I used to be the best student. I was the good girl everyone hated. I was the teacher’s pet. I was the one who always turned her homework in on time, led study groups, tutored other students, and cried if I got a B.
After being homeschooled for my whole pre-college education, I had some serious insecurities.
Deep down, I thought I might not cut it. I knew I was behind in many subjects. Being graded was intimidating.
I was relieved to find I had a shit ton more tenacity, drive, and passion than most other students. This, combined with my insatiable desire for approval, made it easy for me to get A’s and B’s.
I was a rule follower to a t. The teacher said jump, I said how high. I was good at meeting others’ expectations. In fact, I attended one of the STRICTEST religious schools in the country. The rules were ENDLESS.
Pantyhose must be worn until 11am.
NO touching the opposite sex. Even shaking hands.
Off campus outings limited to 4 hours and only with 2 approved same-gender students.
Bed made by 7am.
Lights out by 10pm.
Music limited to hymns and traditional religious music.
Demerits given for anything and everything IMAGINABLE. You were grounded to the campus at 50 and expelled at 100.
I was SUCH a submissive girl, I ended my first year with THREE demerits. That may not mean much to anyone else but even to me this was impressive. If I remember correctly, it was because I was late to a class. Oh, and the shirt I was wearing was showing “too much of my armpit” one time…
It is so ironic looking back, because my life’s work is essentially about UNRAVELING all the things I learned so thoroughly and was so damn good at.
I was the ULTIMATE good girl. I ended my college career being everyone’s favorite student. I followed the rules. I got the degree. And then I proceeded to enter real life. All of that people pleasing and performing I was SO damn good at made me EASY prey. I was ripe to be taken advantage of and used by relationships or employers. I followed orders REALLY WELL. I was SO accommodating - never rocking the boat or causing inconvenience or disappointment. I ALWAYS followed through with my commitments, even if they didn’t feel good. Even if they harmed me. Even if my heart longed to go another way.
And it cost me deeply.
I lost myself in everyone else’s opinions and demands.
Temporary approval was never a good replacement for my own approval and respect.
In my commitment to others, I traded my commitment to myself.
Instead of letting my intuition lead me in experiencing my life, I allowed others to dictate the rules.
Today, I’ve learned to be a shitty student.
If something doesn’t fit, I don’t force it in order to please someone else.
I disagree honestly, instead of agreeing to keep the peace.
I refuse to follow orders that don’t resonate for me.
I am UNSHAKABLY committed to my own values and mission and intuition, above any rule, suggestion, opinion, or instructions.
Performance in MY OWN LIFE is FAR MORE IMPORTANT to me than meeting the deadlines or expectations of others.
How ironic is it I learned to be THE BEST student in order to UNlearn it all and discover how to BREAK ALL THE FUCKING RULES?? UNAPOLOGETIC. It’s how I live my life today. Free. Inspiring by example, not approval.
Have you broken out of your “good girl” yet? Are you still trying to be the “good student”, following all the rules, yet denying your own heart and intuition? Is it time to unleash your unapologetic rebel?