The other day in class, I was acting out a scene with a young girl where I had to verbally abuse the shit out of her. I had fun with it and felt confident I had done a decent job of cutting loose. When it came time for feedback, the teacher was pretty positive but made the following note…
Teacher: I know you’re a nice guy. But you can get right up in her face and give it to her. Trust that she can handle it.
Krit: What makes you think I’m a nice guy?Without hesitation, that was my immediate response. As I heard myself say it, it came off as curious mixed with defensive.
Teacher: I can just tell.
Teacher: I just can. Plus you kept putting space between the two of you by standing behind the couch. You used it as a barrier to protect her. Does me calling you nice bother you?It didn’t but it did. I can honestly say that’s the first time in my life that anyone has described me as a ‘nice guy’. It caught me off guard and hit me hard. This might sound extra to some but I had to really take time to process it! Here’s this stranger pointing something out about my character that I’ve never identified with. You ask any of my family and close friends, that wouldn’t even come in the Top 10 things they’d associate me with [not even gonna get into what words they would use]. That’s not to say I’m a complete asshole. Well who knows, to some I might be, but it’s more about what I automatically associate being a ‘nice guy’ with. Right or wrong, ‘nice guy’ equals pushover. Unassertive. Soft. Boring. ‘Nice guys finish last’ right? That’s what I hear. I guess there’s a bit of a distinction between being called ‘nice’/’a nice person’ and what we know to be a ‘nice guy’. Even so, just the way we use the word ‘nice’ these days – it’s very generic. “Oh yeah he’s nice”. It’s like a whatever comment when you don’t have anything else to say. With all the work I’ve been doing on me recently, I’ve been getting to know my true self more and more so maybe throughout this process…I’m actually nice? Is that the new me? Reinvention. When you hear of artists reinventing themselves, you think of a new shift in their image and their vibe. I’m thinking Michael, Janet and Madonna and all the different eras between each album [and can I just say my Dad has the same birthday as Janet and my Mum has the same birthday as Madonna – ayyye?] Looking back at my journey from a hoodrat with the white kids on the debating team at high school… …to a dancer [eww my gosh, this was the hardest one to shake off, for years if anyone said my name, it was like “oh Krit the dancer one?”]… …to a student leader… …to a law graduate and advocate… …to a Fulbright scholar… …to a university professional/academic… …to a MTV VJ/entertainer/personality/producer… …to an actor/artist [which I’ve been reluctant to call myself until I have something more tangible to show for it but I’m letting go of that insecurity more and more each day]. Podcasts are bloody everywhere and for some reason people keep inviting me to speak on theirs! On the most recent one I did [“Honest Conversations with Alex Cubis”], the host asked me what I wanted my title to be. “Can I just put Actor/TV Presenter?” I was like “nah bro, lemme have a think cuz I don’t wanna neglect my passion for equity and education – I did that for far too long in Australia”. This was a really good opportunity for me to reassess where I’m at in life and what I want to be known as. In the end I settled on ‘Real Life/Scripted Hustler & Advocate For Change’. I felt it was a creative and balanced way of capturing everything about me. My friend pointed out how it’s interesting that I have no issues self identifying with ‘Hustler’ which carries with it several negative connotations but I got shaken at the thought of being considered nice which has several positive ones.
A couple of years ago I posted this:
The messaging you want to send people about you vs the messaging people get from you. For me, I want people to think of Equity, Excellence and Entertainment in that order.
Equity – otherwise known as fairness. My passion for education and improving outcomes for marginalised groups, especially people from my communities, underpins everything I do.
Excellence – I have high expectations of myself and this can also be said of my family and the people I keep around me. From my academic career to my pursuits in television – I’m ambitious and when I want something I don’t f.ck around.
Entertainment – I can dazzle your undies off cuz I know how to have a good time. If you didn’t know that you better ask somebody.
Some do. Some don’t. Some would rather see one more than others. I’ve redefined myself a few times over the years but my core values have always stayed the same. At the end of the day it’s up to us to take ownership of the way we’re perceived by people. Still a work in progress! Another rant brought on by being excited at what’s coming up for me this year.
“Redefined myself.” Reinvention. I used those words comparing my ever changing path with the work of artists when that’s not what it is at all.You can’t reinvent you. I’m ALL the things I outlined above. I always have been and I always will be [bad haircuts and all]. People have often said “there are many layers to you, Krit”. It’s true but it’s not something unique to me. My layers are unique, sure, but having several, complex layers is true for everybody. We just gotta tap into them. We can only do that by getting to know ourselves better. Trusting ourselves and following our hearts.
Now when I read my former ideas on messaging and perception, I know I’m in a very different headspace to when I wrote it. There’s truth in it but it’s only one truth that came to me in that moment. What’s my truth now? If you take anything away from this piece of writing, I want it to be that you should be aware of how you’re perceived but don’t get too caught up in it! Concentrate on who you actually are – how you move in the world and how you treat others. That’s what’s most important. That’s what’s gonna help you discover the best parts of you and let your light shine.So after all that, I’m a nice guy and I love that it shows. I’m embracing all the positive things that come with being nice. It can encompass so many of what I’ve considered to be deeper adjectives. Like Kind. Thoughtful. Warm. Caring. Respectful. Sensitive. Compassionate. Gentle. Vulnerable. These aren’t signs of weakness. They’re signs of strength. This affirmation isn’t from the teacher or anyone else though. It comes from me. Hollah.