I was in the other room when my granddaughter found a video on my computer.
I heard her exclaim “oh my gosh Mamo! how did you do that?” I came in the room and asked her what it was I had done. She played the video again. I have to admit that I loved her reaction to that recorded moment in my life. That moment when my grandchild saw me break four concrete bricks for a martial arts test. She played it over and over again.
I looked at how much stronger I appeared there, than how I feel now. But I also know I wasn’t in my best shape then. I had been sick for five months with an undiagnosed respiratory infection. I had been on five rounds of antibiotics. I was just starting to feel better when this test happened. But I was determined.
I kept watching with her.
It occurred to me my grandchildren will never see me at my strongest.
I’m older now. I’m heavier now.
As I watched with her she kept repeating the video and she kept asking “how did you do that?”
I am not even a little ashamed for finally saying “I was a badass”. She laughed and said “yeah you are!”
“Yeah you are.”
Not ‘was’, but ‘are’.
I do want my grandchildren to see me, remember me, as strong.
I know I’m not what I was.
I am stronger now, than I ever was when I took any of my martial arts tests, or lifted weights, or rode hundred mile bike rides.
I love being physically powerful. It was important to me as I got older, to become stronger. I am sure it goes back to a time in life when I felt powerless, controlled, and intimidated by everything.
While I worked at becoming physically fit I was also enabling myself to become mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit.
And while my physical self would be side tracked by broken bones, illnesses and twisted muscles, my mental and emotional self continued to get stronger.
I still want to be physically strong and powerful.
But I can’t hold back time no matter how strong I am.
Part of my strength is knowing I may have to adjust to what I can do. Or can’t do.
I may not have any control over how anyone sees me. I can only control who I am.
I still want them to always see me as a badass.
The kind of badass that takes time to talk to them, explain things to them, protect them, defend them, be honest with them.
The kind of badass who knows there is strength in learning, in making mistakes and owning them, in trying and failing, and trying again. Or recognizing that changing things up is sometimes what you have to do.
The kind of badass who can be gentle. Or fierce.
The kind of badass who knows strength is multi-faceted.
And knows strength has many uses. Breaking bricks. Breaking barriers. Breaking through.
And strength is not about power.
It’s about character. And I hope my character is a benefit to their developing character.
That’s the strength I want to continue building,
And have them see me, and remember me, at my strongest.