The Good Girl Loses When Shit Gets Real


It seems there is no end to the punishments of being the “good girl”. I was the girl who followed the rules to the “T”. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, my grandparents, my uncles, my aunts, all of my friends’ parents, my teachers, or the lunch lady.
It didn’t matter who.

I was the oldest in a large, very religious family. That isn’t all bad, truly. I have a lot of skills because of that, some of which I’m forever grateful for.

Unlike many girls I grew up with, I was “good”. And I wanted to be “good”. And I wasn’t resentful and hateful and jealous and unkind. I was literally kind, through and through. I would say I was even nice. I am a lot less nice today, thank God. But I am always kind.

But I was the one they made fun of. They found ways to pick on me, my height (one nickname was Amazon woman), my name, my clutzy-ness, my lack of athleticism, or the number of children in my family (9).

My primary nickname in junior high and high school (and these were big schools) was Mary Poppins. You know, the “practically perfect in every way” lady? It may be nauseating to you and I was embarrassed as hell. But I wasn’t trying. I wasn’t trying to be perfect. I liked learning things and getting good grades. I liked practicing my music, whether it be voice, piano, or violin. I liked performing at the nursing homes and baking for fundraisers. I was the weird one, I know.

I didn’t care about my looks so much, but I had it pretty easy back then. I got more attention than I wanted and definitely not the kind I wanted from most guys. I was silent about the abuses. I knew at a young age that no one wanted to hear about it. They wanted only to hear about how good things were going, how I was getting good grades, how I was helpful in class, was aware of the needs of my friends, and was making good choices.

That guys’ hands wandered in the hallway and beyond wasn’t something they wanted to know. I was the good girl, you know?

Fast forward to my late forties. I’m finally divorced after 28 years of marriage. (I had been married at age 19, a virgin). Unbeknownst to me, I had been having sub-par sex for many, many years and was just now, finally enjoying it. Finally, I am not worried about getting pregnant. I’m with a man who is “clean”, although toting around quite a background. I feel a certain amount of liberation in my sexuality. I even have a vibrator…OMG. What fun this is!

But, almost 30 years after that naïve marriage ceremony, I am now diagnosed with HPV-16, the kind they don’t vaccinate after age 45 for — the kind that can cause cervical cancer — the kind that men carry and spread, unknowingly — the kind they can’t test men for.

That kind.

Me, the good girl, the girl who has never had sex “irresponsibly” in her whole life. Here I am. Sucks to be me.

When everyone else was having fun in their 20s, I was raising kids, sleep-deprived, and babysitting a husband. When everyone else was getting tested for STDs, I was taking pregnancy tests and barely surviving the positive ones.

I was milking goats and making cheese. I was making sourdough and doing yoga. I was homeschooling my kids and selling baked goods at the farmer’s market. I was teaching lesson after lesson in the afternoons after “school”.

Most of those things, I wanted to do. And, I was trying really, really hard to do it all because there was no one else to do it if I didn’t.

It wasn’t fun. Yeah, there were treasured moments with my children, many of them. But there was never, ever a moment of flippancy, irresponsibility, nor impulsivity. There was no space for that.

I swear I’ve been old my whole life. I’ve been responsible for as long as I could spell the word. (And I won the spelling bee in 4th grade). Go Me!

I’ll always be the good girl, I expect. It’s why a few people in my life still don’t like me. I suppose it’s because they have lived a “rougher” life than I have and I just can’t “relate to their hardship”. No, I can’t, I guess. My life has been unicorns and rainbows, of course. Still is. Ugh.

No, it’s more like I didn’t ask for my trauma with my bad behaviors and they did. I am an actual victim, but they want that “badge” as well.

I’m not saying that is true. That is just the way their behavior comes across.

So, the good girl will be going to the hospital in a few days for more tests. She will hopefully find out that the HPV hasn’t caused cancerous cells…yet. She will continue to pray that it flushes out of her system by some miracle, even with her stress levels somewhere in the stratosphere.

Not knowing how HPV spread did me no favors.

What would I do differently? Hell, I don’t know.

I’d like to say I’d just write off sex with men forever. I really would like to say that. But I don’t think that that is the answer for me. I wish it were.

I wish I weren’t here. I wish I would have had more “fun” to “deserve” this. It’s what it is, life. One suck-fest after another these days.

And just another injustice to rack up on the timeline. What’s one more after everything else?

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