To the Good Girl:

Even from a young age, people always saw you as a Good Girl. Described repeatedly as “quiet,” “a
good listener,” and “pleasure to have in class” by teachers or simply “nice” by
your peers, your parents never had to visit you in the principal’s office or wonder what
you were up to after school.

Yet, despite the mediocrity that this epithet implies, anything seemed possible; there was
nothing that you feared. Not even going on roller coasters or into haunted houses, dancing
in front of the camera or singing in the grocery store — none of which you would ever
dare to do now. You could laugh at yourself with such ease even though then, much like now,
you didn’t have the faintest idea of who you were or where you were going. The difference,
perhaps, is that you dreamed without limitations. And when people asked you the question, “What
do you want to be when you grow up,” you just knew.

Now, still the “good daughter,” “the good student,” “the good
friend,” and ultimate Good Girl in every sense of the word, you will finally receive
the expensive college degree your grandmother never had but always one day dreamed of holding.
Although you have never met her, it is her dreams and the dreams of your mother that will carry
you across the stage on graduation day. Afterwards, who knows where their hopes will take you
or what the Good Girl will do next?

The truth of the matter is this: Although being a Good Girl shouldn’t define you, it
is an inevitable part of who you are. It is a fact you shouldn’t be ashamed of. As much
as you try to deny it, people will always like you because of how Good you are. Or sometimes,
it may just make them feel sick. But if being Good makes you happy, then so be it. For That’s
all anyone has expected of you: to be happy and healthy, educated and passionate; to find God
and fulfillment, love and solace within yourself.

But don’t forget the girl you once were — the writer who wanted to travel the
world but never once gave any thought to whether it would be feasible to do the two things
at once.

Remember the humble beginnings you come from — the crappy apartment your mom made into
a loving home, wearing hand-me downs and thrift store bargains and the extremely long bus ride
to and from high school. Let these memories serve as your anchor as you dive headfirst into
the unknown fabric of your future life, boldly entangling yourself in the mistakes, joys and
unexpected twists and turns of being an adult.

Sadly, as your friend I cannot help you figure out where to plant your feet next or on the
manner in which you should flourish and grow. All I can tell you is to not be afraid of taking
up too much space; to give it your all when making that leap, freeing yourself of anyone’s
dreams or expectations but your own.