How many of us watched season upon season of Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones just because we wanted to seem cool? I know I did. Every other conversation—in the real as well as in the virtual world—was about these hit TV shows. And if you didn’t know who Heisenberg was or who killed King Joffrey, you would end up being the “weirdo” no one talks to. Or at least, that’s what I believed.
My fear of being left out turned into my obsession to look cool. Fitting into skin-tight jeans was a trip to hell and back. Yet, I bought two of those just because they were in vogue (certainly not because they looked good).
From the time I began grasping the dynamics of urban middle-class society, there was an urge to belong—somewhere, anywhere. Especially in a peer group that everybody else looked up to. When I was in high school, I wanted to hang out with people who listened to Backstreet Boys (yes, Backstreet Boys!) and read Harry Potter. In college, there was music I did not understand or even appreciate, but it stayed on my playlist. This compulsion to belong did not just stop here, as it became my shadow monitoring my moves whether I fit in or not.
Familiar much? Welcome to the world of not knowing who you are and where you are headed.
In the pursuit of chasing the uber-cool, little did I realise I was missing out on things that mattered, that could shape my personality. I missed out on discovering my strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, abilities, talents, and so much more. My days were ruled by saying and doing things I did not connect with or even approve of. Nevertheless, I actively pushed myself to be a part of it. I recall vividly, the sleepless nights I went through simply because I felt like a misfit. The effort to be cool corroded my confidence.
My epiphany continued to keep me in an introspective mood. It told me that an almost innate need to be accepted and loved pushes us towards conformity.