Saturday, December 31, 2016

8 Guidelines to Being Bad Ass

Everybody's got goals.
One of mine is to be Bad Ass.

I spent dang near fifty years wanting to be a Good Girl and I've found that pursuit to be completely disappointing and dull and not the slightest bit rewarding. I've decided to change my entire approach to life and to become Bad Ass!

It's going to be a journey because I still have Good Girl baggage to shed. I still want people to like me. I still want to be considered Nice. I'm not good at voicing dissenting opinions. I can't post things on Facebook that are unpopular or that some might consider bitchy. I definitely can't spout uninformed opinions without doing the research. And I know some people who have very very inaccurate images of me because they have gotten their information from other people and I can not and will never address their misconceptions.

I'm 53 Years Old!!!!!!! I can do this. I can break these milquetoast habits, erm, personality traits and I can take the risks and state my opinions loudly and proudly. I can be unabashedly myself without regard for how certain people will view me...because they misunderstand me no matter what I do anyway, right?

Now that I'm on a roll...what IS Bad Ass? Well, I did a little bit of research:
The Urban Dictionary defines a badass as someone who does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants. You won't find him on Facebook because he is probably out being cool somewhere. He might be on a motorcycle, but it's probably not a Harley or a crotch rocket because he won't spend that much money to be accepted. He feels no obligation whatsoever to justify his beliefs, values, convictions, morals, etc., with anyone. He likes his music because it sounds cool to him. You won't find him if you look for him because there is no sure way to identify him. One does not think that he is badass; he KNOWS it, and that's that. Alternatively, a badass is the complete opposite of a douchebag.

I honestly think the Urban dictionary thinks that only male paramilitary douchebags can be bad ass...furthermore I don't think that the person who wrote that definition is bad ass. So I will read some other words on the interweb because, obvs the Urban Dictionary has alot to learn about who and what is bad ass. At some website called I found an article called Eight Traits that make you a Bad Ass. That sounded promising. In brief the suggestions are: 

  • They say yes first, then figure out how to deliver
  • They think differently than everyone else
  • They speak up
  • They have a replicable skill that others can learn
  • They live by their own code
  • They have the audacity to do things that others only wish they could do
  • They never, ever, ever give up
  • They don’t listen to the haters

OK, I like that, but something is rubbing me wrong there. I don't think I have it in me to not listen to haters and dissenters. There can be wisdom there at times, at least there can be opportunities for learning...I think. I'll read some more.

Oh GEEEZ...some more ridiculous advise is given to young searchers on a website called Your Guide to Better Love and Relationships. Apparently a bad ass requires a person to have a wicked stare, to speak in six word sentences, and to never blink. Or smile. Or show emotion. Good grief, who writes this schlock? And who is the poor young person seeking guidance from these sources? Surely the same people who used to read the ragmag Cosmo when I was younger.  Slowly raises hand with a blush.

Without giving Wiki a single whiff of mojo, an article there called How to be a Bad Ass seems to think that Clint Eastwood and being cocky is the same thing as being a bad ass... CLEARLY my quest is not going to be complete by reading bullshit expected to be consumed by skinny boys in high school who are already bad asses by being themselves but who think that muscles and assholery is bad ass because stupid social media misinforms... UUUGH, those young boys will have tons of mind mush to wade through to get to themselves. How discouraging. This online search is not helpful at all.

And for the love of all things holy, don't read this bullshit.

Looks like, a usual, I will have to figure it out for myself. So what do I mean when I say I want to be a Bad Ass? Because this has been something I've wanted for decades now; seems I would have figured it out by now. I see certain people and I think Man, I want to be like that! They speak their mind and take no names! (Hello Rayven) Or I think She is so smart and cool; I want to be like her! (Hello Mary and Megan) Or I notice my own reticence to say certain things in a public forum and I wonder why I am so wishy-washy...but I also know that words have power and there is consequence to their use...and I care about those things.

Actually, I guess I have figured it out because there are a few qualities that are essential in badassery, in my opinion, qualities that have absolutely nothing to do with black leather, cigarettes hanging out of your mouth, steady stares, preferring scotch over fooffy drinks, or having muscles on muscles. There is no short cut and there are no accessories necessary. Fooffy drinks are delicious. And every skinny person, heavy person, lonely person in the High School of Life can be a fricking Bad Ass according to my Eight rules of Bad Assery. Just remember, when I say rules I mean suggestions. Do your own thing. Because FUCK rules.

