Sometimes I talk too much. Sometimes I don’t talk at all. Sometimes I don’t say enough. I am still learning to gauge when I should or should not speak up. Some days to avoid confrontation or confusion, I wear my “church lady” grin. The grin that shows no teeth or wrinkles around your eyes. It’s a “nice on ice” look that says I have manners, but I don’t want to be bothered with the outside world right now. The top of my face is stone, while the bottom is curled into a disingenuous grimace that passes for sterile human emotion. It’s the smile you muster when you let the other cars go before you at four-way stop sign. It’s the smile you slap on your face when you let the lady with the screaming baby go before you in the grocery line, or when I am passing a stranger on the street or in the hallway. I use it when I don’t want to be bothered, or I have two seconds to be “nice”. Heaven forbid I’m not “nice”. Nice is such a one-dimensional facade, a small moment in time. I have a palate of emotions, moods, and behaviors, but “nice” is the dry cleaning of all behaviors. It speeds along transactions and phone calls. Please don’t confuse nice with being polite or having manners. You can be genuinely kind while using manners. Nice is the McDonald’s of mock feminine characteristics. I try my best to stay on auto pilot during business hours, but sometimes the truth slips out. Sometimes self-preservation, protection, and self-defenses are lowered and the pieces of my mind fly out of my lips. Not in a malicious rant, but in a “this is me” way. I sometimes obsess over how my words or actions can be interpreted or twisted incorrectly. It gets stifling seeking the truth in a place that sustains itself on church lady smiles, vague words, self-preservation or survival of the fittest. In a world where honesty is shunned and lies are accepted as truths, telling the truth is an act of radicalism. I believe it’s called having a filter, but the truth lowers your blood pressure. You are truly blessed if when someone asks how you’re doing, you blurt out, “My cramps feel like an autopsy is being performed on my uterus, and you?” To know your truth is safe with someone and it doesn’t induce paranoia is bliss.