Nice vs. Real


'Observe the difference between
being "nice" & being "real" -
From who or what do you seek approval?'

I was asked to reflect
& so I pondered...

Two sides of the same coin... 
as a child I was told
'if you don't have anything nice to say
don't say nothing at all.'
The masks abound.
I spent much of my time lost in imagination
in attempts
to avoid burdening those around me
with some of the emotions and opinions I had. 

Then I found myself in the shoes of a young,
know-it-all teenager.
After years of suppression the fire was fueled -
I impulsively felt the need to rebel against
every aspect of system and society
spewing my 'truthful' defense. 
The result was disconnected or short-lived relationships
& a hole of loneliness

I wasn't all that nice
& though my attempts were valiant,
I wasn't all that real. 

This sense of blind certainty carried into my early 20's
and is only just beginning to dissipate.
The past few years have been a constant balance
of voicing my opinion when necessary
& learning when it's best to listen and nod. 
I find that sometimes the realist response is to not react-
to sit silently and let others ramble into their own cognitive understanding. 

Most of my life I was looking for approval
& recognition
from countless outside sources. 
What this led to was a very depleted sense of Self
with iron walls keeping others out.

I couldn't open up because I didn't want my quirks rejected.
I was trying to find safety in comfort,
but in seeking found a sense of uneasiness.
Only in the last few years
have I begun to understand the beauty,
& strength,
in vulnerability -
in opening up.

Finding now that
the deeper I dig,
the more I share,
the freer I become.