms in place BEFORE YOU REACH THE FEAR. Get ahead of the curve.

2) Any aerobic exercise that takes you through second wind will work for the "Fear Removal" technique. For several reasons, "TacFit Warrior" is perfect, but you can also use dancing, running, Bikram yoga, or hitting the heavy bag (my favorite!)

3) Fear will hide as anger, guilt, and shame. Don't be fooled. What happened to you in childhood was NOT your fault. Every child has the right to be protected from predators, bullies, and neglect. Be that as it may, it is now your responsibility to heal yourself, or your life will slip away from you.

God bless the wounded children.

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