False Frags

If you’re getting tired of the frag posts, take heart. I’m almost caught up. After that there will only be one per week or so. If you like them I guess this is a gentle warning. The frag posts will slow down soon.

I don’t know this word. I mean, I’ve heard it. I’ve read it. I’ve said it. It’s familiar to me but it is not a word with which I feel any personal connection or reckoning. Well, wait. That’s not completely true. I think of three things when I hear the word gracious:

  • The sarcasm and suspicion in a woman’s voice when I heard to say to someone she didn’t trust, “That’s very gracious of you.” I was not involved. I was a spectator to this conversation but clearly it made a lasting impression.
  • House Beautiful magazine and the like, describing interiors as gracious. In general it seems to mean expensively decorated or looks expensively decorated in this context.
  • A woman who was angry with me told me it was not necessary to ingratiate myself to her. Ingratiate is obviously not the same word but gracious triggers this memory anyway. She felt I had betrayed her trust. I argued that if you never had someone’s trust in the first place you can’t be guilty of betraying it. Not a gracious retort, that one.

The word simply means courteous, kind, or pleasant according to the dictionaries. One Dic also includes merciful and compassionate. Others include well-mannered or chivalrous. Yeah, all that sounds nice but gracious still feels fake to me. Fake as in false front, false image, false modesty, and that insidious bless your heart business. Keep up appearances fake. Church lady air kiss fake. Good manners to your face fake. Lace curtain fake.

And this probably isn’t fair. But it’s my truth. I don’t aspire to be gracious, so just like the first frag I drew I started this (overjoyed), my only interest in confronting this word is confronting the feelings, reactions, and memories it stirs. I hope to be merciful and compassionate without being gracious. I am kind sometimes. But gracious? No.

Or I could just change, right? I could cave to the pressure and grace myself up to be more acceptable. I could embrace gracious and make friends with it. Be a good sport. High road that shit. But why? So I can be called gracious?

I guess I’m not interested. I can be all the the things gracious means by definition but I don’t have to strive for gracious like earning a social merit badge. Do you guys know that? Do you know you don’t have to try to be the nice things just for the sake of being identified that way by others? Ever hear someone tell the truth about how they feel and then follow it up with, that sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Or, that’s terrible of me, I know. Even worse, I know I shouldn’t be this way. Don’t be afraid to stand in your truth for fear of appearing less gracious, folks. In terms of wellness it is better to be real.

In my best tea party manners, thank you Gracious, but no thank you.

— Mercy

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