By Cindy Yantis
Real isn’t always nice. I saw a friend recently and she told me she saw a change in me, that I was more grounded. “You’re more real, not so nice.” And, I got it.
When I was about nine, growing up in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, there was a neighborhood club called, "The Nice Club," run by a group of girls my age. And, no matter how hard I tried they wouldn't let me in the club. I was my nicest nice, but it clearly wasn't good or nice enough. Turns out the nice club wasn't so nice. And, I've spent the good part of my life trying to get into that damn Nice Club. Ha! No more.
Letting go of nice leaves room for more real. Niceness many times covers up a fear of the truth, which in turn hides fears of being rejected, or not being good enough if, God forbid, someone actually saw the realness underneath.
For the first time, and for the thousandth time, I truly understand what it means to transform. I’ve been in the midst of a much deep growth and transformation over the last couple years. It started with stating my true desires in a relationship. In the end, the relationship didn’t last but I was still whole when it went away because I didn’t lose myself into another person, which had happened many times before. And, the fact that I was awake to see and feel the difference speaks volumes about the deep change that was happening.
But, the rocking of my world started in a writing class with Jack Grapes, where his writing method helps to crack through to the deep, true writing voice. Well, what I didn’t expect to happen was that I would crack the walls -- in some cases break the walls down -- of my really dark rooms. The writing was surprising and dark and real. I was surprising and dark and real. And, real is cracked and wrinkled and snarky and bloody and serene and calm and sad and small and prickly and hairy and bloated and scared and brave and powerful and heavy and loving.
I realized it all starts there. That’s a foundation that’s as solid as brick and strong as rope, weaving a web of truth that’s steadfast and human. It’s the most powerful energy I’d ever felt as it coursed wildly from my tiptoes to my fingertips and through my solar plexus shooting into my brain where the thoughts explode into genius.
Suddenly state of mind or mindset feels confining, like a set of rules that holds you back. What I got a glimpse of is realness. And, realness is permission. Real is not nice. I’m not talking about kindness. Kindness is an essence and kindness is a truth. But, nice is paint. Nice is at the heart of beige. Nice is fitting into a box. Nice is being what you think people think you should be. Nice is Capra and the image of Disney.
Hemingway and Van Gogh? Can you imagine if they were “nice” in their work. The best art, film, fiction comes from the creator knowing the underbelly, the grease and grime, the ache and heart, the truth of what’s underneath the story. The best comedy many times comes from gut wrenching angst. And, the beauty of it, because we all have those dark rooms and shadow truths, is that swarms of people can relate. They may not know why they feel such a connection to the words or character or painting, but still they cry or laugh until they cry. They feel their own realness, down deep, under the nice.
So, let's be real. How nice would that be?
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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com