I NEVER post this often. Ever. I’m prone to be sporadic at best and very random but something happened tonight on my facebook and it triggered a set of responses I almost couldn’t control. So here I am, filling up your feed again.
I wanted so badly to be the cool kid.
All through school, even when I HAD reached a bit of popularity, I was desperate for approval, needing these people to like me, to like what I say, what I wear, what I did. I, like millions of other kids before, did everything I could to blend in and be accepted. If not to one peer group then the other, pleading though music choices and clothing choices and a myriad of other things to try to fit in, to be one of the group. What ever your group may have been.
I was bad at it.
I seem to always stand out, something about me, the way I carry myself or the way I speak and at one point in high school, I’m pretty sure my looks, kept me on the fringe of the groups I wanted to be in, until I stopped giving a damn if they liked me or not.
At what point do we start caring again?
Someone called me out on how I put my personal life out here and then seem surprised that people judge me. Nope, I’m not surprised, I expected them to. I put my personal life out there, as it were, because people seem to like to read about it and because even if no one ever clicks my blog links, it helps me sort through my own thoughts and feelings and gives me a point of reference to which I can fall back on later and see how things have changed. My last post, the scary pregnancy one, just releasing it and those thoughts to the world helped me feel better and more relaxed than I have in weeks. Will some shitty people from my past read it and say some really shitty things about me to each other and their friends? Probably, it’s what I expected them to do and I’d expect no less. But the person who called me out on Facebook. Well I stopped to think of why I was/am friends with her and why it was at all ok for her to get all sorts of judgmental on my post too. And it was, ok for her to do that, I did put myself out there, it’s a risk I knew I was taking and it’s her right not to understand why I do it.
LiveJournal, where I know her (and a lot of my Facebook friends actually) used to kind of be my world. The window to which I made social connections and to do so I joined some groups. One of them was a mostly really nasty, hate filled snark group, set on pretty much picking people apart when they did stupid things and made them publicly accessible. I didn’t comment in there too often, I always felt like the odd man out (though I’m sure I wasn’t the only one) and the people I came to know best in that group, really weren’t nasty people at all and I’m still close to a good portion of them. The rest though, seemed to thrive, to get off on, showing how much more superior they were to pretty much everyone else and sadly, all I really wanted when I was active in that group was to be accepted by those people, to be one of the ‘in’ crowd. I’ve wandered away from LJ on the whole and I had wandered away from following that group long before I left LJ. There’s enough nasty in the world with out my adding to it or feeding it.
Then I moved on to Facebook which has far less of a clannish group structure yet you still kind of get that vibe. You, if you are followed or friends with a lot of people, particularly ones that seem to have their lives so much more together than you, will still find yourself posting things and hoping/wishing/fearing that this will be ‘the’ post that gets the most likes, that they notice or you fear it will be the one that labels you for the freakish outcast you know you really are,and somewhere inside, we all do fear this, even the cool kids, it’s the reason they feel the need to be so isolated, so ‘above’ your meager struggles. To face your clamoring to be on even footing with them means facing their own weakness and none of us like doing that, even those who’ve accepted it.
I spend a lot of time in Second Life and it’s really rampant there. People go out of their way to be hateful and nasty and think doing so makes them better than you. I’ve had employers do it and people I once counted friend. You see it a lot in the club scene and the fashion scene in SL and you see it all over the gamer community as a whole. Spend a while on SL or on XBox Live chatting and you’ll run in to the same behavior. From Call of Duty to Group chats in SL to chats in any MMORPG, people get off on making other people hurt. You can’t maintain your own belief that you are the superior being if you admit that sometimes it’s ok to screw up or lose or do something dumb. It’s not ok but it’s widespread and really, is kinda shitty.
We are, as adults, still caught up in that Junior high school race to be the popular kid, to be the one that everyone else wants to be. We will tear each other down and break each other in to shattered pieces in some cases just to reach that goal. Even as adults, maybe more so as adults, and those wounds are harder to heal from.
It’s OK to not sit at the cool kid’s table and it’s ok to let go of shitty, cruel people, it’s even ok to let go of casually hurtful ones.
Cause you ARE the cool kid, you are good at what you do and you are awesome in your own way. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
You can always sit at my table, we’ll be cool together.