Monday, February 27, 2006

remember

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?

13 comments:

ScottAllen said...

My individulatity was born out of being excluded and outcast. after enough exclusion, I think I may have developed my individuality as a means to "pre-emptive strike" the inevitable exclusion I saw coming down the pike. I formed my own values and morals, and stuck too them. belonging is nice, but not at the price of who I am. I just mosey along, and those who agree usually find me along the same path, or I find them. *smile*

Curious_2b_sub said...

Uhm Spring... I'm kinda sadly, or happily out of the alt loop... does this have something to do with the cryptic ~c or ~C's behind people's blog names? I have no idea what it means. But I figured it was some sort of strange club... any help would be appreciated... my e-mail has been blown up so... uh... yeah... not there.

Spring said...

scott, you know, as hard as it is to be the excluded outcast when you're young, I think in the long run, it makes one a better person. When I think of the groups, all they ever learned was to get along with those who think exactly alike. Put them in a group with people who think differently, and they haven't a clue how to interact functionally -- something all us outcasts learned along the way. :)

Spring said...

curious, goodness no! Me, write a post about the other place??? I wouldn't dare! I admit I have noticed the ~c thing goin' on with a few individuals, but gosh...I know absolutely nothing about it. :) I think that Kkhos Rho is looking into it, though.

At least now I know why you didn't answer when I sent you that email yesterday...you probably didn't get it. And here I thought you were snubbing me, lol. If you can't receive email, can you send it?

Curious_2b_sub said...

Hey spring... try myspace, i sent you something there.

Beth said...

There was a time when I was in junior high that I wanted to feel like part of the cool crowd. Fortunately, that didn't last very long. By high school, I was marching to the beat of my own drum. I could get along with lots of different people. In college, my individuality bloomed. I don't feel the need to be liked by everyone or to live up to their expectations or to be included. I am me. And darnit...I like me!

I love this post.
And I love you!
Smooches.
Beth

Frank said...

Tell ya Spring, I think EVERYONE in those high school years goes through enough emotional turmoil to last a lifetime. The cool kids as well as the ones on the outside looking in. How difficult it must be for a popular 15 year old to fit into the parameters of others expectations....and stay there regardless of what they actually want.

Yep, the "cool" attitude does continue into adulthood for a lot of these folks. These are the types that have a compulsive need to keep up with the Jonses, the types that will do ANYTHING to keep up appearances, the types who've never had an original thought in their heads. At 15 it's sad, at 40 it's pathetic.

I was an average teen.....average intelligence, average looks, average popularity....and yeah, I wanted more. Like most, I matured out of necessity. You're right Spring, most of us aren't going to be accepted into the elite. Can't keep trying. It's a natural progression that enables us grow.

It was harder watching MY kids go through it. Neither of them were considered cool, but they dealt with it admirably. My daughter kept a lot inside, but has grow tremendously over the last year, grown in a way she never would have if she was trying to live up to someone elses expectations. My son tried really hard to be one of them, but he's recently moved on with his life. Out of HS, working full time, acting more like an adult.

I'm pleased.

ScottAllen said...

That was exactly My feeling too spring, that being the outcast, the excluded, Gave me the choice. to either adapt to their ways, or make my own. the exclusion made it easier to go my own way, in a way, a self delusion of self importantance and self "coolness" in being my own person. the early seedings... of becoming a "Domly" one... LOL

Deepblue said...

Haha! This is great!! I think I was largely clueless and too stubborn to change who I was... I still wanted to DO all the fun things it looked like the 'secret club kids' were doing... just not enough to try to be someone else... I'd forgotten how hard that was (as an adult it's (usually) less of an issue) until my baby started junior high/high school...

The thing is, once you figure out that it's only meaning is to drive attention, it becomes way too silly to even bother with...

Spring said...

Beth, yes, it was much harder not to belong in junior high. High school was a bit easier. I did't get to go to college right out of high school, so didn't experience that blooming that others speak of. I still kinda like being liked, but not enough to join in and become something I'm not.

Love and smooches back at ya! :)

Spring said...

Frank, boy you're right about how hard it is to watch your kids struggle with this. Especially if they are the seriously sensitive type. My son didn't struggle much, but the rugrat did, in junior high. Even had some concerns with cutting behaviors, but she has rallied in high school and is doing much better at being herself regardless of what others may think. I'm quite proud of her.

Spring said...

scott, very good point! :)

Spring said...

deepblue, I wish I'd been 'clueless,' but no such luck. And sometimes I wonder whether I would have given in and been one of them, if I'd actually been invited. Not something I like to think about, but if I'm honest, something I have to own up to. And yeah, just like Frank said, it's hard to watch our kids go through it.