I am a damn good girl!
My head still turns at this kind of title coming from me. For some reason, my entire life up until a year ago it was a Michelle fauxpas to say any curse words. I am sure there are other goody-goods like me, esp. coming from a culture of perfectionist Mormons. My personal culture has never used such language, as I am sure many of you reading this have gasped.
Actually, when I was a young child my dad used a curse word and for some reason I was scared for life, thinking it was this graven sin to use a word like damn. My poor husband!
This last year has been an accumulating conclusion to the past ten years of my life. For the last ten years I have felt like I have been on stall. When looking back I am realizing I have been catching up on graduating college, getting married, having kids- you know, the simple stuff… but, to me, I have felt on stall, because mentally and physically I have felt stuck. Well, this past year, life is finally catching up and I am getting places. For some reason that rut has let me loose and I am shimming out.
As of late I have been going to a ton of therapy. Boy, it is refreshing! I am realizing how normal I am and how productive I have been, despite the rut I felt sucked into. Growing up is hard to do and it is okay to struggle!
Most people just let time pass, but with my personality I seem to take on a lot of responsibility in fixing what I don’t like, hence all the classes and therapy I am going to. It has been extremely educational and self-aware-“ing”.
My grandpa had a personal philosophy that he would remind us fairly often of: “I am a damn good guy!” My mom was talking to me about this the other day and it hit me kinda hard.
My grandpa would say, “I am not stealing, or cheating on my wife, or doing anything big like that. I am no president, but, I am a pretty damn good guy!”
My grandpa, in many ways, was at peace with himself.
But, I haven’t been with myself. And yet, I keep myself at a much higher standard than just cheating on my husband and stealing. I have accomplished a lot and still do, and yet, I am not satisfied with me.
In therapy I have been learning about being a perfectionist and the negative thoughts and behaviors it produces, and ultimately how it cuts into my self-esteem and core beliefs.
Part of my perfectionism and the stress it produces has been established from when I was a child. I felt like I was held as a perfect example: a perfect student; a perfect babysitter (emotional infancy to feelings of how I should be as a mother); a perfect church goer (Sunday, youth group, seminary, being obedient, etc.); a perfect friend, etc.
It is hard to keep up that status and even more scary to allow others in to the real me. Because of this, I have “shoved” many feelings deep inside and have not developed skills to deal with failure, mistakes, anger, etc. I didn't feel like a “perfect” person is allowed the space to have such feelings, more so, let them out.
With this accumulating through high school; moving away from home; hard years at college; transition into married life and as a mom; and a 10-year stint of a headache- life has prepared a nice bottled package of emotion.
In all my desires to be obedient, wise, sincere, and genuine- I am realizing there is also room to appropriately be real, even with the bad stuff we deal with. Who is happy about whatever we each have to deal with in our lives. We all go through our mini hells throughout life, small or large, each trial is new and deserves a period to adjust to and journey through.
Is there the right skill, talent, or “way” to “go through” a trial? No! But, I would say there is a wrong way- shoving feelings inside and not letting them out. Don’t worry, your body remembers them and it is much, much healthier getting them out, even if, once in a while an expletive is shouted. I am learning that it is the less “perfect” way to hold the status of being a perfectionist, because ultimately, I am the one that pays. And it has not been pretty.
As a little girl and up through early adulthood I have been confused at why at times people use curse words when upset (I am not speaking of using them colloquially) and was confused at why they couldn't control their choice of words. At the same time, I have also been trapped in my own thoughts and ability to let my emotions out, more concerned (innocently) about being a perfectionist. Both of these thoughts have been directly proportional to the idea of me being stuck in life. I had it wrong all these years. Those I have been so confused with, they weren't being stupid, they were choosing to let out their emotion and then letting the problem go- they were being smart. There are certain words that express a lot of emotion and knowledge, very intensely- that exactly matches the thought being portrayed.
See, when you don’t work through the problem at that moment, it stays with you. Swallowing emotion and appearing “good” all the time, there is nothing good about that. Life is good, and life is bad. And so with it, sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are not. Being mad at life and using a word or two, once in a while to express a genuine feeling is therapeutic and smart.
As I express more feelings and am okay with the real me, I am realizing, “I am a damn good girl.” But, luckily, this expletive expresses just how good I am!