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Good Living

Misbehave with Integrity

How breaking the rules (safely) can feel so good

By Deborah Dobbs

One time, my mother and I threw a dollhouse out of a second story window, and it was glorious.

If you caught the most recent edition of Good Life Family, you saw my article in which I referenced Clarissa Pincola Estés. In addition to the lightbulb moment el duende caused me was another concept: misbehaving with integrity.

When we misbehave with integrity, our mischief does no harm to ourselves or others. This might involve breaking norms (not laws, mind you) or doing something unexpected. It can be something as simple as wearing mismatched socks to a formal event. Often, it’s a way of giving the finger to those who discourage us because supposedly we’re too young, too old, or too busy or any of that nonsense. 

My mother is a master of misbehaving with integrity, and that’s what led to tossing the dollhouse. My father had started the project when I was in preschool or grade school, and it was one of his several great ideas that were almost but not quite realized. I’ve inherited that tendency, so I’m amazed I ever wrote a novel. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. I’m stunned. Anyway, my mother and I were updating my room or painting the door shut or something like that, and this unfinished dollhouse had become a source of annoyance. I think by that time I was at least sixteen, and my doll days were long passed. (Actually, I never spent much time playing with dolls.) We decided that heaving it out the window presented so much more fun than carrying it down the stairs. And it was safer. We didn’t risk tripping or hurting our backs. If you’ve never smashed something to bits, I highly recommend it. No one got hurt. We cleaned up and assured my dad it was nothing personal. 

My favorite moments with my mother involve misbehaving with integrity.


Editor’s Note: Deborah Dobbs is the author of thrillers and creepy crime fiction. Look for her debut novel Vile in Spring 2022. Join her journey at DeborahDobbs.com.

Article: Made To Create by Deborah Dobbs

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