The Girl Who Was Never Good Enough

Flickr / LASZLO ILYES
Flickr / LASZLO ILYES

The Girl didn’t mean for it to happen nor was it ever her intention but that was how her life played out, is still playing out. As much as she wants to take a step in the right direction towards regaining even some semblance of the self-respect she knew she once had, she is at a loss where to start.

The Girl was not the type of girl you’d expect would turn out this way. She had been your stereotypical catholic schoolgirl: straight-laced, straight-As, always on the straight and narrow. Yes, The Girl was the kind of girl that the kids in elementary school loved to hate but never could because she was too nice nobody even made an effort to try.

The Girl grew up in a conservative household. Her parents, both working, made sure she never lacked for anything. Even though they were busy toiling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, The Girl never felt like she got the short end of the stick in parental attention and support. The Girl’s parents can get a tad too supportive at times but who was she to complain, right? A lot of kids out there have it a lot worse than she does. But growing up in that kind of environment places a different kind of pressure that many people do not understand. When life has been handed to you in a silver platter, the world sets a certain expectation upon you to make something with it… like you have absolutely no reason to mess up. And that was a tall order for The Girl. Maybe too tall.

The Girl grew up in an environment where expectations were often set unreasonably high. She wasn’t perfect in any capacity. Far from it. And when, more often than not, The Girl failed to meet these extreme expectations, she learned to rationalize “not good enough” as a perfectly acceptable reason to her inability to meet the demands set upon her.  The Girl learned to accept that she will NEVER be good enough. And she became perfectly okay with that.

Fast forward years later and The Girl is now starting to make something out of herself out there in the real world. As she wakes each morning and lays her head down at night, tiny voices in her ear whisper… “you are not good enough.” A constant reminder that plagues every thought, every action, every choice with self-doubt… every minute, every hour, every day. Every single day.

The world says, “Oh, you’re not good enough for med school.” The Girl replies, “okay,” and settles for whatever degree it chooses for her.

The world says, “Hey, you’re not good enough for the once-in-a-lifetime, overseas exchange program.” The Girl replies, “okay,” and settles for whatever alternative it assigns to her.

They world says, “Hey, you’re not good enough to graduate cum laude.” The Girl replies, “okay,” and takes that all-important piece of fancy paper saying “ALMOST BUT NEVER QUITE ENOUGH” right there in black and white.

You’re not good enough.

It has become a precedent. A self-fulfilling prophecy. A foregone conclusion.

The Girl grew up thinking of herself as as not being good enough and she learned to settle for what is handed to her. She did not learn to ask for more because she believed she was not entitled to. The Girl grew up believing that she was destined to forever be ingratiated to the universe for every morsel she can get.  To want more for her self is like throwing out a challenge to the forces-that-be. A challenge that would likely end in just more disappointment.

So The Girl puts herself out there. The Girl, made vulnerable by the attacks she mounts on herself each day, allows herself to be used. It is the only way she knew to experience even a semblance of the feeling of being needed. And The Girl gives and gives and gives without ever expecting anything in return. And slowly, The Girl has become scared, scared that if she ever asked for “more” they would all leave her alone in her little world with nothing for company but the tiny voices in her ear saying, “you are not good enough.”

After all, The Girl is not good enough for “more.” After all, The Girl is not good enough to be someone MORE than what she has already become: a hollow shell of the bright young woman she once had the potential to be.

Still has, if she would only learn to scale the wall of self-doubt that keeps her from taking control of her own life. Still has, if she would only find the courage to wage a war against all those years of feeling like she has no other choice but to settle for what is there. Still has, if she would only tune out the little voices in her head so she can hear what the world is telling her:

“You are not good enough. You are better. You are capable of more than what you can imagine.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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