Do People Underestimate You?

Do people underestimate you?

I’ve been on this road trip for the past 81 days.

When I started this journey, I committed to connecting with as many people as possible. As a result, I’ve surfed over 20 couches, I’ve shared coffee with countless people and I’ve been introduced to a ridiculous number of new contacts.

All of this has made me very aware of the way people receive me, and of the type of energy I’m putting out there, especially upon first meeting someone.

And what I’ve realized is that people underestimate me.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but several people I’ve met over the past 81 days have told me that their first impression of me was much different than the person they now know me to be (maybe it was the teddy bear?).

Here is some of what they saw upon first meeting me:

A very nice young woman (they usually think I’m WAY younger – or WAY older – than I am) on a road trip with no plan and no destination.
A lost person that has no home.
Someone whose obviously been misguided in her life to end up homeless and living out of her car.
Someone that’s confused, scared and lonely, and that doesn’t know what she’s looking for in life.
Someone that’s very nice, but that doesn’t have much going on in her own life.

But here’s the truth:

I’m kind of a badass.

And you know what? As much as I’m ready and willing to own all the tough shit in my life, I want to own THAT shit as well.

So, in honor of… the month of October???… I’m going to list 5 reasons I’m a badass – and then, I want you to do the same in the comments below.

Alright, here it goes:

  1. When I was 16, I decided I wanted to join the military. They told me “no” because I had a heart condition. So what did I do? I got heart surgery and fought to be accepted into a Federal Service Academy. This past year, I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant.
  2. I’m in the Merchant Marine and hold an Unlimited Tonnage United States Coast Guard License, which means that I can sail as a Third Mate on ANY ship in the entire world.
  3. For fun, I model. I used to be part of a modeling agency in NY, and I once appeared on the cover of a calendar (the photo at the top of this blog post was the cover photo).
  4. For a year, I owned a bakery. It was called “Snooty Pies,” and we specialized in gourmet miniature pies. The highlight of my baking experience was catering the launch party for the television show, “Mustache Wars” in NYC. Epic.
  5. Um, I’m on a road trip. Alone. Driving around the United States. Enough said.

Wow. Shit. Why do I let people underestimate me?

I need to OWN all the badass stuff I’ve done, and be confident when I meet new people.

We teach people how to treat us: People underestimate me because I underestimate me!

Do you let people underestimate YOU?

If I’m being honest, I can list about 10 more reasons I’m a total badass!!!!

What classifies something as “BADASS?”

Well, badass is subjective. Basically, any experience that pushed you – that forced you out of your comfort zone and challenged you to grow in ways you never thought possible. This can be anything from joining the military to trying sushi for the first time.

So now it’s your turn. Tell me: Why are YOU a badass?

List 5 of your own BADASS experiences in the comments below.

You have permission to talk yourself up! Before you meet someone new, read over this list and approach the interaction with confidence.

Let’s all own our shit – the “bad” and the “badass.”

Peace + Calm + Gratitude,


Photo Credit: Chas KimbrellΒ 

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24 Responses to Do People Underestimate You?

  1. Charlene says:

    * In 2001, I ran a Marathon, which I originally set out to only run a half marathon. Something I never ever dreamed I could ever accomplish and I finished through hard work and dedication to my training.
    * While my children were babies and having decided to stop my paralegal career to focus on being a mom, I, little by little, in my very limited free time, put myself through online web design classes and taught myself how to design websites, then proceeded to open my own business.
    * Found the courage to leave an unhappy marriage not having been in the work force for well over 10 years, having two children who I desperately did not want to hurt, and leaving the only life I knew for 14 years..
    * Found the courage to admit that I had abandonment issues that were crippling me in my relationships.
    * Flew to Atlanta on two consecutive weekends, to attend an expedited wine education class and certification exam and PASSED. I’m continuing on my journey to transition into the wine field and I am determined to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

    Thank you for the opportunity to experience this exercise. It is an incredible feeling to write this shit down and see it right there in front of me. xo

    • Charlene, Thank you SO much for sharing. You are TOTALLY a badass! Wow. Seriously. Read this list often. I am blown away right now. Feel free to add to this list at any point. πŸ™‚ – Victoria

