badassery.

What does it mean to be a badass?

Does it mean you have lots of tattoos, or you stay out late?

Does it mean you talk shit about other people behind their backs?

Or does it mean that you don’t do any of that, because you’re too busy doing you?

I dare say in my opinion, it’s the latter.

I’m a quiet person, and though I’m used to getting teased for it, I don’t really think that that trait should be so easily considered a “bad” or “weak” thing. What’s so cool about being loud, irritating and offensive? Is it supposed to make you feel more important, more ‘with it,’ more part of the gang?

I’m tired of people who think they’re better than everyone else.

I’m tired of sitting back and playing nice because if you can’t say anything nice don’t say it at all.

I’m tired of feeling stuck in a place where I know I’ve been unhappy since Day 1.

I’m tired of doing what I should, just because I should. Because I don’t want to be “cool”. I want to be innately badass.

….And I think the defining traits of this word have changed; in fact, they’re changing as we speak.

With a little research, it appears the use of the word has only really been in rotation for the last 70 years. But suddenly the word is shifting gears into something both feminine and chic, too. To be a tough, empowered woman, well – you better be a badass. And you better be willing to say it out loud, too.

Take these bracelets. These podcasts. This book series. And all. these. quotes.

the most dangerous animal in the world is a

You see, I was really diving hard into the Badass Rebrand because, for a while there, I felt like I was truly living it up at my job. Managing multiple projects, taking every incoming phone call, maintaining schedules and deadlines for everyone around me – feeling genuinely pissed off every time I was left feeling like the only one who truly understood what was going on. In a way, anger was toughening me up from the inside out….and in those moments, I was Badass. Hear Me Roar.

But I’m still a good girl by nature. And I tend to place myself on the quieter, more complacent and pleasing sector of the spectrum – regardless of how I feel on the inside. And I think that hurts my potential. Despite the fact that everyone loves someone who does what they’re told, I think it does more harm than help. And I don’t want to be about that at all.

About a month ago, my male coworker, whom I’ve mentioned had taken a month’s leave, came back and re-assimilated into his old role – my new one. And instead of moving up in our small company, which we’d all hoped he would do, he just came back to life as usual. Which meant I had to go back to things as usual, too. The boys club ensued, and catty remarks were made about old pianos and lackluster customers and former employees who shall not be named. And now I’m realizing that, much as I wanted him back around for company, I’m finding an even more bitter taste in my mouth now:

I don’t like my options for staying, even if it means being depended on as much as I was for that short time. Now, I just want to have my exit strategy neatly planned out with as minimal guilt as possible. But alas, while I’m here, I can’t help feeling like I’m being stunted a little bit. Maybe I had been from my very first day, truly unable to break into anything more than I knew. I just didn’t realize it until that presence holding me back disappeared. And now, much as I hate to say it, I wish that presence would leave again so I could return to my new normal – back to my helm as the badass of a small, family-owned piano store.

Living the dream, right?

So now the question lies: What next? Do I continue to try and move up here, hoping that what (and who) holds me back might leave first? Do I keep doing what I’m doing, looking for outside opportunities and staging my exit as soon as one presents itself?

Do I take my newfound badassery and find some way to put it to use in a new role, at a new company, in a new industry? Should I fear that starting over might just strip it away once more?

Or do I just go? Do I just make my plan, ramp up my savings, and leave for good no matter what lies ahead of me? I’ve been jobless before. And wouldn’t the freedom to write and raise goats and do yoga at 2 PM and maybe struggle for a bit while I fight for what I want….be worth it? Wouldn’t that be badass?

Whatever the “right” choice is, I know that I can’t give up. We’re living in a day and age where women are out speaking their minds, standing up for their rights and chasing their dreams. Side hustles and entrepreneurial pathways are around every corner. And just because I feel stuck or held back right now doesn’t mean I should give up on the part of me I’ve discovered to be true. There’s just no good excuse.

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So this International Women’s Day, I’m strapping on my “Femininely Badass as Fuck” gold bangle, taking a walk, listening to an empowering podcast and finally posting this draft I’ve been working on for weeks, regardless of the consequences, whether it’s ready or not. Because I can’t keep second-guessing, I can’t keep procrastinating – the time to change is now and if I can’t just let it flow then why aspire to call myself a writer in the first place?