Friday, March 30, 2012

"Where Have All the Good [Girls] Gone?"

Hello out there again! This is something that has been bothering me for quite a while and I think it's time I talk about it, so I'm going to just cut to the chase. Recently I had someone ask me,

"So where does your good-girl act end? Or are you really just a good girl?"

My reaction went something like,

"I'm sorry...but what??"

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that something like this has happened to me. For years it seems that people have been questioning my motives, insisting that I have some sort of hidden agenda or that I am simply being a brown-noser. When I was younger it didn't happen as often, for a child's honesty and naivete are not often mistaken. However, as I got older and it happened more frequently, it began to bother me more and more. Why is it so hard to believe that a girl can simply be a genuinely good girl? Why are peoples' first instincts to think that she obviously has some ulterior motive for being polite, respectful, and adhering to a classier standard? Sometimes I feel people assume that just because a girl is over a certain age, it is only matter of time until her morals simply fly out the window and her wild streak finally surfaces.

Now I'm not claiming to be perfect, because I most definitely am not. I love to get a little crazy now and then just as much as the next girl, because after all, we do just wanna have fun ;) But why do we have to stop being ladies?? Going out half-naked, drunk as a skunk, with your underwear hanging out as you stumble down the sidewalk is not going to get you the kind of attention that you want, girls. Neither is cursing like a sailor with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth, and bringing home a different guy every night. Sometimes I fear that doing our best to emulate those fools on  TV shows such as Jersey Shore (as entertaining as I find them), or Bad Girls Club is becoming the norm. Is this where peoples' skepticism comes from? Am I, as a good girl, becoming something of a rarity in this ever-rising sea of Courtney Love wannabes? No offense Court....

If so, this truly bothers me. I feel that it devalues my, and other good girls' discipline if people see it simply as our attempts to get what we want. I respect my superiors, even if they don't necessarily respect me. I (try to) listen to my parents. I feel extremely awkward if I venture out in clothes that appear to be three sizes too small. I make a true effort to watch my mouth. It is hard for me to not try my best at everything that I do. I am inclined to see the best in everyone, and to give them the benefit of the doubt. I say please and thank you. And most of the time, I feel a little old-fashioned in my ways. But I know that I am not alone.

 I often hear girls complaining that their boyfriends/crushes/"friends"/whatevers are not the knights in shining armor that they had hoped for...but once upon a time I happened upon a quote that provided an all-too-easy fix to this problem...

"If more girls were willing to be ladies, then maybe more guys would be willing to step up and be gentlemen."

SO PULL IT TOGETHER GIRLS. It's worth a shot, right?

Being a good girl does not make you a nerd, or a prude. If you too are a good girl at heart, please do not be afraid to show it! I promise you that you are not alone, I know there are more of us than you may think :)

Bre :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Helping Stops Being Helpful

Hello again! There is something that has been brewing on the back burner of my brain for quite a few days now, and I think I've finally mulled it over enough to where I can now put it into words that will actually make sense. That's just how my brain works. Sometimes, when I am really thinking about something, it takes a few days of deep contemplation before that thought will come out of my mouth in a way that other people can comprehend what it is that I'm trying to say. This thought is one of those....

About a week ago, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to an online article about the KONY 2012 campaign video by the Invisible Children charity. 

**For those of you who do not know who Joseph Kony is, or what the Invisible Children charity does, I have posted a few helpful links at the bottom of this page, along with a link to the article that I read.**

 Out of curiosity, I clicked on it. The article was about an African charity who decided to show the KONY 2012 film to an area of northern Uganda that was among one of the worst affected by the LRA. Many of the people who came to the showing had heard of the film, but live in rural villages and do not have electricity, let alone internet. Despite their high expectations, most of them were angered by what they saw. Instead of "a video that showed the world the terrible atrocities that they had suffered during the conflict," they saw a "foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialized their suffering." The Invisible Children charity, who produced the film, sells bracelets and other merchandise to fund their efforts, and aims at making Kony "famous" for what he has done. One woman who was interviewed after the film compared Invisible Children's efforts to selling Osama Bin Laden merchandise after 9/11, with the same intentions. In my opinion, she has an excellent point, and this was what really got me thinking....

How would we react if a foreign charity, no matter how pure their intentions, now began selling t-shirts and bracelets with messages like, "Make Osama Famous," years after 9/11. Or if they produced a film narrated by someone who did not personally suffer through, or survive that atrocity, that relied on supposedly dated footage from a superficial and commercial point of view? I'm pretty sure that would cause a nation-wide riot, and would do nothing but bring fresh grief and pain to the surface which had already begun to heal. But perhaps that is a bad comparison. I also thought, what if the same thing was done after the Holocaust? Or the Bosnian Genocide? This list goes on and on. While this event is certainly not the first of its kind, and efforts to help have been met with anger and disappointment since the beginning of time, this is my point...

Sometimes I think people take too much of a selfish approach to helping others. We get too caught up in fixing things the way that we want them to be fixed, or how we think they should be fixed, and we forget who we are really supposed to be helping in the first place. I think we can also lose track of who has to live with our fixes after we are finished and have gone away. When this happens I feel that helping is no now longer helpful. The effort is then turned in the wrong direction, and becomes too much of a selfish act, no matter how good your intentions still are. I am a helper at heart, and definitely believe in helping when it is needed. But, while I support the Invisible Children charity in their efforts, I can fully appreciate and understand how the Ugandans who watched the film reacted the way that they did. After all, they are the ones who have suffered the most from this conflict, and I feel that that suffering was met with a little bit of insensitivity. 

Long story short, helping is about the person or thing that we are trying to do good for, not ourselves.


Wikipedia page on Joseph Kony:

Invisible Children charity:

Article that I read:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Standing Outside the Fire

Hello everyone! I'm new to this whole blogging thing, so please bear with me for the next few weeks! :)  I was inspired to start blogging by a handful of smart, beautiful women; some friends, and some role models. Recently, I've begun keeping a journal of sorts where I write down inspirational quotes, song lyrics, and thoughts and insights that I feel are worth recording. I started realizing that I wanted to share those things with everyone, and not just keep them to myself...and what better place to do that than a blog!

The title of my blog, "Dancing in the Flame," is a take off one of my favorite songs, "Standing Outside the Fire," by Garth Brooks. Being a dancer, I thought this applied so well to my life! Essentially, the song is about living life to the fullest. By "standing outside the fire," one is simply going through the motions, and not getting the most out of our time on Earth. That has become my own personal theme. Sure, it is easy enough to think that if you never try, then you never fail, but come on...who really wants to live like that? One of my biggest fears is looking back on my life when I'm an old, old lady and realizing that I gave up on something that was important to me. Whether it be something big and life-changing, or small and insignificant, I don't want to become the type of person who takes the easy way out because it's convenient and safe. In the words of Garth Brooks, we need to "dance within the flame!" So get out there people! Go try something new, and don't be afraid to fail! If you never take a risk, you will never realize your full potential. And sure, there will be many people waiting to put you down the second you fall, but that failure won't be the end of the road. I promise. It's simply one baby step in right direction on your journey to success! As much as I would like to continue writing, I don't want this post to become a novel. So I will end it with a quote:

"Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have." -Louis E. Boone

I wish you the best of luck!

*virtual hug*