  2. Tim says:

    Well I wanted to be the first to comment (which would have been badass) and I had the window open but got distracted trying to figure out why my e-file taxes have been rejected 3 times… darn you turbo tax! Which leads me too…
    1. I “have the patience of Job.” I learned who Job was when during a hockey game in high school I got jumped and the other team’s player tried to beat my face in, but only struck my face guard and I laid on the ice laughing at him until he (poof) disappeared as my team mates tackled him. The referee said the quote in reference to my not reacting to this guy. I continue to have immeasurable amounts of patience when dealing with the average able seaman Mariner and other aspects of life.
    2. Like my friend Vic, I have a Merchant Marine License too… mine is Master Unlimited Tons, upon oceans and I am sooo close, maybe 2 yrs from command of my own ship.
    3. I love adventure and take the less worn path to nearly every destination generally making life more difficult in the process (ugh)… and in fact when hiking a mountain, I usually like to blaze my own trail straight up the rocky face. Why not? Exactly!
    4. From 1989 – 1994, for 5 years I lived on a sailboat in the Bahamas. What an awesome unique childhood. (Badass right? Not the point tho…) Home schooled for that time, I returned to a new school system with higher than average intelligence and a massive social etiquette problem, not knowing how to react to the typical public school ruffians because everyone is friendly in the Caribbean. Hence a two yr mental and physical nightmare adjusting to the new median and earning the acceptance of most peers. (In hindsight, I didn’t care for, nor desire their acceptance. I just did what I did in order to survive and minimize the daily grief. Too this day I do not have contact with one single person from HS and I don’t care if I ever do.)
    5. Though I have a strong muscular physique, I’m a bit nerdy and whereas I may not be a genius, I am smart enough to consider myself a nerd and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m a math/science/grammar nerd and despise those who purposely refuse to use their, there, they’re, your, and you’re correctly. Last example is a math joke, if you get it without looking something up, you’re surely a nerd. – So two numbers meet for the first time… the square root of negative one (βˆšβˆ’1) says to Pi, “Be Rational” and Pi replies, “Get Real” πŸ™‚

    • Timothy: Yeah. Um. Totally BADASS – for sure. It’s especially badass that you own the fact that you’re a nerd haha. LOVE IT. Blazing your own path, commanding your own ship. Shit. EPIC. Thank you for sharing!! Peace + Calm, Victoria

  3. Cam says:

    Came for the picture.

    • Oh Cam: This is why I love and miss you dearly. I find your response fitting. There’s no need for you to have a list of why you’re a badass, because you just ARE – No explanation required. πŸ™‚ I’ll just list one: Dropping the “F-Bomb” at Tedx = TOTALLY BADASS. -Victoria

  4. Marilynn says:

    Raise 3 wonderful, well adjusted, loving children basically on my own (with NO help for the 2 biological fathers)
    Was not afraid to buy and hand my boys condoms when they got their first serious girlfriends because I REMEMBER being a teenager and was NOT going to turn a blind eye to knowing teenagers have sex. And I was NOT going to be the parent that pretended my kids would NEVER do that.
    Held half the Cub Scout Pack adult positions when my boys were in the Pack because no other parents wanted to volunteer.
    Am not afraid to walk away from negative people in my life
    Have decided I want to raise bees and chickens and possibly have a mushroom farm (need to research this a little more)
    Walked away from the security of a marriage that wasn’t letting me grow.
    that’s all I have for now… but need to dig deep and think on this BADASS list.
    Victoria you ARE a BADASS! I can’t imagine why anyone would think any of those things about you when they first meet/met you… but maybe they hadn’t been along for the ride the past few years (you forgot one… when you left NY) with you. Thanks for sharing and getting the badass thought rolling.

    • Ahhh Marilynn. You are TOTALLY a badass. Being a mother has not been part of my journey yet, but I KNOW that it takes one heck of a BADASS strong woman to raise 3 children on her own!! And bees? A mushroom farm? What?!?!?! Tell me how that goes. I love that you’re still with me on this “road trip” called life. Thank you for the reminder about leaving NY. Peace & Love, my dear. – THE BUTTERFLY <3

  5. Zack says:

    1) Got out of school/friends/teacher/parents bullying/violence abuse and stayed sane.

    2) Lose 38kg in 4 months and subsequently a total of 52kg in a year. Got my 6-pacs ^^

    3) I was really socially awkward because of my fat appearance and those bullying in my childhood days. I made friends and got myself a girlfriend with genuine sincerity, feelings and effort.

