You know the quote from Wreck It Ralph?
“I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
Well, I want to use that quote in reverse. I am good, and that’s good. I will never be bad, and that’s not bad.
Sure, it sounds like linguistically it needs a little work, but the basic idea is there. Being good is not bad.
It sounds redundant and circular and overall ridiculous, doesn’t it? But take a second to step back and look at how ‘good’ is viewed in society. For someone who doesn’t engage in varied behaviors, I often get the words ‘naïve’ and ‘prude’ thrown at me like darts.
We live in a raucous society where being explicit is a statement and an ideal. Classy women? Where are they? They’re in an era gone by, the Lucile Ball’s of the world replaced by the likes of post-Disney Channel Miley Cyrus.
What I have experienced embarking out upon the real world is that I am not a grown-up and I don’t want to be a grown-up. The people I work with and go to school with glorify a ‘bad is good’ mentality. I get berated and teased for being… good. And by good I mean I don’t swear, I stay away from off-color jokes and I disentangle myself entirely from any questionable content. Not because I have anything to prove or a statement to make–that’s just who I am.
Unfortunately, those around me don’t seem to understand the concept. I have become, at school and in the workplace, the current ‘project’ to conquer. Who can corrupt Erin? Who wants to educate Erin in the ways of life?
Now I know I’m a little on the naïve side. Plus, I’m perpetually optimistic, which I think drives some people crazy. And those in the culinary field tend to be a little rough around the edges, dropping f-bombs like they’re commas. They’re friendly and great and helpful and I love my classmates like crazy, but to some extent, I keep a bit of distance. You know the old adage that you become like the five people you spend the most time with? Well, I don’t necessarily want to lose myself in a world of tattoos and curse words.
Here’s my disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with being the kind of person that swears and makes interesting jokes and wears tattoos like a second skin. That is 100% entirely fine if that is what floats your boat. I’m not going to judge anyone based on that. You do your thing!
Here’s what I do have a problem with: trying to change me because you think my naïve mentality is a hindrance.
“You live in a bubble, Erin,” I’m told quite often. “Get out and live a little!”
By ‘live a little’ they do not mean skydiving or underwater basket weaving. And, for the record, I’m game to do either of those things. No, their version of ‘live a little’ means poking at me to get inked, drink underage and other… questionable habits. When I went to culinary school, I knew I’d be entering a rough crowd. I just maybe didn’t realize to what extent they would attempt to influence me.
In addition to peer pressure to get me to ‘live a little,’ I am also told I need to toughen up and take some chances. This always flabbergasts me–I, for one, am proud of the accomplishments I’ve achieved in only eight months. I moved across the country by myself at the age of eighteen to live the dream (something many people never get the chance to do) and work in Disney kitchens.
If you were to look at me from the outside, you’d see someone entirely too nice to the human race, someone who, despite my height, is always looking up, even when life sucks. I knit in my free time and have never seen an episode of The Walking Dead. I bring cupcakes to every new social event I attend and own eight (yes, eight) jars of edible glitter. I’d rather watch black and white television than anything on TV today, and Starbucks baristas know my name. I’m technically an adult and still dream of being a Disney Princess.
Not really an ideal candidate for rough-and-rowdy kitchens full of personal space invaders and earfuls of foul content.
But you know what? That’s okay.
There’s nothing wrong with me for swing dancing in my kitchen instead of going out to party. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting tattoos. (I value the classy ideals of un-inked individuality.) There’s nothing wrong with my clean vernacular. No, it doesn’t make me a prude. If you have the right to use your freedom of speech to swear at everyone from the waiter to the car in front of you, surely I can use mine to employ G-rated monologues.
Bottom line? It’s my choice. And I love the fact I’m one in a million, a friendly face in a sea of kitchen scowls. I can hold my own in the kitchen and out-cook many of my peers. Just because I’m little, innocent Erin doesn’t mean I don’t belong in the kitchen with the big dogs.
I’m an underdog. Not the type of person you’d expect to see in a location like this.
But here I am. Take me or leave me, glitter and all.