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 DesignsP.S. LOOK THEY MISSPELLED EMBARRASSED TOO!!! (one "r")