At the risk of sounding super ironically lame, I ask: how can I be cool?
April 2, 2014 8:51 PM   Subscribe

I’m 22 year old female EXTROVERT. Super passionate, emotional, awkward. I feel like I have always had a reputation for being kind of lame, awkward and in general a bit strange. I’m not overall socially awkward, but I have pretty big strokes of it: so at parties I can be perceived as being the life of the party, able to talk to everyone and I will have a great time making everyone laugh, I love to dance so I’ll be dancing with everyone--but I’ll come on too strong, or I’ll say something really awkward or I’ll be way too loud and kind of ruin it. I can also be way too TMI, too earnest, too heart-on-the-sleeves, emotionally vulnerable.

Growing up I was bullied quite a lot for having an accent, being a cry-baby, being too nerdy. Moving to Canada was incredibly hard, too. I feel like though I’m truly pretty confident, my past low self esteem has left a LOT of remnants, making me not ‘cool’ enough.

I’m also just generally often anxious which makes things a lot worse. I have been told many times, and not always in a good way, that people have never met someone like me, that I’m super energetic, awkward, exhausting, intense as all hell...and sometimes when it’s positive, exciting, exhilarating, surprisingly adventurous, fun-loving etc.

How can I be cooler? How can I cool it all down? I think my personality would be a lot more attractive to people if I were less...intense and insane. If I could tone it down, hone the energy and personality to something more positive and perceived as really cool rather than “way too much” and “way too weird”

I’ve been going to a counsellor for anxiety in general, which has helped tremendously, but there aren’t any counsellors to help you be ‘cooler’, are they? I know age will help, and HAS helped a bit, but I’m moving out and will be in the downtown party/socializing networking scene a lot more in both professional and recreational settings. Toning down my energy would really help!

Thanks so much as usual.
posted by rhythm_queen to Human Relations (25 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I think that your best bet is to address the anxiety, which you are already doing.

I am an introvert, and I always think of the extroverts as "cooler" while I'm over in the corner being quiet and awkward. My guess is that it's your anxiety talking when you feel like you need to change your personality. There are tons of awesome super-intense people (and tons of awesome super-laid back people).
posted by insectosaurus at 8:55 PM on April 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Don't worry about being cool. Seriously, don't spend another second of your life thinking about it. It is an utter and complete waste of your youth.

Take that energy and instead, learn to give less than zero fucks. Not "learn to give less than zero fucks in order to be more cool." Just really, truly zen out. Be in the moment. Stop caring what anyone else thinks about you. Odds are good they don't think about you at all, or they forget about you quickly, or they change their mind, and none of it matters whatsoever.

Also: Care about other people more. It makes it hard to spend time thinking about yourself.

I guess I should give you some practical advice though, so; In social situations, just drink more. That's really the only thing that's ever helped me get out of myself. Don't become a lush or anything, but get buzzed and stop caring. Unless you have the extreme misfortune to happen to be a terrible sloppy drunk, it helps most people loosen up and flow more.

As far as outlets for your youthful rage go: Dancing, or writing angry intense poetry, or playing a sport or instrument are all pretty good options.
posted by quincunx at 9:05 PM on April 2, 2014 [25 favorites]

able to talk to everyone

How good are you at listening?

Even if you are super good at it, try to improve. I suspect that if you get better at really listening to other people and paying attention to how they're responding to you, this will help you temper your behavior in response.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be the "life of the party." But realizing how you affect others is an important skill to cultivate, and it's a form of kindness.
posted by jessicapierce at 9:18 PM on April 2, 2014 [17 favorites]

Meditate. Learn to calm your your mind in meditation and practice carrying that sense of calm to your daily life and respond more honestly and attentively to people around rather than your impulses.
posted by Tevin at 9:21 PM on April 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I strongly second quincunx. The cool people are the ones who are confident in themselves, whoever they are. They are not a specific type of person, just someone who is ok with themselves. Age helps only in that generally as people age, they stop worrying quite so much what others think. It's a bit of a paradox, but you become cooler by stopping trying to be cooler.

