As a result of being an "outsider," I didn't get to sit at the cool table in school. I did have lots of friends that ranged across the strata of high school society. I had band friends (even though the extent of musical ability is to recognize that music is playing), geek friends (even though I wasn't quite as smart as they were), motor head friends (mostly because my brother was a motor head and they had awesome muscle cars), derelict friends (even though I had ambitions) and even a jock or two (mostly males needing the answers to Mr. Sullivan's English Lit. test). The cool kids, especially the cool girls, excluded me.Life went on and I went to college, got married, got divorced, had success in several career paths, made a lot of good friends, owned my own home, bought several cars, got married again, moved around a bit, had a baby, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. In all that time, not being a cool girl didn't bother me or matter. Oddly, the social media phenomenon of Facebook has reconnected some of us as friends as adults.
Still, there lingers that background insecurity of not being quite good enough to be cool. This insecurity resurfaced the other day at my son's school when the cool moms were gathered in the parking lot. These are the moms with the coordinating jewelry and make-up. Their workout shoes match their cashmere hoodies and the piping on their yoga pants. They gather in the parking lot near their Escalades/Suburbans/Expeditions to arrange a Zumba/hot-yoga/pilates/mani-pedi/coffee get together. Our children are friends, but I am not cool enough. At least that's what it felt like when their conversation stopped until I'd passed by them.Truth is, I've got a good 10 - 15 years on these gals and I don't fall into their generation. And even if I were to be invited to the Zumba/hot-yoga/pilates/mani-pedi/coffee get together I'd probably turn it down. Really? Zumba, hot-yoga, pilates? I can't do that anymore! I'm, um, over thirty-five! I'm not the mani-pedi type either. Coffee? Maybe. As long as it's not organic or low fat. Besides, my muscle car could put their SUV in the dust. Wanna have some real fun ladies? Let's hit the time track!
I know that these sub-surface insecurities have in some way driven me down certain paths or caused me to put I extra effort to try to be an over-achiever. That's not a bad thing. I have to wonder what childhood situations may have affected my characters' personalities and given them an underlying impetus to their actions as the adults I write about. Should I include a FULL biography, to include childhood, as part of their back stories? Does it matter in the end? And all of my characters are cool, even if I'm not.