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Finding Your Authentic Self

Why the good girl in you needs to die

Good girls finish last. It’s true. Face it. And they don’t finish last because other people take advantage of them. They wind up with the short stick because good girls tend to put the needs of everyone else ahead of theirs. Good girls want to appease. They want to support others at all cost. But I’m telling you, if you have a good girl inside of you, it’s time for an exurcision.

I was a good girl. I was raised to be a good girl who strived to be a good wife. But it wasn’t until I hit my 40s that I realized my good girl had to die.

I am a mother, teacher, advisor, friend, daughter, aunt but the role I was trained for from the age of nine and the one that made my life complete was being a wife. It was like this for generations in my family. I lived with three generations and the women in my house treated their men like kings. And while the women had quiet command of the house, rest assured it was the men who were in charge. The women in my home were good girls. And they raised me to be one as well.

During my childhood, my mother would read fairy tales to me. And I loved them. I loved the perfect world of the tales, particularly one called “The Teeny Tiny Woman.” It became an obsession with me to have this very short story read to me so many times. It was the story of a teeny, tiny woman who lived in a teeny tiny house, with teeny tiny children and a teeny tiny spouse. The story helped me envision being so teeny tiny that I could almost not be seen. I could be so tiny that nothing bad could happen to me. So tiny I would not stand out.

Ironically, my husband’s nickname for me was Tiny. He said because when he met me, watching me as an almost six-foot tall woman, who he said looked like a model, it always seemed like I wanted to be small, to hide and not be seen. And many times in my life I have wanted to be small, teeny tiny so the world could not hurt and others could not see me. But that’s a trait of good girls. They don’t want to stand out.

And even though I am an accomplished, educated woman, I thought I had to be a good girl. After experiencing betrayal, battling cancer, dealing with death and destruction, I was forced not to be the good girl any more. And in this I don’t mean I became the “bad” girl, what I mean I started to put my own needs, goals, desires first. I started to think of what would make me happy, not how I was going to please everyone else.

Can silence kill? I feel it might. I am writing my story because I realize the silence will surely kill me; repressing the memories will destroy me; and the bitterness and anger not purged from my system will continue to prevent a healthy future.

Have a voice and make it heard. I found my voice, and now I am tiny no more.

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