ON BEING "NICE"
It's a complicated world of course and we are just barely navigating which box of wine to buy at the Kroger and if you're me, why your pup won't stop pulling used tampons out of the trash. But, today I had a thought I felt important to share with you.
Having moved back to my friends and community--the New Muncie, if you will-- is both invigorating and surreal. At once, I'm coming face to face with a version of myself I barely remember (but everyone here seems to) and a version I've cultivated in the last three years. Although, cultivate is the wrong word. TBH, as soon as I moved to Boston I was obsessed with, "falling in love" which means there was no real skill in really "developing" my idea of myself, more like a chaos.
I told my roommate at the time, Masha, I felt like the next thing for me was to let the mana fall from the sky. Pretty much immediately after moving to Boston, I met my first serious girlfriend. We dated enthusiastically but were truly too young to pull off the whole negotiation of living together. We tried. But, we didn't know ourselves. Back then I believed myself a "nice person." See: passive person.
Indianapolis has me shook and definitely evaluating how I've become who I am--more love stuff later--but I need to talk about this now. I've started seeing an old friend in a semi-romantic way and recently, when I questioned him about whether or not our lax arrangement would work, he said he felt I was more "woke" now and maybe it could.
His explanation centered on this notion that he remembered me at age 20 and how I had "motivations." What I imagine he means is, I worked really hard to suck people into my vortex back then. Basically, I knew I was cute, and I knew I hadn't fucked up majorly yet, and I wanted things so I tried to get them. This is all true. But, it took a couple messed up relationships and living in an actual city to figure out how much of a faker I was.
I did everything under the pretense of niceness--rationalization essentially. But actually, I just did what I wanted, until I realized what I was doing could hurt the people around me or even just create awkward, difficult to live down situations. IMO the problems of "Niceness" come in several forms.
There's my kind of niceness: for motility, for appearing to care and yet be surprising, for adapting to/succeeding in whatever situation in an unobtrusive way and remaining in a neutral space. I.E. not being real with you ever.
There's the kind where you actually have convinced yourself you're doing the "right" thing. Whatever it is you stand for, it's important and it's blocking out the sun. And you can't help it if you have opinions because it's nice of you to even be there in the first place.
Then there's pure niceness and no one likes this in the first place because if you are so nice you can't see what's in front of you, you're a fuckhead. This person thinks we shouldn't talk to the strippers at the strip club because they're just doing their job and bothering them with conversation makes them appear too real--they might answer like actual people, oh my!
The truth is, being nice isn't nice! Being real/honest is nice. Why would you be any other way? If you want something ask about it. If you dislike something, start a conversation. If you love a person, tell them. Being real with people doesn't mean coercing them to see your viewpoint, it means simply expressing your viewpoint. You said it. That's enough.