It's the first Tuesday of the month which is the day the international members of By Invitation Only come together to discuss the same subject. Each of us takes our "assignment" -- this month it's "Changes, Moving Forward" -- and expresses her thoughts and feelings on the topic. So, welcome to our world and thank you for reading us.
I feel so flattered to be invited because I am never sure a group wants me. When I was a kid, I was horrible at sports.
|Me, being Not Cool.|
Now I am getting depressed thinking about tennis because the courts are covered with snow and it's grim and cold and icy out there and tennis is so far away I can't even imagine it.
Where was I?
So I was horrible at sports, which meant I was always the last one picked for any team. The one time I actually hit a baseball, I hit it late and smashed it into my mouth. I didn't even have my friends picking me because they felt sorry for me - I was always the new kid in school, which meant I didn't have a lot of friends.
Which brings me back to never being sure that a group wants me. When you move ten times before you finish high school and you are a bookish, slightly chubby kid with glasses who straps her violin to the handlebars of her bike to ride to school, you are not one of the Cool Girls.
You are Out. You are Not Cool.
Which is why I am so flattered to be invited to join this group. The Cool Girls! They want me in the club!
And they want me to talk about what is challenging to me.
That's simple. I have never been cool and I have never been able to figure out how to be cool. I never know the right thing to say to impress people. In seventh grade, I gave Brenda S an unnecessary review of her haircut - "I liked your hair better the other way," I offered. Wrong thing to say. I thought I was complimenting her, but after someone has had hair removed from her head with scissors, an opinion that the old way was better is not welcome.
I don't know the right thing to do. Again in seventh grade, we had to choreograph a dance routine to a song of our choice. The only thing that saved me from being the biggest goofball in the class with my awkward jumping around to Neil Diamond was that blessherheart Nancy H. had done her routine to Lawrence Welk.
NB to anyone who might think that Neil might hold some hipster street cred today. In 1975, Neil Diamond was Not Cool.
I have never known the right thing to wear. Back to seventh grade as my touchstone.
Let me interrupt here to say that as seventh grade goes, so goes the nation. Yes, seventh grade was a while ago, but is there not inside all of us a seventh grader in dorky glasses? Or maybe you were a cool seventh grader with windowpane jeans, a Farrah Fawcett cut, and a wraparound sweater. If you were, you were not seen with the likes of me. I was the kid in the bright orange doubleknit polyester pants with the elastic waist that my mom had made for me. Don't laugh - she got a great deal on that fabric, along with several other colors, and I Would Not Shop. She couldn't let me go to school naked, so she made pants for me.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us was the fact that the orange polyester, despite being a thick fabric, was see-through. So my waist-high flowered cotton undies, which were nothing like the silky matched bra and panties that Elaine M wore --
I had loved the name Elaine until I met Bra Elaine. She was very snooty, just like Jennifer B in fifth grade who had her aviator glasses and her yellow and white checked polyester outfit. I had wanted Elaine to be my confirmation name. But she ruined it for me. And I just looked up Saint Elaine and guess what! There isn't one! So I couldn't have even had that name anyhow!
-- my waist-high flowered cotton undies were perfectly visible through my orange pants.
I was not cool.
I am still not cool. I wear fleece-lined tights to work. Over the tights, I wear sweatpants. Sometimes I think my outfit rocks (without the sweats) and then I see myself in the full-length mirror at work and I wince.
My husband and I went to an Englebert Humperdink concert. Not a cool thing to do. (But the man can sing! You should go!)
I am better about saying the Right Thing. Wait. No, I am not. I do not know the Right Thing to say so much, but I know the Wrong Thing and I am usually able to keep it in my head and out of my mouth, although sometimes those words escape and hang around my head as I try desperately to call them back but by then it is too late. Now that I am under pressure, I cannot think of a single example. I will think of one tonight just as my feet are finally warm and I am about to fall asleep and there is no way I am getting out of bed under those conditions, so you will just have to use your imagination.
So it's a challenge for me to be cool - and it will continue to be a challenge. Should I just accept my not-coolness?