My name is Amy McLoughlin. I am seventeen years old. My past times include crocheting. sewing, photography, and writing. I have unhealthy addiction to musical theatre, and I spend every spare moment watching Criminal Minds or re-reading my favourite Sarah J. Maas book series. I am a competitive public speaker, I love politics and I talk, way too much. On top of all that I am proud to say that I am not cool.
I’m not trust me.
I don’t follow fashion trends or listen to that god-awful rap music or wear fake tan. I’m just not what the girls my age would deem to be cool. I mean I didn’t use Instagram until I was sixteen and my TikToks are not exactly on trend. I mean anyone want to tell me why everyone can do the “renegade” and I just can’t?
Now, my Dad says I’m cool. But that is what Dad’s are meant to say.
But to be honest I don’t really care if I’m considered cool or not and here is why you shouldn’t either.
“why blend in when you were born to stand out?”
if you are looking for someone who exemplifies that quote in every part of their life, “Hi, I’m over here”.
I am unapologetically myself and proud of it. But I wasn’t always like that. I wasn’t always the picture of self confidence and I won’t lie when I say that some days, I still think that maybe forcing myself to be something I’m not might make life easier. But in truth it just makes it worse.
I went to a tiny mixed primary school, where everybody knew everybody. I wore whatever I wanted (no uniform was the bane of my mother’s life, it took me an hour to get dressed and I would always be made change) and I was in a world where making mistakes was okay. No one judged you for what you said or liked or did.
Please welcome to the stage, Secondary School, where everything went a little bit topsy turvy. There were suddenly 150 girls in my year instead of 7 and I was faced with the realisation that I certainly wasn’t the same as everyone else. I didn’t like discos, or tan, or make up. The thought of having a boyfriend was a million miles away. I always handed my homework up on time, I asked plenty of questions, I was partial to a good extra-curricular and I just wasn’t “cool”, and I certainly didn’t fit in.
I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to fit in
I spent the first three years of school floating between several groups of friends unable to find the real fit anywhere. I had such a broad range of interests and I just didn’t care about the secondary school hierarchy. But, teenage girls laugh and talk and tease. So, I tried to change.
I nodded and smiled during conversations I had no interest in, I stopped asking questions and I started to lose who I was because I thought if I was like everyone else then I would be happy. It wasn’t until I reached Transition Year that I began to realise that the fact that I was just a little bit different didn’t make me weird, if anything it made me better.
Suddenly, the hobbies and interests I had that had been laughed at for years were suddenly being applauded. People wanted to know more about how I managed to be so confident and happy. I started out the year saying, “oh I’m not really”. But by June I had figured it out.
I stopped caring.
I stopped caring about trends and public perception and what people had to say about me. I was proud to be a musical theatre loving, crocheting, constantly talking book worm. I am who I am and I’m not going to change for anybody.
I mean, look at me. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have let anyone read anything I had written and now it’s sitting on Ireland’s number one teenage website. I did that. Not trends, and you know what? I think that’s pretty cool.
“If you spend all your time trying to somebody else, who is going to be you?”
A line from the Irish produced film Handsome Devil. I think of that line every time I feel less than someone because I am perceived as uncool. Who cares?
I would prefer to be “uncool” than boring. I’m unique and I’m okay with that. If we were all the same, life would be boring.
If you’re into popular trends, makeup, tan, TikTok, that’s perfectly fine. It’s also perfectly fine not to be into what everyone else is.
So be proud to be different. Be happy in yourself and your talents, and remember that being not being cool is absolutely okay.