I am a single by choice. That’s outside of heteronormativity. I no longer have a corporate job. In lots of people’s eyes that means i am a failure, especially since i quit the well-paying one i had. I got a second masters degree just because i wanted to answer a question (is marriage natural? which morphed to looking at overcoming stereotypes against singles). What a waste of time and money! And i am not really sure exactly where i am going – and still enjoying life (most of the time). And i am even breaking the fattening rule: I had an almond butter and honey sandwich for lunch because women are supposed to be thin and fit – and i don’t like that rule!
So, again (just to make sure I got it! ): I am breaking social rules right and left! (I just remembered a couple more: I talk about my rape; i am an atheist; i live in an in-law, renting; i have a tattoo and am public admitting it now). What’s up with wanting to break free and being tired of being the good girl then?!? That’s when i noticed the shame in all of this: What i am doing is not good enough! I am not breaking free enough. I am not breaking enough rules. Yikes! Somehow a new rule snug in here: Only if you break xyz rule are you free enough! And only then am i fully lovable!
That’s when it hit me: Being a good girl isn’t about the rules! It is about not questioning the rules, about being a robot, about living in a trance. And most important of all, being a good girl is about being ashamed for what she does and who she is! Wow!
What, then, does it mean to not be a good girl? Would i be a bad girl then? Well, i don’t like the terms “good and bad” in the first place. They are too tied to the very norms i am trying to break! It’s about freeing ourselves. It’s about being radical in how we live – radically authentic. And i’ve always liked grrl, a feminist reclaiming of the word girl (apparently, it originated in punk rock, though i learned the term within the techie world). Hence the call to become a radical grrl – a woman who is not ashamed of her choices or who she is! The radical girl doesn’t feel ashamed about questioning & breaking the rules! She fully experiences life, including the full spectrum of emotions. She is aware. She is fully alive!
Right now, i’ve only started noticing where i compromise – from stepping out of someone’s ways to feeling the pang of shame when someone commented that maintaining edible landscapes isn’t exactly using the skills i learned when i went back to school. And to me, it’s really mostly about the inner shift – that i can laugh at that comment and say “you really thought i’d get a higher paying job with a degree in philosophy?!? That’s not why i went back to school…” and then explain my reasons without wanting approval. Without feeling shame.
The funny thing: It’s all in my thesis! In my thesis, i talk about how shame helps maintain hierarchical cultures because it keeps us in place, keeps us numb enough to follow the rules. It’s time for me to live what i learned and become fully alive!