November 22, 2009

on a re-post: that one time I got all introspective...

This is a re-post, because I'm on vacation. Well, my vacation is technically almost over by now, but by now I will have had a huge turkey dinner, spent too much at a local craft fair, seen New Moon/had inappropriate thoughts about a seventeen-year old werewolf, consumed my sixteenth white mocha and snuggled with my sisters and nephew. I can't complain, really. So, anyway, to finish off this round of random re-posts, I thought I'd share a post that is a bit more personal, and less of a silly story. So, without getting too sentimental (oh, who am I kidding?) here it is, originally posted on August 29th, 2008:

As I mentioned a bit before, I've been going through my own, little personal inventory, so to speak. I've been thinking a lot about how much I've changed and grown in the last six years or so, and although I'm quite proud in some respects, I'm also disappointed in myself, too. I'm not the worst person I know, but I guess I've reached an age where I actually have things I'd go back and change if I had the chance. And I don't think I like that very much.

Sometimes I slip back into memories of when I was a perpetually happy, seventeen-year-old, daydreaming, theatre geek. Very sheltered, but I was okay with that. Slightly naive, but I was okay with that. Never-been-kissed, and of course I was so not okay with that. Homeschooled, but I swear I didn't wear denim jumpers and I know nothing about cows, so don't you dare stereotype me. I guess that it's only natural that I've gone on to experience more of the world, make a few mistakes along the way. But there are certainly decisions I wish I could change; stupid things I've done where doing the right thing should have been the easier choice. The better answer should have been the first one to reach my lips. But somehow, it wasn't - for a variety of different reasons, I guess. Mostly, I think it's this wanting to not be put into the "good girl" box, as I was put into for most of my life.

Now, here's the thing. I'm very hard on myself. I'm sure that I could spill all my secrets right here and some of you would roll your eyes and say, "Puh-lease. That's the worst of it? Calm down, crazy-pants. You're like a nun compared to some of my friends." But I guess I've always held myself to this unattainable high-standard and deal with too much guilt because of it.

Part of it is the whole "middle child" mentality. (I have five sisters, but the last two are much younger and growing up I was technically the middle child.) I was always the one who was the mediator, the one who was quite self sufficient and didn't demand much attention, the one who worked hard to please everyone, the one who wanted to make sure everyone was happy. My mom tells me that even when I was little and had done something wrong, all they'd have to do was look at me and I'd burst into tears. I've never been grounded, and I only remember a handful of times where my parents were genuinely angry with me. (One night I stayed out until after midnight with my boyfriend, and my mom was waiting there, completely angry that I didn't call. I remember yelling back, "IF THIS IS THE WORST THING I'VE EVER DONE, THEN I THINK WE'RE OKAY, RIGHT? RIGHT?" Of course, I still went to bed that night with a crushing guilt and, although I still thought I was right, I'm pretty sure I bawled my eyes out knowing my mom was upset with me.)

Yes, I guess you could say I was a slight goodie-goodie. Not in a snooty way, I hope, but more in a I-never-want-to-disappoint-anyone way.

Since moving to California and being somewhat on my own for part of that time, I've been able to test the waters a bit more. Rebel in my own small way. Part of me wanted to change this saintly view people had of me, which sounds terrible, but I'm sure someone else must be able to relate to that.

When I first moved here, I was nineteen and incredibly naive. I remember at my first job, people would talk about things that some would deem "inappropriate" and they would always look at me and give me this condescending look, saying something like, "Oh, you should cover your ears for this." They knew I was Christian, they knew where I came from, they knew about my morals - you should have been there for the conversation about my promise ring:

coworkers: "What's that ring for?"
me: "Oh, um. It's a promise ring."
coworkers: "You're seeing someone?"
me: "No, it's from my dad."
coworkers: (blank stare)
me: "It's a promise - er, purity ring?"
coworkers: "What's that mean?"
me: "It means, well, that I am saving myself until marriage. It's sort of a symbol of that, I guess."
coworkers: "WHAT? NO SEX? How old are you?"
me: "Nineteen."
coworkers: "Woooow. I could never do that."

After a while I guess I wanted to test a bit of my own boundaries. To push my self out of that box that people had automatically put me into. All I wanted to do was show people, "See? I know about this and that! I'm fun! I'm not up-tight! Don't you see it now?" And ironically, after several years, I now would love to revert back to that sweet, demure, will-do-no-wrong girl that people saw me as.

I know that people certainly don't see me as this crazy, worldly, party-girl, but I know that I give off the wrong vibe in certain situations. Especially when I'm with certain people. It's odd, too, because I always know when I'm acting. I put on a show like, "Hey! This is me! Seriously!" But it's not. And I know it's not. I'm either trying to blend in with everyone, or to hide insecurities, or something to that effect.

Since my birthday, I've made a few decisions. Resolutions, if you will. And I figured it may be beneficial to write them all down:

I will be more true to myself. I will be more true to what I believe in, and be a better example of those things. I will be more positive about myself. I will be more positive about the world around me. I will give myself more credit for all I have accomplished, all I am, and all I'm presently doing.

