Remember when we were kids. And the 'popular' kids would get together and form a club. It would start with a few of the cool ones. They'd find a place to meet in secret, have their secret handshakes and symbols, their secret password. But not too secret...they'd make it look really cool and fun, so everyone would want to be in their club. Everyone -- even reserved loners like me -- wanted to be in the cool club. Very few ever 'made it.' Were they really 'cool'? Well, by the standards defined by themselves and their peers they were.
You see, the cool ones understood the need for exclusivity. I mean, if you let everyone in, it isn't nearly so cool anymore. So the kids standing on the next rung down on the ladder of coolness would be the first to be tested. And testing was key to entrance into the grand and glorious cool kids' club. You had to make enemies of their enemies, believe what they believed, act like they did. Become one of them. That was the key -- to become one of 'them,' even if it meant becoming less of who 'you' were. And yet, that's exactly what the less popular kids would do -- change who they were to become one of the cool ones, to join the cool club. They might even succeed in convincing themselves that they really are one of 'them,' and had been all along. But really, if they had been one of 'them' all along, then they wouldn't have had to change to join the group, now would they.
And then things change, kids grow up, and life happens. But still, as adults, there are the 'cool' ones, who tend to gravitate toward each other and form groups. And those of us who aren't as cool, who aren't part of the group. The cool ones still understand the importance of exclusivity, on a more cerebral level. And they still pick and choose who will belong in their group. And many of the less popular are still hangers-on, hoping to be picked to belong to the group, and willing to do whatever it takes to belong.
Difference is, some of us have actually grown up in the intervening years. We are no longer caught up in the whole coolness factor, and we are unwilling to change ourselves to conform to the cool club, waiting for that remote chance that we'll be invited to join. Because some of us have become...brace yourselves...individuals.
So, who were you as a kid? Were you one of the original cool ones? The next rung down? One of those who would never be invited to join the group? Or one who, even as a child, marched to the beat of a different drummer? As an adult, how have you changed? Or have you? Do you wish you could change?
Me? I was a loner who wanted to belong but never did. But I pretty much outgrew it. Got used to being a loner, grew up, and learned to see through those former cool kids to the even colder hearts underneath beautiful exteriors. Wanna join my group?