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This is a very timely topic for me. In the 80's, I was one of the good girls. I was senior class president, choir and band member, accomplished flutist, daughter of a minister, good student. I was the English teacher's single student employee, I worked at a greenhouse on Sundays and vacations, I babysat. I didn't have sex, go dancing, dress provocatively, or even use bad language although I have to admit that I had kissed a boy--shh, don't tell. I told myself that because I was responsible (and everyone praised me for that quality), I needed to be an example.
As you can imagine, by the time I went to college (yes, of course I went to college--B.S. elementary education), I was burned out on extracurricular activities, but still blissfully continuing that self-destructive path towards perfection, living the expectation.
Now, at age 40 and with the help of a really wonderful therapist, I'm just discovering my inner critic and learning how that has shaped who I have become. I find that even now most things in my life are never good enough--my body image, my financial status, my goals, my daily accomplishments, the state of my house, my children's behavior. It's been really distressing to me that I could, even as I parent two young boys, pass along my struggle with perfectionism. At times, I have been thankful that I didn't have girls because of that very real possibility.
As I look back on my life so far, I can see that I have never been allowed to be myself, to embrace my imperfections, the things that make me who I am, to be the "bad girl". I am on a journey that will allow me to do just that. I will say that it is extremely difficult to give myself permission to not be perfect or care what other people think. I imagine that I would be a less angst-ridden person if I had learned how to develop kindness and compassion towards myself when I was younger.
This is such an important topic. Thank you for addressing it. I support anyone and anything that will help girls learn how to be their real selves, imperfections and all. The Curse of the Good Girl is on my book list when I next go to Powell's.
posted 3 years, 8 months ago
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