There’s these particular type of people who I find incredibly “badass,” “cool,” “risk-takers,” “hardcore,” or whatever word you would like to substitute. These are the people who ski in the backcountry, the ones that rock climb a thousand feet, who bike across the country, the ones who are “daring” or “adventurous”. I always wanted to be one of those people for as long as I can remember. When talking to those who do all or some of the adventurous activities, I feel less. I hold their values more than I hold my own. I think those who are “risk-takers” are the ones to be. Or I used to.
I probably will never climb Mount Everest, complete a 200-mile bike trip in a national park, through-hike the Appalachian Trail, or live off the land. I will never live up to my definition of “badass,” and you know what, that feels shitty. I eventually became tired of always comparing myself to others who do those type of activities. I decided to change my definition of “badass.”
Why did I find these people badass? I saw them as living life to the fullest. I saw them as overcoming obstacles. I saw them as survivors. I saw them as people who push through it all. I saw them as being tough. I saw them as conquering nature. I saw them as defeating the odds.
After I looked at the reasons why I thought I was so inferior to them, I realized that I also did those things just in different ways.
This past weekend I cross-country skied in northern Maine. We went uphill, downhill, and on flat grounds. Going up a hill was physically demanding. Going downhill was incredibly nerve-wracking. On one hill I face planted. I had a small bloody nose. It hurt. I got up and continued skiing. I went down other hills and didn’t just stop because I was nervous or it was hard. I was proud of myself. I wasn’t amazing at cross-country skiing, but I did it anyway and that was badass for me.
Most days I struggle with anxiety and depression. They both feed me lies that I try hard not to believe. Sometimes it is a struggle to get out of bed. It takes a tremendous effort to concentrate on school or work some days. Sometimes I feel too much where I can’t fathom feeling like that for a long time. Other times, I feel nothing at all. Most days are a challenge. I survive them, though. I’m still here and still striving to live my life. Surviving through all the challenges life throws is badass.
I don’t let my anxiety stop me. Sometimes I think that is a benefit I get from anxiety. I’m always uncomfortable or worried or scared, so I don’t let that stop me anymore. Going away on weekends with people I do not know well scares me shitless but I do it anyway. I don’t have much choice in the matter because then I wouldn’t be doing anything. Doing things even though they are scary is badass.
I will never be that girl who others may see as badass. I probably will sometimes still feel inferior to the ones who do outdoor activities. However, I am also starting to see my own badass qualities.
There’s more to the word badass than I initially thought. Everyone who struggles with something and overcomes it day by day is badass. All the people who do things despite the odds are badass. All the ones who struggle for days and sometimes can’t get out of bed are badass. Life throws the worst curveballs at the worst times. Everyone screws up. Everyone has a battle they are fighting. Living life every day despite everything is badass.
Republished with permission, originally posted here