The times I fail and make an idiot of myself, are the times when I am trying too hard to make others laugh or impress them. I get anxious and stupid crap comes out of my mouth - I look back and I'm embarrassed for myself. Most of the time though, I'm relaxed and don't care too much what others think. This came with age. It might come earlier for you with therapy for the anxiety, and surrounding yourself with relaxed people who don't trigger the competitive coolness.
posted by Joh at 9:24 PM on April 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Stop thinking that you need to be something that you aren't.

It sounds like you are very concerned about how you are perceived by others. If you act in such a way as to try to get other people to perceive you in a particular way, rather than just being how you are, you're not going to be "cool," as you put it -- you are going to come off as awkward. It is easy for this to turn into a behavioral feedback loop, in which you do/say something because you think it will please others/make you come off a certain way, and you feel insecure about whether it will work or not, therefore you come across as awkward, and then you try even harder to come off as *not* awkward.

Therapy is probably a good way out of this cycle. The more confident you become in the fact that you are a likeable person -- and the more you realize that your impression that you are not likeable probably is not based on the real you, but someone else's narratives about you, or your behavior that isn't the real you in the first place -- the less awkward you will be.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't try to improve your social skills -- it sounds like you have legitimate reasons to want to feel more comfortable in social situations. Perhaps in the meantime, as you work on your anxiety and lack of confidence in therapy, you could focus on behaviors that you actively WANT to incorporate into your socialization, rather than things you'd like to eliminate? For example, what if the next time you went to a party, you tried to really focus on listening to other people and getting other people to be the ones doing all the talking? (via asking questions) In my opinion, people who are able to actively listen and take a genuine interest in other people are definitely very cool and likeable people.

I would disagree with the advice to drink more, however.
posted by angelusnovus at 9:27 PM on April 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I know a girl who sounds a lot like you. She is extremely extroverted, outgoing and social yet also constantly second-guessing herself or narrating her insecurities. One first step is to try to stop worrying so much about your reputation or whether you're being awkward. Everyone feels awkward when interacting with other people and no one has it all figured out. You sound really thoughtful and passionate and I bet people appreciate you for the many good qualities you mention (and would still like you if weren't always acting as the "life of the party")

Working on the anxiety with the counselor sounds really important because if you get anxious or have a flash-back of insecurity and low self esteem, it sounds like your reaction is to over-compensate: get excited, get loud and crazy. It's not that you want to be cooler, it's just that you want to be calmer and more able to control your impulses when you're feeling anxiety. Can you bring up some of these specific things you've mentioned in this question with your counselor? Describe your behavior and why you're not always comfortable with it, ask for tools to help calm yourself down in social situations. It sounds like you don't feel like you can control how energetic you are or how you act in a certain situation, but the truth is you can decide how you want to act and act that way. It just might take some practice and unpacking WHY you always dial your energy way up, even if you don't always like the result. Seems like a counselor could help with this.

Are you able to spend time alone and feel calm and centered? If not, maybe start by doing things and not constantly seeking setting where you feel you have to perform and be super-energetic.

Maybe read about and try out a meditation technique, like transcendental meditation. This is good for practicing accepting the phenomena in the world/things happening around you but letting go of your need to react or be swayed by them.

Maybe giving yourself time everyday to journal or just write stream-of-consciousness will help you get some of your abundant thoughts and energy out, process your thoughts and focus on what's really important to you. A concept like writing 750 words every morning can be great for clearing the mind.
posted by dahliachewswell at 9:28 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think the phrase "best authentic self" captures what we all should aspire to. In that light, I wrote down all the positive ways that you describe yourself. You are:

passionate, life of the party, able to talk to everyone, making everyone laugh, love to dance, emotionally vulnerable, confident, energetic, exciting, exhilarating, surprisingly adventurous, fun-loving

That sounds great! The combination of "confident" and "emotionally vulnerable" make for a devastatingly charming person, in my opinion.

So maybe you will want to build on your strengths, rather than try to eliminate your self-perceived weaknesses. You may even find that the friends you accumulate as the result of your extroverted charm will be more than happy to provide the calm, detached precision you feel you lack.
posted by ferdydurke at 10:03 PM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with those who are telling you to worry less about being cool, but I know that it is easy to say that and hard to put into action. I think at some point all of us have wanted to be seen as cool.

