“When I’m good, I’m very good—but when I’m bad, I’m better.” ~ Mae West
Good girls are sugar and spice and everything nice—but bad-ass women are moonshine and divine and just plain fine.
As little girls, we grew up on our mother’s hip learning the ways of womanhood from the sisters who began to pave the way towards individuality.
We were raised with the contradiction of freedom and expectation, and it is that very combination that has directed our own meandering journey in life.
A path that’s seen us struggle between both conformity and independence.
We were the “good girls”—we were sweet and made choices to see smiles spread upon the approving lips of those who mattered to us.
We said “yes” when we really wanted to scream “no!”—and we wore pink frilly frocks, even when all we wanted to wear was our favorite worn T-shirt and jeans.
If anything, we always did what was expected of us—because by letting others down, our place within the patriarchal system would come into question, and we might lose the approval from the very people that we sought validation from.
It was a bittersweet life being patted atop our precious heads and being told to dream, but not to dream too big—to aspire, but not to such great heights, and to speak up so long as it wasn’t too loudly.
It wasn’t always easy being the good girl, and sometimes it was downright painful.
For each person we made happy, we felt the tears of our soul drown in the unquenched desire for originality.
Yet, choosing another way to live becomes nearly impossible when we were raised to define ourselves only by the opinion and satisfaction of others.
As loving as our mothers were, they never taught us how to create a life by our own design.
They didn’t tell us that it wasn’t important to be beautiful or to be well behaved, because for the good girl those were the very standards by which we were judged.
But the thing is, just because a girl is good doesn’t mean she is always happy. And so as the good girls matured, we realized just how much everything we’ve been taught didn’t fit into the lives that we were yearning to build.
We started to explore our own truth and to peel off the layers of falsified perfection that tinted our lashes in sweet satisfaction.
These women slowly began giving up the mentality of the good girl, and were instead finding the courage to become the bad-ass women that they desired to be all along.
A bad-ass woman never makes a choice for the happiness for others—because she has realized that the most authentic thing she can do is to continually put herself first in this crazy life.
This woman hasn’t just taken the lessons learned as a good girl and altered them in order to be used for her own advantage—she has taken each label and thrown them into the wild wind ready to create her own truth.
Women like us just don’t buy into anyone else’s ideals of what life should be, because we know that those types of words are the very shackles that were placed around their wings for so long.
Bad-ass women have left behind their damn past and with it the pretty little good girl who only sought the approval of others.
We’ve kissed her good-bye and flipped her bird as we took off striding confidently into the future of our own lives.
It’s not that we think we are perfect—in fact we know we aren’t—and that is one of the qualities we love most about ourselves.
We don’t have all the answers, but we are committed to living out the questions that beat deep within our souls.
Bad-ass women aren’t those who don’t care, but precisely the opposite—we feel so deeply that every passing nuance becomes a part of our story.
We care about ourselves and the world—and part of our mission is taking on the injustices that we feel so deep.
There is nothing more bad-ass than wanting to make the world a better place.
We have lost the ability to simply say “yes” to appease others, whether that means we make others upset or not.
We breathe truth as the fresh spring air, and let it infiltrate our lives breeding inspiration for others.
However, just because we are bad-ass, it doesn’t mean we are infallible.
We have seen our share of heartbreak because of our inability to stay silent and play any sort of role that doesn’t honor our true nature.
No matter how much bad-ass women wish to be loved, we refuse to be lied to.
And so, we will often choose our own way in this life—living blissfully and heart-wrenchingly every precious moment that we can.
Because the days we cry mean that we have lived—and we know that it’s those moments that sometimes become the most precious.
Women like us aren’t bad-ass because we say we are, but because we refuse to live down to any sort of expectation that society presents to women as an option for how to live life as a female.
We don’t choose the easy road, because hell—the truth is—we didn’t even knew that existed! All we see is the dirt road, dark at times, yet still intoxicatingly sweet from wild honeysuckle.
We are bad-ass because we refuse to settle for less than the woman that we know we can be.
We make up our own rules, and it’s our prerogative to change them at the drop of a hat.
We love to the depths of our soul and live to the beat of solidarity and truth.
We are the bad-ass women who would rather be real than just plain old good any day.
So, it’s no we won’t ever be the good girl again, because now we’ve matured, and we’ve realized how much better we can be when we’re just a little bad.
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Larisa Birta/Unsplash