Breaking Up with Being Cool

I had this moment a while ago when attempting to get ready for my day that I felt so uncool that I decided to stay in bed.

It all was because I went to this coffee shop the day prior and saw this guy who was so stylish in his leather jacket, that in my ripped jeans and hoodie, I felt like the most slovenly thing on the planet. I immediately compared myself to him and then didn’t realize I had done it until the next day.

I have spent a large portion of my life trying to figure out what cool was. When I was younger I tried desperately to fit in, only to stand out even more. In high school, I made a lot of friends and was considered well-liked, although for most of it I felt like I was pretending to be the person that everyone thought I was. In college I did not fit in, I was a staunch liberal jew in a conservative Christian school, so that didn’t really work out very well. After that point, I had never really considered what cool was except when thinking about my sister or seeing a celebrity or person on the street.

I had this moment a while ago when attempting to get ready for my day that I felt so uncool that I decided to stay in bed.

My sister is someone I would consider cool. Effortlessly so. She is subtle, withdrawn, relaxed and refined and only freaking seventeen years old.

I wonder why I care so much about this overtly worshipped (and yet unimpressive) word for such a large portion of my life.

I’ve never stated that I was cool, nor would any cool person, BUT I have wanted to be seen as cool, and have even attempted on many occasions to come off as that type of person.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve associated that four lettered word with the kinds of people who pull off leather jackets without feeling like they’re trying to pull off said leather jacket, they smoking cigarettes because they aren’t afraid of dying, their eyelids are soft and jaws relaxed, they are nonchalant their cool is subtle and innate. It has been surmised that for the most part cool has been associated, in my mind, with a visualization rather than a definition.

Standing in line I saw a man who was so cool in his leather jacket and well fit jeans, that it disarmed me the next day. He was my visualization of “cool”—he was fashionably attractive and was not a figment of my imagination, but a real human being, actualizing (what in my head) it means to be “cool,” standing only a few feet in front of me, ordering coffee.

I thought about this feeling that had followed me that day in my bed. It was so subtle and tapped into a weird insecurity and desire to be cool, so instead of embrace it I got up from my bed and got dressed and shook off the thought.

Today I turn 25 and have decided that I am who I am and who I am is a neurotic, excessive layer wearing, afraid to die from tobacco, lover of obnoxious colors, permanently wide-eyed, nail-biting Drew. Although the nail-biting NEEDS TO GO. I like to wear all of my pants high water style (you know in case of a flood) and my jaw and eyelids are only relaxed when I’m sleeping. I enjoy dancing and singing in public and talking to total strangers, I like smiling and humming and won’t ever regret buying an absurd phone case.

I got up from my bed and got dressed and shook off the thought.

All of the refining that it takes to make someone look cool, is too much for me personally. My sister will have to be the cool one out of the two of us. And as for the guy in the coffee shop, that level of stylishly tailored je ne sais quoi will have to remain solely with him, I take no part in it.

I guess the only thing that I am still confused by is how one decides to be laid back? My mother is someone who is decidedly laid back, but that concept to me is intrinsically at odds with being laid back. I am tired of feeling bad for feeling neurotic in some instances or feeling overt joy or excitement in public. I want to learn how to appreciate my inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies—the good and bad, wouldn’t that be cool?


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