Two things that have worked for friends of mine who also worried about coming off as intense and weird:

1) Listen twice as much; speak half as much. People like to talk about themselves. We have a new guy at work that everyone likes. Everyone. It occurred to me the other day that every time I talk with this guy he asks me follow-up questions about whatever I'm talking about and he seems really interested in what I'm saying. People like people who make them feel interesting and cool.

2) When meeting new people, keep the talk more towards general topic that everyone (or most everyone) can relate to. New movies, current events, sports, whatever. Things that you are into that other people are likely going to be into, too. This let's others know that they have stuff in common with you, that they have things that they can bond with you over. Everyone has their own set of quirky interests that they are really into, but if you lead with those topics then it leaves the other party with little to say and unsure of how to connect with you.
posted by Nightman at 10:08 PM on April 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

I can be perceived as being the life of the party, able to talk to everyone and I will have a great time making everyone laugh, I love to dance so I’ll be dancing with everyone--but I’ll come on too strong, or I’ll say something really awkward or I’ll be way too loud and kind of ruin it. I can also be way too TMI, too earnest, too heart-on-the-sleeves, emotionally vulnerable.

How can I be cooler? How can I cool it all down?
(emphasis mine)

I think we're collectively missing the question: it's not so much how to be Fonzie-cool, but more how not to overheat/be spazzy/too much. There's some really good advice in here but I want to echo the sentiment of not thinking about yourself so much: pretend that wherever you are, you're the hostess and your job is to make everyone feel welcome and happy to be there. Note that this doesn't mean "entertaining" them, which sounds exhausting for you ( and is also equally exhausting to have to watch). Be solicitous of your "guests", and it'll relax you and them both.
posted by sfkiddo at 11:08 PM on April 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

if it could be summed up in a phrase: be less afraid of silence.

to slightly expand (this is in addition to the good points others have said): if you want to dance, if you want to laugh, if you want to be loud, and you want to do all that because that's right in the moment, then do so. but when there's a lull, a space, a moment to pause, don't be afraid. Don't be obliged to fill it up. Perhaps most of those who find you too 'on' noticed this impulse? I don't know if this is so, but most people I find would tend to err on the side of over-sharing when they're attempting to fill up spaces. This could be what others have noticed and got uncomfortable by. Just ride out the pauses.

On that note though, another just as likely reason is an external one. Most people aren't used or born to be that effusively open. Maybe its unarticulated jealousy, but it's also simply a case of an unusual personality. So if they are a bit taken aback, well, it's on them. But I recognise your concern, and whether it's from an extrovert or an introvert, I do find it's often the case of too much inward attention, and less outward attention. So, in all, address your social anxiety, and practice mindfulness.
posted by cendawanita at 11:24 PM on April 2, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think it's about learning to take a step back. Instead of reacting, think for a second: is this an appropriate response to the circumstances? Conciously think about times when you need to lower your volume or slow down your speech. It'ss about being more self-aware. You're not trying to change who you are, just learning to adjust the dial for different situations.
posted by Aranquis at 4:09 AM on April 3, 2014

I'm not saying you shouldn't be the "life of the party." But realizing how you affect others is an important skill to cultivate, and it's a form of kindness.

This is really important. I'm an introvert, myself, and for the most part I love extroverts. But every now and then I'll run into one who drives me up the wall; one of my coworkers is like this. In his case, it's that he doesn't read the room or seem particularly aware of others. He's good at striking up conversations, for example, but he'll just kind of bulldoze into them at any opportunity and not realize when he's the one doing all the talking or when the other person isn't engaged.

That may not be what's going on with you, specifically, but I do think it'll help you to hang back a little. Practice reading others and trying to figure out people's individual preferences, and work on tailoring your interactions according to them. Pay attention to who's being the loudest or talkiest in the group. If it's you, let someone else shine for a while. If things are too quiet for a little while, don't rush to fill the silence. When you're out with others and feeling great, work on relaxing and just being in that moment, rather than constantly building that energy.

If you observe the people around you and give others an opportunity to go first, you'll be most of the way there.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:43 AM on April 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

You have to learn how to control your own emotions and reactions. Try to be aware of the mood and the energy of the people around you and modulate your own emotions and actions to suit what you sense outside of you. It's useful to be able to fit in or not as it suits you. Being able to control of how others perceive you is a key differentiator in life and it's a skill you can learn just like so many other seemingly innate things.
posted by sid at 4:58 AM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here’s the thing: looking at your history of questions what leaps out is just how much you need from people. You need approval, you need attention, you need responses and reassurance from people on AskMeFi. It’s like you experience yourself as an empty bucket who needs to be filled up by others, and you live in desperate fear that you’ll never be ‘filled’, so you go around as this whirring ball of energy trying every trick in your arsenal to get what you need from others.

