My writing makes some people uncomfortable.
I imagine them thinking: There she goes again, writing about bitter pants. Why can’t she write something nice? Just show us some innocuous pictures of your sweet husband, your cute child, and your little dog too, my pretty!
My husband is sweet. My child is cute. My dog is little. There are days I am pretty. I’ll throw in a few pictures, but in case you missed it, I turned 40 this year.
With the fourth decade comes several startling revelations. Among them this: Nice is the new mean.
Clarification: Nice is nice when it’s kind. Nice is mean when it’s superficial.
There are no scientific studies I know of to back this up, but here’s an anecdotal theory. It seems as women age they lose their edit function. No more worrying about what the nice thing to say would be. Not enough time for that nonsense.
In the words of my cousin’s beautiful wife Sue, the can of worms is already open. Might as well let ’em fly.
Some of the flying worms are nice, some are not. The un-nice worms aren’t rude. But they’re not sugar-coated in shallow diplomacy, political correctness or Christianese either. They are direct little boogers because remember, we’re not getting any younger.
I’m not advocating bad manners or speaking the truth without love or sniping at folks with petty, evil comments. However, I spent years going out of my way to keep my opinions and the truth to myself so no one would be offended.
And I wasted a lot of energy in self-reproach because, another fourth decade gem, I can’t please everyone. Neither can you. Surprise!
With these conclusions, a sad observation. Some people would very much like me to be someone else. It would make them more comfortable.
You may know them too. They sound like this: Keep your emotions to yourself. You need to do God’s work. What’s with you and the truth? Just be content. Write something nice.
Is this the example I want to set for my child? It’s best to go along and get along? We should be nice at all costs even if the greatest cost is to one’s integrity?
No way, José. My life is imperfect, a work in progress. But I hope what’s important to me shines through now and then.
Be honest. Be kind. Address what’s wrong.
Be who God created you to be even if it is different than the people around you. Even if it makes some of them uncomfortable.
And by the way, when you belong to God, it’s all His work.
Godspeed, son. Let ’em fly.
An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Proverbs 24:26 NLT
King of Anything by Sara Bareilles makes a fitting song. Perhaps we’re related.
Alexandra Ferguson started a “sassy little pillow company” on Etsy in 2009. Her pillows, featured in this post, are “American-made manufacturing from recycled materials that any side of the aisle can be excited about.” Check out more of her fun and gutsy designs at www.alexandraferguson.com, like this one with a super hero’s silhouette. Love it!
Disclaimer: I’m not being compensated to promote Alexandra Ferguson.