I always wanted to be cool….my whole life. For me being cool was to be someone who was brave, daring, edgy and a bit out there. They were a free spirit and something that I wasn’t. Growing up a people pleaser and a bit of a perfectionist, I always felt I should ‘fit in’ and be acceptable….I now know that was my way of surviving…I felt i needed to be liked and loved to be okay. I always admired people who were different and brave enough to be themselves, but to me that seemed hugely scary.
My youngest sister, Annabel, who was born 15 years after me, (another sister and two brothers in between) is one of those free spirits. Always one of the quieter girls in her childhood, she moved to Brighton for uni and blossomed into this wonderfully inspiring person who randomly started DJ-ing in nightclubs, got tattoos down both her arms and legs and started her own online business to pay her way through Uni (and that was before everyone had online businesses). By that time I was married with 3 kids of my own and to be honest I was mystified. How did this sister of mine, born of the same parents, get to Iive this life? What seemed to me to be a revolutionary brave life. Why did I never think to imagine that I could live a life less expected? I was jealous of my little sis and her confidence to be herself, but jealousy always shows us what we secretly want for ourselves.
In my 30s I finally became brave and started to work towards a life that felt more like me. I applied to uni to study art and became an ‘art student’. For the first time in my life that I felt a little bit cool! In the 18 years since then each step along my creative journey has brought me closer and closer to being ME. Creativity has saved my life on so many occasions. That might seem like a dramatic statement, but it forces us to face ourselves and to grow. All that time spent in front of the canvas is time of reflection, pondering and confrontation. You don’t always like what you see, but you work out ways to get better, in art and in life.
It is only in very recent years that I feel more comfortable to be the person I am, creating the art that I create. It has taken years of work and there have been very tough times. Learning to be brave and less ‘acceptable’ is hard for a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist, but I think that this is what life is about. A journey to become yourself.
I recently discovered this definition of ‘Cool’
“A ‘cool’ person is generally someone whose attitude and behaviours are composed, but seen as uniquely their own. They are accepting of who they are are, showing up authentically and being kind to everyone”
Being cool is not being something or someone else, it's being you. Do what lights you up and share it with the world....that's pretty cool x