There’s nothing wrong with needing attention, approval and reassurance from people, there’s nothing wrong with being intense and loud and extroverted. The issue here is it really sounds like this fear, that you won’t get what you need from people, has come to dominate and define you. It’s like you’re running away from feeling of core deficiency that you expect to be filled by getting attention, approval and reassurance from others. To be honest, posts like this one are trademark reassurance seeking behaviour.

What’s the solution? Therapy helps, and it’s amazing and important than you’re doing that. Getting older helps, too. But you can skip past a lot of pain and heartache by consciously reorienting your relationship to yourself.

If you go back through your post history you’re really fixated on what other people think of you, and how you can change yourself to make others think better of you. It sounds like you really can’t tolerate feeling bad, anxious, uncertain, and you respond to these feelings by thrashing around to find reassurance. From the perspective of a stranger on the internet, it sounds like that’s what’s underlying your feelings of intensity, insanity and ‘too-muchness.’

You’re an intense person, you’re a ‘big’ person, you’re a lot of person, and when you’re blessed with those tendencies it’s easy to get tossed around on the seas of your own ‘bigness’ when you’re younger. You start to find your way out of this by finding your own stillness and quietness. You aren’t doing this to change how others see you, to ‘spare’ people from your intensity; you’re doing it to get out of your own way. You have strengths, capabilities and depths hidden by the storms of your fear, anxiety and low self esteem, so you have to learn to find a way to sit with yourself, to sit with bad feelings, to be quiet, to be still.

The other key to you is to learn that confidence and self esteem come from what you do and how you live, not how you think. It comes from setting goals and accomplishing the things you want to do. When you’re in the throes of depression and anxiety this becomes another rock to bludgeon yourself with - this is why I’m so terrible, I never accomplish anything, I never do anything etc etc. This is where your stillness comes in. You need to find a place where you can look frankly at what you want and need and work out from there. Keep track of what you do and accomplish - write it down, keep a journal, be honest. Set goals, simple, little, tiny, private ones, goals like loading the dishwasher, writing for 20 minutes, painting for 20 minutes, writing a letter to a friend etc. Find a way to be quiet and enjoy moments of doing and achieving, big and small.

None of this is going to help you be ‘cool.’ Being cool doesn’t matter. Oh, honey, I wish I could travel back in time, find 20 year old me, shake her and tell her just that - being cool doesn’t matter. Finding a way to live peacefully with yourself does.
posted by nerdfish at 5:07 AM on April 3, 2014 [28 favorites]

Best answer: Cut yourself some slack. A lot of slack.

You're 22 and you have a lot on your mind and you finally have an audience of your peers.
Keep talking!
You play well with others, you dance all night. You know how to have fun.
Keep up the fun!

You are intelligent and introspective and you understand depredations from your childhood affect you now.
You've found a counselor and you're working it out.

You are a strong and confident woman.

Skip liquor, drugs and fuckers who make your spidey-sense tingle.

You are totally A-OK
posted by Pudhoho at 5:24 AM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Behavior change is made in increments and with practice. The next time you meet a friend for coffee, set a goal of really listening to that friend. For some extroverts, being around a lot of people can be over-stimulating; practice checking up on yourself at parties, are you being more talkative than you really want to be? Over-sharing - think about what you want your boundaries to be, and practice getting there. Especially learn to keep other people's secrets.

I’m also just generally often anxious ... I have been told many times ... awkward, exhausting, intense as all hell ... How can I cool it all down? ... if I were less...intense and insane. If I could tone it down, ... really cool rather than “way too much” and “way too weird” Cooling it all down is a reasonable goal. Being 'cool', not so much - being perceived as cool tends to trump being kind. Some things to think about and incorporate into how you present yourself - keep a little bit held back for people to discover about you. Spend time learning new skills and doing things that align with your values and interests, it's cool to be able to play an instrument or run road races, or paint, or volunteer with Habitat or the Girl Scouts. Have a sense of who you are and who you want to be, and work towards your goals.

