1. When you see a girl who was cool from high school, you still don’t feel cool enough to say hello.
That popular, not popular complex is still engraved in your mind, so when you run into a token ‘cool girl’ from high school, or even worse, a token ‘cool boy’ who you had a heart-breaking crush on from freshman to senior year, you still feel like either one of them has no idea who you are. You’ll just pretend you didn’t see them, unless they approach you first.
2. Even in adulthood you notice cliques, and you’re usually not in them.
At work, at the bar, even in your damn book club. There are cliques everywhere, and because you’re scarred from high school you notice every single one of them. You never had a ‘clique,’ in high school, and quite frankly you didn’t need one. You have friends and you love them, and you’re pretty sure they love you in return, and there’s nothing exclusive about it.
3. People from high school constantly confuse you with someone else.
‘Hi Becky!’ Your name is April, and the Becky they’re confusing you with looks nothing like you. She’s a tall redhead with freckles, and you’re a short brunette, but you both played in the orchestra (she played violin and you played cello, two very different instruments), the mixup is clearly understandable…?
4. You still have your own sense of style, ‘cool’ or not.
You didn’t dress in Abercrombie or Hollister, and you didn’t want or need to. Looking the same as everyone else was never one of your priorities. You had an individual sense of style that reflected your personality, and you carried it with you to adulthood.
5. You remember your yearbook superlatives and you still wish you were one of them.
You might not have cared about ‘fitting in,’ (mostly because you knew you never really would) but you have to admit that you would’ve killed to be ‘most’ anything. ‘Most Likely To Become Famous,’ you’re still working on it along with ‘Most Likely To Become President.’ You may have also wanted ‘Best Hair,’ but you’ve had a while to cope with the loss.
6. You secretly hope the ‘jocks’ and ‘hotties’ are now fat and broke.
It’s like the plot of every high school stereotype movie. The popular jocks grow up to be fat and still living on their mother’s couch, and the geek who you cheated off of in computer class becomes sexy and makes millions of dollars as an engineer for Google. You’re happy with your life, and you’d never wish anyone ill-will, but if the jock who pushed you into a locker is now 60 pounds overweight and 30 cents below minimum wage, you’re not going to be in mourning about it.
7. You still feel like you’ll be picked last.
When your teachers said, ‘This is a group assignment,’ and they let you choose your groups, all of the other kids rejoiced in excitement while you were thinking, ‘Shit. Who am I going to work with?’ You were usually the one leftover who tagged on to the group who didn’t have enough people; as long as you didn’t have to do ALL of the work you didn’t care. In adulthood any time you have to be chosen or ‘picked’ you want people to want you
8. Going new places and meeting new people feels like finding somewhere to sit in the cafeteria.
You can sit with the quiet kids who probably won’t talk to you, or you can try sitting with the cool kids who also probably won’t talk to you. Even in adulthood, meeting new people strangely reminds you of walking around your cafeteria aimlessly with your tray of chicken nuggets. ‘Is this seat taken?’
9. You still don’t try to be cool.
Because you’re not only fine with who you are, you like who you are, and if that’s not ‘cool,’ oh well.
10. You were cool in your own way.
You didn’t need to hang with the ‘cool kids’ to be cool. Your hobbies and interests were cool to you, even if they were reading Emily Dickinson poems and writing your own screenplays. You had the ability to embrace your quirks when they didn’t align with everyone else’s, and that’s allowed you to realize that you’re ‘cool’ now and you were ‘cool’ then because you consistently stay true to who you are, and that in itself is an accomplishment.