The Cool Kid – The Climb #234

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The Cool Kid – The Climb #234

Tuesday 12th September 2017

I was never a cool kid.  I was generally popular, but I was never part of the school social elite.

It never really bothered me.  My head was a little fucked up in my late teens and 20s, and I was too busy dealing with that to worry about being cool.  I wouldn’t say I liked myself.  I threw myself into creating Action-Figure as a bit of a way to escape that.

Moving into my 30s, I spent it overweight.  I didn’t feel attractive and it affected my self-image.   I don’t think I was as unhappy as I was in my 20s but the loss of a good friend to domestic violence made me retreat from the world.  I’d been let down by a lot of people in my 20’s and so I kept a small, close bunch of friends and just worked hard whether it was Action-Figure or my writing.

If I knew anything about myself back then, it was that I had tenacity, that I worked for the things I wanted, and wouldn’t stop until I got them.

But leggedon was a defining moment for me.  There were some days that were nearly as dark as those in my 20s, but it was at my lowest point that I made the metaphorical decision to fight.

As cliché as it might sound, it’s then that my life seemed to change.  Rather than just succumb to the pressures of every day life, I started punching back, taking each impossible hurdle and throwing years of anger at it.

With it came the decision to actually do some of the things on my bucket list.  I went tornado chasing, and I started swordfighting, as well as starting an experimental novel that I was sure no-one would ever love but me.

The reason I bring this up is because it was all brought into stark contrast today.  There was a person I dealt with when I ran Action-Figure.  He considered himself a bit of a rock star and was a bit aloof as a result.  He had mad talent, and had the arrogance to back it up.  He was one of the cool kids.  I wasn’t.

By that time, I’d learnt a very important lesson taught to me by my first ever fulltime boss.  We meet everyone again on the way back down.  I’ve never been much of an elitist, although I have been guilty of accidentally dissing people by ignoring them through shyness.  I want everyone to have a good time.  I want to entertain, for everyone to leave any encounter with me feeling better about themselves.  I guess, it’s partly why I write.

So whilst there was part of me that always wanted to be the cool kid, there’s a large part of me that’s always felt an outsider.  Neil Gaiman talks about finding your tribe, and you know… every time I think I have, something happens that makes me feel alone.

I’ve come to terms with it over the years.  The problem is me not feeling I fit in, rather than people excluding me.  I’ve always been the square peg in a round hole.   But as a result I’ve never felt cool, because I’ve never felt part of something to feel cool in.

I’ve stayed in rough contact with this guy from my Action-Figure days.  It’s a bit one sided.  I do my usual thing of congratulating and encouraging.  In return, I’m mostly ignored, and I’m totally fine with that.  I don’t do what I do for praise, it’s just my nature…  but I know I’m not cool.

Except I read his status of what he’s up to, and I realised something.  His successes have come and gone.  He’s still powering on, but he’s peaked.

I don’t say that to be mean.  He could go out and do something incredible tomorrow, and if he does, I’ll be happy for him.

But I realised something.  I’m now the cool kid.  I’m so much cooler than he is.

I also noticed that another person I know seems to copy a lot of the things I do.  I’ve been really annoyed by this for a while, but I realised that he’s not doing it to have a go.  I’m not sure if it’s envy, jealousy or something a bit kinder, but I’ve made the decision to be a bit kinder towards them… because one day maybe my star will wane as their rises.

I think back to 17 year old me struggling with a lot of shit.  I think what he’d say if I went back in time and told him what would happen in 27 years.  He’d think me the coolest person he’d ever met.

Now I’m under no illusion that no-one other than that 17 year old would agree.  I’m OK with that, because I realised today that the approval of that troubled 17 year old is all that matters.

I wish I could go back and tell him that, whilst it might take some time, everything was going to be OK.  But maybe not just yet… there’s still a few things in the wings waiting to happen.

If I think about all what I’ve endured, all the mountains I’ve climbed, all the ones I’ve not yet scaled… it’s for that 17 year old.  That’s what drives me, that’s where my fire was forged.

It’s so easy to let your new-found coolness go to your head, to use it to push your social circle forward, to leave others behind.  But I don’t want to be like that guy.  As guilty as I am of sometimes seeking the approval of others (and God, through my 20s, it’s all I lived for), the fact that I’m in a tribe of one, shows that perhaps I don’t really want the approval of others.

What I want is the approval of the 17 year old me.  And you know what?  I think I have it.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-09-13T01:04:13+01:00September 13th, 2017|The Climb, Toys, Writing|0 Comments

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