I was never a cool girl. I always hung around the fringes of the ‘germy’ kids; rural Aussie 80s slang for the social misfits at school. I never really fit in with them either because I yearned so much to have my potential as a cool girl seen. I hung out for the day some person recognised me as a deep-down cool girl.
Looking back at all my school photos, and all photos, really, of me from a baby onwàrds, I seem to have hunched shoulders, a sad look in my eyes, never right hair, the wrong expression for the moment in which the photo was taken. I look at the girls I wanted so much to be like and everything about them was SO different. Their shoulders were thrown back and strong, they looked into the camera with fully engaged and lively eyes, on point hair styles and big smiles.
I had always held a hope that I would grow into what comes naturally for cool girls, or the ice queen elegant sort. I demolished books about teen girls who were plain, spent a summer abroad and returned a total babe. I am now 43 (I think…) and I am now fully reconciled to the fact I am what I am. A slow learner, alright…!
It isn’t simply a matter of looks or sex appeal or vibe. It was about me fitting in. Take, for instance, Amal Clooney nee Alamuddin. She has her shit fully together. She oozes intelligence, street smarts, confidence, self acceptance and more grace than Ms Kelly ever had. She is my ultimate IT woman. She is the sort I hoped to be like. It seems ludicris now, but it was my heart felt desire to be recognised as one. It would mean I am no longer the space cadet I am.
I always had tears upon listening to The Ugly Duckling story. I knew what it felt like to be that duckling. But it is all ok because the duckling becomes Ms Alamuddin. Doesn’t she??! No. Alas, I am no swan. I am no duckling. I’m not sure what I am, but I often feel like the rarely seen lizard that hides under the awnings, seeking the cool of the night to be alone to hunt for bugs no one cares about.
The good news is, I have ceased caring. And it is actually liberating. For the first time since I was about 12yo, I feel like I’m perfectly ok being me. As long as I don’t look into a mirror, I’ll travel through the rest of my life grateful I have more freedom than Mrs Clooney.
I can twist my face into any expression I like, I can wrestle kids on a bowling green, I can eat any cream cake I choose, I can walk out the house make up free and hair awry, I can say stuid things with not a soul to hear me. I may not be a cool girl, but I sure have some aspects of life firmly in my favour!
If I could, I’d go back to when I was ten and tell that desperate little girl to not watch Fame, but to continue watching Dr Who and Inspector Gadget. I’d tell her to not stop loving motorbikes and cars because it wasn’t seemly for a bookish girl to be interested in such things. I’d tell her to not give up her day dreaming abd imaginary worlds she spent all weekend living in. I’d speak of all the role models who did incredible things with their mind and not their street cred. Oh…the things that poor little girl needed to know.
But you and I know something rather significant, don’t we?! Sssh. She DOES become her own form of cool. And she will totally own it. 👊