I knew badassery wouldn't be easy. (I’m not that naïve.) But I expected it to at least come with a side dish of quiet accomplishment. Or, at the very least, a small serving of relief in simply knowing I did the right thing.
Instead, my badassery was served with heaping portions of risk and vulnerability and uncertainty.
There were no grand moments of heroism. No victory marches. No Wonder-Woman stances to commemorate an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.
No, this wasn't a year of bold triumph. It was a hard-fought twelve months of standing up, speaking out, making hard choices, and putting my heart on the line. My badassery looked like trying and trusting and hoping yet again, even when I didn’t want to and even when my experiences told me I knew better. It looked like saying difficult things, fighting to be seen, taking chances in work and relationships and heart.
I knew badassery meant doing those things without guarantee of a positive outcome. But, unknowingly, I still half-expected that there would be one—not every time, but surely more often than not, right? Isn’t that the reward for the risk?
What I learned is this: The reward for risk is merely the risk itself.
The point isn’t the outcome, even though that’s what motivates the risk to begin with. The point is simply the willingness (and, I dare say, the courage) to roll the dice and take a chance.
That alone is the victory.
Though, I assure you, it doesn’t feel like one. There’s nothing glamorous or stately about this kind of “win”. It certainly doesn’t feel good. It's disappointing, exhausting, frustrating, painful….
I’m not “owed” a break simply because I’ve risked repeatedly or tried so hard or been through so much or any other reason I can come up with. And that is a bitter pill to swallow.
So the big, character-shaping decision is whether or not to keep climbing back into the ring.
And all I can do is sigh wearily, and shake my head, and mutter the words, What other choice do I have?