One time I was laughing with my brother about "cool" and told him that he might not believe it, but some people think I'm cool. "I think you're cool" he said. Huh? Shucks, thanks? "But if you think about it you won't be cool any more, so forget I said it." This was shortly after a conversation I'd had with a friend who told me that I was one of her "cool friends" in high school. I thought that was really funny and said so. After all, I had a sibling who spent those years telling me that I was an embarrassment.
The thing is, I never really cared much about what people thought of me. Once in a while I might get embarrassed if someone caught me in one of my many eccentricities, but living in the woods mostly kept me from that kind of discovery. Most people that live in the woods are eccentric anyway, so I guess I was "normal" for my environment.
One time a date commented "You know all the cool people". I looked around at my friends and was kind of surprised to think about them that way. They were just my friends, mostly artists and musicians. My kind of people, therefore...? What? Maybe artists and musicians are "cool" just because of the types of people they are?
So I've thought about "cool" and what it is, and whether or not I've got any of it even though I think my brother is right in saying that thinking about being cool kind of kills it because that kind of vanity isn't included in the package. It seems like creative types are inclined towards being individualists which makes them more interesting, and they frequently break the rules. It also seems to me that most creatives have some life experience, often bad, that inspires the need to express themselves.
When I think about "cool" people, I think that there's a blend between vulnerability, creativity, individualism, daring, and anger. Okay, I've had all of that. Maybe I'm a little cool. Definitely not like the clique in school who used to terrorize us little nerd children, but I'll own being more cool than some. (Did my vanity just lose me points?)
We're told "be yourself", but often people aren't. You want to be more cool, you've got to be yourself and not care if "yourself" isn't universally liked and admired. Somebody will like you, and that's good enough to start with. If nobody likes you including yourself, check your vanity and figure out why not and make changes accordingly.
We aren't set in stone. Be whoever you want to be. The hard part is figuring out what's really "you", what's family and what's society? How much of what you do is because of or for other people? Or your idea of what other people want or expect from you?
And since I'm thinking about cool, you've got to admit Pope Francis has got some. That's why people love him when they didn't love his predecessor. I had to draw him for work this week. We aren't going to use this drawing because it's too similar to a stock photo I didn't pay for. I'm going to try again this weekend because despite the fact you see the Pope all over the media, those photos are expensive. (If someone's taken a good photo or painted a good painting, let me know and I'll pay a moderate amount for rights to print it.)