I’m going to say a bad word.
Close your eyes if you’re squeamish. The word is necessary; it’s an important part of my theme for 2014.
Are you ready?
My theme for 2014 is Epic Fucking Badass. You can read more about why here.
Now here’s the thing.
Did I choose this theme because I am so brave and confident and badass? Because I laugh at trouble and go fearlessly toward my dreams?
Um, no. Pardon me while I go cackle manically.
The truth is, I am scared of everything. Seriously. I am the biggest wimp you’ve ever met. I’m scared of bugs, talking to customer service people, and the dark. I’m scared of camping and plumbing and skiing and paperwork and numbers. The other day I hurt my hand on DENTAL FLOSS. In the pioneer days, I would have been toast.
In fact, I often just want to hide on the couch and read Harry Potter. Under a blanket. In my pajamas, nursing a nice tasteful martini popsicle.
That’s the kind of badass I am. ShaZAM!
I’m scared a lot of the time. My heart pounds when I have to walk into the school office to turn in forms. (I know. I have issues.)
But the good news is that this means that I get to practice being brave ALL THE TIME.
Like the other day, when I totally PARALLEL PARKED IN TRAFFIC. Can I get an amen? Frikkin heroic, eh?
Even though my life is rich and full and beautiful, there are parts of it that are hard and scary, even scarier than paperwork. I am human, and this is just part of the deal. In the past six months I’ve done some things that felt harder than anything I could possibly handle.
But my candle doesn’t say “total wuss chickenheart.” Nope, it says epic fucking badass.
Because in the face of fear and frazzlement, this is who I want to be. I want to be brave, I want to be loving, and I want to do it with style and a sense of humor.
In The Queen Sweep right now we are working on our stories. We’re exploring the way that the narrative we tell shapes the experience we have and the choices we make.
This can seem flighty and airy-fairy; each time I teach the class, someone always rolls her eyes and asks when we’re going to get to the ‘real’ stuff. But the truth is, the story we tell about ourselves is literally THE most important part of making any sort of change.
By declaring that I will be an epic fucking badass, I am declaring that I will step up to be the hero of my own life. (A hero who, admittedly, is spooked by ants. And fruit flies.) And this determines how I will act. When life throws a curveball, will I fall on the floor and cry? (Answer: YES.) But then I’ll dry my eyes, make a cup of tea, and keep moving forward anyway. Because that’s what epic fucking badasses DO.
These words are powerful. They shape our trajectory.
So tell me, if you were to tell a useful, galvanizing, empowering tale about who you intend to be, what would your theme for this year be?
- Create a phrase that encapsulates who you want to be this year. If you already have a theme for the year, you may find that adding an adjective or two makes it more resonant, potent, and delightful.
- Then, write that phrase on a piece of paper and stick it where you’ll see it every day: in your wallet, on your mirror, wherever. Or, you could have it engraved into your very own candle; isn’t that awesome? My friend Jenny Shih had that made for me, and I flung back my head and laughed with joy when I saw it.
Telling the story of who we are becoming is not living in la-la land; it’s setting our course, declaring our trajectory.
Your theme is a way to remind yourself of who you want to be in the face of things that scare you, or annoy you, or overwhelm you. It’s a way to remind yourself to open up to laughter, to lean in to joy.
No matter how terrified I am of whatever big task is before me (having to call the insurance company OHMYGOD), I can choose to go crawl under the covers, or I can choose to be an epic badass. My choice.
Clearly, sometimes I choose the covers, or even better, an episode of The Good Wife.
But after a little bit, I usually manage to go find my own little quivering reluctant cowardly self and remind her that we also have a badass in the house.
You have a badass in your house, too; and a lover, and a wise crone, and a dreamy child. There’s plenty of room for all of them inside you, and they all have something to bring to the table. So write some words on a post-it, stick it on your mirror, and carry on.
You’ve totally got this.