Being One of the Cool Kids

My latest favorite song is a guilty pleasure. I just appreciate how it feels. It reminds me of a scar that I don’t look at anymore:

“I wish that I could be like the cool kids
‘Cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in” – Echosmith, “Cool Kids”

Too many of us never got past the level of confidence that cripples a new kid in a junior high cafeteria. That sick feeling of, Where do I fit in?

The truth is that some of us just…don’t. I don’t and it took me a very long time to realize that I’m just fine with that. Wanting to fit in was my desire to have the security of belonging to a group that would have me even though I didn’t have me.

Conformity is the cost of membership in most groups and organizations. It’s easy to fit in when you don’t know who you are. Just be like them.

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” – Groucho Marx

My security lies within my identity – in knowing who I am and genuinely liking me. This allows me to take good care of me and to connect with people I think are cool without pretending or hiding any part of myself. It took a long time to put these pieces together. I’m not willing to hide any of them.

The coolest people I know fit like square pegs into round holes. They fly genuine freak flags of expression like Orson Horchler’s Pigeon or Jeff Kirlin’s bow tie. I get to freely admire and enjoy who these men are and what they create because there’s none of the envy or bitterness of wishing that I had what they have.

I don’t need to compete with anyone and it’s incredibly freeing! I don’t need to measure up, fall in line or compare myself to anyone. I get to live spiritually and artistically. I get to experience the feeling of it all without fearing the judgment of others.

I never found a place where my individuality could be accepted by a collective. So some friends and I made one. It’s called Higher Ground and it’s the coolest fucking thing in the world because it’s ours and because people just find their way here and then they get to belong too. Every misfit that finds a home here just makes it more eccentric and eclectic. We’re cut from the same cloth but we are not the same.

Here I’m accepted just as I am. The thing about me that I’ve been told too many times to ignore is that I’m intense. I attribute this to being passionate and rebuilt and often scared shitless and if you’re going to be in my life than we probably have that much in common.

“It used to make me so fed up
People always asking me
What are you now that you’ve grown up
Exactly what I want to be” – Huey Lewis & The News

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.