I don’t like conflict.
I work hard to keep it from happening.
I avoid it when I can.
And, when I can’t avoid it, I live with a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach.
I was taught to be nice.
I learned my lesson well.
Now, I need to unlearn what I learned so well for so long.
I need to learn how not to be nice.
That doesn’t mean I have to be mean.
But, being nice when others are shouting down or belittling those with whom they disagree or taking advantage of those who have less power or fewer resources leaves those others marginalized and me empty and our community in tatters.
Learning how not to be nice means I have to be willing to stand up.
And, to speak up.
To say clearly and honestly what I think and believe.
It means knowing the push back is going to come.
And standing up just the same.
Then, it means standing up again.
And, speaking up again.
And again and again and again.
And then to do it one more time.