Altar Boy, Bully, Cassock, Catholic, Cool, Gay, Gear, Leather, Nerd, Out of Place, Queer, S and M, Strange, Uncool, Weird
Right handed. Brown eyes. Uncool. As time goes on and I’ve seen my hair move from brown to ash, and I see these lines form across my forehead I’ve accepted certain things about myself there once were, that are not now.
It’s harder sometimes though to accept things that were not then, nor now, nor likely ever to be. Cool is one of those things.
I suppose it’s hard to define, and I imagine most people believe they are not (cool). Some folks certainly do though. And, to a degree, they may be correct. Perhaps it’s an air one carries, or the ability to set a trend, or that mystic quality people are naturally drawn to – I possess none of those things.
It’s all right. I’m not in self-pity about it. Not entirely anyway. It’s probably a good indicator that if you’ve been striving to be cool, you probably aren’t. Much like the aforementioned disposition of right handed versus left, you either are or you aren’t. Ambidextrous assertions aside, cool is a state of being that is difficult to define. It has no precise measurement or characteristic. But, you know it when you see it.
Growing up with perpetually low self-esteem, one can find they always feel like they are on the outside looking in. Even over the years, developing friends, associates and loved ones who bring a sense of worth and purpose, cool still remains elusive.
It bothers one less and less I suppose, until you experience a reversion. A step back into the painful memories of what it was like to be distinctly uncool. Awkwardness, lankiness, sense of out of place is often left behind with adolescence. But, not always. Sometimes being in an atmosphere that harkens to those days can bring about all those feelings once again. It wasn’t fun the first time around; it’s no more so in succeeding times.
Sometimes in my dreams I would be at a high school dance, and noting that everyone was laughing at me. This was actually welcome to a small degree as it was a step up from them yelling or sneering. But, in the imagined scenario, I look down to see myself in a cotta over cassock, altar boy outfit. I feel like such a nerd, and outcast.
Growing up trying to be good – Catholic was what I imagined I was supposed to do. But it appears at times it was another reason to be segregated from others as weird or different. This was not my goal. Well, I suppose it’s no ones goal really. Even Goth kids in school or those professing the intentionally manufactured attempt to be different clearly displayed the hurt, which comes from being an outsider.
Sometimes going into a bar atmosphere, especially one where gear, leather or other garment accouterment are preferred, I feel like I’m in a cassock. I’ve not really embraced that subculture and as a result am excluded. The question becomes is it important to feel ‘included’? To what degree? At what cost? I’m pretty sure someone who is important to me has friends that don’t think I’m cool.
Service in recovery, much like service in the church from my earliest recollections of being an altar boy, and in the catholic youth organization has always made me feel good when I was doing it. It feels like what I am supposed to be doing., what God would have me do.
I think sometimes folks feel like do-gooders, aren’t cool.
So, I’ll pray about it. Maybe God thinks I’m cool. Maybe that’s really the ‘in crowd’.