"I'm afraid I'll shoot myself in the foot."
"I'm afraid I'm too emotional."
"I'm afraid of the recoil."
"I'm afraid I'll go crazy and shoot someone."
"I'm afraid of loud noises."
"I'm afraid it will get taken away from me."
"I'm afraid of the hot brass."
"I'm afraid it will go off by accident."
"I'm afraid of having that much power."
"I'm afraid something bad will happen."
Despite hearing all of these reasons from other women, I have yet to meet anyone who was more afraid of guns than I was. I was deeply, irrationally afraid. My first trip to the range left me shaken, in tears, and somewhat ashamed.
Some time after that, though, my own stubbornness made me try again. I refused to let this...thing, this small metal object, get the best of me. I practiced at the range as often I could but probably more importantly, I thought a lot during that time. I questioned everything I believed about guns. I read gun blogs. I listened to new ideas. I saw myself in a whole new way. And as if by magic, the less ignorant I became about guns, the more my fear dissolved.
When I could honestly declare my hoplophobia well and truly conquered, there was this wild elation - I found myself feeling stronger and more free. "I can do this!" I thought. "Yay me!"
So now when I see another woman taking those first same tentative steps (and especially at the same range, with the same gunchick instructor*) I'm thrilled and excited for her...
I know they can do it, since I did.