Shower Thoughts: Cool Girls

I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome basically my entire life. Actually, that’s not true. At some point in early childhood, I probably thought I was super cool and nothing anyone else said would change that. However, elementary and middle school kicked in and bam - that confidence was gone. I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m determined to help my daughter keep her self assuredness much longer than I ever did. But that’s not what this ST is about. This ST is about you (and me, tbh).


A few years ago, I was at a creative retreat with some friends. I made a comment about how much I felt like a fraud being there - like I was certainly not cool enough to be in the same room as many of the women there. Who did I think I was? One of my most direct friends scoffed at me and basically told me it was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. Sounds harsh, but I needed the bluntness - that was the only way I could believe her. If she sounded genuinely bewildered at my words, thinking them absolutely absurd then maybe there was some truth to her reaction. Maybe I did belong there. She told me "Why are you always on the outside looking in metaphorically when in reality, you’re actually physically there at the exact same retreat as all the other women you so admire. Like, you’re here, with everyone else - how could you be an imposter? It’s not even possible. You’re doing the thing right here, right now."


It’s no secret I’ve been working with the amazing team at Birdie for the past few months. Earlier this Spring, on a call with Nicole, their head of marketing, she asked me a question that took me totally off guard. We were discussing other brands I love and their founders that I so deeply admire for their unfiltered über cool confidence and her response to me was “Well, what do you think of seeing yourself as their peers?” I said what do you mean? Those women are in a totally different league, a different caliber of business owner. They’re so cool; I just enjoy watching their success, I am not them. And she said, "Oh, but you are them. You’re the cool girl you admire, that’s you." It was mind blowing. I’m not kidding. I know that sounds like a hyperbole but it’s true - I needed someone to shatter my idea of myself as the girl on the sidelines for me to believe that I actually could be the girl people are talking about. The one with the confidence and self assuredness that I’d always yearned for. Because, truth be told, the mean girls who talked behind my back in middle school because I didn’t have whatever cool clothes they had, or the high school boyfriend who always told me I wasn’t good enough to hang out with the cool girls in class, those voices live rent freaking free in the back of my mind and control the narrative I’ve told myself for 20+ years. Even today, I catch myself ranking people as I walk into a room as to who's cool or important or has the most influence, and those are the people I need to impress so I can feel accepted and validated (what is wrong with my brain!!!). It's taken until my mid-30s, embarrassingly enough, to realize - Who actually gives a f*ck?! And what is "cool" anyway? (sorry for the cussing, some things just deserve the emphasis) So, to those voices in the back of my head telling me I'm not good enough, and maybe if I try to impress just the right people then I'll feel seen and important, it’s time for them to take a damn hike. Of course, easier said than done, but dangit if I’m not trying!!! The cool girl with the confidence of not caring what other people think - I can be that. In fact, I AM that. I am cool. Whatever the hell that means. Are you? Can you believe that about yourself? Because you are.


A few weeks ago I was having dinner with my two best girlfriends. One was lamenting on about how her body wasn’t fitting right in whatever outfit she was wearing, and my other friend looked her dead in the eye and said why are you hating on my best friend? Don’t talk to her (yourself) like that. It was such an eye opener - not only am I highly aware of what I say about my body and my abilities in front of my daughter because I want her to have high self esteem, I also want to be cognizant to say those things to myself in the mirror, too, because damnit if I don't need and deserve high self esteem too!! I should be my own biggest hype woman. Lord knows no one else is gunna do it for me. (Anyone remember the scene in Ted Lasso where Rebecca makes herself as big as she can before she goes into a scary meeting? Ranna makes me do that anytime I say something negative or self loathing. It sounds insane but I swear if it doesn’t work - try it!) This has gotten on the ramble-y side of things, but I think the point is this - you are the cool girl. You can be your own hype woman. As I tell my daughter almost daily - we’re all just doing our best. And as I tell my other small business owner friends - no one really knows what they’re doing, we’re all just making it up as we go along and that’s just about the best we can ask for. No one is “cool,” no one knows what they’re doing. It’s all an illusion, and we’re all just figuring it out as we go.

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