Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Not Cool

I'm not cool. And in a world where cool is all that matters, it's hard to like yourself. Oddly enough, I do like myself, but I hate defending myself and the choices and priorities I've made for myself. Easy enough to say "who cares what you think of me" but it hurts just the same and I can't seem to let it go. Yet another fault, I suppose.

I'm feeling a bit depressed. What makes depression so difficult to handle at this point in my life is that I don't have the luxury of crawling up in a ball with a bag of cookies and a TV remote and waiting it out. I have responsibilities to my family, most especially my daughter. I can't allow her to see me like this. So I solider on hoping to distract myself with chores and errands and projects, but lingering, always lingering, is this bit of sadness.

I'm caught between worlds, you see; the world of the cool and the world of the not. For all of my life, I've somehow found myself in the first; comfortable in most all social situations, outgoing and happy. But even now, as I look back over my teen to adult life, while the "being on" part came easy and I enjoyed it, I was always relieved when it was over and I could get "down time". What does that say about me? Am I pretending to be social and outgoing? Is it a role I play when the curtain goes up? I don't think so. But as I get older, it does take some channeling of character to "be on". And frankly, some days, I'm just not up for it.

The problem with cool is that it is relatively subjective. Any group of people with common interests and ideals will think they are superior to another group with opposing interests and ideals. That may be part of my problem as of late. I've never been one to agree with all of what one person or group was preaching. I have friends that ride both sides of the great divide. I like that; it allows me to form an opinion of my own based on all the information. I never want to believe my thoughts are the only ones that count because I've eliminated the opposition. But this isn't about politics. Let me get back on point.

This is about it being OK to be me - whether I'm on or off, up or down, thin or fat, young or old. And it's not just about me being OK with me, but the way I am should be OK with the world too. Not because I need the world to like me, but because, I have value and that should be enough. I have value (as well we all do, because I'm speaking on behalf of anyone who may be feeling this way) in this world, period. Don't devalue me because I don't look a certain way, or share the same opinions as you, or happen to live my life differently from yours. I have value, regardless. Do I always place value on others? C'mon, we've all read this blog long enough to know the answer is I don't. Do I think I'm at fault too? Absolutely.

But why now, at the age of 42 (Christ!), do I feel like the kid not knowing where to sit in the cafeteria. I would be fine sitting with any group because I could be comfortable almost anywhere, but none will have me unless I join in body and mind which I can't commit to, and frankly, after all is said and done, I'd rather sit by myself. See? I'm not cool.

Let me give you a concrete example: I don't drink alcohol. My husband is a 12 stepper, but even before I decided to support him, I was pretty well finished with my drinking days. You can't imagine the looks you get when you're not drinking in a social setting. Or the invitations that don't get extended to you because you're glass will have soda in it instead of scotch. Or the jokes that are said to your face (all in good fun, of course) or the sneers that are made behind your back... all because you have chosen, for your health and peace of mind, to not drink alcohol. This is not whether or not I am for or against abortion or the death penalty or some other high profile, temper flaring topic. This is about whether or not, my husband and I will drink. Now, you tell me that I don't have a right to feel devalued for no good reason. And then, tell me that I should just get over it. And then, tell me that I shouldn't want to just become a hermit.

Let me give you another one (since my sadness is turning to anger and a good rage always gets the words flowing): I've said it before, I'm short and I'm fat. Am I working on it? Always. Could I work harder? Of course. Will I? Well, that all depends. Am I doing it for you who apparently is too embarrassed to be seen with me or am I doing it for me. Because frankly, some days, I don't care what I look like and it makes me sick to my stomach that your looks are all you care about it. And you have to nerve to look down on me. (Whew! This is getting a bit personal. I'd better switch gears.)

I am more than what you think of me. I am to be valued, as you would expect the same for yourself. You don't have to like me, but you should appreciate my right to be who I am. And who knows, before you devalue me, you might consider appreciating me for me. You might just think I'm cool.

12 comments:

  1. You're beyond cool. You're amazing. And don't ever forget that, ok?

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  2. Gavin, where are you? How do you always do that? I write, you respond. Immediately!
    I have come to depend on you my friend. You are my support system here in the blogosphere. That you always write is kindness enough, but that you buoy my spirits makes you so special.
    Thank you. And again, thank you. :-)

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  3. I'm just cool like that. XD Plus I'm a fast reader too. You're very welcome. (: I'm glad I could help, if even a little bit. Sometimes it's the smallest things that help the most.

