Posted in Activism, advocate, badassery, CANCER, death, Equality, movies, pop culture

Goodbye, King

When news came late Friday night that Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played King T’Challa in the Black Panther and Avenger movies, had died at age 43, the news hit me harder than I thought it would.

Boseman had been battling, unbeknownst to most, colon cancer for four years. This time had included the time he was working on the Black Panther movie. If you haven’t had cancer or a serious, debilitating illness, it’s difficult to appreciate what I consider to be a truly heroic effort to portray a hero. Each time cancer takes someone young or inspirational, I’m reminded I need to embrace more of the remaining life I’ve been given to live. This death cut me to the core. I’ve so much left to do.

I remember when the Black Panther movie came out and so many people of all races and lifestyles came out of the theaters crossing their arms in the “Wakanda forever!” sign. People of color walked out of that movie changed and inspired. Young black children finally had a Marvel superhero on screen that looked like them, that they could identify with. Someone strong, caring, extraordinary and human.

I was also inspired by the Black Panther. The strong women of Wakanda, who were in charge of the technology and protecting the King, made me cheer. These depictions of strong, intelligent women (of any color) shouldn’t be so few and far between, but they are. Shuri is the smartest in the room. Any room. Okoye and her crew could kick any man’s ass. Nakia is brave, and convinces the King that sharing their knowledge and wealth for the good of all is an important enough idea to allow it to stand between her and her relationship with the King.

Heroes don’t have to be the same color as you are to be inspirational, but I’m white and I have plenty to choose from if that is what I seek. It was about time that people of color had an extraordinary hero and a slew of capable, ass-kicking heroines. I can only hope another hero can rise on the shoulders of Chadwick Boseman.

What I hope people learn from Boseman’s short, but well-lived, life is that people can be heroes both on and offscreen and be an inspiration beyond what they intended or hoped for. Heroism and quality of character goes more than skin deep, and that is one of the legacies that Boseman left behind for all of us.

Rest in Power, King.

Posted in about shae, badassery, fearless, relationships

Because I’m Worth It

One year someone said they pitied me for being alone on my birthday and not having anyone to buy me flowers or jewelry or whatever they thought a birthday gift should be.

Let me set the record straight. Again.

I’m never truly alone. I’ve had dozens of well wishes and phone calls. I was with a bunch of ladies at the salon this morning. I had great convos at Starbucks and with the nice lady at Smallcakes. Yesterday I talked with my Bestie for two hours. I’m also very fine company all by myself. Don’t worry, I’m good.

As for gifts… I buy myself flowers and not just on my birthday. They are always my favorites. I buy myself some fine jewelry, and it’s always exactly what I wanted. I’m particularly fond of my new rainbow topaz ring and matching earrings.

I know being alone on any given day makes most people uncomfortable. I am not one of those people. While I enjoy the company of many, I am just as happy going out by myself, whether that be for coffee, dinner, a movie or shopping.

If you are someone who waits for someone else to pamper you or buy you gifts, I hope you have someone in your life to do that for you so you do not remain in a constant state of disappointment. If you are there, by yourself, may I suggest making yourself happy. Buy the flowers. Get the ring. Treat yourself to a manipedi.

I’m worth it. Someday I hope you know that you are, too.

Posted in about shae, badassery, photography, Uncategorized, Writing

One Word 365 “Roar!”

In the past, for the One Word 365 Challenge I’ve chosen words like, “Imagine,” “See,” “Adventure,” and “Hope.” One of my favorites that still resonates is, “Fearless.”

As I’m completing my fiftieth birthday year, it is now almost 2020. I set out to have certain goals met by now, some I’ve just squeezed in at the last minute. I am now living my most authentic life, still evolving and learning, but the most me I’ve ever been.

My word for this coming year is, “Roar!” Now that I feel the most me, the most authentic, it’s time the world heard my voice, my thoughts, my stories (visual, written, and verbal) and my truth.

Stay tuned. You are about to hear me roar!

Roar, by Katy Perry

I got the eye of the tiger
A fighter

Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Posted in about shae, badassery, femininity, Uncategorized

THANKSGIVING BUZZ

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. Whenever I’ve asked a hairdresser to do it, they’ve balked. Their definition of femininity didn’t allow it.

Know that I LOVE IT.  If you don’t, that’s ok. I didn’t do it for you. It’s the most freeing thing I’ve done with my “look” since I cut it shorter in the first place.

It’s so freeing. I have heard my whole life, from people who mean well, how “pretty” I’d be if I a) lost weight, b) was more demure, c) had long, high-maintenance hair.

I don’t need to be “pretty.” I’m already beautiful.

