Sep 17, 2009

Little Miss Goody Two Shoes

That's me.

I've always been sort of compulsively well behaved. I was the kid who always got perfect marks for behavior, who followed the rules, who lectured the other kids when they broke the rules (or even thought about breaking them.) I was the kid who never caved to peer pressure, who was an incredibly judgmental teetotaler until I was almost legal to drink, who never did drugs or anything even remotely close to drugs. I can count on one hand the number of times I played hookie...which is far less than the number of times when I attended all of my classes when I probably should have stayed home because I was so sick. I always pay my bills on time, and I always make good on any loans given me by parents or friends (though I honestly can't remember the last time I asked for one.) I have always been respectful, responsible, and the kind of kid parents always wanted their kid to hang out with and be like, but which no kid ever wanted to be with or even be seen with.

It's not like there was ever much I could do about it. I liked coloring inside the lines. I liked the positive feedback I received for doing the right thing, hated the negative feedback I got for anything wrong, and generally speaking had a strong enough belief in my own awesomeness that I never really had a hard time following through if I thought a certain action was right. I credit this for a lot of the success.

At the same time, though, as I get older I realize that sometimes always wanting to color inside the lines can be a drawback. I am the opposite of a risk taker. I don't like to be put in a position where I might not be able to do many of the things I feel that I, as an adult, am expected to do, and expected to do independently. I tend to make safe choices, and I also tend to take the path of least resistance. I like to be liked and approved of by my peers and superiors, and when I don't meet their standards, I work doubly hard to exceed them...whether or not their standards are in keeping with my own personal goals.

I'm a good kid. I always have been. But sometimes...I wish I were a little less good. I wish I could risk maybe not being able to pay all of my bills one month. (This is an idea that literally gives me heart palpitations.) I wish I could risk not having health insurance, or risk not having a "normal" place to live, or risk maybe not being exactly the sort of person I think everyone wants me to be.

"Well-behaved women seldom make history," or so the saying goes.

I want to make history, and sometimes I get the distinct feeling that behaving myself all the time is just getting me into bigger trouble.

8 comments:

  1. This post could definitely be a description of me, too! The drawback that I'm finding as I merge into adulthood is that coloring inside the lines isn't always rewarded the same way in adulthood as it was in childhood. Adulthood simply has fewer lines - everyone is on different paths, different bosses want and expect different things, it's simply less clear-cut. That makes adulthood confusing for a person who has always gotten her kicks from coloring inside the lines!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can relate to this! Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to regret being such a good girl. That's why I've been toying with the idea of going to Vegas. Wanna join me?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, my gosh. This is totally me! My mom always tells me of the story when I was 3-years-old and I turned to my BFF Lauren and told her, "Lauren, if you don't behave, I'm not going to be your friend anymore!" Even at 3, I was a goody-two-shoes. I was always terrified of getting a referral in school. I don't think I'm as terrified as getting in trouble now...just in trouble with the law! But coloring outside the lines, thinking outside the box? That's something we all need to do.

    ReplyDelete
  4. While I completely understand wanting to take risks, not paying bills or not having health care seem like horrible ideas in general. Wouldn't it be more fun to take the risk of skipping work and going to an amusement park instead?

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why is "taking a risk" synonyms with doing something that is wrong? Taking a risk could be talking to your boss about that raise, or about switching teams, or leaving your job to do something else (that's a really hard one for me to even think about). Think ahead and make a change -- that's the biggest risk to take.

    Also, from another point of view... this past weekend I was sick and delirious, and I couldn't hold back tears as I told my husband how lucky we are: we don't have to worry about money (not because we make so much of it, but because we know how to manage it properly), we don't have to worry about going to jail, and we don't have to worry about the other all of the sudden making irresponsible decisions that could ruin our lives. I think there is something to be said for coloring within the lines. You have the peace of mind that many people don't have, and you are free to use your brain power to worry about other things, like what steps to take in your career, as opposed to how are you going to make the bills this month. I say hurray for all those responsible young adults out there who got their act together.

    ReplyDelete
  7. goody two shoes sit by as the world crumbles. that's what happens when your only creative gesture is coloring inside the lines. your indifference to the suffering of others on a macro scale is gargantuan.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The world is full of such synacism and harshness. I think we need a bit of Goodie Two Shoes, quite frankly. We take so much for granted and are so entitled, thinking all the time we deserve better, never realing how much more we have than so many others. I am a "Goodie Two Shoes" and a risk taker. Just got back from a medical mission to Haiti. That is enough to make you jump for joy that you have 2 shoes, and clean water and food to boot.
    Get over it! Celebrate your goodness! Appreciate what you have and who are! G2S

    ReplyDelete