Who says you're not cool? Is it you?
By Cinse Bonino
I was in the locker room the other day after gym class. Everyone was complaining about themselves. I mean everyone. April said her nose is too big. Jan kept talking about her thighs being "huge." Donna thinks that her legs are too short and that her ankles are too big. Megan wants to be taller; Phoebe thinks that she's too tall.
They all look fine to me. I admit, when I look at myself, I wish that I could have long beautiful, silky, shinny hair. You know, the kind all of the shampoo and conditioner commercials promise. But I don't. I have curly, springy, red hair. Not dark and beautiful red, but Orphan Annie red.
Still, I don't walk around and moan about it. I just try my best to not look like a Raggedy Ann Doll. Some days it works; I wind up with a healthy girl- next-door, sporty kind of look and other days. Well...other days I should get myself a little black and white dog and start singing, "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya..." You get the picture.
The reason I started thinking so much about girls being unhappy with how they look happened last weekend. My grandmother and grandfather came to stay with us. We dragged out the old videos from when I was a little kid. I couldn't believe it. I was a decently cute five year old, but the Orphan Annie thing was already obvious back then. I was definitely no young beauty contest winner..
But in every video I was strutting around like I thought that I was BEAUTIFUL. I was constantly dressing up and pretending to be all kinds of people. A princess, a knight, a fairy, a ninja, a dancer, all kinds of stuff. The point is that not only did I believe that I looked wonderful, I believed that I WAS wonderful. And get this: how I looked didn't matter.
Did you catch that? I thought that I was spectacular whether I was having a good hair day or an orange fake-fur kind of hair day. I believed in myself. I believed that I was COOL.
Do you remember feeling this way when you were little?
And, no one could convince me otherwise. Where did this come from? My parents were pretty nice to me, but they didn't spoil me or treat me like I was perfect or anything. I have one older and one younger brother. The little one was always getting into my stuff and fussing to my mother about what I would or wouldn't let him do. He was always telling on me.
My other brother was nice enough to me, but he was old enough that he really didn't bother with me much. My grandparents and other relatives were great to all of the cousins, but no one was overly wonderful to me. So why did I think that I was so great? Don't get me wrong; I didn't think that I was better than other people--I just KNEW that I was cool. It came from somewhere inside.
So where did that feeling go? I've been thinking about that. Here's what I think. It's the model thing. It's the boy thing. It's disgusting. When my grandmother was young, if a girl didn't get married she was considered an "old maid." People thought that meant that she was too ugly to "get a man." My mom says that she and her friends didn't feel that way as much, but they thought you had to be a certain kind of beautiful to be okay, to be cool. And that you knew you were pretty if boys asked you out. Not much of a change.
Do you think girls will ever stop letting other people tell them what beautiful is?
My friends all talk about how great it is to be female and how getting married or having a boyfriend isn't what makes you cool. BUT they all want to look like the pictures of models in magazines or like the so-called stars.
Tell the truth. Do you secretly wish you looked like a certain actress?
Even worse, they think that if they don't look that way down to the clothes and the color nail polis they wear and how they style their hair then they are less cool.
If you asked any one of them which one thing they'd most like to change about themselves, most of them would want to change something about how they look.
Quick...think; what do you want to change about yourself?
How about wanting to be more honest, or more patient, or even able to learn something faster?
Have women really changed so little since my grandmother's days? Have we let what the magazines and the movies tell us we need to be decide for us what is okay? There are so many kinds of cool. I think the definition of cool is to be at ease with yourself. To enjoy life. To not be down on others, to not get depressed about the little things in life, and most of all to not be down on YOURSELF.
When two girls are friends, sometimes even "best" friends, I don't think they should encourage each other to compare themselves with fixed ideas of what is cool or beautiful.
I think we should start today to point out to our friends and to ourselves what IS cool about us. Girls are cool in a lot of different ways. Let's celebrate being girls. Let's celebrate being cool. What kind of cool are you? Try to remember how easy it was to feel cool when you were little. Try to feel that way as often as you can. You can do it. We all can.