Nice is a Four-letter Word.

4 Sep


An Apple Pie for Lauretta and Uwe in Berlin.

When I was a little girl, I heard a lot of things from the adults around me that didn’t serve me well.  This phrase was popular, “Good girls should be seen and not heard (wtf?).” And then there were a number of phrases that began, “Nice girls don’t ………… (fill in the blank)”.  For me, talking back was not acceptable… and if someone said something mean to me, I was not permitted to stand up for myself.  Often I heard about the troubles the other person was having (marital problems, etc.) and was asked to be compassionate.  I was taught to care for others, but not myself. I was a nice girl… and I became a nice woman.

Well, it’s taken a long time, but I’ve decided that I don’t want to be nice anymore.   Here is the definition of the word nice: pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory.  Who wants to be referred to as satisfactory?  What a wishy-washy word (wishy-washy is defined as feeble, lacking in strength or boldness)!  There are a host of words that I would prefer to be called rather than nice, including but not limited to the following: courageous, strong, compassionate, funny, determined, loving, reliable,  generous, spontaneous, intuitive, passionate, even crazy.   But please don’t call me “nice.”

A few years ago, when my ex told me about his affair, he thought my response would be “I’m so happy for you.”  Clearly, he thought I was that “nice”.  A few days later, he asked me to watch a movie, and I agreed.  But instead of sitting with him on the couch, I stood and ironed his shirts.  Was I being nice?  Not at all.  I was doing something I knew how to do as I tried to figure out what had happened to my world.

While I might have wanted to dump manure on his lawn, scream at him in public, or toss his stuff in the street, I didn’t.  I was trying to be mature, dignified, and I was learning to walk with grace.  Truly, being nice had nothing to do with it.

In closing, I acknowledge that this post is a bit of a departure for me… I’ve shared more here than I have in a while.  My hope is that in so doing, someone out there may feel more comfortable sharing their story or at least they’ll know that they’re not alone.


Pie prep in Berlin… using a wine bottle for a rolling pin!

“When you write your truth, it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone.”  Glennon Doyle Melton

Happy 24th Anniversary in Heaven to my sister, Nancy.   I wrote about that day in this post… and about Nancy here so I won’t go over it again.  I want to say I was so lucky to know her… we shared many happy times and many silly jokes. I miss her more than I can say.


Nancy with her two biggest loves… Jimmy and Wayne.




11 Responses to “Nice is a Four-letter Word.”

  1. Toni DiLeo September 4, 2018 at 9:57 PM #

    Karen, I can so relate to this piece. That was me all over! I was even thinking that how I taught my two sons to always be polite and kind and nice mY have done them some harm. I’ve actually seen how I may have even endangered them as they were growing up. Not to worry, they are strong men who can look out for themselves and speak their minds. I on the other hand, have struggled most of my life to say what I think, take what I need, and say no when I feel like it.
    Thanks for writing this.

    • pieadaygiveaway September 5, 2018 at 6:13 AM #

      Thank you, Toni. Glad to know I am not alone. Maybe this phrase should be changed and use the word humans in place of women? Here’s to strong humans, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

  2. Peter Finkle September 4, 2018 at 10:04 PM #

    Beautifully expressed, Karen! Thank you for this inspiration from your heart.

    • pieadaygiveaway September 5, 2018 at 6:08 AM #

      Thank you, Peter. It needed to get on the page and out of my head.

  3. Karen O'Dougherty September 4, 2018 at 10:15 PM #

    You are so not nice. You are a badass, heart-full, call-it-like-it-is, cussing, caring, Staten Island gal that likes a good contest and can bake a hellofa pie using a wine bottle rolling pin. Bring it on mama. Bring it on.

  4. shirley97520 September 5, 2018 at 11:58 AM #

    As always, Karen, your say what needs to be said. Hope you realize what an inspiration you are in word and loving actions.

    • pieadaygiveaway September 5, 2018 at 1:14 PM #

      Dear Shirley, Thank you for being such a wonderful role model. I am honored that you read my blog… and love your comments. xxoo

  5. Nancy Woolf September 5, 2018 at 2:50 PM #

    You are fierce! In the best way possible!

    • pieadaygiveaway September 5, 2018 at 3:45 PM #

      Thanks, Nancy. How is Colorado treating you? Would you like a visitor sometime?

      • Nancy Woolf September 6, 2018 at 2:04 PM #

        We love Colorado and you are welcome here anytime!

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