a breakthrough and a diatribe

I was texting a friend yesterday and got a little salty, which isn't like me (with this friend, anyway). After a few pointed comments (from me), he said something along the lines of "you're so nice all the time that it seems weird when you're direct." And I just kind of snapped a little bit because that's SUCH a true assessment of who I am. I am nice to people. I'm too nice to people, really, and that's an advantage until it starts being a drawback...and it's been a huge drawback the last couple weeks. 

I am generally a sunny-side-up kind of girl, and I pride myself on that. I was once told that my default setting was “homicidally perky and annoyingly optimistic.” That’s generally a good thing…it makes it much easier to deliver bad news at work or to manage a group, to control the energy in any room in a positive and effective way, and to bring others’ mood elevators up when they’re down (hi, Claire - like my unfreezing lingo?!). I value the ability to see a glass as half-full, especially when it’s half-full of champagne. And really, when all is said and done, it’s so inoffensive, so acceptable, so pleasant, to be thought of as “nice” or “kind” or “happy.”

 Along with possessing a generally positive demeanor, however, I remain acutely aware of when I am being taken advantage of or discounted. The past few weeks have been a uniquely hellish confluence of a super-packed social calendar, a lot of stress and very little appreciation at work, and a pervasive lack of sleep…factors that have combined into a bit of a maelstrom of discontent. Being who I am, I internalize so much of the pressure these factors create. I bite my tongue and smile, or avoid the unpleasant topics. I repeatedly insist that I’m fine, that everything is fine, that it’s really, truly, no bother, even if I’m seething inside or so tapped out emotionally and mentally that any reaction at all feels herculean.

I don’t really know what to do with this realization. The thought of making other people’s lives unpleasant, or of hurting others’ feelings or of being anything other than Pollyanna with an extra dose of sugar seems impossible. I am, after all, the girl who apologized to the other team on the soccer field as a child for stealing the ball. The girl who felt so awful about finally telling an asshole ex how she felt that she retracted every (very true and valid) statement, less than an hour later. The girl who would rather avoid conflict than stand up for herself, even when the stand is one worth making.

Nice litany of self-pity here, huh? Departure from the usual in thoughts as in blog as in life. I’m just a little sick of feeling like everyone sees me as one-dimensional, with that one dimension being “nice.” Nice is great and all, but nice is easily dismissed. And I don’t really know what to do about that, because it’s not like I have some bitch switch that I can suddenly flip to prove to everyone that I’m more than “nice.” I don’t really even know where I’m going with all of this…maybe just that I’m tired of being all sugar and no spice.