  • Embrace your Interests with a Passion.
    Is it the Civil War reenactment? Writing historical fiction? Anime'? Archery? Etymology? Cosplay? Weight lifting? Debate? Chess? Softball? Get into it and enjoy it with gusto. Not everyone can do that and many people don't have the intellect that it takes to enjoy it. So YOU enjoy that, be enlarged by it. Embrace your very own interests.
  • Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
    The truth is, people tend to judge and short-cut-think and hide in groups. Having the courage to stand alone, to be misunderstood, to quietly have integrity is SO freaking bad ass. And so is pushing your own envelope. Trying things that are difficult, speaking up with a quivering voice, approaching someone with an introduction and risking rejection...that, My Friend, is bad ass.
  • Fall Five Times, Get up Six.
    Resiliency can be one of the most difficult qualities to develop because you are only called on to be resilient when there is failure, depression, loneliness, discouragement, humiliation, public stuff, and fatigue. And no one else is there to see it, the reboot. No one but you. Being able to get back up and begin again in a very internal and personal decision...and is so so bad ass.
  • Remember that Social Media is Full of Shit.
    Don't be taken in by the artificiality of social media images and claims. No one looks like that. Everyone chooses what they show in public. Everyone has doubts. No one shows their B game. Being human is the same for all of us; some people just have a better ability to flaunt and exhibit their sleight-of-hand image. Everyone. And good looks are both fleeting and insubstantial. Internal beauty always always always means more.
  • Be Your Own Best Friend.
    That's right, talk kindly about yourself. See your own efforts. Recognize your good intentions. Build yourself up instead of focusing on the stuff that didn't work. We all, all of us, have failures and growth areas. We can acknowledge those growth areas and encourage ourselves to be better tomorrow than we are today...that is the way to bad assery. Not perfection. But self improvement.  Self empowerment. I'm not kidding about this. When you build yourself up, when you put your own breathing mask on first, you are able to do for others...
  • Avoid the Kardashians.
    Whoever the hell they are. Unless you like them. Real substance, real information, real education, real knowledge. That is the stuff of the real bad asses. The person walking on the moon didn't get there by learning about who the super stars are dating. They got there by personal growth and integrity, by learning about the sciences, and by looking up. And by being resilient. Because even astronauts puke...only they do it in the presence of other astronauts.
  • Say NO to that which does not Feed you.
    People and activities that drain you emotionally, financially, spiritually, or any other way are generally options in our lives.  Choose what brings you growth, love, goodness. Because being a bad ass means not letting people kick you when you are down. And learning to say No is a real ass kicking thing. Some people never learn it...but you can.
  • No One is Fearless.
    Feel the fear. It often informs us somehow. Then step up to the plate and do it anyway because facing it is Bad Ass AF.

I'm sure there are more, but this is a great start.
And, as it happens, when I use this guide to being a Bad Ass, I see that I am already a bit of a Bad Ass...and getting badder every day.

 Please, in the comments, tell me how YOU are a bad ass.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 was NOT a Shitty Year

It's that time of year for reflection, for looking back and for looking forward and almost everyone I know is disparaging 2016. 

For me, this year was wonderful. 

Old, meaningful friendships
New and growing friendships
Meeting Liz & Reuban and family
Family dinners
Visiting friends
Visiting family
John's driving
Jerry's exciting work projects
Golden days
Elizabeth's college triumphs
Jessica and Ryan are pregnant!
Elizabeth on stage
JD on stage
So many concerts and plays and shows
Writing projects
K Dramas
Travel to Arizona
Meeting JD's siblings

Travel to Chicago
Travel to Washington DC
Dozens of wonderful family parties
Game nights
The Wisdom of friends
Growing interest in politics and global events
Camp Quest
Nature walks
Kids and their creative projects
Day trips
Summer classes
Deep, meaningful, cleansing conversation
Photo shoots
Pumpkin picking
Futures being planned
Healthier sister, mother, brother, friend
Burgeoning humans
Strengthening family connections
Gift giving and getting
Options being explored and investigated
Loving and Lessons Learned
Tim's growing relationship
Kids with jobs
Safety, safe children
Kids who are friends
Lunches and times with friends
New hobbies
One-on-one time with my kids
Loving my husband
Making up reasons to celebrate with ice cream cake
Nights on the town
Wine and Cheese
Good health
Dinner with friends
Moonlight and starshine
Perfectly average days...

Yeah, I loved 2016 
One of the best years ever

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Keeping CHRIS in Christmas

It's a few days past Christmas and I'm sitting here thinking about what we accomplished this past Christmas in our home. Dare I call it Christmas and not the seculars' favored term the holidays
Sure, was a Christmas Day, because that is what we call it here in our home. Others celebrate other holidays.

See, it's simple like that.

Anyway, we had so much family and friends for Christmas. It was WONDERFUL. Trees, food, games galore, gifts, laughter, and so much love. I would hate to miss out on the family celebration because I was afraid of the insistence from religion that this holiday belongs to them. It does not. It belongs to us.

