Friday, April 30, 2010

I Always Dreamed of Being Really Cool

It’s ironic that I only seem to achieve my dream of coolness when I completely surrender trying. I’ve always had a lot to aspire to, because I grew up with siblings that were on the cutting edge of a nearly unattainable coolness.

My big brother is the most charming, likable guy you’ve ever met. Growing up, everyone loved him, and still does. He always had a huge circle of friends. He knew awesome stuff about power tools, horses, and R/C models. Old ladies would remark about how he was going to be handsome and six feet tall, like our dad. I didn’t know why being six feet tall was so desirable, but I thought, “He’s my dad, too, why don’t they tell me I’m going to be six feet tall?” In treasured moments, when my brother taught me how to throw a ball, when he invited me to explore the crawl space under the house, when he drove my jeep in the bracket drags and beat out muscle cars, moments when I felt his coolness rub off on me, I just wished I had some of my own for the rest of the time.

My sister, too, had coolness to spare. Her coolness came from her utter self-assurance. She did whatever she wanted. No matter what anyone said to her, she did not care. She cut her hair the way she wanted. She wore her clothes the way she wanted. She pierced her ear with a needle, because you didn’t need a permission form. It was so hard to be her big sister, because she was so cool and I was so not cool. Whenever I bumped up against her personality, I lost. It wasn’t even a fight. I was unarmed. I couldn’t compete, because everything she did was original, so copying her wouldn’t make me cool, it would make me a copy. I longed to be an original.

Somewhere along the way, I surrendered. Not all at once, but over years of discovery, I came to the conclusion that being un-cool was my ultimate ticket to coolness. In a certain sense, driving a mail jeep was cool. No one else had one, right? Working at McDonald’s? Maybe I should have pursued an internship, or something that paid better, but I liked my job, even though people thought it was funny. Living in the freshman dorms for three, long years – un-cool. Having my student teaching observed while wearing tights that were two shades different from my shirt, because I got dressed in the dark – un-cool. Using the bathroom with my toddler on my lap – un-cool.  Making home Star Wars movies – un-cool.

This week I put my extreme un-coolness on display in a public forum. I miscommunicated with the A/V team so that the kids singing couldn’t be heard over the music; I relocate a kid away from the microphone too harshly (and probably too close to the microphone); I told a kid he won an award and then failed to give him his prize; I dropped a statuette when I was presenting it; I forgot to recognize the cooks who make us dinner every week and I forgot my husband who is the co-leader of the youth group. Un-cool!

I drive a convertible. That probably sounds cool, right? It has family seating and a roll bar.

Un-coolness. It’s an art.

If I have to brag, I will brag about how weak I am. 2 Corinthians 11:30


  1. Emily - thanks for the honesty. It is refreshing. I too suffer from uncool. Your blog brought some new insight. The bible verse is just perfect! Thanks for your openess. You rock!

  2. Emily, I especially loved the purple shoe prints that were on your mail jeep. LOL. I've always thought you were awesome and I am enjoying getting to know you again through your blog.

  3. You are still just as sweet, Cherie.