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  4. May the people that make you feel 'uncool' or are judging you slip and fall on the snow and ice in front of a large group of people. (Not hard enough to be seriously hurt, just enough to be REALLY embarrassed!) :-)

    Your uncool friend,
    Ginger

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  5. I love the addendum you added about the fall. Very PC.

    You're a great friend, Ginger. I'm glad we can be uncool together ;-)

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  6. Holy Cow! If there was a nickle in a jar for every time we all felt that way, OK, I felt that way, wouldn't we be far wealthier than Bill Gates and Donald Trump? Bonnie, I've NEVER been cool. Not in high school, not out of high school, not NOW. I've drank my share of alcohol. There were parties my parents took my to when I was very young where I remember drinking from the unfinished alcohol filled cups sitting around. Then there was the time a friend and I made brownies with a peppermint wine cooler. Her parents said they were the BEST brownies they ever ate! And other times I drank too much...How I didn't become a raging alcoholic? Have no answer to that. But I have been invited to parties and outings where I have refused to drink and have been accepted just fine. Besides, it's WAY more fun to watch everyone else get drunk and stupid =) Has it occurred to you that maybe your refusal to drink alcohol makes the others feel guilty? I mean, think of all the self control and will power you possess. That would make more than a few people hard pressed to get their drunk on more than a little uncomfortable. And that dear Bonnie, makes you cooler than cool. Stick to your guns and don't give in. Be the DD and take them home after the party. Take photos of them puking their guts out and show those to them the morning after. How cool do they look now?
    As for you worrying about your weight. Seriously, I hope that awful woman who said something about doing yoga class didn't spur this on. She's probably bulimic and doesn't know how to enjoy food. Keep with what you're doing workout wise and with whatever else makes you feel good. Let the others worry about putting up a facade =) You keep things REAL and that also makes you cool.
    Hope you are feeling more like your sassy self soon!

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  7. Wendy, Thank you. Thank you always.

    The pain I feel regarding drinking, is for my husband. He struggles even now (15 1/2 years sober) to feel accepted in his decision. Why? I don't know. Those are his demons. But I feel the turned backs for him, like I would if my daughter was left out of a game. It's not my fight, so all I can do it watch the disappointment and struggle.

    As for the weight, well, I wish it was that woman. She I could easily dismiss. Unfortunately, this group of people hit closer to home and I'm not at liberty to discuss it here. I'm fairly certain that they think they are far too cool to bother taking the time to read me, but on the off chance that they do, it would be catastrophic. I'd love to... well, I can't tell you what I'd love to. It may be time to write another "fiction" piece. ;-)

    I guess it's just about being OK with who you are. I guess I always thought I was OK with me, until I let someone make me feel "uncool" for being who I am. Then what does it say about my acceptance of myself. Hmm, that's the struggle.

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  8. In any case, you're still cool in my book. My husband and I have a couple that we have been friends with for a long time. I graduated with the woman. Her husband used to drink a lot. Whenever we would get together, we would all try to do things that didn't involve drinking alcohol. We would go bowling, or to a movie. Stay in and play board games. And now that we all have kids, it's even easier to not want alcohol around. Even when my husband and I have a BBQ and invite a crowd, we tell them that alcohol isn't allowed. And if they smoke, it has to be done outside. Period. It's not your husband or you that are the "bad guys". I'm betting there are more people in you group feeling the same and are just too afraid or embarrassed to speak up about how they feel.
    And I am sticking to my opinion of the people who upset you. I think they are jealous. You're talented and creative and intelligent. You have energy to spare. You share your time and talent with others. What do they DO?! I know I'm not your parent or guardian, but have you ever considered finding NEW people to hang out with? From what I "know" about you it would seem you and your family deserve better =)

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  9. Guess what I did today?! First, give me a drum roll...Ready? I-Cancelled-My-Facebook-Account!!! And do I regret it? NOPE =)
    And congrats to your husband for staying sober for 15 1/2 years. That is amazing!

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  10. You did not!!! I'm not ready... I'm in awe of you right now.

    Wendy, thank you. I can't get rid of these people... and that's all I'm going to say. Suffice to say, I'm forming a plan to just "play along" when I absolutely need to and then be conspicuously missing the rest of the time. I'll elaborate when I can.

    Thank you, my friend. Thank you for having my back. I want you with me if I'm ever in a fight.
    PS I'm really proud of him too! Most of the time, out of sight/out of mind, but when it's a part of the event, it's not so easy.

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  11. Can't wait to hear about your plan =) I know I'll need a HUGE bag of popcorn cause it gonna be a good read =)
    Promise you won't feel a 'big bang' if you close your FB account. It's really a load off. Let me know when you cut loose!

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