Our family had the wonder and amazing opportunity to see Christmas through the eyes of children who had never celebrated Christmas before. Ever. Seeing their mother open her mind to the possibility of a positive and secular holiday was such a gift and seeing the kids learn the true value of giving.

These kids had never had a tree. They had not sung carols. They hadn't opened a single gift. They hadn't played holiday games. The kids' mother, my dear friend, has been on an extremely long and amazingly brave journey away from her extreme evangelical upbringing and personal belief. Aaaaaaaaaaall of the way to atheism. (*) What a delight to be a part of their lives and to see their boundaries being pushed...

I recieved the most beautiful gift I have ever gotten from these seven heart hurts with happiness just thinking about it.  <3

(*)  My friend has a book available on all about her amazing journey through religion and out into atheism called Free to Be: How I Went From Unhappily Married Conservative Bible Believer to Happily Divorced Atheistic Humanist in One Year and Several Complicated Steps. What a great, great read!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

End the Bah Humbug

A gift I give to you.

You have the power to make the holidays what they are. Have they been traumatic, contentious, divisive, drama? Do you carry holiday baggage? Past harms? Unshed tears? Unvoiced crimes and times?

You can end it right here and right now. You can change everything.
You can take the Decembers into the next generation as a family/lovely time.

Do it.
Your descendants won't know who to thank.
But it will be you.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The "P" in ENFP

I have to admit that I like to think I am not a judgy person, that I'm accepting of everyone, and that I like everyone. But you know what, it's not true. I'm judgy as hell.

I realize that now.

No, really. I have enjoyed thinking of myself in one way, as the "P" in the ENFP equation of the Meyers-Briggs temperament sorter, for example. Perceptive rather than the alternative judging. But the truth is as this year has progressed I find myself more and more snarky, more and more crabby, easier to annoy. Am I just getting old? Does this happen to everyone? 
Is it a phase?

Recently my husband and I were out on the town with a large group of people and I found myself saying the snarkiest things to my husband about the people around me even though I liked them all very much. At one point I stopped talking and said to him Oh my god, I thought I was a nicer person than this. Jer, as kindly as he could, replied, Maybe not so much...

What has gotten in to me? I do find myself fighting the negativity lately, even in spite of how great things are going here with the kids, with Jer, even in spite of our warm and wonderful holiday house...

It occurs to me as I'm writing this that in addition to the questionable "P" I'm also changing from the "E" to far more of an "I". I prefer being home, avoiding people, skipping social events. I don't like this change but it's true for me nonetheless.

It can't be Old Fart Syndrome already; I'm only 53. Plus friends my same age are out painting the town and, well, having energy... I'm thinking about it. I think I'll wait a bit and watch and see if I get nice again...

What? It could happen.

Friday, December 16, 2016

I'm a Bookie

I was visiting my sister a few months back and we were talking about plans for dinner and other meals we wanted to cook. She was quick to say Now I'm no foodie... And I have been thinking about that ever since. 

What in the hell is a foodie?

Is a person who refers to themselves as a foodie a person who enjoys food?
Aren't we all foodies? Don't we all eat?
Maybe I should call myself a FastFoodie because I totally prefer someone else to prepare my meals so I can pick them up through a handy window.

Anyway, if being a foodie means that a person has particular interest in food preparation or enjoyment, then I have to take that a step further and say that I am not a foodie. I am a bookie because I get so much satisfaction from reading. I have another blog that I started in order to just talk about books but I stopped writing there because it occurred to me that I simply could not process a book quickly. I could not write a blog post about a book just a day or two after finishing that book; I needed percolation time, processing time. But I LOVE talking about books, reading, authors, anything related to my love of books. 

I have been a heavy reader for my entire life, but recently I've realized I have been reading wrong. As a young girl I was one of the two fastest readers in my class, as per the speed reading machine, and I was proud of that. I have continued to read very fast, often reading for story rather than for language, skimming, zipping through long books, missing lots of detail and depth. This past few months have been a huge epiphany for me; I've decided to sloooow it down and to enjoy the read, rather than get through it quickly.
Out of My Mind blog -
My blog about books
I've also decided that my reading and book thoughts belong here, on my personal blog...because I am my reading. I am the culmination of the minds and words of so many authors. I can't separate myself from my reading.

At the moment I am reading several books. I just finished a book that I found out later was one of Oprah's recommended books. SO glad I didn't know that when I started the book because I wouldn't have read it. Her recommendation is the kiss of death to a book in my opinion. 

So yeah, I'm a bookie.
Are you a bookie too?