I Used To Be Nice.
I used to be nice.
So nice, too nice, every which way sort of nice.
While I’m still breaking some remaining chains, this mess of niceness is getting cleaned up. In fact, I’ve come to avoid nice like the plague. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am kind all the while. To me, kindness is genuine and from the heart, and it pours out. It doesn’t hurt (in fact, quite the opposite) and it’s absolutely, completely and truly genuine, no question about it. And niceness?
Niceness is society-driven manners and mannerisms, like hiding and disregarding emotions in public because they lack neatness and professionalism, masking and covering up with clothing or makeup to hide your flaws and being sorry for everything and anything. F that.
When I was around eight years old, before I realized the difference between nice and kind, I had this wise friend who told me I was too nice. It haunted me my whole life, and I always wondered what it meant. I thought nice was something you could never be too much of.
After all, no one had ever been too nice to me and, because I was unaccustomed to receiving much kindness or niceness, I thought everyone was in need of more. I wanted to give it to them… and I did.
I carried on with being too nice into my twenties, building it up like good karma so that I could allow myself off days. The days in which I made myself small because I wanted to, because I didn’t have enough in me to give, and not because I felt that I had to. Without realizing it, I came to use niceness just so I could feel okay with myself on the daily. At 25, I say No More.
I now realize that my existence isn’t something to be sorry for. I am only human, and I am perfectly imperfect. I am not okay with being nice, and there is such a difference. I am not okay with faking anything, unless it’s faking my brain out of fear. I am not okay with anyone feeling like they have to hide themselves or feel ashamed of anything that is totally human.
I am not okay with encouraging people to think that they’re not enough as they are, that they are lacking if they aren’t running with the pack, or that they’re too much because they are fearless enough to be raw and share their experience of being human in this wild world.
I fight nice by intentionally not wearing makeup when I’m not feeling pretty, not going out of my way (or my mind) with attempts to cover up my body where it’s less than perfect or completely (and naturally, by birth) feminine, not giving Sorry-s that admit unnecessary shame or guilt which need not exist, letting myself have an off day and not faking a smile when it hurts.
I dream big and I talk about it, no longer giving into the fear of intimidation, and I encourage others to do the same.
All the while I am fighting niceness, I am kind, possibly to a ridiculous extent at times, but there is a difference. Be kind, but for everyone’s sake, don’t you dare do anything just to be nice.
Ariana Mahoney is a dreamer who is always working to shift dreams into reality, a rebel with no cause but to live and love more fully and truly, a massage therapist advocating mental health, self-love and body-positivity, an adventurer, creator and writer yearning to encourage others to find the beauty where it is most hidden to them.