I’m A 44-Year-Old Kindergarten Teacher, And A Few Days Ago I Decided To Start Living Like A Total Badass

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“The latest iteration of my bucket list looks like this:

Run a marathon.
Do stand-up comedy.
Become a badass.
Go to Europe.
Write a book.

At the beginning of summer break, I thought, ‘Hey, this would be a good time to do something big in case I die unexpectedly. I don’t want to be unfulfilled.’

I’m only 44, though, so if I die unexpectedly, it will probably be doing something awesome — from my bucket list — leaving me zero time to question my fulfillment.

Well, I hadn’t saved a dime for Europe, and the notes for my book are mostly in here [points to brain], so it was time to become a badass.

You’re probably thinking, ‘Why would you want to become a badass, Lindsay? You’re pretty fun to be around,’ and I would wholeheartedly agree.

I’m a hoot.

To me, though, everyone should be able to channel their inner badass, especially women.

We should feel fully confident speaking up, standing up, and not apologizing for being ourselves.

There is something powerful about being comfortable in your own skin.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

So many things about me were decidedly NOT badass: I am a kindergarten teacher. I play ukulele.

My favorite song to sing along to is ‘Shoop.’ I meannnn… my work was definitely cut out for me.

Where was I going to begin my badass journey?

Lindsay Chamberlin

I saw a free self-defense class at a jiu jitsu school nearby, and that seemed like a good place to start.

I walked into the building, and it was hot — like wide-open-back-door-with-no-AC hot.

The loud music had potty words in it, and it was also a boxing gym, so there were people punching each other.

It was perfect.

I stood in the circle of sweaty people, looked at the other students and noticed some familiar faces.

There are actual WWE wrestlers who train here.

woman and friends at jiu jitsu center
Courtesy of Lindsay Chamberlin

Not only do my kids watch WWE, but I grew up in rural upstate NY with three channels.

Saturday nights were for wrestling or the news — it was up to you.

Anyway, I had to continue the class and try to play it cool, but I think we both know this was not going to happen.

The instructor called on me to try a move that ends with putting your hand up to block an opponent, but I just saw a hand in the air and assumed he wanted a high five, so that’s what I did.

woman at jiu jitsu center
Courtesy of Lindsay Chamberlin

Halfway into the high five, I realized what was happening, but it was too late.

I made a mental note: the only people expected to high-five in public are Little League coaches.

Then we were told to pair up and ‘mount your partner.’ Excuse me? Mount this stranger?

Friends, it was not a dance club in 2003, and Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ wasn’t blasting through the speakers.

I had no idea how anyone could say ‘mount your partner’ with a straight face.

So, the first class wasn’t my toughest showing, but let me tell you, it was sweaty and hands-on and fun.

woman on jiu jitsu mat
Courtesy of Lindsay Chamberlin

I decided that day to sign up.

I have mat burns on my toes, and I don’t even care.

I have my own GI, and I can do a bunch of different scary choke holds.

My journey to being a badass is just starting — but in the meantime, you don’t want to run into me in a dark alley.

I might high-five you, and it will definitely embarrass you in front of all your friends.

This year, I’m taking ‘life begins outside of your comfort zone to a whole new level,’ and believe me, there’s nothing less comfortable then being put in a headlock by a professional wrestler.

Carpé diem, friends!”

woman smiling with hand on face
Courtesy of Lindsay Chamberlin

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lindsay Chamberlin, a Florida mom and writer for The Community Paper, and originally appeared here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Lindsay:

‘Dad said, ‘I really hope I get to see you again. If anyone can beat the system, it’s you.’ GAME ON.’: Woman thanks kindness of strangers for aiding her to visit dad in hospital bed

‘You give my kids something to look forward to every day, a smile from someone outside these four walls. Has anyone asked you, ‘How are you holding up?’: Mom pens appreciation letter to teachers

‘Aren’t you sad you never had a girl?’: Mom of 3 ‘wild boys’ hilariously breaks down how #BOYMOMS have ‘earned’ their exclusive title

‘I asked her when vacation starts. ‘In a week. I’m DREADING it. I already lied to my church and said Nicholas was 5 so he could go to Vacation Bible School.’ This warmed my soul.’

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