Friday, November 23, 2012

Nice Girls

There was a time in my life when I was wholly preoccupied with people thinking I was “nice.” Though I proudly espoused the old adage that “nice girls rarely make history”, I was fairly consumed with co-workers, friends, lovers, strangers not finding me to be an asshole while I made history. Or you know, lived.
If I had to use the psychology degree I earned from watching Dr. Phil and Iyanla Fix my Life, I could probably trace it back to when I was in high school. People looked at me and assumed I was a bitch because of how I looked. Or took in my attire and mistook my general mistrust of all nouns (people, places, things) as me being “stuck up”. When you’re a kid dying to fit in and longing to belong anywhere, that hurts. And so I worked overtime at proving them wrong. I was overly polite. I tried to, if not befriend, certainly be kind to people (sometimes I failed). I took immense joy in the oft repeated declaration, “You know, when I first met/saw (judged) you I thought you were such a bitch, but you are so cool!” ignoring how shocked people were that a woman could be pretty and smart and, you know, act in a manner consistent with human decency, at the same. Instead I focused on the satisfaction of knowing I had changed their idea of me. I had succeeded. They liked me. They thought I was nice. I had won them over, no matter the effort or the back breaking bending I had to do to get there.
But fuck all that now.
The truth is, I am nice. Mostly. Some days I snap at people. Oftentimes my annoyance at something that has been said or done that I perceive to be stupid or petty or a waste of my precious time cannot be hidden. Though I can generally strike up a conversation with anybody about anything regardless of our familiarity with each other, sometimes I need quiet and don’t feel obligated to contribute to conversation just so there won’t be silence. The difference is now, that is okay.
I no longer find myself particularly preoccupied with appearing nice. (Or “good”, but that’s another story for another day.) I treat people well. I honor my strength and weaknesses. I reinforce my boundaries without being an asshole. I carve out a space to exist with people in situations that respect the dichotomy of my existence; I am warm and approachable and will cuss you out if you provoke me. And if that is not ok with you?

5 comments:

Cara said...

Perfect clip at the end. I am dying. I think I spent a lot of time in my youth trying not to be nice, ironically. Its amazing how much of a turn around I made. Its also interesting to see that someone took the time to accommodate others at such a young age. I was pretty, popular, had good friends and went out of my way to let people know I didn't need them or want them around me. I was such a teen-aged bitch, it wasn't even funny. Ironically, I think now, I am totally preoccupied with being the best person I can to others and when my inner, adolescent bitch emerges I have to sometimes apologize. I think that the bottom line here is that you are obviously a good person, who used to overly exert her goodness, perhaps to your detriment. In addition to you being more than allowed to live your life comfortably now, you definitely will have crazy good karma from all those nice teenage years.

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