If I was a cool kid

by Caitlin Johnson

As I recently meandered around campus, wandering aimlessly to further procrastinate on my projects, I began to notice a trend. So many students were proudly sporting interesting types of clothing. No, it wasn’t anything Lady Gaga-ish. No one was wearing a fur leotard. The more I looked, the more all genres of pop culture began to stand out–An overly-joyous Mickey Mouse here, the unmistakable bright yellow Pikachu there… I wondered if I had somehow unknowingly stepped into a time vortex. It was as if I’d been transported back to 1995.

But 8-year-old me was nowhere to be found. No, this wasn’t the past. This was 2014, and apparently it was no longer taboo to sport a yellow electric rat on a T-shirt. No one was ridiculing anyone for proudly acknowledging their inner-nerd. Suddenly, everyone was cool.

What the hell?!

Apparently I’m too hipster for my own good. I was 18 years too early to be considered a “cool” kid, back when Mickey was my hero and I could actually name all 150 Pokemon. Was wearing your geeky heart on your sleeve cool in the 90s? Not if you ask me. See these pictures? Yep, that was me in my prime state of nerdiness. I used to strut around the schoolyard in my favorite Winnie-the-Pooh overalls, not feeling the need to “grow up” and be one of the cool kids. But I heard them whisper, and more often than not they were outright taunting me.

But what was I supposed to do? I couldn’t just pretend that I didn’t like video games and anime; I couldn’t hide from myself the fact I was in love with Link from “The Legend of Zelda.” My classmates didn’t understand why I wouldn’t slap skater logos on my backpack or adopt the latest teenage makeup trend. I was an outcast, and for most of my childhood I was treated that way.

It wasn’t until senior year of high school that I started to not give a crap about what my shallow peers thought of me. Forever a white girl, my heritage comes from the fantasy worlds of my childhood. Why shouldn’t I embrace the things that make me happy?

I do like to think I’ve become somewhat of an adult since then, but I haven’t forgotten my roots. Even today my car sports the Hylian crest, and Mario mushrooms dangle from my rear-view mirror. I may have been 18 years too early to be a cool kid by today’s standards, but at least I know in my heart that I had always been the original.