The word “badass,” as a descriptor, is popping up quite a bit these days, both in my personal and professional life.
Back in May, my daughter gave me this Mother’s Day card:
It ranks as the best card ever (except maybe those early hand-made ones covered in dyed, dried up pasta).
Badassery also came up at a photo shoot last week. The photographer, make-up artist, and other stylists and clients milling around kept saying: “you’re such a badass.” Then when I posted a behind-the-scenes pic on Instagram, it happened again. Several comments included the word.
So what is a badass? I’m not sure I know. But the label feels right on my 61-year-old self.
Being called a badass made me think of all the women who inspire me and how they emulate their badassery. So I thought I’d share a few lessons learned on my journey.
E’s Lessons in Badassery
#1 Go with your gut.
Earlier this year, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to change my hair color. It was something that I thought about for several years. But the only way to get rid of all the red was to go for a super-short pixie cut. And this changed my life. First off, I feel liberated. The shorter ‘do takes at least ten more minutes off my morning routine. Second, people notice my new-found freedom and compliment me on my style–which my superficial French soul adores. Third, everyone assumes I’m a badass for sporting this look. (No, short hair is not brave, but evidently, people think it is when worn by a woman.)
New ‘do means new headshots. Selfie of me and my amazing photographer, Mickel Healey. But why is she pointing at my boob?
#1 Get out of your comfort zone.
Years ago, I took to the stage to do a faux breast self-exam on a male volunteer from the audience at a burlesque revue. I was scared to do it, but as it turns out, had a blast. When I went to thank the producer and explain how this performance was WAY out of my comfort zone, she replied: “that would be the point, wouldn’t it?”
Doing stand-up also forces me out of my comfort zone. Getting up in front of a room full of strangers and attempting to make them laugh is so hard, everything else seems easy. Once I started performing at open mics and festivals, I was less anxious about writing my blog or finishing the edits on my book. Plus, it’s a way for me to spread my potty-mouth badass message to the world. (Warning: adult language ahead.)
#1 Be true to yourself.
When I was younger, I was told to conform to succeed. But whenever I tried, I felt uncomfortable and inauthentic. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found greater joy, happiness, and even success, by being my genuine self—warts and all. After all, no one can give the gift of “E” to the world, except me. I do me and nobody else (as is evident from that video clip above, lol).
Pole dancing in my Harlow & Fox kimono.
E being E.
#1 Be a lifelong learner.
It could be trying a new lingerie style, switching up long-held habits, or exploring new foods or parts of the world. That’s what happened when I put all my possessions in storage and relocated to Los Angeles for three months. That was nearly six years ago, and I have no plans to leave. And I’ve grown in immeasurable ways since I took the chance to: go with my gut, try something new, and adapt to a different environment. I remember telling friends at the time, “moving to LA is like getting my Masters in life.” I’m still working on it.
#1 Hard work pays off.
I keep learning this one over and over again. There’s no easy way or shortcut to reach my creative goals or complete a project. I’ve simply got to put in the time and effort. Knowing that doesn’t stop me from procrastinating, though.
And, yeah, I still get scared shitless each time I go up on stage, publish a blog, or put myself out there to the world (like making my first comedy clip public).
But then I remember: I’m a badass. I got this.
All photos copyright The Breast Life.
Latest posts by Elisabeth Dale (see all)
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- Lessons in Badassery: Some Thoughts on My Journey - July 4, 2017