I have been thinking about simple niceness lately. Niceness is different than kindness, and I tend to think niceness is fine, but it's often cosmetic or a surface quality. I'm nice everywhere I go, and I'm solicitous and friendly. I ask people how they are doing, have a pleasant exchange with the person behind the counter at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. People talk a lot about niceness I've noticed, especially on social media, where they act as the niceness gestapo, and do so in quite cruel terms. Mocking, cruel terms. The cruelty I see all the time from people demanding that others be nice. Cruelty is different than saying the truth. For instance, if someone is awful at writing, I don't think it's cruel to say they are awful at writing. Especially if they are exploiting a system, trading in gender and race politics, being discriminatory in their own behavior, exploiting classism and cronyism. I think it's an act of decency to be brave enough to say the truth. To work for reform. Change.
When I read these orders on social media to "be better," I often can't get over how much it all resembles nasty, clannish bullying in high school. So many people come across as ruthlessly cruel and cold. I wonder how they get like that. I know that someone hasn't been through what I've been through, doesn't live like this. You couldn't. You'd die. Humans are not made to live like this. They'll break, and quickly. Being entirely alone for eight years? Being hated by an entire industry? Working twenty hours a day for eight years? Getting better, having life get worse? This living space? And not because you touch kids or murder people serially, but because of how good you are what you do, the amount of that which you know--which terrifies people; how hard you work, how productive you are. In other words, extreme virtues are the problem. And I'm not cruel, and I'm not not nice. I was thinking about my mom. We don't have a relationship, and it's not something I would go into here. When I was young, my mother did a lot for me. She helped me discover who I was, and put me on my way to what I was always going to be. But she helped facilitate that by helping me grow. She encouraged me to explore. It was truly one of the most important things in my life. True, that life is now worse than being in hell, but if this ever works out, I'd look back on those years as a reason why.
I had a friend a few years ago, who lived at home. She was young. Eighteen when I met her. She's married now, has a kid. She lives in England, I believe. She had brain tumors. It was scary and I tried to be there for her at a time in my life when the Molly stuff was happening (not that that kind of evil goes away--I had a nightmare about her the other night; it's trauma; it remains as trauma), and publishing was getting worse and worse. We were pretty close. She's one of the people that Anglerfish is dedicated to. As for the age thing--I could care less what your age is if you're smart enough. The kind of person I can connect with is so rare that it's not an age thing. It's a dynamic thing. She was actually from the town I grew up in, and she was abused at home. Her brother put cigarettes out on her. Her father did nothing. She was terrorized. She didn't have any money, and I didn't have enough, and my mom offered to get her a laptop she needed.
That has been on my mind to say. It has all made me very sad. Pain is what I am in all the time. Agony. Searing pain. Like having your flesh on fire, only your flesh is your insides. Every second of every day is that kind of pain. Excruciating pain. There is no let-up, and there is no help. No help comes. Very little concern is evident. I am completely alone. And I am largely hated. When I am not hated, I am held in such awe and respect that it becomes impossible for a person to say anything to me. They are too scared. And if people think you are this super human, someone beyond humans, they don't do anything, they figure you'll just be okay, and they won't extend the same basic courtesies to you that they'd extend to a stranger, or even someone they really don't like. The effect is that you are constantly shunned, from all corners. Even when it is not actual shunning, it looks like shunning. You end up with no one who likes you. No one. Not in an active sense. You couldn't even post a photo of your new book on social media and have anyone hit the like button. That's how shunned you are. All because of greatness. It's funny--when Molly hired her team of lawyers to destroy me and take everything from me, after imploring me, beseeching me, to trust her, to put my life in her hands, my finances in her hands, there was this one who had even gotten physical with me. He used to jab his fat fingers into my chest and scream at me. And he said to me one time, "I would give anything to be a genius like you." And I thought, first of all, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, and secondly, no you wouldn't. The way my life has gone, it's the last thing I would have ever wanted, and I just keep getting better, like it's a curse. A true curse. But sadness can creep in, too. Sadness is very different than pain.