If your friends aren't nice to you or don't respect you, work on that internal understanding that you deserve respect and you deserve good friendships, and start expecting more.
posted by theora55 at 5:56 AM on April 3, 2014

Your question put me in mind of a couple of people I know. They're both extremely extroverted and can be pretty tiring at times. In their cases, I really think the heart of my problems with them are that they project. Neither really seemed to grasp that their interests and motivations were not universal. They both had a tendency to try to bring everyone else up to their level, without really understanding or respecting that others aren't necessarily like them. I am on the pretty extreme end of introversion, so it could get pretty pronounced. One of them is a good friend, and we talked about it quite a bit. She genuinely didn't understand that my good moods didn't look like hers. So when I was quiet or reticent or didn't have an opinion on a topic, she was reading it as insecurity or depression or some other less than optimal thing, when it was really my normal, content state. (For the record, I err on the other end of that, so it's not all on them or on you. Everyone should probably tune up their social skills as they go along.)

Social anxieties get a bad rap. Like pretty much anything else, they can become pathological, but they serve a purpose. You don't want to eliminate them, just keep them in check. Go ahead and listen to them, figure out if there's something to learn from them, and then move on and don't let them define you. I'm pretty sure everyone has them, and I wouldn't want to know someone who doesn't.

So don't tattoo an ice cream cone on your face quite yet. Maybe work on reading people and paying attention to their boundaries, and remember, we all suck in our own ways.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:04 AM on April 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Rather than worry about being noticed, work on connecting with other people. If you're at a party, ask people questions about themselves, don't worry so much about being entertaining with stories of things about YOU.

Most of what you are describing is trying to put yourself out there for people and as you've noted, it's off-putting.

So, be funny, be fun, and be curious about what other people think and feel.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:35 AM on April 3, 2014

Hi, I am you in 10 years time.

Seriously, you described me in scary detail from my 20s. Everything from the extrovert to the heart on the sleeve to the life of the party to being seen as super intense to the "never met anyone like you" comments to being described as exhausting. You for real described me. I could have written this post when I was your age, minus the moving to Canada thing. I grew up in Canada.

First, I think you need forget this idea of "coolness". The more you try to define what is cool, the more you try to BE cool, the more it will backfire. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure this out. People who try to be cool usually come off a phonies or posers.

Now, I am about to give you the secret to the universe of happiness and good times. Get ready... The truly cool people are the people who genuinely don't care about being cool. I know that sounds cliche, but it is 100% true. They are the people who own their quirks and aren't embarrassed over their nerdy/geeky interests. They are the people who sincerely don't mind looking uncool if doing the cool thing was something they didn't want to do. They are the people who are comfortable with who they are and aren't spending valuable time trying to hide who they really are. They are the people who say, "Fuck it, I don't care if knitting is dorky, I like it and I am going to do it.". They are the person who is okay looking like a "loser" for not drinking alcohol because they don't like the way it makes them feel. I actually think you need to eliminate the word "cool" from your vocabulary and mind because it is a loaded word with a shit ton of baggage, most of it crap. Your goal should be to be comfortable, relaxed, and happy with who you are.

NOW! That being said,... boundaries. Yeah, I still struggle with this some. Here is a list of things that I used to do a lot that would often make others uncomfortable:
- telling overly personal details of my life, especially health related stuff.
- making self-depreciating jokes in awkward ways (especially when I made jokes at my own expense over my weight when I was 335lbs. This made people super uncomfortable.)
- asking overly personal details of others lives, especially health related stuff.
- being a close talker/talk toucher/playful hitter/being overly physical

All of these things boiled down to my not paying attention to the other person's comfort. The golden rule does not apply to social interactions. I actually think you would benefit from following the SILVER rule for a while (Do on to others as they HAVE done on to you) so that you can get a better sense of people's comfort levels. Use them as a template until you feel confident that you have a good feel for them and their comfort levels. You can still be your unique extroverted self, but just use other people to gauge intensity and boundaries.

In social situations, just drink more.

