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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Don’t Be Cool..

Earlier this week my son finished his first year of high school. Freshman year…check!

Because I am “that mom” all the bros (boys) piled into my whip (car) and we went out to lunch to chillibrate (celebrate).

An event later in the day, involving a skate board, brought about murmurings that I was “the coolest mom ever”.

What they didn’t know is that I have never been “cool” in my life.

I give you exhibit A from freshman year, circa 1982.


That summer after freshman year I had a job as a nanny to three boys.

I saved every dollar I earned and refused to cut my hair.

At the end of the summer I walked into Bradley’s department store where all the cool kids shopped. I went to the makeup counter and was instructed on how to apply bright blue liner to the inner rim of my eye to make them “pop”. I proceeded to buy two pairs of Levi 501’s, a few Lacoste “alligator” polo shirts, and a pair of Sperry Top-Sider shoes. I then went to the most expensive salon in town and asked for a feathered bi-level haircut. (Now affectionately known as “the mullet” but I promise, it was all the rage then.)

I was so SURE I would now possess a full ride on the preppy train to cool town.

But on the first day of school it was evident that I still had somehow boarded the dorktown express.


So I sort of gave up and decided that I was just going to be nice to everyone. EVERYONE.

I was sure by doing this I would somehow find my tribe.

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Of course this included the Quadies.

That was easy. #jakeryanforever

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But it also encompassed the theater nerds, band geeks, brainiacs and wallies (artistic emo’s).

As well as, gasp!, the back parking lotters. 

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Now if life was more like a John Hughes movie my world would have transformed into magical prom dates and making the cheerleading squad. But it didn’t.

It evolved into something even better.

I learned that I could find something in common with just about everyone.

I learned that by choosing to surround myself with such an eclectic and talented group of people I was subjected to some truly amazing skills.

I learned that even the girl wearing heavy eye liner and all black had a heart of gold.

But I really learned by listening that we all struggle to feel like we fit in.

Lately, I’ve been struggling.


In just three short weeks I will accomplish a dream that has taken over 31 years of my life to realize.

I am now struggling with this dream becoming a reality. It has been such a big part of my life for so long. Now that it’s almost realized, what do I do? 

I’m struggling to find what my new dreams and goals should be. Because I know that if you ever stop dreaming you stop truly living.

Recently, my good friend KariAnne reminded me that we all are truly So Close To Amazing.

Each and everyone of us.

We just need to remember that we all are struggling to find our place, to fit in… and just focus on finding the goodness that each of us possesses. That something amazing within us.

Even the uncool.


“Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.” ~ 1 Peter 3:4


Jane said...

You are beautiful inside and out, cool or not! I remember those days of feeling like I'd never fit in so well.
Are you about to graduate? Congratulations!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Since I had the great pleasure to spend a lot of time with you and get to know you, I can definitely say you are COOL. You just didn't know it then. Beauty inside always shines on the outside, plus I think you are stunningly beautiful outside too.
Knowing you, your new dream will be amazing. I can't wait to see what it is.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'm so happy for you and know you have lots to look forward to. This is a post that would be good for many of our high school graduates to read. We all wonder 'how to fit in' throughout our lives but when we get old...I mean gets a lot easier! Sweet hugs, Diane

Vicki said...

Great post, Laura. Congrats as you accomplish one dream and create another!

Jeanie said...

Oh Laura, I love seeing your past and knowing the big and beautiful lesson you learned simply by life andby being kind. Being kind is essential, especially in today's world.

Three cheers on ending step one of your dream. What is step two? Do you have to know today, tomorrow, next week, next month? Nope. You will look at all you've learned and one thing or another will fall into place. A book, a documentary, a docent, a museum director, a teacher (and not necessarily in a school.) I think you are already a teacher as I know I've learned so very much from you in a very short time!

Christine said...

You got ME!!
Reading about your "transformation" in early high school, put a lump in my throat. Wanting to fit in, to be cool. Trying so hard to be excepted. It was and is hard to remember, all those emotions and struggles.
With that all said, Congratulations!! You have done an amazing accomplishment. We have watched you go through a lot and now you have shared your goal!!
Bless you!

ImagiMeri said...

I disagree sweetie. I choose to believe we ARE all great and that through our choices, actions or inaction, we maintain that greatness. Unfortunately, there are many that do not choose to maintain their greatness, but you are most definitely are not one of those.

Barbara H. said...

This brought a smile. I remember shirts like the one in the top photo! I was never "cool" either. I love that perspective, that by having a variety of friends rather than just one group, we can learn so much about others and be more open to others. We can trust that just as God has led us in the past, He'll lead us in the future as well.

Ginene Nagel said...

