I am polite to the point of absurdity. I've annoyed countless people by over-apologizing, over-thanking, and any other over-politeness you can imagine. A typical exchange would be:
"Sara, can you stop apologizing all the time?"
"Oh, I'm so sorry it bothers you!'
I've been instilled with this since childhood and it's very hard for me to stop these reflexes switching on. It's like helping people carry their luggage in the bus or train: it's something I do because that's the way I should behave. I never question the impulse; I give in to it quietly.
Because of this, many have seen me as a doormat. I've been criticized for being too nice. I'm not nice. I'm polite. It's different. I can be nice, but I keep it for people I care about. I'm polite to everyone.
But underneath this veneer I am, in fact, a very angry person. I hate unfairness. I hate patronizing tones, disrespect, cruelty. It takes everything I have not to blow up when confronted with this in my day-to-day life. I think of my politeness as a protection against my aggressive side.
I treat people with respect. I try to make life a bit easier for everyone by smoothing over the small events of life with kind words and actions. That doesn't make me a good person per se: it makes me a frankly annoying person a lot of the time. However, don't push me. Don't treat me like someone who will accept anything. Because although the surface of the water is unrippled and calm, the turmoil underneath would scare you.
LA ROBE LONGUE BRODÉE
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