Why Do We Act So Cool?

Why Do We Act So Cool?

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Cool Is An Emotional Straightjacket. I’m Going To Take It Off.
Brene Brown

Why do we play it so cool?

I am at my long awaited, kick ass writing retreat/workshop in Carmel as I write this.

This is my tribe. I could tell by the peals of laughter that met me at the driveway, and guided me inside this lovely house, to sit with these lovely people.
I’ve come to work hard, with a side of laughter.
If I were to write down my recipe for a happy life, that’s what it would be.
Hard work – with a side of laughter.

A good belly laugh is the anecdote to “cool”.

Anyway, I decided in the car on the way up, that I would be as authentic and vulnerable as I had the courage to be, otherwise…why bother?
It’s like the people who go into psychotherapy and pretend that their world is round when it’s actually square. It’s not doing them any good and it’s a colossal waste of time.

I will be and act excited when I’m excited (which was all day yesterday) lost if I feel lost ( mid morning) happy when that occurs (dinner last night) and cry if the mood strikes me (today when it was my turn to read).

I will not pretend that this is not the once in a lifetime experience that I know in my heart it is.

I have done that in similar social situations where I’ve felt intimidated or out of my league. It is my virtual armor, and it has repeatedly short changed me.

I know I’m not the only one, I see it all the time.

So…what if we show people exactly how we feel? Would they laugh or sneer or run away? If you can believe it, none of the above. They’d feel relieved.

I was born in LA, which is the Capitol of Cool.

Not if you’re born here – that’s just winning the weather lottery.
It’s where all the cool people that stand outside clubs and check out their reflections in the shop windows on Robertson Boulevard or Rodeo Drive have ended up. The earth is literally tilted in such a way that the “too cool for school crowd” rolls into California via every mode of transpiration imaginable; and Los Angeles in particular.

There is an air of abject “so what” that hangs over this city as thick as smog.

You feel proud of a promotion, raise, engagement ring, new house or car?
SO WHAT. BIG DEAL. BE COOL.
You can throw a rock and hit someone with a better job, bigger diamond, fancier car and more square footage.

When I worked in the jewelry business and celebrities would saunter in, we, the shop girls, all had to act like it was just another day at the office, lest we frighten those fragile, skittish, individuals away.

But a couple of us decided to be real.

We cracked jokes, fetched them vodka from the fridge and encouraged self deprecation, and you know what? They came back again and again.
They wanted a real connection. Not ooglie eyed, start struck, adoration, and not indifference. They ARE, contrary to popular belief, human beings after all. They wanted to laugh and kid around and eat cookies and talk smack about the paparazzi.
We were happy to supply that for them.

I look back and realize that we would have missed some really great moments, with some amazing people if we had played it cool, and I think that’s the moral of this whole story.

Like Brene Brown says, it IS and emotional straightjacket, and one that I’m no longer willing to wear.

In which situations do you put on your “cool.” What would it take to remove the straightjacket?
Much love, 
The writing Queen 😉 
Xox


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6 Comments
  • Mr David R Holmes says:

    Everyone says “get your act together” for some absurd reason. Our persona is a mask made of fear based egotism, protecting the loving, vulnerable and compassionate part of us, which is our divine godhead. Why people think this needs to be protected is quite baffling, but it’s the status quo.

    • jbertolus says:

      Hi David,
      I think because it feels unsafe to show our true selves. But what I think we’re both saying is: what’s the point? What a colossal waste of time to do otherwise.
      Love you and thanks for the comment,
      XoxJanet

  • Les says:

    Hugs (-:

  • Dominator says:

    One cannot chose for themselves to be “Cool”.
    It’s like a nick name. It is decided by others.
    Unlike “Class” which is a choice.

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