As far as I’m concerned, there are only two entrance requirements to being an epic fucking badass (aka an EFBA).
- You tell the truth.
- You don’t give up.
The first one sounds so simple! You just tell the truth about your life. But this is a pretty radical act– as Gloria Steinem said, the truth will set you free, but first it will probably piss you off.
Maybe your truth is joyful, like noticing that you love your kids so much your heart feels as big as the ocean or that you really are the best roller derby skater in your league. But maybe your truth lands with a thud.
This isn’t working. My boss is never going to be happy with me. My friend is a narcissist. I’m in love with someone I’m not supposed to love. I’m never going to cook these organic greens I keep buying. I am so happy just sitting on this porch; I really don’t care if I never get promoted again. They’re never going to give me the raise I deserve. My family is crazy. I actually love Birkenstocks!
Small or large, mundane or world-cracking, telling the truth about what’s happening in our lives is always where we need to start. Last week we talked about what to do when things feel too hard to handle and you just can’t rise above it all.
This is such an important step, and too often we try to charge forward without it. I’m guessing that’s why last week’s missive resonated with many of you. You wrote me saying that it felt like a weight lifted, that it was a huge relief to just let things be a mess when they’re messy. One person wrote, “You’ve given me permission to let it be okay when I’m not okay.”
This is where all epiphanies start. From a new spatula design to a breakthrough marital conversation, new growth always comes from surveying what we see and telling the truth about it.
We don’t stop there.
Sometimes your truth will need years to sink in; sometimes an hour; sometimes just a deep breath. If you have the luxury of it, I highly encourage you to take as much time as you need in that spot of truth-telling. Go get a massage. Work with a coach or therapist. Take a nap. Take a mental health day. Go for a month in Ibiza if you can swing it.
But for most of us, most of the time, life is tugging at our shirttail. –A meeting to get to. Kids to pick up. Bills to pay. So we just don’t have the luxury of wallowing.
Ironically, the more freely you let your feelings pour through you, the faster they will start to move.
If you just let yourself have the ugly cry, you’ll probably feel better.
If you just go whack the couch with a baseball bat for a few minutes, you’ll probably be less grouchy.
If you just let yourself collapse in despair or exhaustion or weariness, down there at the bottom of things is where you’ll find your way through.
Because here is the second part of being an EFBA: after we tell the truth, we carry on anyway.
Yep, even if your heart just got broken. Even if it’s completely unfair. Even if you’re dealing with sickness, or bureaucracy, or a jerk.
You don’t give up.
You let yourself have your tears; and then you dry them.
You collapse; and then you get back up.
You rage; and then you make a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and do the next thing.
I know it’s not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But it’s what you’re going to do… because you’re a kindred spirit and an epic fucking badass.
I’m certain of it.