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Posted in Activism, badassery, GLBT, LGBT, politics, safe, Uncategorized

SAFE SPACES

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Whether you agree with the safety pin movement, I ask you to think about all the marginalized people groups you know of, and friends you know who are labeled into those groups.  While a safety pin is a small gesture, a gesture some mock or ridicule or label too small, it’s a step in the right direction.  The hearts are in the right place. We shall soon see if their hands, feet, mouths and ears are in the right place as well.

I’ve always thought of myself as a safe space for people. In hindsight, I know that was not always true.  I was often judgemental and closed minded.  While I know that I’ve come quite a long way (a canyon’s divide) from where I once was, I’m only beginning to understand how to be a safe space, and I hope to become a proactive safe space.

One step at a time. First I must ensure I am a safe space for those who need it. I must seek to understand a pain or fear I perhaps have not experienced myself.

Second, I must listen more. I do a lot of talking. I seek to heal, empower, and encourage people with words. Sometimes, safety is found in my silence.  Sometimes, it’s found in the words I’m afraid to say aloud. No more fear.

I’m still trying to find words for all I’m feeling right now.  Still digging through. The main point of this post is to say I’m a safe space for those in fear, those who feel unheard, threatened, or pushed to the margins. As a single, middle-aged woman, I am in some of those margins myself.

For now, I hope this is a good first step. If you need a safe space, I’m here for you.

Posted in advocate, badassery, fearless, Push, Uncategorized

A CALL TO BADASSERY

The flood of New Year’s Resolution posts has begun. Every year, people pledge to lose weight, get a better job, etc. Resolutions are usually made to strive toward a better quality of life.

I stopped making resolutions (that I would usually not keep) and have instead resolved to make a better life for myself, period.

My resolve boils down to this single truth – life is what I make of it. I choose, every day, to make my life the best life I can, no matter what that entails.

Some days my best life requires more exercise or better eating, or down time or creative time. Other days, my best life requires me to rise above myself and my self-imposed limitations.

Every day, my best life requires me to be a Badass, regardless if I feel like I am or not.

Instead of making resolutions or goals that will fall by the wayside before the last Valentine’s Day chocolate has been eaten, why not choose to heed your call to badassery and live your best life every day?

Following a call to badassery is both as easy and as difficult as you may think.  A call to badassery can be as free as a pursuit as any and it can cost you everything.  Stressful? Sometimes. Worth it? You bet.

My bestie, during our Badassery Advocate planning session when I was on vacation in California, looked me square in the eye and said, “First you have to find your ‘why’.”

My ‘why’ at least as it pertains to Badassery Advocate, is every person out there who feels stuck, complacent, unchallenged, weak, hopeless, on the brink, or lost.  I see so many potential Badasses, people who are Badasses deep inside, are about to realize their badassery, and I want to help anyone who wants to find, expose and live as the badass they are.

You are my ‘why.’

Badassery Advocate is still taking shape and will continue to do so.  There is no separation of who I am personally vs. who I am on Badassery Advocate. This fact has made it difficult for me to keep up with the separate Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for BA, but I will do better – because I am a Badass!

I look forward to journeying with you as you heed your call to badassery!

Find me on Facebook at Badassery Advocate, Twitter at @badasseryadvo and Instagram at BadasseryAdvocate.

Posted in advocate, badassery, commentary, community, fearless, politics, Uncategorized

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT, OR RATHER, THAT YOU THINK

Politics, tragedy, religion, guns, nationality and so many more subjects are polarizing, especially in America. I’ve seen families, friends, and communities torn apart because of deeply held beliefs.  Rarely, but thankfully, I have found a few people in my life who can hold deeply held beliefs and still have conversations about the aforementioned subjects and still remain civil and friendly afterward.

I know I’ve been unfollowed, unfriended, branded, and abandoned because of my deeply held beliefs, and I know I’ve unfollowed, unfriended, branded and abandoned others for the same reasons.

Lately, I’ve even been branded as dangerous.  Dangerous? For having different beliefs?  For challenging long-held, deeply-entrenched beliefs and opinions?  Yes.

If I am being labeled dangerous for challenging the status quo of beliefs and thoughts and a lifetime of opinion, know that I relish it. I’d rather be known as someone who examines, inspects, interrogates, and thinks her way through life rather than accepting everything I’m told, skimming over issues to promote an opinion that’s only mine because I carry it forward for someone else.  I’ve lived a lifetime of promoting other agendas because of a sense of duty to what I’ve been told and indoctrinated to believe. I’m finished with that part of my life.

The extraordinary state of thinking for myself was a hard-fought battle. I’d go so far as calling the battle for my own beliefs and opinions a war.  Not only did I have to figure out what I truly believed, I had to fight for my right to express that belief and opinion freely. That’s a war I’m still fighting, because I’m dangerous, you see.

