I was never one of the cool kids in high school. Popularity was certainly something completely beyond my reach. Which is probably why I couldn’t attain it - who really reaches for popularity anyway?
It seemed like all the “cool” kids had something awesome about them. They had that special something that just set them apart. Most of them were the beautiful ones. Sure the smart ones held some clout and were respected and revered. But the really cool ones, yes, they walked into the room and heads turned. Guys and girls alike. They never had to announce their presence or be obnoxiously funny because we were all completely aware that they were there. We had noticed.
There were some of them that didn’t even see their popularity. They couldn’t even tell that people were following their lead. They were blissfully oblivious to the way some of us underlings would throw ourselves headfirst into desperately trying to keep up with their trendy ways.
Ah the desperation. When they would say something to me I’d be all aflutter. I’d try to be funny. I’d try to be smart. I’d just try so hard to fit into some small corner of their world.
It looked nice - their world. Beautiful clothes. Perfect hair. Shiny cars. Friends everywhere. Dates to every event. Moderate (sometimes notable) intelligence. And from where I sat in my awkward mid-teenage existence, that was pretty appealing.
I’ll admit to you that I actually hated them from time to time. I hated that the cool girls got asked to prom right away (or at all), and I hated that the cool guys could ask anyone they wanted without the slightest fear of rejection. I hated that they always looked perfect. I hated that they were so seemingly unattainable to me. I hated trying to be their friend when in 10 years I was sure they wouldn’t remember who I was.
And still I wonder...
Was it really as blissful and worry-free as it appeared?
Who are they now?
Would they remember my face if someone said my name?
But honestly, I know I created this monster. They didn’t ask to be popular. They just were. It was me who viewed them as someone better. It was my illusion that they lived blissful existences while I struggled. It was my misunderstanding that I was somehow somebody less. I got so busy trying to be somebody more that I never realized I already was somebody.
Looking back, I would love to have a conversation with that confused 16 year old girl. I would love to sit her down and say all the things I know now, but wish I had known then. And truly, I would love to sit down with the cool kids, the popular ones, the chosen few. I want to ask them if they even knew; and if they did, really, what was it like.