A comment I’ve been receiving a lot lately, especially since traveling, is that I’m “so cool.” My first reaction is always a definite, “No, I am not.” The more I hear it, the more it concerns me.
The first to blame is social media. As a digital marketing student, it’s no secret that social media is my forte. I enjoy thinking of witty captions for my friends and myself, and I know what pictures look good and will get the most likes. I don’t use social media for my own personal validation, and now it’s merely a habit. I’m strategic with posts for CHAARG, so it often blends over without a thought. Yes, my posts are a highlight reel, but why would anyone want to see anything else? If you really want to know about the lows of my life, I could tell you, but no one actually wants to read about how shitty my day was because no one cares.
Social media aside, I’ve been trying to figure out when I became cool. For my entire life, I was always told that I was too weird, too nerdy, too bossy, too confident, too quiet, too sensitive, too dramatic, too skinny– always too much. Most of these comments did not make me abandon these traits, but I did learn how to keep them more to myself.
When I realized that none of my peers were reading in their free time, I stopped trying to talk about books. When I realized that being goofy wasn’t how the popular kids were, I didn’t associate with the in-crowd unless necessary. (Thankfully, I did learn to keep my emotions in check and stop being a crybaby 🙂 ) I didn’t change myself. Instead, when I wasn’t at school or doing homework during the week, I was at dance, taking as many classes and teaching as much as possible. I often spent my weekends reading books and imagining what my life would be like once I had full control over it.
Fast forward to my latter years of undergrad, I became more involved on-campus. I became very busy with work and extracurriculars and joined several social groups. I didn’t make deep, lasting relationships with many, but my network expanded immensely. I realized that while I am dramatic, I am very passionate about many things in life, so I capitalized on them. I was able to embrace my inner nerd, be a confident leader, be a meditator for my friends and residents, and instead of being the skinny girl, I became the strong girl.
I never changed. I only stopped apologizing for being me.
Is that what makes me cool? Being comfortable in my own skin and doing whatever the hell I want without regard for anyone else’s opinion? Maybe. Since being in control of my life and being highly self-aware, I’ve been able to improve myself exactly how I wanted. It’s kinda strange to think that I’ve surpassed my dreams of what my 17 year old self wanted to be as a twenty-something. I’m ambitious, and I know exactly who I am and who I want to be.
I’m not cool — I’m just me.
I know that I am seen as a role model for all my nieces and the girls to whom I taught dance, and I encourage them all to embrace their individual quirks. Be you unapologetically, and you’ll never doubt yourself and your happiness.