In *Nicole’s own words: As a 42-year-old I never thought I’d be where I find myself today – heading into a taekwondo class amongst a sea of children.
As the only adult donning a white belt, I feel a little out of place and somehow gigantic!
I’m the type of person who breaks into a sweat upon entering a gym. Not the endorphin inducing kind, but the get-me-out-of-here kind.
But when I found out about the self defence morning hosted by Hit WA (Fight for Change), late last year, it piqued my interest.
Whilst going through some basic self defence manoeuvres, I got to hear about the inspirational lady – Kristy- who started taekwondo at the age of 40, and was inspired to start the Pink Belt Scholarship for women who were experiencing hardships and particularly those suffering from the trauma of domestic violence.
This time last year I had given up on life. I felt that my life was no longer my own and I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt joy.
I had escaped domestic violence 5 years prior, driving to WA from QLD with 3 children and a car of belongings.
In those low moments I made it my mission to help women just like me. I worked hard and ended up doing exactly that.
I became an advocate for women experiencing family and domestic violence. Through this role, I witnessed the impact that broken homes had on children, and decided that’s where I wanted to be next.
So I worked hard and that’s exactly where I am at now. I work in the child protection industry, and whilst very rewarding, it comes with its own safety issues and mental challenges.
When my personal life came crashing down – having to support an ex with a drug addiction, and raising a baby as a result, my life became about everyone else and I realised I had all but disappeared. When someone asked me what I enjoy doing, I didn’t have an answer.
So, when I found out about this wonderful initiative I thought “why not?”.
With my self confidence at an all time low, and feeling like a shadow of my former self, I sent my application.
And here I am! Arriving at another training session, in my second month and loving it. I feel strong and empowered.
I feel more confident; and have found a little piece of joy, in one hour a day, twice a week. And it’s mine.
When my scholarship period ends, I hope to continue on, and aim towards that seemingly elusive black belt. Everyone looks good in black, right?
I know that in time, I will have the skills to protect myself – mentally and physically – both in my personal and professional life, and there is something a little bit empowering about that!
My work schedule is still crazy but I try to make it to both training sessions.
I used to balk at the thought of entering a gym, but at my Taekwondo club, there is a fostered sense of “community”.
Beneath all the sweating and gravity defying kicks, there lies a familial respect and warmth towards each other and you can feel it in the room.
I’m so grateful and humbled to be a part of this journey toward empowerment and discipline.
(*name changed to protect identity)
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