Thursday, September 30, 2010

All you have to do is ask.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Today I feel so much more whole & receptive to ideas that have sort of stumped me lately. Autumn is OK on its own terms.

I have also had this big issue (in my head only) about "being cool." Of course this new book about Riot Grrrl came out; I bought it right away. I care about riot grrrl. Then of course, I am in/from Olympia & the author is having an event at the Olympia library and of course I want to go. But there is something, right in the center of my chest, indicating that I am not cool enough to be there, that I have no right to be there, that everyone there will know that I shouldn't be there. Now of course that is absolutely irrational etc etc. I told Kaden about the event and he was all excited about going and was like "You don't seem very excited." And I got all defensive/aggressive like "You don't think I'm cool enough to go." There was a time when I felt like my mere presence in Olympia & at shows made me cool enough. And later a time when I felt like my knowledge of music made me cool enough. I'm not a networker - I don't seek out getting to know people. Back in Bellingham I met a girl who was organizing the Bellingham Ladyfest. She invited me to a feminist group "No Bra Time" & an "all girl noise collective." But I definitely did not go or really even consider going because I don't dress like that group of people.

It really all comes down to appearance, I realize now that I am writing this. I don't have that DIY atmosphere to my style; if I did it would be a put-on and that would be even less cool.

But today, like I say, I feel more receptive - I feel like I can go to the Riot Grrrl book event. I feel like I can dress right to be there. I felt like I looked so out of place at the first Need show in Olympia in July (but I know I looked fine!); the second night (in Portland) I dressed right & felt like I had the right to be there. On a personal level, for me inside, it IS about appearance. I wrote in a comment on a blog responding to a question about what outfit made me feel the best, that I felt best when I went to concerts dressed in a way that expressed my connection to the music & my connection to the other fans. And that is true for me. I care about riot grrrl, I care about The Need, I care about rock & roll & feminism. And if dressing a certain way can allow me to be in these places on an emotional level, it's worth it to make that effort.

I am embarrassed to write all of this. Especially now that spell check just informed me that I have spelled embarrassed wrong MY WHOLE LIFE. Hahahaha, anyway - the personal is the political ETC ETC.

When I was 10 and 11, and my parents owned a copy business in downtown Olympia, I would watch all the street kids with dyed hair, who my parents probably mistakenly identified to me as Evergreen students. I wanted to be like them sooooooooo bad, but I was just a little kid, and the oldest in my family besides, with literally no role model for "cool". Everything I liked I had to find by myself. When I was 15 and 16 and 17 and first into riot grrrl, and when the original Ladyfest happened, I just assumed that I would grow older and automatically be a part of this group of people. And I grew older, but my being a kinda shy kinda outsider didn't change. I found Kaden and we are like, kindred spirits & equally cool, but, he doesn't have the sort of inferiority complex I have. [another example is that every year he wants to go to the Rockabilly Ball at the Tractor. I always tell him we cannot go. We do not have nice enough clothes and we do not know how to dance]. When I look at it in this way, I am lugging around "emotional baggage" (hahaha) from WHEN I WAS 10! And it's not even, like, something traumatic.

I am just going to give it up and BE COOL DAMN IT.


Speaking of such things, here is a little article titled you're already perfect. I can definitely use this right now. I still struggle every day with the reality that I am living in a brand new suburban neighborhood in Lacey. I still have not accepted it; I still view my life in Bellingham as "perfect" and the life I have been living since June as insufficient. I could give a million explanations & reasons, but they would all be inaccurate. My life is perfect, as it is, at the beginning of autumn, in a new suburban neighborhood in Lacey, planning to attend the riot grrrl book event, right now.

The universe is providing endless support for what I am exploring here! I just found this quote on Urban Weeds.
"The goal is to dress for yourself, but not ever be embarassed to leave the house and never try too hard." - Emily, designer & owner of Filly Designs


I am that I am said...

I felt that way all throughout high school. I definitely did not feel cool enough to be going to shows, hanging out with the folks I hung out with. Hell, you know who my bff was, and she was one of the archetypes of cool. i couldn't compete with that.
It got worse after I moved to Seattle, and came back home. Then I really felt awful. Parties would happen, I wouldn't know some people, and I always thought they were looking at me, thinking 'she doesn't belong.' And maybe I didn't.

One of the best times of my life was right *before* Seattle, because I was perpetually at your and Cree's house and we didn't care. We were cool. We were cool because we didn't care at that moment.

Anyways, I get it. I still hyperventilate when I have to go around scenesters and hipsters because there's still a little part of me that wants to be cool. Not just cool, but BETTER than they all are at it. Blah.

Liina said...

I knew you would feel me on this one ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm late to the commenting game here, but I just discovered your blog, obv. I want you to know that I spent an entire week fretting about what I was going to wear to the Girls to the Front event in DC earlier this month. And I like clothing, so it was partly just a fun distraction. But it was partly my latent teenage insecurities, like, OMG WHAT IF THE COOL PUNK GIRLS DON'T THINK I'M COOL??? The conclusion to this story is that my outfit looked great (because, again, I spent an entire week planning it), but more importantly, I felt so much more confident than I did at shows as a teenager -- I think because I realized that everyone questions her coolness every now and then. So thanks for writing this. It's good to know that other people are in the same place.


Liina said...

& I'm late in finding this comment! Thank you for your kind words, Mia, & I luv Cannonball!