Lupita Nyong’o is an actor, director and producer. On October 19, 2017 in an op-ed for the New York Times, the Oscar-winning actress detailed a pattern of predatory behavior Harvey Weinstein, a film producer, former film executive, and actor, had directed at her, starting when she was still a student at the Yale School of Drama. She writes,
“Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage.
I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.
Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion, and so I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance. He agreed to this and lay on the bed. I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that. “If we’re not going to watch the film, I really should head back to school,” I said.
I opened the door and stood by the frame. He put his shirt on and again mentioned how stubborn I was. I agreed with an easy laugh, trying to get myself out of the situation safely. I was after all on his premises, and the members of his household, the potential witnesses, were all (strategically, it seems to me now) in a soundproof room.”
Now, if she had agreed to accept a massage from him, and had been in the very unfortunate position of having to “escape a rear mount,” I would have to re-write the scene, perhaps employing a technique shown in this YouTube video created for children’s self-defense series. When you are ‘rear mounted’, the objective is to keep your senses about you and figure out how to destabilize the person sitting on you, by turning yourself into something like a rolling, shifting log and striking at any limb that forms their base, before either facing your attacker to engage in the fight or making your escape at your earliest opportunity. As the character in the video says: This is not easily done!
I’m grateful for this novel BJJ knowledge and hopeful that others will seek out similar training themselves or make it available for their children. Coach Marcio has many stories of bullies being upended, once students were brought to his school for training and confidence boosting.
What I’ve determined is that people who train themselves not to panic, don’t panic. Is it possible to NEVER EVER panic? It seems to me that you can be trained not to panic in one situation and that can lend itself to not panicking in other situations. As an example, if you are trained on how to deal with a skidding car, it’s very likely that if faced with other driving nightmares you’d be able to glide through fairly effortlessly. Skillfulness in one arena can lead to skillfulness in another.
In my quest to explore gratitude through the lens of creativity, I’m compelled to explore whether it is possible to become skilled at being grateful. In a following post, I’ll explore how one can train to be more skillful in giving particularly chosen emotions supremacy.