Badassery (redefined)

For almost all of my life, I have respected the idea of a badass. Someone who lives on their own terms, lives without fear, perhaps even lives dangerously. Maybe it is a byproduct of growing up on a farm (of sorts), or at least growing up in the country, where we just did things without giving much thought to the consequences. Jumping motorbikes and snowmobiles over fences, pushing the limits with equipment, basically thumbing our noses at danger. Truth be told, I am still a bit too much like that (everyone at Transcend Coffee thinks of me as a cowboy, doing things that the average person wouldn’t even consider). I am not trying to be reckless, but I think it is a bit hard wired into me, from my time growing up - that you just get er’ done, safety be damned.

So working through Brené Brown’s definition of a badass (or badassery) has been a bit of an adjustment, and upon reflection, her notion of being a badass is growing on me. I like that she flips the notion on its head, and rather than celebrating the reckless, cowboy, safety be damned approach to life, that I grew up admiring, she celebrates the one who has the courage to be vulnerable. She writes

To me the real badass is the person who says, “Our family is really hurting. We could use your support.” And the man who tells his son, “It’s okay to be sad. We all get sad. We just need to talk about it.” And the woman you says, “Our team dropped the ball. We need to stop blaming each other and have some tough conversations about what happened so we can fix it and move forward.”

I have found the response to this blog interesting. I never expected many people to read it, and frankly, I am surprised that as many people have taken time out of their busy lives to ingest it as have done. But even more surprising than the analytics, is the conversations I have been having here and there with people who want to encourage me with the project.

I have had a couple of very encouraging conversations in the last couple of days, not because of them celebrating this blog, but far more importantly, because we had honest, raw, emotion filled talks about the shit in our lives. The conversations were about suffering, emotions, regret, failure, anger, resentment, and disappointment. And while that might not sound like fodder for great conversation, I left both instances feeling refreshed, uplifted, because for the first time in a long time, I was having meaningful interaction with friends which transcended the day-to-day, the mundane, the weather.

This little quirky project of mine, a journey into living wholeheartedly, and then writing about it, has opened unexpected doors into not just my life, but the raw lives of others, and is enabling human connection, the thing I have been longing for.

I still have no idea what the hell I am doing, or how I will get to where I need to ultimately end up. I still need to find a good therapist (if you know of one, please pass there name along). I still need to ingest more learning (2nd time through Rising Strong on my walks with Charlie). I need to figure out how to lean in more and practice it. I need to quit reacting and making assumptions concerning unpleasant circumstances and start living in the knowledge that people are doing the best that they can. I need to start being more curious about my own reactions and emotions, hell I need to figure out how to name my emotions! You would think that someone who can taste and identify flavours like black currant and jasmine in coffee and wine would be better at identifying the physiological and psychological responses that my body has; so much work to do. But in the midst of it all I am moving forward, growing, and more importantly seeing the fruit of this journey into being more vulnerable (Julie, I think you might be proud of me?).

So, while I still give props to the somewhat reckless actions of my youth, and acknowledge the things in my life that exist because of misguided bravery, I am starting to grasp (albeit slowly) the true bravery required to live wholeheartedly, to live in the midst of courageous and difficult conversations. Now I just have to figure out if I can still be a cowboy and a badass at the same time? LOL.