It feels like it been part of me as long as I can remember – a yearning to be cool.
I’m a younger sibling, so when I was a kid, it was my big sister who was the epitome of cool for me. She was so cool. The way she dressed, the things she said and did. So cool. I always felt like the geeky, gawky little sister. Blushing around my sister’s cool friends. Stammering.
I was a brainiac in school – so, not cool there. In high school, I hung out in the band room and floated between cliques. People liked to copy my Poly Sci notes, but they didn’t often invite me to their parties. And when they did, I rarely went. No car. No boyfriend-with-a-car. Living in the middle of nowhere. Didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. Not cool.
When I went to university, I found my people. My residence house (which had had trouble with wild, drunken parties the year before), was packed with scholarship students in an attempt to improve house behaviour. We became a strange family of geeks and nerds, getting high GPAs, having deep conversations at three in the morning and eschewing coolness. (At the same time that we blushed and stammered around anyone we thought was cool).
I never mastered cool. Never even got so I could simulate it. Somewhere along the way I learned that it is just not me. I’m not myself when I’m trying to be cool. I’m the big, open-hearted, sloppy, emotional, vulnerable, messy geek type and I always will be.
Funny that I wound up in a business that loves coolness. We love the artists who are so well put together. The shiny people. The ones who seems impervious to the hurts of the world, even if they sometimes write songs about them. The invincible people we can dream about being.
As I think about going to Nova Scotia Music Week today, my longing to be cool is fully alive. I would like for all the people I’ve met before to remember who I am. I would like to be the person everybody knows, to have tons of cool conversations with cool people. But I know that’s not what will happen. I’ll be a pretty anonymous 41-year-old woman. I’ll see a few friends and have great conversations with them. A couple of people will tell me they’ve heard my new record, and that they like it. But mostly, I’ll float around, watching and listening to the cool people. I’ll think about who we might book for the coming season of the Little River Folk Society. I’ll think about my community and all the different ways we build that together. I’ll meditate on the coolness that seems just out of reach for me. And I’ll think about how happy I am to be alive and absolutely myself, with no need to compromise that for any reason. And maybe I’ll write a song about it.