The problem with being the baby girl of the family, let alone a baby girl of an Asian family, is that undeniable instinct to please.
It’s the Golden Child Complex, I hereby dub it so. You start with your parents. By keeping them happy, you get the attention you need. And of course, with the attention you need, you can get away with or get just about anything you want. A baby girl already has +10 advantage to the ability to get what she wants from her dad, but still, there is always that need to be good, to do well, to make people happy. Eventually, that need to please bleeds into your daily life. You keep your friends happy. You keep your teachers happy. You keep your coworkers happy. You keep your bosses happy.
Sure, this complex probably doesn’t apply to every baby boy/girl. But everyone seems to have one in the family, that Golden Child.
I have the Golden Child Complex. At the office, I’m a hard worker, a team player, an entertainer. I work fast and I do good work. I take on projects sometimes not even really mine just to get things done right. (Well, it also doesn’t help my complex that I am a control freak.)
What happens when the Golden Child makes a major mistake that displease her Uber Boss?
I made an error at work. A pretty big one. The final result is still passable; it’s just not ideal. It’s not the perfect picture I had in my head, and definitely not the perfect picture the Uber Boss had. He didn’t come to me outright to talk about my error, but he talked to my Lady Boss behind closed door. One doesn’t need a spy listening device to figure out what was going on in there.
I was crushed, highly disappointed at myself for making such a rookie mistake. I mean, it was a simple one. If I wasn’t in such a rush to get this done, to have the project arrived on time, I probably wouldn’t have made the mistake. But I did. And here we are at the point of no return with dissatisfied customers on my boat. They don’t say anything, but the guilt of knowing they’re not happy is eating me alive.
The Golden Child couldn’t possibly make a mistake like that. Hell, the Golden Child NEVER makes a mistake. Everything has to be perfect. I couldn’t have just fucked up, could I?
Oh yes, you could. And you just did. And here you are.
I spent the last two days quietly brooding over this mistake. I mean, I have never made a mistake this big in my career anywhere. Usually, if there’s a fuck-up, it wasn’t my fault. I can’t help the printers making the mistakes because their plate didn’t match our proof. I can’t help the late delivery from a greeting card vendor when they were slow to correct their mistakes.
But this one? It’s all me. I made the boo-boo. I did it. Me.
In the middle of this self pity party, the Universe sent me a few signs, I believe.
We watched “Rescue Dawn” last night and I watched the featurettes afterward. They discussed the optimism of the lead character Dieter in real life (played by Christian Bale). His plane shot down in Laos during Vietnam war, Dieter was tortured and kept at a prison camp. Not once did he give up. He takes no for an answer and is always positive about the outcome. Always smiling. I’m getting out of here. We’re going to make it. This is not an obstacle, just a slight delay. And the dude survived the camp, escaped it and got out of the jungle with that positive attitude.
Then I flipped to CNN salute to heroes or something like that, just in time to catch Glenn Close introduced Christopher Reeves as the Heroes’ Hero. They showed snippets of the documentary about his recovery, which I watched when it originally aired years ago. The part of him taking his steps in the water on his own, THAT was just what I needed in my pit of self pity (and mild hatred).
Superman fell off a horse and is paralyzed from it, but that doesn’t even stop the guy. Dieter walked out of the jungle alive despite the odds against him.
And here I am, hating myself and dreading going back to work because I made one mistake.
That’s just unacceptable.
After all, I am the Golden Child, right? I can’t just let this little speck of tarnish stop my shine. Just buff if off and get on with it. Shine brighter. Do better. Make up for the delay.
As the great Tim Gunn says, make it work.
I’ll make it work.