What do cool girls have that you don’t? Absolutely nothing. Seriously. The thing separating you from the cool chicks you see all over the Internet has nothing to do with what they wear. I mean, Who What Wear will swear all day that the key to achieving Parisienne cool is a leather jacket or a bottle of dry shampoo, but that’s lies and garbage. Like everything else in life, the art and science of cultivating coolness is an inside job.
Despite what folks may think, I am not cool, nor do I think I am. What I am is unapologetically myself. I stopped needing other people’s validation years ago and I generally take their opinions with a grain of salt. This DGAF attitude permeates my walk, seeps into my speech and shines through every smile. While I love and accept my good, my bad, and my Beyoncé, that has not been the case for most of my life.
Looking back on it I had a way normal life growing up. It wasn’t a Noxema commercial or anything but it was pretty standard. That did’t stop me from feeling alone and lonely because I was different. By different I mean a bit quirky. Being a little bit Daria, a little bit Wednesday and 100% me, felt right to me but wrong to my peers. Why? Because Black girls don’t listen to that music, watch those shows, read those books, or express interest in anything outside of mainstream Black culture unless they want to be white. God forbid you have a crush on a white guy! Oh baby, you must hate yourself. Insert obvious sarcasm. (FYI this is a thing I’ll come back to one day because there’s a lot to unpack here but this piece from Quirktastic does a great job summing it up.)
Being made to feel different for being into different things had a lasting impact on me. It taught me to present one face to the world but save the real me for the people I could trust. I was Yoncé in the streets and Daria at home. Nothing about that was sane or conducive to making lasting friendships. Eventually I met people who loved and accepted the real me and I learned to do the same. The minute I did that, I was able to let go of my split personas and just be my normal neurotic self. Oddly enough, that’s when people started saying I was cool.
Moral of the story, be yourself fam. Scratch that. Figure our who yourself is first and embrace that. Myself is a nerd who consumes pop culture for breakfast, loves doing artsy shit with her friends, listens to indie music, watches random documentaries on Netflix, doesn’t practice Santeria but is a bit of a bruja, and is really most comfortable without makeup on. All of that shines through no matter what I wear. Same thing goes for those chic Parisienne girls we have all been tricked into idolizing.