I’m the golden girl. I’m intelligent and driven. I’m ambitious but principled. I make straight A’s. I have a 4.0, which seems to be the ticket to everything in the college world. Adults love me because I’m different. I’m a leader, I’m the future, I’m amazing, I’m destined for greatness. I’m the golden girl. People my age hate me because I’m different, I’m the freak, the weirdo, the super-smart one who knows everything and that’s not a compliment. The dork, the geek, the know it all, the Hermione Granger pre-makeover. The world’s not ready for me. The golden girl.
I’m well educated, well read. I do community service. I read and reread the manual for said community service. I work in my church nursery. I do hard things to better myself and like American History. I’m witty and quick. I dot every i, cross every t, initial every box, and sign every dotted line. I’m the responsible, hardworking, dependable one who never does anything exciting and never puts a toe out of line. The ambitious one who has her life planned out, a life that includes an incredibly difficult, private college and law school. A Phd before thirty. The golden girl. The golden girl.
I’m the golden girl who cries herself to sleep and wishes that once, just once, she could be normal. That she didn’t have to study for six hours before every single test since B’s are not acceptable. The golden girl who feels the most pressure from herself. The golden girl who looks in the mirror and hates the part of her that loves twenty-six year old guys she knows she can never be with. The golden girl who feels like she just might go crazy trying to reconcile all the different parts of herself because, try as she might (and she tries very hard), she can never quite make herself be the polished, professional girl people say she is.
I’m the golden girl who wants a tattoo and a nose ring but will probably never get them because that’s not what good girls do. The golden girl who wants to do the good thing and love God but can never quite find it in herself and can’t admit to the world that she can’t find it in herself. The golden girl who loves hippy head scarves and dramatic makeup and feeling like a sex kitten. The golden girl who doesn’t want to be good anymore. The golden girl who has been to several states and in thousands of situations and never fits in anywhere with anyone. The golden girl who never belongs.
I’m the golden girl who can describe the sadness of bipolar in chilling detail because she’s known something similar before. The golden girl who can’t admit to anyone, least of all her mother, that she’s felt such sadness because golden girls don’t feel such things. The golden girl who lives in constant fear of failure. Constant fear that she’ll never be good enough. That she’ll never be loved because, sooner or later, everyone will find out that she can’t live up to her own hype. That’s she’s nothing but a fraud with a plastic smile. The golden girl who cries in a ball on the floor in the bathroom then pastes on a huge grin without ever letting the image waver. This is me. The golden girl. Who, maybe, isn’t quite so golden.