WARNING! This article contains foul language. Well actually, it contains one apparently “inappropriate” word: Badass.
This is according to my mother.
When I told her the title of this particular blog, there was silence on the other end of the phone. A few brief moments later she replied: “That word is not very ladylike.” She then wondered if I would be interested in changing “badass” to perhaps the following:
A Force to be Reckoned With
You get it. But because my mother is perfection to me, I do take her comments seriously. Yet there is just something about the word “badass” that feels, well, badass. My current book obsession may have something to do with this. How To Be A Badass, by Jen Sincere, has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for weeks, maybe even months now. While Sincere focuses on a variety of topics to help release your “badassery,” the overall theme is, and I quote:
“It’s about having the cojones to show up as the brightest, happiest, baddest version of yourself, whatever that looks like to you.”
This very fun book read goes on to describe how determination, trust, and vision, all wrapped up with an unshakable belief in yourself, can dramatically improve your life and work. It adds that living in fear is a habit we have grown all too familiar with, simply because we have heard the word “no” so often throughout our lives. Therefore, as a result, we are hesitant to take risks. Fear, along with seeking approval and perfection, are the biggest thieves we inherit and often prevents us from daring to do what we desire.
This makes so much sense. In other words, we are accustomed to finding an existence that is based on comfort, but yet, in reality, “comfort” can be our worst enemy. It stops us from challenging ourselves, seeking new experiences and even friendships. The problem with being too relaxed, is that we stop being motivated.
Which is why I love me a badass.
As I attempt to move it up a notch or three in my attempts to let go of the “comfortable” and discover the inspiring, I need to confess right here and now that this has been no easy feat. I like a comfortable bed, comfortable paycheck, not to mention a big ole plate of comfort food. I thrive on a schedule, and any attempt to disrupt my normal activity is almost always met with resistance. But, as the old saying goes:
“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
However, I am also so fortunate. When I went away to college, the first person in my family to do so, my parents gave me their full support despite my father’s last words to me as I piled into my bright orange VW Bug: “I’m not paying for a four year party.” Or my mother whispering in my ear, “You never know when we are going to show up.” Talk about fear.
When I moved to Washington, D.C. after graduating, despite no job and just enough money to survive for three months, my mother said: “Go for it.” I’ve had mentors that pushed me, and a husband that has embraced everything I pursued, especially when I told him I wanted to write a blog and his reaction was, well maybe a forced smile.
Which brings me to the point of this story. Many times throughout my week, I come across an inspiring person that truly moves me. More than likely, this is someone who has stepped outside the box and confronted a challenge that was paralyzing, eye-opening and everything in between. Maybe this is a man or woman who has been overwhelmed with setback after setback, yet comes back fighting. Whatever the reason, whatever the motivation, a badass doesn’t give up. A badass isn’t afraid to try. A badass doesn’t quit the game when it gets tough, or the opponent plays rough.
This is why I’m inaugurating my “Badass of the Week.”
Meet Norma. At 90 years old, she is experiencing the adventure of a lifetime. She lost her husband of 67 years and two days later diagnosed with uterine cancer. With the doctors insisting on operating immediately, followed by chemotherapy, radiation, then recuperating in nursing home, Norma’s son and his wife instead invited her to join them on the road, in their motor home, where they were happily spending their retirement years. According to their Facebook page, Driving Miss Daisy, Norma, upon receiving this offer, looked at her doctor and said:
“I’m hitting the road.”
That simple sentence she now says, has given her a new lease on life. Traveling over 7,000 miles to date, Norma has visited the presidents at Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful at Yellowstone, taken in the views at the Grand Canyon, traveled in a hot air balloon in Florida, visited the space shuttle and put her toes in the ocean. Interviewed by the Today Show, her son says that she is “living a life and not in an end-of-life mentality.” This experience, he also says, has allowed mother and son to enjoy long conversations and much laughter, all one of a kind memories that never would have happened if she didn’t say:
“I’m hitting the road.”
So sorry Mom for the bad word, but Norma, you are a badass.
Checkout: Driving Miss Norma on Facebook.