L is for Loser

Hi Internet! Sorry, I’ve been gone for a while and even after today I might not post for a few more weeks so apologies in advance. Life has just been hard recently, in more ways than one, and writing just hasn’t been something I have felt I could do and I just didn’t want to post anything half-assed. This is something I’ve wanted to write about for a really long time, so I hope you enjoy reading it.

So recently one of my friends told me that before she knew me she was always too scared to come up and say “hi” because I looked too ‘cool’ (trust me, I was confused too). It was absolutely mind-boggling to say the least because if any of you knew me in school, I was probably one of the least popular/cool/TC girls you could’ve been; the complete other side of the spectrum. I just couldn’t comprehend what she was saying because I had grown up being relatively confident and comfortable in my skin but always overshadowed by the prettier, more fun girls who seemed to get all the attention and admiration. But suddenly, my friend was putting me on this pedestal that I didn’t think I deserved. So then it got me thinking that, “what really makes someone ‘cool’?” What defines being ‘cool’ ? Was it your clothes, your style, your physique, how you held yourself, your RBF, even how many likes you got on a picture? I really couldn’t pinpoint it!

In high school, in Year 8, although there was somewhat of a separation between the popular girls and the rest of us, we all mingled comfortably and existed amicably. As high school went on, the popular girls seemed to segregate more noticeably, with this clear hierarchy starting to form in our cohort. There were the extremely popular girls who everyone knew, then their friends who were still popular by association and got invited to the same parties, the girls in the middle who were friends with both the popular girls and the losers, and then us, the bottom of the bottom. It never bothered me because I guess I had just accepted that I was a loser and it didn’t change how my true friends saw me. Although, it wasn’t until I was talking to Ma about the popular girls and how I never was invited to or allowed to go to parties and that I would be doomed to be the lamest girl ever and she asked me why going to these parties would make me ‘cool’. What did these popular girls have that I didn’t have?

In movies, the popular girls were always the ditsy, stupid ones and the losers were the ‘nerds’ but some of the smartest girls in our grade were the popular girls; so that distinction couldn’t be used. Next, I looked at their sporting ability because being sporty usually made you popular and although many of the popular girls were extremely athletic, some of them never even participated in P.E. So it couldn’t be that. Finally, the only thing I could settle on that made them the popular girls were the number of likes they got on social media, how much skin they tended to show when dressing up for events, how many parties they went to and how relaxed their parents were. Somehow these four things, in my eyes, made someone popular which now if you really think about it, is absolutely absurd.

The number of likes you get on a picture have no relation to your beauty or self-worth; purely that you have many ‘friends’ and you can take a good picture and pose the right way to get all the right angles and lighting. Take me for example, Formal was the only time I had gotten a lot of likes (for me) and I think one of my pictures got around 140 likes on Facebook and I was absolutely ecstatic but nonetheless, the buzz around Formal soon died down and I was back to getting anywhere between 60 and 80 likes. Then, something happened mid 2015 that I still don’t understand and my newest profile picture went over 100. I was completely perplexed. I hadn’t made enough new friends for that huge jump, so did I become more popular? I mean, is that even possible to be more liked after leaving school? Did I become more attractive? Definitely not! It just started happening and probably because I learned how to take a good picture. I had grown up thinking that having more likes must have made you more popular but here I was, the same, dorky kid but with the same number of likes that I used to think made someone popular.

The next thing that fell under my criteria for being popular: how much skin the girls showed. Although that might be a similar trend amongst many of the popular girls, I could clearly still see there were girls who dressed like I do and were popular. So it wasn’t that either! Although most of the girls dress the same, it made absolutely no sense that what you wore should define your popularity amongst others. It was simply that they chose to follow trends but so do many other girls and that never made them popular.

My last main criteria: going to countless parties. I had grown up my whole high school life never having been to a proper party where there were people everywhere drinking into the night. I didn’t drink a single drop of alcohol in high school and apart from Semi Formal and Formal and a few concerts, I was never out past 10pm. Now in Uni, having been to more parties than high school Chandra thought she ever would, I don’t understand how going to parties could possibly give you the label of being one of the popular people.

Now, although that takes me back to square one, I want to just believe that they were just all connected and it came down to who you know. Nothing more than that. Even now, I’ll never be able to pinpoint what it is about some girls that make me feel inferior and like I’m just back at high school and the loser girl I was for 12 years but so what? Everyone’s a little insecure about something so maybe not being a trend-follower or having a wild social life in high school makes me feel a little out of place with some girls but what can you do about it? The one thing I do know for sure is the day I consider myself ‘cool’ is the day scientists discover how to make people vomit rainbows. It’s not going to happen. So I think instead of being confused as hell like I was when my friend said I was too ‘cool’ to approach, I’m just going to take it as a compliment and remember that everyone feels a little uncool around someone. And that’s okay.

– Chan


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