All of life, from grade 5 to the old folks' home, is a clique of one type or another. People who are insecure set themselves up to exclude others and put themselves in places of power. It is a way to make sure they are in the in-crowd themselves. John Hughes wasn't in any clique at all. He had four close friends and they dressed alike, turtlenecks, blue jeans and cowboy boots. They didn't care who was in what group. Glenbrook North was a big high school. Their were three big groups, the nerds, the freaks and the sportos. Though John married a cheerleader when she was a senior in high school, Nancy was no elitist, she was (is) the nicest girl always.
Remember who you are, my friend, you don't need anyone to go with you toward the next direction. The light shines were you are!

Ginene Nagel said...

There are a lot of typos in that comment of mine...talking to customers and writing at the same time!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I loved reading this post. I wasn't a cool kid either, I never fit and was bullied, but I built myself like that and I don't try to fit in anymore. People take me as I am or they don't, that's it. Given that the factors of "coolness" vary with time, I don't believe it's worth trying!

Bonnie said...

I have always thought you were beautiful inside and out. Cute junior high pics. I'd hate for you to see mine.

You will find your hearts dream.It will come. You are multi talented and anyone that can be a wife and mother, blogger and attend school at the same time is super in my book. Whatever you choose to do you will be great at it.

Take a little break and relax a bit. You deserve a little down time.

Mary Sorensen said...

Hi Laura - I just wanted to let you know that I was a cheerleader in high school (back in the 70's). I was also homecoming queen, and snow queen and other "popular" things. BUT! Even with all of that I STILL felt like I didn't belong. There were people who STILL didn't like me and I could never get them to. So, even achieving a few things back then that others may think important, I totally felt out of place. I wasn't cool either.

I'm 58 years old and still get nervous when I have to join a group to do something - so worried about being accepted.

I think you're a wonderful woman who has followed a dream and are seeing the reality of it all. Not all of us can say that. Congratulations on your accomplishment - it's totally amazing (and cool) to me! God bless you. Mary S.

The Boston Lady said...

I loved reading this Laura because I too was what I call "Switzerland". I tried to be friends with everyone and while that is great, I found that the "real me" gets lost because I'm busy concentrating on everyone else. We all DO have our special qualities and you in particular, certainly do. You have mastered the art of graciousness, kindness, humor and DIY! Beyond DIY because I consider you an artist is every respect. You bring beautiful things into the world. And we are in need of that these days. Your new life path will take you to the best places yet, spiritually, physically, artistically and I look forward to following along. Ann❤️

Lorrie said...

What a great post, Laura. I've never been cool, either. I'm shy, but I have learned that there are many who are more timid than I am, and that I can put others at ease even when I am not.
God will make a way for you. Don't fret. You are amazing.

Linda said...

LOVE this so much!!!! It's like you could have been writing my life story. I was that girl (am that girl) as well. Even though I did end up with my husband who has Jake Ryan's Porsche. ;) And yes, I think of that movie every time we are out in it.

Love you,

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

Thank you for writing such a beautiful story -- it could be mine. I was that fat girl who had to lose weight, which I did, but in my mind I was always fat. I grew up in the days of Twiggy. Yep! I'm that old and I'm still dreaming about doing what I love.

deborah said...

I love your words and story, Laura. Thank you!!! You truly are one of the nicest people I've met online. You ARE amazing! :) For the record I've always been one of the uncool kids. But I'll take it..... especially if I can hang out with you! :) I'm learning we're all unique and we all have a story.

And yes!!! Dreams are gifts!! Hooray to you for realized dreams.

GSGreatEscaper said...

When I look at the photos of you, what I see is the big smile - in spite of the braces! I'll bet it was that loving smile that made you welcome in so many groups then, and as you graduate, remember to smile and you will find your way into some new groups of wonderful people.

ellen b. said...

Haha...I beg to differ, I think you are very cool. Not the high school kind of cool because that "cool" is really weird when you analyze it. You are going in the right direction and with God beside you you will be alright.

Auntie Em said...

Love your post! If we never had those high school pics to look back at and remember what we looked like and wonder what we were thinking...well, what would we have to giggle and tease each other about when we get together with friends. You know its a universal thing and not just one school or one generation or even one sex, everyone has at least one geek or nerd pic among their high school pics that they can roll their eyes over and wonder 'What was I thinking?' lol (If they don't beware since they are probably an alien being from some weird planet!) hahaha The growing pains we go though in high school are a rite of passage and are a necessary part of growing up.
Congratulations on your graduation! You have worked so hard managing a full household a business, entertaining all of us with your blog as well as achieving a wonderful goal. I am so proud of you! Best of luck with what ever you decide to do or if you decide to stay out of the workforce and enjoy life and what it bring you. Its all good! :)