I’ve been this weird combination of fragility and strength for most of my life. It was a personality/core forged by spending most of my teenage years as the sexual toy of a fifty-something megalomaniac who ruled my world  and everything in it, from my mother to my friends, all  while I publicly played the dutiful child/student/friend etc. It was a duality, a disconnect, that my yet-to-be developed mind had a very hard time processing and in so doing could only come up with the answer that it was an inherent flaw within me.

When I had to face the decided lack of action/support/guidance that met my decision to disclose the abuse it was yet another blow. I was on my own. So I found someone “stronger” than me. Someone with a force of will that would bend the world to him and make me feel safe. But somewhere along the way I realized that I don’t need someone to make me feel safe. Nor did I need the “support” that came at a price. I am both smart and blessed. Yes, blessed. Because I keep having awful things happen to me but they don’t destroy me. I bend but I don’t break. And everywhere I turn I find unconditional support from people, from dear friends to casual acquaintances.

A recent lunch with someone who falls in the middle of that friendship spectrum crystallized my growing sense of self. She’s an amazing study in perseverance and self-actualization herself, recently stepping into a new act of life and parlaying one job into a life-changing one and also marrying her childhood sweetheart. As we sat in this lovely restaurant and got caught up, she talked about her decision early in life  to take a page from all the powerful women she admired and simply put herself first and trust her decisions. Despite her own childhood wounds, she sensed her own power early and was prepared to take the time to let the world catch up and see it too. She called those women she admired “badass bitches.” “I knew I was a badass bitch,” she said, leaning over the table to me and looking deep into my eyes. ” You are a badasss bitch, girl. Know that shit. You  should be strutting down the street every day. You. Are. A badass bitch. Own it.”

I’m owning it now.