From Good Girl to Legendary

Don T Mistake My Kindness For Weakness Quote Inspirational Dont Mistake My Kindness For Weakness Quotes QuotesGram

I am the proverbial good girl. I grew up going to church three times a week. I have no tattoos & no piercings (aside from basic earrings of course). I married the first man I ever dated (& we’re still married 11.5 years later). I’m a nurse- the career voted the most trusted profession countless times. I live in a safe suburban type neighborhood. I’ve voted in every major election since I turned 18- & most of the minor ones too. I’ve had one speeding ticket & one other minor traffic ticket in my whole life, & that’s the extent of my “criminal” record. I’ve never smoked a cigarette- never even touched one. The hardest “drug” I’ve ever tried is alcohol & even that has never held much interest for me. I’m a born people pleaser who genuinely loves making others happy & can get along with pretty much anyone. Though I’ve never been traditionally “popular,” I’ve generally been well liked, & the two adjectives I’ve heard most about myself have always been “nice” & “smart.” And I don’t resent that. I’m actually quite proud to be known that way.

On the other hand, you won’t find me teaching Sunday School. But you WILL find me attending as many rock shows as I can manage as a mom. I swear more than I probably “should” because I can’t wrap my mind around certain words being “bad,” & science shows it’s legitimately a great stress reliever. (There are way too many bigger issues in the world to get my panties in a twist about something so silly.) But I also donate blood regularly & give to charities as often as I can. As a nurse I make a concerted effort to emotionally validate my patients when they are nervous, anxious, or scared. I make sure to advocate for them, even when that means questioning doctors or others in authority. (After all, I never view doctors as my boss- I view the patients as my boss). I’m politically moderate which makes me more of a Libertarian than anything, & boy, is that a good way to irritate the hell out of a lot of folks! The point is you could argue that I’m a walking contradiction- I think I’m very logical but a lot of folks disagree- & as much as I hate being misunderstood & sometimes lumped in with the far right or the far left- there is a part of me that genuinely enjoys screwing with people’s heads by being supposedly “unpredictable.” Even now, people often tell me how shocked they are that I like the music I like. I’ve heard “You’re too nice to listen to that!” more times than I can count. To which I always want to respond “So only MEAN people like heavy music?” Maybe next time, I’ll actually say that instead of just laughing.

Anyway, the truth is the older I’ve gotten the less I enjoy being cast as the proverbial good girl. And why is that? Well, it’s because I’ve realized that being a good girl comes with a cost. That cost is not questioning authority, not speaking your mind- just generally going with the flow of society’s accepted norms. And while in many ways I’m as much of a “normie” as they come, I just can’t accept that kind of mindset. I’ve been forced to realize that a lot of people I thought really liked me when I was younger only liked me because I was compliant, because I didn’t ask questions (not out loud anyway). And I’ve realized that that kind of being liked is worthless. The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized that my very existence ruffles some people’s feathers, & the less I find myself bothered by that. Five- certainly ten- years ago, I would have been horrified that certain folks have deleted or even blocked me on social media because of some of my views. Now? Well, now I just find it amusing. No adult in their right mind is likely to ever find me physically intimidating but it seems that both men & women on both ends of the political/religious spectrum sometimes find me threatening. Why else would they respond so vehemently to me?

