Apr 5, 2023Liked by Isabel

Nailed it, so good.

My favorite way to describe the Write of Passage journey to new students is “Write the articles you can write. Pursue the (career) path only you can pursue. Live the life only you can live.” Maybe next time I’ll save my breath and say “eh just be cool”

Expand full comment

Everyone wins on their uniqueness and everyone’s insecure about their uniqueness.

Expand full comment

the irony in life!

Expand full comment

Nice take. I think a lot of being 'cool' comes from getting outside of your head and into the world. Inward focus makes you insecure, which will trigger thoughts of 'imitation'.

Being externally focused will force you not to think about 'being cool' which will make you cooler. Your body language will take care of itself.

Just subscribed.

Expand full comment
Apr 9, 2023Liked by Isabel

Wow, what an impression this piece left on me. Upon reflection, I came to realize just how much time and energy I've put into trying to emulate others in a futile attempt to be 'cool'. I loved your section on imitation versus intuition. What I appreciate about it is that you're not saying we shouldn't source inspiration from others, but that we should interpret and act upon that inspiration in a way that is true and feels natural to us. Going forward, I really want to embody the spirit of this message by leaning into the things that make me feel the most like myself and channeling that energy into self-expression that is the most honest and accurate representation of me. Thank you Izzy for continuing to share with us with your beautiful thoughts and reflections on life ❤️

Expand full comment

Bari you are the coolest, love this reflection and thank you for the beautiful words <3

Expand full comment

The only game you can't lose is the game of being and developing YOU.

Expand full comment

Fuck yes - coolness. One of my fav topics, and one that I've only ever explored in convos with friends.

A couple thoughts:

The "Judah Smith Interlude" off the new Lana Del Rey Album: "And the Spirit of God says I'll infuse you with desires for what you have and what's in front of you". That line hit. There is something distinctly uncool about lack of gratitude and "lusting" after the things you don't have.

Hip hop is one of the best examples ever for this concept. Rappers took an archetype that was considered the opposite of cool at the time - dark skin, drug dealer, pimp, gang member, etc - and (without changing the archetype) made suburban white kids want to copy it. One of my fav modern examples of using hip hop to transmute non-cool to cool is Valee - here are some some examples (of course, the delivery is what transmutes the vibe, not the quote itself) :

"I done spent two Gs on salads (On salads)I'm usin' my phone below average (Below average)" - since when is eating salads and staying off social media cool? Valee made it so just by saying he does it.

"My bitch above average like a B-minus" - probably the most thought-provoking one. He is removing the concept of power and hierarchy from coolness, by using a hierarchical rating systems and identifying his life as lower than the best.

(side note: hip hop is also cool because they are constantly celebrating their life and what they have, rather than what they don't.)

I was thinking about plastic surgery and where it comes from within the person getting it done. When I imagine someone getting plastic surgery in order to fit in more or to be liked, it feels cringy. However, when I imagine someone getting plastic surgery in order to express themselves, it feels different. In almost all plastic surgery, it is about copying an aesthetic that exists outside of yourself (exception to the rule: https://www.instagram.com/the_black_alien_project/). When someone is getting more typical plastic surgery and wanting to express themselves more, there is a flavor of that that seems cool to me. Lorry Hill on YT or IG - she is a proponent of plastic surgery and has gotten it herself, but most of her content is breaking down the procedures that celebrities have gotten without dissing them or saying there is anything wrong with it.

In BDSM, "dollifiication" is a subtype that often involves physical mimicry of stereotypical beauty standards, but the very act of identifying with this taboo subculture means that the copying of beauty standards comes from a place of authentic self expression (because it isn't focused on fitting in).

I guess the point I'm making with the beauty standards and plastic surgery is that there are circumstances where imitation can be cool as long as it is owned as such by the person copying. Isn't there something cool about Picasso saying "good artists copy, great artists steal"? Authenticity itself seems to define coolness more so than whether a particular expression was first found outside of oneself.

Expand full comment

Cool essay 😎

Expand full comment

"Coolness is one-of-a-kind wherever it is found, because it is a product of self-knowledge and expression. Any attempts at mirroring coolness fall flat, because you can immediately tell if the person is comfortable with themselves. And when they aren’t, it’s clear the coolness they are trying to express is a performance rather than their existence." -- I want to be your friend!!! I couldn't agree more. I love love this

Expand full comment

I loved the essay! Thanks for the clarity you bring to all these unclear topics!

It somehow reminded me of Superbad - which is cool itself for most of the same reasons. The whole movie is centered around the struggle of these teenagers who want to “fit in” and be cool by imitating what they see around them. The characters are uncool precisely because they’re trying to be cool, but Fogell (or McLovin) comes across as being cool, unique and effortless. By exaggeratedly not fitting in, he becomes cool and is the most loved character of the movie by far.

Expand full comment

Then you figured out a secret.. there's a universal foundation to human experiences that we can endlessly reflect through ourselves.. and because it's through our own lens and experiences, we never lack in compassion or understandings for self.. so a self reflection is universal when it doesn't project or try to convince us of anything more than describing/reframing insights/lived wisdom through our own voice/sensibilities..

Expand full comment

I couldn't agree more with this perspective on coolness. The idea that coolness stems from individuality and authenticity is truly thought-provoking. It's so easy to get caught up in society's expectations or try to emulate others, but the true essence of cool lies in embracing our uniqueness and allowing it to shine. The coolest people we encounter aren't those who fit into a predetermined mold, but those who break free and create their own path.

This post serves as a great reminder that being true to ourselves is the ultimate expression of coolness, and it inspires us all to celebrate our differences and live life unapologetically. 🙌🏽✨


Expand full comment

hard to know what is what sometimes!!

Expand full comment