You're So Cool
I almost hit a man a few days ago in a parking lot. With my car, not my fist. I am generally speaking, a pacifist. Minus that one time I threw a stiletto at my alcoholic/drug-addict ex-boyfriend’s head while desperately trying to hold on to a love that had long since departed for the promise of another line of cocaine, I am a peaceful woman. But a few days ago, at 38 years old, I almost hit a man, pulling out of a parking spot, because I was trying to look cool.
I was trying to look cool for another man, a maybe cute guy, who was standing there smoking a cigarette. I almost killed a man to look cool for a dude who still smokes. In 2016. At 38 years old.
Let it sink in if you must, I sure had to. I heard the smoking man say to the other “that was a close one” and as I pulled onto Beverly Boulevard. Shame washed over and through me. It pummeled me like the large waves that struck me to the sands of the atlantic when I was five rendering me scared of the ocean for 33 more years. But I couldn’t avoid the road like I had the ocean, I lived in LA, the city of cars.
I found myself hiding, ducking even, trying to shrink myself as small as I could. I didn’t want any of the other drivers on the road to see me because somehow of course they would all know how uncool I really was. I didn’t even want to see myself. I had accomplished the exact opposite of what I had set out for. Not fucking cool man, not cool-at all.
What if I had actually killed him? Would the officers understand? I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t texting, I wasn’t putting on mascara, I wasn’t even that tired. I was just being a girl, in the world, looking for a man to love her. I’m sorry sir, I imagined myself saying, it wasn’t my intention to kill anyone, I just thought maybe I could get my flirt on. No, of course another man’s life is not worth it. Listen there are so many intentional murders out there, I’m a good person, can’t we just let this one slide?
All joking aside, there may have been a dead body under my car and just like that. Because I was focusing on something other than what I was doing at that exact moment and still I avoided it thank god.
As the shame lifted, slowly, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. What even was that? First of all, why should I assume I know what this stranger finds cool? Second of all, I’m pretty sure killing a guy is never going to look cool to anyone and if it does that is not a someone I want to impress. But most importantly, the basis of this whole experience was somewhere inside me I felt I wasn’t cool enough, as is. I felt I had to do something to be cooler than I already was.
What even is that?
And I know I am not the only one who does it, I know somewhere inside at some point in life, we all do it. Somewhere somehow. My stomach falls and I think about the origin of this moment and I realize I have been doing this for as long as I can remember. With my girlfriends, with my guy friends, with my boyfriends, with my lovers, with my bosses, with strangers on the street who still smoke.
As this realization sinks in something else creeps up inside me right behind it and tears begin to roll out of my eyes. That sweet sweet girl who never felt cool enough is living inside of me still questioning her worth all the time. Still desperate for someone to see her, for someone to tell her - you’re so cool. And she has been waiting for this ever since September 10, 1993 at the opening night of True Romance, and most likely for many years before that as well.
It’s so sweet that she has forgotten who she is, that she has forgotten that she is inherently the coolest her there is. In fact, she is the only her there is. She is the only one who has ever had the life she has had, ever cried the tears she has cried, ever gotten to love the people she has loved. And just like that a memory surfaced as fast as my car cruised down Wilshire Boulevard.
A few weeks back I was at dinner with my best friends from Kindergarten in New York City where this whole tale started. Going into the night I wanted to feel cool, I needed them to know I was cool. Even though we had known each other for 23 years, that feeling of not enoughness was still creeping its way in. Then they walked through the door. All pretense dropped and the hugs lasted forever.
I locked eyes with the children of these women I have loved for so long. Mini replications of my oldest friends packaged in these adorable new bodies. My eyes began to water and the children giggled. We played and laughed and loved for the rest of the evening and not once, not once did I wonder if I was cool enough. And not once did I worry I wasn’t.
What fixed it all? What made it go away? Well that’s easy, I thought, love. And that love exists inside me. The realization continued to unfold. I have heard teacher after teacher after teacher tell me. I am the love. The love lives in me. Loving heals the places that hurt. I am the love I seek. If this is true then I have access to this magic healing power at all times.
When I am in love, with a man, with a tree, with a friend, with a song, with life….When I am in love, I am not even a little bit worried about my cool status. Well, if the truth be told, when I am in love I am not even a little bit worried about much, if anything at all.
So why then, would I spend any time being out of love?
Just because some myth exists that if I am not skipping with happiness or joy that I am not in love? Some myth that dictates if I have emotion I must not be happy, I must not be in love, I must be broken? I know this to be categorically untrue. I know humans are deeply paradoxical and can have a billion different things happening inside at any given moment. I know myself to be deeply paradoxical having almost just killed a man and welcoming in the warmth of these new thoughts all at once.
Just because some myth exists that I have to be in love with a person? That until I am in love with a man I must not be in love at all? I know this to be untrue. I have spent many years in love with the world but not a specific man. I would love to be in love with a specific man, I would love a man to provide me with an avatar, a safe, one place to project my deep love of every single human onto. And I do not need one to experience what it feels like to be in love.
I am falling in love right now, looking at the clouds, thinking about my friends, allowing the beatles to travel through my synapses sparking memories of the past and visions of the future. I am in love with the way my knee looks sneaking out of my deep blue skirt. I am in love with that man in the car across from me rubbing the sleep out of his eyes at a red light. I am in love with the way my eyes are looking at the world at this moment and I can not help but whisper to myself, to the man in the car across from me, to the beatles and the clouds - who I know can hear me…
You’re so cool. You’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.
Even when you almost accidentally hit a man because you think someone who is smoking in 2016 might be cute. Even when you are worried your boss doesn’t think you are doing enough. Even when you think your friends do not like you or your body is too big or your voice is too loud or your words are not strung together right or that the man who is telling you you are magnificent is lying….even when ALL those things, I love you. and you don't have to do anything for me to love you. I will tell you as many times as I need to for the rest of our lives no matter what you do or don't do, you’re so cool.
So thank you man who still smokes in 2016, and thank you guy I almost killed. And thank you to all of my insecurities known and for now unknown. I welcome you all to come play with the enormous amount of love that I will have waiting for you in my driver seat because indeed, love is an elevated state will carry me to an elevated self... and from there I can see things, including myself, with a lot more clarity.
And I have this sneaking suspicion that anyone else who may or may not dip into this desire to feel cool in their lives or forgot that they were the coolest to begin with, if they invited that part to play with their unconditional loving they too would see things, including themselves, with a lot more clarity.
And if we all saw with that clarity…...well who knows what would happen. And I don’t want to speak for the world but I know with that clarity I will at the very least, pay more attention in parking lots, and at the very most I will be able to see so much more….