Modern Day Badass Bitches

The Modern Day Badass Bitch

I was 19 when I became a mother. I was 33 when I left the marriage. 
In that interim I was a fool. 

I was a fool like many fools. 

I had lived under the idea that another human being would pave the way for me in my life. Accomplish dreams, financial planning, retirement securing, bill paying, house building, vacation going, garbage taking out-ing, pantry full of food-ing, everyone in the family having shoes and clothes and toys and entertainment-ing. 

I was under the mistaken impression that I could go through life without knowing these vital and important lessons and skills for the SOUL.
The Law of Self-Reliance. 

Sure, I had “Side jobs” support jobs, and cared for our children and home and filled in the gaps when our finances needed it. I worked jobs that earned us a little pocket cash but didn’t do much to build my resume or create a future for myself- “I didn’t need to.” 

I had someone creating “our” future- I just needed to be a team player; a side kick to the superhero while they fought the monsters and climbed the mountains, leaving the burden of whether we survived and thrived as a family almost entirely upon their shoulders- and I “supported” them in their career. After all, this is “what women do.” 

I was a fool. I set my ENTIRE future up based upon ANOTHER person’s ability and motivation to succeed. (The WHITE KNIGHT fantasy)




This past week a woman came into the diamond store (where I am sales manager) and she was beautiful, well dressed, and charming. As I greeted her and we struck up a conversation, she shared about the world she has seen because of her husband’s career, she was proud of him for being fluent in Korean, and his success in business. It all sounded wonderful. I asked “What about you? What do you do?” and she responded, “Oh well, I have a child.” 

Let me explain to you why this answer “ker-plunks.” 

(But first, my disclaimer is: I have been a “stay at home” mom. I TRULY do not have a poor opinion of it and having been one; I KNOW that it is more CHALLENGING than MOST careers.) 

But she couldn’t tell me about HER.
What are her hobbies, goals, and dreams? What she is creating for her life? What she is interested in? What her passion is; her curiosities? She could have said “Oh, I am a bobble head collecting fanatic.” But she didn’t. And- it’s not even her fault any more than it was mine when I was her age. 

She can’t tell me about her- she doesn’t know. 

This beautiful woman was in her twenties. I have met women in their eighties who still don’t know. I have courteously listened to women who have NO idea they have NO identity outside of their husband and children.

I interact with a wide scope of the public every week; rich, poor, educated, non-educated, humble, egotistical, polite, and rude. 

I meet women who are dripping in diamonds and designer bags and shoes who have never worked a day in their lives. 

I meet women who treat me like a servant because of their status in life compared to mine. 

I let them. I am patient. I wonder about what their lives must be like and how they must feel about themselves for them to be so condescending to a “sales girl.” How afraid they must be- to validate themselves by treating another person as though they are “lower” than them, simply because my life is not “paid for,” I earn my keep. 




I think of how intimidating it is to live in a world that’s paid for by another person’s merit, job, career, ability to provide- because whether you’re aware of it or not- you know that you are “queen” to a “KING”DOM. 

What ground you stand on is at the benevolence of his mercy. It’s terrifying to know that the bottom can fall out (oh, and 50% of marriages DO fall out) and IF the footing disappears- everything you have built your identity on- the Gucci bags, the diamond necklaces, and leading fashion clothing all goes with it. IF that happens- WHO are you?

You see, I’ve already had that happen. So, I already had to ask- and I’ve answered it. 

Years ago, I was sharing about a success that I had in my career I was proud of with a group of women, a financial bonus I had gotten for sales achievement. Perhaps it seemed as though I was bragging; maybe I was- but at the time I felt like I was sharing a triumph I was excited about. A woman at the table, whose husband was very successful scoffed at my story. “My husband makes more than that in a day.”
Being a Taurus, and immature, I retorted back at her “What do YOU make in a day?” 

This past week, a woman I know mentioned she didn’t keep track of her bank account number. 
It actually caused me to chuckle as I said, “Not knowing those things- is so far outside of my comprehension.”  She was wide eyed and innocent as she replied, “I’m married, I don’t need to.”

