I never really liked the word “feminist,”even though it seems to be a title I have attracted often.
It fits part of who I am, but not really all of who I am.
I also never really liked being called the “hippie chic”, a “yogni”, “the business woman”, a “liberal”, a “free spirit”, the “smart one”, the “dumb one”, the “logical one”, the “emotional one”, the “rule breaker” (well, I actually do like that tag)—but the fact is I don’t like being labeled; ultimately, no label really fits the all of who I am.
I reserve the right to change! I reserve the right to be outside of the box and create something new. A label seems to keep you “in” a place or confines one to a role in life. I feel we are all here to be ever changing and evolving to our next higher consciousness.
That is of course until now—because, I was recently called a badass…and I liked it! I tried it on for size in my mind, thinking—Hum, I’m a badass. It made me smile—it seems kind of all encompassing. I feel like I can keep moving with this tag, it doesn’t stop me, it moves with me!
I thought of the dozen or so people I would consider to be badass. Joan Halifax came to mind, a number of poets, my sixth grade teacher, Oprah. People that show deep compassion, love and balance. Everyone that came to mind seemed to be well practiced in the strong back soft front concept of living. I liked it a lot but I put the thought aside and went about my day.
Then, I fell for the title completely.
It happened when I met a 92-year-old woman that told me she had learned a new word. I responded with “Cool, it’s always nice to learn something new”; she said “It’s badass”!
I, with one eyebrow raised and a smile on my face, replied with pecked interest “What’s badass?” “The word” she said smiling back at me “The word I learned was ‘badass’!”
I laughed and gestured for her to sit with me at my coveted little corner coffee shop table. “Care to explain your expanded vocabulary?” I offered. We both settled in with our coffees and she relayed to me the story of making her great grandson some homemade cookies. After calling him into the kitchen, for what she thought would be an afternoon tea of sorts, she explained that he grabbed a handful of cookies and took off without ever looking up from the phone in his hand.
As she told me this, I could see the memory made her sad. What she did next is what set’s her apart for so many—she become his compassion teacher. She said, “Hold it!”, with hands on hips, stomped one foot and told him to drop the phone and sit down. He turned with a shocked look on his face, as if he didn’t even know she was in the room. He followed her request to sit of course, “and with a smile” she told me, obviously pleased with herself.
Her face softened as she explained that they ate over a dozen cookies and made each other laugh for an hour.
I recalled the teaching from Joan Halifax, that love and compassion has many faces, fierce, tender, passionate and wise—while also having many enemies, such as fear, pity and self-righteousness.
Rita then finished her story by saying that as her grandson turned to walk away, he said “Great cookies, Grandma—there is nobody like you—you are badass!” I smiled and instantly thought, that’s it, that’s the title I want to aspire to…badass! If you are “badass” you have the Chutzpah to say kindly and firmly what you know to be true.
Therefore, I declare the title of Badass a perfectly acceptable tag! I declare badass to be defined as one who aspires to walk in the world with love and compassion, to have balance, integrity, flexibility, courage, an open heart and an open mind.
Joan Halifax also states that compassion is inherent, but that it requires cultivating in order to activate; I believe that it will take all of us stepping up to define these qualities as badass in order to evolve us forward as a supportive community.
What I know to be true is that we are never just one thing…none of us.
Be who you are, as long as you go with compassion and love you are a badass.
The Barefoot Capitalist is a freedom fighting skidiver that believes smiling is a super power, a compassion advocate, dog lover, chef, baker, runner, consultant, mediator, joyful optimist, yoga enthusiast, artist, writer, beach comer, student of everything master of doing nothing.
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Asst. Editor: Edith Lazenby/Ed: Bryonie Wise