The second I begin to question my worth, I think back to that one time, almost a year ago, with my dad.
We ran through the hot, sunny, paved dirt in Southern California, struggling to talk as we both breathed heavily.
“So, I made friends with the young boy who worked at my hotel in Virginia. Told him about you, hoping to inspire him to do something he loved, rather than sit in boredom as a front desk clerk,” my dad tends to talk about me a lot. He once told me that I am his small talk when checking out in a grocery store.
“I told him about how your day to day commute is walking through the jungle barefoot with a machete in your hand. The young boy loved hearing about your stories. He had even said to me, ‘Wow, your daughter seems pretty badass.’”
These words stuck to me like glue, and I picked up my pace on the trail.
Within one swift motion, this once exhilarating comment had now begun to linger around me like a grey cloud.
A cold feeling of defeat washed over my entire body, as I came to the quick realization that although I had been a badass, I was no longer one.
On that trail, at that moment in my life, I was everything but a badass.
You see, at that moment, I had been consumed in a toxic relationship.
A relationship that shrank me.
A relationship that drained me.
So, at that very moment, on that very trail, I realized I was not that badass from the jungle who didn’t have a single care in the world, yet at the same time cared deeply for everything around her.
No, I was rather a wounded soul, exhausting myself in attempts to gain the acceptance of somebody who would never make me feel badass.
And who would never allow me to make myself feel badass.
On that very trail is also the moment when I had decided that I wanted that fearless, outspoken girl with the machete back.
The girl who didn’t take crap from anybody, and who never dared question her worth.
That was the day I decided to leave that toxic relationship and put the energy of that constant fight and struggle back into myself.
Because I am, and always will be a badass.
And I will never again allow anybody to make me feel less than.
Thank you, Dad. Although you had no intentions of anything more than creating small talk on that exhausting run of ours, you helped free me.