by Lincoln Sayger
Try being yourself instead of trying to be cool. It'll last longer.
No matter how long you manage to stay 'cool', there will come a time when you lose that ability, and then what will you be? Either a sad, shrivelled husk crying miserably over the popularity you once had, or yourself. There's one problem, though: The longer you have put on a show to stay cool, the less you will know how to answer the question: Who are you? You can't be yourself if you don't know whom you are. In the words attributed to Socrates, "Know thyself."
This is the problem many young adults, teens, and children will face in a few, or in many, years: They pretend to be angry, or tough, or harsh, or extreme, or sensual, or preppy, or ditzy, or disenfranchised, or intellectual, or anti-whatever in an attempt to be cool, or to have something to say, or to be noticed. And it might seem to work.
Except that it's all a charade. They aren't really those things, and what they say in pretending to be those things is so much lying. It is falsehood and mockery. I remember reading recently from someone listening to someone singing about life in the ghetto, and the person thought that the singer wouldn't last an hour on the streets. I agree. As hip as that may seem, most of us didn't grow up in the ghetto, and we have no idea what that is like. It is insincere and even insulting toward those who do live those lives for those of us who haven't experienced pain or fear or discrimination to pretend that our lives are something they aren't. It is artificial, it takes us away from the persons we really are, and many people will see through it.
Forget cool. Forget abrasive. Forget artificial. Be yourself. If people find that cool, great; but if they don't, that's fine. Speak with your own voice, because any other voice will fall apart, sooner or later. Find your voice and use it. Know yourself and be yourself. The perpetually cool forget whom they are and end up in misery when their cool ends.
"This, above all: to thine own self be true,
and it must follow, as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man."
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