Be Nice

For those who know me, you know that I am outspoken and tend to speak without a filter.  Anyone who simply reads my blogs can probably tell I’m sarcastic and opinionated though.  Well, my parents always kind of hold their breath when they think I’m about to go off on a rant.  My Dad specifically always tells me, “Be nice Kristina.”  Yes Dad.  

But, in all seriousness, I do always keep that line in the back of my head.  I always treat everyone with respect, I know everyone is facing their own battles that we know nothing about.  So truthfully, I am nice, unless you give me a reason not to be.  Respect… I’m all about that.  

So, today, I was walking to class from the parking lot at school.  My last final of the semester!  I’m sure every fellow college student knows that feeling of pure excitement when walking into your last final.  As I’m crossing the parking lot, there’s a line of cars coming, but they seem far enough away for me to safely get to the other side and get out of the cold.  The first car is a red one, which appeared to be slowing down to let me cross.  “How nice,” I’m thinking, as the person who lets everyone cross.  I put up my hand casually to wave a thank you as I cross.  Now, I’m safely across the street and giving myself a pep talk in my head for my final when I hear someone yell, “I was going to run you over and put you out of your misery.”  Wait, what?  

I turned around just in time to see a red car, the license of that car, and the girl in that car roll up her window.  All the other cars behind her had already pulled into rows looking for spots.  Confusion.  That was my first reaction.  I don’t have problems with anyone at school, or none that I know of anyway.  So why is someone yelling that?  I stopped for a second, debating on whether or not I should approach the car and reveal why it is my Dad tells me to “Be nice.”  But realizing the time, I walked off to class instead.  

The words kept running through my head.  “I was going to run you over to put you out of your misery.”  It’s human nature when someone says something mean to you that you go over it in your head a few times.  Why would she say that?  Did she think I was someone else?  Even if she did, why would you say that to anyone?  Especially around the holiday season.  The next thing that entered my thoughts though was about weaker people.  I thought of people I know who are quiet and care deeply about the opinions others have of them.  What if they had heard that?  What if someone who was dealing with their own set of problems reached their breaking point, and then heard that?  That’s all it takes sometimes for a person to collapse, a line that was said – possibly without any truth to it and simply for a power gain, to really make someone fall.  As someone who was severely cyberbullied, I know first hand that words hold more weight than a person thinks.  

A few years ago if someone yelled that at me, I may have taken it to heart.  It may have wrecked my entire day.  I was cyberbullied badly and my outlook on life was not good. But not today.  I’ve come a very long way, as anyone who has overcome obstacles can tell you, your perspective on life changes when you survive them.  A few years ago I may have thought there was something wrong with me to make someone yell that.  Today, with my outlook, I’m able to recognize that the people who say things like that are the ones with something wrong.  What Sally says of Susie says way more about Sally than Susie.  Luckily, that statement was yelled to me, and not someone who is dealing with their own version of Hell right now.  

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t just let stuff like that go.  I mean seriously, if you’re going to play with fire, well you are going to get burned…

I knew the car and the license plate and knew that the driver pulled in around where I parked.  Long behold, after my final walking back to my car, the red car is a few cars down from me.  No, I did not slash a tire or key the side of it.  Instead, I heard my Dad’s famous words echo in my head, “Be nice Kristina.”  I got into my car, backed up out of the spot and was about to go drive home.  “Be nice Kristina.” It echoed again.  And seeing the car, I still didn’t feel that I could let it go, or for the sake of what’s right let it go.  So, I pulled back into the spot, pulled out a piece of looseleaf paper and my pen.  I took the cap off and was so tempted to write a few explicit words.  “Be nice Kristina.”  So, I decided to take the nice route to prove my point…

I went with this:

I’m the girl you yelled at this morning.  When I walked across the street you yelled, “I was gonna run you over and put you out of your misery.”  Well, happy holidays, because clearly you have your own set of issues, and need all the best wishes possible to randomly yell at someone crossing the street.  I’ll pray for you!

Everyone notices when there’s something underneath their front windshield wiper, but it’s a little more annoying when you go to put the car in reverse and there’s a folded piece of paper looking back at you.  So yes, I put it underneath her back windshield wiper, and off I went to start my break.  And how appropriate that as I got back in my car, put my iPod on shuffle, Eminem’s song “Beautiful” started playing (check out those lyrics for some empowerment).  

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My message is to watch your words people.  They hold weight.  What was yelled at me this morning did not wreck my day, my mood, or my outlook; but how could whoever yelled it know that?  What if it wasn’t at me, but someone else?  Then what?  Watch what you say, words linger.  And for crying out loud, it’s the holiday season… be nice.