What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Like, how bad are you? I’d be willing to bet you’ve got a moderate amount of badness in you… I know I do. Especially if swearing counts for something. If swearing makes me bad, I’m totally fucked. But when it comes to behaving badly, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. But that wasn’t always the case.
When I was a freshman in high school I was still really innocent. I didn’t really go out on dates or attract the interest of any guys… I was what you would call a ‘late bloomer.’ Both literally and figuratively. I was probably about 75 pounds, soaking wet, and had never even kissed a boy. You could say I was ‘under developed,’ if you know what I mean. *Big sigh* I really wanted to have boobs. Like, bad. Facepalm. I can’t believe I just admitted that. Thing is, everyone else had them! Not me though. Nope. Flat as a board. No bra needed… Except… Not wearing a bra in high school is simply unacceptable. Or at least that’s how I felt back then. These days I’ve got no problem letting those puppies fly. Ha! But back then, wearing a bra was of the utmost importance.
I mean, I did have a couple training bras, but nothing that clipped in the back or made me feel… I don’t know… Grown up. But I had another problem. Along with having no boobs, I also had no money. I worked at Star Market as a bagger making minimum wage, which back then was a whopping $3.65/hour. Can you fucking imagine? Yeah. You could say I was pretty broke. And flat. I was flat broke. Haha! See what I did there? I got jokes. Bad ones. But jokes none the less. Annnyway, moving on. So yeah, I wanted bras that I couldn’t afford.
I bet you know exactly where this is going…
So there was this day when I went to the mall with some friends. Remember when it was cool to just walk around the mall? We’d try on clothes, not buy any of them, and grab a slice of pizza at the food court. If we were lucky, maybe we’d get to check out some guys close to our age, not talk to them, and call it a day. Right? But this day was different. We went to a department store and got a whole bunch of bras to try on. I tried on some stuff that I knew I couldn’t afford, but would really love to have. Two of them fit really well, were cute, and actually made me look like I had some sort of semblance of a chest. With a little coaxing from a friend, I mustered up the badness to keep them on under my shirt and walk out of the store.
To this day, I still can’t believe I did that. It was pretty out of character for me. But you know what? I actually kind of liked it. I didn’t get caught, I kept the bras, and thoroughly enjoyed wearing them. Winning! But then my mom noticed them in my laundry. She asked where they came from, but me being as fucking smart as I am, quickly came up with a lie. “A friend gave them to me because they didn’t fit anymore.” My mother didn’t look convinced, but accepted my story as truth. But then she said something that has always stuck with me. She looked at me and said, “You know, Becky, if I ever found out that you were stealing, I would be really disappointed in you.” I nodded, and that was the end of it.
About a year later, I found myself in a CVS. I was holding an eyeliner in my pocket, and was contemplating stealing it. As I slowly approached the door to leave the store, my mother’s words echoed in my ears. God dammit!… I walked back to the makeup aisle and put the eyeliner back. Since that day, I haven’t taken anything without paying for it. Thanks a lot, Mom… Do you know how much awesome stuff I could have? Ha! I suppose the good in me won that battle.
I still have moments where the bad in me rears its ugly head though. I do the wrong things. I say things I shouldn’t. I think things I wish I wouldn’t. I behave in ways that I wish I didn’t. Right? From time to time I’ll talk shit. Or judge someone when I know I shouldn’t. Or get overly upset about things that shouldn’t really bother me. I think we all do that. Do you notice that you do that too? Because I’m pretty sure that’s the important part. Noticing. I can’t tell you how often I’ll say, do, or think something, and for hours on end, I can’t stop thinking about how I wish I could take it back. How I wish I could just be completely accepting and tolerant and kind. But I’m not. Just like everyone else, I am both good and bad.
But I’ve come to some conclusions about being ‘bad.’ I’ve actually decided that it isn’t so bad after all. Because doing things we shouldn’t teaches us valuable lessons. It elicits feelings inside of us that we don’t like. It shows us the part of ourselves that allows growth to occur. And without bad there couldn’t be good. Right? I mean, life would be really fucking boring if none of us ever fucked up. We wouldn’t learn anything. We wouldn’t change or grow.
So I say, go on with your bad self! I dare you to try to love the badness in you… Because you know what? If you do, I bet you’ll find yourself more easily accepting and less judgmental of the badness in others. And as you find yourself becoming more tolerant and accepting of others, the good in you will grow, miraculously causing your ‘badness’ to effortlessly fade away. Know what I mean? So be bad. And love yourself, not despite it, but because of it.