This blog has been a long time coming. It’s been brewing. Bubbling up so to speak for months. And I’m done. Just don’t call me a Good Girl any more. Ever. In fact don’t even murmur it, condone it, support it. Nor think it. I repeat, I’m done.
This is me when I was seven. It’s one of the few photos I have, marked and stained with time, and I have kept it close. I was a Good Girl.
I’m a now 61. And in a meeting yesterday I was called, by another woman: ‘ Good Girl’. I nearly threw up.
I tried to be a Good Girl all my growing years. I think I tried until 50 or so. I just tried to please, to be responsible, to do the right thing, be an upstanding citizen, not rock the boat (we don’t do that in our family), to never upset, challenge, turn my back nor be resolute.
I tried to be Good in business, answer emails, phone calls, be polite, not demanding, listen, wait my turn. Not appear ambitious, loud, bitchy, self important, pushy nor overpowering.
Just Good. Oh, and invisible, beige. Nice.
Being a Good Girl is killing us. Silently, progressively, bit by bit, sucking our spirits dry and whitewashing our passion, eating at our hearts. Levelling our responses, numbing our desires and patronisingly driving us to conform. When our daughter was growing up I remember asking my mother not to call her a Good Girl. Nor our son a Good Boy for that matter. I was challenged, laughed at, her foot tapping and her mind going nuts. ‘Don’t, just don’t challenge me’ her look of frustration and disapproval drilled into my bones.
Be A Good Girl Please. There, there.
So for all of us parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, carers, in fact anyone who has contact with children, what does Be Good mean?
Does it mean just sit? Sit still? Shut up? Do as you’re told? Colour in between the lines? Take your turn? Stay clean? Do your homework? Feed the dog? Don’t upset me? I am right? Don’t move? Do what the teacher said? Don’t answer back? Answer me? Eat your food? Don’t ask? Clean your room? Don’t bother me? Don’t have an opinion? Be nice? Be kind? Be thoughtful? Be a doormat? Say yes? Help others? Don’t have sex? Don’t ask questions? Don’t rock that boat? Don’t fly the coup, leave me behind, nor forget my birthday?
Just be a Good Girl.
Think about it. It’s the most controlling, patronising two words in the English language.
So, what to say instead? Sometimes, nothing. Just say nothing. Leave people be.
Or laugh, ask questions, listen deeply, celebrate difference, hug, smile, give warmth, accept. Just tell them you love them. And thank them for being them. And be an example of courage in adversity, open hearted passion, delightful spontaneity, grace, generosity, and warts and all realness. Just celebrate you. That way you will celebrate them.
And none of us need ever Be Good again.