I’ve always been seen as the girl-next-door, the little sister, and much to my dislike, the mom-figure. I can deal with the girl next door or little sister stereotype because most times it works to my advantage. But I have to draw the line as being seen as the mom-figure. Here’s an embarrassing tidbit: at my sorority award ceremony I was voted “Most likely to be the Best Mom.” I was speechless; after all this time with these girls, all those memories, that’s how they see me?! I do care a lot about my friends and make sure that their needs are met before mine, but there is no way I want people to look at me as the old lady mama. OK, so maybe they meant it in a good way; they see that I’m caring and considerate of other’s feelings and needs and I do make pretty good chocolate chip cookies. But come on!
In addition to being seen as a great potential mother, I’ve held the girl next door stereotype for as long as I can remember. Mothers loved me and wanted their sons to date me, but to them I was “one of the boys” or their “little sister.” No guy wants to date their little sister. (My love life has been plagued by numerous by Kristin/ Brody relationships,minus the FWB.) No, instead of dating they would rather torment, tease and give occasional noogies to me. I guess you could say that after 10 years of this “sibling love” I was used to it. Hey, at least I know that I have a group of great friends behind me who would back me up. No one wants to see their little sister get hurt, am I right?
Sure being the girl-next-door has its upsides, but the downsides that come with the stereotype can be frustrating. I’m seen as purely innocent—I can do no evil. I couldn’t possibly have a mean bone in my body and I most definitely would never get in trouble. Basically, I’m boring. So once I got to college and met a fresh batch of people, I wanted nothing more then to shed that image.
I tried to be rebellious, to party, to live on the edge…. but I just felt silly. I’m not that carefree girl who’s free-spirited, I’m a perfectionist who feeds on the approval of others. I wanted to let my hair down, be someone different for a night, but the more I tried, the more I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself. And all those attempts to shed my stereotype weren’t noticed anyway, except for maybe a few nights, but everyone – even the nice girl – is entitled to a few wild nights in college.
So I was back to square one: the girl next door.
I felt stuck – stuck with my image, stuck with myself – and it was frustrating. But after some serious soul searching, I woke up one day (hungover from another “attempt” at being the bad girl) and realized I am who I am. I’m the girl next door. I can’t shed that image because if I did I would be denying who I truly am. People like me for me, not for who I think they want me to be. Finding that out took a lot of self-exploration, self-questioning and really ridiculous nights out that ended badly, but I came out of that state discovering a part of who I am. My life is just beginning and I’m still finding myself, so I’m going to take it one step at a time as the girl next door.
Because that’s who I am. And because my chocolate chip cookies are too good to give up.