As someone who watches a lot of movies and reads even more books, I’ve been exposed to just about every type of ideal girl trope there is. Sometimes, it’s the nice girl who does whatever it takes to make herself liked and be well-perceived by those around her, even if she loses the essence of herself in the process. Because at least everyone likes her and thinks she’s perfect.
Then, there’s the cool girl. (This trope is by far the most interesting of them all. Listen to this and read this). The girl who’s game for everything, never complains and always looks perfect. Her emotions never get in the way of her sole pursuit in life: being easygoing and desirable. Whilst it seems obvious, it can be easy to forget that these people are far from real. The perfect girl does not exist, contrary to what society’s pre-conditioning would have us believe. Even the best movies and books can only capture a one- or maybe two-dimensional character.
For many of us, at some point in our lives, the expectation to be perfect and achieve certain things has been projected onto us by those around us (and even by ourselves). Something I was most excited about leaving behind when I finished high school, was the high expectations people have always had of me (but they caught up with me in university pretty quickly anyway, despite my best efforts). Trying to emulate (because that’s what it is) the perfect-girl persona is exhausting and deeply damaging. The cycle is a difficult one to break, and takes a lot of hard work and honest conversation.
It’s easy to place our worth in the things we achieve and the way other people view us. But in reality, trying to live up to other people’s (or even our own) impossibly high standards all the time is exhausting. I know that the person who places the most pressure on me, is me, so I’m here to remind you (and me) to cut yourself some slack. It’s okay to slip up now and then, and not get perfect marks all the time. It’s okay to not feel on top of your game every day. Even if your worst worst-case scenario plays out, it probably still won’t be as awful as your brain would have you believe it is. Allow yourself the same grace and kindness you give others. Not being perfect all the time doesn’t make you less of a person. It just makes you human. And whilst learning to let go of this part of your “identity” can be scary, it is also freeing and deeply necessary.