A long time ago, I was born into this world as a good girl. I was an only child until my sister arrived when I was seven years old. That’s a long time in the life of a child.
I was a good girl. A good girl was always quiet, did things on her own. A nice girl, never got into trouble. In school, my teachers wrote on my report card what a good girl I was. Always did my work, did as I was told, was no trouble at all.
I was rewarded handsomely for being a good girl. My parents praised my good girl skills. My teachers mentioned it over and over again. Friends and family agreed – what a good girl I was. And the older I got, the more ingrained this behavior became.
I couldn’t do THAT. I was a good girl.
I sat in amazement listening to a group of millennials talk about … well, everything. Sex, religion, politics, differences, direction. No stone was left unturned. And this group of women had an opinion about everything. And they weren’t afraid to share it.
They weren’t afraid to live it.
And why should they? We’ve been pushing them since the time they were babies; to “be their own persons” and to “do things their way.”
Then there’s us; the Gen X women.
Not me. Nope, I was raised a good girl.
Good girls can have an education … but don’t forget to look for a boy while you’re pursuing your degree.
Good girls can have a career … as long as it allows time to stay home with the kids.
Good girls can have sex … after they get married.
Good girls ALWAYS think before they act, watch for what can happen to them before they take action. Because you wouldn’t want anyone thinking you’re not a good girl, would you?
But what about millennials? Why couldn’t have been more like that?
What did being a good girl bring?
It made me pull back throughout my education. Good girls sat in the corner, were quiet and never caused a fuss. What would have happened if I’d raised my hand, asked questions, pushed the limits, and tried things without fear?
It made me fearful. Being a good girl meant not taking risks. Risky behavior will often land you in a world of trouble, so it’s better to play it safe and only take action when the outcome is all but guaranteed.
It made me pursue the wrong career. I was a woman. Women are better off in certain careers. Think about marriage and a family. You don’t want a demanding career that takes you away from those priorities. So go with something you can work into your life – around the needs of your family, of course.
It made me accept other people’s opinions as mine. Good girls follow everybody else’s rules without planning her own. Their ideas mattered more than my own. Their advice became my lifeline to how I ran my life.
Some years ago, I discovered something that changed my life forever.
Letting my “good girl” ways go didn’t make me bad. It didn’t make me a worse person. It didn’t mean I no longer had morals or goals or values. It didn’t make me any less lovable or likable. It didn’t make me a monster.
Letting my “good girl” ways go simply meant I could be who I wanted to be.
It meant I could answer for myself what I wanted to do. How I approached my career. What I did with my daily actions. What risks I took. How I moved forward every day in my life.
It meant I could choose the people I want in my life. The actions I take. The things I do. The choices I make.
I can march when I need to. To protect everything we’ve created so far. To work to prevent us slipping backward, away from all we’ve accomplished.
I’m no longer a good girl.