I’ve never considered myself “cool”. I’ve always had a skewed image of myself. Feeling inferior and unworthy has been a part of my DNA since I was little. Call it being overly humble or just being in serious need of expensive therapy. Whatever you want to label it, cool was a label that would never describe me. Smart and responsible, maybe. Cool? Hell no.
I’m sure we all went to school where cliques not only existed but they were encouraged. You had the jocks, the geeks, the artsy fartsies, the goths, and the cool kids. Ahhh, the cool kids- didn’t it seem like they had some type of imaginary, shining halo around them at all times? Life just seemed better on that side of school. We all wanted to be them but very few of us knew the secret password to get on the inside. But somewhere along the way the cool ones started to seem like the mean ones. The ones we despised. The ones we loathed but secretly wanted to be best friends with. If we could only get them to notice us…
Now that I’m a bit older and I would hope wiser, I know now that the cool ones are not the mean ones who isolate themselves in cliques and refuse to smile because it would challenge the very fiber of their coolness. Definitely not. The cool ones are the ones who challenge the status quo, walk with their head held high, and are the doers and not just the dreamers.
Remember how a few sentences ago I mentioned that I never felt like I was cool? Well, for a few years there, somewhere in between being the nerdy kid with braces in middle school to the introverted college student with few friends, my self-esteem took a hit. And I’m not just talking a small bump on the shoulder while walking through a busy hallway type of hit. Oh no. My self-esteem took a full-blown tackle, seven-player pile up on a football field type of hit. After a lot of self-reflection, a few attempts at reading some cliché self-help books, and yes, a lot of tearful nights, I realized that I needed to pick myself up by my combat boot strings and get to marching towards a happy, fulfilling life. I had to start finding people who were inspiring to me. People I could surround myself with that would push me to be a better me- anyone that was creating an amazing life.
During my search for inspiration, I noticed that being brave was one of the biggest separators between being “cool” and “uncool”. Without courage, you can’t take your life from being mediocre to exceptional. You have to look fear in its eyes, silent your screaming, inner doubt, and just go for it with all you have. So easy to type, so hard to do.
The cool ones are brave, yes, but they also know that it’s not all about them. This is where I think we need to redefine what makes someone cool. Cool is not decided by how many followers you have, how many likes you get on your selfie, or how much money you make. Cool is selfless. Cool is doing things because of passion not popularity. To keep your cool status you have to be loving, accepting, and caring.
So, to the millions of cool ones around the world who may be nameless to the mainstream but are kicking ass every single day, I say thank you. Keep on doing your thing because we need you. I need you.
Thank you for ensuring us that cool is not reserved for the select few. Thank you for redefining what cool is. Thank you for giving us someone to look up to as we travel down our own winding path to cool-dom.
Props to you cool ones. Thank you for leading the way and being the trailblazers for the rest of us. You all are friggen awesome.