Throughout history, the people in the masses who think for themselves have been labeled as dangerous, especially women.  The awakening of owning a thought or idea that is truly mine is intoxicating, I’ll admit.  The further I pursue my own thoughts and beliefs, the further away from blind obedience to an idea I get, the freer I feel.

I don’t care, really, what a person thinks or believes if I know that they truly have thought, examined, challenged and formed their own thoughts and opinions. All I really care to challenge in a person is that they think for themselves and not follow the masses just because it’s easier and more comfortable to follow the crowd.

A staggering number of people will follow a man in a pulpit, a person on a political soapbox, a person with a certain philosophy – anyone with a message or agenda – without challenging, investigating, examining what the person in charge is saying. If, after study and query, a person agrees with a different ideology than mine, I can respect that.

I have huge issues with people just accepting what another person says without thinking it all through for themselves.  That, to me, is a truly dangerous way to live. It’s why certain pastors and politicians have power – they tap into those minds who will follow without question.

People want to belong to something greater than themselves so much, they turn off their mind’s alarm systems: that doesn’t sound/feel right. I don’t think I agree with that, but if I challenge it, I won’t belong anymore. I believe that’s dangerous.

I wanted to belong to something so badly it turned me into a mindless sheep, and I became so judgmental and hurtful as I followed other people’s agenda.  I stopped thinking for myself at the cost of losing myself.  I put what I wanted/thought/believed over relationships and I believed it was what I should do and because I wanted to belong.

When I started sorting through what I believed and wanted for my life, I know I lost friends.  I lost certain membership in communities that don’t like dangerous thinkers in their midst.  I’ve actually been old-school shunned for challenging the status quo and asking questions.

Ironically, thinking for myself has opened up my mind enough to allow others to think for themselves. I gladly accept differences in opinions and sometimes challenge people with what they believe to be a differing opinion so I can see their resolve and commitment to their belief. Some would call that devil’s advocate, but I call it investigation.

Personally, I don’t care what a person believes, as long as it is truly a belief that is theirs, forged in thought and investigation and fire.  I care more that people think than what they think.  I wish that notion went both ways, but it often doesn’t.  It’s easier to label me a danger than a free-thinker.

I value the discussions I have with people. I enjoy hearing what other people think, and challenging them to own those beliefs and thoughts. If that labels me as dangerous, know that I don’t mind.

 

Posted in advocate, badassery

THE BIRTH OF BADASSERY ADVOCATE

I love humanity.  I love their responses and preconceived notions. When I refer to myself as a “badass,” I get mixed responses. Some are inspired by that word, others are offended by it. Badass insinuates, for some people, arrogance (which walks a fine line with confidence), being full of myself, irreverent, and some other words I won’t share.

I think their insinuations are supposed to offend me, when, in my reality, their insinuations inspire me to more badassery.

I used to believe my job in life was to shut up, take orders, and wait for a man to tell me what to do, think and be. I lived, steeped in this belief, for a few decades too long. My true awakening started when I was 39, when I was sitting in a Good Friday service and I felt the compulsion to leave the service and get my first tattoo – “Sassy,” on my back.

That next year I wrote poems like “Forgiveness” and this one:

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Those are beginning glimpses of Sassy. I was nowhere near badassery then, but I knew I wanted to be stronger and have more courage.  I had no plan. I had no idea one day I’d be telling people I wanted to help them find their roar.

Recently, I’ve had some issues with Tamoxifen (you can read all about it) and other issues in my life. Instead of cowering, I set my mind and went about the task of advocating for myself.  Yesterday, after processing a post-advocate victory, I realized that I wanted to, somehow, focus my efforts into helping others feel the way I felt after the validation of having my efforts rewarded.

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I received an immediate and numerous response on my Facebook page. People were truly asking how to make that happen for themselves. When i woke up this morning, I knew I had to do something, even if it was small.

I started a Facebook Page called, “Badassery Advocate” this morning, and have a Twitter handle (@BadasseryAdvo) and an Instagram (BadasseryAdvocate).

My plan is to create a space for universal encouragement. All are welcome – and by all I mean ALL. I do not want to just encourage one particular group of people.  I desire to encourage all regardless of religious affiliation, political ideology, race, gender, or sexuality.  Badassery is for all.

That being said, posts may have “language” or ideas or concepts a person might not agree with. That’s fine. My new space is a place for being uplifted, not torn down.  I will encourage someone to find their badassery even if, especially if, I do not agree with a person philosophically or ideologically. I am not here to judge, convert, or sway. I am here to help people be the best, bravest, badassiest they can be, period.

Not everyone who visits or posts at Badassery Advocate will share the same religion, notions, political ideology, gender, belief, upbringing or truth. That fits with my worldview. I hope to see this idea grow into something bigger than any idea I currently have.

Thank you for journeying with me. On to the new phase!