“All the cool kids, they seem to fit in.”
Nearly everyone wants to fit in with their peers as a child. We want more than just to be respected and tolerated, though some still fail to achieve even these basic things (often though no fault of their own). No,we want to be included, liked. We want to belong. What no one ever tells you when you’re a child, though, is that the need to belong, to have a group that knows, accepts and loves you, never goes away. They don’t tell you that peer pressure never goes away, either. It just gets subtler. The popular clique gets replaced with affluent neighbours or the stylish co-workers or the naturally fit people at the gym. There will always be a set of “cool kids”, and if you’re not one of them, their lives can often seem flawlessly easy and glamorous, especially when you’re dealing with difficult matters.
When I first heard “Cool Kids” by Echosmith, my first thought was that this sounded like something I would have written as a teenager (I didn’t realize at the time that the band was, in fact, comprised of teens). Then I felt a bit of self-conscious irritation at the fact that, at almost thirty years old, this song was incredibly relateable to me. I’d been a loner as a child (due to a combination of frequent moving, an unusual voracity for reading, incredibly large glasses and a bit of shyness). This lead to my becoming even more introverted as a teen. I wanted a group of friends, and I collected a couple every few years (some of whom have stood the test of time and that I’m still close to), But I always have and still often do feel like I’m on the “outside”, Never the cool kid, always the loner, living in my head and wondering why that is. “Cool Kids” struck a chord with me because, as often as we hear songs about love, loss, heartache, lust and the quest for riches, rarely is anyone ever so honest as to admit that they want a friend, that they want to belong, and that they envy others who do. The truth is, this feeling, this need for gregarious socializing, might be the most common of all.