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Monday, April 1, 2013

Yes to Life

Linda Tran, interviewed October 14, IMPACT Chicago’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

How did you find IMPACT, what brought you here?

I used to work for JCFS. Margaret V. [IMPACT Instructor] had a raffle and that’s how I found out about IMPACT. A year ago, I moved to the city from the suburbs. I felt unsafe because there were so many crime reports circulating about girls getting phones snatched from them or being hit from behind and possessions taken from them. Just 2 months ago, I heard about an armed rapist who broke into a girl’s second-floor apartment in my neighborhood at 3 am and raped her, then got away.
That boosted my alertness level. I was anxious and paranoid walking down the street. I have to walk through these tunnels. I’d be very scared, looking over my shoulder. I’d get upset when my boyfriend couldn’t stay over to take care of me. I had to alter my behavior. I didn’t feel good inside. So, I looked at this course again and I wanted to sign up my sister, but she couldn’t do it with me. Leslie [Registration Director] from IMPACT reached out again and that’s what helped me sign up for the course, and a scholarship made it possible.
I took it over two full weekends, Saturday and Sunday, and the graduation was two weeks ago. Even after the first day of taking it, I felt empowered. My paranoia went all the way down. I knew what to do with my body. They teach you to trust your gut instinct. Because we trained so hard, even over-trained, all I had to do was be present in my body. Always be aware and stay in your body. I learned how to trust my body more and to trust that it can protect me when I need it to.
What’s powerful about IMPACT were the circles. I met ten other wonderful women and everyone was very supportive. In the very last circle, we do this thing where you could prepare something special to present. I didn’t have time to present anything but if I did, it would have been a poem because I used to write poetry. It would have been along the lines of “Everyone has come to be very special and have a place in my heart, and no matter what happens in life--knock on wood--if anything were to happen to any of us, always remember that we’re there and to hear our voices on the sidelines.” We’re not in it alone, we’re all together, no matter what, no matter where.
In our circles, when we get together at the end of any scenario or any fight, we would hold hands and say a big “Yes!” As Martha Thompson said, we have so many "No’s" in our lives, but you have to say “Yes” to so many other things. You have to say “Yes” to life.
Compared to class, today [the 25th Anniversary Celebration] was 4-5 times as much and that last circle that we just did felt very powerful with that big old "Yes". It leaves this feeling that I can do anything. I can go out there and not be afraid. We’re all worth fighting for, each of us, and we’re fighting for each other...we’re not alone.

Linda was interviewed by AC Racette

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