Uhh, for me that made things way worse...
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:52 AM on April 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

I agree with others who say to work on your listening skills-- I think this is something almost everyone could benefit from. If you look up active listening, you'll find some good tips.
posted by ITheCosmos at 7:13 AM on April 3, 2014

Best answer: I'm going to give you the polar opposite advice of everyone who is telling you to just be who you are and follow your heart. When you've given it a lot of good, hard thought and, for the best and purest of reasons, you want to start acting differently, sometimes a good trick is to just... pretend you're someone else.

I know it sounds ridiculous. I'm definitely not telling you to slavishly imitate all the cool people around you. Instead, come up with the image of someone who is like you, but a little bit different - a little calmer, more slowed down; a bit more gracious and generous, a better her rhythm_queen 2.0. Think about her a lot. Imagine what she's like, until in every situation you're in, you can imagine what she'd do. I find it's helpful to have a few visual cues you associate with her - a particular dress, a certain hairstyle. I really do want to emphasize that she's not some stranger (don't, like, adopt a fake accent or anything - although you could introduce yourself with a different nickname if you wanted) - she's a particular version of you.

Once you have her really strongly & vividly in mind, take her out to a party, and follow her lead. It's easier to do with strangers, who don't already have expectations about how you're going to act. You're on OKCupid, right? You could say yes to a date with the sole expectation of taking her out for a test drive. It shouldn't feel fake or stressful; it should feel fun, like playing dress-up. You might, occasionally, screw it up and act a little bit weird or off-kilter - but if so, so what? Everybody acts weird sometimes, and half the value of the exercise is to learn that you can act any way you want - you're not bound to acting loud and extroverted at parties, just because you always did before. You might discover that being loud and extroverted is more fun! But maybe not, and that's okay too.

Anyway, if you want to know more about my own particular weird history with this, I wrote about it here. We have a lot in common. Good luck!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:15 AM on April 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

I haven't read everyone's responses but we sound like very similar people.

Perhaps you can ask your therapist to help you do targeted work on your self-judgments and grow acceptance and a sense of self. The goal here is to try not to be so hard on yourself and to not depend on others' feedback to shape who you are. You grew up so intensely invalidated. This is why you try so damn hard.

Bolstering self-esteem, practicing self-acceptance and slowing things down with mindfulness (not even the full meditation or anything) seem to be helping me quiet my anxiety without changing who I am (which is energetic, earnest, and weird) This is all in the scope of DBT, if you want something to look up.

I think a handful of zero fucks and a handful of self-esteem and a handful of mindfulness (yes you have three arms in this scenario WHAT ABOUT IT) will help you mellow out without changing who you are. And only you can give yourself these things.

I'm sure everyone else said it better, and I think they did, as I glance before posting, but, at the least I'm just here to give you a high-five and tell you you are FINE. You just need to firm up who you are without others around and love that.
posted by Sayuri. at 7:42 AM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am not at all like you but I seem to *attract* people like you. Even people like my mom or boyfriend, who are only somewhat familiar with my social circle, have noticed it -- I have a lot of friends who are just A LOT. They have four jobs, three clubs, and say at least four hundred thousand words per hour. They dance in groceries and walk on stilts for no reason.

I can't honestly handle a whole lot of time with such people, it's true. But I love them as humans, and I love all of the things that they are and do, that I could not in a million years be or do. So I would never, ever want them to change. I just can only hang with them like 3 times per year.

Rather than try to be different (though as many have said here, DO tune in to other peoples' boundaries and comfort levels, yes), maybe work on accepting that people will have different levels of affection and acceptance for you. You really can't be Everyone's Favorite All The Time, no matter what. There's no such person.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:02 AM on April 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Since your username implies an affinity for dance, and it's been suggested already above, for me the source of my most calming and influential meditative experiences have been had on the dance floor. Learning to completely not care about how I was viewed in a dance environment where no one really does care anyways and everyone is only there to do their own thing and enjoy themselves has been a freeing experience and opportunity to learn about myself and how I am able to interact or co-exist with others. I get the distinction you are trying to make between 'cool' like stylish fashionable and popular and 'cool' like easy-going, relaxed, not flustered. For me achieving that has been a process of letting go of social anxiety and even necessarily my own efforts to control my own behaviours, postures and motions as I might even when alone and just identifying what I want or where I am happiest and absorbing myself totally in that. I wish you ready access to moments of peace and know you will find them in time.
posted by kaspen at 2:01 PM on April 4, 2014

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