But it’s also true that coming to terms with this change hasn’t been easy. There are a couple of Halestorm songs that have been extra dear to my heart over the past year as I’ve come to understand that always being liked or viewed as “nice” is no longer one of my main goals in life. The first one is a B side from their latest album Back From the Dead. It’s called Legendary & contains the line “I bet you even money when I walk away, you say, ‘damn, that bitch is legendary.'” (Listen here: The first time I heard that I wanted to cry because I remembered what might have been the first time in my life that I truly stood up for myself & risked no longer being viewed as “nice.” The summer between my sophomore & junior years of college I worked as a server at a restaurant, & while there I encountered this one assistant manager who was a bit grumpy & genuinely unpleasant most of the time. Well, one night, one of the male servers took me aside & said “Look, that manager is making sexual remarks & gestures about you behind your back.” This server was a super nice guy & I was so appreciative of him telling me that even though what he told me made me want to curl up in a ball & die. Naturally, that manager was the one closing the restaurant that night, so at the end of the night I had to go to him to cash out my tips. I was so damn nervous walking into that office at the back of the building. My heart is beating a little faster just thinking about it now, & that was 14 years ago, because I still remember how awful he made me feel. Anyway, I walked into the office to find him sitting at the desk smoking (you could still smoke in restaurants back then) & chatting with one of the dishwashers. The dishwasher looked at the manager & said “Man, you look like some kind of Italian don back here smoking at that desk.” And the manager looked as me & said “Yeah, & I’ve got this bitch paying me money.” And that did it. Even at 20 years old & scared to death I knew I was not going to let some asshole talk to me like that, much less someone who was effectively my boss & who was consistently rude to me, both to my face & behind my back. I told him right then & there, in no uncertain terms, that I couldn’t control how he talked to or about the other girls in that restaurant but as for me I expected to be respected at work. He looked at me like I had three heads, then handed me my money, & I ran out of that restaurant as fast as my legs could carry me. I cried all the way home, certain that this man was going to find a way to get me fired, or at the very least to make everyone else working there hate me.

Looking back on it, I realize now that he probably had more to be worried about than I did. After all, I could have told the general managers that he was sexually harassing me & HE could have been fired. It took everything in me to show up to work the next day, & I was terrified when one of the general managers called me to the office to talk. She about blew me away when she told me that the assistant manager had mentioned an incident between us & she wanted to hear my side of the story. I was so embarrassed but I told her what had happened, & she assured me that I would have no future issues with this man. As it turned out, she was 100% correct. To my absolute amazement, he & I actually got along very well after that, & I was genuinely sorry when he left to go to another restaurant. As frustrating as it was at the time, I’m actually glad that happened because it taught me a very important lesson about standing up for myself, & I’d like to think maybe I taught HIM an important lesson too. I’ve thought back on that incident so many times in my life because I think it was a true watershed moment for me. It was when I realized that being nice didn’t necessarily mean that others would respond in kind, yet standing up for yourself can sometimes be all that’s necessary to get someone to respect you. And now perhaps you can see why that line “when I walk away you’ll say ‘damn, that bitch is legendary” resonates so strongly with me.

That was a digression but it felt necessary. Now don’t get me wrong- I still very much want to BE a nice person. I genuinely value kindness & compassion. I will always hold those as two of my most important values in life, along with empathy- which is actually a prerequisite for true kindness & compassion, if you ask me. Furthermore, for better or worse, I think there will always be a part of me that wants to be liked by everyone. (The fact that I’m writing this is probably proof of that.) But I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my own self-worth or ideals in order to make that happen. At the end of the day, yes, I still want to be remembered as nice, but more importantly I want to be remembered as legendary- that is to say, as someone who stood up for herself & for others in need of advocacy & as someone who never compromised her beliefs or values to please others, no matter who they may be. And if that makes me unlikeable to some folks? Well, that’s ok. The truth is you can never please everyone anyway.

To end this, I’d like to include two other Halestorm songs whose lyrics have been a great comfort to me on this subject.

Bombshell (

Be a good girl, play along
Wear your short skirt, sing your song

And zip it up, zip it up
Cause we don’t like when you speak up, you speak up
Just bite your tongue & give it up, give it up
Well, I got news for all of you fools

You better suck it up, suck it up
You’re never gonna shut me up, shut me up

Baby, I’m a bombshell, (bombshell)
I’ll light you up
Like a bombshell, (bombshell)

Girl behave & know your place
Paint a smile upon your face

And zip it up, zip it up
‘Cause we don’t like it when you’re tough, when you’re tough
Just shut your mouth & give it up, give it up
Well, I got plans for all of you man

You better suck it up, suck it up
You’re never gonna shut me up, shut me up
Baby, I’m a bombshell, (bombshell)
I’ll light you up
Like a bombshell, (bombshell)

Strange Girl (

Would you call me daughter?
Would you love me when
My halo’s bent & crooked? When you call me malcontent?
Sad, sicker than usual
Can’t you be more like the Girl Next Door
Instead of Little Miss Misfit?

So you can damn me straight to hell
You can crucify my name
You can throw me to the wolves
You can burn me in the flame
And say, “She’s such a strange girl
Such a strange girl”
The world needs strange girls
Just like me