Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'm Not Always The Nice Girl and I Don't Particularly Care

Someone told me the other day that what I said wasn't "nice". My immediate response was, "Sorry you feel that way." I wasn't being flippant. I was sorry they felt that way, but I wasn't sorry for what I'd said. It was said calmly, gently and truthfully (and they did freakin' ask!!). 

I can live with that.

They were super offended by that comment. I mean like red-faced offended that I wasn't overly concerned that they thought I'd lost my "nice" badge. 

I didn't get it. I still don't. 

Here's my take away from the experience: 

1. "Nice" is something women in particular are expected to strive for. It is the gold standard of adjectives if you are female!

2. "Nice" is an adjective that will be used as a weapon if you dare to be anything other than "Nice" 100% of the time. For me, it's begun to mean that I'm doing what I'm told, no questions asked. Sorry, I'm not gonna be your girl there. I ask questions and I often question authority. Period. 

3. "Nice" is JUST an adjective. There are other ones.

So, in typical Kristi style, I thought about the interaction for almost 4 days because I'm neurotic like that. This is how I assimilate and order the information in my head. I think about the interaction, rip it apart and then feel my feelings to see what feelings I'm actually feeling. 

THEN, I think about what I'm actually feeling and why I feel that way and what I want to do about it or if I want to do anything at all.

Initially, I was hurt that someone thought I wasn't "Nice", which bugged me. Not that I wasn't nice, but that I was hurt. Why would that hurt me?!  

And finally, I looked up the origin of the word "nice" because I love word origins. This TOTALLY reminded me why I love it, too!

 I laughed and laughed and laughed. Know what nice's original meaning is? 

It's derived from Latin "nescius" meaning....wait for it....IGNORANT. From there it took the 14th century by storm as a term for "foolish" or "silly". In the Middle Ages it took on "wantonness" and even "sloth" and then slid into "shyness" or "reserve". I suppose this is where we get our definition. I mean what is a woman if she isn't "shy and reserved", right?!  I am neither of those things, by the way. YAY!! Not kidding. Those are not qualities that I usually admire in anyone. And if you think those are Proverbs 31 qualities, you should re-read the text.

 We're taught from birth that we should be nice. I mean if you didn't want to hug Uncle G, who was a dirty, old, little girl ass grabber, then you weren't a nice little girl, right? If you didn't speak to the lady who spoke to you like dirt when your Mom wasn't around, then you weren't being nice. If you didn't totally want to date the guy who was SUPER nice to you for two entire whole days, then you were NOT a nice girl. You must be into "bad" boys. Again, not nice. 

After rolling that mess around for a while, I've decided that I'm going to strive for other adjectives that actually mean something to me. Ones like intelligent, funny, witty, interesting, driven, passionate, compassionate, generous and honest. (Honesty will quickly knock you out of the "Nice" tribe, so be prepared for that one)

After thinking about all the beautiful adjectives I prefer over "Nice", I couldn't stop thinking about all the nice people I'd known in my life. The ones who really, really embody the adjective. Like they will go to any lengths to maintain that adjective, Nice.

Every single one of them were full of crap. Almost all of them even spoke in that weird voice of high octave, breathy chirpiness that reeks of fake, but we still respond to it, or at least I often do. It wouldn't be "nice" if I didn't, right?

 Now, this is MY experience, so yours may not line up and I'm not knocking the people who strive diligently so that "Nice" will cling to their name for all time. I'm not. I'm just telling you that most of the hard core "nicers" that I've known were most often liars, gossips, fakers and about as deep as a 20 minute summer rain mud hole.

They'd tell you those skinny jeans TOTALLY held that cellulite in and there wasn't a lump in sight, even if you looked like cottage cheese had sprouted legs.

Most of the "Nice" people I know were also massive gossips. They were bubbly and chirpy until someone got about 10 steps away and then all bets were off. But, they'd end their gossip with, "But she's a nice girl and I'm not being mean, though."  And everyone around "Nice" girl would bob their heads because she'd ended her mean gossip by saying she wasn't being mean. Must be true then! And then THEY walked 10 paces away and she'd start in on them. They were all so "nice", though.

And "nice" is also a super general term, isn't it? It doesn't really say anything. Most often it means someone told you what you wanted to hear in a chirpy voice that made you feel all fuzzy. And then we're all like, "AWWWWW! You are so nice." "What a nice thing to say!" "She's so nice."  Bob head up and down in unison. 

People will go to great lengths to be labeled nice and to resist taking that label from someone. We loathe taking away an adjective that we've been convinced has value. We loathe it even more if someone tries to strip if from us, even if we don't place that much value in it.  Nice is what makes us say "Yes" when what we really want to do is scream "NO!!!!" from the top of our lungs. SO WEIRD!!

In all my thinking, I couldn't figure out why this was truth, because it absolutely is.

I'm giving up on nice. There are flat out better things to be that feel more like truth to me so don't feel too bad if you don't think I'm all that nice. I don't, either. 

I'm doing just fine being funny and driven and intelligent and passionate and generous and compassionate and kind and stubborn and brave.  


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