Hey, what's up?
Children can be cruel. I experienced this firsthand as a ten-year-old African immigrant in New York City. My natural response was to figure out how to stop it immediately. The only solution, befriend and become like the kids other kids looked up to.
In grade school, I remember having a deep desire to be in the “in crowd”. I wanted to be aware of and be a part of all the latest trends in music and fashion so that I’d be accepted into this exclusive circle of “cool kids”. I figured no one would make fun of me then.
Now that I’m older, I see that this desire to belong is a natural human desire. (I’m aware I'm oversimplifying group dynamics to make a point, so don’t judge me too harshly). We group up based on our collective interests as humans. Within every group exists a natural hierarchy. The few who seem to espouse the ideals of that group more than others become the de facto elite members of that group. In grade school, these are the “in crowd”.
My desire to belong played a huge role in shaping my personality. Those being my most formative of years, I didn’t have an anchored personality. I accepted a set of values and principles that didn’t really resonate with me on a deeper level. The values I lived by were adopted for the most shallow of reasons. I wanted to be accepted, I wanted to belong.
As an adult with a little more insight into who I think I am, what to me is cool isn’t what was cool then. I often ask myself, "where would I be if I knew then what I know now?". This week’s song Reincarnation Of Cool is me my talking to my sixteen-year-old self in the language I think he might’ve accepted. Maybe not, because people did try. Perhaps if they would have said it the way I’m saying it, it might have connected. The teenage me always felt these would-be mentors meant well but didn’t really understand me or make the effort to try, so their opinions and advice held no value to me. But hey... Who knows? I still might’ve ignored me.