A plastic smile plastered on my face, a belly aching need to please all and offend none. The thirst to be liked and loved,wanted and needed, the deep well of the never-ending need for reciprocity.That was the root of my chronic niceness. I remember as a child , I always thought that if I was good to people,why would n’t they be good to me? The simplicity of that childhood thought never even baffled me when I entered secondary school .Soon, the staggering gossip that girls shared,made me wonder when it would be my turn to be dissected.But I mostly thought I was invincible to that though,I mean,I was soo nice! Ah! Winning smile, soft voice,proper manners,was there anything bad to say about me?After all,I usually didn’t have anything bad to say about anyone!I was nice! I was the nice friend,the one who would hardly show anger or upset,except in the most passive aggressive manner,too scared the raise the dust.
Niceness taught me to how mask my thoughts and emotions behind a solid curtain for audience approval-an applause to who I should be,a mirror of society’s hypocritical will to maintain order and politeness. Niceness taught me to hide my hurt,to kill it with kind gestures-which is good-if it’s not at your own emotional expense.Niceness always made me go back,even though I knew I would end up crying myself to sleep.Instead of saying “no”,a “yes” would smoothly dance on my unwilling voice.Niceness taught me to apologize for everything-my fault or not .Niceness stopped being a trait-it started becoming a character addiction.I couldn’t help but be nice.Don’t get me wrong,by nice I don’t mean the same thing as being courteous, generous,loving or kind.Those are virtues that are essential for humans to co-exist,or at least they should be,all things considered. Niceness isn’t necessarily one of those qualities. In fact niceness encourages nothing but hypocrisy-the performance of actions that are thirsting for reciprocity and approval and the core of the intention of those actions-are not always genuine.
Nice girls,no one rewards you for being extremely nice.No awards,stars,or cookies are given for niceness unless you are in kindergarten.Do you know how I replaced my chronic niceness? I started being real to myself-I started to respect truth.I don’t think I’m quite there yet,but it’s a conscious decision I have to make each day-a choice between being truly happy ,or being truly hypocritical. The advantage of being real with your emotions and, as scary as it sounds,thoughts, makes you less edgy,less jittery,and less nervous about always seeking to please others. If I feel happy-I am truly happy and I show it.If I wake up wondering why mornings were meant for any kind of activity,I don’t feel obliged to float my way through it, joyfully yelling out “good morning”s to everyone.However,the contrast of niceness is somewhat termed as being “bitchy” or “mean”.You don’t have to be that…you just have to be.Be happy,be sad,be annoyed,be irritated,be elated,be strong,be vulnerable,be joyful,be sarcastic…just be in tune with your feelings-just be.
On a more personal note (as if that wasn’t personal enough),this transition from being “nice” to devoting myself to being true to my feelings, is going to translate to this blog and the way I write.Many times,I have sat in front of my computer ,completely scared to write on topics I really care about,because I want to please all and offend none.If my feelings are the core of my writing,and I’m not true to my feelings,how can my writing ever be real?
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”–Dr. Seuss
A former “nice” girl.
PS:This is also a letter to myself.