Be good, but for whom?

I was on social media, again – yes, I need to make better use of my time! While aimlessly viewing the many feeds on my timeline, I came across a post that got me to stop, read the comments and add my voice. The quote said “Dudes will throw away a good girl who would give them the world for a girl who will give them disease”. Looking at the quote and some of the comments underneath it, my initial displeasure was with why the writer of the post felt they needed to put another woman down to uplift a ‘good’ one – my many other issues with the post will be in a future article. As I thought more on this quote, it some how coincided with something I had been mulling over for weeks. As a little girl, there was a lot of emphasis on being a ‘good girl’, however, I did not see this for boys. To be honest, a lot of narratives pushes this good girl/woman persona and vilify ‘bad’ girls because they chose to do things their way. It is this same narrative that always kills off the girl that does things her way – like the girl that has sex in horror/thriller movies or the evil step mother/sister meeting a tragic end in children’s fairytales. Females have been conditioned from the very beginning of their lives to be good but for whom and what is ‘good’ anyway?

I had a traumatic childhood and have been working on healing my trauma as well overcoming being codependent – one thing I found this childhood trauma did to me is always wanting to be seen as good. While it was drummed into me to be good to deserve good things happening to me, it did not turn me into a ‘good’ person, it hurt me and made me vulnerable to people taking advantage of me and me thinking less of myself. If you knew me before 2020, I was always willing to volunteer for something or lend out a helping hand to someone. This behaviour trait made me believe that because I was doing all these things, someone would love me because I was ‘good’ – but the opposite happened and the result was that I was always hurt because I felt betrayed. But no one asked me to be good to them and therefore I did not need to be good to these people. What I would quickly come to realise is that people love ‘good’ people when it benefits them but the moment your ‘goodness’ no longer serves a purpose to them, you will find that you were no good to them at all. My epiphany came a couple of years back while talking to a friend – she was pointing out how all the ‘bad girls’ she knew growing up were doing really well! As we continued talking, she dropped a statement that started my journey of deconstructing my need to be ‘good’ and to pursue finding and being my true and authentic self. She said, ‘those bad girls were simply not interested in pleasing or earning anyone’s love – they were okay with being themselves and doing what was best for them’.

Why do we pursue being good? Is it so that someone would love us, accept us or that people around us would approve of us? Girls were told to be good so they would be seen as good‘ marriage material ‘for men and then to be good mothers to their children – but no one pushed the narrative of girls being good to themselves! It is this same ‘goodness’ that sees many women play with their lives by staying in abusive relationships or hide the criminal activities of their children. What is ‘goodness’ anyway? If I live in neighbourhood where I hear and see someone abusing another person they live with, for the abuser, I am a good person if I don’t report them to the authorities and ‘mind my business’ but to the victim, am I a good person? Good is relative and being a decent human being should not be attributed to being a good person. I must abide by laws and be guided by morality while I navigate life – the purpose of doing these is not to be seen as ‘good’ but to ensure that I am part of creating a society that is safe for everyone. I want to be ‘good’ for me and when I decide to be ‘good’ for someone or a situation, I want to be doing this from a place of choice, not obligation. Years ago, someone close to me became a mother and it was a special time for us all. Like all new mothers, this person needed some time every now and then for themselves but living in a society where men taking care and spending time with their children are seen as extraordinary, she sometimes asked people around her for help. There was a particular young woman who was having issues at home and to escape, she found herself in the home of this new mother most times. She found that she was babysitting for this young mother alot and whenever she said no to requests to babysit, she found that the home of the new mother was no longer welcoming to her.

Both these women were good to each other because it suited them – for the mother, she needed free childcare and the young displaced young woman needed a refuge. For the younger woman, to escape her disfunction, she chose to offer childcare without setting any expectations and in the end, she felt taken advantage of and so did her friend. From where I am sitting, both were ‘good’ to each other when it suited them – their ‘goodness’ was self serving. I have a friend who is always full of advise about something I am doing or not doing – what I realise is that she is very concerned about how I am perceived by others and I know she means well. What she is struggling with is the person I was when we first met versus who I am now and becoming – I was living from a place of survival and I am no longer that woman. She could never see me do the things I am doing now – I have no issues expressing how I feel and burn bridges when they no longer serve a purpose in my life and she worries I may be labelled as bad. In a recent incident, she expressed how someone we knew looked up to me and I needed to consider that in my actions – and while I appreciated where she was coming from, doing what she suggested in that situation meant I would be ignoring my emotions so another person could accept theirs. The issue is, I no longer make those sacrifices at my expense – my feelings and I matter! So I told her that I was ok with being labelled bad, as a matter of fact, I wanted to be bad – being good had served me no purpose and I wanted to be a ‘bad bitch’! Lol!

I do not believe that we have to be good for anyone – I want to be good for and to me. If a situation requires me to say no to a request from another person or make a choice that is not popular; if it is good for me, then so be it. No one needs to be good for another person to love or choose them, you being your true authentic self should be enough – it is these narratives of being good that see’s people being fake and then confusing or surprising others when their true nature shows up. Be good for you and good to yourself – live on your own terms just like the ‘bad’ people that refused to live to the expectations of others; the only rules are that you hurt no one and to not break the law in the process.

Thank you for always taking time to read, share, comment and like – please continue to share your experiences so we can effect the change we need.

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