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Reflections from my Inner Bad Girl

Mar 21, 2023
Afsheen Shah
Core Spirit member since Aug 13, 2022
Reading time 4 min.

I wish I hadn’t been such a “good girl" when I was younger.

I wish I would’ve broken the rules more often. Studied a little less. Allowed myself to have more fun. Put travel before money. Worried less about debt and more about experiences. Valued pleasure just as much as I valued success.

I also wish I had spent more nights partying my butt off like some of my friends, started drinking waaay earlier than I actually did, and hooked up with all the hot guys I met along the way instead of turning them away.

And I definitely wish I would have spent a lot more nights coming home long after the sun was already up and miserably regretting it the next day.

As I enter my 50th year on this earth I am grateful for all the experiences I’ve had - but I spent far too much of my life being a “good girl” who prided herself on always “doing the right thing”, keeping my head down and my nose in the books so I could “make something of myself, always watching my mouth (unlike the F bombs I frequently drop now), never partying too hard or after hours , staying away from the “bad” boys (well trying anyway), and never ever drawing too much attention to myself.

Those were the things that were reserved for the “bad girls”.

Some of those so-called “bad girls” were friends of mine. Friends who have lived full, rewarding and pretty damn delicious lives. Their lives haven’t been easy or problem free by any means and every now and then, even they feel a slight pang of regret. But they’ve lived in a way that felt true to them. A life that’s chock full of memories that still bring a smile to their face.

And no one questions if they’re “good” or “bad” anymore.

Now that I'm older (much older lol), I can’t help but wonder - why is the definition of whether a woman -or man for that matter - has to be based on whether they follow the same path as everyone around them?

And why is that path based on superficial things like what they wear, what they do, how much money they make, how “demure” they are or even how many partners they’ve had - instead of simply getting to know them for WHO they are?

I drank the kool-aid too. For a long time I held on to a false narrative of who I had to be and what I needed to do to make sure I would be seen as a “good girl” . I bought into and actively supported the good girl programming and beliefs that had been passed down to me from so many others, and even started to see others through the lens of that programming.

The worst part is that a lifetime of good girl programming didn’t just limit me in my personal life. Once I started working it even bled over into my work life...often keeping me silent during meetings even when I knew I had a lot to contribute, stopping me dead in my tracks every time I found myself disagreeing with a position others were taking… and frequently keeping me trapped in situations that I knew I was better off leaving behind.

I repeatedly played right into the hands of the good girl programming that my culture and society at large had laid down as gospel. I was chained to the image and illusion of becoming who I thought I “should” be instead of embracing who I truly was.

And somehow that illusion of who I should be always seemed to be one step ahead of me. She was impossible to catch and I could never match the perfection she constantly allured me with. Somehow she was always faster, more successful, more lovable and more desirable than me. Maybe that’s why it always seemed that no matter what I did or how much I accomplished, it never seemed to be enough. I was constantly chasing a myth that had no place in my reality.

And running a race I could never truly win.

So I stopped running. And ironically, that’s also exactly the moment I started winning. That’s the beauty of running your own race. You will always win. Because the only person you’re competing against is yourself. And if your image of yourself is healthy and aligned with who you want to be instead of who you think you should be or need to be - the race becomes effortless.

And so does your ability to show up as your true self.

There is a unique sense of freedom that comes from breaking free of paradigms that aren’t reflective of who you truly are. You find yourself automatically gravitating towards the things that bring you joy, feel aligned with who you are and make your heart feel alive. You learn to discern between desire and need and have no problem walking away from people, places and circumstances that you thought you needed but don’t actually desire.

You become a woman who’s not afraid to stand in her power, show up as her authentic self, and speak her mind and shine her light so brightly that even the sun might be a little jealous. ;)

Maybe that's what my definition of a “good girl” should have been all along. Either way, it’s the one I live by now. And it’s the one I will continue to live by and hopefully be able to share and pass down to women who will be around long after I’m gone.

Don’t give up who you truly are to become someone you think others will want (or like) better. It’s not worth it and it won’t give you the happy ending that’s promised along the way. It’s also never too late to live life in a way that feels true to you, even if it means disappointing others.

You get to decide what you want for yourself - without shame, fear or guilt about what others might think.

There are women all across the world fighting for their right to express themselves and be who they truly are. Some are even dying for those rights. It’s time to stand in solidarity with them. It’s time for a #goodgirlrevolution.

Who’s in?


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