The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
By JOSH FLYNN, Features Editor
Published: October 24, 2012
They’re the ones we usually encounter first when entering a bar, club or lounge—the bouncer.
On a weekend night at Ballard’s Shelter Lounge, there are three. Two of them are the kind you might expect: monolithic guys, armed with Maglites. The third wears a flannel shirt with her hair in braids—twenty-three year-old Hannah Jacobson.
A few hours ago, she was in class at North Seattle Community College. A few days ago, she was training in jiu-jitsu in Fremont. Four years ago, she was in a hospital in Missoula, Mont. delivering her daughter. Six years ago, she was pulling shards of crystal meth out of a carpet.
Jacobson was born in Missoula, Mont. At age nine, she lost her youngest sister to cancer. When Jacobson was in the fifth grade, her family moved to Seattle. They lived in an apartment complex in Capitol Hill while her father worked for the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
Coming to the city from a small town was a drastic change for them all. Jacobson recalled the broken concrete and tetherballs of elementary school being different from the rolling grasslands that surrounded her school in Missoula.
All through middle school, Jacobson was constantly in trouble. It continued through high school, where she was suspended three times.
“I dropped ecstasy in class. I took shrooms on the first day of my junior year,” she said.
It was that junior year that held a lot for her.
After searching out the “wrong crowd,” Jacobson was deep into hard drugs.
“Finding the worst crowd led me to smoking meth, shooting up heroin and taking PCP,” she said.
Anger and being unable to identify with supposed peers was what fueled her desire to self-destruct.
“My sister’s death caused questioning. While I learned at a young age that life was not fair, I was at that point still confused about it,” she said.
It was her seventeenth birthday and she was in a meth pad.
“I spent that day picking out shards of meth from a carpet.”
The drug pattern continued for several months. During this time, Jacobson was sexually assaulted and stalked.
“At that point, I didn’t care. I wanted to die. Nothing mattered, nothing made sense. Everything to me was garbage,” she said.
After a few months, Jacobson (with a shaved head) found herself detoxing back in Montana.
With the help of a family friend, she landed a spot in a program called Youth Harvest.
Youth Harvest functions as an alternative to drug court. As part of the program, Jacobson worked on a pea farm. She grew organic food, raised chickens and even finished high school.
She was determined to change things in her life for the better.
“I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be a good person, and I felt that all coming to me through this program,” she said.
It was during this time that Jacobson met her future husband Jonathan. One sunny day, she was out skateboarding with her dog. He was on a bike passing by. Since that first conversation that followed, the two have been inseparable.
“We’ve tried to get rid of each other but it still hasn’t worked yet,” Jacobson said.
Jonathan currently works as a carpenter. He was a land firefighter for a private fire company.
While the two were dating, he brought her along to fight fires along side him due to the company being shorthanded. In her first season, she back-burned a fire with a drip torch, not something rookies typically do.
A year after their daughter Maya was born, the two moved back to Seattle while Jonathan continued to fight fires back in Missoula.
It was a new chapter for Jacobson. She returned to school, focusing her studies on psychology and painting.
Eventually, she got a job as a bouncer at The Ballroom in Fremont. It was her very first security job.
“She can hold her own to say the least,” said Nate Thomas, the Security Manager at The Ballroom.
On her first night, she put a man in an arm lock after he tried to grope her.
“After that it was a done deal. I’ve never seen her back down,” Thomas said.
While Jacobson now works at Shelter Lounge in Ballard, she still bounces at The Ballroom occasionally.
According to Thomas, it was Jacobson’s pursuit of jiu-jitsu that led him to hire her.
Jacobson started learning jiu-jitsu less than a year ago. She currently trains under Lindsey Johnson in Fremont.
“She’s a little monster who doesn’t like to be babied,” Johnson said.
Despite being immersed in hobbies and roles many might associate to be masculine, Jacobson openly rejects feminism altogether.
“The reason I don’t advocate for feminism at all is because it’s a singular equality movement, focusing on equal rights for one specific group of people, rather than all,” Jacobson said.
She began posting her views on this issue (among others) on a blog under the name “Bigot Vanquisher.”
Despite the checkered past, the many roles and experiences she’s had, rather than be disillusioned or lost, Jacobson has a very strong sense of idenity.
“I’ve become the person I’ve always wanted to be. I know who I am and where I’m going.”