Last example before I move on: 
I’ve been taking some sideward criticism lately from some women who feel I’m materialistic, or not empowered as a woman because I dote on my husband.

And I’ve been bitching about it. My husband has listened to me “venting” and complaining about the judgements, gossip, and private received messages. And after I had bitched enough; (and he had heard enough) he wisely counseled me saying:
“Katie, look at their lives. There’s no reason to get upset or let this bother you.”

And (as usual) he was right.

What I realized is this: 
They’ve never been solely in charge of their utility bills. Quite literally- they have never had to be responsible for their own poop being flushed.

Grotesque analogy- I know. But it’s the epiphany that brought me back to center. 

If you’ve never had to face the responsibility of what it takes to be alive on this planet and provide for yourself- let alone your children, you can’t understand those of us who do.

It’s like someone buying you a cup of coffee to be nice. If you’ve never bought your own cup of coffee- you don’t know that it’s $7 a cup at nice coffee shops. You don’t appreciate it- because you’ve never had to be responsible for it. 
You’ve never been self-reliant for your coffee.




And as I contemplated on that truth- I stopped feeling angry and betrayed and annoyed- I felt compassion.
Because learning how to take care of yourself is a gift of empowerment unlike any other gift. Self-Reliance is the most EMPOWERING feeling you can know. It’s the feeling that whatever happens- you’ll get through. 

Every month, writing those checks to the city, internet, mortgage, and school lunches and not having them bounce- is a feat of heroism. 


Knowing that you can be tossed by the waves and still come up floating- is an irrefutable gift of faith, that can’t be compared to.

Yes, no one else is in charge of the garbage. No one else is in charge of making sure Netflix is paid. No one else is making sure there is gas in the car- and IT’s DAMN HARD! 
But the payoff is knowing that you can do it. 

I believe the EMPOWERED woman isn’t the one with the designer bags, or paid vacations, or the woman who “chose the right husband” or has him wrapped around her finger. It’s not the woman with 2 million Instagram followers, or the beach body, or fast car. It’s not the woman who talks a good game on the stage as a life-coach but behind the scenes is a hot mess.




I BELIEVE IT’S THE WOMAN WHO IS SELF-RELIANT.

It’s the woman who’s taking online or night classes to better herself. 

The single mom who works 4 jobs and isn’t on welfare OR the single mom who IS on welfare while she’s educating herself. 

The woman with a doctorate or bachelor’s degree. 

The sales girls, waitress’ and gas station clerks who are working flexible jobs so they can be available for their kids.

The woman who makes meals from a half empty cupboard, manages her finances, and gives service in her spare time.

The African mother who milks goats and carries water to a hut and cooks over an open fire. 

The woman who has the courage to stand without a cloth over her face in the Middle East. 
The group of women who just changed history by being elected to congress who set the example that our daughters can achieve the highest positions they want and be decision makers. 

The women who put their kids first, but DON’T put themselves last. 

The women who know that they don’t have to take abuse. 
The women who LIFT UP other women.
The women who realize they are not only strong enough, bold enough, or savvy enough to be accountable for their own life and existence- but who do it.
The women who don’t look for a man to pay the bills or is their best bet for a “good life” but look for and pursue their OWN dreams. 

An EMPOWERED WOMAN is self-reliant.
Women who are PARTNERS not back seat riders on the bicycle. 



These are the women who will lead. These are the women who will teach a new way. 
It doesn’t have to be loud, or grandiose or dramatic. 
It can be as simple as holding a job, paying your bills, and loving your kids.

These are the Modern Day Badass Bitches. 

And for all of you who haven’t learned this basic LIFE lesson of SELF-RELIANCE, those of you who look down your noses at those of us who live in smaller houses or apartments and buy our clothes secondhand or work our 9-5’s… we are waiting for you.

Because we know that castles built on other people’s mountains will always fall. We know that you will have to learn the hard way like most of us did. And we are holding a space for you at the table. That you can eat from the feast of life without someone spoon feeding you your bites. That you can have everything you want and dream of with or without a man.

We know you deserve to know how powerful you are too. 

Katie Jo

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