    4) I thought that everyone should have a nice place to rest their body & soul, to cry alone, to sing out loud without a care for the world. And so I decorated and install electronics and systems in my room with my own little allowance as a student. Now I have a mini theatre as my room.

    5) I live in a conscripted nation. I completed my National Service proudly. I took up every challenges and I can say only a few people have gone through worse than me. I earned the respect of many (but perhaps some might hate me haha). I am a lieutenent too yeah!!

    Anyway, Victoria.. I just happened to come across your site and barely got to know you at all. And you have already gained my respect (by reading your articles and replies)!

    Best wishes

    • Zack,

      This is awesome! Thank you for sharing. I LOVE number 4, by the way.

      Hey and thanks for visiting my site. I hope you hang out and chat with me via Facebook, Twitter, etc. πŸ™‚


  6. Erik says:

    Great post & comments!

    I’m actually a mild-mannered, earthy-crunchy geek-freak, but everyone thinks I’m a badass mother-fornicator…
    I don’t get it :/..

    • Thank you for sharing Erik! So have you uncovered exactly what it is that is leading people to view you as a “badass mother-fornicator?”

      • Erik says:

        Hi Victoria! Thanks for asking πŸ™‚
        If I may hazard to conjecture: I believe it has something to do with the fact that I have been, and continue to go to places where Angels fear to tread.
        It’s all good!
        (The intention of my last sentence was not to be a thought terminating cliche in order to quell any cognitive dissonance, but there you have it)
        Did I mention that you are way too wonderful πŸ˜‰

  7. Trudy says:

    Reasons I am BADASS:
    1) I moved to LA, leaving my family and friends after high school, to pursue my dream of being an actress/model/living in a sunny place πŸ™‚
    2) I have supported myself (and men I’ve dated) ever since then, so… for the past 14 years.
    3) I have decided to never support a man again.
    4) I consistently make goals, write them down, and achieve them, and currently am a school teacher and yoga instructor because of my BADASS perseverance (this has also caused me to love what I do on every possible level)
    5) I am learning to accept change, and groundlessness so that I may more fully love myself and know myself more deeply. Nothing bad can come from this!

  8. Erik says:

    To elaborate further: I do not judge my value based upon how others estimate me. I love myself as well as others unconditionally and through trials of tribulations (and an endless procession of lazy cliches and hard earned originality) focus only on how I can better express that love.
    …amongst other things πŸ™‚

    What a beautiful day it is!

    • Ha! Awesome Erik. Thank you for elaborating. Focusing on love is always a great option! -Victoria

      • Erik says:

        I think love is the only option. Love is understanding, accepting, building and maintaining.
        The other choice is fear. Fear is ignorance, denial, destruction and decay.
        But don’t take my word for it. I’m just a tall handsome Norwegian riding this beautiful rotating rock going ’round and ’round that big ball of burning gas over yonder…
        ok…I’ll shut up now <3

  9. Barry says:

    Reasons why I’m a badass:

    1) I had a well built for a village in Africa.
    2) I’ve always helped people when I’m able to.
    3) I’ve recently taken Victoria’s advice and determined that I deserve the right to be in a happy and healthy relationship of trust and love. This is incredibly hard for me as I’ve been very close to this person.
    4) I play a couple of instruments and sing a little.
    5) I’m deciding today that I’m going to be more truthful with myself.

  10. Kate says:

    I finally set my ego aside, and let go of my fear of leaving the comfort of my own realm of reality and finished training for a volunteer organization that advocates for abused children. I now volunteer with the court system and work cases where I visit children in their homes and work with those children and their families to keep them together. I have completely lost myself in these small acts of love…

    • Kate,

      Wow!! Beautiful!! I love your last sentence, “I’ve completely lost myself in these small acts of love.” That must feel magical. Thank you for sharing!

      Sending Peace & Calm,

  11. Sarah says:

    -I moved to the Middle East for 10 years to work as a flight attendant when I was 23 years old (Dubai, and Saudi Arabia) – didn’t know anyone there
    -Cut ties with my abusive parents
    -Cut ties with abusive friends
    -Studied for 12 years part-time to become a psychologist
    -Came out to everyone
    -Worked in child protection as a case worker for 6 years
    -Backpacked around Asia, the US and Europe by myself
    -Currently work with survivors of torture and trauma

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