What I return to, time and again, is the sliver of hope slipped inside hopelessness. It’s so easy to miss–it’s like a well-kept secret–for without hope, hopelessness does not exist. That is so badass.
I, as a sexagenarian, have this conversation regularly with my neighbors. Some are my age but most are septuagenarian and octogenarian. I don’t gain much ground until I remind them about “badass.”
That always brings a smile. It’s a generational thing as to why they grin. I have to cite the Urban Dictionary to remind them badass is a good thing, a powerful, authentic, compassionate way of life. But I know it’s the word “badass” that takes hold as hopelessness finds itself at the curb, albeit momentarily.
A sliver of light lives in unlikely places, no matter how long the darkness lingers or how immense its presence. It is not like hope belongs to only one generation at a time. With historic eyes, hope transcends.
Badass is not an easy sell at any time. Some days, being badass means the right thing to do is way too hard. Being aware is not easy in an existence that is ever-changing. It’s not easy living from the inside out.
Being badass means meeting the storm, knowing that loss looms, accepting all escape routes lead back to the beginning. The only way through is forward. Life gives us hopelessness and within it, hope.
I have learned to lose myself in the rage of hopelessness’ storm. That takes a few badass turns of thought, believe me, but being in its storm is the only way to center myself, to sit in its eye, the hope in hopelessness.
To watch a warbler arrive. My barren landscape brighten with yellow and black, breaking through my black-gray fog. I get a glimpse of the world going on around me, as it should, for no storm is everywhere.
Nor does the winter warbler stay. It is mine to find my way to the self that is still. That journey is never the same nor should it be. It would be pointless to go through a storm and not be changed.
I don’t think it’s a matter of the storm’s rage, although I cannot say I am not affected by its ferocity. I’m just not there to do battle. I let the storm exhaust itself. Rage will do that, when left alone.
And the body adjusts to the ravage that is any disease but it does have a special appreciation for rest in any storm’s aftermath. Being has been through yet another storm and will never be quite the same.
On any day, the body delivers all it has to offer. That may be the best definition of badass yet.
*Badass note: I’m being quite selective in my definition of badass here, confining it to ethical, authentic, and compassionate behavior. The Urban Dictionary provides alternatives here.