“I am not cool” said a teenage girl
With her nails painted black and the whole of the world
Turning in on her with this sort of cock-eyed, confused look.
She didn’t take a lot of pictures.
“I am not pretty. I’ve got a big heart.
I am not confident. I might be smart.”
“But I am not cool.”
“I am not cool” On my 16th birthday. “Because I am Things that people don’t like.”
“I’m queer and I cry and I hold on too tight
To the things that other people say to me when they probably meant nothing by it.
And maybe those phantom insults are right and I am
Nothing, just speckled with little bits of something,
And not the other way around”
“But I finished a journal, and I draw pretty well,
and my grades are good, and last week I fell
In love for the first time.”
“But I am not cool.”
“I am not cool. Not enough for MIT.
Everyone’s saying ‘all the things you could be if you go to MIT!’”
I like MIT. I like it a lot. But I fear MIT will not be
So kind if I let it see me,
From the top of that tree that everyone else can climb
I fear I’m bound to drown on the Firehose of life
Let alone the hose of excellence.
I don’t know enough things, but I’ll go to MIT.
I worked hard and I did stuff on my robotics team.
No, I don’t know things, but maybe I’m smart.
And just last month everyone started
To think there’s something to me. I got invited to a party…
“But I’m still not cool.”
And then I arrived. And I had the best year of my life and COVID happened and I tasted the universe and did the impossible and fell in and out of love in a million different ways an forced myself to have a go of all it and blah blah blah
But look at it:
I got into MIT, I swam in seas of blankets
With the kinds of people I could only imagine.
I’ve sat on rooftops, repelled down stairs,
Tried a whole lot of things that I should’ve cared
Enough to look into before sending myself on some
Skyrocketing, dangerous adventures where I got hurt and now I have all kinds of scars and stories to show, a few particularly gruesome.
I went to parties. I asked girls to dance.
Someone said I was hot, and I had to ask:
“Are you serious?
When I look in the mirror it’s just
Blahh blah blah blah blegh”
But now being emo is cool, and I can rule this particular school
By being a total nerd who has fun AND tools.
I dropped two classes, did the best that I can
I moved up to Maine until I couldn’t stand it
Anymore; And I earned all my passes,
hacked into my brain to try and attack
All the Trojan beliefs that have haunted me for years.
And no one I know is surprised to hear
That I have an internship.
I’ve written an album I’m gonna produce
And I let my thoughts stew
And I show off this slew
Of the jobs and
The medals and
My foot on the pedal
Of my car, driving so fast and so far
That it’s even bizarre to me how far I’ve come,
From being fifteen with some nameless dream
Of being more,
Of shutting the door behind me.
“But I’m still not enough, so what’s all this shit for?”
“Does it make you happy?”
She’s cool, and she knows it. It’s a simple thing for her. I hate letting her see this tumble-mess in my brain.
“…Some of it.”
She must think I’m crazy.
“I’ll get a UROP to have something to do.”
But a UROP won’t fix me; I’m just not cool.