It's no secret that I scare easy (lougawou* stories will have me avoid certain neighbourhoods/towns) or that I'm afraid of heights. I won't go on haunted tours because it would scare the bejesus out of me.
But I'll hop on a plane and travel to the other side of the world.🤷🏾♀️
Some would say it's a contradiction. I say: priorities!
Badass. Adventurous. Fearless. Fierce. These are words I don't typically use to describe myself. At least not right away.
But talking to colleagues and friends and seeing their reactions to some of my choices has me thinking.
What I came to realize is that 1) we jugde ourselves very harshly sometimes and hold ourselves to standards so high that anything less looks worthless; 2) when we're in the thick of it, we may not have the luxury to take a step back and see our badassery for what it is; 3) when we're doing the things we have to do to survive, we see them as mundane.
So, I came up with a (non exhaustive) list of some things that I've done that I now see as badass.
1. I packed 3 suitcases and 3 boxes, and moved to Canada. Alone.
In hindsight, this was a pretty daring and bold move. I was in my early 20s when I took the decision to leave my homeland, my mom and sister, my social network behind to move to a country I knew nothing about.
Shout out to immigrants and refugees who build new lives in places where they have to adapt to weather, language and culture. Nothing can fully prepare us for the challenges that await us: racism, navigating systems that were not created with us in mind, culture shock, etc.
Our stories and realities may be different. Our challenges too. Our levels of fearlessness and badassery may differ. But we have had to set aside our fears in order to survive or lead better lives.
2. I travel solo.
I never viewed travelling solo as a big deal until I read comments after comments of people who would never consider it, their main reasons boiling down to fear.
I moved to a foreign country on my own. Spending a few days in one just don't sound like a big deal.
Mind you, I get it. I will not say that I have the same mindset when I travel on my own versus when I travel with others. And it's fairly simple: when I travel solo I only have myself to rely on. And I have had to do that at different stages of my life.
The idea is not letting that fear cripple you and make you miss out on life.
3. I went on a hot air balloon ride and didn't scream.
It may sound ridiculous to you that going on a hot air balloon ride is one of my proudest moments. But it is!
I once took a scuba diving course and gave up right at the beginning of my first dive in the ocean.
Actually getting in that balloon is progress.
To recognize your fear and conquer it even for a couple hours is badass!
4. I write this blog.
Listen. Putting myself out there is hard.
People I actually see every day read the blog. 🤦🏾♀️
Although I make a point of selecting whose opinion matters when it comes to my lifestyle, writing or opinions, a part of me still cringes every time I press the "Publish" button.
I used to worry about the typos, about how deep my thoughts were or how perfect a post turned out to be. I stopped. Not because quality doesn't matter. I'm quick to correct mistakes when reader point them out. But because of I listened to the perfectionist in me, I'd never publish a single post.
To the creatives out there... I see you!
5. I live life on my own terms. As much as I can.
It takes a certain level of badassery to be one of the few, if not the only woman, at a Haitian party who is not making a plate for her husband.
It takes a certain level of boldness to look an elder in the eye and say "my husband doesn't LET me travel on my own, I choose to".
It may not be much. But I hope to inspire the next generation of Haitian women to question the status quo, to live their lives out loud.
Fellow Haitian women who are fighting the good fight in big and small ways... I see you!
I'm inviting you to take a step back and see yourself for what you are: an incredible, badass person. And while you are doing that, please share your list with us!
* Lougawou is probably from the French "loup-garou", werewolf. But the myths are different. The Haitian lougawou doesn't shape shift with the rise of the moon. Nah! They go about there business (spooking, killing people) any night they want. My grandmother would say that, sometimes, the bold ones just do it during the day!