Dear Cool Girls

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Book update! I get up every morning to work on that little monster, so it’s coming along slowly but surely. This is another excerpt that may or may not make the cut, just to prove I don’t just listen to Fall Out Boy and stalk Instagram for hours on end:

Dear Cool Girls,

I want to be one of you.

I want to be “chill” with going to parties. Oh, how I’d love to be one of you, knocking back shots while simultaneously eating all-meat pizza, and somehow keeping most of your composure as everyone gravitates towards your bright personalities that light up the room. You would never be caught trying to hide in the crevices of large fluffy couch cushions containing hidden treasures like change and blunts and condoms, just praying to the whatever goddess is listening that one of the partygoers won’t call you out for being “shy” or “anti-social” as a joke/passive-aggressive insult, as if not wanting to partake in getting “like totally shitfaced, man!” is something for which to be looked down on.

And if Cool Girls don’t drink, they don’t freak out when someone asks them about it. They don’t even think about saying, “Being around alcohol makes me extremely uncomfortable and sweaty, and my therapist says it has to do with my need to have control over everything around me, while people who drink are as unpredictable as can be, especially if you aren’t good friends to begin with, and oh my god is it warm in here or what? Excuse me, I think I have to puke now.” All they do is give a sweet smile and say, “I don’t like it,” not thinking about it for the rest of the gathering or for the next few days or years after that. Cool Girls are rad like that.

I want to be “chill” with the magical, mysterious “bro time,” and even be able to participate occasionally. I want to sit on the couch and play Super Smash Bros. for hours without thinking twice about a piece of writing or sketch I promised myself I’d complete that day. I want to eat Cheetos straight from the bag without being afraid of smelling like neon orange cheese or how many times I have to drive down to Torrance to take a $25 pilates class in an attempt to make me feel less shitty about myself. I want to sit at the poker table and hold my own and bond with the guys like you could do, Cool Girls. I want to not get tired of watching after an hour, accidentally fall asleep on a chair in the corner, and get yelled at by a large security guard who reduces me to tears, all while he somehow ignores the illegal game of mahjong going on right next to me. Cool Girls, if I were one of you, these things wouldn’t bother me.

I want to be “chill” with where I am in terms of my non-existent career right now. I’d love to be able to answer the infamous, “So what are you doing now?” question with a definite, positive, absolute, “Nothing!” and not spiral into a cycle of self-loathing stemming from being rejected from literally every job for which I’ve applied (except a sales associate position at Teavana!). I want to not feel like a pile of shit when my boyfriend’s mom posts about her son having a full-time job secured even before he’s graduated, via Facebook. I want to not worry about whether my own mother is just waiting for the day she can, too, post about her daughter not wasting her expensive fine arts degree on a part-time job as a math/reading tutor– the same job she had as a senior in high school. A Cool Girl doesn’t hyperventilate when she thinks about her career and how she might actually starve to death one day (or even worse, die and not be able to pay off her student loans) and can’t move home because her room is being converted into a guest room; she shrugs her shoulders and moves on.

I want to be “chill” with my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. I so desperately wanted to be cool with them going to a movie together towards the beginning of our relationship, even though they’d been broken up for six months and he and I were officially official by then. I wanted to not have to listen to “Let It Go” on repeat while said friend date was happening, to reassure myself I’m a strong fucking lady who can handle anything. I wanted to not have my head throb and stomach sink into my butt every time he got a text, thinking it was her asking him to hang out again, making me feel like I wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to try to share something with one of our mutual friends, only to discover the ex had this friend delete me on Facebook after my boyfriend said he didn’t want to talk to her anymore. I want to be cool with all of this because if I were, I wouldn’t have let this girl eat away at my self-confidence, security, and worth. I wouldn’t be in therapy for anxiety that started to surface at the time of that friend date, and only got worse as she refused to leave us alone like some super-parasite that couldn’t be destroyed by a nuclear bomb. I wouldn’t have once been plagued by thoughts that everyone would be better off without me when confronted with stressors like parties, poker, and job hunting. If I were a cool girl, this wouldn’t have bothered me, and I wouldn’t be broken.

However, if I were a cool girl, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I wouldn’t have this opportunity to find my strength again after being hurt so badly. I wouldn’t be able to connect with people who have also been bumped and bruised along the way. If I were a cool girl, I wouldn’t have this voice or this strength I now possess (that’s occasionally muted by an old photo of my boyfriend and this ex popping up on my Facebook feed).

So, maybe I don’t want to be one of you, Cool Girls. Because if I were one of you, I wouldn’t be as “cool” as I am now.

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