I realized I wasn’t one of the cool ones in fifth grade. I was sitting on a bench with a friend, and this girl walked by. She had the most beautiful, silky hair, and was wearing the most incredible boots ever. They hit just below the knee, and they were pink, with golden tiaras all over them. I’d never wanted a pair of boots – or to be another person entirely – so bad.
Your parents don’t prepare you for the moment you realize you’re not cool, and nobody has to explain it to you because you just feel it. It’s not that you don’t feel confident enough, is that somehow, some people just seem… superior. Some act like it, some don’t. But they’re different, nonetheless. And at a point in your life, all you want to do is meet and hang out with and be them.
For some years, I did what I could to become a cool person. I changed my clothes, my hair, I pretended to enjoy a certain type of music. Obviously, that only made me uncooler – trying to be anything at all is the least cool thing on the planet, after all.
Eventually, I made peace with the fact that I’m just an uncool person. I will always be one of the uncoolest people I know, and that can be pretty great in its own right. Here’s why.
You stop feeling the pressure to be anything at all
This is a lie, actually. I feel the self-inflicted pressure to be many things. But I don’t feel the pressure to be cool, okay? I don’t feel the pressure to don’t feel the pressure. I’m okay with the pressure, if it makes me grow and turns me into a better person. I’m okay with not being trendy, and really outgoing, and a natural at taking selfies. I don’t feel the pressure to be something I’m not, that’s all I’m saying.
You’re allowed to care
So a big thing about being a cool person is that you supposedly don’t care about a lot. You’re incredibly independent and just confident and don’t care about what anybody thinks. Which sounds pretty great, but I care about a lot of things. I care about what people think of me, to a certain extent. I care about the things I do, and about doing them well. I care about having a trip meticulously planned and about having a clean home and about finances! I care about most things, now that I think of it.
Your guilty pleasures are not guilty anymore
Cool people have cool tastes. What are cool tastes? I don’t know, never had them before. But they’re the ones who find those bands that nobody knew about and then suddenly they’re everywhere. Anyway. I used to feel ashamed about certain things I enjoyed, but not anymore. I’m uncool. I don’t mind admitting that I listen to 2000’s Beyoncé, love watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and spend most of my free time scrolling through facebook, looking for new puppy videos.
You stop caring about social media
Now, I use social media on a daily basis and, as you might know, I have a bookstagram. I love my account and spend a lot of time taking pictures for my feed and making sure everything looks pretty. However, I no longer use social media as a research tool to tell me how to behave or look like. I no longer use it as a guide on how to be cool.
You say no without regrets
I tried. For years, I tried to go to the parties. Dance till 8am. Break the rules, act like the young person I was, drink nasty vodka and soda (who does that? Really, does anybody really think that vodka tastes good?). When I came to terms with my uncoolness, I started doing whatever I wanted – which for me meant spending my friday nights at home, going to bed early and reading until I fell asleep, or at the movies, or at nice little restaurants (I’m not that uncool).
You stop comparing yourself to other people
As soon as you own your uncoolness, comparison stops making any sense in your life. You start comparing yourself to who you were and who you want to be; if you’re feeling down, you might compare yourself to a successful person you look up to. But overall, you stop looking at what other people are doing or look like. It doesn’t matter anymore.
And you start being yourself
I’m still shaking off some things I programed myself to do over the years, in order to be a cool person. Sometimes I still wish I was different, so I could get the validation I once thought I needed. But I’m slowly accepting that really, the coolest possible version of me is the one that is most like myself. And that I’m still constantly transforming – not into my preconceived idea of coolness, but into a reflection of authenticity.