More and more lately, I’m finding myself focused on that always-expected-never-explained line between the “have’s” and “have-nots”. Like the Socs and the Greasers. Or something, I dunno really. But between those people we think are “cool” and “popular” and then us lower underlings.
I’ve never really thought of myself as cool or popular. Funny, sure — sometimes. A leader, yeah, there isn’t really any way I can refute that. But I’ve never really seen myself as that type of person who people would want to spend time with because of my charismatic personality or my interesting outlook on life. I kind of feel like…ya know…normal. As normal as someone like me could be. (That, my friends, was a statement seething with irony). How I ended up on Student Government is beyond me, past the fact that I just really really like fellowships. For some reason, there’s been this big deal the past few weeks among my friends to try and convince me that i’m hot/cool/smart/popular…I don’t really understand it. They can think that if they want, I don’t really care one way or the other…I don’t think of myself in those terms. And I don’t particularly understand the urgency they feel for me needing to — much less the necessity of telling other people that.
But anyway. This line. It’s everywhere. We saw it from the moment we entered school or any other type of social situation. Those who were cool and those who were not cool. In elementary school, the cool ones were those with new shoes, who bought school lunch, and had boyfriends and girlfriends. They were the ones who played foursquare instead of make believe games during recess. I was not cool.
In middle school, things changed…but not much. I was placed in the “accelerated and gifted” class. This added to my cool status. But not much. The cool people were now athletic, they sang in choir, they were in the talent show and student government. The cool people played basketball and talked in small groups on the playground. I played tetherball. I was not cool.
High school found me inching up toward that cool status. I was a floater. A clicker (no, not the strawberry). I had a new best friend every semester. But I hobknobbed with the popular crowd. All of my friends were minorities. Hispanics, Filipinos, Vietnamese and even a good friend from Nigeria. I had buds in the stoner crowd, homies with the gangsters, friends with the pops, and study buddies with the nerds. I wasn’t cool…but I wasn’t uncool. I just was. And I hated high school.
Now that I’m in college, I still thought that I’d be dealing with the cool and the uncool. The “cool” here might be defined as the RA’s, ASB, those who lead worship in chapel…the super spiritual. And for three years, I’ve wasted my time thinking that. I was afraid to get to know people because I didn’t think I was cool enough to interact with them…when in reality, I was being the snob. I stamped them as upperclass and assumed I was scum…before I even gave them a chance. So now, I’m rubbing shoulders with those I once thought cool. And they’re normal. And I’m being surprised regularly as to how often I classify people as “too cool” and fail to reach out to them…when possibly they’re thinking the same of me. All of us have hurts and needs and crave happiness and love and fulfillment. All of us like to feel “cool”. But that isn’t important and I’m done with it. People are people are people. We’re all just a bunch of God’s kids running around on this planet. Isn’t that cool?