I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that everyone has an inner badass. Everyone. I do. You do. Your quiet neighbor does. Your mom does.
She does. Trust me.
It’s just a matter of finding the thing that strikes the right chord that then unearths that gnarly beast. Because, somewhere along the way it can get buried.
As kids, didn’t we all do some badass things? We tried something stupid. And failed. And have a scar to prove it. It usually involved skateboards or tools or railings or animals.
Even the most careful, the biggest goody-two-shoes of us, has SOMEthing that went sideways in our youth. Because we just didn’t know better. We didn’t know enough to pull back on the reigns.
We climbed a little higher. Jumped further. Closed our eyes and hoped for the best.
I have a few of those moments. A stupid car accident. A flipped go-cart. A hilarious post-prom party. Ill-timed foul language. A drunken jog through our college cafeteria that may or may not have resulted in the acquisition of a party-sized bag of Doritos.
Stupid, funny, memorable moments. Youthful indiscretions. Rites of passage.
And then we grew up. And got responsible. And cautious. And sometimes self-conscious. I mean, a lot of the time self-conscious. About a lot of things. Right?
Don’t wear that. Don’t say this. You should. You shouldn’t. What would people think? What would people say?
That tiny badass we were born with ends up getting tamed and buried, beneath doubt and adulting and time. So how to do you find it again? Or discover it for the first time?
A helmet did it for me. And for my kids, apparently.
Here’s the thing. I know I don’t have a perfect body. Who does? No one. But I earned the one I have by giving birth to three totally cool kids. I have really jacked tanlines from running and not ever wearing a bikini in public. Like, ever. Really. Okay. Maybe once.
I hesitated about buying one. Then wearing it. Taking a photo in it? Forget that.
Enter a Stormtrooper helmet, one that found its way to my house for a weekend thanks to a woman with whom I shared my first ever sleepover as a seven-year-old girl still afraid of the dark. That helmet exposed a feeling.
And it was badass.
It didn’t start with me, though. It started with my youngest, who might be the most badass chick I know. And, she’s seven. She’s nails. She’s even referred to as “killer” by close friends who have known her since birth. So, it came as no surprise that she gravitated to it.
I’ve joked that my son has asked Santa for stitches since the day he was born, and he’ll keep trying to make that wish come true. Come hell or high water. The kid is a boy, by definition, and finds new ways to give me heart attacks daily. So the helmet fit just right.
And my oldest? She’s the most cautious. The most in tune with social expectations. She’s reliable and responsible. And I could tell that helmet sent her into orbit, to a new space she hasn’t been.
But when I put it on? I mean, damn. It was just shy of a religious experience. Not even the actual act of wearing the helmet, but being photographed in it and then seeing how badass it looked.
And by default not caring, at all, about what anyone would think. In that moment. Because I haven’t reached the point where I don’t care altogether about everything, and I think that’s a good thing. But in that moment, and when I look back at the photos, I don’t.
So, here’s my theory. Maybe being badass isn’t an act. It’s a feeling. I may be late to the party on this, and that’s okay. Because, as I’ve established, I’m feeling quite badass and don’t care if I’m just now picking up on this life lesson.
I’m just glad I did. And, I highly recommend that everyone make time to find their helmet. Or their whatever. Find the thing that unearths their gnarly beast. If even for a moment. And capture that moment, on film or inside. That way you can draw on it when you need it. Or want it.
I mean, if my friend had room in her suitcase to bring that helmet across the country, we all have room in our lives for our inner badass.