I don’t like to surround myself with assholes. But sometimes they find their way into my life.
I always say that it’s not that hard to be nice. Here’s what I mean…
To me, being nice is an immediate reaction. It’s as simple as smiling back at someone, or even just biting your tongue when you really want to harm someone. It’s that split second right before you’re about to use hurtful words. That moment when you stop yourself and ask if it’s worth it. Is it really worth losing your character for a temporary sting towards someone who probably doesn’t really matter at the end of the day? Or should you just be nice?
Over the past few weeks, several people attempted to attack me, or my friends, because of opinion pieces that I wrote or shared. I thought that they were quite universal – men shouldn’t assault women, cops shouldn’t shoot black teenagers and comedians shouldn’t put on overly offensive sets talking about how they want to physically hurt women. Apparently these stances aren’t universal.
I was called a sexist, a bitch and an idiot. People told me that I was uneducated, overly sensitive and naive. As a victim of sexual assault, I was told that I didn’t understand sexual assault and as a comedian, I was told that I didn’t understand comedy. I was told that I had no right to speak from the point of view of a woman (uh, I have a vagina. What other point of view should I use…?) and that I was a racist (against my own race…?) who hated cops. I was even told to stop shoving food in my face and get on a treadmill by someone who I’ve never met (because the fact that I eat inevitably equates to… wait, what?)
I wish I could tell you that I read these comments and immediately brushed them off. But if I’m anything, I’m honest. And I’ll be honest – they hurt. Within ten minutes of reading a comment targeting my physical appearance, I was in the bathroom staring at the mirror… completely self-conscious about my looks. At lunch, I didn’t put feta on my quinoa because I realized that I needed to be more serious about my already pretty serious diet (and guys, lets be honest …I really deserved that feta today). After seeing that people were defending the comedian that I disagreed with, I started to doubt whether or not I wanted to stay in comedy. Maybe I didn’t understand it… maybe I was being too sensitive… maybe I’m just not cut out for it. After being called a sexist, I wanted to call up every man in my life that I love to make sure that they know that I’m not sexist. I wanted to tell any boy that I’m even slightly attracted to that he shouldn’t worry! I LOVE MEN! DON’T HATE ME!
So, yeah… I’m human. I still have emotions.
More than anything, I wanted to strike back. I wanted to spit in their face and insult them right back. Call them stupid or sexist or racist. Shove all the good that I have in life right into their face, and say “SEE! LOOK AT EVERYTHING I HAVE GOING FOR ME!!! WHAT DO YOU HAVE, FUCKER?!” Share posts from my blog where I talk about my emotions and vulnerability to show them that I’m a fucking human being.
But I let my own words echo in my head – it’s not that hard to be nice. It’s not that hard to be nice. Ironically, before any of this went down, I posted that phrase on my Facebook just in response to everyone having such heated debates over the horrid state of the world these days. I had no idea how much it would help me later on.
I waited before responding… really thought out what I wanted my message to be. Words from my grandma echoed through my ears – “Never put anything in writing that could potentially be used as evidence against your character”. I use that in regards to speech as well. At the end of the day, no one should be relieved when I die (I know, super bright thought. Whatever keeps me grounded, right?)
Instead of spitting out my gym regime to someone who made a fat joke, I told her that she’s right… I hate running. Good joke, you really figured me out. I’d much rather write than run… I’d much rather make people laugh and feel good than hurt them. Then I left her with some advice from my post – don’t be that person using comedy to hurt someone. You could be so much funnier than that.
So, here’s how to be nice… take a step back and simply remind yourself to be nice. Yes, it is really that easy. Consider the source – does the person who is trying to hurt you really matter in the long run? Am I going to let some random person from the internet insult my worth as a comedian instead of listening to the dozens of others in the comedy world who encourage me? No. Instead I’ll just be nice.
Only thirty minutes after saying my piece, I leveled out. I realized that I didn’t give a flying fuck what some random person thought of me. I was no longer angry or defensive or insulted. And because I didn’t write anything back that attacked anyone, I didn’t regret a single word I said.
Being nice is biting your tongue when you would much rather punch someone in the face.
Being kind, on the other hand, is a lifestyle. More on that to come…