And I really mean it this time.

12 comments :

  1. I lived in the good girl box for so long, and then busted out of it with a vengeance, and now sort of reside somewhere in between. I think you're right though---the most important thing is being true to yourself. I need to start listening to that more, even now.

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  2. There's nothing wrong with being "good". Pure and happy are awesome things to be. I'm sure many people would be jealous of that.

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  3. I saved myself too, until I was 21. There's nothing wrong with being that good person. Not every girl needs to be reckless or party to enjoy herself. I tried it and didn't enjoy it. You need to be yourself and no one else. If you're not comfortable in your own skin, why would you be more so in someone else's? I don't know, but you've given me a lot of food for thought.

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  4. i completely relate to this post. i never really rebeled, although i thought i had in my own little ways until i actually got out in the world and realized that my rebellion was pretty small time. i'm a christian who saved herself for marriage at 23 and who still gets put in the "good girl" box.

    while this used to bother me, i've come to appreciate it and realize that this is who i am. if i can be this person while not judging others, then what's wrong with that?

    you're so right....being true to yourself is important... whether you're a "good girl" or a "bad girl" or a whatever kind of girl. be you. thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Amazing! love this! thanks for sharing! I waited until i was 26 till I got married! I was holding out for my husband, he deserved all of me... and he was waiting for me too. I am a Christian too and my rebellious phase was in two parts, a.) i got my ears double pierced when I turned 18 (and I regret it to this day, like my mom said i would! ) and b.) I studied abroad in italy and fell in love with vino! :) haha

    Keep it up girl, be true to yourself, be true to the TRUTH, you encourage more people than you know with a life of purity!

    Blessings,
    Katie

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  6. Oh, I have had many a purity ring talk with friends, people at school, etc. Some think I ma crazy, but I am like, "Sorry I don't want STD's and to get pregnant or to just give myself away to all these people and be known as a scum-sucking road whore". Yes, I just quoted Meangirls.
    Anyways, just because people have morals does NOT mean they are boring and no fun.

    =D

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  7. When did being a good girl become a bad thing? When did innocence at the age of 19 (or 23) become a negative attribute? *sigh* Just my own introspection on your introspection. Keep on being your good self. :)

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  8. You saved yourself?!? I'm attempting to do that now. I love this post. Yes, when you're trying to do things that seem right to you, but different from how others live, it's incredibly important to remind yourself to stand firm!

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  9. I had the same problem when I was a teenager. I was a goody goody who wanted to be not so good but deep down I knew I wanted to stay good - if that makes sense. So I started missing class and I went a bit too far with my boyfriend. Now I wish I could take it all back. I wish I could be who I really deep down wanted to be instead of who I made myself become. Grrr... I hear you!!

    Love the blog by the way!! Can't wait till you're back from vacation!!

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  10. I grew up for the most part in a snooty private school, where I was sheltered. Then I went to public school & a public university & went crazy. At one point, I was listening to music that would make my mother fall to her knees in prayer, hanging out at places that a girl my age should definitely not have been at, and doing things that God was cringing at. I've found a happy medium, though. And I'm actually glad I went through that stage because it makes me appreciate where I'm at now.

    I hope you're having an awesome vacay!

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  11. Okay I wish I'd read this post first - I can relate to so many feelings of guilt, and it's only in recent years I've learned you don't have to beat yourself up. I would always give myself SUCH a hard time if I ever did anything wrong - if I stayed out ten minutes past curfew, if I didn't do my chores at home for the day, I'd feel like the worst person in the world! It didn't help having a mother who kind of took every opportunity to make me feel like nothing I could do was good enough - that mentality carried through into my adult years and I became pretty severely anxious all the time because of it. But thanks to a small handful of very wonderful people, and also in this past year finding God, I've tried to grow beyond that, live a good life where I do what I can to help other people and actually take time for myself (and not feel guilty about it), and just feel so much better.

    About looking back and wishing you could change things - I read a book recently and a line stuck with me; when you've had bad experiences in your life you can "become bitter about them, or become better because of them". I've had more than a few terrible times in my life that I wouldn't wish on anybody - and I've been hurt to the point where I literally didn't think I could face the world any more. But in the years since, I've tried to use the opportunity to learn from those experiences - without them I would've never experienced the pain that allowed me to truly appreciate the real blessings I have in my life; I never would've pushed myself to grow into the person I am today, and it was bad at the time - but if I hadn't made those bad decisions, I wouldn't be living this life right now.

    Sorry for the big rant I just had to share - I'd love to chat sometime! :)

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  12. reading this made me feel like such a wishcake groupie (did you know you had those??) because I remember reading this when you ORIGINALLY posted it! Actually, I think it was one of the first ones I commented on, because at first I was all "hey, another 'good girl'" and then by the time I finished reading I was all "oh my gosh, she just read my mind and my soul, I think I LOVE her"! :)

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