I spent much of my childhood, teens, and early twenties trying to be good.
I desperately wanted to make my parents proud of me; and that meant behaving in a way that aligned with what they believe a good girl is and does.
But that always came at a cost. And the price was me being able to be myself. To say whatever I wanted, dress however I pleased, and do whatever made me feel alive in the moment.
In the back of my mind, I was always concerned about what other people would think.
If I wear this short skirt, I know my mother is going to say something that makes me feel dirty before I leave the house.
If I have a one night stand, or sleep with too many guys, I’ll be known as a slut.
And if I quit my job because it’s making me miserable, my family will think I’m a failure; not committing to anything.
If I stay out past midnight and don’t tell them where I’m going, they’ll be angry and worried and make me feel guilty for having fun.
If I drink too much alcohol and can’t get out of bed the next day, they’ll look at me with those disappointed eyes; even if it only ever happens once in a blue moon.
If I disagree with what they say, or call them out when they are being un-kind, there’ll be friction, and tension, and an unpleasant atmosphere in the house for days. We are older, we are wiser, we know better. I struggle to breathe. And I want to run away.
If I fail a test, or don’t get a good grade, I’ve been taught to see myself as a failure; and that’s without throwing their two cents on top.
If I speak up at work, or challenge authority, there will be outrage. Who does she think she is speaking to me like that? Does she not know her rightful place?
If I choose to stay single my whole life, or not get married to my partner, or never have kids, there will be judgment. No willingness to empathise, or understand. And sympathy, for I must not be happy, not really.
This is not what a good girl does.
A good girl does what she’s told to do, and what is expected of her. By her family, her employer, and society.
She does not dare step out of line, because she doesn’t want them to label her bad.
She has devoted her entire life to being good, and she knows this wins her praise and love.
But good is not real. Good is not your identity. And good is not what you came here to be.
Real is better.
Real is when you say how you feel and you speak your mind, even when you’re afraid to. Because whatever is stirring within you is meant to be presenced.
Real is when you do the thing that you want to do, because you want to. And you don’t need any more reason than that. And to hell with anyone who doesn’t like how you choose. Because you are no longer seeking a permission slip.
Real is not about being perfect. It’s about doing the best you can on any given day, and accepting that you will not, and cannot, always be the best. Sometimes you won’t be good at something, and you will fail spectacularly at something else. And that’s more than okay; that’s beautiful.
Real is making mistakes, and having things you regret, and owning it when you fuck up. Because we all do. And as long as you’re learning and growing from all your experiences, that’s all that matters.
Real is being straight or bi, or being forever single or three times divorced, or having as much sex with as many men as you want. Because being real is being true to you.
Real is when you put yourself first. It’s about saying no when something doesn’t feel right, and saying yes even when you’re nervous.
Real is accepting that you have fears today, and that you will never not have fears tomorrow. But you choose to confront them, and move through them, instead of allowing them to keep you small and stunted.
Real is letting go of the weight of other people’s opinions and beliefs, and choosing your own. And carving out a path that aligns with those beliefs, and supports you on your journey.
Real is real.
Fuck being a good girl. Be a real girl.